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Author: Cavanagh, Lynn, M.

Title: Tonal Multiplicity in Schoenberg's First String Quartet, Op. 7

Institution: The University of British Columbia

Begun: January 1993

Completed: June 1996


This study describes the integration of harmonic idiom and tonal design in Schoenberg's First Quartet, op. 7. Chapter 1 identifies a prime motivator of foreground chromaticism--the chromatic surrounding of tonic and dominant pitches--and discusses two features that apply to Schoenberg's tonal music but contravene common-practice-period norms: tonal structure consisting of a pattern of keys and systematic use of dual or even multiple tonics in place of monotonality. The next four chapters describe tonal processes within and across the composition's four movements. Chapters 2 through 4 reveal that as well as a deep- middleground-level chromatic surrounding of D, the work's tonal processes include systematic avoidance of V-I function in the opening key (D), tonal rivalries between D and each of its two semitone-related keys, and in one short section a plagal system of tonality. Chapter 5 shows that the conclusion ultimately eschews a simple relationship between the A-major tonic of the rondo and the D-major tonic of the coda by allowing the infiltration of elements of the D-flat-major collection. Chapter 6 summarizes the evidence that contradicts a monotonal understanding of the composition and supports a view of multi-tonal coherence.

Keywords: tonal, structure, coherence, chromatic, rivalry, multi-tonal, plagal


1 Theoretical Bases
2 The Tonal Structure of Part I
3 The Tonal Structure of Part II
4 The Tonal Structure of Part II
5 The Tonal Structure of Part IV
6 Conclusion


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