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Guest Editorial: Performance and Analysis of Music

Author(s): Jonathan Dunsby


Reviewed work(s):
Source: Music Analysis, Vol. 8, No. 1/2 (Mar. - Jul., 1989), pp. 5-20
Published by: Blackwell Publishing
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/854325 .
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JONATHANDUNSBY

GUEST EDITORIAL:
PERFORMANCE AND ANALYSIS OF MUSIC

I
Even withinrelativelysmall, tentative,isolated areas of music-analytical
truein thearea
and thisis certainly
thereis muchthatis contentious,
activity,
forinstance,bythe
viewson 'analysis'- analysisas represented,
ofperformers'
and analysisof musicis
journalsof thatdiscipline.*The area of performance
examinedhere withinthe confinesof Western-Europeantonal music and
modernWestern-Europeananalyticalresponsesto it. Withoutapologyfor
dealingonlywithold music,and fordealingonlywitha received,Germanic
mustbe admitted.Thereare ofcoursesenses
viewofanalysis,thenarrowness
inwhichthechallengesofperforming
music,whichmustbe a central
post-tonal
modern preoccupation,are differentin kind, just as there are other,
is
sophisticatedmusical societiesin whichthe veryconceptof performance
- societiesin whichthereis no notation,societiesin whichwhatwe
different
is in factmore a sortof game, societiesin which
would call a performance
is
a
everyone performer.
circlesof the
There seems to be a growingawarenessin music-theoretical
of
the
connections
between
for
contemplating
potential deeper investigation
musicand actuallypresenting
it. Indeed a numberofrecentpublicationshave
rushedin- wheremosttheorists
have,in therecentpast,fearedto tread- with
littleovertattentionto underlying
issues, especiallytheissue of theextentto
and analysisis even desirable,let alone
whicha unifiedfocusin performance
then,thisbriefdiscussionbegins
possible.Withina narrowframeofreference,
and proceedswitha
withsomeoftheseedsofourthinking
aboutperformance,
fewcase-studiesin non-technical
language.Finally,thereis modestcomment
on a moralto be drawnfrom'authentic',historicist
performance
practice.

*This essayis therevisedversionofan addressto theFirstAnnualEncounteroftheNationalAssociationforResearchand


GraduateStudiesin Music, Salvador,Brazil,21-4 November1988. TravelfundingfromtheBritishCouncilis gratefully
acknowledged.I also thankJamesEllis forpointingme in one ofthedirectionstakenhere.

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II
and music-analytical
Many will assume that the greatestmusic-theoretical
impact on present-dayperformancepractices has emanated from the
Schenkerianschool,of whichmorewill be said in due course. Yet it can be
argued thatat least as much has been inheritedfromthose whose musical
educationstemmeddirectlyor indirectly
fromArnoldSchoenberg;forit is a
of the
Schoenbergianassumptionthata thoroughconceptualunderstanding
musical score is the prerequisiteof adequate performance.The course of
music has surelyshown this to be true in the area of
twentieth-century
music.
dodecaphonic
DespitetheinsistenceoftheSecond-Viennese
composers
thatitis howthemusicsoundswhichmatters,nothowitwas made,everybody
now acceptsthata sensitiveperformance
ofthesepost-tonalscores,especially
of
is
to
unlesstheperformer
is thoroughly
occur
Webern's,
perhaps
unlikely
familiarwiththeintervalpropertiesofthetonerowor rowsand therhythmic
structureof their presentation.Every detail of the score and all the
are consideredvital studyforthe performer.'It is hardly
interrelationships
surprisingthatthisbeliefin the essentialrole of analysisas preparationfor
performanceof new music became the byword among Schoenbergians
was neworold, and thatthiswidecircleof
regardlessofwhethertherepertoire
inworld
performance
ideologyhasincludedmanyofthemostinfluential
figures
musicofrecenttimes.
The positionis stateddirectlyby violinistRudolfKolisch,who maintained
thatthestudyofa score
thanusualstructural
Ithastopenetrate
hastoreachmuchfurther
analysis.
so deeply,thatwe arefinally
abletoretrace
processofthe
everythought
such
a
will
enable
us
to
readthesigns
examination
composer.
Only
thorough
and to definetheobjective
to theirfullextentandmeaning
performance
thosereferring
tophrasing,
andinflection,
elements,
punctuation
especially
thespeechlike
elements.2
An equallystringent
realizationofthisapproachis to be foundin ErwinStein's
in whichwe are toldthat
bookFormandPerformance,
ofthemusic;
istorealizethecharacter
concern
Theperformer's
paramount
He shouldnotbeginwith
itis thepurpose
forwhichthemusicwaswritten.
butseekthe
tobe expressed,
ideasaboutmoodsoremotions
preconceived
ofthemusic,
features.
It is thestructure
in themusic'sformal
character
anddynamic
from
itsmelodic,
components,
harmonic,
rhythmical
resulting
atthesametime.Thecharacter
isgiven
form
andcharacter
thatdetermines
he
will
the
butby
the
second
In
structure.
the
first,
convey
fully
realizing
by
both.He musttakeaccountofthe
pullingthemusicabouthewillcontort
ofthestructure
features
them,decidetheirprecedence
and,incombining
ofbalance.3
andjudgement
tohissenseofproportion
according
6

