Neumeyer - Thematic Reading, Proto-backgrounds, And Registral Transformations

September 15, 2017 | Author: Scott Rite | Category: Music Theory, Poetry, Pop Culture, Entertainment (General), Philosophical Science
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Neumeyer is a great scholar of film music....

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Oxford University Press Society for Music Theory Thematic Reading, Proto-backgrounds, and Registral Transformations Author(s): David Neumeyer Source: Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Fall 2009), pp. 284-324 Published by: {oupl} on behalf of the Society for Music Theory Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/mts.2009.31.2.284 Accessed: 21-10-2015 01:47 UTC

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Thematic Reading, Proto-backgrounds, and Registral Transformations david neumeyer In traditional literary analysis, theme is the last reductive description of content and meaning. Conflicting linear analyses from Lewin and Arthur Komar demonstrate that background is analogous to theme. Following the structuralist model of Shcheglov and Zholkovsky, themes are separated into two groups: nonexpressive (tonic-triad intervals) and expressive (Schenkerian backgrounds). The intervallic proto-backgrounds generate backgrounds through applications of LINE, N(eighbor), DIV(ision), and their inverses. Keywords: Lewin, Schumann, Komar, Schachter, Brooks, Culler, Zholkovsky, Bach, chorales, Beethoven, gavotte, Schenkerian analysis, transformation, New Criticism, theme, thesis, protobackground

introduction The goal of this essay is, first, to forge links between the thematic reading of traditional literary analysis (understood here to mean the New Criticism that dominated American literary study and pedagogy from roughly 1935 to 1960), David Lewin’s distinction between rationalist systems and I would like to thank Marianne Kielian-Gilbert, Edward Pearsall, and Steven Rings for reading and commenting on draft versions of this article. I am also grateful to Timothy Jackson and Steve Slottow for their assistance, to Marian Burkhart for her insights into the New Criticism and Schenkerian practices, to Charles Burkhart for his recollections of Cleanth Brooks’s teaching, and to Joseph Dubiel for generously sharing a copy of an unpublished paper. Two of three readers for Spectrum stuck it out through three layers of review and offered extensive comments at every stage, albeit from sharply opposing points of view. I paid particular attention to comments that asked for clarification and to those points where the readers disagreed with each other. Ultimately, of course, I had to make my own choices.

values, and Schenkerian and post-Schenkerian modes of linear analysis; second, to set out and order a repertory of thematic background shapes. In literature and narrative studies oriented toward locating unified meaning in a poem or novel, theme is the last reductive description of design elements, the “hinge” between the concrete and the abstract, and I will argue that, as such, it occupies a position analogous to the topmost level in hierarchical music analyses (such as Schenker, post-Schenker, or Lerdahl and Jackendoff ). In order to make a direct comparison to Schenkerian analysis, the structuralist—and starkly generative—model for literature devised by Yuri Shcheglov and Alexander Zholkovsky is invoked to separate themes into two classes: “invariant” and “expressive.” Given the separation of invariant or nonexpressive themes (understood here as tonic-triad intervals) from expressive devices, structures I call proto-backgrounds generate background figures through applications of the transformations LINE, N(eighbor), DIV(ision), and their inverses.

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations A case study is provided by the chorale “Christus, der ist mein Leben” (Vulpius 1609) and two eighteenth-century settings by J. S. Bach (BWV 281 & 282). A reading of the first of these settings also illustrates the construction of a multi-level hierarchical analysis based on a proto-background. The analysis of BWV 282 extends the background design to an entire cantata movement but also provokes a critique of theme that separates the rhetoric of interpretation from the “necessity” of a unitary reading (following Lewin and Komar). In the conclusion, I draw on Jonathan Culler’s historical account of American literary theory and criticism to provide additional context. With respect to post-Schenkerian analysis of historical European tonal musics, the adoption of the proto-background model permits a dramatic expansion of available background forms beyond the very limited set of three Urlinien. This change, however, does not dissolve the strictly hierarchical model or suddenly generate a new set of analytical/critical priorities. On the one hand, one might say that it simply adds to the fund of structures and leaves the organic or dramatic textures and their associations and interactions untouched, along with the basic process or experience of an imaginative reconstruction of an author’s (composer’s) creation of a work.1 On the other hand, following Culler, I will argue that reading in terms of a single theme, in terms of a cluster of themes, or in terms of multiple, undifferentiated themes (that is, in totalizing, post-structuralist, or pluralistic modes, respectively) all constitute workable strategies but 1

In a phone conversation (21 May 2009), Marian Burkhart emphasized the significance of the structure/texture pair, the former being the outward design and prose logic of a poem, the latter being the complex set of associations, image patterns, motifs, etc., that create the character of an individual poem. (The complexity and synthesis of the textural elements can also be a measure of value—as with Schenker.) The terms “structure” and “texture” were used as basic categories by John Crowe Ransom (1941, 91–94, 218–20, 267–75) and presumably in his teaching by Burkhart’s mentor Earl Wasserman, though I do not find them in his published books—nor could I find them in Cleanth Brooks’s textbooks.

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that the analogy of interpretation to reading is foundational and thus the basic teleology of analysis and interpretation is probably unavoidable in practice.2 theme, thesis, and lewin’s options for a schumann song As generally understood in literary criticism, “theme” is an important thread in a story or poem, a statement of what it is about, or a class of such statements made about a cross-section of artefacts. A simple example of the former is “Tragic love is the theme of Romeo and Juliet”; a very common usage of the latter is instantiated in this summary from an encyclopedia: “The central theme of [Carson McCullers’s] novels is the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition” (Columbia Encyclopedia). In the music theory literature, David Lewin’s expressions “‘an’ Ursatz” and “any background analysis” in the following come as near as can be to understanding such a structure as the “theme” of a linear analysis: It would be penny-wise and pound-foolish to abandon the notion of “an” Ursatz altogether, as somehow “irrelevant” to some soi-disant “more sophisticated” hearing. Any background analysis does crucial work in specifying just what some metastable hearing of the piece is. Without a background analysis, we should be reduced to more or less impressionistic discussion of large-scale voice-leading possibilities, and such a return to pre-Schenkerian hermeneutics . . . would surely lower, rather than raise, the level of sophistication in our discourse (2006, 167).

Lewin is responding to his own conflicting readings of a Schumann song, “Anfangs wollt’ ich” (no. 8 in Liederkreis, op. 24), where he favors a decidedly non-canonical progression from a Schenkerian analysis in D minor (in the first half ) to a modal 2

A somewhat similar appeal to Culler is made by Michael Klein (2004, 29), in order to shift focus from intrinsic properties of the artwork to the rhetoric of interpretation. A philosophically grounded version of the same argument is made (at length) by Paul B. Armstrong (1990).

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reading in A-Phrygian (governing the rest). In the course of his discussion, he generates a total of four possible backgrounds— these will be discussed in some detail later in this section.3 Here, “any background analysis” sits at the top of a hierarchy; as such, it constitutes “the last reductive description of design elements” and specifies a hearing in the same way that a theme specifies a reading of a poem or story: a background draws together the disparate elements of progressions, lines, and motives into a single general description (say, “this piece is from 3”) in the same way that a thematic statement draws together images, motifs, topoi, and other elements of a literary work. As with any general term, definitions and usage for “theme” vary widely. Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, in an astutely argued but very pragmatic essay, defines it very nearly as I did above: “Theme, as everyone knows, is what the literary work is about” (1995, 9). In the eternally fraught relations between author, work, and reader, where theme may be intention (priority to the author), a structure in the work (priority to the text), or a construction (priority to the reader or critic), Rimmon-Kenan, like most contemporary formalist critics, comes down somewhere between the text and the reader: although it is possible to conceive of theme in terms of authorial intention, she says that generally it has been used as the summary or abstract of a reader’s “‘putting together’ or reconstruction” of hierarchical patterns of meaning “from discontinuous elements in the text” (14). Thus, “themes are labels of the highest order, standing (as it were) at the top of a tree-like hierarchical structure. A similar tree-like construction can be used to describe the bringing together of various themes under one major or governing theme” (14).

Alternatively, Rimmon-Kenan says that theme can be construed generatively, as a “global signified”: “Instead of viewing theme as the homologue of the common structural denominator emerging from all (or most) aspects of the literary work— which it sometimes, but not always, is—one may think of it as homologous to the predominant structural aspect of the work under consideration” (17). Among her examples: “if narrative ambiguity is the governing structural principle of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, its thematic correlate may be the uncertainty of human knowledge” (17).4 The reductive/generative dichotomy is certainly familiar to music theorists from the literature on Schenkerian analysis and Lerdahl and Jackendoff, but also more recently from Lawrence Zbikowski’s opposition of atomistic and chainof-being hierarchies (2002, 310–24). I will assume the reductive/generative opposition and focus here on one of its constituent issues: the relation between description and argument. As Gerald Prince (following Monroe Beardsley) defines them in his Dictionary of Narratology, theme is what a story or poem is about (as opposed to story, which is a chronologically ordered series of events; or plot, which is how a story is told; or narrational method, which refers to stylization of plot elements); thesis is the argument being forwarded (1987, 97; based on Beardsley [1958, 404]).5 Accordingly, as Prince puts it, “theme is . . . an ‘idea’ frame rather than an action frame (plot), an existent frame (character, setting), or an 4

5 3

Modal readings interacting with Schenkerian analysis of nineteenthcentury songs are a minor thread in Lewin’s Studies in Music with Text. He sets a Phrygian reading of “Auf einer Burg” (also from Liederkreis) against tonal readings by Deborah Stein and Carl Schachter (2006, 169–79), and elsewhere proposes a semi-independent Dorian segment for an octave line in Brahms’ duet “Die Schwestern,” op. 61, no. 1 (2006, 252–55).

This is perhaps the right moment to emphasize that the present article is not about narrative analysis of music—it is about the correspondences between theme/thesis and rationalist systems/values as they apply to modes of linear analysis. Beardsley’s extensive discussion of the two terms may be found in 1958, 405–29, although the preliminary section on “explication” and “interpretation” is also directly relevant (400–04, especially 403–04). In this discussion, the distinction between theme and thesis puts strong emphasis on truth values: “A theme . . . is something that can be thought about, or dwelt upon, but it is not something that can be called true or false. What I . . . mean by . . . ‘thesis,’ however, is precisely something about, or in, the work that can be called true or false, if anything can.”

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations image frame (imagery)” (1992, 5). Seymour Chatman, also relying on Beardsley, formulates the definitions of theme and thesis in a similar way:

also the theme” (1992, 6). Because he emphasizes the reader’s interaction with the text, however, Prince would necessarily reposition thesis as external, as an expression of values imposed by the reader/themer.7 The slippage is evident if we alter “Romeo and Juliet is about tragic love” to “Romeo and Juliet is about the ways culture can interfere with and damage healthy expressions of human love.” One might also accept the second statement as self-evident, as thematic, if there is a strong cultural consensus or ideological position supporting it; but, alternatively, one might assert that Romeo and Juliet is properly about something else. Once again, a passage from Lewin offers a good example, this time from his classic article on phenomenology and music analysis:

A theme is a general idea or concept that the reader can abstract from the literary text and relate to the real world at large. A thesis is similar in its external reference to the real world, but unlike theme, it is a general statement that the text may be said to afford or contain; in other words, it is a doctrine that a text implicitly or explicitly asserts (1983, 162).

At the most basic level, then, theme is a descriptive statement and thesis is an assertion of truth-value.6 Whether theme and thesis, description and argument, can be separated out in literary works so cleanly as Beardsley insists upon is a matter of opinion, depending largely on whether one gives priority to immanent textual structures or to constitutive acts of reading. In Narrative as Theme, Prince adopts a position with respect to theme that is similar to Rimmon-Kenan’s: reading for theme, or “theming,” is accomplished by “relating a set of textual units and a theme T through such predicates as ‘illustrates T’ [or] ‘is representative of T.’ . . . In other words, in transforming textual elements into thematic ones, the themer ultimately supplies (assumes some responsibility for) not only the predicate but

6

As is well-known, Beardsley’s concepts of intentional and affective fallacy were adopted by the scholars collectively associated now with the New Criticism, including most prominently Cleanth Brooks, W. K. Wimsatt, Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, and John Crowe Ransom. Beardsley’s formal distinction between theme and thesis was not directly adopted by them, but it is generally consistent with their attitudes and priorities. Gerald Prince describes the pragmatic task of distinguishing between theme and thesis so construed: “. . . understanding a narrative is not only being able to summarize it and paraphrase it in certain ways or to answer certain questions about its content; it is also (and perhaps even more so) being able to give an account of its ‘message,’ describe what (more or less) general subject or truth it illustrates, specify what ‘it is getting at,’ put forth its ‘point’” (1983, 528).

