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Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in

Hindemith's Music

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David Neumeyer

In one of the appendices to his study of proportional struc- duction to the Craft of Musical Composition, volume 1, pub-
ture based on symmetry and golden section divisions in Debus- lished in 1937, Hindemith defends his view that "[the com-
sy's mature music, Roy Howat discusses briefly what he calls poser's] goal must always be such mastery that technique does
"proportional intrigue in other composers' music." Among not obtrude itself, and a free path is prepared for thought and
these composers are Schubert, Schoenberg, Berg, Bartok, feeling" and that one must therefore know as much as possible
Ravel, and Messiaen. In the case of Debussy, Howat believes about "natural laws and technical experience. " 3 It is of course
he has sufficient evidence for his claims about the music, in De- well-known that he thought there were such things as "natural
bussy's own statements, and in the intellectual and cultural laws," or at least a handful of simple, general principles with
context although we must have at least some residual respect to melody and harmony, but he apparently also thought
doubt but with the other composers (Bartok excepted) it is the same with respect to rhythm.
more a matter of suggestion than clear evidence, of conjecture At the time he wrote Craft I, Hindemith had decided that
rather than certainty. 1 the central process of musical patterning was what he later
The name of Paul Hindemith does not appear, an omission called the "balanced cooperation of the primary elements"
which is really rather surprising, given his well-known interest melody, harmony, and rhythm. 4 He had individual theories of
in medieval music theory and in Johann Kepler, as well as his the first two, resting on his Series 1 & 2 constructs and express-
scarcely concealed debt to the self-styled "harmonicalist" Hans ing themselves in things like the outer-voice framework, step-
Kayser, an Austrian neo-Pythagorean strongly influenced by progression, melodic and harmonic degree-progression, and
Albert von Thimus and Jakob B6hme. 2 At the end of the intro- harmonic fluctuation. In the mid-forties he began looking seri-

1 Roy Howat, Debussy in Proportion: A Musical Analysis (Cambridge: 3 Paul Hindemith, The Craft of Musical Composition, trans. Arthur Men-
University of Cambridge Press, 1983). del, vol. 1: Theoretical Part (New York: Associated Music, 1942; rev. ed.,
2 For more information on this point, see David Neumeyer, The Music of 1945), 12. Hereafter, "Craft I."
Paul Hindemith (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), p. 40 and footnote 4 Paul Hindemith, Introductory Remarks for the New Version of "Das Ma-
references. rienleben," trans. Arthur Mendel, (New York: Associated Music, 1948), 4.
94 Music Theory Spectrum

ously for a theory of the third element: rhythm. As he defined tonality and rhythm/form. Although the last of these will re-
the problem in 1946, "It is the task of a future theory of music to ceive the most attention, the tonal schemes are introduced to
discover and formulate the laws of form, which will introduce show that Hindemith was interested in symmetrical patterning
into the realms of the higher functions of meter and rhythm the in the period about 1940, when evidence for his use of the re-
same order and thorough organization we already enjoy in the lated technique of proportional structure is still uncertain, and
fields of harmonic and melodic construction. " 5 The search con-

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to give readers who may wish to examine the music in detail
tinued for at least two or three years and left a trail of docu- some authentic documentation of large-scale tonal organiza-
ments in the form of critical notes on readings, an unfinished tion. Among the materials discussed below are several tonal
chapter on rhythm for the third volume of the Craft, notes for schemes in Hindemith's sketches, tonal/formal plans for class
lectures, and a three-page essay somewhat improbably hidden composition projects, three proportional schemesone of
in the fundamentals textbook Elementary Training for them written in the sketches for a concertoand finally the
Musicians clearly his first attempt to fashion a coherent view tonal and proportional schemes in the Symphonia serena
of the problems involved. 6 (1946) , Wind Septet (1948) , and Concerto for Horn (1949) . At
As it happened, he could not find a way to fashion a wholly the end of the paper, implications for an appreciation of Hin-
satisfactory rhythmic theory (a failing in which he was by no demith's work and its place in early twentieth-century music
means alone), but the attempt itself served as a catalyst for ex- will be assessed.
periments with the application of techniques similar to those he I should make it clear that, with respect to proportional
had been employing more and more frequently in tonal structure, I am adopting what might best be called a historical
designlarge-scale symmetrical or proportional patterns to approach, which requires an essentially neutral attitude. I do
large-scale rhythms (that is, to formal design) . assert, with evidence, that Hindemith made deliberate use of
The object of this paper is threefold: (1) to show that Hin- proportional structure in composition, but my intent is to re-
demith used carefully planned and often symmetrical tonal de- port, neither to promote nor to debunk, notions of the deliber-
signs, sporadically in the thirties, more and more often later; ate compositional use of symmetry and proportion, propor-
(2) to present the clear evidence of his sketches to that effect; tional structure as a kind of natural theory, or even a
and (3) to demonstrate that, in the mid-to-late forties, he delib- neo-Pythagorean interpretation of such use as more evidence
erately sought in his own music the "balanced cooperation" of of a universal harmonic principle. We simply haven't enough
evidence to know precisely what Hindemith thought about
such things, though what we do know suggests that he saw in
5 Paul Hindemith, Elementary Training for Musicians (New York: Associ- accent and proportion the two central elements of larger-scale
ated Music, 1946), 159. rhythm or form and that he might very possibly have regarded
6 Unless stated otherwise, all unpublished documents are in the Paul Hin- their patterning as "natural law" or as manifestations of a
demith Institute, Frankfurt am Main. The essay in Elementary Training is the super-ordinate harmony.'
beginning section of Chapter 11 (pp. 157-59). The rejected chapter of Craft
III, &bung 19, is published in Andres Briner, Paul Hindemith (Zurich: Atlan-
tis, 1971), 323 38. Craft III is the posthumously published llbungsbuch far den
dreistimmigen Satz, ed. Andres Briner, P. Daniel Meier, and Alfred Rubeli 'The position taken here is deliberately cautious. I believe this to be appro-
(Mainz: Schott, 1970). priate since my interest is in the procedures of Hindemith's music and not in
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 95

Rhythm, form, and proportion. In the second of two lectures proportions, are preferred as the source material in the field of
at the Cleveland Institute of Music, in March 1947, Hindemith temporal relations. " 9
explored "old and new problems of music theory." He consid- Hindemith began, and for the most part ended, with the
ered the three principal elements, discussing individual theo- rhythmic theories of Hugo Riemann. He accepted Riemann's
ries for each in turn as well as their mutual interactions. The distinction between meter and rhythm (itself borrowed from
Hauptmann) : meter being predictable, periodic, symmetrical,

