Prolongational Closure in the Lieder of Fanny Hensel

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Stephen Rodgers
Tyler Osborne


In this article we explore Fanny Hensel’s songs that end without cadences but instead with what William Caplin (2018) calls “prolongational closure.” These songs, most of which come from the 1820s, are some of the earliest examples of piece-ending prolongational closure in the repertoire and thus offer important models for understanding how the technique was deployed by later composers. We propose three types of prolongational closure, drawn from a study of Hensel’s works—5-1 fill, dominant substitution, and early pedal—and suggest that Hensel’s fascination with non-cadential endings offers yet more evidence that she was one of the most inventive composers in the first half of the nineteenth century.

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