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Some Schenkerian Implications for Sonata Theory

Joel Galand - pag. 153-172

In Elements of Sonata Theory (2006), James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy devote comparatively little space to the Schenkerian implications of their approach, but what they do write is intriguing, opening up broad avenues for research. This article contributes to that project by confronting Schenkerian theory with the hierarchy of “default” strategies that Hepokoski and Darcy erect around the “medial caesura” (MC). In their “first-level default” exposition type, an MC on a half-cadential V in the new key effects a two-part division at the juncture between transition and secondary theme. Lower-level defaults include the possibility of an MC being ar- ticulated by a perfect authentic cadence in the new key (i.e., no local “interruption” effect). Techniques like the “blocked MC” may attenuate the caesura, or there may be more than one MC (as in the “tri-modular” block), or the MC may be absent altogether, yielding a “continuous”, rather than two-part, exposition. How do these strategies collectively provide a conceptual scheme against which we can map pos- sible Schenkerian middleground approaches to the 2/V of the underlying interruption form? Conversely, how can Schenkerian voice-leading transformations pro- vide a grid for categorizing and elucidating Hepokoski and Darcy’s defaults?

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