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notes for this lecture survive. On form, considered alone, there
is the following: "No measurement [is] known, neither abso- and hierarchic; rhythm the profuse, free, and seemingly unor-
lute (watch [out] !) nor proportional possible: accents! So far: dered activity within. 10 In Elementary Training, rhythm is de-
nothing. Future: establishment of measurements, temporal scribed as "[weaving] freely in and out around the schematic di-
proportion of lengths, their mutual influence." In his Norton visions of meter, reinforcing or opposing these divisions. The
lectures at Harvard, 1948-49, later published as A Composer's interrelations of these two temporal elements, in infinitely vary-
World, Hindemith asserts that ing degrees of attraction and repulsion, form one of the impor-
tant means by which music is created. " 11 The distinction is also
the temporal material in music, if it is to be used rationally, must be
maintained in the definitions of meter and rhythm:
subjected to measurement, as was the spatial element, harmony .. .
No scientist's research, no musician's intuitive genius, no layman's Meter ... corresponds to the measurements of time invented by
common sense has ever been able to find ways of measuring rhythm, man or derived by him from natural events.... Closely depending
in an attempt to establish a rational basis for the construction of tem- on our physical functions (e.g. , pulse), meter provides the scheme of
poral musical forms.... [yet] some rational, discoverable, and un- beats and counterbeats, accents and relaxations, without which no
derstandable law of construction must exist which could be put into harmonic or melodic construction can be conceived. [Rhythm, on the
effective operation. 8 other hand,] has countless possibilities of combining tones and rests
of various lengths with melodic lines and harmonic combinations.
A statement in the Introductory Remarks to the New Version of
What characterizes musical rhythm is infinite variety, ruled by higher
"Das Marienleben" (1948) to some extent clarifies what he laws of construction and determined by the power of esthetic judg-
thought might be the nature of that as yet ungraspable law: "Ba- ment and choice. 12
sic rhythmic forms of greater extension, resting on irregular
Like Riemann, Hindemith found the source of meter in
accent and distinguished between "psychological" and dy-
that music as representing some particular world view. Evidence of that kind is
in any case easily misread. For example, statements in Craft I which are almost 9 Hindemith, Introductory Remarks, 4.
literal quotes from Kayser (e.g., pp. 12-13) must be balanced against the fact 10 Hugo Riemann, System der musikalischen Rhythmik and Metrik (Leip-
that in their only face-to-face meeting, Hindemith apparently spent his time zig: Breitkopf and Hdrtel, 1903); Moritz Hauptmann, Die Natur der Harmonik
badgering Kayser for a practical solution to counterpoint pedagogy (Briner, and der Metrik. (Leipzig: Breitkopf and Hartel, 1853; rev. ed., 1873). The dis-
Hindemith, 312-13). It would certainly be possible to argue that Hindemith's cussion here avoids mention of work on rhythm and form by Riemann fol-
use of proportional structure is the expression of a philosophical or religious lowers, such as Hugo Leichtentritt, Theodor Wiehmayer, and Gustave Beck-
attitude, but it would be equally possible to argue that it was just another of his ing, because of the difficulty of tracing their ideas in Hindemith's own writings
many means to an intrinsically musical end. on the subject.
11 Hindemith, Elementary Training, 93fn.
8 Paul Hindemith, A Composer's World: Horizons and Limitations (Cam-
12 Hindemith, Elementary Training, 93fn.
bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1952), 86, 88
96 Music Theory Spectrum

namic accent classes. Unlike Riemann, Hindemith was not the symbolic intent that he applied the techniques and princi-
satisfied to regard the eight-bar period and the measure-long ples associated with melody and harmony (though this is a
motive as metric and rhythmic units of composition, respec- point I must finally leave open to further study).
tively. Furthermore, Riemann failed to show the interaction of Tonal schemes in the sketches. Hindemith's method of work-
the two elements in any systematic way or the relation of small- ing out classroom pieces, as described by Eckhart Richter and
confirmed by a number of published reports from other Hin-

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scale and large-scale processes (his analyses of the Beethoven
piano sonatas, for example, treat form as simply a concatena- demith students, had four stages: first, a general determination
tion of periods) . 13 Yet Hindemith obviously ascribed great im- of character and function; second, a master plan of formal de-
portance to "the inter-relations of these two temporal ele- sign, including overall shape, the number and character of sec-
ments" and to a hierarchy of temporal structure. In Elementary tions, changes in mood or tempo, rhythmic character, texture,
Training, he made the rather optimistic assertion that "the and degree of activity; third, a plan of "basic tonalities of each
smallest metric and rhythmic units ... are ... only the ulti- section and their relative degrees of tonal stability and com-
mate subdivisions and ramifications of the powerful metric and plexity"; and, finally, specific thematic material. 16 This descrip-
rhythmic pulsations that organize the general temporal outlines tion matches closely a passage in Craft III:
of a musical form and divide it into movements and sections,
We begin in the indefinite, the uncertain, an approximate conception
peaks and valleys of intensity, and so on down to the very small- of the goal, the character, the length, the technical requirements of
est subordinate units. " 14 But Eckhart Richter recalls that sev- our piecethese are what first step into the circle of our mind's view.
eral years later, at or near the end of the hunt for a theory of Slowly we can give to this nebulous picture sharper contours. A
rhythm, "[Hindemith] emphasized on numerous occasions .. . clearer formal plan, the rhythmic structure, is the first thing to which
that when it came to the underlying secrets of form we still we turn our attention, so that thereafteror after much practice at
know very little. "15 the same timethe tonal foundations will appear, on which follow
From the available evidence, we can reasonably infer the the harmonic plans. Then the properties of its progressions are dic-
following: (1) that Hindemith made an appropriately modest tated for the melodic construction, whether the melody is the only
assessment of his own contribution to rhythmic theory; (2) that significant linear content of a homophonic piece, or whether it is one
of the more-or-less equal melodic strands of a contrapuntal composi-
proportional structure was very probably an aspect of his own
tion. 17
compositional procedure (at least from the mid-forties on); and
(3) that, because of the shortcomings of rhythmic theory, he This classroom method seems also to reflect the way Hindemith
was not likely to apply devices of either small- or large-scale himself worked on serious compositional tasks, though he was
rhythmic structure with the consistency and thoroughnessor not inclined to write diagrams and plans into his sketchbooks.
Still, the latter do contain very occasional notes, jottings, or
marginalia corresponding to those early stages of the shaping of
13 Hugo Riemann, L. van Beethoven's s mtliche Klavier-Solosonaten: As-
a composition, specifically, the planning of general tonal succes-
thetische and formal-technische Analyse mit historischen Notizen, 3 vols.
(Berlin: Max Hesse, 1917-20).
14 Hindemith
Elementary Training, 158.
15 16 Richter, "Glimpse into the Workshop," 122.
Eckhart Richter, "A Glimpse into the Workshop of Paul Hindemith,"
Hindemith Jahrbuch 6 (1977): 139. 17 Hindemith, Craft, 3:147.
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 97

Figure 1. Clarinet Quartet (1938), I

Keys* F E C# D / F F# A G# / F
numbers: 3 6 mm. 8 4 mm. 13 14 6 mm. Langsamer
after 5

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before 12 after 15
Number of
measures: 35 33 32 47 19 12 16 32 31

Material: Th. 1 Th. 2 Th. 3 Th. 2 Th. I Th. 3 Ths. 1 & 2


* This line reflects Hindemith's notation in the sketches.

