Rivista di Analisi e Teoria Musicale
Anno XXVI n. 1, 2020
An Infinite Mystery: A Schenkerian Approach to Liszt’s Grande Sonate (1853), pp. 7-52
Gianluca Dai Prà
“Come una formica”: il ruolo dei temperamenti nella possibile genesi del dualismo armonico, pp. 53-88
Scriabin’s Desir, Opus 57, No. 1: Pitch Structure, Statistical Parameters, and Form, pp. 89-120
Pratica variazionale nella musica di Bruno Bettinelli, pp. 121-154
Archetipi operistici e geometrie musicali nel Giordano Bruno di Francesco Filidei, pp. 155-199
Notizie sugli autori / Notes on contributors pag. 201-203
Master Universitario di I livello pag. 205-208
Liszt’s Grande Sonate remains an emblematic example of Central European Romanticism. Liszt’s symbolic fusion of the Enlightenment sonata form with the multi-movement Baroque instrumental genre produced this revolutionary work. At the level of the textual surface, the extensive work is unified under the principle of monothematism. However, a construction of these dimensions cannot stand up without an interconnection between structure and form. An investigation is therefore necessary that, through the tools of Schenkerian theory, focuses on this intricate intertwining. This analytical approach has led to unexpected results both with regard to the Grand Sonate’s formal articulation and the elucidation of the boundaries between its various sections. Furthermore, it has made it possible to identify some bitonal fragments that represent the first experiments in the so- called ordre omnitonique prospected by Fétis.
With these premises, our analytical effort on the Lisztian masterpiece does not aim to demonstrate a priori the presence of the prescribed cohesion and coherence, which hold conceptual predominance in the European world. Instead, it aims (i) to realise a posteriori how the Grande Sonate functions, then (ii) to highlight the legacy of the classical principles in its compositional process and, finally, (iii) to evaluate the historical significance of Liszt’s review of this major musical form.
During the 1600s, through the use of church keys in instrumental music, performance and composition practices that gave rise to tonality were consolidated. These practices adopted specific temperaments, and founded a theoretical explanation to modal criteria not entirely suitable for the new music phenomenon [Barnett 1998; Powers 1998]. The interactions that were created between theory, temperaments and praxis triggered a process of continuous reciprocal adjustment that led to the tonal theory, and the subsequent visions of tonality: the monistic one, based on thoroughbass, and the dualistic one, based on harmonic relations. This paper takes harmonic dualism as the theoretical agreement of the three subjects of tonal development. Through the structural analogy between temperaments and harmonic dualism, the paper explain how the latter could be generated in triadic relations from the first tonal praxis, and how through the modification of praxis over time it could take its current form. It’s hypothesized that, in the same way, temperaments have generated the coherence criterion which gives meaning to the triadic language, as identified by Lewin . It’s therefore argued that temperaments are the generating element of harmonic dualism, and that further investigations on the phenomenon in this direction may highlight new important elements in the fields of triadic relations and harmonic dualism.
The shift from tonal determinacy to atonality was a gradual process that occurred during the era of the fin de siècle and the first decade of the twentieth century. Often, the particular process embraced an interstitial period where the music integrates tonal with atonal pitch processes, tallying additional challenges to the analytical process.
The robust conventional (tonal) Formenlehre affords us with sufficient tools to negotiate formal structure, formal function, and formal rhetoric. Central to this theoretical stream are L. Meyer’s primary parameters: melody, rhythm, meter, and harmony.
In this paper I study the transformational characteristics existing between given musical objects. The aim is develop hypothesis on the kinetic energy of a certain musical fragment, starting from different amount of energy connected with particular transformational actions. Taking the cue from the methodology exposed in J. Straus , I define specific transformational type, that is a transformation which has given characteristic in the voice-leading between two collections. It becomes possible to study specific path of voice-leading, set side by side with specific listening way characterized by a greater or smaller variational density. On the basis of this requirement, I define both the action space unique of each transformation and how this space action interpolate himself with the complex tem- porality of a bigger musical fragment. The transformation becomes the medium by means of perceive the development of the musical structure. Each system of voice-leading is related to a specific transformational type, that is classify like an action carried out on a musical object, turned into a modification of his internal characteristic. In each transformation is inherent a specific capacity to preserve the intervallic identity of the starting object, that is inversely proportional to the energy of the transformation. This study could be developed with: a) an extension of the analyzable repertory by the same analytical strategy; b) a more detailed study, on a more psychological view, of a possible parallel between the transformational type and our perceptual and cognitive capacity.
The essay analyzes the opera Giordano Bruno by Francesco Filidei, one of the most representative musical theater works in beginning of 21st century. The musical dramaturgy is based on closed and ritualized forms, 12 scenes built on the 12 notes of the chromatic scale, along two vectors, one in upward, one in downward motion. This formal device of diverging scales is also reflected in the structure of the different scenes, which are analyzed individually, and in the construction of all music materials. Although deriving from basic elements, such as scales, these materials appear very various and evocative, even with stylistic references and quotations, especially in the vocal writing switching from aphasic and fragmented singing to arioso, from plainchant to explicit references to the Italian opera. Along with the music analysis, the close link between sound, performative elements and symbolic meanings is highlighted. The whole opera is based on the intersection between a rising horizon and another that descends, like Giordano Bruno’s two existential paths: six “philosophical” scenes, which rise towards an infinite world, and six “biographical” scenes instead describe a descent towards the abyss, cul- minating in the scene of the Stake (n.11), a tragic epilogue corresponding to an emblematic passage from sound to noise, and symbolizing the fusion between body and wood, between animate and inanimate matter, the two “primary” elements by which the composer got inspired.