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The Second-Vienneseapproachto performance


has muchin commonwith
the Schenkeriantraditionwhichtendsto claimpriority
in thesematters.Both
reston musicalidealism:themusicalscore,itis hoped,offers
themostcomplete
of
what
the
and
evidence
the
has the
possible
composerintended,
performer
of
information
this
and
it
to
the
last
detail
responsibility decoding
representing
in musical performance.The realityis different,
if only because musical
notationitself,in skilledcompositional
hands,is so economicalwiththetruth,
but in generalbecause of theinescapablehalo of historicalcontingency
in the
playing,singingor conductingofotherpeople'smusic.Withinneitherofthese
dominant forces which have shaped our preconceptionsabout musical
is therea systematic
oftherehearsalroom
performance
placeforthepragmatism
or the teachingstudio, in which aural and verbal traditionis the essential
ofthemusicologist,
who
currency.Thereis notevenplace forthepragmatism
can discoverone day thedocumentthatchallengessome aspectofyesterday's
interpretation.
To underestimate
the high musical achievement,be it Schoenbergianor
that
froman inspiredcreativeidealismwould be quite
came
Schenkerian,
withoutartisticintegrity.
needs some mediation
Nevertheless,the performer
betweenthe spiritualand the actual, withoutundermining
either.This can
one whichis often
beginto be achievedby makinga rathersimpledistinction,
and performance.
A particular
overlooked,betweeninterpretation
analysismay
well lead to theconvictionthata particularkindof interpretation
is essential,
buthowtoconveythatinterpretation
tothelistenerinperformance
is a different
matter.Dependingon instruments,
acoustics,evenfactorssuchas thetimeof
day,it maybe necessary,forinstance,to grosslyexaggeratemusicaldetailsin
orderto getthemessageacross:evidenceofthisis thecareerofone ofthemost
moderninterpreters,
thelate GlennGould,who withdrew
from
highly-valued
concert
work
because
ofthemusicallyfalseperformance
that
public
altogether
he believedit imposedbetweeninterpreter
and listener.4Withoutdoubt, a
sociologicalunderstandingof performanceis a much less pure kind of
ofinterpretation
whichhas been
knowledgethantheanalyticalunderstanding
an ideal of thiscentury.As a consequence,performers
who do not thinkof
themselvesas analysts cannot expect too much from those who do.
and tryingto explainmusicalstructure
is notthesamekindof
Understanding
as understanding
and communicating
music.Thereis a genuineoverlap
activity
betweenthesepolesofactivity,
butit cannotbe a completeoverlap.
A fewremarksarerequiredatthisstageon howtheviewsjustexpressedrelate
totheSchenkerian
Schenkerhimselfusedthe
positionon musicalperformance.
word 'interpretation'
as a pejorativeterm to signifythe impositionof a
performer'sown, personal, idiosyncraticmusical ideas on those of the
to mean the understanding
of a score
composer.Here it is used differently,
derived principallyfromthe internalevidence of that score. The present
distinctionbetweeninterpretation
and performancedoes not substantially
contradictSchenker'sownformulation,
in whichitis claimedthatall evidence
needed to assimilatea compositionis to be foundin a score; but what the
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JONATHAN

