Looking Beyond the Surface: Form, Force and Structure in Kurth and Schenker
This article examines the position of form and Formenlehre in energetic theories of music emerged in the first decades of the twentieth century, with particular focus on Kurth and Schenker. Unlike Halm, who rejected the typological perspective of Formenlehre so as to propose an approach to individual works conceived as living organisms, Kurth’s and Schenker’s relation to the Formenlehre changed over time according to their theoretical development. Kurth increasingly distanced himself from the Formenlehre approach during the 1920s, until he unexpectedly proposed a reconciliation in Musikpsychologie (1931). Schenker, who did not explicitly reject the Formenlehre perspective until the mid-1920s, later gradually realised that his new approach implied an overturning of that perspective, until he proposed his new For- menlehre in Der freie Satz (1935). This article investigates the role of outer form in the meta-theoretical framework of these authors, going on to examine how some of their pupils and followers have supported or subverted their meta-theoretical premises in order to better reconcile with the Formenlehre tradition.