Schoenberg's Twelve-Tone Music: Symmetry and the Musical by Jack Boss

By Jack Boss

Jack Boss takes a special method of reading Arnold Schoenberg's twelve-tone system, adapting the composer's proposal of a 'musical suggestion' - challenge, elaboration, resolution - as a framework and targeting the large-scale coherence of the full piece. The e-book starts by way of defining 'musical proposal' as a wide, overarching approach related to clash among musical parts or events, elaboration of that clash, and backbone, and examines how such conflicts frequently contain symmetrical pitch and period shapes which are obscured not directly. Containing shut analytical readings of a big variety of Schoenberg's key twelve-tone works, together with Moses und Aron, the Suite for Piano Op. 25, the Fourth Quartet, and the String Trio, the research offers the reader with a clearer knowing of this still-controversial, not easy, yet very important modernist composer.

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Extra resources for Schoenberg's Twelve-Tone Music: Symmetry and the Musical Idea

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B. Marx, a music theorist who was strongly influenced by Hegel in numerous ways (and who will be discussed in detail below). Or perhaps he got it from informal discussions about philosophy with friends and colleagues, which (of course) could apply to any of the other authors we have discussed who are not represented in the Schoenberg library. The four ways in which Hegel anticipates Schoenberg’s musikaliche Gedanke are (1) his assertions that truth or reality is an organic Idea in the sense that it contains the blueprint for its further development within its initial stage; (2) his characterization of the Idea developing over time by means of a dialectical process, positing an element within itself that opposes the initial element, then taking back the opposition into a synthesis with the initial element, again and again; (3) his claim that any work of art must represent the Idea, or the process of the Spirit (Geist) coming to know itself, with a sensuous shape; and (4) his insistence that the 32 33 34 Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Early Philosophical Writings, trans.

35 And another passage that comes a few pages before it gives an organic character to this “beginning that presupposes and is worked out to its end” (this seems to be the source of the “acorn” metaphor that resonates through numerous accounts of organicism after Hegel): When we wish to see an oak with its massive trunk and spreading branches and foliage, we are not content to be shown an acorn instead. , in making itself into a 35 36 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, preface to Phenomenology of Spirit, trans.

The analyses in this book are thus somewhat unique in the English-language literature on Schoenberg’s music, in that they endeavor to give a complete account of a piece (or scene in the case of Moses und Aron) from beginning to end, not presenting the details measure by measure necessarily, but accounting for the processes that characterize every section of a piece. I firmly believe there is no other way to account for “musical idea” as Schoenberg seems to be characterizing it. In a number of the pieces I will analyze, the conflict that sets the Idea in motion is between a musical “ideal” and some musical reality that provides an imperfect image of that ideal.

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