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EVOLUTION OF STYLISTIC ELEMENTS IN SELECTED

-;:"
\
SOLO PIANO WORKS BY SCRT ABIN )

Presented by

David Clemmons~innix

. ,

To fulfill the thesis requirement for the degree of


Doctor of Musical Arts

Department of Performance and Pedagogy


(Piano)

Thesis Director: Dr. Ernest F. Livingstone

Eastman School of Music

of the

University of Rochester

June 8, 1969
iYl
q ~:'~/ ~/)

VITA

The author was born in Burlington, N.C. on October 7,


1938, tho son of a minister. He received his early piano
instruction from his mother, having begun around age seven.
After two years, formal piano study ceased,not to be resumed
until the author was thirteen. At that time he studied with
Hilde B. Kreutzer of Gastonia, N.C. During his high-school
years he was accepted as a special student of Stuart Pratt'
of the Music Department at Meredith College, Raleigh, N.C.,
where he presented several recitals. He graduated from
.Lillington High School, Lillington, N.C., as Valedictorian
of his class in 1957.
That fall the author matriculated as a piano ma~or at
Oberlin College.for study with Jacob Radunsky. He recetv~d

his Bachelor of Music degree in 1961 having won honors in


performance and be' en named by the fA cuIt Tf of the Conserva­
.tory to Pi Kappa Lambda. He spent the juntor year in Salzbur&
Austria, at the }iozarteum studying with .Kurt Neumu1ler.
Graduate studies at Eastman were begun in·the fall of
1961. There he studied piano with Armand Basile, David Burge,
, t'
and Jose Echaniz. He held a Graduate Award for three years
teaching secondary class piano. In 1964 he was granted the
Master of Music in Performance and Music Literature and the
Performer's Certificate in Piano.
as ._. __ .

During 1964-1965 he interruptod his doctoral work, which


had been started in 196~ in order to st~dy at the 'Santa
Cecilia Academy in Rome with Carlo Zecchi on a Fulbright
Scholar~hip. The author a13~ studied privately with Guido
Agosti and was a performing member of the Intcrnattonal
Chamber Music Academy. There he had the fortune to studT
and perform under the tutelage of Nadia Boulanger, Oedoen'
Part os, Alberto Lysy, and Yehudi Menuhin. A concert tour of
Italy was made unner the sponsorship of the United States
Information Service.
Since 1965, the author has served as Assistant Proresso~

of P~ano at Greensboro College, Greensboro, N.C~ He is active


as recitalist, lecturer, and contest judge. He is married to
the former Judi Womble of Lillington, N.C., a graduate of the
Eastman School of Music with a B.M. in voice and opera, and
the Performer's Certificate. They have twin sons born in
October, 1966.

"
I '
TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE • • • • • • • • •.• • • • • • • • • • • . . • • • 11
CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION TO SCRIABIN, HIS BACKGROmm
AND PHILOSOPHY • • • • • • • • • • h.· ·..1

CHAPTER II. ANALYSES OF SELECTED PIANO SONATAS AND


SHORTER PI8CES • • • • • • • •• • • • • • • • 14
A. Derivative Period: 1893-1904 • • • • • 16
B. Transition Period: 1904-1913 • • • • • u5
C. Mature Period: 1913-1915 • • • • • 89

CHAPTER III. EVOLUTION OF STYLE • • • • • • • • • • • 127

A. Form • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 127
B. Harmony • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 130
C. Melody and Rhythm. • • • • • • • • • 133
GHAPTER IV. CONTHI BI1TIONS AND LASTING INFLUENCES • • • 138
BIBLIOGRAPHY • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 141
ABSTRACT

The first chapter of this study comprises hio8raphical


information and ~. description of Scrtabin' s evol,ring phi­
losophies. No attempt is made to relate these ?hilosophies
x to the MusiC, as the author believes that, though the works
were conceived as reflections of his preoccupation with my­
sticism, they are strong enouBh to stand on their own merits
as absolute Music. Chapter II follows with analyses of piano
works seleoted from each of his three creative periods. These
analyses are accompanied by formal charts and Musical examples.
The author atteMpts to discuss salient features in these rather
than provide measure-bY-Measure descriptions.
In Chapter III an attempt has been made to synthesize
the findings of Chapter II by discussing the evolution of
stylist1c eleMents which include form, harmony, melody and
rhythm, in order to place the C01'lipOSer more prominently in
Ii

the ma1n stream bf development. The concluding chapter· de":'


scribes his lasting influences, which seem to this author more
. important than his efforts at theoretical innovation.
PREFACE

The purpose of this study is to discover the evolution


of stylistic elements in selected works for solo piano by
Scriabin. Stylistic elements will include form, harmony,
thematic 'handling and rhythm. The stylistic periocis are
suggested on the basis of the compJsitions studied, those
pieces having been chosen in the author's view for their
individual contributions to Scriabin1s stylistic- development.
Many authors on music have written about Scriabin's style,
his contribution to musical co~position, and his mystical
bent, but as far as can be determined by this writer, there
has been no systematic study made to trace how the mature
style, came about, except for .broad generalizations. It is
the intention of this study to attempt to fill this ~need.

Musical examples follow each analysis rather than break


the continuity of the script. They are identified accord­
ing to the measure number within each composition, as the
page number of the various' editions will vary.
I should like to express grateful appreciation to my
adviser, Dr.' Ernest F. LiVingstone, without whose s~pathe­

tic and exp'ert assistance this project would hard.ly have been
carri ad out. Also, I would thank the Eastman School of Music
tor the generous financial help through a Graduate Award which

ii
tti

·
made my doctoral, study possible. Finallr, I am grateful
to l1y wife, Judi, for her forbearance and encouragement
while this project was undertaken and for her help in typ­
ing the manuscript.
CHAPTER I
INTRODUOTION TO SCRIABIN, HIS BACKGROUND AND PHILOSOPHY

Mid-nineteenth century Czarist Russia witnessed politi­


/ cal and social upheavals the nature and scope of which she
had 'neve.r before encountered. Russian intellectuals, under
the influence of the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 in Western
Europe, were stimulated by democratic ideals and the idea
of the worth of the individaal. The literature of the
period reflected the struggles of the peasants against their
impoverished existence. Czar Alexander II freed the serfs,
who were no longer legally required to stay with their wealthy
overlords. Democratic reforms in the court and legislative
systems were effected. However, Alexander's advisers caused
him to slow down his earlier efforts. The resulting dis­
appointment incited revolutionary activity, which ultima.tely
led to his assassination. Alexander III reintroduced the
stern, .vengeful policies of most of his predecessors, increas­
ing the authori~y of the secret police, and demanding the
Russification of the Poles, Finns, and Jews. His son,
Nicholas II, was unable to stem the rising tide of rebellion
once the seeds of freedom had been sown. Economic, educa­
tional, and political reforms, begun by Peter the Great in
the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and
the industrial revolution created the base of a small, but

I
2

influential intellectual middle class, which before was


almost nonexistent. Toward the turn of the century,
new revolutionary leaders wuch as Bakunln, Plekhanov,
\ and Lenin, began the dissemination of Marxist soclal
philosophy, which eventually led ·to the overthrow
of the Czar in 1917 and the establishment 'of the Soviet
regime.
Russian literature of the period, represented chiefly
by Pushkin, and later by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, is
characterized by its truth and vitality of feeli~g, its
humanity, and its nationalism. In Pushkin's Boris
Godunov we find a probing psychological drama of a demented
ruler.
- -
War and Peace of Tolstoy portrays the influence of
'

fate over individuals when powerful elemental forces are


loosed. Or, in his ~ Karenina, he pictures the tragedy
which lurks in the pursuit of selfish desire. Dostoyevsky
wrote intense, psychological analyses in Brothers Karamazov
and Crime and Punishment. Here he expounded the conviction
that the'soul 'of Man can be purified only through suffering.
This atmosphere of intense national fervor, the emer­
gence of the individual as an entity, and the development
of a national school of literary and political thought, were
adopted in music by the "New Russian School," also known as
"The Five." Previously, Russia had taken West European
music as its model. Glinka and Dargomizhky were considered
the spiritual forefathers t,')·f the Kuchka (group) consisting
of Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov.
They advanced the cause of realism, nationalism, folklore,
and progrrummattcism in their music. However, there were
bitter factions, headed by the Rubinstein brothers Anton
and Nicholas, who felt that music should be written only
along the so-called classical lines of thei r ~"'est F.uronean
coll~agues. They perpetuated their ideals at their re­
spective conservatories in St. Peters~ur~, founded in 1861;
and Moscow, founded in 1864. Tchaikovsky, who was trained
at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in the traditional,
classical Yein, adapted to his background the roalism and
nationalism of the ~~ch~~, but retained ~is essentially
classical, refined approach, with emphasis on the abstrac­
tion of s·piritual and emotional aspects of human personality.
This fact became a source of contention between him and his
rival colleagues, wpo were interested in depicting life as
it really eXisted, including its coarser elements. Rimsky-
Korsakov, who was later given a teaching position at the
St. Petersburg Conservatory, fused the solid classical

techniques which he found there with the more nationalistic
ideas of the "New School." He leaned, perhaps, more hea­
vily'in the direction of the Kuchka's ideals, establishing
educational policy' for the last quarter of the nineteenth
century.1

IJames ~akst, ! History of Russian-Soviet MUSic, p. 98.