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[It will be] helpful [to distinguish] between the undefined “importance” of perceptions, and the syntactic priority of elements within a language L that admits such priorities, elements like subjects of sentences, tonic harmonies, strong beats, or Kopftöne of Urlinien. . . . For example, we can define a category called “finality”: [percept] P1 is more final than P2 if the ConteXT of P1 includes that of P2 in all respects and also extends beyond it in the clock time of the piece. We can also define [other categories, such as] “P-R-emblematicity” . . . [or] “STemblematicity” in the same spirit. . . . We are free to assign aesthetic values to these categories if we wish: one critic can legitimately believe and claim that more-final perceptions are thereby “more important” (of greater aesthetic value) than less-final perceptions; another critic can as legitimately believe and claim that the more emblematic perceptions are the “more important” ones; and so on. I argue that discriminations of this sort are methodologically desirable, not because I believe that value judgments are unimportant in the critical context but—on the contrary—precisely because I believe they are so very important. We ought to be correspondingly clear about what those values are. . . . That is why we should not mistakenly confuse our values with formal properties of rationalist systems. The confusion can only impoverish and mar both our systematics and our valuations. (1986/2006, 92–93; his emphasis)

7

In fact, he never says so explicitly in Narrative as Theme, as he focuses throughout on methodological questions of interpretation grounded in thematic statements.

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music theory spectrum 31 (2009)

Lewin’s distinction between “formal properties of rationalist systems” and “values” embraces the same functional distinction that Beardsley and Chatman make, but with the caveat suggested by Prince’s comments. Separating out the mechanics of method in assembling hierarchic descriptions from the rhetorical goal of that work is a particularly important, if difficult, task, precisely because, as Lewin puts it, the difference is routinely mystified in analytic practice—that is, the drive toward comprehensiveness in application of method tends to suppress that difference (or: analysis based on “formal properties of rationalist systems” tends to be confused with “values”). Clearly, theme and thesis get at something important in analysis and interpretation, whether or not they can be defined precisely or in ways that are likely to satisfy everyone.8 A problem in Schenkerian analysis will illustrate Lewin’s hypothetical “finality” as well as applications to musical analysis of the theme/thesis distinction. I have in mind Haydn’s Symphony No. 93, first movement, but that fact is barely relevant here, as the formal design patterns and harmonic-voice leading shapes I am concerned with are so generic they would apply equally well to many other symphony, sonata, or quartet movements with introductions. In the Schenkerian hierarchy of structural levels, theme—as “the last reductive description of design elements”—clearly 8

The term “theme,” of course, also refers to an important melody, but that usage is properly labelled a “motif ” if we are wielding literary terms: in stories, motifs–which rely on repetition for their definition–are concrete representations of abstract themes as characters, figures, or environment. The difference is readily apparent in this statement by Françoise Escal: “the theme in music is a signifying unit . . . heard, identified and delimited on the surface of the musical statement, whereas the literary theme presupposes an act of interpretation on the part of the reader or analyst” (1995, 150–51). Since by convention musical motives can be interchangeable in function with musical themes, quite often a motive is also a motif. (And this may be the place to say that, in their application, Wagner’s Leitmotiven generally are true motifs.) I should also note that in linguistics “theme” (in the theme-rheme pair) has a very specific grammatical meaning that is not relevant here.

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example 1. Haydn, Symphony No. 93, I, two readings of tonal design in the opening inheres in the uppermost levels, or first middleground and background. Example 1 offers two options. With the first of these (a), I want you to believe in the possibility of a disjunction between tonal origination and formal hierarchy; the theme is the establishment of D major tonality with an upper-voice registral focus on 3 (another way to put it might be the establishment of a D major tonal system as understood in Schenkerian theory). The tonality is established at the very beginning, while the primary musical-thematic material, and with it the first structural upper-voice tone, only appears at the Allegro. For the second example, I want you to believe in the alignment of tonality and formal articulation as a first priority; the theme is the establishment of D major tonality with upper-voice registral focus on 3 as those are positioned and confirmed by formal articulations at an equivalent level. The introduction’s tonic chord now serves as a preliminary gesture toward the true tonic. The two theses create an opposition: priority to tonality/ priority to form. Since Schenker unequivocally grants priority to tonality (the background, where tonality is grounded, is “arhythmic”; form arises in the first middleground), only the first of the two thematic statements can be said to be well-formed within the language-L of Schenkerian analysis. (Another way to put it would be that, although both readings might be available for evaluation, only Example 1(a) can

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations be correct.)9 On the other hand, within a language-L of post-Schenkerian analysis, which acknowledges the problems and gaps in Schenker’s assertions about musical form, preserving (but not merging) both readings, Examples 1(a) and (b), should be possible, and its result would be to realize the situation that Lewin describes as “the characteristic multiplicity of the perceptions involved and the characteristic incompatibility of their assertion in the-same-place-at-thesame-time” (1986/2006, 91). Crucially, the (continuing) juxtaposition has the effect of keeping the goals, aims, and methods of analysis “visible,” always available for criticism. It is not a pluralism of practice but this transparency that I take to be the point of Lewin’s insistence on separating out “syntactical” mechanics from assertions of value, an approach that is usefully mirrored in the literary distinction between theme and thesis. The four alternatives for a linear analysis of “Anfangs wollt’ ich” will provide a more detailed illustration. Examples 2(a) and 2(b) reproduce Lewin’s voice-leading analyses for Dminor and A-Phrygian, respectively. As he puts it, he constructed the first reading to be “as strongly Schenkerian as possible” and the second to be as “purely Phrygian . . . as possible” (2006, 165). Note that the background line in Example 2(b) is one of the types identified by Lori Burns (1993) for modal chorales and is plausible in this situation (given the texture and melodic allusions to historical chorales). Note also that the first bass note is F2, not D2. Lewin asserts the particular significance of the “background bass motion [Phrygian] 6–7–8” (F2–G2–A2) and explains that he has “tried to emphasize this structural role for the 9

Carl Schachter takes this line in his essay “Either/Or.” Writing about Chopin, Mazurka in G minor, op. 33, no. 1, for example, he says that “One of the three readings [of the harmony in the first phrase] is truer to the [work] as a unique and individual work of art than are the other two, which can be considered valid only from a perspective that takes in general aspects of tonal structure but that excludes the specific features of the piece’s design” (1990/1999, 124).

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example 2. Robert Schumann, “Anfangs wollt’ ich.” Two linear readings by David Lewin: (a) D minor; (b) A-Phrygian bass F by asserting F, not D, as the principal note in the background bass even at the opening of the song” (2006, 165). The result is a broad 6–5 contrapuntal figure, D6–C5 over F2. The reading in Example 2(a), on the other hand, focuses all attention on the first half of the song and relegates the second half to an awkwardly long “coda.” The two readings, then, are directly opposed to one another, in a manner very like Examples 1(a) and 1(b). Following up his own comment that “[a] number of other readings seem possible between those two poles, adjusting various features of the two analyses in one direction or another” (2006, 165; repeated on 166), Lewin suggests that one might solve the problem of the awkward coda in Example 2(a) by combining the two readings to generate a background “sixthdescent F–E–D–C–B–A over the bass D–A–D–F–G–A” (166). Though not rejecting this reading mechanically, Lewin pejoratively dubs it “post-pseudo-quasi-Schenkerian” and

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music theory spectrum 31 (2009) ^ 3

 



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example 3. Robert Schumann, “Anfangs wollt’ ich”: visualization of David Lewin’s reading of a background motion from D minor to A-Phrygian then asserts that the three readings offered so far fail in “representing or even adequately acknowledging the rhythm or progression” (166) that corresponds to what Lewin hears in the text, if we as readers (listeners) empathize with the poem’s narrator, who, unlike the listener, “feels no suspense, having resolved a problem from the past, a problem allegorized by the earlier unbearable tonic cadence in D minor. The person hears the final chord as a solution, a closure, and hence a new tonic. To the extent that we are empathizing with this protagonist, we are primed to hear the final chord as Phrygian tonic” (164). The “problem of the past” yields to the Phrygian solution, a progression I have attempted to capture in Example 3. None of the four readings is identified as technically deficient—once the syntactical priorities of each language-L are established, the appropriate background can be generated and justified. “What the song is about,” its theme according to Example 2(a), is D minor, an Ursatz with a line from 3, and bias toward the first half of the song. The theme of Example 2(b) is A Phrygian, its characteristic line descending from the modal dominant (4), and a bias toward the second half of the song. An ambiguous tonality-modality and a broadly descending sixth-line constitute the theme of the third reading; and the progression from D minor tonality to

A Phrygian modality shown in Example 3 is the theme of the final reading. From a thetic standpoint, the first reading strongly asserts Schenkerian priorities; on those terms, the remaining readings must all be incorrect. The second reading is equally firm in its insistence on a modal revision of Schenkerian models. The third does not reject the first and second readings in themselves, but by attempting a synthesis does reject their claims to the status of uniquely correct analyses. Lewin, however, favors the fourth one: “Characteristic for the song, I believe, is a certain rhythm or progression, from the one unambiguous hearing to the other—or at least the possibility of the other” (166). Understated though it may be, this conception of the song is something that Lewin wants us to believe, too. He does not say so explicitly, but it seems clear that this thetic preference is not disinterested: The “progression” from D minor to A Phrygian happens to be a transformation, one that shifts the tonic position in a diatonic scale system. modes of analysis and multiple interpretations Lewin’s four readings of “Anfangs wollt’ ich” certainly “involve STatements that are logically incompatible-in-[language]-L” (1986/2006, 91), that is, in a Schenkerian analysis open to alternative backgrounds; and, as a group, they succeed in “convey[ing] the characteristic multiplicity of the perceptions involved and the characteristic incompatibility of their assertion in the-same-place-at-the-same-time.” That is to say, the thematic statements (Lewin asserts) are well-formed in the language at hand but are derived from perceptions that are influenced by different assumptions. As thematic statements, these analyses can co-exist (any disputes about well-formedness would actually be about the precise boundaries of the language “Schenkerian analysis”). At the same time, the thetic statements show that a simple relativistic response (“these are all equally valid analyses”)— something Lewin initially encourages in his presentation–is in fact inadequate, because such a response is itself a thetic

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations claim that tries to override or cancel the rhetoric of the several thematic statements, which similarly work to shut out their rivals, as we saw above.10 Lewin’s willingness to entertain the several possible readings may be a product of his own background. The issue of thetic constraints on background forms came up early in the history of Schenkerian analysis in the United States. A particularly clear example is found in Arthur Komar’s review of volumes 1–2 of Music Forum (1971).11 Komar juxtaposes two sharply contrasting forms: the octave line descending and the double neighbor note, and he challenges Schenker on the reading of Bach’s Sarabande from the C major Cello Suite: “Schenker advances an 8-Urlinie containing two scaledegrees which I regard as passing-notes—6 and 2—and which therefore do not belong in the background. Moreover,

10

11

The position taken here might appear to contradict that taken in Littlefield and Neumeyer 1992, where we described a set of conflicting readings as “based on a variety of equally valid musical intuitions,” with the goal of pointing up “the historical contingency, ideological constraints, and arbitrariness of Schenker’s story, and indeed, of all hermeneutic pronouncements” (65). That “pointing up” was the goal, not the promotion of a value-less relativism, a state that is in any case impossible to sustain in any human culture. Komar’s exposure to Schenkerian analysis began much earlier. In an anecdote, he describes visiting a class at Princeton with his friend, David Lewin, in the late 1950s: Milton “Babbitt play[ed] the opening measures [of the C Major Prelude from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1] . . . , holding down the sustaining pedal to indicate the background primacy of C major throughout. He explained that he was not rendering an actual performance of the passage, but merely trying to give an aural impression of its level structure” (1994, 23). Babbitt’s attitudes were undoubtedly instrumental in fostering both Komar’s and Lewin’s willingness to test alternative possibilities and to rely on the ear as final arbiter. Already in his classic review of Structural Hearing, Babbitt makes these priorities clear: “Within the framework of Schenker’s analytic principles, one can arrive at an analysis at variance with Schenker’s own. There is no authority of ultimate validity beyond the formed, informed, and intelligently experienced musical perception” (1952, 262).