sions and formal proportionsthe "tonal foundations" and based on inversion, as shown by the brackets in Example 1,
"rhythmic structure." where Hindemith's scheme is given in musical notation. 19
In Figure 1, the line marked "Keys" reproduces a notation
from two of Hindemith's six sketchbooks from 1938. 18 No Example 1. Clarinet Quartet, I: tonal scheme in musical nota-
sketches appear with it, but the scheme is plainly meant for the tion
Clarinet Quartet, first movement, as the remainder of the figure
shows. The slashes in Hindemith's scheme do not represent all o # . #- 0

the main formal divisions, but the return of the principal tonal-
ity, F. The section in the key of D, which does not stand out at F: t VI VI' III III
all in the diagram, is actually an independent division of the
The rough sketches for the Four Temperaments for piano
piece much like a traditional sonata development. The slashes
and string orchestra (1940) consist to a great extent of one part
do reveal a symmetrical design in the tonal successions, a design
or an outer-voice framework of two parts (that is, a particell

18 Neumeyer, Hindemith, 212. Two other tonal plans cited there (pp. 211,
19 The degree labels follow the system introduced in Neumeyer, Hindemith,
213) are for the first movement of the Second Organ Sonata (1937; very similar
to the plan for the Clarinet Quartet movement) and for the Trombone Sonata 55. In accordance with Hindemith's conception of tonality, all twelve chro-
(1941), in which the four movements are connected in a large cyclic design. It matic degrees are assigned a label in the key. The six principal functions are
was also in this period that Hindemith became particularly interested in cyclic given special symbols used in the Craft: tonic , upper dominant oh, sub-
tonal schemes (he wrote the Ludus Tonalis in 1942) and in their possible affec- dominant , the upper and lower leading tones t and t , and the tri-
tive or symbolic treatment (the plan for the revised Marienleben song cycle was tone 1 . The others are modified traditional scale degree labels: II, III and III
conceived in 1941 or 1942we Neumeyer, Hindemith, 144). (the two mediants), VI and VI- (the two submediants), and VII.
98 Music Theory Spectrum

Figure 2. Four Temperaments (1940): Hindemith's notation in the sketches

A Str I B Viol Solo Kl I C Tutti I D Solo Str I E K1 Str

Kl Str I Str Ddmpfer I K1 I Str pizz
Str I Tutti I I Tutti I Tutti

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Figure 3. Four Temperaments: a further notation in the sketches

A: C C Es B: C C Es C: E Cis E D: C C Es E: C A C
4 4 6 4/12\ 12 4 3 3 3 4 12 2 frei 2 12
4 8 8 4\8 8 4 4 4 4 4 8 4 4 8

sketch). In the sketches for the final variation (Choleric), Hin- The other diagram, written in three pages later, provides
demith writes in two diagrams that reflect on tonal organization clearer evidence of pattern. Sandwiched between the systems
and disposition of instrumental groups in the entire work. On carrying rehearsal 52 + 8 to 53 + 1 of the Choleric variation are
the first page of sketches for this last variation is the scheme the principal tonalities and meter signatures for each of the
shown in Figure 2. 20 Here, A is the theme and B through E the three sections of all five movements (Fig. 3). These correspond
four variations, Melancholy, Phlegmatic, Sanguine, and Chol- to the sections marked as follows in the score: in the theme,
eric (Str = Streicher: Kl = Klavier) . The placement of instru- moderate, allegro assai, moderate; in the first variation, slow,
ments on each line corresponds closely to the layout of each of presto, slow march; in the second variation, CO appears at re-
the three principal sections of each movement. Presumably hearsal 31-6, E at 36-8; in the third variation, moderate, alle-
Hindemith placed this diagram here because he wanted a re- gretto, allegretto scherzando; in the final variation, free, vivace,
minder of what he had done with the previous movements in appassionato. Once more the tonal design is built on an interval
order to decide how to proceed with this final variation. The pattern with inversion, based on the minor third, and, if one
plan carries a suggestion of symmetry about C (Sanguine), if A takes only the principal keys of the five movements, CCE-
is paired with B as one unit and D with E as another. If so, the CC, the waltz variation (Sanguine) is clearly isolated at the
instrumental disposition of the ends of these units (B and E) center of a symmetrical structure. Yet, internally each move-
corresponds fairly well; for example, strings with mutes in the ment treats the minor third relationship more or less indepen-
middle part of B and strings pizzicato in the middle of E. dently. As it happens, the Sanguine variation is the only move-
ment in which the given key scheme and actual section divisions
do not completely correspond: based on use of thematic mate-
20 The sketches are in the Yale Hindemith Collection. I am indebted to Ho- rial, the third section begins at rehearsal 36-8, but the music is
ward Boatwright for bringing these notations to my attention. in G at that point, reaching E only after some measures.
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 99

Figure 4. "Bal des Pendus" (1944)

Key areas:* F# I C I B DI, I Bb D I C F#

Functions: 25 V .01) IxI VI t6 I

Measure nos.: 1 14 60 82 91 106 121 146-82

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Material: Th. 1 Th. 2, Th. 4 (Th. 4) Th. 3 (Th. 3) Th. 2 Ths. 1 & 2
Th. 3 at m. 43

* This line reflects Hindemith's notation in the sketches

Example 2. Sonata for Four Horns: tonal design of the entire sonata

Mv t. I II III
Theme Var. 1 2 3 4
9' bo 0
60 b o bo 110

Bb: 4j) (I) (1:1 ^ J) 8 d'

In the macabre song, "Bal des Pendus," (1944), Hindemith "Ich schell' mein Horn": this plan is reproduced in Figure 5. A
takes advantage of Rimbaud's text to exploit the tonal relation- tonal scheme for the entire sonata, with a more detailed plan for
ship of the diabolus in musica, the tritone. Hindemith's inten- the third movement, appears in Example 2. The theme of the
tions are spelled out in another diagram in the sketches: Fis I C third movement repeats the tonal succession of movement 1, a
H Des I B D I C Fis. The result is a roughly symmetrical plan
with a mirrored tritone (F# C, CF#) . The scheme can be rec- Figure 5. Sonata for Four Horns (1952), III: Hindemith's nota-
onciled with the score of the song as shown in Figure 4. tion in the sketches
Symmetrical tonal schemes do not occur in the music of the
thirties and early forties with the regularity the examples given II Ddmpf III "Adagio" Einl IV Fuge

I :T ) .

above suggest. The combination of various degrees and rela- cf

tionships, including thirds and the leading tones, on the other H E F B
hand, is characteristic. The Sonata for Four Horns (1952), the
second movement of which uses a tonal scheme borrowed from slow fugato. There is also an element of symmetry in the varia-
the Concerto for Horn (1949), shows Hindemith's later ten- tion set: the theme's tonic-to-dominant succession is answered
dency to restrict main key areas to those represented by the six by dominant to tonic in variations 3 and 4, and where variation 1
principal tonal functions. In the sketches, he jotted down a plan lies a half step above the tonic (upper leading tone), variation 2
for the third movement, a set of variations on an old melody, sits a half step below the dominant (on the tritone).
100 Music Theory Spectrum

