Author: Richardson, Mark D.
Title: Igor Stravinsky\'s Agon (1953-57): Pitch-Related Processes in the Serial Movements and Rhythm in the Named Dance Movements Described in De Lauze\'s Apologie de la Danse (1623)
Institution: Florida State University
Begun: May 1994
Completed: May 1996
The ballet Agon marks an important point in the creative musical output of Igor Stravinsky, serving both as the refinement of his craft in writing music for the dance and as a continuation of his development of serial techniques. While composing Agon, Stravinsky studied a seventeenth-century dance manual be F. De Lauze entitled Apologie de la Danse that had recently been published in English (1952). The translated edition contains a comparison of the De Lauze text to other dance instruction texts of the day including Thoinot Arbeau\'s Orchesographie* and Marin Mersenne\'s Harmonie universelle. Moreover, this edition of Apologie de la Danse includes Mersenne\'s description of the dance rhythms clarified by his own musical examples.
The following study is divided into two parts. Within the first part, the organization of pitch material within the seven serial movements of the ballet (the \"Coda,\" \"Bransle Simple,\" \"Bransle Gay,\" Bransle Double,\" \"Pas-de-Deux,\" \"Four Duos,\" and \"Four Trios\") is studied not only as a means of understanding relationships among row forms but also to investigate four processes that establish close relationships between groups of pitches within and between row forms: bilateral symmetry, partitioning, rotation, and pattern-completion. The second part of the study investigates characteristics and dance rhythms Mersenne assigns to the Sarabande, Gailliard, Bransle Simple, Bransle Gay, and the Bransle de Poitou described in Apologie de la Danse and their correspondence to the rhythms of the same named dances in Agon. The study reveals that the four processes of pitch organization function to organize rows or row fragments within the individual movements as well as create long-range connections between movements. The rhythms Mersenne assigns to these dances are incorporated within Stravinsky\'s dances at three different levels: the foreground rhythmic level, the phrase rhythm level, and the formal design level. Since many of the processes of pitch organization are also relevant to compositional use of dance rhythms in AGON, both parts of this study are correlated and contribute to understanding Stravinsky\'s organizational method for the ballet.
Keywords: Stravinsky, serialism, dance, rhythm, pitch organization, Agon, Mersenne, De Lauze, phrase rhythm, rotation
I. Introduction: Origins of Agon, basis and scope of this study, processes of pitch organization, dance rhythms, and terminology.
II. Serial Dance Movements: investigation of bilateral symmetry, partitioning and rotation in the Bransle Simple, Bransle Gay, and Bransle Double.
III. Other Serial Movements: investigation of bilateral symmetry, partitioning, rotation, and pattern-completion in the Coda of the First Pas-de-Trois, the Pas-de-Deux, Four Duos, and Four Trios.
IV. Dance literature of the seventeenth century: F. De Lauze\'s Apologie de la Danse (1623) and Marin Mersenne\'s Harmonie universelle (1636).
V. Dance rhythms: investigation of the historical background, the dance manual information, and analysis of Stravinsky\'s \"Saraband-Step\" and \"Gailliarde\" movements.
VI. Dance rhythms: investigation of the historical background, the dance manual information, and analysis of Stravinsky\'s \"Bransle Simple,\" \"Bransle Gay,\" and \"Bransle Double\" movements.
VII. Summary and Conclusions
Mark Richardson at East Carolina University, School of Music, Fletcher Music Center #373, Greenville, NC 27858; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: (252) 328-4809