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Schenker alleges a background significance for 4 in the top voice of the D minor prolongation in bars 15–16, where I would choose 2 instead” (1971, 318).12 Example 4 provides Komar’s analysis; in level (a), Schenker’s placement of Urlinie tones is indicated by the series of scale degrees enclosed in brackets. Given the strong opening on C4 and the impossibility of locating a stable or plausible 3 above it, Komar says that he is “willing to accept the possibility of no Urlinie— or rather, of no descending 3-, 5-, or 8-line—whereas Schenker was not. I feel that Schenker misjudged the structural weight of 6, 4, and 2 in the Sarabande in order to satisfy the requirement that a top line descend in the background” (1971, 318–19). Komar’s critique highlights how much is required in order to accept Schenker’s analysis, especially the Leerläufe that are unavoidable in octave line readings. Schenker’s priorities are Komar’s, too, except in the background, where what one might call the logic of reduction does not allow Komar to accept a structure so complex as an octave line riddled with passing tones. He shows a similar concern with the question of background shapes in another essay, where he reads the C Major Prelude from the WellTempered Clavier with a neighbor note figure (his fundamental line is E4–F4–E4) (1994, 28–29). In this case, his objections to Schenker’s 3-line are the implausible choice of an inner-voice 2 and the instability of its displaced upper octave. To these, Komar juxtaposes a reading based on motivic parallelism (hidden repetition).13

12

13

As David Smyth points out, Schenker shapes his analysis in terms of a particular set of priorities: “Thus, like the Largo [from the F major Violin Sonata], the Sarabande features motivic parallelisms ranging through several structural levels, including the tetrachordal segmentation of the octave line and the use of rising steps in the bass as contrapuntal triggers compelling melodic descent, in both the foreground motives and the deeper level counterpoint” (1999, 109). Komar’s reading receives some corroboration from the Clavier-Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach; that version of the C Major Prelude does end with an explicit neighbor figure.

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music theory spectrum 31 (2009) (a) 1

6

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example 4. Arthur Komar, linear analysis reading of J. S. Bach, Suite in C major for Unaccompanied Violoncello, Sarabande (1971, 319, Figure 4) In his early commentary on Free Composition, Carl Schachter (1981) also expresses some skepticism about the octave line, but he deflects criticism by focusing on style statistics instead (he does the same with the 5-line):

largely because Schenker’s description in Part I of Free Composition reveals some of the fundamental characteristics of the tonal system” (1999a, 10). This neutral-sounding statement allows Schachter to assert the Urlinie set as what I will call nonexpressive themes below: “In other words, the three Ursatz forms would be the simplest pieces of tonal music, so simple that they have no artistic value at all, but still fulfill some of the basic needs of a tonal piece.”14 Schachter’s approach, in fact, is much less like that of Komar and Lewin than it is like that of the contemporaneous

Even though 8-lines do not figure prominently among the analyses in Free Composition, Schenker was obviously unwilling to give them up. . . . [He] was undoubtedly convinced that octave lines fulfill the basic premises of his system and that they occur in the works of the masters. Of course if they don’t occur, one would have to reformulate some of the premises, and Schenker’s four examples do not seem to me to make out a very good case for octave lines. Still, I would like to keep an open mind about them (128).

A number of years later, Schachter was still deflecting criticism from the Urlinie set: “I’m interested in the Ursatz

14

Marian Burkhart described the Urlinien and Bassbrechung as structures (in the structure/texture dichotomy) using very similar language (phone conversation May 21, 2009).

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations New Critics in literature, in that his primary interest is in interpretation carried out as close reading of individual art works against the backdrop of a particular repertorial advocacy (for the New Critics, principally seventeenth-century poetry and modernist poetry and fiction; for Schachter, Mozart and Beethoven).15 The best known of the New Critics, Cleanth Brooks, was also a renowned pedagogical writer, whose An Approach to Literature (1936) and Understanding Poetry (1938) were followed by a series of similar volumes, all of which emphasized interpretation grounded in textual analysis (as distinct from a focus on biography and historical context).16 It is not difficult to see the kinship between traditional Schenkerian analytic practice (as represented by Schachter) and the methods of the New Critics in this passage from Brooks:

their dramatic values in a system conceived of as organic, not mechanical (even though the latter was an image with great currency in those early days of computers). As Brooks puts it:18 The question, then about any element in a poem is not whether it is in itself pleasing, or agreeable, or valuable, or “poetical,” but whether it works with the other elements to create the effect intended by the poet. The relationship among the elements in a poem is therefore all important, and it is not a mechanical relationship but one which is far more intimate and fundamental. If we should compare a poem to the make-up of some physical object it ought not to be to a wall but to something organic like a plant (Brooks and Warren 1938, 18–19).

Neither Brooks nor Schachter make of the organic metaphor anything like what Schenker does, but both routinely show appreciation for balanced and expressive relationships that enliven, order, and unite the details of a poem or musical composition. In such a critical environment, it is difficult to argue for multiple interpretations or for the structural relevance of discontinuities. Those who have done so in Schenkerian analysis have tended to set an alternative reading against a traditional one without disturbing or rewriting the latter. Timothy Jackson’s construct “diachronic transformation,” for example, offers a way to locate and interpret conflicting structural levels in Schenkerian analysis. Going back to Saussure’s distinction between the synchronic and diachronic, the logical explanation for word relationships and the historical path from one word to the other, Jackson produces a simple but imaginative model for the location and interpretation of paradoxical moments, or ruptures, in tonal design. He says that “[a] musical work may embody in its endstate a conceptually prior state, which has become the endstate through a diachronic transformation” (1999, 239). In Schenkerian terms, “[v]oice-leading transformation assumes structure to be in a

If the artistic form, the dramatic structure of the poem, defines, fortifies, and validates what the poet has to say—if the poet speaks more meaningfully when he speaks as artist through the medium of his poetic form, then we will do well to take into account the niceties of that form if we want to know precisely what he has to tell us. Because this is true, one feels justified in emphasizing what I have called a formal or structural criticism (1971, xix).

Another quality shared by Brooks and Schachter is the “ease with which the [work] moves between general theory and specific practice,” a “symbiosis” in which “critical principles inform his readings, and his readings illuminate his principles” (Winchell 1996, 217–18). Both rely on a conception of an artistic work as a system of functional relationships, by no means denying ambiguity and paradox17 but emphasizing 15

16

17

“I have to say that though I’m deeply interested in Schenker, I’m still more interested in Mozart and Beethoven, and I find that the approach of the later Schenker gives me a perfectly satisfactory framework for developing my ideas about the music” (Schachter 1999a, 10). For a brief, accessible, and fair-minded (but by no means uncritical) historical sketch of the New Criticism, see Culler 1988, 9–15. For an excellent, concise summary of the “rich intellectual context” in which New Criticism arose, see Cusset 2008, 47–53. In “Either/Or,” Schachter writes “This is not to deny the possibility that ambiguity and multiple meanings might exist in tonal music; they

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18

certainly do exist. But their function, in my opinion, is more narrowly circumscribed than some analysts . . . seem to believe” (1990/1999, 124). For a good critique of this idea of the poem as a self-sufficient unity, taking the point of view of deconstruction and discussing one of Brooks’s best-known analyses in detail, see Culler 1982, 200–05.

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steady state, all structural levels embodied and undistorted in the endstate. Diachronic transformation ruptures [that] steady state to create a duality of previous state and endstate” (239–40). To study this at work, Jackson appropriately chose a set of variations–Brahms’s Opus 56 (Haydn Variations)–but he was also able to examine a rare set of sketches by Brahms as well as sketches and notes for Schenker’s published analyses.19 More recently, Marianne Kielian-Gilbert has set conflicting linear readings against one another in the manner of Jackson (though from a listening standpoint, not in a diachronic sequence that would seem to mimic compositional production), has isolated appropriately “problematic” or disruptive passages, and has argued for ways that conflicting readings can function simultaneously, as engendering a perceptual state in which one shifts back and forth between them. As a basic construct, Kielian-Gilbert also uses an opposed pair, prolongational and translational relationships, by which she means “back-to-front, orientations of conceptual depth . . . [and] left-to-right, orientations of linear succession,” respectively (2003, 55). Her most extended application is discussion of prolongational and translational parallelism. A type of the former familiar from the Schenkerian literature is “motivic parallelism” or “hidden repetition”: it “projects the temporal transformation of a structural function” (69). “A translational parallelism, [on the other hand,] moves a configuration over in space-time.” Both types of parallelism can function independently, in the manner familiar to linear analysis that gives priority to harmonic design and the associated voice-leading grid: inner form concerns these priorities; outer form articulates time and adds themes. For Kielian-Gilbert’s purposes, the focus of interest is (mainly) local contexts where oscillating harmonies (susceptible

to alternate functional explanations) are associated with repetition of themes, motives, or voice-leading figures.20 For both Jackson and Kielian-Gilbert, the plane of a traditional Schenkerian analysis is intersected by another that influences it in some way.21 For Lewin, in his preferred reading of “Anfangs wollt’ ich,” the process was similar but progressive, as the tonal reading was replaced by the modal reading. For Komar, the two planes did not intersect: they stood side by side but separate, ready for comparison and a choice between them. Nevertheless, one might argue that it is just as easy to see them as intersecting (recall that Komar included the background of Schenker’s reading in Example 4 above), even if in that case one lacks the prioritizing before/after effects of Jackson’s and Kielian-Gilbert’s multiplane constructs (or of Lewin’s progression).22 In traditional Schenkerian analysis, one may build informally several readings of a composition (from 3, 5, or 8, of course, but increasing the number, where plausible, through different placements of the elements within the score).23 Even if all but one must eventually be discarded due to the totalizing

20 21

22 19

As a foil to Jackson’s article, see Nicholas Marston’s study of variations, carefully argued from the traditional Schenkerian point of view that makes a priority of the unifying structures of background (Marston 1989). But also see Alan Dodson’s discussion of the possibility and utility of alternative Schenkerian analyses in relation to recorded performances (Dodson 2003, 98–155).

23

Kielian-Gilbert continues and expands on this work in her study of a Bach chorale prelude (2006). Prominent among those taking a similar tack is Peter H. Smith, who has used a synchronic-diachronic approach to problems in key-region definition (1995) and has addressed persistent upper-voice conflicts in multiplane terms (2000). Recently, Joseph Dubiel (2008) has proposed separating out the layers of a Schenkerian analysis, that is, treating each independently (not obliged to be strictly derivative of an immediately prior layer) in order to track and preserve tensions and discontinuities between the levels. For a detailed instance of multiplane (post)Schenkerian analysis that anachronistically “re-hears” a Chopin etude in light of one by Lutoslawski but in service of a different argument—that “there can be no single structure of a musical text”—see Klein 2005, 36–46; the quotation is on page 46. Schachter uses the differences in temporal placements of Ursatz elements as one way to defend against criticisms of reductive abstraction (see Korsyn 2003, 113).

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations bias of the hierarchy of structural levels, still the analyst often learns something unique about the piece from those abandoned readings. In post-Schenkerian models, an expanded catalogue of backgrounds capable of including designs like Komar’s double neighbor-note figure would offer a wider range of interpretive options for an otherwise narrowly constrained linear analysis practice—regardless of one’s ultimate use of those designs in the interpretation of a piece. In the following section, I will develop such a catalogue using another historical source: a Russian structuralist model for literary analysis that separates themes into two classes based on their relative levels of abstraction. The impact of this distinction between theme classes and the broader set of options made available through the catalogue is then explored in case studies of a chorale and some of its settings.