Figure 6. Plan for a class project (Yale, 1941; after George Lam)

Section: A B C

Description: --- "climax" "something to round off"


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Keys: E C# E I Eb D I G F# I B Bb I E A E
In E: V1 0 M (0 V

Tonal and proportional schemes: pedagogical pieces. Of the Co takes first place because of its numerical preponderance and pre-
several plans for classroom pieces described in the literature, ferred position at the beginning and end, apart from any other consid-
the earliest belongs to an unnamed slow composition for wood- erations. Since it is thus felt to be the tonic, there would be little point
wind quartet (1941). The tonal and formal plan, deduced from in seeking to oppose its superiority. Try rather to use its most closely
George Lam's account, is given in Figure 6. To the best of my related harmonies to create further solid support for it; and in addi-
tion, introduce occasional Co harmonies into the section we have
knowledge, the composition is not extant. 21 Three themes were
termed "indefinite."
to be employed, but their disposition was not specified. Fea- The next most important tonality is F (measures 17-25). It would be
tures typical of Hindemith in this period include the carefully well to reinforce that key, too.
maintained control of the tonic degree in the two outer sections, Shorter sections of settled tonality occur in the middle of the piece,
A and C, the use of the third relationship in section A and the based on C, A, and F# (mm. 33-40). Another group, near the end of
half step patterns in the unstable section B, and the general the piece (mm. 71-77), based on F#, ought not to become too inde-
symmetry and relative simplicity of the whole design. pendent. Try to make it as clear as possible that this F# is the subdomi-
Hindemith's later schemes of this kind are more detailed and nant of the final C#; this can be accomplished by the use of Co and G#
reveal more complicated structures. The best known of these is harmonies (despite the G# of the melody) or even of the tones Co and
certainly the set of annotated diagrams for the first movement G# in other chords.
of a Suite for Orchestra in Traditional Harmony, vol. 2 (1949). 22 Measures 6-14 should leave unsettled which tonic, E or G#, is felt to
predominate, and in the rest of the piece ... no clear tonality is nec-
The form scheme is reproduced in Figure 7. A is the main essary. 23
theme; B the second theme; C, "closely related to the main
theme, forms the climax"; D, E, and F "are of lesser impor- Again we see the careful use of the tonic in the principal sec-
tance." The corresponding tonal plan appears in Example 3. tions, the third relations, and relatively simple tonal design, but
Hindemith comments on this diagram at length: also very characteristic ways of handling harmony in the subor-
dinate formal sections: the "unsettled" tonality of section D
21 Geoffrey Skelton, Paul Hindemith: The Man behind the Music (New
and the diminished triad outline of mm. 33-40 (section C).
York: Crescendo, 1975), 197.
22 Paul Hindemith, A Concentrated Course in Traditional Harmony, vol. 2:
Exercises for Advanced Students (New York: Associated Music, 1949), 38, 40. 23 Hindemith, Traditional Harmony, 2:40-41.
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 101

Figure 7. Plan for the first movement of a Suite for Orchestra (from Traditional Harmony, vol. 2)

2 6 ' 7 ' 8 ' 9 ' 10 ' 11 ' 12 13 14 15

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16 17
18 19 20
%%%/; ;^ .^ ^^^ ..^^^^,, ^..........^ ..^.^....
21 22 23 24
25 26 27 ' 28 29 I 30

33 34 35 36 37

46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61

62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77

1953 by Associated Music Publishers, Inc., New York. 1964 assigned to B. Schott's Soehne, Mainz. Renewed 1981. All Rights
Reserved. Used by permission of European American Music Distributors Corporation, sole U.S. agent for B. Schott's Soehne.

To these two diagrams Hindemith adds charts of harmonic The whole of the classroom piece discussed by Eckhart
fluctuation (relative dissonance), harmonic density (harmonic Richter, "Movement for String Trio C-33" (1951), is given in
rhythm), and layers (textural density or number of parts). He facsimile in Hindemith Jahrbuch VI. 24 From the account of the
also dictates the thematic material in a particell sketch in ef- work on this piece, the diagram shown in Figure 8 can be drawn
fect a two-voice framework for the entire movement (the be-
ginning measures are given in Ex. 4). 24 Richter, "Glimpse into the Workshop," 140-41.
102 Music Theory Spectrum

Example 3. Suite for Orchestra, I: tonal plan

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

moving between e and g# indefinite

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17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32
^ ^^rwww^.....^^.....wi...... .............RO .^...^w
r... .^....i.....^^ ^ ^.r.^...........................^

0 i ^ ^ ^ n21
4 ^^-

33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47


48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62

63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77

as subdominant to C#
C 1953 by Associated Music Publishers, Inc., New York. 1964 assigned to B. Schott's Soehne, Mainz. Renewed 1981. All Rights
Reserved. Used by permission of European American Music Distributors Corporation, sole U.S. agent for B. Schott's Soehne.

(descriptive terms are Richter's) . Here the relationship of tra- the piece, as the tonic is forced to "compete" with the subdomi-
ditional formal and thematic areas to tonal stability and insta- nant. The latter, on the other hand, is "firm" in its control of
bility seems to have been turned inside out: what I have called section C, which consists mainly of block chords accompanying
the "indefinite relation" 25 is associated with the beginning of a rather languid statement of the main theme phrase.
The last of the diagrams for a pedagogical piece is for the
The indefinite relation is the simultaneous expression of two possible
first movement of a symphony (Fig. 9) . This plan was worked
chord roots, but can also be generalized to describe tonal areas, as here. The out in a class at Zurich in 1952 and, according to Hans Ludwig
interval between the two roots or tonics may be any, but is most often a third. Schilling, incorporates five types of material (marked A
See Neumeyer, Hindemith, 55-56. through E), four levels of significance (roman numerals I
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 103

Example 4. Suite for Orchestra, I: opening measures of sketch given by Hindemith

Allegro (.1 = 112)

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C 1953 by Associated Music Publishers, Inc., New York. 1964 assigned to B. Schott's Soehne, Mainz. C Renewed 1981. All Rights
Reserved. Used by permission of European American Music Distributors Corporation, sole U.S. agent for B. Schott's Soehne.

