Fantasy Pieces

Fantasy Pieces : Metrical Dissonance in the Music of Robert Schumann

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Fantasy Pieces examines from several vantage points a vital life-force of Robert Schumann's music, namely metrical conflict. Harald Krebs's imaginative yet rigorous study makes use of Schumann's fascinating projections of his own personality--the characters Florestan and Eusebius--as one means of addressing the biographical and aesthetic context of the music. In counterpoint with the remarks of these personae, Krebs develops an original theory of metrical conflict by adapting the concepts of consonance and dissonance to metrical analysis. He investigates how states of metrical dissonance arise, and shows how they are manipulated and resolved in the course of compositions. He offers new methods for understanding the metrical progressions of entire works or movements, and studies the interaction of metrical conflict with form, with pitch structure, and with the texts of Schumann's vocal works. Krebs includes a wealth of illustrations from the whole range of Schumann's work and offers numerous insights important for performance. In the final chapter, he provides richly detailed studies of pieces by Schumann in various genres, interspersing them with shorter discussions of music by Berlioz, Chopin, Clara Schumann, Ives, and Schoenberg. This is a book that will appeal not only to students and scholars of music theory, but to all musicians interested in the life, work, and unique personality of Robert Schumann.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 305 pages
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New ed.
  • 142375977X
  • 9781423759775

Review quote

"This volume is a welcome contribution to the study of Schumann, especially for those interested in his music, but also for psychologists and others desiring to examine inferentially matters of personality through analysis of original documents."--Perceptual and Motor Skills"[This] is a very impressive piece of work. Though primarily a theoretical study, it casts its net considerably wider. Krebs is also sensitive to historical issues (precedents for Schumann's metrical style), philological matters (metrical revisions in the primary sources for Schumann's work), questions of performance practice, and even biography (possible relationships between Schumann's metrical techniques and his mental states). In addition, the book is written in an engaging and highly imaginative style."--John Daverio, School for the Arts, Boston University"This book is a unique contribution to Schumann studies; it should be read by anyone who is seriously interested in Schumann's music."--William Rothstein, Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY"[H]is accomplishment is no less than an imaginative reconstruction of the creative ferment of composing and theorizing in the early nineteenth century...Krebs's literary virtuosity in playing both sides of the fence does not smack of an ideologically loaded postmodernist approach to scholarship...[I]n daring to move creatively beyond the assurances of staid historical scholarship, Krebs also brings to bear a commanding knowledge of the repertoire, illustrated in copious analytical detail...In the course of such a wide-ranging interpretive journey, one could not ask for a more experienced and sensitive musical guide."--Music Theory Spectrum
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About Harald Krebs

Harald Krebs holds a Ph.D. in music theory from Yale University. He has taught at the University of British Columbia and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is currently professor of music theory at the School of Music of the University of Victoria.
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