The roots of expressive poetics are partly in Russian formalism, partly in generative linguistics. The mark of the latter can be seen in the following formulation: “derivation proposes to enumerate only those texts that embody a given theme. . . . [Thus, it attempts to describe a] speaker’s ability to render one and the same meaning in a variety of ways. . . . [through] a ‘Theme-Expressive Devices-Text’ model of literary competence” (Shcheglov and Zholkovsky, 5). With its source in the Russian “Meaning-Text model of natural language” (Steele 1987, 155), and given its strong focus on topdown (or theme-to-text) derivation, expressive poetics is in fact quite different, however, from the (early) Chomskyian transformational grammar familiar to musicians from its grounding for Lerdahl and Jackendoff ’s Generative Theory of Tonal Music.25 In Shcheglov and Zholkovsky’s system, a fundamental distinction is made between “nonexpressive themes” and the themes of a text that arise through the application of “expressive devices.” As an example, Zholkovsky subjects to an elaborate analysis an eleven-word aphorism by Bertrand Russell (“Many people would sooner die than think. In fact, they do.”). Zholkovsky offers the following cluster of terms as the theme: “philosopher’s stance, aristocratic poise, militant rationalism” (1984, 112), all of these having been drawn from familiar views about Russell’s writing and opinions (the “invariant themes” of his work, in other words). Later, the theme is altered slightly: “The derivation starts with a modified version . . . , in which the same thematic elements are regrouped and connected by a ‘contrast’ relation and a new

shcheglov and zholkovsky’s “invariant themes” and schenker’s “expressive themes” In a system he himself called “theoretical extremism,” Alexander Zholkovsky (with collaborator Yuri Shcheglov) devised an analytical model for literature that combined archetypes (Proppian categories of myths) with formalist tools and logic (specifically, a set of expressive devices proposed by Sergei Eisenstein for cinema) (Zholkovsky 1984; Shcheglov and Zholkovsky 1987). Their “poetics of expressiveness” was starkly generative (that is, hierarchical with movement from the top down): “a literary text is an expressive embodiment . . . of a nonexpressive theme (purely “declarative”, in Eisenstein’s terms), which is defined as the invariant of all the text’s components (parts, levels, images, etc.). [Thus], the description of a literary structure has the format of a derivation of the text from the theme” (1987, 1).24 24

Not surprisingly, Shcheglov and Zholkovsky’s willingness to use the invariant theme to permit such meta-textual generalizations led to (just) criticism of their method as circular or self-fulfilling, since the meta-textual generalizations, in turn, provided the fund of available invariant themes.

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Steele notes that the Meaning-Text model is “a semantically based theory of text generation that offers an attractive alternative to the analytical, syntactic formalism of Noam Chomsky. . . . [This model] treats natural language as a set of transformation rules (or devices) for translating a meaning . . . into all texts . . . synonymous with that meaning, and vice versa. The relation between ‘meaning’ and ‘text’ . . . is thus not a relation of equality but of derivational inference resulting from the transformational effects of various grammatical devices” (1987, 156).

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music theory spectrum 31 (2009)

(2′)

(a) militant

contr.

(b′) rational

(b) nonmilitant

(b′′) aristocratic

(b′′′) philosophical

example 5. Zholkovsky, modified theme for the derivation of a Bertrand Russell aphorism (1984, 119). The diagram shows only the uppermost section of Zholkovsky’s graphic. explicit generalization . . . ‘nonmilitant attitudes’ is introduced” (118). This version, elaborated from the original by CONTRAST, becomes the starting point for a systematic derivation of the text. “Militant rationalism” is understood as nonexpressive (at least in its position in the thematic statement cited above),26 but the opposition militant/nonmilitant generated by CONTRAST is inherently expressive (here, CONTRAST turns attention to the marked term in a binary pair).27 The graphic representation of this modified theme is reproduced in Example 5; the lines running downward but cut off in Example 5 develop the initial terms in the complete graphic—for example, “the opposition ‘militant/nonmilitant’ AUGMENTS into ‘hate/sublimation’ . . . ; ‘aristocratic’ VARIES as ‘aloof and ‘refined’ (118)—and so on, through multiple levels of derivation until the text is reached. From the vantage point of the present, expressive poetics is one historical aspect of structuralist poetics (after 1987, Zholkovsky himself turned to a Bloomian intertextual model 26

27

One could, of course, argue that, because it is discourse, the thematic statement can never be utterly devoid of expressive qualities, but a relative and plausible positioning on a scale of abstractness-to-concreteness is sufficient for my purposes here. The question of discourse in relation to theme, however, remains a problem in Schcheglov and Zholkovsky’s system (and in thematic criticism in general). For extensive discussion of “markedness” in pairs of opposed terms and its relevance to musical analysis, see Hatten 1994.

(1994)), and in all likelihood little would be gained from an attempt to work out a detailed mapping of the model onto music.28 Instead, I am interested here in the implications of the separation of a nonexpressive background (or theme) from the expressive devices of a middleground. On these terms, Schenker’s Urlinie models represent not themes but the initial transformations of themes, the result of the application of an expressive device, which I will call LINE. “Nonexpressive themes” or concepts are better represented by registrally prior structures, that is, tonic-triad intervals. If, for example, we understand the interval A4–A5 as nonexpressive (in its position in a harmonic series above A2), the pitch sequence A5–G5–F5–E5–D5–C5–B4–A4 generated by LINE is inherently expressive: LINE is a transformation that includes Schenker’s notions of diatony and tone-space. Yet, despite the fact he must have felt a strong pull toward the equation of a melodic pitch step with a harmonic pitch step (that is, harmonic support at the same level for all Urlinie tones, an idea eventually argued by Peter Westergaard (1975)),29 Schenker nevertheless continued to show Leerlauf-burdened Urlinien 28

29

On the other hand, the familiar ring of the names is tempting: VARIATION, CONCRETIZATION, REPETITION, CONTRAST, AUGMENTATION, PREPARATION, DIVISION, COORDINATION, COMBINATION, and REDUCTION (Zholkovsky 1984, 25). For good discussions of Westergaard’s ideas and their historical context, see Peles 1997 and Westergaard 2007.

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations

10

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literary structure has the format of a derivation of the text from the theme”). Forte and Gilbert also say that “The closer we get to the background, the more similar any two pieces are likely to appear,” a formulation that fits very well with the idea of a nonexpressive theme elaborating a text through a series of levels.31 Example 7 maps out the relation of Schcheglov and Zholkovsky’s two theme classes to Beardsley’s theme-thesis pair. The latter, as argument and content summary, are an opposed pair to Beardsley, but in a generative system we add an arrow pointing to theme since thesis is conceptually prior. Theme is then broken down into Schcheglov and Zholkovsky’s pair, with the nonexpressive theme acting as a systemic benchmark against which or from which expressive themes develop individual texts. We can understand this scheme equally well as a system of analysis or as an act of interpretation. Taking the latter first, consider Example 8, which reports the results of an analysis. Given such minimal information, the thesis is not likely to be obvious. It might be formulated as “Eighteenthcentury dances, including such outmoded types as the gavotte, continued to have strong topical resonance in the early nineteenth century” or, more narrowly, “Beethoven is making a nostalgic reference to older dances (as he did in the equally anachronistic Allemande of Op. 119, No. 9).” The theme, which expresses the thesis, is the renotation itself, Example 8(b): “What this analysis is about is the reduction of the score to a stereotypical gavotte.” What is “invariant” (and therefore represents the nonexpressive theme) is the gavotte-as-topic, the dance’s traits that provide the basis for the re-notation; and, finally, the expressive theme is again the

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1        I

example 6. Heinrich Schenker, Free Composition, Figures 10,1 & 11,1 from 5 and 8 even in Free Composition (see Example 6).30 By effacing the difference between the interval and the pattern generated by LINE, he treated a derivation as a nonexpressive theme (that is, the Ursatz with its three Urlinie forms as the only possible contents of the background) and so sharply limited available interpretations (because all derivations must pass through the bottleneck of LINE). The modification of Schenkerian method in the period roughly 1950–1975 by the suppression of its ideological grounding in favor of an “intellectualized” historical account of tonality has been well rehearsed in the literature (see in particular Rothstein 1986/1990; Snarrenberg 1994; Cook 2007, 275–81). In a formulation that approaches the radicalism of Schcheglov and Zholkovsky, Forte and Gilbert declare that “of [the] structural levels. . . , the one most commonly associated with Schenker is that which often seemed to concern him least: namely, the background” (1982, 131), but they nevertheless preserve the background as thematic: “The progression from background to foreground moves from the basic idea to its realization” (compare to this from Schcheglov and Zholkovsky (1987, 1): “the description of a 30

The Leerlauf is not the only problematic figure at the background. The interruption, which belongs to the first middleground (all the more so because of its form-creating function—the only reason for the construct in the first place), is routinely offered by Schenkerians as a “background.” Schachter, for example, matter of factly notes that “under ‘background’ I am including the resumed initial tonic and dominant following an interruption (as in a sonata recapitulation)” (1999b, 299).

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There is a basic difference in the direction of their analytical method, however. Schcheglov and Zholkovsky doggedly derive the text by increasing differentiation but intermittently make leaps into the details of the text in order to find material, whereas Forte and Gilbert proceed by reduction, with occasional leaps to higher levels to assist in making choices among alternatives or in resolving ambiguities.

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music theory spectrum 31 (2009) Thesis (argument; assertion)

Theme (content summary)

Expressive theme (developed from a nonexpressive theme by expressive devices, e.g. CONTRAST, VARIATION)

Nonexpressive theme (“invariant”; systematic)

example 7. Diagram of theme, thesis, and Schcheglov and Zholkovsky’s theme classes

(a) Allegramente

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example 8. (a) Beethoven, Bagatelle, op. 119, no. 10; (b) same, rewritten as a gavotte. This content downloaded from 169.229.11.216 on Wed, 21 Oct 2015 01:47:31 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions



 

  



   





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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations renotation, now understood as the result of NOTATIONAL ADJUSTMENTS (I write this in capital letters, as Zholkovsky does) that shift barlines, remove staccato marks in the right hand, and simplify the rhythm in the left hand. In such small quarters, these statements may seem trivial, but they would be little different—if vastly different in degree—for the finale of the “Eroica” Symphony. The contredanse that provides the ground for its variations also has its origins in the gavotte, which was by far the most common dance type represented in stylistically voracious French contredanse practices from the 1720s onward—and especially in the 1760s and early 1770s, when the French contredanse became popular in Vienna. With respect to thesis, then, one could literally say again “Eighteenth-century dances, including such outmoded types as the gavotte, continued to have strong topical resonance in the early nineteenth century” or, more conventionally, one might say “Beethoven takes a nostalgic reference to a common dance and transforms it into something sublime as pure instrumental music.” These are statements with truth-value; one can applaud or reject them based on one’s own beliefs. Turning from an interpretive act to systems of analysis, we can say that, in Schenkerian analysis, the Urlinie—as intervalelaborated-by-LINE—obviously approximates the nonexpressive theme less well does than the interval behind it. Thus, for the characteristic hierarchical design of a linear analysis, the intervals available in the tonic triad set form the catalogue of potential nonexpressive themes. There is no reason a priori to restrict the intervals to those within the octave, but I will do so here to keep the list manageable for this exercise. The total, then, is nine: three unisons, three intervals above 1, two intervals above 3, and one above 5—see example 9.32 32

In Example 9, pitches are shown consecutively but are understood as simultaneous. Notation with the lower pitch first follows the arbitrary conventions of set-class notation. The same is true of the transformations presented below, where LINE rises and its inverse falls, and N is an upper neighbor, its inverse a lower neighbor.

ˆ ˆ 1–1 ˆ ˆ 3–3 ˆ ˆ 5–5 ˆ ˆ 1–3 ˆ ˆ 1–5 ˆ ˆ 1–8 ˆ ˆ 3–5 ˆ ˆ 3–8 ˆ ˆ 5–8

299

= 9 proto-backgrounds

example 9. The 9 proto-backgrounds (nonexpressive themes) Elementary transformations in linear analysis necessarily favor collections of second steps, on the one hand, and a focus on pitch or registral positions, on the other. The catalogue of such transformations includes a unidirectional LINE (understood here as ascending), a unidirectional descending LINE-1, an upper N(eighbor), and a lower N-1. Bidirectional or more complex lines are combinations of transformations, as is the double neighbor note figure.33 These transformations are analogous to Eisenstein’s, but, despite their style of notation (which follows Zholkovsky), they are not to be understood in a fully formal sense, as in Lewin 1987.34 What the interval list offers is a simple taxonomy of proto-backgrounds in an uncomplicated monotonal environment; the transformations of these themes suggest simple categories of artistic elaboration (from the perspective of a narrowly defined linear analysis)—and, of course, as expressive devices, the transformations continue to be applied in all 33

34

Matthew Brown (2005, 76–83) introduces four classes of similarly informal transformations as elaborations of a Schenkerian background; these are horizontalizing, filling-in, harmonizing, and reordering. My LINE and N would fall in the second of these classes. Zholkovsky claims that his expressive devices “are defined formally as transformation types operating on thematic entities” (1984, 25), but the formalism is that of a careful statement, not a mathematical definition.