Figure 8. Plan for a class project (Yale, 1951; after Eckhart Richter)

Section: A B C D E

Character: imitative accumulates focal point; transition imitative,

tension most layers closing
Mm. 1-13 14-18 19-26 26-32 32?-40
Key area: D D G G Ai, Di, D
Definition: weak, clear, then firm "bides time" "wanders
competes unstable farthest afield"
with G before closing

through IV, also the heights of the rectangles), the tonal points between the three main sections. The reduced tonal dia-
scheme, and measure totals. 26 gram reveals common features of Hindemith's practice around
The tonal scheme confirms a tendency to incorporate more 1950: the second theme in the key of one of the leading tones,
and more detailed planning of harmonic and tonal definition, the apparently free succession of keys in the development (or
and (as in the C-33 string trio) the "setting back" of the tonic central section of a piece), and the beginning of the reprise in a
area by means of more subtle key relations and weakly defined non-tonic key, gradually leading to the tonic at the end. This
key regions. As shown at the bottom of Figure 10, this compli- large-scale process of leading away from and only gradually re-
cated tonal scheme may be reduced to the tonalities associated turning to the tonic in the course of a whole piece operates in
with the principal formal areas plus those that occur at juncture the C-31 string trio as well.
A limited interpretation of the proportional structure also
appears in Figure 10. Here are the "irregular proportions" an
26Hans Ludwig Schilling, Paul Hindemiths "Cardillac" (Wiiirzburg: Konrad assortment of whole-number ratios (not all are shown)and a
Triltsch, 1962), 42. common feature of Hindemith's sonata-like movements: the
104 Music Theory Spectrum

Figure 9. Plan for a class project (Zurich 1952; after Hans Ludwig Schilling)

48 40

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12 10
B I 30
B IV cit IV Al
Des E A G is II GE II B ( C) Cis D
Zweiter Teil (Durchfiihrung):

D t (AB* C)I 12 E*C 1I
oder D f (DA ) E IV

Fis A B As Es F,
Dritter Teil (quasi Reprise) :

35 25(40)

El! 5
c iv
CI 15(2W
A 1V
F G Fis Cis Gis G As Ges Des
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 105

Figure 10. Zurich class project, an interpretation of proportional structure

ExpositionDevelopment Reprise
160 100 120
( 8 5 6)

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B LI C 1 l : B A 1 iD +A+B +C 1 I
E E+C ^ ^ 0 B E C i^
80 80 60 40 80 40

(1 1) (3 2) (2 1)
C: ($) (I) (II) Ill V1$

length of the reprise forms the harmonic mean between those (48) and in the reprise (35) is 40.48, the length of the second
of the exposition and development. 27 In this case, the number is theme in the exposition.
slightly off 5.6154, not 6 exactly but that translates into no As Schilling reminds us, plans like this served only as start-
more than three measures, and I rely on the frequent occur- ing points, and the measure totals would almost certainly
rence of the phenomenon in Hindemith's later music to inter- change as the piece was worked out, with the result that the
pret this particular instance as I have. The alternative measure proportions would most likely not be presented so cleanly; in
totals for the reprise (in parentheses in Fig. 9) in fact bring the fact, they might change. To make matters worse, Schilling re-
numbers much closer. The use of a closely related technique produces three of the themes (A, B, and C), every one of which
not shown in Figure 10 should also be mentioned: the harmonic is based on changing meters, a fact that would of course greatly
mean between the length of the main theme A in the exposition complicate any attempt to interpret the proportions by reading
backward from the score.
Proportional schemes in major works. There are some
27The harmonic mean for any pair of numbers a and b (where a is smaller
than b) is that number c which creates the same ratio between the differences, pieces where there is no difficulty interpreting proportional
ca and b c, as exists between a and b. The formula is c = (2ab) _ (a + b) . structure. I would like to mention briefly three instances I have
For the example in the text, (2.5.8) _ (5 + 8) = 80 =13 = 6.154. There are discussed more thoroughly elsewhere. 28 First, in the "Angelic
other ways to calculate the harmonic mean (see, for instance, Zarlino's method Concert," the first movement of the Mathis der Maler Sym-
as described in On the Modes: Le Institutioni harmoniche, 1558, Part 4, trans. phony (1934) as well as prelude to the opera, the introduction
Vered Cohen, ed. Claude V. Palisca [New Haven: Yale University Press,
1983], viii), but the classic formula given here was written down by Hindemith has its own "framing" bars at beginning and end, and between
himself as part of an extensive set of notes on musical temperament. The notes them three statements of the melody "Es sungen drei Engel."
include formulas for all three of the pythagorean proportionsarithmetic, ge- Hindemith creates a design not only symmetrical, but also
ometric, and harmonicnotes on the relationships between them and series
built on them, as well as remarks on the golden section. Hindemith's direct
source for this information is unknown. 28 Neumeyer, Hindemith, 52, 66n, 88.
106 Music Theory Spectrum

Figure 11. Concerto for Harp, Woodwinds, and Orchestra they were already obvious: the second movement of the Con-
(1949), II: Hindemith's notation in the sketches certo for Woodwinds, Harp, and Orchestra (1949). 3 The
scheme, in Figure 11, can be mapped onto the movement as
1. Kanon zu 2 2` shown in Figure 12 (tberl = t berleitung or transition) . Hin-
Uberl demith's numbers 1-3 (left column in the original scheme) are

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Aria soli 13 misleading, in that they indicate not form sections but the can-
Aria orch 13 ons and so obscure the fact that the movement is a perfectly
2. Kanon zu 3 alit Figur. 14 symmetrical three-part design: the canons in parts 1 and 3, the
3. Coda Kanon zu 6 8 arias in part 2. Each part totals 26 measures, and since each aria
is 13 measures, part 2 shows bilateral symmetry, and therefore
neatly proportioned: the central statement of "Es sungen drei so does the entire movement. The tonal plan is an augmented
Engel" has the secondary golden section division at its begin- triad outline, which Hindemith favored from a very early point
ning and the primary division at its end. In the Ludus Tonalis in his career and which he seemed to regard as a neutral sort of
(1942), the Fugue in G has a complex network of golden section scheme, suited to pieces that do not demand a sharply defined
divisions and also makes use of numbers in the summation se- tonal dynamic.
ries known as the Lucas sequence. 29 The pastoral interlude that
follows the fugue is written in a traditional binary form, consist- Example 5. Septet for Wind Instruments (1948): cyclic tonal
ing of 24 measures of meter, totalling 144 eighths, the latter
being a number in the Fibonacci sequence. The golden section

I . II . IV. V.
divisions, which of course also produce numbers in the same
sequence (55 and 89), fall on the cadence chord of section A
9 : b.. j 0 q! b b
and one eighth note before the climax point in m. 16. If the pro-
portional scheme is only one element and a subtle one at
El,: II ) (1)- -- ^ II 1 -- (I) (I)
that in the elaborate presentation of ancient and learned de-
vices in the fugue in G, in the pastorale interlude it acts as a
much simpler, readily perceivable reflection of the same proce- Septet for Winds (1948) . The tonal design of the whole of the
dure (a similar relationship of characteristics of fugue and suc- Wind Septet is one of the most regular to be found in any of
ceeding interlude applies in several instances in the Ludus). Hindemith's compositions (see Ex. 5). The symmetry is even
There is no sketch evidence for the three designs I have just realized aurally in that movement IV is a literal retrograde of
discussed. Unlike the tonal schemes, in only one case does a movement II. The finale, a bright fugue coiling about the trum-
notation in the sketches corroborate a design that unequivo- pet's statements of an "Alter Berner Marsch," is a case where
cally rests on whole-number ratios and proportions, but the the number tallies that can be found in most of Hindemith's
proportions are equal, not unequal, and it is a piece in which

