Author: Schumann, Scott C.
Title: Making the Past Present: Topics in Stravinskyâ€™s Neoclassical Works
Institution: The University of Texas at Austin
Begun: October 2013
Completed: April 2015
Igor Stravinskyâ€™s neoclassicism has frequently been discussed in terms of its relationship to earlier musical styles. While a number of scholars, employing a wide variety of analytical approaches, have examined this aspect of Stravinskyâ€™s neoclassical music, only a few scholars have used topic theory to explore the composerâ€™s link with music of the past. Seeking to fill this gap in the literature, this dissertation uses topic theory as its primary analytical approach, examining how Stravinskyâ€™s connections to the past can offer multiple ways of interpreting potential stylistic and expressive meanings in his neoclassical works.
Chapter 2 analyzes Stravinskyâ€™s topics and tropes utilizing Robert S. Hattenâ€™s four tropological axes: compatibility, dominance, creativity, and productivity. Each axis examines related but separate aspects of each trope, analyzing criteria related to the musical and stylistic associations of a tropeâ€™s component topics along local and globalscales. Studying the different ways in which each of these four axes interact in Stravinskyâ€™s tropes provides a means to arrive at more nuanced musical and stylistic interpretations of these topical interactions.
Chapter 3 develops my concept of â€œdistorted topics.â€ Building on Pieter C. van den Toornâ€™s discussions of â€œdisplacementâ€ in Stravinskyâ€™s music, this chapter examines the composerâ€™s rhythmic and metric manipulations of certain dance topics. Using Wye Jamison Allanbrookâ€™s discussions of rhythm and meter pertaining to dance topics, this chapter examines these important rhythmic and metric characteristics of Stravinskyâ€™s neoclassical works, and explores ways in which these distortions can be interpreted musically and expressively.
Chapter 4 analyzes how Stravinsky used topics in four traditional formal models throughout his neoclassical period: ternary form, theme and variations form, sonata form, and cyclic form. First, the form itself is examined in order to determine how Stravinsky both adheres to and subverts the traditional model. Second, I examine the ways in which topics and tropes provide a sense of coherence to Stravinskyâ€™s appropriation of these forms. Using analytical techniques developed in chapters 2 and 3, chapter 4 examines the formal, stylistic, and expressive ways in which topics and tropes contribute to Stravinskyâ€™s manipulations of conventional formal structures.
Keywords: Topic Theory, Semiotics, Expressive Interpretation, Stravinsky, Neoclassicism, 20th-Century Music
Chapter 1 Introduction: Topics in Stravinsky\'s Neoclassical Works
Chapter 2 Topics and Tropes: Applications of Hatten\'s Four Tropological Axes
Chapter 3 Distorted Topics: Musical and Expressive Manipulation of Dance Topics
Chapter 4 Formal Models and Topical Prominence in Stravinsky\'s Neoclassical Works
Chapter 5 Conclusion
Scott C. Schumann