Heinrich Schenker’s theory of tonal voice leading is widely regarded for its ability to convey unique insight about common-practice tonal structure and composition. While the concept of an essential voice is implicit in Schenker’s theory of voice leading, he never directly addressed it. Without a broad formalization of the concept from Schenker, contemporary theorists provide inconsistent approaches that lead to competing interpretations and widely varying understanding of methodology. This thesis traces the latent concept of an essential voice in Schenker’s writings from Harmonielehre (1906) to Der freie Satz (1935) and provides analytical applications to the works of J. S. Bach—in particular his solo string works—to illustrate the value of the concept for contemporary Schenkerian theory.
Chapter 1 lays the groundwork for a discussion of the essential voice concept by considering historical approaches to the idea of compound melody along with those of contemporary theorists. By drawing comparisons between strict and free tonal counterpoint, Chapter 2 develops the concept of identity for an essential voice as expressed by its registral position and ordering within contrapuntal layers. Chapter 3 grounds the concept of continuity for an essential voice in Schenker’s mentally retained note and rehabilitates the status of pedal tones as intermediate prolongational entities, framing essential voices as transformed pedal tones. Chapter 4 establishes the relationship between essential voice analyses and the musical surface foreground by historical analogy to thoroughbass and diminution theory. By differentiating between recursive, non-recursive, and terminating voice leading transformations it locates the essential voice-leading analysis as a late stage in the Schenkerian process of generative analysis. Chapter 5 illustrates the economy and clarity of essential voice-leading analysis through application to the Sarabande from J. S. Bach’s Suite No. 5 in C minor for Solo Cello, BWV 1011. This concluding chapter emphasizes that the essential voice properties of identity and continuity are derived solely and uniquely from the function of essential voices in composing out Stufen.
|Commitee:||Marvin, William M., Samarotto, Frank|
|School:||University of Rochester|
|Department:||Eastman School of Music|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Cello suites, Essential voice, Heinrich Schenker, Johann Sebastian Bach, violin sonatas and partitas, voice leading|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be