Dissertation Index

Author: Fung, Eric W.M.

Title: The Performance of Chopin's First Movement of Piano Sonata in B Minor, op. 58: A Schenkerian Approach

Institution: The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Begun: January 1994

Completed: June 1995


The objective of this thesis is to explore the application of Schenkerian analysis to performance interpretation. This objective is implemented by conceptualizing the role of analysis in performance--the ideal of applied analysis--and going through three analytical stages. The concept of applied analysis is formulated with reference to a general literature survey on the application of analysis to performance. The three analytical stages include: (1) a study of Schenker's original analysis and performance commentary of Chopin's G-flat major etude, op.10, a summary of some of his essays related to performance, and a summary of Rothstein's study of Schenker's annotation of Beethoven sonatas; (2) a study of the practice of applying Schenkerian analysis to performance by other theorists; and (3) a Schenkerian analysis and performance suggestions of Chopin's B minor sonata (1st mvt) by the present author in the lights of the concept of applied analysis and the principles of deriving performance suggestions formulated in the previous stages.

The present study is valuable to those interested in the application of Schenkerian analysis to performance. The ideal of applied analysis, formulated in terms of its relevance to performance issues, its precision in giving performance suggestions, and its capability of offering positive instructions, guides the examination of theoretical works of Schenker himself and of other theorists, and sets the direction for performance interpretations Chopin's sonata movement. The structural features discovered from Schenkerian analysis are found to be relevant and decisive in performance issues such as articulation, temporal nuance, dynamic shading, and the like. The precision of performance suggestions depends on the terms used in one's verbalization. Schenker and other theorists achieve with varying degrees of success in this respect. The ways of giving performance suggestions, of Schenker himself and other theorists, are mostly positive even though some of the suggestions are ambiguous. Interestingly, some theorists tend to make performance suggestions in a negative way that telling performers what not to do. However, the present author contends that performance suggestions, not intended to be binding, should be given positively to avoid ambiguity and abstraction.

Players or listeners of Chopin's music can benefit from the analysis and the performance suggestions. The originality offered by the analysis and the performance suggestions should not be underestimated. Although the analysis in this thesis is not the one-and-only reading of the sonata movement, it is unique in its discovery of some structural features not found in other analyses, for example, the subsidiary structural lines in the exposition section, the shifting tonicizing gestures in the development section, and the enlargement found throughout the movement. Some of the performance advices given coincide with the performance instructions of Chopin and those of other interpreter's of Chopin. The use of Schenkerian analysis in performance provides not only a rational basis but also an unique way of interpreting music in performance.

Keywords: Schenker, analysis, performance, Chopin, sonata, structural, tonicizing, enlargement


1 Introduction
2 Schenker's Views on Performance
3 Schenkerian Analysis Applied to Performance
4 The First Movement of Chopin's B Minor Sonata


Mr. FUNG, Wai-man Eric,
Flat 6C Hip Wo Mansion,
26 Aldrich Street,

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