3Luther Noss, ed., Paul Hindemith: Smtliche Werke, Series III, vol. 8:
29I am indebted to Mary Wennerstrom for this information. Blserkonzarte II (Mainz: Schott, 1977), x.
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 107

Figure 12. Concerto for Harp, Woodwinds, and Orchestra, II: sketch notation reconciled with score

Canon zu 2 Uberl. Aria 1 Aria 2 Canon zu 3 [ Uberl . ] Canon zu 6

22 mm. 4 13 13 14 4 8

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26 2 6 26

Keys: F A/ C# F F#? F F
nos.: 1-22 23-26 27-39 40-53 53-66 67-70 71-78

Figure 13. Septet for Wind Instruments, IV: formal/proportional scheme

numbers: 73 45 24 56 58 24

Same, halved: 36.5 22.5 12 28 29 12

Measure totals
in score: 37 23 12 30 30 13
Form sections:
March: A B1, 2 B3, 4 A; B 1 , 2 B3, 4
Fugue: 51 S2 (coda) S3 S 1, 2, 3 (coda)

sketches give some important clues. The tallies appear on p. 40 vised to 72:73) . The technique is akin to that of the baroque
of the sketchbook (the finale is written on pp. 34-52): 74 45 24 chorale fantasia or chorale concertato, but in Hindemith's com-
56 58 24. (The number 24 is circled in both cases.) These total positional tour de force the form is kept as an abstract model
280; the finale in present form has 145 measures. Hindemith and the March is set into it twice, along with a triple fugue. All
doubled the size of each measure (280/2 = 140) and added five this is to a considerable extent hidden inside a movement whose
additional measures at various places in the movement (see general effect is active good humor, certainly not learned dis-
Fig. 13). play.
It becomes clear from thisthanks to the clue of the circled Symphonia serena (1946). The sketches for Symphonia
numbers 24 in Hindemith's tally that he has mapped the bi- serena contain the tonal scheme for the first movement given in
partite design of the March onto the structure of the whole Example 6. Hindemith wrote only the letter names and vertical
movement: A:B becomes 142:138 (in the published score re- lines: I have supplied the musical notation and degree symbols.
108 Music Theory Spectrum

Figure 14. Symphonia serena, I: proportional scheme

Exposition Devel. Reprise

32^ 76
I 70 II II

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29 22 19 26 6 8 7 22 19 20

PGS(I 10)

The vertical lines separate triad arpeggiations and reveal sym- leading-tone-to-tonic motion, B b A, is used to approach the
metry in the placement of the principal tonal functions, which, coda.
with one exception, occur at beginning and end of each triad Figure 14 is a diagram of the proportional structure, the
outline. I have emphasized this symmetry by using degree sym- numbers in the third row (29, 22, etc.) corresponding to the
bols for the principal tonal functions only. It is, of course, possi- tonal and thematic successions in Example 7. Judging from the
ble that this scheme is a reflection of the symphony's title: the fate of the tonal plan, I would suggest that Hindemith started
principal tonal functions provide a calm and secure "tonal from a straightforward proportional scheme, along the lines of
foundation" controlling the points of passage between the ma- the one for the Zurich symphony, but then altered it substan-
jor form divisions, an interpretation supported by the fact that tially as he composed. On this basis it is possible to make a
the first two triads are augmented. number of guesses and surmises about golden section divisions,
whole number ratios, and harmonic proportions. The primary
Example 6. Symphonia serena (1946), I, tonal/formal scheme golden section (PGS) lies close enough to the beginning of the
reprise, and the secondary golden section (SGS) close enough
A* Cis F I Gis c e I d f bb Ia to the end of the exposition, to suggest that they may have
1 ' played a role in the original plan. The measure totals 70:32:76
7' #'
^ 1-
v 0
bo v might, alternatively, have arisen from the triple ratio 2:1:2. The
A: (I) ( )

^ ( ) ^ ^ ( ) ^ (1:0 three divisions of the exposition come close to creating a har-

* These letter names are Hindemith's notation in the sketches. monic proportion: theme 2 is 22 measures long, and 23 is the
harmonic mean (hm) between 29 and 19, the lengths of themes
Hindemith's plan corresponds to the actual events of the 1 and 3. Perhaps more convincing are the harmonic propor-
score up to the beginning of the reprise (see Ex. 7). Given the tions on a larger scale 178:(hm 100.5):70 and 178:(hm
habits of his practice, I think that he intended to open the re- 106.5) :76. In the first case, 70 is the length of the exposition and
prise on the subdominant, but it actually begins on the domi- 100.5 is close to the actual 102 measures of exposition plus de-
nant, in the midst of the second augmented triad outline. The velopment. In the second case, 106.5 is close to the actual 108
key areas D and F are not clearly present at all, but the final measures of development plus reprise.
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 109

Example 7. Symphonia serena, I: actual tonal/formal scheme

Reh. D G I L M N O R
b T 0
0 11v
9' l.

( )
,. ^ ! /

Th. 1 2 3 2 3

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l 1
Exposition Devel. Reprise Coda

Example 8. Symphonia serena, II: tonal/formal scheme

March "Trio" March

A B a b A B

Db : VI (1) II I^I (I) VI [ 61) Vx ] V I


Figure 15. Symphonia serena, II: proportional scheme

intro. A B Trio A B
b trans.
6 21 52
I a
14 31
I I29
11 11 II 4 II 8 II I
27 52 45 4 8 29
1 II II 1
79 49 37

In this first movement of Symphonia serena, the tonal plan is monic proportions, which cleanly link the major divisions of
patterned in a straightforward way (although it varies some- the traditional formal plan with what Hindemith took to be ba-
what from the composer's original scheme) but the evidence for sic principles of "rhythmic structure."
the coordination of that plan with proportional structure is less There are no sketch notations for the other movements of
clear. The title of the composition, however, suggests many the Symphony, but I have worked out both tonal/formal and
possibilities for linkage of affect, tonal symbolism, and directly proportional plans for them. Those for the second movement,
applied compositional techniques. It seems very unlikely that the Geschwindsmarsch for winds based on an insignificant little
Hindemith started without some specific proportional scheme, Beethoven march, appear in Example 8 and Figure 15. The
the best candidate of those cited above being the system of har- proportions are complicated by two passages enclosed in repeat
110 Music Theory Spectrum

