Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Pedals, Functions, and Form-Functional Overlap in the Instrumental Music of the Viennese Classical Style
by Johnston, Sean F., Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 2012, 190; 3572870
Abstract (Summary)

Despite being ubiquitous within the Classical style, pedals have received little attention in the scholarly literature. This dissertation adopts a form-functional approach to understanding them with an eye toward distinguishing their normative and non-normative functions. A form-functional approach begins by parsing the musical surface into formal and temporal functions. William Caplin has identified five distinct temporal functions: 1) “before-the-beginning”; 2) “the beginning”; 3) “the middle”; 4) “the end”; and 5) “after-the-end.” Appearing mostly in locations 2) and 5), tonic pedals express two primary functions, formal initiation and postcadential closing for a theme. Dominant pedals also express postcadential function, but close less stable areas like transitions. They also appear in location 3), most notably in contrasting middles, where they bring harmonic contrast or uncertainty and anticipate a recapitulation. Because they frequently mediate between the home and subordinate key, I have devised four categories of dominant pedal that bring a sense of clarity to the range of functions dominant pedals can serve. Vd → Vd pedals normally express a postcadential standing-on-the-dominant or a contrasting-middle function. Vt → Vt pedals express the same functions, but in a more stable way. Vt → Vd pedals express a retransition function or a contrasting-middle function that enacts a harmonic transformation. The Vd → Vt pedal also expresses a contrasting-middle function, but reverses the direction of the harmonic transformation. Finally, with regard to their non-normative functions, pedals can loosen their formal contexts by generating form-functional overlap and expansion.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wheeldon, Marianne
Commitee: Almen, Byron, Buhler, James, Caplin, William E., Neumeyer, David
School: The University of Texas at Austin
Department: Music Theory
School Location: United States -- Texas
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Classical, Form-functional overlap, Instrumental music, Pedals, Viennese style
Publication Number: 3572870
ISBN: 978-1-303-41033-8
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