DUNSBY

composerdoes not offertheperformeris a guide to the means of actually


has been
community
producingtherequiredeffect.The modernmusic-theory
that
of
belief
the
literalness
Schenker's
to
unwilling acknowledge,however,
in
which
be
found
in
the
so-called
can
that
'Meisterwerk'
magicalcontinuity
only
witheveryother,on
structure
is interrelated
everydetailoftonaland rhythmic
and betweenthoseand
themusicalsurface,at thedeepestlevelsofprolongation
levelsoftonalhierarchy.
intervening
A numberofcommentators
haveaskedhow Schenkeriantenetscan be used
butofwhatmightbe calledordinary
in theanalysis,notonlyof'masterpieces',
good music.6Ordinarygood music mightdisplaymanyof the voice-leading
butitis notin essenceorganic,so thatthereis
featuresofthetonalmasterpiece,
its
structure
and therecan be no goldenkeyto its
no goldenkeyto explaining
assumed
thatthelessonstobe learnedfrom
It
is
interpretation. probablywidely
structure
of
a
the
masterpiececannot fail to enhance our
interpreting
to
less
of,say,
organicmusic- thattheskilledinterpreter
subsequentapproach
Mozart'sPiano Sonatain A minor,K.310, willdo well in playinga sonataby
a dangerof
Dussek or Pinto.Yet evenherethereis a dangerofover-theorising,
it
were
in the
as
if
music
informal
less
tautly-structured,
performing
of
Schenkerian
in
music
The
wholesale
tradition.
theory
adoption
masterpiece
analyticaltechniqueswithouta rigorousapplicationof Schenkerianaesthetics
to the
betweenmasterpieceand non-masterpiece
has consignedthedistinction
safetyof the touchline:if thislends a more acceptableface to the zealot of
Schenkeriantheory,it may also create unnecessarydifficultiesfor the
thatcarries
who has to contendwitha kind of pan-Schenkerism
performer,
one
can only
noneoftheartisticcompulsionoftheoriginalideal. Thatbeingso,
environment.
in
the
as possible
recommend
post-idealistic
workingas positively
It seems to followthatthe mosthelpfulway to characterizeanalysisforthe
is notas
whichis boundtobe at theveryleastSchenker-influenced,
performer,
someformofabsolutegood,butas a problem-solving
activity.
ofa kindinthisrespect,seenintheinteraction
Therealreadyexistsa tradition
ofpedagogyand performance
throughvariousapproachesto theconceptofthe
wisdom
musicaledition.Sometimestheresultoftheurgetorecordperformance
tooktheformoftechnicaland spiritualadvice,ofwhichAlfredCortot'seditions
of Chopin are probablythe best-knownexamples.An especiallyinteresting
groupis formedby theeditorsofBeethoven'spianosonatas,vonBillow(1894)
and Schnabel(1935) tendingtowardsmattersofexpression,Tovey(1931) and
Schenker(1934) moreconcernedwithaddressingwhatwe mightnowadayscall
thatbothhistorical
knowledgeand
analyticalissues,butall ofthemrecognizing
intense,detailedstudyofall aspectsofthescorearerequired.'The veryhistory
editorialpracticemaybe viewedas partofthepre-history
ofnineteenth-century
inthe
ofprogramme-note
oftwentieth-century
writing
analysis(as is thehistory
research
on
which
in
nineteenth
late
thorough
century,especially Britain,
remainsto be even begun): it moved fromthe stage of awarenessof the
to the lateinadequacyof the musical score as a guide to interpretation,
in
Romantic taste for imposing 'personal' readings, or 'interpretations'
8

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Schenker'ssenseoftheword- one ironichighpointofthissecondphasebeing


FerruccioBusoni's desireto make whathe thoughtof as a concertversionof
Schoenberg'sThree Piano Pieces, Op.ll, of 1909, much to the composer's
consternation.The reaction which set in, expounding respect for the
composer'stext,and studyof it perse, made it inevitablethatthetheoryand
fortheessenceofthatstudy,
analysisoftonalmusicwouldbecomeimportant,
whichis themeansand termsofunderstanding
musicalstructure,
cametobe at
a premium. It was also inevitablethat this would raise difficultiesof
communication.
The moresophisticated
theanalysis,thelesscomprehensible
it
is tothenon-specialist,
who
yetonemightdaretosaythatitis thenon-specialist
has greatestneed of theanalysis.Howevereffectively
thesedifficulties
can be
overcomein thelongterm,we shouldavoidbeingsentimental
abouta chimeric
unityofpurposebetweenmusicians'differing
objectives.

