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Title: Harmony and Voice-Leading in The Rite of Spring
Authors: Russell, Jonathan
Advisors: Tymoczko, Dmitri
Contributors: Music Department
Keywords: analysis
pitch space
Rite of Spring
Subjects: Musical composition
Music theory
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: While many analysts have considered harmony in The Rite of Spring from a variety of angles, a convincing and comprehensive account of its harmonic practices has yet to emerge. This dissertation aims to fill this gap by presenting a full accounting of harmony in The Rite. The goal is both to be as comprehensive as possible and also to uncover useful lessons and tools for composers working today. While drawing on previous analytical approaches, the paper’s primary analytical method is rooted in recent applications of the geometric modeling of pitch space to harmonic analysis. By showing similar underlying voice-leading patterns and similar ways of moving through pitch space, this approach connects much twentieth century music to the common practice music preceding it. It provides a vocabulary for discussing music that does not follow the syntax of functional tonality, but that is nonetheless intuitively tonal, allowing us to consider the logic of harmonic and voice-leading patterns without being forced either to abandon the concept of tonality entirely, or to invoke tortured extensions of common practice functional progressions. The Rite that emerges from this analysis has a large, but contained and describable range of harmonic techniques. It has numerous structural connections and patterns, but no reducible system. And it has logical processes and systems that are warped and disguised by intuitive play. The idea of a “network” or “web” is an especially fruitful image. A given harmony in the work can be seen from several angles at once, and depending on which of its implications are followed, it can be connected to a wide range of other harmonies, creating a complex, interwoven web of associations. Chapter 1 reviews previous approaches to analyzing harmony in The Rite, and outlines the paper’s analytical method; Chapters 2 and 3 apply the analytical techniques from Chapter 1 in depth, with bar-by-bar analyses of Parts 1 and 2 of The Rite, respectively; Chapter 4 summarizes the main conclusions to be drawn from the analyses in Chapters 2 and 3; and Chapter 5 discusses implications for further analysis and composition.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Music

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