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successive levels of a generated work (as in Schcheglov and Zholkovsky). These categories succeed in covering some but not all of the types in a list that Walter Everett constructs in a recent article on backgrounds and text expression in nineteenth century songs (2004, 31). Everett’s list has four classes (A-D), is hierarchical (type A forms are most desirable), and is based on an opposition: the background forms that Schenker authorizes in Free Composition (type A) are set against a group of Others (types B-D) that became part of the compositional toolbox in the course of the nineteenth century because they offered expressive possibilities so compelling that composers were willing to use them, despite perceived shortcomings as tonal models. Three subclasses under A arise directly from LINE-1, given the usual allowances for implied tones and registral displacement of Urlinie pitches. The same is true of the three subclasses under type B, which includes failed, partial, or rising Urlinien in the voice, all of which can be derived by LINE or its inverse, as well as “covers” without descent— these latter would most likely derive from N or its inverse. Types C and D raise the question of harmonic basis through symmetrical key systems, plagal structural cadences, nontonic closes, and change of key. The list of proto-backgrounds above made no assumptions about the harmonic basis other than monotonality, but the number of possible upper voice basic shapes obviously increases when the harmonic frame is altered, not so much in the plagal figures under Everett’s type C as, for other repertoires, the contrapuntal structure of Salzer 1952/1962 or the modal Ursätze of Burns 1993. That number would increase exponentially if one introduced chromatic steps or key changes (as in Everett’s type D). Even without taking into account the plagal and chromatic forms in Everett’s list, the number of possible backgrounds or “expressive themes” arising out of the nine protobackgrounds in Example 9 is much larger than the three that Schenker offers. A total of twelve result from LINE and its inversion, six more from N(eighbor) and its inversion. Simple bidirectional lines that cover no more than a single

non-unison tonic-triad interval add six more, and oscillating patterns about the unison (that is, double neighbor note figures) still another six, for a grand total of thirty forms. Example 10 supplies a complete list. case study (1): melchior vulpius, chorale “christus, der ist mein leben,” and j. s. bach’s setting (bwv 281). The chorale melody reproduced in Example 11 was written by Melchior Vulpius and published by him in a Gesangbuch (1609) with a text by an anonymous author (who might well be Vulpius himself ).35 Its four-voice setting appears in Example 12. The chorale, which was very likely written specifically for funerary use, was frequently republished throughout the seventeenth century, and both text and melody were altered or changed out several times (Fischer 2004–7). The five melodic variants catalogued by Johannes Zahn (see the notes starting at the end of the second system in Example 11) show small but significant alterations made as late as 1715 (or only eight years before J.S. Bach set the chorale in the first movement of BWV 95 (more on that below)). The text expresses the pietistic sentiments of Jesussehnsucht (“longing for Jesus”) in a particularly clear and personal way, almost entirely free of complicated theological finesse. The design is a nearly direct quote (in the first two lines) from the Epistle to the Phillippians (I:21) followed by a series of elucidatory images. The first verse refers to Christ in the third person (most of the others use direct address); the opening couplet sets forth the thesis: “Christus, der ist mein Leben/Sterben ist mein Gewinn” [“Christ, He is my life/Death is my gain”]. The conspicuous pairing of “Leben” and “Sterben” closely ties the two lines together and expresses in the smallest compass the Christian paradox that death means (eternal) life. The third line adds the one necessary 35

As Example 12 will show, Zahn has halved the note values. Peter F. Williams gives the melody in its original format (2003, 565).

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations ˆ ˆ ˆ 1-2-3 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 1-2-3-4-5 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 ˆ ˆ ˆ 3-4-5 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 3-4-5-6-7-8 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 5-6-7-8

ˆ ˆ ˆ 3-2-1 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 5-4-3-2-1 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 ˆ ˆ ˆ 5-4-3 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 8-7-6-5-4-3 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 8-7-6-5

ˆ ˆ ˆ 1-2-1 ˆ ˆ ˆ 3-4-3 ˆ ˆ ˆ 5-6-5 ˆ ˆ ˆ 8-7-8 ˆ ˆ ˆ 3-2-3 ˆ ˆ ˆ 5-4-5

301

= 12 forms derived by LINE or LINE-1

= 6 forms derived by N or N-1

ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 1-2-3-2-1 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 3-4-5-4-3 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 5-6-7-8-7-6-5

ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 3-2-1-2-3 ˆ5-4-3-4-5 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ8-7-6-5-6-7-8 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ

ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 3-4-2-3 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 5-6-4-5 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 8-9-7-8

ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 3-2-4-3 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 5-4-6-5 ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ 8-7-9-8

= 6 forms derived by LINE+LINE-1

= 6 forms derived by N+N-1

example 10. The 30 backgrounds (expressive themes)

action of the individual—accepting salvation: “dem thu ich mich ergeben” [“To Him I have surrendered myself ”], and the final line refers back to line two (death is gain, thus “mit Fried fahr ich dahin” [“with peace I will go hence”]) but also completes the emotional trajectory of accepting salvation and therefore being ready for death. Given the simple design of the chorale as a sixteenthcentury-style dance-song (after the manner of most early

chorales), one has to be careful about making too much of text-pitch relations, but a few comments can be ventured. The “major mode” confirms that this is a song of consolation and assurance, not a song of grief and sorrow or of stern moralizing. The design of the text, with its third-line emphasis and balance with the final line, is reflected in the music by situating the third phrase alone in the upper fourth of the modal ambitus. The fluid rhythm of sixteenth-century

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example 11. Melchior Vulpius, “Christus, der ist mein Leben” (reproduced in Zahn 1889-93/1963 II, 37)



  Chri

 -



stus, der







ist mein Le

 -



 

ben, Ster - ben ist









mein Ge - winn; dem

 

 



thu ich mich er - ge

 -



ben, mit



  

Fried’ fahr ich

da -

hin

 















 









 

 









  



  















 









 

 









  



  















 









 

 









  



8

example 12. Melchior Vulpius, “Christus, der ist mein Leben,” setting in four voices (as found in Cantionale sacrum 1646)

music is reflected in the initial “Christus,” which renders metrical accent ambiguous, hardly unusual in the early chorale repertoire but awkward for metrically constrained eighteenth century versions with their pickup-and-accent patterns. The pairing of “Leben” and “Sterben” is complemented by “Christus” and “Gewinn”: Vulpius’s melody foregrounds

these pairings, with the former assigned to the register of C5 and the latter to A4. And it hardly seems out of place to suggest that the theology behind the narrative trajectory of the second couplet is very well served by placing the third phrase in the uppermost register (as the individual affirms belief ) and the fourth phrase in the lowermost register (as the individual

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations

 

   Chri

    4

 

-

!

 

 

winn.

  

 









stus,

der

ist

mein



 

 

 



     

Ihm

thu’

ich

 

 

 

mich

!

 

      Le

-

ben,

Ster

      er

-

     

!





ge

-

  

  -

ben



ben,

Mit

 

 

ist

   Fried’

 

 

mein

Ge

-

       

 

 



    

303

!





fahr

ich

da

 

 

    

 

-

hin.

example 13. Chorale “Christus, der ist mein Leben” in J. S. Bach’s setting, BWV 281, with text added “lets go” and accepts death in peace): in theological terms, “ascent to heaven” does not deny the reality of death. The more familiar of two choral settings by J.S. Bach, BWV 281, given in Example 13, comes from the collection of 370 chorales published by Kirnberger and C. P. E. Bach in 1784–1787. The source of the setting in J. S. Bach’s works is unknown, but Frieder Rempp speculates that some of the numbers in the Kirnberger-Bach collection may have originated in J. S. Bach’s pedagogical activities and were intended for the use of three lower-level Thomaskirche choirs to whom the singing of chorales was assigned (1996, VI).36 36

No text accompanies BWV 281. I have added the first verse to Example 13 on the assumption that Rempp’s surmise is correct, and therefore all (or most) verses of the chorale would probably be sung, beginning with the first. The text form is that of BWV 282 (a text that we know Bach used), with one emendation in the final line: the traditional “Fried’” rather than the “Freud’” of BWV 282.

Fred Lerdahl makes use of BWV 281 (without adding the text back in) for the model analysis in chapter one of his Tonal Pitch Space. Example 14 provides his reduction. Although the analysis generates a 3-line at the end of its prolongational reduction process, he specifically rejects Schenker’s background figures. Discussing what he calls the “basic form,” Lerdahl says that “Unlike the Ursatz, which it superficially resembles, the basic form is not an a priori generating structure but a description of a common reductional state, reflecting the trajectory from structural beginning to cadence” (2001, 25). And, later, when confronted with a complex analytical problem: “the crutch of the constraining power of an encompassing Ursatz schema would seem too enticing to resist. I take the psychologically more plausible position that schematic prototypes arise out of a convergence of simple cognitive principles that are available at or near musical surfaces” (40).

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Time-span reduction

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music theory spectrum 31 (2009)

d ($ )

c ()

 









 

 

   

  [



c

 





]



 

 

 

 

 

[

b

 

c

]

[

 



 

c

[





 



 





 





 

]

 



[ a





c

]

c

 ]

 [



 c

  [

 





 

]

  c





 [

 

]

[

 

[



Prolongational reduction

1









"





#

Chri - stus, der ist mein Le - ben, Ster

2

-













ben ist mein Ge - winn.

 

   

"

 

"    



   

#     

#    

 

Ihm





"







#



thu’ ich mich er - ge

-

ben, Mit

c



[



 

 

 

   

c

]

c

 ]

c

 ]









Fried’ fahr ich da - hin.





 "  







 





()



     #   # 





  



"

example 14. Lerdahl’s reduction of BWV 281 (in notation form), with text added

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations Lerdahl’s critique of earlier readings of this setting of “Christus, der ist mein Leben” reinforces his claim about giving priority to harmony and metric/formal position while staying “close to the musical surface,” that is, minimizing the imposition of voice-leading, melodic, or other schemata to interpret that surface. Forte and Gilbert’s Schenkerian analysis reads BWV 281 from 5, which is reached at the sixth pitch, after a simple initial ascent figure (see Example 15[c] and 15[d]), but because the harmony has changed under it, this 5 is displaced from its harmonic support and therefore, according to Lerdahl, must have been chosen “based on salience rather than stability,” that is, melodic prominence, not tonic harmonization. Similarly, Lerdahl cites David Beach’s criticism of my reading from 8 “because of the high F’s weak harmonic support” (2001, 24). Beach (1990) reads BWV 281 from 3—both his reading and mine are reproduced in Example 16. In Forte and Gilbert’s and my analyses, one might reasonably object that the displacement figure arising from an initial ascent is so common, so near the surface in most instances, and so thoroughly documented by Schenker and many who have followed after him, that it would seem reasonable to give the figure the status of a schema at least the equal of Robert Gjerdingen’s 1–7–4–3 or Leonard Meyer’s 1–7–2–1 and 3–2–4–3 schemata (which Lerdahl cites and adopts later on [2001, 233–35]). Schenker’s three Urlinie forms are, of course, also present among the thirty backgrounds of Example 10 above. As Lerdahl’s reductions of “Christus, der ist mein Leben” intimate and Beach’s analysis shows explicitly, an Urlinie from 3 approaches the status of nonexpressive theme since so much content is shifted off into other levels (cover tones and boundary play in particular), and I would say it is exactly that status that makes the 3-line not only distinctive but especially powerful—the clarity with which it separates out the abstract, systemic level from the concrete, active levels of expression. In Example 15(a) and (b), I have added the proto-background of 5 over I as a preliminary stage understood to generate the (expressive) background 5–4–3–2–1 that then

305

governs Forte and Gilbert’s analytic graph. Example 15 as a whole cannot be regarded as a properly Schenkerian analysis: it expresses a particular language-L of Schenkerian revisionism in which three proto-backgrounds are added (1–3, 1–5, 1–8), but the list of (expressive) backgrounds and the mechanics of all later levels are unchanged. Examples 17(a) and (b) also fit this model, the first being very similar to Lerdahl’s analysis, the second to mine. Alternatively, as a way of constructing this particular language-L, one might choose to apply the same method as above to some other subset of the thirty expressive themes in Example 10, as Komar could be said to have done in generating a background double neighbor note figure for the Bach Sarabande. For BWV 281, consider a proto-background of 3–3—easily done because of the several recurrences of 3 in the prolongation. As a background, we could co-opt the Nderived lower neighbor A4–G4–A4 plainly visible in level b of Lerdahl’s time-span reduction: see Example 17(c). In this thematic environment, the stereotyped cadence formula would be treated very differently than in Lerdahl: the cadence bringing 2–1 and the 3-line would be the result of the application of LINE at a lower and later post-background level. Since closure is a formal function and since, in Schenker’s view, form only arises in the middleground, this way of interpreting it is appealing, though its applications may perhaps be more convincing in larger-scale contexts than the limited confines of a four-phrase chorale, where broad melodic shapes (here, the arch traversing F4–F5–F4) are much more palpable and immediate. Example 17(d) applies a similar idea to 5: here, the protobackground of 5–5, the background is another N-derived figure, 5–6–5, and the pitch A4, generated by a DIV(ision) transformation of the original interval (F4–C5), carries the cadence formula in some middleground level. The obvious weakness of both Examples 17(c) and (d) is that figures as highly conventionalized as cadence formulae would seem to fit better placed in the early stages of thematic elaboration. Recall that it was in part the lack of such a convincing

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music theory spectrum 31 (2009)

(a) [(proto)background]

   (b) [background (expressive theme)]



 

( ^5 )

( ^5 )

^4

^3

^2

^1









 



( ^5 )

( ^5 )

^4

^3

^2

^1

^5

(c) Analytic graph



^5

Arp

( ^5









^4

^3)

 





 10

 



 



 



I

  10

10

  (  ) 

 10



N











 





  





  



I6

I6

(I)

[V]

V

II65 V

(d) Score with analytic overlay 1

5

Chri - stus, der ist mein

Le ^5

-

ben, Ster

!