Figure 16. Symphonia serena, IV: proportional scheme

Exposition trans. Dev./Reprise Coda

I 9
I 85 36

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73.75 119. (reprise of B)

signs. Whether one calculates the additional measures or not, Example 9 and Figure 16 show the fourth movement. This is
the Trio is the harmonic mean between the somewhat leisurely the most difficult one to interpret, with respect to both tonality
presentation of the march at the beginning and its more com- and proportion. Like the second movement, the fourth begins
pact statement at the end: 79:49:37 from 79: (hm 50.4):37. If the with a non-tonic introduction, and throughout there are ex-
repeated measures are taken into account, the numbers are tended passages of weakly defined tonality or uncertain tonal
106:57:37 from 106: (hm 55) :37. orientation. The lower level of Example 9 reduces away these
In the Geschwindsmarsch, as in the sonata design of the first obfuscating factors. Both primary and secondary golden sec-
movement, the harmonic proportions serve to create a "secret tion divisions correspond with significant form articulations,
structure" (almost in the manner of Webern) underlying the fa- and there are some intriguing recurrent numbers, the most
miliar forms of the sonata or dance with trio, but in the third striking shown with the bubbles in Figure 16: the measure to-
movement, a Colloquy for strings, the proportions are very tals, 29 and 12, for themes A and B in the exposition appear
much on the surface (as in the slow movement of the Concerto again in the reprise, but for themes B and C (theme A bearing
for Woodwinds, Harp, and Orchestra mentioned above) . Hin- the brunt of developmental treatment there) . Note that this
demith employs one of his favorite methods to construct a slow corresponds to the tonal design of Example 9: themes A and B
movement: separate sections, A and B, are literally and simul- in the exposition are in A and Bb, where in the reprise themes B
taneously restated to form the closing section. This procedure and C are in Bb and A, respectively.
obviously controls the proportional structure, which is essen- So, even in the fourth movement, despite its unstable pas-
tially a triple ratio 1:1:1 with two cadenza-like interpolations. sages, Hindemith treats both tonal and formal design in as
The cadenzas, of course, introduce a high degree of internal much a structural as a processive manner, with qualities as
freedom into the design, even though they are notated metri- much "serene" as dynamic. An overriding concept in the piece,
cally; therefore no more detailed calculations can be offered for though, is expressed by Example 10: the entire symphony is
the whole movement. based on the same augmented triad with which the first move-
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 111

Example 9. Symphonia serena, IV: tonal/formal scheme

Exposition Devel. / Reprise

Intro.: A B d e C d A+ d+ e, etc. B A Coda

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A: VI (D 43) ? VI

I^I t ^ Vi (I)

0 bn
9 .
# a'
A: (1) (VI) I^I (I)

ment begins, a gesture "marked for consciousness," as Cooper symmetrical: the main theme A on the tonic; the second theme
and Meyer say of accent, by the non-tonic introductions of B on the two leading tones. The design, thus, emphasizes tonal
movements II and IV and also by the virtual restriction to these stability and a clearly defined and coordinated tonal, thematic,
degrees internally within the movements after the first. Thus and formal hierarchy.
the "neutral" augmented triad is expanded over the whole The proportional plan, on the other hand, is complex, in-
composition, giving what I read to be the deepest sense of Hin- volving elements of golden section divisions, whole number ra-
demith's title. tios, and harmonic proportions (see Fig. 17). The numbers rep-
resent sums of eighth notes, rather than measures, because of
Example 10. Cyclic tonal plan for Symphonia serena frequently changing meters. Note that the harmonic mean be-
tween the two divisions of the opening tutti is the length of the
Mvt.: I II III IV horn's statement of the main theme. The largest divisions of the
0 0
movement, shown at the bottom of the figure, might have been
derived from simple ratios, 302:240 from 6:5 and 367:175 from
2:1, but the length of the development plus reprise (240) is also
very close to the harmonic mean between the reprise (175) and
Concerto for Horn. The Concerto for Horn is unusual in that the exposition plus development (367); that is, 175: (hm
it is not an obvious display piece for the virtuosowhich it 237) :367.
might well have been, since it was written for Dennis Brain In the second movement, which is one of those understated
but a rather reserved work of concertante character. The first scherzi, lightly scored and technically brilliant, which occur of-
movement is relatively short and has little traditional develop- ten in Hindemith's later music, proportions are very obviously
ment; the design is shown in Example 11. Despite a number of based on the simplest whole-number ratios, the unit being the
digressions (those occurring in the orchestral exposition are 11 measures of the theme (Fig. 18) . In this context, the coda,
shown in the example), the tonal scheme is quite simple and though musically very effective, seems somehow out of place:
112 Music Theory Spectrum

Example 11. Concerto for Horn (1949), I: tonal/formal scheme

A (orchestra) A ( Horn) B "Devel." A B Coda

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F: (VI) (1)
F: (I)

Figure 17. Concerto for Horn, I: proportional scheme

A orchestra A horn I trans. I B I "Dev." coda

143 46 66
Q.`9 65

42 101

(42 (hm59.33) 101) PGS 335

I n A n A
33 32
1 I I I I 11
143 159 65 175
302 240
367 175

18 is an awkward number in a system based on a unit of 11. The Hindemith achieves this by giving the bass voice to the timpani
coda does create symmetry-67:71 may derive from 1:1 but it (which, however, strike the fourth FB b) and by giving to the
is not involved at all in the one clear harmonic proportion in this Horn a melody whose shape and tonal emphases are very typi-
movement: the double reprise of the theme (32 bars) is the har- cal of Hindemith's themes, but as if in F, not B b . 31
monic mean between the contrasting section C (21 bars) and
the six short sections that precede it (67 bars) .
The scherzo's tonal design is quite striking: the rondo theme 31 1n fact, in the first statement of the theme the situation is even more com-
expresses an indefinite relation of the fifth: tonic and dominant. plicated than described here. In the celli, the only part in addition to horn and

Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 113

Figure 18. Concerto for Horn, II: combined tonal, formal, and proportional scheme

A A B A. B _A C A ( A coda !
11 11 11 12 11 11 21 11 21 18 I

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1 11 I I 32 1
67 21 50
1 1

Bb: ^ ^nr ^ jW i III Q^ ( i 7 ) ^ (1) (I)


The tonic B b is established unequivocally near the end of the the same time, they represent the complex present, against
movement, but the indefinite fifth does play a role in large-scale which the horn intones its "nostalgic longing" for a simpler past
or cyclic design. This connection becomes clear in the final and by means of lines structured about harmonic cells of the perfect
longest movement, which is the dramatic heart of the concerto. fifth, summarized in Example 13. 32 This also explains the sig-
The design is essentially pyramidal, with a recitando placed in nificance of the unusual procedure of the indefinite fifth rela-
the middle, where the solo horn "sets" a poem placed above tion in the scherzo: it presages the important role that the inter-
the score and titled "Declamation." The text can be underlaid val of the fifth will play later in the Concerto, but also the fact
throughout: Example 12 shows the beginning interpreted in that there the fifth will seem to lack its characteristic stability.
this way. The poem treats the horn as persona and is a call to a The end of the second beamed group is an arrival on the fifth
moment's nostalgia for the ancient and powerful traditions of FC to conclude a long step-progression pattern. This arrival is
the Waldhorn. String tremolandi generate complex sonorities significant on several levels at once: it coincides with the begin-
with no clear tonal direction (until near the end), suggesting the ning of the second sentence of the poem; each of the three lines
unstable, fanciful character of the vision the horn offers us. At making up this sentence begins with this same fifth; and the ar-
rival signals the imminent return to the controlling key of the
movement, F.
The three lines of the poem's second sentence have the same
timpani, is a figure that includes a pizzicato low Et (struck with the timpani's harmonic framework; they begin with the fifth FC and close
fourth F By). If one takes this into account, the result is a multiple indefinite
relation of fifths (in B b : Y / / j) ) , the ambiguity of which is only increased
by the peculiar mixture of timbres. That E6 is the subdominant and not the
32 This and the previous sentence are cited from David Neumeyer, ed. , Paul
tonic is made clear in the immediately following second statement of the rondo
theme, as the El, drops out and the bass is formed by a pedal point F in the Hindemith: Siimtliche Werke, Series III, vol. 7: Bliiserkonzerte I (Mainz:
bassoons. Schott, 1983), xii. Example no. 12 is also cited from that edition, p. xi.
114 Music Theory Spectrum