au

In the midst of politicol, soclal, And musicel


tbe~.!e
2
trends Alexander SCr'i.r.l.b1n wea born, December 2t:;', 1871.
In later life, he was to attach mystical imnortence to
this date, viewing himself as the new l-1essiah. His father
was born of an aristocratic family and was a 1awyer­
diplomat; his mother was a hrill1snt pianist, a student
of Leschetizky, and a Gold Medal winner at the St. Peter&­
burg Conservatory. When the young Scriabin was but six
months old, his mother died, whereupon he was sent to live
with his grandmother. At a very early age he sl:oHed ex.­
traordinarY' musical aptitude and began piano study with
George Conus, and later with N.S. Zverev, concurrent with
his work at military school. In 1888, he was admitted to
the Moscow Conservatory for piano study with Safonov and
theory with Taneyev. He later studied fugue with Arensky.
Scriabin was a brilliant pianist, refined and sensi­
tive. He was greatly admired by his teacher and fellow
students for his novel pedal effects and his ru1::ato. Be­
cause 30riabin felt a oompulsion to surpass his co11ea~ues,

among whom were no less than Josef Lhevinne and Sergei


Rachmaninoff, he overtaxed his right hand, causing temporary
paralysis. Undaunted, he praoticed with the left hand, I

which de'veloped incredible dexterity. Upon recovery, which


was only partial, Soriabin played a brilliant graduation

2 This is by the old calendar. By Western or ,Grego'rian


Calendar, his birthdate would. be twelve days later, or
January 6, 1872.
examination and was awarded the Gold Medal.
Following graduation, Scriabin toured extensively
through Europe, widely acclaimed as a pianist and com­
poser. His principal benefactor was Belayev, who accom­
panied him in a managerial capacity. By 1897, Scriabin
had married Vera Ivanovna Isaakovitch, a brilliant pianist
in her own right, and the union had produced four children.
These fam~ly responsibilities put Scriabin under a heavy
financial bureen. He accepted a prestigious teaching post
at the Moscow Conservatory, whi~h he held until 1903. This
was a particularly unproductive period of his life, as he
found that the drudgery of teaching was stifling to his
creative spirit.
From 1903 until 1909, Scriabin went on extensive
tours of Europe and the United States. In the meantime,
he left his family for the congenial and admiring Tatiana
Schloezer. The illicit relationship apparently encouraged
his musical creativity, for this was a period resulting
. in two piano sonatas, approximately sixty preludes, etudes,
\ \
and other pieces, for piano, the Poeme divin, . and Poeme de
!;extase, for orchestra. This was the time of Scriabin's
middle period, during which his philosophy and musical
style began to mature.
In 1909, he returned to Russia for a concert of his
music in Moscow, and he later accompanied Koussevitzky on
a tour of towns along the VOlga. The year 1911 found him
6

touring Brussels , Arnst("ril~mJ The Uo ':UEl J Bnil ?rankfurt.

Also, he made an extensive Russian tour. IJ12-1913


were years devoted primarily to comp09ition. In l0lit, he
played two greatly successful piano recitals in Bechstein
Hall, in London, and was engal3ed for a series of ten con­
certs f.or the following year. But fate would have it other­
wise. After spending the summer and winter following 1n
Moscow, composing feverishly to finish his "Mystery",
Scriabin played two concerts in Moscow, one in Kharkov,
and three 1n St. Petersburg's Conservatory Hall. These
concerts consisted primarily of his late piano comp~sitions.

On April 4, 191$, he noticed a boil on his lip, which leter


developed into blood poisoning. On April 15 (April 27 by
Western calendar), Scriabin died of a fever of 1230F., with­
out having realized the full potentiality of hls "Mystery".
Scriabin's musical philosophy began to take shape at
the time of the trouble with his left hand. He had pre­
viously known no limitations and had lived a pampered,
exuberantly happy 11fe. There are several contributory fac­
tors to his philosophy. First, he "sought a solution of
his dilemma in the idea of a 'pantheistic' merging with
nature, ~1'3thereby reflecting contemporary Russian philo­
sophical thought. He entered a different phase with his
subsequent rejection of Pantheism:

.3 Bakst" .2.E,. ill., p. 262.


7

Later, he rejected pantheism, as well as Christ­


ian dogmas, and formulated the ideas of an unl.imi­
ted subjecti "i3rr~ fni th in an unkn'::)Yln God, Bnd as­
sertion of his LOw~ 'boundless omnipotence,' 'bound­
less power,' 'invincibility,' and his 'It. He wished
to announce his triumph through music to all people,
and give them confidence to rid themselves of suffer­
ings brought on by ir,norance and weakness. Scriabin
actually reached a atate of self-deification by 4
regarding himself us the croator of the universe.

Scriabin was neither a careful reader nor a profound


thinker. He would grasp the essence of an idea and use it to
suit his own purpose. Philosophies which were in vo~ue among
the intelligentsia at that time ranged from Nietzschean in­
dividualism to mystical universalism, which Scriabin even­
tually adopted for his projected "Mystery". "In all his works,
two moods are in evidence, the satanic and thA seraphiC, and
there was a constant fight between the opoosing forces in his
nature."S The fight always resolved into an attitude of se­
renity, suggesting the influence of Hegel's philosophy, which
states, "The clash of opposites results eventually in a fu­
sion, in the creation of a new organism made up of elements
taken from the two opposites themselves,..,,6 The influence of
Nietzsche is seeri in Scriabin's adoption of the'''Messianic
idea, extreme individualism, intoxication with instinct, with
struggle as an end in itself. Scriabin's idea of 'ecstasy',
the divine dance, recalls Nietzsche's Dionysian ecstasy and

4Ibid •
SMarion Bauer, Twentieth Century Music: How it Developed,
How ~ Listen to It, p. 178. .
6Edward M. Burns, Weste~n Ci~JJlza~ions ~ Their F13tor:r
and Th~i~ C\lltut:~, p .. f5ll iT.
8

the oonsequent loss of in61vtdl,l1111ty in the reunion wtth


7
nature." As we shall see, the ecstatic dance ts to play
an important part in the later sonatas.
As his philosophy evolved towards the mystical and the
universal, Scriabin underwent a period of refined mystical
individualism, also an influence of the intellectual milieu
whioh surrounded him:

The origins of this mystical individualism lay


in an erotic exaltation, very widespread in the
epoch. A highly sensitive, even morbid, percep­
tion of life required constant excitation. In
such an atmosphere the art of Scriabin with its
ego-centric philosophy of a boundlessly free and
all-powerful personality, which identified itself
with the cosmos (I am -God, I am the world, I
am the oentre of the universe), received its im­
pulses to growth. It was the strongest and most
lasting creation of a nervJusly excited epoch,
strong and valuable in spite of the hi~hly indi­
vidualistic and socially-utonian currents that
begot it. It knew ho repose, convBntionalit y ,
vulgarity, inert attitude to life. . .

During his stay in Brussels, Scriabin encountered a


trend of. thought which he found congenial to the then em­
bryonic ideas for the "}-lystery. fI This was Theosophy, de­
fined by Encyclopaedia Britannica as "Those forms of philo­
sophic and religious thought which claim a special inSight
into the Divine nature and its constitutive moments or
processes. n9 This inSight may be reached by supernatural

7Bak~t, ~. ~., p. 271.


8 Boris V. Asafiev J Ru-!..~~ ~!us to f.!:.21!! the BeglJl:cing
of the Nineteenth Centul'l.J p. 177.
9Article "Theosophy" in EncycloEaedia Britannica,
14th ad., 4XII 6tl-69.
9

revelation to the indivldu~l, or it may simply be his


deepest speculative wlsdom. 10 The same article further
states the following:

The Theosophist ••• is most at his ease when


moving within th0 clrc10 of the Divine essence,
into which he c181m~ ablo1ute insight •••• The
Godhead is thus vif)\'1/'od H'J a 'dark and formless
essence, t a favorite thesis of 'J'heosophy. Jakob
Boehme ••• bsses his sneculation 'upon the ne­
ce3sity 'Jf reconcllin.i1, thl; exIstence and the
might of evil with the existence of an all-em­
bracing and all-powerful God •••• ' In every
natural existence there are two principles to
be distinguished. First, the dark principle,
through which the being in question is sepa­
rated from God, and eXists, as it were, in· the
mere ground; and second, the Divine principle
of understanding. (Note; 1st = particular will
of the individual; 2nd = universal will.) In
man the two principles are consciously present
together, ndt, however, 1n the inseparable union,
as they are:in God, but with the possibility of
separation. (The possibility of separation =
the possibility of Good and Evil.) •••• The theory
of Karma is thus primarily an explanation of
a man's lot in the present life as determined 11
by his own action in a series of previous lives.

Again the reader notices the presence of opposing forces,


which represents the principle of conflict in Scriabin's
music. From this mode of mystical th'Jup,ht, Scriabin moves
in the direction of liberatina the individual conscious­
ness in order to achieve happiness. At this ooint one
discern~ a kinship with the philosophy of Schopenhauer, who
propounde~ the theory of Universal Will directing all growth
and movement. According to Schopenhauer, sensuousness may

,,
_= .• =. . ==.zua~ .",. XGXSZ£S~.. & . .,..tS __ aa, La '" E, ~ :
c _. __

10

'be overcome only throueh self-denial in the manner of the


Oriental ascetic. Only then CAn happiness be achieved.
Scriabin, however, believed that he himself was capable
ot leadin.g people to happiness through his music:

The essentinl aspect of this philosophy is


the overcoming of the sensuous world. Scriabin
regarded himself as a being invested with su­
perior power to lead people on the road to
happiness and bliss.
The content of art is sensation. Conscious­
ness without sensation which it creates is
empty. In itself, the 'II deprived of crea­
tivity ••• is nothing. The creative spirit, by
overcoming sensuousness in an apotheosis of
ecstasy, attains t~e triumph of happiness as
an end in itself. l

Further, Scr1abin describes his own philosophy regarding


s,tates of consciousness; "The world is the activity of my
consCiousness. tl13 Bakst explains further:

This activity does not bring about changes of


consciousness. Consciousness, when deprived of
activity, is nothing •. Consciousness includes
many states or elements. A state of conscious­
ness is a creative moment ••• and can only be su­
perseded by another state •••• By itself, every
state of consciousness is inert and negates all
other states ••••
Activity of consciousness takes place when
states of consciousness negate each other, in­
cluding the final state of conSciolls!less (Alsnvanr.;,
p. 250; Scriabints notes, p. 1801 .The 'cre­
ative spirit' understands these negations as
. the struggle of the spirit with its own created
obsbacles •. The climax of the struggle is the
'dance' of states of consciousness resulting in

12 Bakst , 2£. £11-, 266.


13!.E.!2._
11

the loss of distinguishability of the world,


and which is thnn followed by the merging
of the self with the mysticnl unity in a
state of bliss. Thi9 is ecstasy, the abso­
lute differentIation and. At the same time,
absolute unlty of 011 sLnt63 of conscious­
ness, followed by complete dissolution of
all elements of con9ciouBness, oblivious­
ness of the world, nnd the revelation of the
substance of existence as the affirmation
of human happiness ••••
For ScriRbin, ••• all states of time exist
simultaneously and are revealed to conscious­
ness in a single moment. However, for some
subjective consciousness the world disinte­
grates into numberless states of time.
Scriabin's objective was to overcome these
numberless states by means of a 'Universal
Mystery' in a single moment of ecstasy
which would be followed, as he imagined it)
by a total merging of thi4subjective spirit
with the mystical whole.

