Dissertation Index

Author: Mak, Su Yin.

Title: Structure, Design, and Rhetoric: Variation Procedures in Selected Instrumental and Vocal Works by Franz Schubert

Institution: Eastman School of Music

Begun: July 1996

Completed: December 1997


Schubert's compositions often contain formal and harmonic anomalies that, by virtue of their salience, draw attention to their expressive character; they thus demand interpretation on both technical and rhetorical levels. My dissertation will explore some of Schubert's expressive strategies by focusing on the functions of variation procedures in his music. In the analytical portions of the dissertation, I adopt a modified Schenkerian approach to illustrate Schubert's uses of repetition and elaboration, rhetorical strategies typically associated with variation, at different structural levels. At the same time, I offer interpretations of their expressive potential by considering the various types of repeated elements as rhetorical topics. I suggest, further, that the rhetorical significance of repetition and variation in a number of Schubert's instrumental movements can be fruitfully examined through comparison with songs that use similar techniques.

Keywords: Schubert, variation, structure and design, Schenkerian analysis, motivic analysis, rhetoric


1. Introduction and Survey of Analytical Literature on Schubert's
Instrumental Music

2. Models of Variation Procedures

a. Survey of existing scholarship on repetition and variation
b. Types of repetition
c. Identity and difference: variation as altered repetition
d. Strophic variation: repetition as formal determinant
e. Continuous variation: repetition as structural
f. Motivic parallelism as variation : the influence of design
on structure

3. A Rhetorical Approach to Schubert's Variation Procedures

a: Repetition as rhetorical strategy
b: Style topics: Schubert's ties to the Classical tradition
c: Harmonic and motivic topics: Schubert's innovations
d. Schubert the reader: Vocal models for Schubert's
variation rhetoric

4. Strophic Variation

"Die Forelle", D.550 (Schubart)
String Quintet in A Major, D. 667, IV

"Der Tod und das Mdchen", D. 531 (Claudius)
String Quartet in D Minor, D. 810, II

5. Continuous Variation: The Lament Bass topic

"Die Liebe hat gelogen", D. 751 (von Platen)

String Quartet in G major, D.887
Quartettsatz in C minor, D. 703

6. Motivic Parellelism

"Der Wanderer", D.489 (Schmidt)
Fantasy in C major, "Wandererfantasie", D.760

7. Conclusion: Schubert as Orator


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