An Introduction to Schenker’s Early Formenlehre: Implications for His Late Work
This article introduces Heinrich Schenker’s early Formenlehre – from his first major theoretical statement, Der Geist der musikalischen Technik, to the first published mention of the Urlinie in his explanatory edition of Beethoven’s op. 101. A tension between conformational and generative approaches to form emerged in Schenker’s thought during this time. These two approaches are shown to collide in his conception of sonata form in the 1920s. Although interruption offers one way to reconcile this apparent contradiction, I contend that form exerts its own force – a force that intrudes from outside voice leading’s dynamic transformation into the foreground. As a result, Schenker’s late conception of musical monocausality, which is based in part on his monotheistic religious beliefs, is called into question.