These ideas concerning the ~Universal Mystery" were


undoubtedly influenced by the Russian symbolist movement
around the turn of the century. At that time, writers
like Solovyov, Bely, and Blok wrote of the impending
15
end of the world. The projected ritual was to com­
bine all the arts, like the music drama~ of Wagner, be­
coming a kind of religious ritual.
To enhance the visual aspect of the Mystery, Scriabin
planned to incorporate color into the ritual. His sympho­
nic poem, "Prometheus", an offshoot of the Mystery, is
scored for orchestra ana a keyboard instrument called
Tastiera per ~, which flashes colors ~nto a screen•.
The colors were arbitrarily keyed to the circle of

l4 Bakst , 2£- ~.i 266-267.


15Bakst, ££. £!i., 270-271.
e e. t

12
16
fifths, ranging from the red ena of the spectrum (C) to
violet (C-sharp). Scrtabin assigned to his favorite key,

F-sharp, the heavenly color of bright blue.

Originally, Scriabin believed that his Mystery would


oause a oataolysm of the Universe followed by the beginn­
ing of a new cosmic era; or, as Sabaneiev said, "The frail
walls of this world would be shattered, and man would fuse
with Eternity.,,17 The Mystery was to take plaoe originally
in SWitzerland, but Scriabin became disenchanted with
'Switzerland and transferred the scene in his mind to India,
to a temple of dome shape, whose reflection in the pool
surrounding it would cause the temple to assume a spher­
cal shape, the perfect form. Realizing the improbability
of accomplishing this mystery, Scriabin confined himself
to what he called the "Initial Act", which was to be a
prologue to it. He had succeeded only in writing the poetic
text and sketching parts of the musio at the time of his
death.
In summary, "Scriabints musio, when separated from its
philosophical ba,ses, is th.e creation of a refined, ecstatio
I

Russian intelleotual. It is destined to remain an expression


of a lonely Promethean enthusiast whose visional1Y sohemes of

16In the Baroql e period, the ke'y'of C Major wa's thought

of as a neutral or white key, bright, but without

definite hue. (Hermann Keller, Die Klavierwerke Bacha,

Leipeig, 1959, p. 130.) --- '

'17Leonid Sabaneiev, "Scriabin and the Idea of a Reli­


gious Art," Musical Times, LXXII (1931), p. 789.
"a __ ..~.

13

objective development of the spirit are filled withre­


markable subjective and lyrical content. When one dis­
regards Scriabin's fantastic ideas, there is left in the
balance art whose heroic strivings represent a unique
18
phenomenon. in Russian music."
CI-IArJTTt II

ANALYSES OF SELECTG:D PIANO SONATAS

AND SFOHTER PIECES

It is the author's intention that the analyses which


tollow should give a glimpse into tl:Je ;::Husic from each of
the chronological periods. They are not intended to be
measure-by-measure descriptions, rather they c~ncentrate

upon the unusual features of the music. The practice of


dividing a composer's musical ontput into chronological
peri'ods is at best dubious in attempting a stylistic stun,...
The author has chosen them for the sake of order and clari­
ty. It is hoped that the renfer will bear in mind, however,
that stylistic features tend to overlap the boundaries which
the author has imposed upon Scriabin's music. A good examDle
of this overlapping is the Fourth Sonata, which is more styl­
istically futuristic than the smaller works of thRt erR.
. I
However, it is not su.f.ficientl:r advanced to ",arrant a place
with the Fifth Sonata, which is considerably more complex
and exemplifies mo're innovative features than previous wqrks.
Each of the sonatas in this chapter was chosen with the in­
tention ot discussing the style traits indigenous to each
period, there being in the opinion of the author,a marked
difference between each sonata.

14

ETUDE IN c# MINeR, OP. 2, NO. 1

2+2+ 2+2+4 I 2+2


9-16
2+3) 2+2+41 2+2+4
17-20 21-~ 26-33 34-41
, 4

42-45

1-8
B A Bt At
A

( 0#) (Eb) (cD)

J-'
V\
16
Derivative Period: 1893-19°4

Etude in C# Minor, Ope 2, No. 1

In a brief rondo form, A B A B' A', this pi~ce is

mostly in four-measure phrases, which require either all

four measures to complete the thought, or which contain

a couple of two-measure statements of the melody. One

phrase (m. 21-25) is extended by a measure in order to

return to C# minor in the next section (m. 26). It is

interesting to note that each succeedi,ng Section A be­

comes half again as long as the preceding one. .

The melody spans an octave, ascending stepwise in


eighth-notes to the fifth, and then leaps a perfect fourth,
returning' by way of an accented passing tone- or better,
an appoggiatura-- to the submediant (ex.l , p.18). The
theme may be seen to consist of the C# minor triad falling
. to the third of the subdominant, while the other notes are
passing tones. In measures 6-8, the dotted figure of mea­
sure 2 is extended to complete the phrase. The character
of the melody is determined by the rising scale, melodic
sequence, and the rhythm, which recurs fourteen times in
almos·t as many phrases. This rhythmic repetition gives
the first section a double arch shape, with the second cli­
max;. (DIm. 5-13) a half step below the first.
Modulation is by chromatic alteration usually of a
single note, or in the case of the transition to the first
B section, the Bb minor chord is altered to become a major
17

triad and adds the seventh to become the dominant of Eb


(mm. 16-17), a kind of third relationship which recurs with
.great frequency in Scriabin'~ music. Though it incorpor­
ates the same rhythm of the main theme, the melody of the B
section {mm. 17-24> is confined to a much smaller range
( a perfect fifth, which in the next statement expands by
way of an appoggiatura to a major sixth) and primarily
alternates the notes of a major second. The extra measure
(m. 2.5) changes the neighboring-tone F of measure 24 to E to
become a suspem~t()!1 l L,",i lll1'mt harmony of the original
key, C# minor. Root movement is usually by fifths and oc­
caSionally by seconds.
Secondary melodies, or countermelodies are derived
from Theme A. The first may be seen in measure 3 in the
left hand as a mirroring of the right hand (ex. 2, p. 18).
The leap of the minor seventh appears to be an outgrowth
of the contour of Theme A from C# to the appoggiatura B.
Subtle at first, now it sums up in a single interval the·
tension which is built up more slowly by the theme proper.
In measure .5,ff~, the mirroring is shortened and the minor
I •

seventh appears after only three eighth-note beats. This


upward leap. contracts to an augmented fourth (m. 7) and at
the cadence to a diminished third (m. 8).
,I

'/ j, ; ...
18

Ex. 1. Etude in ell }'iLnor, Qn. Z, lia. 1, l'tm. 1-4.

_.----:.
Iff
I\: "l
Lu "I
1.
IV'"

A

..,.
~
=:;;;;iiii'

..:::"1­
- -4
4
-1"­
:. -,>.
f"..---""""""
'J~
, •
····W

IIIJ#­
...

..
~
• • •
: ~- ~ : 11= : ti:
I ...
=it: 1t: "1

.. .., ­ ..,
• • • .. •
~ ... -I -4 t­

-
.I, ......, ".I
I~

,
oj
I ....... II.
..
l.oiI' til
• • • •
r'~t: '" ~I-
-=ilL.

i
~
~,.--'--~
11x..i'
"'" .}lIr

1
.......

-----­ ....
.... ,..
"• ..
.-II
. .I
..
.

- .. ::::::
. '" ...
.I • ,..
""
.,
~

~~i+
.oil

• .c
..
, ' -.~--'"~-,~

,..
-.
,

,
I
• -<11.6\1'
'4-"..
!l
. ~

.. 6E '"

• ..
~~


-fJ­
~
-,.. - .. $.,
....
"
Iia.

lJ I' • l~" ,. L.-­ • ",0.


,

Ex. 2. Etude in C# Minor, QQ. g, N~. 1, m. 4.

I .1
.) J'
ETUDE IN D't). MAJOR, OP. 8, NO. 10
".

AlAI p/ Al A2 B1.B2 B1 S2 tr. Al A2 ' Bl B2' f Al B2' A

t 4+4 2+2+4.4+4 2+2+4.4+4 4+4 4+2+3+2+1.4+4 2+2+4.4+4+4 4+4+7.3+4+4+4 5

1-8 9-16 17-24 25-32 33-4041-48 49-60 61-68 69-76 77-88 89-103 104-111 118-122

Db Db r bb Gb(Db) Db Db Db II v7 I IV7
bb b
V I 26 2
I

A (32) . B (28) A (16) B (12) A' ( 15 ) Coda (19)

,..,

..0
. . . ._______- ______
----~~·---~-----?'----~----.....----------_2£!!!!!2£SY!!!I£II!!!!_& ~ ~
sa

Etude in Db Major, Ope 8, No. 10

This etude, like Ope 2, No.1, is a rondo form


'A B A B AI with a ooda of ntnot~~n measures. Justification
for rondo rather than A B A can be found in the continu­
ous flow, more than one return of Theme A, transitions con­
taining anticipatory materials, and the return of Theme B in
Db rather than in the key of contrast (F Minor). Four-meas­
ure segments comprise the unit of formal construction. In
measures 97-103 a grouping of four - plus - three instead of
the usual four - plus- four, and an extra measur.e at the fi­
nal cadence are the only departures from an otherwise regular
grouping.
The thematic material consists of chromatically-rising
lines, harmonized in major thirds, except the top note of the
figure which ends in the leap of a perfect fourth and is har­
Monized by a minor sixth (ex. 3, p. 22). It is Interesting
to notice that the alto line fills the perfect fourth in six­
teenth notes from c l to fl. In the left hand we find widely
. spaced intervals which leap as much as a tenth (m. 5), and a
~ I
twelfth (m. l2)~ The beginnings of sections are indicated by
change from staccato to legato, or vice versa, and by change
of key, usually by third relation, as' in the opening of the
B seotion.
Beginning in measure 9 the material which we shall label
A2 (ex.
,
4, p. 22) is somewhat altered, but its relationship
"
21

to Al is clearly seen in it3 half-step beginning and, the

alternation of the perfect fourth. Scriabin al~o change~

the character of thi~ ~ection by indicating a le~ato exe­

cution. The lower neighboring figure first appearing ~n

measure 10 foreshadows part of Theme B (mm. 33-60), (ex. 5, ,

p. 22), and may be ~een as a trBn~lt1on to it. Here the

theme returns to staccato technique and emphasizes the neigh­


,boring tone and alternating perfect fourths, in opposite or­
der from A2. The next appearance of Al begin~ legato, with
every fourth measure marlmc by portamentos (rom. 61-69). The
final statement of A contains explosive leaps with octave
doublings (ex. 6, p. 22), and 1s played fortissimo; A2 is
omitted and Al is extended to lead into the Coda which con­
tains part of B and Al in reverse order. In the Coda the
accompaniment of Al 1s changed from its typical leaping fig­
uration to achromatic figure in thirds and contrary motion.
Although the harmonies seem rather complex, relatively

few altered chords are found. In measure 11 there is a tonic

with a raised fifth degree, in mea~ure 15 a dominant with a

rai~ed fifth, and in measure 104 a ~upertonic with lowered

~econd and fifth. The apparent complexity 1~ really caused

by extended, pedal point~ and by "Jimultane·:)us chromatic pass­

ing tones, with unembellished chord~ making but brief appear­


ances.