III
Somequestionsofinterpretation
areeasilyresolvedby 'analysis'ofone formor
another.Whentheyarenot,itmaybe thattheanalysisis poor,butitis equally
is askingill-considered
is a
possiblethattheperformer
questions.The following
simplecase in point.In thethirdsectionofBrahms'sFantasieOp. 116,No. 2,
we hear new, contrasting
material,the openingand middlesectionin minor
givingwaytomajor-mode
melodywithno down-beatrepeatednotes(see Ex. 1).
The performer
betweenthesetwomelodies?
mightask: whatis therelationship
The answeris that,withcharacteristic
ingenuity,Brahmsis usingthe longdoublecounterpoint
at theoctave,as Ex.
standingtechniqueofvariedtwo-part
2 illustrates.
Yet thereis no seriousproblemfortheperformer
in anycase in the
ofthesethemes.The melodiesareclearlydesignedtocontrast,
and
presentation
theunderlying
unitymaynotevenneedtobe perceiveddirectly
bythelistener:
any pointing-uphereby the pianist,forinstanceby bringingout the middle
voice of the opening in order to show the derivationof the subsequent
theme,wouldhardlybe appropriate;itwoulddestroythebalanceof
contrasting
contrastand unityto whichBrahmshas,as always,givencarefulcompositional
thought.
Some kinds of problem-solving
are, on the other hand, necessaryand
effective.An interestingcase is that of Maurizio Pollini's one-timeinterpretationofthefirstmovementofBeethoven'sWaldstein
Sonata,in whichthe
second themewas offeredin the expositionwith an unusual dull tone, the
chordsin eachhandmoreor lessequallyweighted;yetin the
mostlythree-note
reprisethethemewasplayedwiththeluminously
singingtoplinethatis usually
forbeingperformed
ina
expectedofa masterpianist.This was doublyeffective
wheresuchdevicesofcontrastareespeciallynoticeable.The
largeauditorium,
problem Pollini was thus solving, consciously or unconsciously,was
presumablyone of harmony.The second themein the expositionis in the
mediantmajor,E major,following
theC majoropening.The firstrepriseofthis
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JONATHAN

DUNSBY

Ex. 1 Brahms,
Intermezzo,
Op. 116,No. 2

Andante

E,,

.. .

-c
a

,.it mr

... . .rI Ir

Por
]

,--l

i i

P!l'I.I

Ex. 2

themeis notin thetonic,butin A major,thesubmediantmajor.Althoughthis


is a logicaltranspositional
it is a bold and temporary
variationof
relationship,
sonata convention,as Beethovenconfirmsby repeatingthe themein the
submediantminor,thenat lastthetonic.How can theperformer
capitalizeon
thisprocess,renderit as articulateas possibleforthelistener?One verygood
solution,Pollini's, is to draw sonic attentionto this point in the musical
architecture
byaddingan unprecedented
expressive
edgetothesecondthemein
the reprise,focusingthe listener'sconcentrationat a special momentin
Beethoven'sharmonicnarrative.An analysiscan explainthespecialqualityof
the harmonicprolongationhere, but only the performercan make the
judgementthatthisshouldhave expressiveeffectin theinterpretation.8

10

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Ex. 1 cont.

G
A
I

IAre

I*-

ITIMMi

Ex. 2 cont.

IV
It is appropriateat thisstageto introducesome concrete,thoughnecessarily
betweenanalyticalinterpretation
tentative,
examplesofthespecificinteraction
and actualperformance,
illustrated
fromthePreludein G minor,Op. 28, No.
22, of Chopin. To provide some initial orientation,Ex. 3 presentstwo
summariesof the firsttwenty-four
bars. System1 showsa simplerhythmic
reductionof this music: the rhythmicreductionis hardlycontroversial
in
that
the
is
in
an
elaborated-chorale
its
lead
general,given
piece
style,taking
fromthefamousTwentiethPreludeinC minor,whichis an unelaborated
mockchorale.System2 is a transcription
of the informalreductionin Schenkerian
voice-leadingnotation- it is not reallynecessaryto be familiarwith the
ofthisnotationinordertofollowtheperceptions
itrecordsaboutthe
symbology
music.
MUSIC ANALYSIS 8:1-2,1989

11

DUNSBY

JONATHAN

Ex. 3 Chopin,Op. 28, No. 22 (bs 1-24)


rhythmicreduction

1.

fI..H.15L

k -I;-j
'v'

'voiceleading

JTIj

1-

,j

NIN

howsomeofthedetails
fromtheverybeginning
It is probablyall-too-obvious
For instance,thereis a
of Ex. 3 may impingeupon an ideal interpretation.
ofvoicingin thetempestuousand forceful
opening.The neighbourdifficulty
note figureG-F#-G in the left-handmelody,and the leading-note-to-tonic
motionoftheupperline,bothtendtotricktheearintohearingthesecondbaras
a tonicharmony(see Ex. 4).
Ex. 4

