Tonal unity and quality of motion: a Schenkerian study
The subject of this study is quality of motion in tonal music as viewed from the structural perspective of Schenkerian tonal theory.The Schenkerian concept of composing-out is identified as the primary basis of quality of motion. Thus a progression displays a sense of "purposeful" motion as it composes-out, or traverses, a harmonic interval. As the composing-out is furthered through the application of prolongation, other kinds of qualities arise in the progressions that are generated. Each of the generated progressions is heard not just as a motion traversing its own intervallic space, but also as a delay of, or detour from, the motion of the original progression. The generated progression may also be heard as directed toward or away from the original progression: for example, an initial ascent is heard as directed toward the fundamental line, a circumstance which seems to energize the quality of the ascent in a special way. Such qualities as this that are born of a relation to higher structure are referred to in this study as inflections.Specific Schenkerian prolongational techniques in both upper voice and bass are reviewed, including initial ascent, motion from the inner voice, reaching-over, complete and incomplete transference of the forms of the fundamental structure, motion to the applied divider, and auxiliary cadence. One chapter is given over in its entirety to a discussion of structural division and interruption. In all cases, the principle of tonal unity as embodied in composing-out is seen to lead to clear distinctions in quality of motion. Two negative examples are considered in the final chapter, where ambiguity of quality of motion is shown to be symptomatic of a breakdown of tonal unity.
- Music