, ''c
- - - - -........-
, - , ~'1F;~m'.::i~_."'
__~1.............. -=-...,."'' ' '•..."
' ..
"IC'"''''''_...
......... __ .,.··--_.,=~e;.,; i
......•. . . ..
---._q:giP-!l!!!!!'!!!'. "!'!_l!'t'!llllS"".!"l'._'!'!'!~~--",!,,!!!~~~-_ _ _ _~_
, .

~ ,
"­ .. .­ V
.,.
--I - '.~:- -.. . . • . .. _flllj' .•
, b ..
,.
.

~
I"
I...
iJ
r
" LI Loll
rr1" .. If'. . . .
41.
u ' ")11
!]

::....--.
- •
., n •
lilt

~
r...
.,.
I~l.. ·W.
.,. H.

- .~.~ . ,L ."..
.
-' I
I ' D ..
.....- 1"

,
U
U
.. ""
., . :--...
'II

.. .
--­
I "Uk U ~
-..;~'- ] , r t
. -.;:::;

~. 4. Etude in Db Major, Ope 8, No. 10, Jlntl. 9-10.

r .

5. Etude in Db Major, Ope ~ No. 10, ~. 33-34.

.. -
jk'.

t r
) . ' .
..
, ,

..
. t

.... I
.'

.. ....
'. ,

...:,. ., - ,a;.;
.,
II 1 Vb '" 1# ~'"
. " .. -. 1# i ""
I~
" -'.

", ... "


. ! "1. -41.
i
.. I •• DL
. .. ..
- .. - .... . "
,
~ .... ,

,• h ....
. • .
... u

i r- .-l
I

..­
.~
-
Ex. 6. Etude Ln Db Major, Ope 8, No. 10, ~~. 89-90.

1\
.
- L
-'loti
.
.1t.\.

... .,. .... . ... .. " .


L-;;. ... 'olil ft
• • • IJ..
'-l t.I . L""
Ci
1I ....... .... -..­ -..­ 1:. .. -.,.k
.ftjj ~L·.

.. . ..
~~
.. . .. .,~

,•
",'

~
. _. .1 1114

.... .Il.

~
- . -.-.­.I
• 10:.­
.. ' " .0\0, • ., ..
L.
.
, ""IJL
.. ..

--~-
cr; •
~
..
~~I
.-~- NOCTURNE IN Db , OP. 9, NO.2

1_ 4+4 1-- 4+4 J 4 6 ,( oa.d.) L4.;.4 I 4+4_ I 4+ 6+4 __ I


1-8 9-16 17 27 28-35 36-43 44 - 57

A (16) B (10+) At (16) Coda (14)


Db ab Db

I\)
\..t.)
24

Nocturne in Db Major, Ope 9, No.2

Written while Scriabin was under the influence of Liszt


and during the time of the problems with his right hand, this
composition was desgined to exnloit the left hand alone.
Typical devices are widespread chords and arpeggiations,
. expressive fermatas, repeated chords, rumbling octaves,
flowery cadenzas, trills; all of these may be found 1n the
works of the Hungarian master. The form is a simple A B 'A t
with a coda of fourteen measures, which derives from the main
theme and is extended by a cadenza apparently related to the
theme. The long-spun lyrical Theme A (ex. 7, p. 26) is a
predictable sixteen measures long, clearly subdivided into
four-measure phrases. It is accompanied by arpegpios along
with scal~s and chords. Upon repetition in measures 9-16
the theme is melodically and rhythmically varied; tenths are
added for fuller harmony (ex. 8, p. 26). In measure 11, the
notes from measure 3, doubled in octaves, are further altered
by repetition and a trlplet figure. In measure 12 the theme
is interrupted by an expressive fermata. There are chain
suspensions in measures 5-6. Some ne1.ghboring tone:s and ap­
poggiaturas are found but most of the non-harmonic material
\

consists of passing tones.


Theme B begins in Ab minor (m. 17, ff.) with an accom­

paniment in octaves derived from measure 11. The A-flat­

minor chord of the theme retains its inner note (Ab)

while the outer parts move upward~ chromatically. The


theme i~ repeated, transposed up a fourth, and is led to a
.climax which subside~ and cadence~ on Ab. The cadenza is
built on the Ab harmony, adding the minor ~eventh. It con­
si~t~ of an upward-ranging arpeggiation of the chord, and in­
corporate~ a four-note embelli~hment of the chordal root. A
series of ornamented triad~ moving downward by sequence is
followed by a transpo~ition of the same pattern. At this
point the four-note figure' i3 extended to ornament the minor
seventh Ab Gb which is repeated twice and ends on a trill
on the dominant.
After the trill Theme A returns {mm. 28-43} and is
literally restated until mea,ure 41 where it leads to a
cadence in the tonic rather than the dominant. The Coda
begins in measure 44, with the theme in the middle register
of the piano over a Db pedal and the second four mea~ures
harmonically simplified. The arpeggio of the accompaniment
crosses the theme and ascends to Ab"". In measure 51 more
fioriture, consisting of arpegGiOS, chromatic passages, and
trills, embelli~h the tonic producing non-harmonic chord~ by
judiciou~ u~e of the neighboring tone device found in measure 1.
26
1i:x. 7. Nocturne in Db :t-1ajor, QE • .:t., No • .51 nun. 1-4.

, .

Nocturne in vb l¥lajor, ~. 9, No.2, mm. 9-12.


r
Ex. 5.
-- - - -
~ n ..
1.1'.
.... .
-• • .---........... .. I•

'II
II
un ..
... • ..., • • II"
,
. ,
.1­ t ..
• ~: ~ ~ .. ~
...,.,....
1 ..•
... !. ... ­
l ~
I

.....•
..... -
II

~
"7

III

.. ~
..,
• ,.•

~ ,
.---_.
11
-, L.-­
-'~-
I j TJ
. 5ii"'"'
L.­

. ... -.
....

..
". "" _~ 81

., ... ,
L .. ,U 1.1.
. •
- v ..... .III
". "lIPU
" U .... '!! ~
-"
..''"',
~

" !I
'" lab ,,,,.. ;. \\, "'~~:.
~
"'!

~,....~ . •
,1.1::.... ..... C !~~,:.~
"
,-
I
. . . . .1.
",
...
.. .. :n:"""
~..."

I . i·'
I::;
ILl.

tit:; ~1~' ~
..."
,W

• .... " Iiiii""


-
-..,
41 ~-., a.- _ .__ w
~


PRELUDE IN Db, OPe 11, NO. 15
-----
"

,2+2+ 4 • 4 +4 • 6 • 6 I
1-2 3-4 5-8 9-16 17-22 23-28

. a a1 a2 a1

I\)
-..J
28

Prelude in Db Major, Ope 11, No. 15

This enigmatic little piece is monothematic, consist­


ing for the most part of four-measure phrases. ~owards the
end (mm. 17-28) there s.re two six-measure phrases. The
Prelude opens with a quietly-moving eighth-note accompani­
ment (ex. 9, p. 30) whose top notes presage the true
theme which enters in measure 9 (ex. 10, p.30). The con­
struction of the accompaniment is significant as it fre­
quently incorporates the fourth as a melodic interval.
Also, first and last notes of the figure are a fourth a­
part. Yet this is softened by harmonization in minor thirds,
with an octave on the second half of beat three at the leap
of the meiodic perfect fourth (m.l,J). In measures 2-3 the .... ~
figure appears transposed up a major second. Thence it
seems to begin up still ahother second, but instead starts
. in downward sequence and cadences on the note it began. Use
of the submediant to harmonize the opening note tends to ob­
scure the feeling of Db, especially in the deceptive resolu­
tion in measure 8. When the accompaniment is reduced to its
. b
essential tones, we find an ascending perfect fifth (D to
Ab ) which resolves downward by major second (G b ) •
.The main them~ which begins in measure 9 inc')rporates

the above intervals as does its extension which mirrors the

figure (m. 14). A process of interval contract ton as the

cadence appro.aches is noticeable in the falling fifth, dlmin­

!
i
~-----'·-··-·-~--"""""'----------- _ _ _....
w ..........
__ _ _......._ - -....._._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

29

inished fifth and perfect fourth theme notes (me 15).


At the cadence in measure 17 the l",ft hand emphasizes
the note F. The Gb of the right hand accompaniment figure
and the fragment Eb to F cause this sectton to have a dis­
.t~nctlymodal flavor; indeed, tl-re renetition of the nerfect­
b b b
fifth-perfect-fourth figure derived from the germ D A G
(rom. 1-2) seems to reiterate a modal cadence, until in
measure 22 the Eb resolves to Ab instead of the expected F.
This dominant half-note chord again resolves deceptively
to the submediant, and the simple theme and its eighth-note
.
accompaniment are heard once more for two measures (m. 23,
ff.), cadencing by way of the supertonic, dominant, and tonic
in augmentation.
No modulation exists in this piece, nor are there any
accidenta1s. These facts seem to contribute to its striking
simplicity and charm-- it has an almost static quality with
the harmonies wavering between the tonic Db and the submedi­
ant~ This prelude is all the more unusual because when com­
pared to others in this opus, it lacka their tension-gath­
ering acoidental,s, altered chords, and chromaticisms, and
,
rhythmic l1fe.

, .
30
.Ex. 9. Prelude in Db 1:!ajor, ~ 11, No • .J:S, l!1T.l. 1 ... 8.

"Ei. 10.

.
If
D I
111.
-,,: v
..,H"OIt.. I
,..
...,
;,......--:--..
-9­
..
I
,.",
.....