0000
WE@@
ti
ft

in Ex. 5, however,
The harmonicskeletonoftheopeningillustrated
Ex. 5

G)~

0000

E
3

thatEb intherighthandofb.2 is vitaltothevoice-leading


demonstrates
pattern;
and thereis everyreasonforthepianistto considergivingit a specialclarityof
illustration
in some way, of whichEx. 6 is simplya theoretical
articulation
all
it
after
but
here
for
the
may
interpreter,
Chopinseemsto haveseta problem
resultfromtherelativelack ofclarityin themodernpiano comparedwiththe
Frenchinstrument:
composer'smid-nineteenth-century

12

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8:1-2,

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ANALYSIS

Ex. 3 cont.

15

'aT

6
[ocoJ 6 Voo1 6f+0

x0

T+8IIi6

[+801 I

II

+80]

SJ'

Ex.
6
Ex. 6

>-sf

thebestactualtechnicalsolutionfortheE6 is probablytoplay
Parenthetically:
it fractionally
beforethe othernotes of the righthand - but the particular
solutiondependson whichstyleofpianoplayingtheperformer
represents.
Furtherinto the piece anotherkind of problem-solving
is possible, hard
thoughitis to describeverbally.The mainmelodyis in thebass, buttherighthandmelodyis also activethroughout
mostofthefirstsection.In bs 15and 16,
to be heardas an awkward
however,therighthandsettleson E6 and threatens
patch in the melodicinvention.The bracketsmarked'x' on Ex. 3 indicate,
though,thatChopinis usinga familiarconnectivedevice to move the music
fromsectionA intothecontrasting
middlesection:once theE6 is heardin this
as
a
melodic
tense,forward-moving
way,
upbeatin themotionto A6 in b. 18 notas a melodicvacuum,butas a prolongation
heldin checkthatis straining
to
continueto its immediategoal - there is no longerany problemhere in
The analysisestablishes,as it were,beliefin whatChopinhas
performance.
ifthiswerenecessary- thoughtherearemanythought-provoking
cases
written,
ofsuchnecessity,
ofwhicha further
in due course.The
examplewillbe offered
consciousoftheconnectionunderdiscussionwillinstinctively
performer
place
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13

JONATHAN

DUNSBY

of
and voiceF in therighthandofb. 17tomakeitsound,notonlythebeginning
a newsection,butalso partofan ongoingline.9
The connectinglinearpatternsbetweensectionsA and B of the Twentyof the entireshape of the
Second Prelude can determinethe interpretation
middlesection.The bracketsmarked'y' on Ex. 3 showthattheintervalof a
sixth,filledby stepwisemotion,is importantin the motivicmenu of the
composition.The intervalof a sixthappearsbelow thelevelof theimmediate
in a longprolongation
peak
movingfromb. 13,whichis theregistral
foreground
ofthelefthandofthewholepiece,towhatcan be consideredthegesturalclimax
ofsectionB, theoctave-spacedBbs in bs 22 and 23. Each precedingnoteofthis
withitssuccessor,andthegapthat
overallmotionofa sixthis connecteddirectly
inexposingthefinalstep
of
b.21
is
at
the
beginning
especiallyeffective
opensup
frommiddleC to B . Fromthepointofviewofvoice-leading
theory,it should
in shapingthe
whichmightguidetheperformer
be notedthatthisprogression,
ofthepiece.In
levelofthestructure
middlesection,is partofthemiddleground
tothedominant,in bs 24, then32,34 andthe
theory,theinevitablemovements
forthetonalcoherenceof
bar, are perhapsofdeepersignificance
penultimate
an earlierpoint,thatwe shouldnotexpecta
thePrelude.And thisexemplifies
completeoverlapbetweentheoryand practice.A theoryof whichthe central
aim is to demonstratetonal coherencemay be of greatimportanceto the
is concernedwithmuchelse besides.
but theperformer
performer,