Example 12. Concerto for Horn, III, mm. 114-121: horn recitando with the first two lines of the poem "Declamation" underlaid

G r

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Mein Ru- fen wan- delt In herbst- ge- tbn- ten Hain den Saal,


r r r
Das E- ben in Ver- scholl- nes,

Example 13. Concerto for Horn, III, mm. 114-154: scheme of the harmonic cells in perfect fifths

t.. 6

VI n1111111M1 .111=11111116n1= ^ ; ..:^.mitin :a.n=sr tf.:arowr

with CO G # (bracketed in the example) . This fifth C# GO is, "Eben" becomes "Verschollnes"the present becomes the
of course, enharmonically equivalent to the Db Ab which is pastor when the horn's enchantment takes effect. The entire
the joint between the two sections of the step-progression; that second sentence of the poem is based on an archaic dative con-
is, the two beamed groups in the example. struction with the verb "gonnen" (to permit) . It has three lines,
The oscillation between F and DI, is a typical feature of tonal set as described above with the fifth FC to begin and C#G#
structure in this movement, which begins with a phrase leading to end. Each line begins with present action, but the remainder
from a DI, major triad to a cadence on F (see Ex. 14). The open- refers to aspects of the horn's vision of the past. Thus, F, the
ing phrase of the second section (in Ex. 15) is based on a seventh controlling tonic, through its fifth F C, is the symbol of the
chord above F embellished by a neighbor chord built on present, and the degree of the lowered sixth, D b , through its
D. enharmonic fifth C# G# , is the image of the past. I see no spe-
D b and F are also tonal icons on a deeper level. The clue to cial symbolism in the choice of Di, rather than some other non-
this can be found in the third line of the poem and its setting tonic degree, but perhaps it was intended as a reference to the
(Ex. 16) . The diatonic scale fragment within C G, the fifth on frequent use of chromatic third relations in the early nineteenth
the dominant of F, gives way to the simple fifth Di, AI, when century.
Tonal, Formal, and Proportional Design in Hindemith's Music 115

Example 14. Concerto for Horn, III: opening measures

Very slowSehr langsam ( abca. 56)

- b
a 1, 1

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B. Schott's Soehne, Mainz 1950. Renewed 1978. All Rights Reserved. Used by
permission of European American Music Distributors Corporation, sole U.S. agent for
B. Schott's Soehne, Mainz.

Example 15. Concerto for Horn, III, mm. 21-23 Example 16. Concerto for Horn, III, mm. 118-121: present-past
symbolism of the harmonic cells CG and D b A b

Moderately fastMii[ig schnell (J. ca. 66)

^ es pr.
143 r rr
6 r^

in Ver- scholl-
y '1 Das E- ben

mf es pr. O ^ .

9 g
. 7
J y y
J '1
` J


B. Schott's Soehne, Mainz 1950. C Renewed 1978. All Rights Reserved. Used by
permission of European American Music Distributors Corporation, sole U.S. agent for
B. Schott's Soehne, Mainz.
116 Music Theory Spectrum

The strings actually carry the deepest level of tonal function War II has been hampered (and along with it an adequate as-
in this passage (the upper leading tone) and provide the neces- sessment of the music). Composers had to deal with a typical
sary connection to the next section of the movement. In this nineteenth-century duality: on the one hand, the eighteenth-
way, the orchestra is able to maintain its proper present-related century form clichs turned into the ideal forms of Marx, then
role, despite the activities of the horn. hardened by the aesthetic doctrine of absolute music following

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Conclusion. Ian Kemp, writing on Hindemith in the New from Hanslick; on the other hand and equally Hegelian the
Grove, says that the harmonic language crystallized in Mathis progress dynamic turned into the musical notion of continuous
der Maler gave Hindemith firm control over tonal processes, motivic development, used to great effect by Beethoven and
but that his melodies can all be analyzed as variants on the four- later by Wagner and many others. After the first World War,
phrase chorale or folk song; that is, they can be heard as "para- the challenge was no longer to play these extreme interpreta-
digms of proportion [rather than for their] emotional or im- tions of structure and process against one another, but to inte-
pressionistic content.... Formal processes therefore assume grate them, to evolve a whole new set of attitudes towards
the greatest importance as symbols of a transcendent balance them. The organicism of Bartok is certainly one of the most
and proportion Hindemith believed to be music's heritage. 33 I " striking solutions, as is Webern's combination of the intense
disagree with the notion that Hindemith's melodies are no motivic concentration of the prewar expressionistic style and
more than variants of the four-phrase, balanced period design, multi-levelled symmetries of pitch and form.
but I won't dispute the idea of form as a "symbol of transcen- Enough work has been done that many scholars would prob-
dent balance." Kemp, however, cites only traditional forms, ably now concede that some manner of treatment of propor-
especially the sonata, without mentioning proportional struc- tional structure is a significant element in composition in the
ture. Yet the great variety of Hindemith's sonata-form move- twentieth century, whatever disagreements or doubts there are
ments alone, and the fact that he frequently ignored the model about individual analyses or use by particular composers. The
in places one might expect him to use it, to my mind belies great problem is no longer establishing the legitimacy of the in-
Kemp's claim and suggests that it is a set of fundamental princi- quiry, but the far more vexing issues of methodology and com-
ples rather than form moulds that were important to positional intent. So far as I can tell, Hindemith does not con-
Hindemith principles like sectional articulation, contrast, struct the complex, integrated networks of proportions
diminution, reprise, and relationships of duration. involving all the musical elements, from harmony and melody
It is safe to say that Hindemith shared with other composers to dynamics and timbre, that Howat finds in Debussy and other
in the first half of this century an active concern for issues of composers. The evidence I have offered here the hard evi-
process and structure (which actually constitute an age-old dence of the sketches as well as my surmises built on it
compositional problem) . Yet we still tend to rely so heavily on suggests the looser or more flexible sense of Hindemith's "bal-
the Kurthian metaphor of linear energy for many of us long anced cooperation" of the principal elements: motivic
since transformed into the counterpoint of Schenker that our development or linear energy, the unfolding of harmonic suc-
appreciation of a central compositional issue prior to World cessions or a formal proportion; but also melodic shape, cyclic
or symmetrical tonal design, and proportional structure; and
New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, s.v. "Hindemith, Paul," finally, of course, their manifold ways of interacting, in patterns
by Ian Kemp. unique to each composition.