I
- •
I
I
I.
f"
I
_.

1
II

", I
l
. '.1­
-4-. .. ;;,. ;t t: .~ 4-­ ::ff
,j

..... . I
too.
"r
I.
I
I .... '"
". • II ..
r ,

I .fl. -#- •• ~.­


I
M.W
• hl

H'b I

I
O~
I
,, ')
I

II

-T
J II'
I'
.
I

" -.
4

.
• • • hI.
* ..
..., I •
. "$:
I

1 Et'=-=R
I
I

..., ~'

, I ... ;"
"u ...
I
I

'J.
I:)
,")
I

" " !
FOURTH SONATA, OPe 30

(8)
First Movement: Theme Th. dev.&ext. Th. Th.
1;8 9-16 17;33 3~-41 42-~9
/'""

33 16
«
16I

Second Moverr:ent: l 1111


1.16
ext-tr.aI1 12 ext-tr_II 1 r 1 I2 ext. ~ 1 3 ext.
17-fO 21.-25 2.6-\+7 ~8-5;1 90- 6:' ,66 74-,31

--I
!

20 27 12 6 8 8

Exposition (47) Development (34)

I 11 + 1 3 II + I2&3ext-tr •• II + 13 1 2&3 ext-t~

~2-eq ~0-10t \02-119 111-12~

5 12 9 33

Recapitulation (47)

II + 12 II 12 + 1 1 &2 ext. S S ext.

129- 135 136-143 144-169

Coda (41) \.t.J

I-'
32

Fourth Sonata, Op. 30

Of its two movements the first provides the building


materials for the second and moves lnto it with only the
slightest break. The composer has indicated attacca, but
the rests following each of the last four chords, and the
definite feeling of cadence tend to disrupt the forward
motion of the music into the second movement. The first
movement in monothematic. Its theme is characterized by
two basic motives (ex. 11, p. 40), the first of v.rhich consists
of an ascending perfect fourth that falls back on itself
followed by a rising major secon~ and a minor sixth. The
second motive is composed primarily of a figure comn~ising

a falling minor sixth which resolves upward a minor second.


The intervals of the figure s.re repeated and sequenced, but
rhythmically varied or melodically embellished.
Since the sustained tones outline the perfect fourth
and the opening note of the theme is found a fourth above
the top note of the initial chord, the structural impor­
tance of this interval is evident. In addition, the theme
ends with another perfect fourth outlined from A# to n#
(rom. 6-7), but filled in stepwi3e and embellished by a low­
er neighboring tone. Harmony is based upon chromatically
. descending seventh chords (ex. 12, p. 40), the top notes of
"hich are later used in the second half of the first tht'lme of
the second movement (see 13). The major seventh of the initial
chord may be seen to provide the reason for the two succes­
u::: ,."-_.. " ."

33

sive per,fect fourths of the the1l1e, because when aoded to­


gether, they "slse) comprise,' a seventh. Hence, the :rna jor
seventh aSStDles importance as a unifying device 10 the over­
all structure, priTlarily in the harmony. While the fourths
are important in this work, And may be construed as fore­
runners of Scriabints evolving ~elodic and harmonic practice,
in this sonata, the seventh offers a pervasive triadic, ton­
al feeling. Chromatic harmony tends to ohscure the tonality
throughout the sonata, especially in the first movement.
Near the opening of the movement, the tonic appears once,
fleetingly, in first inversion (see m. 4).
The falling :minor sixth seg:R1ent of the them.e (last
two Ileasures, JUI'l. 7-8) is developed in conjunction wtth a
trill motive (~. 20-21) emphasizing the rising fourth, and
is harmonized by a chromaticAlly embellished French augment­
ed~sixth chord (Ab D F# C), w~ich resolves to a G ~ajor tri­
ad in first inversion. The minor sixth segme~t is developed
in atypical three-measure phrases and sequenced until meas­
ure 34.
In measure i 35, the theme returns, accompanied upon
i

successive repetitions by figures whose rhythmic values


become shorter, thereby increasing the notion. The theme
1s couched in the midst of a three-part texture, and the
harmonization is the srune, except arpeggiated (ex. 13, p. 41) •
The tinal statement of the theme is incomplete and is ex­
tended to make an appropriate transition to the closing
34

section (mm. 49-50).


The olosing section begins in measure 51 with the intro­
duction of a new syncopBted rhythm. The same harmonies and
the typical interval of the fourth occur, both in the top 'c'
voice and in imitation and aucmentati~n in the bass (rom. 51­
52, 55-56). The theme has disappeared, leaving only the
fourth with the new rhythm and the outer voices moving to­
gether chromatically. This shows, in part, Sc~iabin's

classical tendency regarding form, as stripping the the­


matic materials down to the essentials in keeping with
. .
a common procedure in the Classical Period. In the bass the
intervals expand, contract and expAnd as follows: P5-m7-m6­
P5, in the syncopated rhythm (mm. 59-62). A similar inter­
vallic expansion may be found in the second movement, the
tenor voice of the second theme: P5-m6-m7-m6-m7-m6-P5,
just before the transition to the development section (rom.
28-34). The downward-moving chromatic line of the top
voice is related to a similar construction in the opening
measures, only now the notes are separated by rests. A re­
lationship may be, seen also between the risipg chromatic
line of the. bass in this section (rom. 59-62) and the top
voice of Theme IIiin the next movement (rom. 21-30). A minor
seventh chord on d!- resolves to a dominant ninth on e" short­
ly before launching into the ,.\1hirling opening of the second'
movement. These antepenultimate and penultimate chords con­
'slis'&' of the same hotes, but are differentiated by the dO'Rn­
ward root movement of the fifth. Precedence for this
fifth may be found in measure 5.
The second movement (Prestissimo volanclo) opens with
the same harmony as the first movement enned. The root move­
ment of the last two chords of thf:l first mmrement 1S repeat­
ed down a fifth emphasizing th~ p# tonal orient~ti~n. The
first theme reverses the falling minor sixth into an upward
leap on the beat, punctuated by a rest (ex.. 14, p.42). The
remaining notes of the theme, when reduced to essential
tones, also show their kinship to the first movement by a
.
series of superposed perfect fourths. Motivically, one
discerns the expansion of the first theme through the major
six.th, and then its intervallic contraoti~n t~rough the per­
fect fifth to the perfect fou~th. Phrases are of regular
four-measure construction.
The rhythm of measure 5 is derived from the closing sec­
tion of the first movement and becomes, in this section as
well as the remainder of the sonata, an object of structural
.importance (ex. 15, P.42). We shall call this 12 since it
first assumes melodic importance in the first theme, and is
part of the initial eight-measure period. 12 is accompanied
by a motive derived from the inner descending chromatic line
of the first movement, which we shall label 1 3 (see ex. 15).
The melodic leap at the beginning of this figure is a per­
fect fourth, instead of a fifth, showing Scriabin's tend~ncy

to combine motivic materials, in that this fourth is related


36
to the rising fourth of the theme of the first m')vement.
Modulation of motives 12 and 1 3 comprise the trensitional
material to the second theme.
The second theme proper (I I, rom. 21-30) 1s a slow­
moving ascending chromatic line in c#, accompanied by 1 3,
but with the leap of the fifth restored as it appeared in
measure 3 (ex. 16, p.42). 1 3 continues to provide har­
2
monic tension with its chromatic figure and I reappears
in little rhythmic parentheses. Concurrent with the above
development, 13 goes through the process of expansion and
. 2
contraction as described on page 31+. I forms the transi­
tion, embellished by snatches of 1 3 still expanding and con­
traoting, to the Development. The Exposition cadences on
#
the dominant, C (m. 47).
The Development is c')mparatively short- 34 measures­
and contains only the first theme and its components. It
begins with a partial statement of the 11 theme punctuated
in the bass by the falling minor sixth-rising minor second
motive from the first movement in a kind of rhythmic. retro­
grade (m. 9), (ex. 17, p.43). The first-theme material is
, I

treated imitatively once it is restated at first after four


2
beats, then after two beats (mm. 48-49).
In measure 56, I
recurs over a sweeping ar~eggio figuration derived fromI 3
1
and perhaps I , and is altered rhythmically in the right hand
by quadruplet figures, breaking the sustained character it
displayed in the ExpOSition (ex. 18, p.43). 12 is developed
beginning in measure 60, tho rhythmic figure interrupted by
the accompanying motive found at th~ beeinning of the Devel­
,opment, only now it is extenoed by an addition9.1 Rscending
semitone. In measure 66 the original theme, (marked "s" in
the chart) of the first movement appears in augmentation,
followed by I3 in the bass accompanied by the same quad­
ruplet figures founo in measure 56. The tension subsides,
.and the end of the Development is marked in the bass .by an
emphatic descending perfect fifth in augmentation (m. 81),
indicating its relationship to the same motivic figure which
ended the first m9vement.
The Recaplt~latlon begtns in measure 82, now accompanied
in the left hand by triplet figures with the contour of the
perfect fourth. The theme (II) in the right hand is some­
what disguised by a descending semitone motive derived from
13 • Then, in measure 86,1 3 in octaves combines.with 12 be­
low it. There follows still another version of the theme
devoid of any sustained tones whatever, showing Scriabin's
penchant for fragmentizing motivic ideas. When the second
helf of the theme recurs, 12 and 1 3 are presented in in-
i

verted fashion. Despite the further development, up to this


point, we find the same number (twenty) of measures as were
contained in the Exposition up to the second theme.
The second theme (I) returns in the tonic key (m. 102),
again accompanied by 1 3 and a smoothly flowing downward
arpeggio figure in sextuplets derived from the opening of the
38

Recapitulation, but no longer punctuat~o by rests. 12


reappears in measure 117, rhythmically altereo from the
syncopated moti'\re, and is inc"rporated into triplets and
quadruplets over an F# pedal p:Jint ultimately caclencing on
P# in measure 128.
Theme II 1s presented again, th1s time, 1n D major, in
third relation to the II of the overall tonality, indicating
the beginning of the Coda. Segments of the second theme and
12 alternate over four measures, followed after three addition­
al bars of 12 alone by II in counterp"int with 12, using 12
as a unifying device. 12 finally appears in augmentation
(mm. 142-143) until, signalled by the leaping perfect fifth
motive in the bass, the initial theme (S) from the first
movement returns (m. 143). The theme is in octaves, ac ~

companied by triplet chords reiterating the chromatic har­


mony_ The leaping fifth, derived from 1 3 as it appears in
the second theme of the Exposition, recurs with greater
frequency and assumes greater imnortance. An interesting
contraction from perfect fifth through the tritone and per­
fect fourth 'followed by lmmediate expansion to the perfect
fifth again occurs in measures 155-158. Precedent for the
falllng augmented fourth of measure 162 (ex. 19, ,p. 43) and
its resolution, the perfect fifth, which are constructed
over a long pedal point on ~L, is to be found in the closing
three measures of the Exposition, and, again in the Recap1t­
, ..
u1atlon, just before the Coda, measures 126-128. It is in­
39
teresting to notice that the falling-fifth motive always
begins on, the beat, whereas the rising-fifth leap always
begins on the weak part or the beat.
-

40

Ex. 11. Fourth Sonata. Ope )0, Jun. 1-8.