V
It may well be thatthe problem-solving
potentialof analysishas been least
in the area of musicaltime- in questionsof proportion,metreand
effective
These ineffable
qualitiesofmusicarelikelytobe theleastamenableto
rhythm.
and
conceptualscrutiny, mattersthathave been illuminatedverylittleeven
throughthe musicologist'smicroscopecan barelybe touchedupon in this
What analysisseems so littleable to captureis that
particularcommentary.
- timing- whichsubsumesso manyfactorssuch as
secretof the performer
rubato,structuralarticulationand expressiveemphasis,and whichis such a
ofalmostanycomposition.
powerfulelementin thepresentation
It is perhapsin the area of musical timingthatthe sharpestideological
Consider
becomesclearin thegoalsoftheanalystandtheperformer.
distinction
fineline betweenpointedarticulationand cheap, theatrical
the performer's
in Ex. 7, wherethesecondG, markedwithan asterisk,mustbe heardas:
effect
memberofa dottedan upbeatto thefollowingnote;thesubsidiaryrhythmic
note figure;the filling-inof an unattackedfirstbeat aftera busy two-beat
with
It is a noteoverburdened
functions.
anacrusis;and as havingmanyfurther
convenient
the
by
meanings,mostof whichcan be resolvedin performance
ofan unscripted
introduction
bar,
pauseon thethirdbeatofthefirstincomplete
ofa perceptionofmetricalorderin the
thelargerestablishment
thusdestroying
firstphrase.
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Ex. 7 Berg,Sonata,Op. 1

Missig bewe

accel.

p
'n

rit.

I ft
/

The openingofBerg'sSonata,finethoughitis, is whatperformers


wouldcall
to
be
dealt
with
there
is
not
'problematic',something
pragmatically:
quite the
of
intention
and
intended
execution
thatone
magisterial
clarity compositional
findsin thematureworkofBeethovenorStravinsky,
ScarlattiorMessiaen.The
analystis powerlessin sucha case. Analysisdeals,in general,withtheideology
of veneration,the celebrationof culturalperfection,
the explanationof how
thingsworkin music,not of how theydon't workquite as well as one might
wish.
The Bergis thefirstofficialworkofa youngcomposer,butsuchdifficulties
are to be foundevenin masterpieces.Example8 showsan interesting
case (see
below). This is thesecondthemeofBrahms'sD minorViolinSonata,Op. 108,
a themewhichsoundsexcellentlateron in the violinpart. However,as first
At any reasonable
presentedin the piano solo, it is virtuallyunperformable.
speed thefivespreadnotes,and indeedsix spreadnotesin thefifthbar of the
eitherto sounduglybecausethechords
theme,forcea hiatuswhichthreatens,
are so abrupt,or to destroythemetreiftheyaregivenenoughtimetounrollto
the sforzandi.Example 8a shows the passage in ArturSchnabel'sedition,in
whichall themarkingsencircledin smallprintare by theeditorand thelargeareBrahms'sown. Schnabel'ssolutiontotherhythmic
printmarkings
problem
is to compensatebydynamicnuance,andit evidently
restson an analysisofthe
dissonantversusconsonantstatusoftheappoggiaturas.
to
Example8b attempts
conveythisbymatchingSchnabel'sdynamicswitha hierarchical
representation
ofthevoiceleading:thecorrespondences
are self-evident.
Lest thisillustration
seem an act of criticalheresyin challengingthe compositionalwisdomof the
matureworkofa genius,it shouldbe added thatBrahmshimselfknewhe had
written
an impracticable
idea here.His owncopyoftheprintedmusiccarriesan
emendationin whichthe lefthand is not spread on the fourthquaver, but
outtherhythm
and texture,
repeatsthebass noteson thethirdbeat,smoothing
as in Ex. 9.
This is a frustrating
case ofthecomposer'sowncriticalanalysis;itis oflittle
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JONATHAN

DUNSBY

Ex. 8 Brahms,
ViolinSonata,Op. 108/I

7'17

ofs
PV77..

Iw"

Ir

P.

',

l0

I,

10

If:IMv-',,
" f?
,

l I

-1i

practicalhelp, forBrahmsneveralteredtheplatesforsubsequentprintingof
historical
evidencethathe actuallymeantthe
Op. 108,and thereis no surviving
to
be
revised.'0
passage

VI
If thereis a subtexthere,it is thatourproblemsare muchmorewiththepast,
thanmaybe casuallyassumedoreven
ratherthanthepresentand near-present,
tenaciouslyclaimed. For this reason a path has been carved throughthe
twentiethcenturyobservingthe bordersonlyof Schoenbergand Schenker,
bordermightbe calledStravinskyism,
further
suspendingothers:an important
where'execution'- in whichthedeathis celebrated,notoftheauthor,butof

16

MUSIC ANALYSIS 8:1-2,1989

PERFORMANCE

,1"

A
-nr

As

tof -it 7\
p-1

-I

....

