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CuapTer Two SCHENKERIAN ANALYSIS ‘Schenkerian analysis’ is something of an umbrella term. In the first place it includes Schenker’s own analytical techniques, notations and. theories. These were developed in Germany in the years before the Second World War, and were in a state of constant evolution; so talking about ‘Schenker analysis’ does not mean too much unless you specify which stage of this evolution you mean. But in general when people speak not of ‘Schenker analysis’ but of ‘Schenkerian analysis’ they don’t so much mean Schenker’s own work as the application of his ideas in post-war America. This has become rather more standardized in its techniques and terminology than Schenker’s own analyses ever were, and technically speaking it derives from the final stage of Schenker’s work, and in particular from his last analytical book, Free Composition; though it is worth adding that, apart from a few of Schenker’s own pupils, the. American exponents of Schenkerian analysis have chosen to ignore the psychological and metaphysical foundation for his theories which Schenker also presented in that book. The third and last body of work that might be referred to as ‘Schenkerian analysis’ is a further American development, in which the aim has been to develop a new theoretical foundation for Schenkerian analysis and to generalize his techniques on this basis; however this movement is generally known as ‘neo-Schenkerism’, and it will be considered briefly in Chapter 4. So it is ithe first two categories of | Schenkerian analysis that we are concerned with in this chapter - the work of Schenker himself, of his pupils, such as Oswald Jonas and Ernst Oster, and of contemporary practitioners such as Allen Forte and John Rothgeb. 1 English trans., Longman, 1979. 27 A Guide to Musical Analysis There are various ways in which Schenkerian analysis can be approached. Schenker himself, followed by Jonas, introduced it by first describing what he saw as the essential structures of music — the triad and its linear unfolding through arpeggiation, and through passing and auxiliary notes ~ in their most abstract form, and only then going on to discuss the forms which these structures might take in any actual musical context. In their Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis,’ Allen Forte and Steven Gilbert did the opposite: they began by illustrating specific occurrences of arpeggiation, passing notes and so on at the note-to-note level, before going on to show how such formations can be used in more abstract ways to create large-scale musical forms. But one of the best ways to understand any analytical approach is in terms of what it aims to do — that is to say, by considering what kind of questions it sets out to answer. And this is a particularly appropriate approach to Schenkerian analysis since it is very easy to miss the point of it; for example, by producing graphs that look like Schenkerian analysis but do not, in fact, answer Schenkerian questions. What, then, are the aims of Schenkerian analysis? In a general way, of course, it aims to omit inessentials and to highlight important relationships; but then that is equally the aim of Roman-letter analysis. It is easiest to understand the particular way in which Schenkerian analysis sets about doing this if we compare it with an example where Roman-letter analaysis is clearly inadequate; this will let us see how Schenkerian analysis develops out of commonsense attempts to remedy these inadequacies. Bach’s C major Prelude from Book I of the Well-Tempered Clavier (Fig. 7) has no marked dynamics, no rhythmic change, no thematic, textural or timbral variation. Nor does it have a tune you could easily whistle. By a process of elimination, then, we can say that its structure as a piece of music must be principally harmonic. And since it merely consists of an arpeggiated series of chords, it is in a sense very easy to analyze harmonically. Fig. 8 shows two alternative notations for the first 19 bars: each accounts for every note in the music. And yet what do these harmonic labels actually tell us that we didn’t know already? The second set of labels at least reveals something about the restricted range of functional relations between chords that wasn’t obvious at first sight, . as well as highlighting some harmonic sequences; but no Roman-letter analysis can adequately explain the sense one has in listening to the music that there’s a continuous and measured harmonic evolution through the piece. By this | mean that each chord does not seem to ' Norton, 1982. Schenkerian Analysis depend just on the previous chord (which is the maximum range of traditional contrapuntal theory), nor even on the previous group of chords (as in a hierarchical Roman-letter analysis); instead it is ex- perienced as a part of a larger motion towards some future harmonic goal. It doesn’t require any very special analytical techniques to show this; all we need do is ask ‘how are the progressions directed towards a goal’, and since the main goal is the end of the piece it is convenient to work backwards in looking for an answer. The piece ends, as it began, on a C major chord. Where does this final chord begin? If you looked just at the bass, you might say in bar 32; but though the final C pedal begins here and is clearly heard as tonic, the sense of harmonic re- solution is deflected by the B’ — a secondary dominant of F, which is only neutralized at bar 34. Furthermore there is obviously something cadential about the change of register at 34; it is at this point that there is a sense of formal finality, rather than merely of arrival on the tonic. So we already have the impression that something more than straightfor- ward harmonic function is involved in creating the sense of an ending in this piece, so that the factors which bring about the sense of an ending can be staggered in relation to each other. 29 A Guide to Musical Analysis Schenkerian Analysis Fig. 7 J. S. Bach, C major Prelude