-

ben ist mein Ge - winn. ( ^5

^4

^3)

!

Ihm ( ^5 )

thu’ ich mich er - ge - ben, Mit ( ^5 )

 



  

     

 

         

 

     

  



     

    

 

      

  

   



6

I

4 2

6

6

6

7

6

4

  3

7 6 5

(I)



!

Fried’ fahr ich da - hin. ^4 ^3 ^2 ^1

  



    

           

 

 

6 5



7

V

 

           6

6

I6

6 5



V

I

example 15. (a) and (b), Proto-background and background as expressive theme applied to Forte and Gilbert’s reading of the chorale “Christus, der ist mein Leben”; (c) and (d) Forte and Gilbert, reading of the chorale “Christus, der ist mein Leben” in J. S. Bach’s setting, BWV 281 (1982, Example 166), with text added and the levels reversed (that is, (d) below rather than above (c)) This content downloaded from 169.229.11.216 on Wed, 21 Oct 2015 01:47:31 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations

307

(a) Chri - stus, der ist mein

Le

-

ben, Ster - ben ist mein Ge - winn.

Ihm

thu’ ich mich er - ge

^3

  

 

 

   N

  

6

4 2

!





N



!

   



N

 



6

   6

7

6

4

 3

-

ben, Mit

Expansion N

!

 

   

 

      

6

7 6 8 7 9 6 5





^2

^1



  





    

N

 



6 5

Fried’ fahr ich da - hin.

7 6 6

6 5



!



8 7

(b) Chri - stus, der ist mein ^1

 



^3



^5

   6

 



Le

4 2



-

ben, Ster - ben ist mein Ge - winn.

!





6

  

    6

 



!



6

  

Ihm

   

-

ben, Mit ^5

^7

^6

!

   





^6

6



thu’ ich mich er - ge

6 5

^7

^8

6 5



Fried’ fahr ich da - hin. ^4

^3



  



       

6





( ^2 )

^2

^1



6 5



  



example 16. (a) David Beach, reading of the chorale “Christus, der ist mein Leben” in J. S. Bach’s setting, BWV 281 (1990, 12), with text added; (b) my reading of BWV 281 (Neumeyer 1987, 17), with text added

formula that led Komar to read the C major Prelude with a 3–4–3 background shape in the upper parts. In order to take the fullest advantage of proto-backgrounds that precede (and are understood to enable) the expressive themes produced by LINE and N, and also of the implications of registral priority over linear transformation, I might prefer to invoke a somewhat different language-L of

linear analysis, one that attempts to push the priority to register that is basic to the proto-backgrounds farther down the line of generative levels. For this purpose, I call on DIV(ision) to handle the splitting of larger intervals, as in Example 17(d), where the elements of a middleground fifth, F4–C5, were separated temporally and DIV(ided) by thirds. In Example 18, the reading begins with an octave F4–F5 (as

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308 (a)

 

music theory spectrum 31 (2009) Christus ^ 3



ich dahin ^ ^ 2 1



 mich ergeben, ^8 ^ ^6 7

(b)

  



(c)

 





^3

Gewinn ^2 ^3



 Leben, Ster - ben ^5 ^6 ^5

(d)

 















[Mit] Fried’

fahr



ich dahin

^ 5

^ 4



^ 3

^ 2



^ 1









 ergeben,



[Mit] Fried’

fahr









ich dahin





DIV





example 17. Proto-backgrounds and backgrounds for four possible non-Schenkerian linear readings of the chorale “Christus, der ist mein Leben” in J. S. Bach’s setting, BWV 281 nonexpressive theme) and applies DIV(ision) as its first transformation:37 the upper system of Example 18 shows the DIV(ision) as an atemporal simultaneity and its elements in their temporal positions, and the middle system shows the distributions over the course of the chorale melody. The later 37

I discuss the importance to the chorale repertoire of the octave ambitus and its division at the dominant, along with their persistence in seventeenth and early eighteenth century music of both sacred and secular types, in Neumeyer 1987 and 1989; in the latter, see especially pages 21–22.

elaborations (shown in the lower-most system) DIV(ide) the fifth at the third and add other figures, including a cadenceinduced LINE at the end. The intervallic patterns that result articulate the text in ways that are already familiar from earlier examples and discussion. At this point, I am in the same position as Lewin after he created his first three analyses of “Anfangs wollt’ ich”: none of the nine readings of BWV 281 advanced so far really fits my intuitions about the chorale and its relation to this particular setting. The patent sense of Vulpius’s melody is beginning in a low register and moving progressively toward a

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations

  



   

309

 

   DIV

 











DIV





DIV

   Chri - stus, der ist mein

Le - ben, Ster - ben ist mein Ge - winn.

Ihm

thu’ ich mich er - ge - ben, Mit

Fried’ fahr ich da - hin.

DIV

 



















  LINE

DIV

 



DIV





LINE



 



LINE

   example 18. A reading of BWV 281 with an octave space DIV(ided) by the fifth, then fifth DIV(ided) by the third

high register before quickly dropping back to the starting point in order to end. Each of the analyses catches something of this shape (a schematic but skewed arch form) but only incidentally or imperfectly: Readings no. 1–2 (Examples 14 and 16[a]): The timespan and prolongational reductions of Lerdahl and the Schenkerian reading of Beach are the least satisfying, as they flatten out the melodic shape severely in the process of reduction or separation of the contents of levels; that is to say, no trace of what I want to be the guiding shape is left in the background or in Lerdahl’s final reductions.

Readings no. 3–4 (Example 15): Forte and Gilbert’s graph and my addition of proto-background and background resemble Example 18 in some ways, but both give short shrift to the crucial initial gesture, the F4–A4 that names “Christus.” Reading no. 5 (Example 17[b]): The 8-line is even worse in downplaying the opening F4–A4, though of course it excels at visualizing the overall arch shape. Readings no. 6–7 (Examples 16[a], 17[a], and 17[c]): The opening interval is certainly prominent, but, like the first two readings, they enforce too sharp a functional differentiation between the thematic register and the boundary play above it.

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music theory spectrum 31 (2009)

Reading no. 8 (Example 17[d]): This has the virtue of locating the germ of the arch shape in the first half of the chorale (the 5–6–5 figure sits at the top of the arch) but it wholly obscures the subsequent ascent to F5. Reading no. 9 (Example 18): This fits my requirements much better than any of the others, but it also keeps the initial third out of the topmost level. I want that third, that “beginning in a low register,” to be a part of the generating structure as well as an element in the expressive unfolding.38

are progressive: that is, each transformation of, for example, N is a transformation of the preceding version of that figure: thus, T-2I(N) at the end of phrase 2 transforms the N figure at the beginning of phrase 2, not the N at the beginning of the chorale. (Read T-2I(N) as “transpose down two diatonic steps and then invert around the first pitch.”)39 On the other hand, the “cumulative” transformation for each figure is of interest to my commentary on the text-figure relations below: the three transformations of N “add up” to I(N), the two transformations of L to I(L), and E’s three changes to T6I(E). Also note that with L and E, some transformations would be more simply described using retrogrades—T2I(L) is also R(L) and T3I(E) is also R(E)—but I chose to use only inversion and transposition for consistency across the three figure types.40 The several layers of the reading in Example 19 conform well to the chorale and to the details of Bach’s setting. The version of the melody that appeared in the collection Praxis pietatis melica (1662) became and has remained the best known, as Zahn notes. (See the bottom of Example 7: “bis heute allgemein bekannt” [generally known to the present day]). If one compares Examples 12 and 13, revisions to Vulpius’s original are only in the second half and succeed in bringing much stronger profile to F5 (metric accent and alignment with “mich”) and better emphasis to A4 through a neighbor note in the final phrase, the end result being much greater clarity in the reversal of the interval sequence. At the level of the proto-background and first background, the initial, ritualized naming of Christ (“Christus,” F4–A4) and the realistic acceptance of death (tied to a ritualized (that is, conventional) cadence gesture, or A4——G4–F4) are detached from the highly personal ascent-to-heaven narrative enabled

In Example 19, then, I have constructed a tenth reading, which aims to capture the significance of the opening gesture in the context of guiding registral shapes. Using F4–A4 as the starting point now, I have reapplied the implied registral language-L in Example 19(a). The second staff shows the generation of the octave ambitus by applying to F4–A4 a transformation ADDINV, which superimposes above an interval its inverse. The third staff shows DIV(ision) applied to the resulting sixth, A4–F5, and the system below that works out the details of Linear and Neighbor figures that elaborate this framework. Example 19(b), then, speculates on how these figures may be understood as diatonic scale transformations. In this notation, L and N are the first instances of each figure; T2 is a move up by two scale steps, T-2 a move down by the same number of steps; “E” stands for “Extended line” (a fourth rather than L’s third). Please note that the transformations 38

By making the evaluations I have here, I am not asserting any sort of general claim about inherent significance in different levels of a hierarchical analysis; specifically, I am not suggesting that structural significance outweighs expressive-esthetic significance, that somehow the elements of structure are “more important” than those of texture. The criteria for the evaluations were laid out very specifically: I hear the chorale in terms of its “Christus” opening followed by an arch that drops back at the end to the opening registral level, and I want that reflected thematically in the first level(s), and for the same reason that Lewin ultimately favors his progressive tonal-modal reading of “Anfangs wollt’ ich”—because of a good fit with the text.

39

40

As Steven Rings has pointed out (private communication), my use of these informal transformations closely resembles some of the functions applied to “inventions” in Dreyfus 1996. Example 19(b) is very like the “transformational streams” of my colleague Edward Pearsall, though I do not attempt the same level of formalization (Pearsall 2004).

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(a)

 

DIV

 





Chri - stus, der

 







 

N

ist mein L

Le

-



  





Le

-

N



  



  

Ihm

   N





L

  

N T2 I(N)

N L E

-

Fried’ fahr ich

da - hin.





N



 

( )

 

 

  





  

Ihm

thu’ ich mich er - ge









L

E

 

 



-

ben, Mit

L

Fried’ fahr ich

 

da - hin.

E









N

N

T-2 I(N)

I(N)

T2 I(L) T4 I(E)

ben, Mit



 





thu’ ich mich er - ge



 







L

E L



N

ben, Ster - ben ist mein Ge - winn.

