Dissertation Index

Author: Ayotte, Benjamin McKay

Title: Incomplete Ursatzformen Transferences in the Vocal Music of Heinrich Schenker

Institution: Michigan State University

Begun: May 2004

Completed: May 2008


Although his fame now rests on his theoretical works, Heinrich Schenker (18681935) was a composer of sufficient talent to attract the notice of Johannes Brahms and Ferruccio Busoni, both of whom encouraged and assisted him. Unfortunately, there is a dearth in the professional literature of material pertaining to Schenkers professional activities outside of his theoretical writing. This dissertation proposes to begin to fill this void by providing transcriptions of a sample of Schenkers early compositions (four unpublished vocal works) with accompanying commentary investigating the relationship between the tonal structures found in these pieces and the place these structures have in his developing theories of tonal music. Specifically, I investigate incomplete transferences of the Ursatzformen involving the auxiliary cadence and back-relating dominant. As a secondary concern, I show some hidden motivic repetitions in the music against a background of Schenkers ideas of monotonality and musical organicism derived from his theoretical works. I show, through careful analysis of Schenkers own compositions, how these ideas, far from being arcane and abstract (as the theoretical descriptions tend to indicate), are living and vital components of his musical fabric.

Part I of the dissertation will serve as an introduction to Schenker as a composer and to the theoretical and philosophical bases of the subsequent analysis by surveying the development of musical organicism throughout his writings. In this section, I include: (1) a biographical sketch highlighting experiences and relationships pertinent to Schenkers development as a composer, an overview of his compositions, and an examination of contemporaneous critical reaction based on archival research; and (2) an account of the genesis of the concepts of monotonality and musical organicism through Schenkers theoretical work illustrated by examples from the standard tonal literature. Part II comprises the analytical component and consists of: (1) a presentation of the main compositional techniques to be discussed, namely incomplete transferences of the Ursatzformen, as found in Schenkers writings and illustrated by examples drawn from the tonal literature; and Schenkers own works; and (2) demonstrations, via analytical commentary and graphic analyses, that several of Schenkers unpublished vocal works show his dramatic use of these particular techniques. This commentary will focus on salient features of the work in question and will examine: (1) the compositional techniques described above; (2) issues of text setting including use of programmatic techniques; and (3) Schenkers setting of a given text vis--vis that of other composers of whom he can reasonably be expected to have had knowledge, especially when structural similarities, as opposed to merely stylistic similarities, are evidenced. Appendices include copies of the manuscripts and complete transcriptions of Schenkers music cited in this study, poetic texts and translations, and supplemental illustrations.

Keywords: auxilary cadence, schenker, heinrich schenker, divider, auxiliary divider, ursatz


1.1.Biographical Sketch of Heinrich Schenker and a Discussion of His Relationships with other Musicians in Vienna1
1.2.Overview of Schenkers Music and its Reception10
o1.3. On Organic Theory in General28
o1.4. Development of the Organic Metaphor in Schenkers Theoretical Writings32

2.2.The Auxiliary Cadence as an Incomplete Ursatzform transference55
2.3.The Back-Relating Dominant as an Incomplete Ursatzform transference78
2.4.Hidden Motivic Repetition as an agent of organic coherence86
2.5.The Analytical Problems of Directional Tonality89
2.6.Musical-Textual Symbolism and Narrative of the Op. 6 Song Texts104



Dr. Benjamin McKay Ayotte, Ph. D.
46000 Geddes, Trlr 533
Canton, MI 48188

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