AND ANALYSIS

t 1

-10)

_ rIn

- supplantsinterpretation;
the 'performer'
anothermightbe called 'taste',
a questionwhich
posingthequestion'forwhomis theperformer
performing?',
has not yetaccruedquite the awesomesense of overthrow
experiencedin its
current European counterpart:'for whom nowadays is the composer
composing?'. Such sins of omission must be minor. For instance, the
'execution'ideology,whethermodern,orold in the'sewing-machine'
approach
to thelateBaroque,has no avowedneedofanalysishoweverbroadlyconceived,
even ifpretendedexecutioncan nevertrulyhide its lack ofneutrality.
As for
of
there
is
no
that
these
are
questions
reception,
implication
relatively
'unimportant',only that any discussionmust see its own boundariesand
recognizeitsownovertor covertprovisionality.
Those who findthepastless troublesomethanthepresentmustsympathize
littlewiththosewhodon't,andviceversa(thoughtheviceversamayoftenentail
a touchof future-conscience
in thosewho worryabout the past overmuch).
MUSIC ANALYSIS 8:1-2,1989

17

JONATHAN

DUNSBY

When the two become smudged,creativeenergyis released. 'It is not the


ofpersonalchoicefromperformance
elimination
thatrealartistsdesire',writes
RichardTaruskin,'butitsimprovement
and refreshment'bothgoalsbeing,if
notreactionary,
nevertheless
creative
too.11
reactive,though
inherently
This is nottheplace to hunttogroundthegoodand bad coursesofhisrecent
'The PastnessofthePresentand thePresenceofthePast',which,in thedarkof
and analystsalike forerasingthat
print,maybe rememberedby performers
word
with
the
'authentic'
confusing
resoundingly straightforward
- itmust
a mostelegantsemanticput-down.Yet it is intriguing
'authenticist',
in 'musicanalysis'- thatin Taruskin'slongand richlybe, to anyoneinterested
natureofauthenticist
referenced
performance
argumentabouttheunhistorical
hardlya wordis said about analysis,or even about theory.Some of the few
explicitcommentsare fromsuch a heightthattheysound an earlywarning
againsta would-beguru: 'If "structural"was the sanctifiedshibbolethof the
"new critical"1930s and 1940s, surely"hierarchy"and "unifying"were the
wordsof the Schenkerian1950sand 1960s,at leastin theacademic
sanctified
bastionsoflogicalpositivism.. .'12- good poseurstuff.
Whatis notsaid speaksvolumes,to whichthebestaccessmaybe thatrealin
the 'real artists'of Taruskin's antepenultimate
paragraph.Is this not the
thatpartof
of
the
of
face
urge 'pan-Schenkerism',
acceptable
musicologically
ofa
thetheorybusinesswhichembodiesTaruskin'sveryownhorror-category
is
what
is
not
fundamentalism
:
permittedprohibited'(my
'quasi-religious
...
is nota deeplyprohibitive
italics)?If 'real' in Taruskin'sviewofperformance
criticalterm,somethingmust have been lost in translation(Americanto
English).
debatetheoryand analysisarejust
Whetherhe thinksthatin theauthenticist
is not- ithardlyneedssaying- even
or areactuallyprohibited,
notpermitted,
raisedin 'The PastnessofthePresent'.But,intellectual
guarddown,youhave
to ignorethatwhatis not permittedone
sanctimonious
to be extraordinarily
momentbecomesprohibitedat theverynextin everydayhumanconduct.A
subliminalprohibition
mightexplaintheone weirdspratTaruskinthrowsin to
will
- 'curiousperformers
all
catch,presumably, big-headedtheory-mackerels
So
theorists'14
and
need
in
the
sources
what
(myitalics). theoryis
alwaysfind
they
offers
itschallenges
solved?As does anyaspectofhistory,
theory-then-and-now
reveals
the
to
the
from
to theunderstanding
continuing
present,
past
reaching
ambiguitiesof purpose,alwayshas potentialto unnerveproponentsof the
out
tobe written
settledmusicalview:aretheseand all otherlivecharacteristics
or prohibited?
ofthescript?Not permitted,

VII
Eitherway,thebottomline - even in thehallowedgroundofhow to present
musictoothers-is thatthereis no escapefromtheoryingeneralorinparticular,
aboutittoomuch,
needtoescapefromthinking
thoughwe mayeachsometimes
18

