Dissertation Index

Author: Post, William D.

Title: Part One: Emanations for Orchestra (original composition); Part Two: Anton Webern and the Golden Ratio: Temporal Proportions as a Formative Principle in Three Late Works, Opp. 27-29.

Institution: Kent State University

Begun: June 1999

Completed: May 2007


Part One of the dissertation is an original composition for orchestra with a duration of approximately eleven minutes. The title, Emanations, describes the variegated motives, sonorities and rhythms that “emanate” as a complex of interrelated transformations of source pitch-class sets and rhythm cells. The form of the work combines a rondo format with sectional variations. The opening section serves as a refrain, alternating with contrasting sections that variously develop certain motives and events presented in the opening. Part Two of the dissertation examines the significance of temporal proportions as a formative principle in three twelve-tone compositions by Anton Webern: the Variations for Piano Op. 27; String Quartet, Op. 28; and First Cantata, Op. 29. Precise durations are determined for each movement as well as the formal sections within these movements. Data are presented in a series of tables that include calculations for Golden Mean points within these segments of duration and descriptions of the musical events that correspond with the location of these time points. Discussion of the findings indicates that within each movement Golden Means points within the duration of the entire movement and its formal sections consistently correspond with the location of the most significant musical events related to the organization of pitch and rhythm motives, row forms, palindromes, canons, and formal divisions. Further discussion considers the Golden Ratio as it is observed in the structures of natural phenomena and how these organic formative processes served as a paradigm for Webern’s compositional methods.

Keywords: Anton Webern, Golden Ratio, Golden Mean, Golden Section, Fibonacci, Hildegard Jone


I. Introduction

II. The Golden Ratio as a Phenomenon in Nature and Music

III. Anton Webern and the Golden Ratio

IV. Methodology

V. Variations for Piano Op.27

VI. String Quartet Op.28

VII. First Cantata Op.29

VIII. Summary


120 Cornell Way Fairbanks, AK 99709

     Return to dissertations