-- -- -

~

• •

EX. 12. Fourth Sonata, Ope 30, n:m. 1-4.


41
Ex. 13. Fourth Sonata, Op. 30, mm. 35-39 •

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42

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'Ex. 15. Fourth Sonata, OPe .2...Q..z. }1ovt. II, nun. 5-8.

,,. I I 11

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fI

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IV- ~,.. I' I It
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43
Ex. 17. Fourt'l Son..:':.!.:.~. (' :F~.. r·0~'t. JT, rnm. J! q-t;o.
r

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rr
77

Ex. 19. Fourth Son.!3ta, 912... lQ, Hovt. II, n1Il1. 162-163.
""-"
POEME TRAGIQUE, OP. 34

Al A2 Al A2 Al A2(AI) A2 Al B 81 Al A2 Al A2+1 A2 Al
1

-k-2' 3-6:';-8'9-12 \3-14 15-18 ~9-25126-31 132-39.40-51 '52_53..1 -61 '62-6~- ch""6S 66:59I
t

~ J " ~---- . J

A (31) B (20) A' (18)

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45

PO~H1~ '/'rn qu~, Op. 34

The form of this cOTnno5i t t::m is A B A' • The first and


second sections, joinod by a trBn3ition scction of six meas­
ures, balance, each contnining Rpproximately twenty meas­
ures, while the third part is shortened by half. The A
section alternates repeated triplot chords in downward di­
rection with thematic material wh,ich begins in measure .3.
Throughout, the composition rerun,ins very close to tho key
of Bb , with the only true modulations occurring ~n measures
12-26. The first 'three modulations lead from nb major to D
major, D to B major, and B to Ab major, indicating third re­
lationships. After reaching Ab major, the changes are by
fifths (A b to Db, Db to Gb ) and finally the tonic Bb returns
by way of third relationship from Gb.
The introductory material displays an augmented second,
Bb'to dI on the strong beats in tho accompaniment, suggest­
ing a relationship to the rising minor thirds of the melody
in measures 3-4, as well as to the harmonic third-relation­
ships just discussed. The dO"tll1ward-moving Bb major chord is
embellished by appoggiaturas around F and a lower neighbor
of D (ex. 20, p.48).
Theme A (rom • .3-6) soara upward at the beginning of each
of the three phrasos by minor sixths and returns to the aI­
r tered dominant (1~). A certain oll'lilarity is noticeable be-
tween the theme itself and the notes Bb v'
,..#; D E in measure
46
1 (ex. 21, p.lt9 ). A rhythlntc mQI; tve u';l J.o.ppears once
(m. 4) and become3 the r:(13i3 .for' the char1lcteristic dotted

rhythm of the B 8ret10n. In the modulatory passage' (rom. 12­

26) this rhythmic motlve end th.r) minor-second ne1ghbor1ng­


tone fragment of Themo A alternnto in ~equence ,,,ith the in~

troductory material in ono-meosuro aegments to provide a


return to the initia1tona11ty at measure 26. v.nat seems
to be a reappearance of the original material is actually
a six-measure transition to the B secti::m, which is reached
by a minor subdominant in measure 30.

The B section (Irato, fiero, rom. 32-39) is introduced


by widespread arpeggios in the left-hand part and, is charac­
terized by the dotted rhythmic motive 7··,rfj'lrup­ or down­
ward leaping minor sixths at the beginning of phrases (as
before) as well as in the accompaniment (ex. 22, p. 49).
Also, the augmented and perfect fourths derived from the
opening measure, figure prominently in the accompaniment.
The overall shape of the theme is downward by contrast to
Theme A, yet the interval of the rising minor sixth-" (aug­
,
mented fifth), (rom. 32-33, 36) continues to permeate the en­
tire composition. Beginning in measure 40, Theme B appears
in octaves and contains a middle voiee in sixteenths which
complements the left hand, and is based upon the same har­
monies. Another feature is the elongat1on of an appoggia­
tura, 'borrowed from Wagner, with only a brief resolution
(mm. 32-52).
7

47'
At measure 52 (A l) 1;~1" o1'1::1.n31 figur-ation of measures
1 and 2 is enriched and tn t.l11.3 form it n?w becomes the
accompaniment to Theme II upon its return (m. 5!.d. The 1eft­
hand part assumes a c.owm.·ro.ro -leaping charact or i n octa~res,

most of which a.re fourths nnrl fifths apart (rnm. 54-60). The
chromatic motive of JTICn,::111t'o 1.1, bocon:c 3 a simple quarter-eighth,'
lessening the rhythmic tens,ion 1n tho melody, and does not
reappear. In measure 57 ff., instead of cadencing as ex­
pected, the theme is repeated and extended. There is some
further change in the fiBuration found in measure 62 ff.,
I
'.
where the outer voices restate material from measure '1-2,
with the inner voice continuing tho embellishing figure begun
in measure 52. The only difference in the repetition, aside
from the embellishment, is the expansion of the minor seventh
,(A to G, m. 27) in the earlier section to climax on a major
seventh (A to 0#, m. 63). One might also note that this
climax. is the upper note of the harmonic minor sixth {ex. 23,

Another interesting feature of this work is a frequent'


use of the melodic minor sixth. In addition to the references'
I

made previously, this intervll.l is implied and fram~d by con­


traction to a perfect fifth (m. 46) and expansion bo a minor
seventh (m. 50), i~dicatine and perhaps justifying, the in­
crease of melodic tension to the major seventh in measures
63 and 65. The piece ends with an inversion of the direction
in the arpeggio figure of measures 1-2 on the tonic.
4

48

,
Ex. 21. Poeme Tragique, ..QJ2. lU, m):'r. 3-4 .

.. -"'.
I - _........._ _ _ _--.-:...f.~...
~..,. .t.,.,.
49

, .'

.. ,

Ex. 23. Poe1'l1e


POEME SATANIQUE, OP. 36

/"

-. . Al Al SI

Intro. AI &:2 SI&2 C' D D+S2 sla2 D S2;':'\ SI:s2 S2 CB2 C-dev.

·11-16
.. ~.
17-32'33-52 153 _70 ' 71-78
~ ~ ~
I 79-86 I 87-94 • 95-98 i 99-110
.............. """ ....,;......t ~ ~
t 111-126
, "
• 127

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... .. .~

16
,
16 16+4 18 8 8• 8
I
4 12 16 16
. • ._ _....J
8

86 64

2 BI

tl (D) S1&2 C D Al Coda

1151-166
. , 1?7-17~ 179-19? 1~7-2~4 ~OS-22P 2fl-23~ I

16
t
12 18 8 16 16

86
\J1.
.. o
51

Written in 190) arrld3t th!'" (,J lu'ry of 'Horks which resulted


from the freedom ,at th~ end of his teaching experience at the
Moscow Conservatory, th13 composition seems to indicate Scr1­
abin's interest in tho unorthodox form, remote harmonic ex­
cursions within a gi\~ key, a continuous chromatic web,
scherzo-like elements (ri9~ iroaico) which anticipate the
Fifth Sonata, and a preolloctiol1 for superimposing in addi!""
tion to alternating themntic fragments. The latter may seem
'1 surprising when compared to ear1ier preludes, etudeg and
. ,
poems, especially tho Poem~ TroSlcuo, all of which tend to
,
be shorter and motivicallr les9 inventive than the Foeroe
Satanique.
In three large sections, this composition seems to be
a somewhat hybrid 'feeling of return in measure 151, with
the ensuing material being a replica of measures 1-86. There
is an eight-measure transition (rom. 87-94) which contains
stripped-down materials from the initial section. Aside
from this', the two outer sections balance, including an
Introduction and; a Coda of sixteen measures each. The middle
section proper represents no true "development", except for
an interplay, of motives; otherwise this piece might well
suit the traditional sonata mold. There is a certain re­
semblance to A B A form, and yet, the middle section, ex­
cept for the omisl'Jion of Theme A material, contrasts nei­
ther in mood nor in mn:d~fll rnaf::er1.lils with the ,outer sections.
As in the F.lJJ{,h. :?~::>J1flt.D __ 1.11'1.3 \-Jorlr shows Scriabin's bent
in the area of numol'tcol propol'ttonn. A prominent stepwise­
descending-third motive, first heard in mensures 16-1'7 is
found again in measures 77-79, i.e., after 62-63 measures,
'very close to a multiple of the,31xteen-measure unit. It
next recurs in measures 203-204, after a snan of material
which doubles the 62 measures to bocome 125 measures. It is
also 32 measures from the end; thus its last appearance is
twice as far from the end as its first appearance is from
the beginning. A. slightly different rolationship is seen
in a stepwise-ascending-sixth motive in measures 31-33.
Thirty-eight measures later (mm. 69-71), it is found agB~n.

