Home » Pubblicazioni » Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale (RATM) » Anno 2015/2 » The Independence of Structural Parameters in Schenkerian Accounts of Tonal Form

The Independence of Structural Parameters in Schenkerian Accounts of Tonal Form

Christopher Brody - pag. 115-127

Schenkerian theory distinguishes two components of musical structure, thematic design and tonal structure, whose respective roles in creating musical form are left unclear in Schenker’s own work: the Versuch einer neuen Formenlehre from his cap- stone Free Composition (1935) disclaims any reliance on thematic design, while his analyses show a clear awareness of it. Recent criticism, seeking to explain the rela- tionship between the two components, has tended to suggest either that they must be in perfect agreement, or else that they do not constrain each other in any system- atic way. This article proposes instead that they constrain each other only partially (or “fractionally”), a view which becomes evident when Schenker’s analyses in his Versuch einer neuen Formenlehre are taken as a totality rather than individually. In a repertoire context, the two components “agree” when a particular thematic design implies a particular tonal structure, and vice versa, a condition that I show is mostly but not entirely the case with the examples in Schenker’s Versuch.