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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Temporality, pace, and formal structure in selected passages from Brahms's Adagio Genre
by Metz, Andreas, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2014, 358; 3619939
Abstract (Summary)

The slow instrumental movement emerged as a distinct genre during the second half of the nineteenth century largely because of its association with introspection, spirituality, and compositional techniques capable of suggesting endless melody. This dissertation proposes that the adagio genre owes its special aesthetic quality not only to tempo, acquired connotations, and melodic design but also to subtle temporal fluctuations at and beneath the musical surface. To identify and interpret such fluctuations the study relies on pace analysis. Pace is understood as the regular succession of coordinated linearly significant melodic and harmonic events, so-called pace events. Temporal fluctuation arises when pace events occur earlier or later than expected.

The analytical approach featured here bears similarities with that Channan Willner proposes in his dissertation "Durational Pacing in Handel's Instrumental Works" (2005). It relies on an understanding of phrase structure as discussed in William Caplin's Classical Form (1998) and traces the basic and grouping paces in opening themes of Brahms's instrumental works to identify instances of durational manipulation. Individually and collectively, instances of the durational manipulation of pace events can give rise to lines of motion that through their suggestion of dynamic natural movement enhance the continuous quality of the music, render time available to consciousness, and thereby promote an introspective mode of listening. The analysis of pace and durational manipulation is demonstrated on four opening themes. My interpretation of three of these themes indicates that the skillful and strategic durational manipulation of pace events can facilitate the expression of a wide range of thoughts and emotions within the general context of introspection and spirituality. These include subconscious emotional conflict (Op. 78), self-effacement as a form of absolution from earthly burdens (Op. 83), and nostalgic reminiscence (Op. 102).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Samarotto, Frank
Commitee: Burkholder, Peter, Horlacher, Gretchen, Ivanovitch, Roman
School: Indiana University
Department: Music Theory
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Form, Harmonic rhythm, Manipulation, Motion, Pace, Temporality
Publication Number: 3619939
ISBN: 978-1-303-89593-7
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