It is then not heard until measures 165-167, after 96 bars,


producing the following numericsl balance of measures be­
tween its various appearances: 31-38-96-31-38, where 96
is close to a multiple of 31. \"'hile these numerical schemes
might be in conflict with the analysis of the preceding
pa.ragraph, an overlapping of structural divisions seems to
be typical of the composer's work' (see the formal analysis
of the Fifth Sonata).
It is apparent that Scriabin made his key changes to
coincide with points <fitt structural importance and comprise
anumerioal scheme of their own which is related by multiples
of three to the thirty-odd measure of the formal divisions
mentioned lnthe two foregoing paragraphs. The overall to­
nality is 0, but if we add the measures in 0 major (mm. 1-S2)
53
. and those in E major (rom. 53-90) j we find 90. If we add
. the measures with the A-flat mAjor signature (rom. 91-142)
with those of the E major "ootion, we [tnd another 90 meas­
ure seotion. Uponreturnln~ to the original tonality of
C,the remainder of the compo3ition. c.onsists of 90 measures.
The initial ohord, (ex. 24, p. 59) an altered minor
seventh-ohord on the mediant of 0 major with D· in the .bass
and its lower neighbor, O¥, in the bass, provides the build­
ing materials for the oomposition, principally the minor
seoon~, minor seventh, and the leap up or down c:f a minozt
sixth. The Introduction sets forth elements of Theme Bl
(mm. 1-2) and ~
-
( mm. 3-4), and Theme k'enters aftezt a oa­
denoe on 0 (mm. 17-)2). Theme Al (ex. 25, P.59) is dis­
tinguishable by its initial leap of a minor seventh and a

counter-motive oonsisting of a chromatic neighboring-tone

It is interesting to note oontraotion of the


melodic leaps from the seven'th through a minor sixth to the
perfect fourth in measures 19-20. The motive (A2) begins
in the left hand on a# and is derived from 81. It is rhyth­
mically altered l,and falls by a major sixth, followed by a

chromatic 'movement upward forming tritones with the right­


. Another desoending chromatic line is to be
hand. part.
;Cound in the lower voice of the right-hand part stsztttng
on E. The close resemblance of the intervals to the motive
of ~ in the Introduction (m. 2) is obvious. In measures
31-32 the chromatically-rising line which fills the span of
a major sixth mentioned. in the formal analyses" lead. to Theme
w 3 __ =

54
B, consisting of two parts (!:'J:.. 26,pp.59-60). Apparently
Soriabin intended some (ltfferrnt intion in mooo between
the ironieo of Bl (rnm .. :.D-36) nnd the ~ 1ronieo of B2
(rom. 37-40).
is legato and it:! inl.;.,r'~·nl ;111'1)cture Is close-knit, whereas
B2 1s Cletached comprising melodic leaps of the m1.nor seventh
in both hands. To the modern pianist it should suffice to
understand the differe'l:lces in mood as indicated by the ma­
terial without becoming involvodwith Scriabin's descrip­
tive terms, which perhaps only he and his mystical initiates
could fully comprehend.
When the material of B1 appears in its full form (mm. 33­
36), the parts from the opening measures are interchanged and
are sequenoed upward in order to begin the downward motion
of B2. The two elements are then transposed down a perfect
fourth and B2 is repeated, 1eaeling to Theme C in E major.,
This is the first change of key Signature, implying tonali­
ties, first in CJ then Ej up to that point, the tonal center
was disguised by altered chords and non-harmonic chords.
Theme C (rom. 54-60), like the accompaniment of Theme ,A and
the melody of Theme B, employs in its initial beat the
lower balf-step neighboring-tone pattern and then proceeds
upward by tritone, falling back atto rising again chromatica1~

ly (ex. 27, p. 60). ~. A pronounced leap of the diminished


seventh (major sixth) occurs in measure 58, which resolves
and. cadences on a suhdominant seventh-chord with a raised.
55

four, in what sound:J like I) l1rJlf cadenoe rather than a


plagal cadence du~ to th"'l nl t,t"Il'od subdominant. The oadenoe
ohord ls' embcl113heo i n t~he rie;ht hand by a grace-note-trill
flourish, consisting 0 r t;h:Lr~<'-50cond and sixteenth notes,
which becomes·the LBol:t for n more extended cac1enza in mea­
sure 186. Tho ca.denza n61'.Hnn to have no bearing on the for­
mal scheme. Theme C is ropeated. and extended and leads to
ThemeD (ex. 28, p. 60) in measures 69-70 by an ascending
ohromatic:line which f1113 the sran of a minor sixth, the
structural imnortance of which has already heen mentioned.
The direction of the minor sLxths is inverted (rom. 71-78) and
the whole of Theme D serves 83 a transition bo the next
appearance of Theme A (rom. 79-98), especially the last four
notes (previously described as structural), while the tri­
tone ooours in the B,ccompanylng sixteenths as well as in the
bass movement.
In the fourth measure of each statement of Theme Al
(mm.79-98) the staccato motive from B2 interrupts the theme
proper. The theme itself is accompanied by flowine; arpeggio
figures which outline chromatically embellished major-minor
seventh~chords.: Entwined in the texture is found a motive
derived from the dotted quarter of B1: (rom. 33-36), which in
measures 87-88 reverts to Bl (ex. 29, P.ta). A two-~easure
retere'nce to Theme D occurs in measures 95-96 followed by
more of B2. A fermata sets off the foregOing section trom
the ensuing one in which Thomes n1 and B2 are stated on va­
rious pitch levels (mm. 99-126).
u.ss. 14 4>01%-2$$: X;pig_ ,_ L~t . .......

, 56
The arpeggio flelJr~d', 1. ,)~l of 'j'h~rne D is used here to
accompany Theme Bl. An tnt~)';_~~3ting quintuplet-against­
quadruplet rhythmic alt;~r'fll·.1I')n npPf)o.rs in the second state­
ment of Bl (mm.. 101 0;).. Till:1 1'1 fol101rled by an eight-
measure reference to 1'l11rJ. (:;1 .;;oun i 13 like a coaa,· and in fact
does serve to initiate the real coda in measure 217. How­
ever, Bl is restated, combined after one measure, "'lith B2
in octaves and contrary motion. This pattern is sequenced
upward a-nd. is punctuated by rests to set off the entrance
of Theme C (rom. 127-142).
Theme C is accompanied by rolled chords, 3imlllating
. b
harps, which emphasize and embellish the D major triad in
first inversion, which in turn progresses to a subdomlnant
ninth-chord with lowered fourth and raised sixth. This
chord might be likened to the IV7 of measure 60, with the
j£4
1t
ninth added to increase harmonic tension. The pedal point
on F moves down the often-used interval of a minor seventh.
This theme is again interrupted by the insistent B2 frag­
ment. Finally the B2 motive is extended and re-introduces
what appears to be Theme C. However, the leap of the per~

fect fifth and the neighborin5-tono figure in tho melody


instead of a minor sixth confirm it as belonging to A2,
indicating that this 113 a rotransltion to Section A.. At
this point the harmony may be viewed in two ways, since the
section ends on a G major chord. Tho preced.ing section in
Ab, functionally becomes a'Neapolltan sixth-chord. in the
57

new key of G major. Upon ro-enterinGI however, the re­


transition starts on a major-minor sevonth-chord on G,
making thi~ chord tho rl0l'1t tvmt of C major, l'lhich is firm­
...
,-

ly establ1.shed by an nuthl')ntlc ci.'u:ence in measure 151.


Theme Al and A2 arc lnt:r-rcllon;;:;ed keeping their origi­
nal notes (ex. 30, p. 61). Measuros 163-165 at first
glance seem related to Theme D, especially in the interval
of the falling sixth, but closer scrutiny reveals its re­
1a tion to Theme A (m. 18). After the chromatic connect- .
ingpassage in measure 166, mentioned above, Theme B re­
turns (see m. 41, ft.), omitting the B material that pre­
cedes measure 41 (rom. 33-40). The to'nality of C major is
mainta'ined to the end of the composition, and until Theme
A returns 1n combination Hith BI for the last time in mea­
sure 205, ff., the remainder of tho thematic material is
recapitulated but with its accompaniment and rhythmic
crharacter often changed.
When Theme C reappeara in measure 18b, ff., it is ac­
companied' 1n the . lowest part by a leaping mino~-sixth motive.
The cadenza of measure 186 (see the incipient cadenza, m. ~)

is supported by a diminished-minor seventh-chord with its n?


~een as an appoggiatura (ex. 31, p.6l ). The following
statement of Theme C oontains broken triplets against. quin­
tuplets derived from the accompaniment of Theme A (m. 79,
tt.). At the return of Theme D (rum. 197-204), the same
type of triplet treatment occurs on the first beat of each
58

measure. This is supported ~J harmonies similar to those in


measures 71-77, but instead oE broken sixteenth t~iplets, or
the descendins quintupl~t:'J of nun. 77-121, Fe flnd upward­
sweeping sixteenth-n'Jtl') ":'t1r~":'jo;'J whLch fIll the first half

204) have agai,n the funotion of bridging two sections. The


Bl returns and whips the end of the composition to a frenzy
of whirling triplets ana widely-leaping intervals to t'he
Coda, in which Theme A is obliterated. The Coda begins in
measure 217, recalling measures 103-106, and is extended in
a syncopated passage derived from Theme C2 (mm. 180-181).
These measures (221-224) are accompanied by wide-ranging
duplets in octaves, followed by the C2 fragment lTfiich is
harmonized by the subdominant seventh-chord with raised
fourth and lowered sixth, and which contains ha.rm'1nically and
melodically the minor sixth. This single chord also syn­
thesizes the three major tonalities of the composition by
incorporating the roots of each into an augmented triad
Ab-C-E- above its own root F#, an augmented fourth abov.e
the root of the ~onal center, C. The final resolution occurs
in measure 233, the tonic further emphssized by repeated CiS,
each an octave apart.
\
59

\
Poe me Satanique, .Qt). 36, l'f!lt~.
----.-- ­ 17-20.

. ,
Ex. 26a. Poeme Sat aniqua, On. 3.2.,
tZLU LEUL , $ ; es£¥3EU...£ ,:> e as .-3,&1$ t.... it _." .... _.... --"­

60
.Ex. 26b.
.
Poeme

~ 81-·~
'1:-{=--=---_.
\" ,"l._ _ _•..
;i '" .:t'- _...._.
);-~ ..

Ex. 27. "Po~me Sataniauo, OP. 36, rnm ..


~... -­
~~--------------~.~~-
.
61

Ex .. 29.

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j,""
""
A
...
~
l1"
;,r

\t·~ ~t
I

C
~~
--­ .....
"I. '3
.b~~ ::1
J
I'"'
.I <I·e
-..e;;

Ex. 31.
t".- - ---~ .......... -- ::.-.......... _............ ---.........

I
I~. .I
I

I<I, ' " "


~
I b
"
r ,
,iL
ttl)
i
'.