E

(b)

L









ben, Ster - ben ist mein Ge - winn.



ist mein





  

Chri - stus, der

 

  ()

ADDINV

 

 

L



T-2 (L) T-1 I(E)

T3 I(E)

example 19. (a) The derivation of basic intervals for “Christus, der ist mein Leben”: (second staff ) derivation of the three priority pitches by ADDINV of the third F4–A4; (third staff ) DIV(ision) of the inverse (A4–F5) and elaboration of the three intervals with priority to the upper pitches; (lower system) elaborations as lines and neighbor notes; (b) the melodic elaborations of the lower system in Example 19(a) interpreted as transformations of N(eighbor), L(ine), and E(xtended line)

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by ADDINV. DIV(ision) generates the C5 and ties the opposition of “Leben” and “Sterben”—they use the C5 in close proximity—to inversion: the rise of L to “Leben” and the fall, as R(L), from “Sterben,” but also the mirroring of “Christus” through “Leben” and of “Christus, der” with “Sterben” (to suit the theological idea that one acquires eternal life through the agency of Christ’s death). Note that the cancelling out of the initial transformation of N—that is, of T2I(N) by T-2I(N)— aligns “Christus” with “Gewinn” to close the first sentence. The neighbor figure introduced into the last phrase by the Praxis pietatis version reinforces the opposition—as a simple I(N)—and ties beginning to end: “Christus, der . . .” to “Mit Fried’ fahr ich . . .” or Christ’s death to the individual’s death. The obvious symmetry of A4–B4–C5 in phrase 1 turning into C5–B4–A4 in phrase 2 is similarly linked to an ending gesture, the cadence, where T-2(L) results in a cumulative I(L). These transformational patterns were already available in the Praxis pietatis version of the melody, but Bach uses his setting to highlight some aspects of the text in subtle ways. Though a song of consolation might well leave out chromaticism altogether—easily managed for this chorale, even in an eighteenth-century tonal idiom41—the E in measure 1 highlights the life-death opposition very early on. In addition, the slight undermining of the first N through the inverted secondary dominant seventh creates the possibility of disconnecting the two opening tonic chords from what follows, or, in the melody, of hearing the latter part of the phrase as gesture E. (Note that Forte and Gilbert slur the melody this way in their Schenkerian analysis, provided in Example 15(d).) The mirroring second phrase is then set entirely diatonically.42 41

42

By contrast, one of Bach’s predecessors in Leipzig, Johann Schelle, succeeded in writing a seven-minute chorale cantata on a slightly different form of the chorale (not among Zahn’s variants) without ever introducing a chromatic note in the choral sections. Even the solo sections have a grand total of just three accidentals, all of them the leading tone of the dominant (Schelle 1998, 8–51). Note that Bach uses a similar small inflection in the final phrase: Db rather than D-natural in the antepenultimate chord.

The construction of E and its mirroring tie the opening chromatic moment to the far more dramatic third phrase. The bass again takes the lead with a highly expressive (and wholly unexpected) seventh leap from A3 to B2, but the potential key-shifting move is promptly negated by a C7 chord on beat 2. The harshness of the attendant cross-relation (B2–B4) is only partially obviated by the fact that the B is of short duration. The “hinge” is the F5 and its supporting D minor triad on beat 3; only when gesture E retreats downward is a formulaic cadence to C assured.43 As the chromaticism of the E in phrase 1 was answered in the mirroring figures of phrase 2 by a purely diatonic setting, so the exaggerated chromaticism that opens phrase 3 (supporting gesture E) is answered by a formula cadence (though not on the tonic). The chromaticism highlights the striving of the soul upward or heaven-ward (the old-fashioned expression including “thun” (tun) emphasizes the action of the individual), the pain that accompanies it, and the relaxation of stress that accompanies the submission (“ergeben”). (Here, too, is where the cumulative transformations are relevant: both L and N turn out to be stable as simple inversions—I(L) and I(N)—but E ends as T6I of the first E.) To emphasize the point further, Example 20 gathers different versions of the third phrase. The first is from Vulpius, given earlier in Example 12. The different shape of the melody renders the modal ambitus somewhat ambiguous here (that is, it tends to undermine the status of F5). The second example gives the outer parts (with figures added) for this phrase in an early chorale prelude by Bach (from the 43

This reading of the harmony is very close to that of Forte & Gilbert: see Example 15(c), where they regard the series of parallel tenths as the principal feature of the opening of phrase three. Beach’s analysis in Example 16(a) also slurs the initial C5 to F5, but since the bass has no slurs it is not possible to tell how he reads the patterns of the most foreground harmonies (1990, 11). My own Schenkerian reading in Example 16(b) is incoherent at this point, as the F–F displacement overspans the bass slur from F to C.

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations (a)

















Ihm

thu’

ich

mich

er

























thu’

ich

mich

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5











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(b)

  



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example 20. “Christus, der ist mein Leben”: five versions of the third phrase (outer parts only with added figured bass to identify the harmonies): (a) Vulpius’s setting; (b) J. S. Bach, harmonization in a chorale prelude, BWV 1112; (c) BWV 282, from Cantata no. 95, first movement, transposed from G to F for sake of comparison; (d) BWV 281; (e) Pachelbel, setting in the theme for chorale variations (incontent Musikalischer transposed from G to F This downloadedSterbensgedancken from 169.229.11.216 on[1683]), Wed, 21 Oct 2015 01:47:31 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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“Neumeister” collection [Wolff 1986, 120–21]); one can easily see the basic elements of what became the progression in BWV 281 (especially the “deceptive” move to vi), but the phrase’s cadence stays within F. The third setting is BWV 281. The fourth, from Cantata no. 95, is strikingly different, not only for the meter change but also for the purely diatonic setting and very strong emphasis on the high note, F5. For comparison, the final example is from Johann Pachelbel, the theme of a set of variations that was almost certainly known to Bach. Pachelbel’s setting not only has a firm cadence to the dominant, but shifts the tonality immediately, with the result that the high F still carries expressive weight but little structural weight (it would be impossible to reconcile my reading using ADDINV, for example, with Pachelbel’s setting).44 The fine balance in BWV 281 is all the more apparent by comparison, as Pachelbel’s third phrase flattens out the melody for the sake of an efficient rendering of the phrase syntax (“ihm” (to him) “thu’ ich” (do I), mich (myself ), “ergeben” (give or submit)). Bach, on the other hand, saw the opportunities for both expression and design in the several symmetries available in the Praxis pietatis version of the chorale. case study (2): j. s. bach, cantata no. 95 (bwv 282), first movement The chromatic details of BWV 281 and their expression of a diatonic/chromatic opposition tied to life/death have a dramatic corollary in BWV 282, the only other setting of “Christus, der ist mein Leben” in the Kirnberger/C. P. E. Bach collection. Unlike BWV 281, the source is known: BWV 282 is a transcription of the vocal parts from the first movement of Cantata no. 95. This cantata belongs to the first Leipzig cycle and comes fairly late in the church year; it was intended for the sixteenth Sunday after Trinity and was 44

Lerdahl’s reductions would suit Pachelbel’s setting, because Lerdahl ignores the alto’s B on beat 2 and assumes that the entire phrase is in C major.

first performed on September 12, 1723 (Dürr 1975, II: 451). Unlike the typical liturgical cycle, Bach’s first series of cantatas does not use texts created for the purpose and written by a single poet; in the case of Cantata no. 95, the poet is unknown (and, it must be said, not particularly skillful). Many readings late in the church year emphasize the task of faithfulness in the believer and the relation of one’s own death to “the last things.” In this respect, the Epistle and Gospel for Trinity 16 balance one another: in the former, St. Paul prays for strength and steadfastness in faith on behalf of the congregation at Ephesus; in the latter, Jesus enters the city of Nain, where he encounters a funeral procession; taking pity on the mother of the deceased, he awakens the young man from the dead. The text of the cantata makes no direct reference to either biblical reading, but the sense of both is near the surface throughout. The cantata uses no fewer than four chorales. Although this number is exceptional, the use of chorales in choral settings with orchestral ritornelli does look forward to the second Leipzig cycle, which consists in great part of chorale cantatas. The first movement of Cantata no. 95 brings together two chorales in a slow-fast arrangement with an intervening accompanied recitative that makes use of motives from the ritornello in the first section. “Christus, der ist mein Leben” is framed by a ritornello featuring two oboes d’amore; the pastoral mood is undercut, however, by persistent anticipations in the oboes and the answering strings, excerpted in Example 21. Note also that the oboes’ initial gesture is very close to the second phrase of the chorale and the answering strings to the third phrase—thus, immediately the line of the chorale that names death comes into play and forms the first of three principal motives; and it is answered by the line in which the believer responds with a commitment to faith. (The last of the three motives, not shown in Example 20, is a simple rising scale figure in sixteenth notes.) This pairing of death and personal commitment is augmented by a major-minor pair, as the music of the first two bars immediately shifts downward to be repeated in E

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations

 

3     4   &                   

3  4 



 









             



(G)

315







(e)

example 21. Cantata No. 95, I, opening Chri - stus,

 



ist

mein

Le



 

3  4 







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ist



der

mein

Ge -

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ich

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example 22. “Christus, der ist mein Leben,” in J.S. Bach’s setting (BWV 282), choral parts only. The phrases are not sung consecutively in Cantata no. 95, I: ritornelli intervene between each. minor, after which the scale figures dominate in a longdrawn-out phrase that ends rather abruptly with a cadence. The G major-E minor binary has expressive consequences and reaches a symbolic level as the movement proceeds.

The first three measures of the ritornello are stretched by one to accompany the first line of the chorale, now set in a pastoral triple meter (Example 22), but then the following brief ritornello turns to and closes in E minor, the cadence

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chord arriving with the sopranos’ entrance on the first syllable of “Sterben.” The extraordinarily dramatic, even bizarre, setting of this second chorale phrase follows a Leipzig performance tradition going back at least a hundred years before 1723, according to Alfred Dürr (1975, II: 452). The subsequent ritornello, as long as the opening one because it divides the center point of the chorale, is firmly in E minor and ends there, after which the third chorale phrase very quickly turns the music back to G major; the struggle is not over yet, however, as the subsequent interlude turns back to and closes in E minor; that key must be swept away again by the affirmation of the chorale’s final phrase and the repetition of the opening ritornello. The large-scale melodic shape of the movement (so far) is carried by the choral soprano (which, incidentally, is doubled by a solo horn throughout). In a traditional Schenkerian reading the opening ritornello might run equally well from 3 or 5, but, because Bach uses the original form of the chorale (except in phrase 3), the longer-term emphasis falls squarely on 3, and we would then regard the expressive setting of the second phrase as elaborate boundary play. In the third phrase, the simplicity of its setting (which is still able to accommodate a repetition of the first oboe gesture under the high G5 and “mich”) brings out the feature of the chorale that was highlighted in the commentary on Example 21: the balance of registral shapes and their relation to the text. The first and third phrases both predominantly rise; the second and fourth fall. By setting the second phrase in its rhythmically contorted chromaticism against the third in its clean diatonicism, Bach brings out this balance and its relation to text design— the first and third phrases speak of life (Christ = life in the first phrase; by “giving myself to Him” the narrator embraces this Life in the third phrase) but the second and fourth speak of death (naming it in the second phrase, speaking of it as inevitable action in the fourth [“I will go hence”]). The fourth phrase also resolves the dualism by “speaking” of death in G major (note also that a common textual variant in chorales is used here: “Freud’” substitutes for “Fried’”—“joy” for “peace”).