MUSIC

ANALYSIS

8:1-2, 1989

PERFORMANCE

AND ANALYSIS

and some need to escape always, even though thereis no escape. 'Performance
and Analysis' people know it does not feelquite like thiswhen you are on stage
- thus, again, the 'partial overlap'. Yet there is no epistemological reason for
analysis and its theoriesto work in fearof what it feels like on stage.
NOTES
1. For an excellentdiscussionofthesematters,see Christopher
Wintle,'Webern's
ConcertoOp. 24/II', Music Analysis,Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 1982), pp.74-81:
'Performing'.
Portrait
2. Quoted in JoanAllenSmith,Schoenberg
andHis Circle:A Viennese
(New
York: Schirmer,1986), pp.105-6. See also Rudolf Kolisch, Zur Theorieder
Vol. 29/30(January1983).
Musik-Konzepte,
Auffiihrung,
3. FormandPerformance
(London: Faber, 1962),p.20.
4. A wide-ranging
pictureof thisartist'sviews can be foundin The GlennGould
Reader,ed. Tim Page (London: Faber, 1987).
5. A concise and well-documentedstudyof this aspect of Schenker'swork is
published in William Rothstein,'Heinrich Schenker as an Interpreterof
Beethoven'sPiano Sonatas',Nineteenth-Century
Music,Vol. 8, No. 1 (Summer
1984),pp.3-28.
6. WilliamA. Pastille,'HeinrichSchenker,Anti-Organicist',
in Nineteenth-Century
Vol.
No.
that
thereare continuing
1 (Summer1984),pp.29-36,argues
Music,
8,
in
Schenker's
of
the
'Meisterwerk'
and
concludeswiththe
challenges
concept
'If
fundamental
Schenker's
question:
theoryproperlyappliesonlyto theworksof
how
does
it
relate
to
the
works
ofnon-geniuses?'
geniuses,
(myitalics)- thephrase
'works of genius' would have been more felicitousfora numberof obvious
reasons,and Pastille'sturnof phraseheremayyethelp to perpetuatethevery
trendhe is arguingagainst.CharlesBurkhartmuseson whethertherewas indeed
a process of developmentbut subsequentretractioneven in the fieldof the
betweendynamicand
masterpiecein Schenker'sthinkingabouttherelationship
levels- whichat one timeSchenkersupposedmustcorrespond,
pitch-structural
though'one wondersifperhapsit was notan idea that[he] eventually
dropped':
see 'Schenker's Theory of Levels and Musical Performance',in Aspectsof
Schenkerian
ed. David Beach (New Haven: Yale University
Theory,
Press,1983),
pp.95-112(p. 112n).
7. For a briefdiscussionofthehistoryand currentstateofeditionsofBeethoven's
piano sonatas,see WilliamDrabkin, 'The BeethovenSonatas',Musical Times,
Vol. 126,No. 1706(April1985),pp.216-20.
8. The Waldstein
repriseis discussedbyKonradWolffinSchnabel'sInterpretation
of
Piano Music(London: Faber, 1979),witha different
solutionto thesameissue:
'The modulation. . . is . . . a major structuralevent. This becomes clear
accordingto Schnabel,ifthethemehereis moresimply- thatis, lessexpressively
- presented;somewhatin the styleof an improvisedmodulationon theorgan
. '(p.134).
MUSIC

ANALYSIS

8:1-2,

1989

19

JONATHAN

DUNSBY

Bar 21 confirmsthatone of the multiplefunctionsof F in the righthand is to


initiateprogression.
Sucha roleforthispitchclasshasalreadybeenexposedinthe
harmonicreversal(flatside)it initiatesin the lefthand melodyin b. 14 - an
comment.
inescapablyorganicist
10. All theinformation
givenhereabout theBrahmsrevisionis drawnfromRobert
'Brahms
and
theDefinitiveText', inBrahms:Biographical,
Pascall,
Documentary
and AnalyticalStudies,ed. RobertPascall (Cambridge:CUP, 1983), pp.59-75
(p.74). Pascall argues that we should have no reservationsin actuallyusing
Brahms'sprivateemendations.
andEarly
11. 'The PastnessofthePresentandthePresenceofthePast',inAuthenticity
ed. Nicholas Kenyon(London: OUP, 1988), pp. 137-210
Music: A Symposium,
(p.206).
9.

12. Ibid.,p.168.
13. Ibid.,p.181.
14. Ibid., p.214.

20

MUSIC

ANALYSIS

8:1-2,

1989