Analyzing Schubert

Analyzing Schubert

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When Schubert's contemporary reviewers first heard his modulations, they famously claimed that they were excessive, odd and unplanned. This book argues that these claims have haunted the analysis of Schubert's harmony ever since, outlining why Schubert's music occupies a curiously marginal position in the history of music theory. Analyzing Schubert traces how critics, analysts and historians from the early nineteenth century to the present day have preserved cherished narratives of wandering, alienation, memory and trance by emphasizing the mystical rather than the logical quality of the composer's harmony. This study proposes a new method for analyzing the harmony of Schubert's works. Rather than pursuing an approach that casts Schubert's famous harmonic moves as digressions from the norms of canonical theoretical paradigms, Suzannah Clark explores how the harmonic fingerprints in Schubert's songs and instrumental sonata forms challenge pedigreed habits of thought about what constitutes a theory of tonal and formal order.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 250 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 b/w illus. 1 table 87 music examples
  • 9781139118439

Table of contents

Introduction; 1. Singing Schubert's praises: the voice of Vogl in Schubert's early history; 2. 'A word will often do it': harmonic adventure in Schubert's songs; 3. Music theory and the musicological imagination: perceptions of Schubert's sonata form; 4. Analyzing music theory: a Schubertian critique; Epilogue; Bibliography.
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Review quote

"The result is a book that not only offers new ways of understanding Schubert's music but critiques music theory itself, inviting further questioning of long-accepted assumptions. This work is a fascinating challenge..."
--Choice "Recommended for all lovers of Schubert for sure; but also to anyone with more than a passing interest in the development of harmony in particular in the nineteenth century, and indeed musical history more generally." "Analyzing Schubert certainly is controversial, particularly in Clark's critiques of well established theories, but it is sure to provoke further discussion on music theory's role in understanding music." --Music Research Forum (Volume 27,2012)
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About Suzannah Clark

Suzannah Clark is Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of Music at Harvard University. In addition to her work on Schubert, her research interests range from medieval French motets to the history of music theory from Rameau to Schenker. She is the co-editor of Citation and Authority in Medieval and Renaissance Musical Culture: Learning from the Learned, with Elizabeth Eva Leach, and Music Theory and Natural Order from the Renaissance to the Early Twentieth Century, with Alexander Rehding.
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