With the ritornello cadence, a tenor soloist suddenly enters, repeating the chorale’s “Mit Freud’” in an elaborate melisma, then continuing through a nine-bar phrase while the orchestra persists with the ritornello material. A clear half-cadence to D ends the phrase, but the turn to an accompanied recitative style does not erase the ritornello gestures, which continue as punctuations between the tenor’s short phrases. If the first phrase establishes G:5 clearly (with a descent to 2, as if for an interruption at the end), the second phrase suddenly—if briefly—revives E minor as the orchestra responds to “And if today it were ‘you must’” (“Und hieß’ es heute noch: ‘du mußt!’”). Instead, chromatic bass figures lead us rather quickly to B major, on the way to G minor, and the descent from 5 follows an appropriately chromatic path for the gruesome text “My death-song is already written; oh, if only I might sing it today!” (“Mein Sterbelied ist schon gemacht; ach, dürft ich’s heute singen!”). But this is not the end of the movement; instead, the mode shift manages to prepare for another chorale setting, whose ritornelli this time are based on Vorimitation made explicit in the solo horn. The chorale is “Mit Fried’ und Freud’ fahr’ ich dahin”—even in the title line its appropriateness is obvious. Despite the tempo, the mood of this “Sterbelied” (since this chorale is obviously what was intimated by the tenor’s phrase) is solemn and somewhat formal: it is written in the old alla breve meter and once-transposed Dorian (G minor with a single flat). On the other hand, the sense of peaceful but hopeful resignation suggested by the first and some later lines is undermined somewhat by a nearly perpetualmotion bass in eighth-notes. Bach preserves the distinctive octave-line shape of the melody as the largest-scale melodic shape of the section. One is obliged to think of the formal design of this first movement of Cantata no. 95 as old-fashioned, more like a seventeenth-century cantata than one of the larger scale, concerto-style movements from Bach’s later cantatas. The overall pitch design of the movement, nevertheless, may be

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations “Christus”

recitative

“Mit Fried’ und Freud’”

DIV

 









    

317







^8

^7

^6

^5

^4

^3

^2

^1





















example 23. Cantata No. 95, I, melodic shapes of the three sections

read thematically as drawing together this almost haphazard concatenation of sections by a parallelism, that is, an expansion of the DIV(ided) 3–8 from “Christus, der ist mein Leben”: compare the third staff of Example 19 to Example 23. The pastoral 3 of the opening surrenders to the ecstatic 5 in the arioso/recitative, but the Urlinie-Zug is borne down by chromaticism to arrive at G minor (or, to be precise, transposed Dorian) and gives way to the complete octave line of the final solemn chorale.45 Considered in this light, I would say that “Mit Fried’ und Freud’ fahr’ ich dahin” completes the LINEar octave transformation that eluded both the original and the Praxis pietatis versions of “Christus, der ist mein Leben.”46 The large-scale parallelism of melodic shape between “Christus, der ist mein Leben” and the first movement of

45

46

Eric Chafe interprets the design in connection with a cluster of opposing terms—major/ascending/sharp vs. minor/descending/flat—that he finds to be a pervasive allegorical figure in Bach’s cantatas, major representing the heavenly or eternal and minor the earthly or mortal (1991, 80, 172–73). We might rethink the analysis in terms of the transformational progression that Lewin prefers for “Anfangs wollt’ ich,” such that the 3-line of the first chorale “morphs” into the recitative’s 5-line, which in turn expands into the final 8-line. In that case, however, the progression itself would have priority and would tend to undermine the motive and its dual-level parallelism.

Cantata no. 95 strikes me as an interpretive result that is both interesting and plausible, given what we know about Bach’s expressive, symbolic, and allegorical treatments of musical materials—that is, it is not unreasonable to think he might have taken the readily observable ascent-to-heaven motif in the chorale and decided to embed it thematically in the whole of the movement.47 Returning to the theme-thesis distinction, we can separate the pitch-design mechanics of this realization (that is, the parallelism itself ) from its thetic component, the theological contexts of the parallelism or, a bit more narrowly, Bach’s assertion of a theological content in the textmelody pairing of the Praxis pietatis version of this chorale. On the other hand, looking at it in terms of the performance and rhetoric of my interpretation, this broad parallelism of motifs is thematic (my summary description of what the pitch design of this piece “is about”). What is thetic in this instance is language-L itself; that is, I do find Example 23 the most convincing overall reading given the theoretical ground of linear analysis informed by expressive and nonexpressive themes—and I would like you to believe it, too.

47

The expanded figure also has some affinities with William Renwick’s (1991) study of Bach fugue subjects and the echoes of their basic patterns across expositions.

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music theory spectrum 31 (2009) A generation younger than the principal New Critics, Arthur Komar took a middle path in musical analysis, between imposed limits on thematic (background) shapes and a pluralistic multiplicity; that is, he held closely to a hierarchical structural model but, as we saw above, he did not accept Schenker’s Urlinie list uncritically. Komar’s fellow Princeton alumnus, David Lewin, later did much the same in his readings of “Anfangs wollt’ ich,” in that he also respected the hierarchical model but interrogated multiple readings and finally, in a critical move, informally merged the hierarchical model with what he elsewhere called “transformational machinery” and a “transformational attitude” (1987, 159). I regard my case studies of the settings of “Christus, der ist mein Leben” in BWV 281 & 282 as exercises in following a similar middle path.50 The overlapping and intermingling of analysis and interpretation, of mechanics and belief, of his “rationalist system” and its “values,” suited Schenker’s ideological goals very well, and my identification of theme with contents of the background, the separation of theme and thesis, and the distinction between nonexpressive and expressive themes, were all part of a process of trying to tease out the differences. To be sure, one can argue with some confidence that the separation is artificial, that it is not actually possible to deploy a rationalist system for interpretation without imposing values, but to that I would respond with equal confidence that the very fact confirms the wisdom of Lewin’s promotion of a self-conscious practice (grounded in comparative analysis) that keeps both visible, available for criticism.

conclusion The thematic analogy—that is, theme as the equivalent of the contents of the background, last stage of reduction, or other “summary” in a hierarchical model—helps to align a traditional practice of linear analysis with practices in literary interpretation current at the time that Schenkerian analysis was in process of being adopted in the United States. The New Critics believed in the autonomy of the artwork and in its integrity as an organic unity, they emphasized the critic’s task as demonstrating that unity, and they put “close reading” at the center of a reader’s and critic’s activities (Culler 1981/2001, 3). They even made use of a small group of “rudimentary models of the kind of thematic significance that the reader attempts to find” (Culler 1975/2002, 208), these being a “‘set of reduction terms’ towards which the analysis of ambivalence, tension, irony and paradox was to move: ‘life and death, good and evil, love and hate, harmony and strife, order and disorder, eternity and time, reality and appearance, truth and falsity . . . emotion and reason, complexity and simplicity, nature and art’.”48 As a group, these “reduction terms” constrain the practical work of a poem’s interpretation in nearly as radical a manner as Schenker’s three backgrounds constrain the interpretation of a piece of music (the crucial difference being that the New Critics never insisted on their exclusiveness). The basic functions of the opposition itself, of tension (which irony and paradox serve or, one might even say, enact), and of the balance of tension in a dramatically conceived or teleological unity are closely analogous to Schenker’s own universal functions of diatony, species counterpoint, and tonal space (Tonraum).49 48 49

Culler’s citation for the internal quotes: Crane 1953, 123–24. In their series of textbooks, Brooks and Warren do associate the notion of theme with interpretation, but they do not explicitly attempt to separate out theme from thesis. Instead, in An Approach to Literature, the one appears to morph into the other over the course of reading a story: theme “is the governing idea implicit in the original situation of conflict

50

that becomes, in the end, the focal idea—that is, what we take to be the ‘meaning’ of the whole” (Brooks, Purser, and Warren 1936/1975, 15). “Meaning” for them is the argument or lesson that comes from the work and is revealed or clarified through interpretation. By way of further example, I have gathered a number of analyses using proto-backgrounds here: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~neumeyer/ protobackground.html

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thematic reading, proto-backgrounds, and registral transformations Finally, in order to establish a slightly wider historical context, I should note that the New Criticism was not the only approach available in the generation of Cleanth Brooks.51 A leading alternative was broached by R. S. Crane, perhaps the most prominent of Brooks’s critics, who was closely associated with the “Chicago School” of pluralist neo-Aristotelians (a viewpoint very familiar to music studies scholars from the work of Leonard B. Meyer). I. A. Richards, from whom Brooks derived his ideas about tension and balance,52 was primarily interested in applying thencurrent psychological models to reading (and learning languages) and today would be considered a cognitivist. Although Brooks sometimes called himself a formalist, the New Criticism also had no relation to the then-flourishing schools of Russian and Czech formalism, which were linguistics-based and thus most closely allied to semiotics and the linguistics-based structuralism that was highly influential in Europe in the 1960s (and is probably most familiar from the work of Roland Barthes during that decade). In that connection, the critical tradition growing out of Ferdinand Saussure’s studies of language found it remarkably easy to argue for multiple interpretations or for the structural relevance of discontinuities by rethinking the oppositions on which Saussure’s method was founded. Already by the late 1950s—and often with piercing wit—Barthes was using the 51

52

Indeed, according to David Bordwell (2008, 11), the notion of distinct critical methods, each essentially complete in itself, was a novel idea in the immediate post-WWII era—he cites Hyman 1948 and Wellek & Warren 1949 as instigators of an “anthology-of-approaches” view of literary criticism. For Brooks’s own take on predecessors and rivals, see the whimsically sub-titled “Short History” (the book runs to more than 750 pages) of Wimsatt and Brooks (1957), especially Parts IV & V (555ff.). See the essay on Richards in Wimsatt and Brooks 1957, 610–34, which should be balanced by reading Richards’ biographer’s account of his influence on the New Criticism: Russo 1989, 540–56. An exhaustive description of Richards’ critical method (in relation to poetry) may be found there also, on pages 215–316.

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strategy of turning oppositions, or “flipping” binaries in favor of their unmarked terms, to undermine (bourgeois) myth (Mythologies 1957/1972) and high culture ideas of value (The Fashion System 1967/1990). Turning oppositions later became the basic device of post-structuralist criticism. In this connection, deconstruction—and post-structuralist critique in general—was brought to bear particularly on New Critical modes of reading in the United States after about 1970 (and especially during the 1980s). Strands of this critique were carried over into music studies, as well, in debates over the New Musicology and the status of analysis in the 1980s and 1990s, and, since that time, over unity and (dis)unity as functions or principles.53 In the early 1990s, Russell Brown described the generational shift in literature studies with respect to thematic reading: “The use of theme as a critical tool and the value of a thematic statement as a goal of interpretation have been reassessed by the critical schools that have emerged in the last twenty years, as part of their larger critique of interpretation” (1993, 642). As a result, “thematic statements have been objected to as insufficiently nuanced, as reductive, . . . as a totalizing approach that implies a view of a literary work as a vehicle for ideas and as having one presiding idea.” Despite the objections, the “usefulness [of theme] as a way of organizing the reading of a text, of connecting one text to another . . . and of applying reading to the experience of life, appears to be indispensable to understanding literature” (Quinn 1993, 323). In other words, although thematic reading would appear to have been largely superseded by poststructural and deconstructive methods in the 1970s and 1980s, it has in fact remained surprisingly durable. From the standpoint of ideological criticism, it was not thematic reading per se that was rejected but the kinds of themes that were privileged (not surprisingly, the aestheticist priorities of the New Critics did not sit well with Marxist, psychoanalytic, or 53

On this, see Morgan 2003, responses to it (Chua 2004; Dubiel 2004; Korsyn 2004; Kramer 2004), and other work of the respondents.

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feminist critics). From the standpoint of deconstruction, it was partly a matter of privileged themes (“dominant” rather than “marginalized,” for example), but more importantly a matter of the status of themes as “fixed” that was the focus of criticism (Culler 1982, 206–12). The deployment of thematic reading, in other words, cuts across theoretical and ideological boundaries, nor should this be surprising, since notions of theme or thesis simply represent the making of abstractions that are a first step in reflection on any text one reads,54 and thus a strategy that is routine in both the traditional practice of reading and in its pedagogy. Interpretation tends to impose a structure mimicking the teleology of reading: as Jonathan Culler puts it, “even if we deny the need for a poem to be a harmonious totality we make use of the notion in reading. Understanding is necessarily a teleological process and a sense of totality is the end [that] governs its progress” (1975/2002, 200); and “There is . . . no way to escape from [interpretive frameworks], for the simple reason that one must have a sense, however undefined, of what one is reading towards” (209). In modes of post-Schenkerian linear analysis an obvious advantage accrues from enriching the background, but such expansions do not necessarily affect the teleological process—as it were, the temporal shape of reading—that Culler describes.55

54 55

Robert Hatten makes a similar point with respect to music cognition of gesture, topic, and trope (2004, 1–3). Culler and Umberto Eco engage in a lively debate over the question of multiple interpretations in literary studies, where—ironically, given the citations here—it is Culler who takes the role of advocate for multiple readings (Eco 1992). I grant that the view of interpretation as an institutional practice cited here is somewhat pessimistic, but it is consistent with David Bordwell’s analysis of interpretive practices in film and literary studies (Bordwell 1989, 19–42, 254–63; 2008, 12), an analysis that, it seems to me, applies with equal force in music studies. (I explore the issue at some length in Neumeyer 2002.)

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Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 31, Issue 2, pp. 284–324, ISSN 0195-6167, electronic ISSN 1533-8339. © 2009 by The Society for Music Theory. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press’s Rights and Permissions website, at http://www. ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp. DOI: 10.1525/mts.2009.31.2.284 This content downloaded from 169.229.11.216 on Wed, 21 Oct 2015 01:47:31 UTC All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

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