ETUDE IN P# MINOR, OP. 42, NO. 2

a a1 a2 a 2ext. a3 a4 cod etta

I 1-4 5-8 9-12 13-16


I

17-20
,
21-26 27-31 /

<1'
N
63

Etude :1.n pll JHnar, Or_ 42, No. 2

Primarily a rhythmIc :"I t.1Hl ~r, HIS ar~ the others in Opus
42, this compositlon o()no17~t.~ of n moro or less continuous
accompaniment of sixteenth nnr...,~ r:rouped in quintuplets
which overlap the bar 1irH!. Thl~ rhytr...mic grouping is ap­
parently for convenience in reading the music and for a more
pianistic execution, because Scriabln give:! two indtcati')ns
that would make the pulse coincide with the main beats:
first, he uses a quintuple bracket over the first and ,sixth
notes of each measure resulting in an ambiguous' situation,
one which tends to obliterate the feeling of pulse. Second,
he writes the peaks of little crescendos to coincide with
the beat. One might construe part of the problem as a study
1n overlapping quintuplets. To further complicate matters,
the melody in the right hand utilizes triplets.
The single theme (ex. 32, p.65) appears six times and
each time ends differently (see example 33 for the two-note'
phrase endings). Twice, only the first four notes of the
theme are used (rom. 8-12, 13-16). This allows for extension
i

and greater .freedom to modulate. Phrase ends alternate direction


and in measures 15-19 the last interval is reduced by a half
step (ex. 33,' p.65). It is interesting to note that measures
23 and 26 repeatln condensation that process. Also, the top­
most notes of the qUintuplet figures, when combined; into a
melodic succes~ion, provide a stepwise descending line and the
last two notes ot each quintuplet provide a variety of endings
64
similar to those of the right hand part. Only once do they
coincide with th& pattern of the upper part (mm. 6-7). All
but one of the right-hand patterns are utilized, the excep­
tion being the descending minor second (ex. 34, p. 65.)
Scriabin cleverly disguises the harmony by the unusual
rhythm, resolving to chord tones only on weak parts of the
beat. The d1ssonant notes 1n the left hand are appogg1aturas.
A respelling of the chords, which change from pattern to pat­
tern in quintuplets, from s#
to C and E# to F in measure 2,
yields the following progression: 16 \~i y6 i 16 t~6 V7 •
If the mediant and submed1ant chords are not respelled, then
we have two chord structures each w1th unequal fourths (a# E
A and ~ A D) wlose aural effect is still tertian. This
relatively early work might well have led to experiments in
stacking more than two unequal fourths, resulting in Scrlabln's
Mystic Chord as well as other complex chords of 'unequal fourths.
L.JJd . 5&. . .i

65

Ex. 32.

Ex. 33. F'~


Etude in
- -h2,
Minor, 0'0. No.2.

~~====+=~==~e~~i~' ti~i~~~~~t=~
~~--~~~~~~-4-~'- i -~.~~.

+IA '" .f-t>


" q-/o 2..1.

Ex. 34. Etude in pll !1inor, QE. u2, No.2 •

. ,
FIFTH SONATA, OPe 53

Intro-Prol. I (dav.) I tr •. II(dev.) tr. III eu.


. 1(113)- Intro-PrdL J
1-12' 13 ,~7 96 116 1 ;:',
.. J L...140 157
Intro. (46) Exposition (93) .Deve1opment (189)

I III I 1 Prole I III I III Prole I(4)I(4) I ro- I. ( -"'1


-- ,..... ,..'. """II ( Il0l>"1
",..;" " " , ,... .., ....)
1 .1 I 'I 1,-_­

185 199 207 219 :fll 247 251 271
lI
•_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _•_ _ ~_- _ _ _ _ _ _ _'_."'_,'...... '. ---"_,..,i'.~' __ .·¥~~ .........

• II2+3. III ext. I I tr •• II (dev.) tr. /n ep+(II I) I P:ol.. I.In~:~'_1


_ _ _ _ _ _J_ t..... " • ~33 441 4: 1

Recapltu1atioQ (72) Coda (56)

0'
0'


I'
... :;:w sc:w;::.... '," 0; ,*4§. OJ, ; ( ;,usueo' t e¥Q mit, #1 ~",.1 ; . ,iE~ lll;"

67
Fifth SonntA, Ope 53

The Fifth-_ _-_ "'-- 1::1


..._..... S')n~tf;t
..
0cptr>1.11nt.'3 ftr.5t a.tt~mpt at writ­
ing an extended cornp0",lt;lon 1 I, on"l-movement sonata form.
From the Fifth throuGh t.(Ji" ?J.;:-.!.Jl nnd lost sonata, the piano
50n~tas comprise only ono mov~ruont. The outer sections of .
the Fifth are fairly well-balanced, as the Introduction­
Prologue and Coda are of approxinlately corresponding lengths.
The Coda is ten measures longor than the Introduction-Pro-,
logue. It contains references to first-theme material from
the Recapitulation, which is by twenty-one measures shorter
than the Exposition. Their material extended by five addi­
tional bars, appears in tho Coda. These five measures as
well as the ten added to th'e total length of the Coda might
be justif.1ed by its sightly faster tempo.
Scriabin I s bent.. in the area of mathematical proportions
is seen in the progression of sections by multipl~s of two.
For instance, the Introduction-Prologue of 46 measures is
doubled in length by the Expo~lil;ion, which COrl~ 1.S ts of 93.
The Development approximately doubleo the length of the Ex­
position, totaJllrg189. The Coda mtnus episode material com­
rises' a segment twice the size of the Introduction, while
the episode of the Coda and the Prologue of the E~position

nearly balance in number of measures. The contraction of


the Introduction (twelve moasures'long) to six in the Coda
sugge:st further relationship to themultiples-o·f-two idea.
The last 58 measures of the De'velopment, when combined.
68

wi th the 72 of the Recaplt;ul ut ion plu:1 the 56 of the Coda,


comprise a spa.n of rnatf')rial 1-shieh totals la6 measures, al­
most equal to that of tlH'I n""'Joj:)J'nr:nt. Thus, the 58 meas­
, .. c

ures (.mm. 271-328) ov~rl p :;\';1) J Their iso­


1ation might be jU:Jtlrl'~d l·,{~e~.,t;,'.'f) 1bey'arenot part of the arch­
form found from the beginnin;:; of tho :)evelopment up to meas­
ure 271, where the closing-theme material i9 developed. In­
stead it seems to be a hingo to the Recapitu19tion, s~rving

much the sarne purpo~e a3 Theme III in the Exposition (rom. 120­
139), especially with tho inclusion of episode material. With
the Recapitulation, thl:'l sogment bala.nces the first part of
the Development, consistlng of' apprOXimately 130 measures ea.ch.
Ad,ding' the Introduction ano8xposition also yield 5 130
measures, which balance the length of the Development, less
the 58 measures, and by overlappinG the Recapitulation with
the Coda's 56 measures, we find 128 measures. This process
of overlapping seems to be one of Scriabin's methods of ex­
panding his overall form and is compatible with the concept
of thematic expansion desc'ribed in the ensuing pages. Also,
it is interesting to note that the first 131 :measures of the
Development comp'rise three sections of similar proportions ­
approximately 45 measures - aho.. .J ing a nwnerical relation­
ship to the 46 measure5 of the Introduction-?rologue •. Hence,
an over:tapping of these two mathematical devices is apparent7:
instead of each section doubling itself in Size, as in the
, first q;> proach, one might also say that each 4'6-measure seg­
"~\
\
69 \

ment increasos it:lolf by thq 1 (mgt}', of an addit 10nal seg­


ment of 46 mea~u.re~1'

Within the flr:"!l~ chnl"; ,., .... 1.11(1 TntroCluction are found
the structural interYr>l'1 r~)r r:'tj'" cd" the ~~nata (ex. 35, p.
j
81). Three notes 0'1f A E, p11l,1 t'v.' \;1:'1111ng tone F , pro­
vide the perfect flfth, tritone, major aecond, minor ninth,
minor tenth and major sixth and give the Intro(1uction a
Lydian character. The quintuplets consist,of intervals de­
rived from inver:sion of aome of tho!le mentloned above, i.e.,
the minor ninth becomes the ll'Ul J:)l~ seventh, and the tritone
and fifth become fourth and tritone. The tritone, which is
built over ,the perfect fourth in the·~e figures, is filled in
by ascending whole steps, which are derived from the major
seconds of the initial mOB::.lUre. It is interesting that the
elements of construction are more or less clearly spelled out
in simpler form before they are combined into thematic ma­
terials in the Exposition. The Iatroductton (nun. 1-12) speeds

by in whirlwind flourishes acceleratin~ the quintuplet pattern


descrlbedabove. ."

The Prologue (rom. 13-46) expands the above interval~

into more readily identifiable motIVes (ex. 36, p. 81). The


descenq,ing perfect fourth (1), achieved by inverting the per­
fect fifth, the ascending m).nor third motive which falls back
upon itself (2), derived from octave ai~placement of the minor
tenth, the bass movement which utilizes a descending tritona
(3), and the taIling major oecond found at the top of the
ohords of the left hand, meo~ur~3 13-14, become components of
/ ,
r.

70

two complex chords with !'ll l ifbl.ng root~, yet both, chord:5 are
similar in con~tructton. T1.1(' m1.nol" third of motive 2' is re­

flected by the root rn(,)''Jem~;l!: ~,; third:') (D'if ri F#, etc.) and
the tritone by the etc.). The first
chord of the major nint:h l'Q:l;fl on ~lth tho fifth omitted,
shares its four tOlle~ (D 1"/1 GIi' NY) with the second, a chord
of the eleventh with its ~oventh omitted. A descencH';:1B
chromatic motive (5, rum. 19-21) uJd.lizing the minor sect''lnds
of the Introduction, together v.l:lth the3e ch')rda, is re:5pon­
sible for the harmonic color :)f tho Prologue.
In measures 17-20 (motivD 4), the minor third motive (2)
is 1n augmentation, embellionod by an appoggiatura (8#) and
is extended by an a~cending tritons followed by syncopated
repeated notes. In measures 29-33, there appears a struc­
tural mirror image of measuros 17-20 (ex. 37, p.8l). Thi:5
means that the material of motive 4 begins slowly and end:5
with increased motion, while in measures 29-33 it decreases
with the repeated note:5 in augmentation and with a simulta­
neous th1nning of texture. The chromatic motive (5) is
extended and appears in diminution, which provides the in­
creased mot1on_ The transition toche Exposition begin!!! in
mea~ure 34, concentrating all of the elements of the Prologue
into four measures (rr~. 34-37). After this process of com­
'pression, the thematic material is simplified until only the
descending perfect fourth remains, Which then itself under­
goes a 'subtle transformation, by Intervallic interpolation of
71

an ascending mi nor thi I'd with. 1 t ~,~ con3cquent I a falling minor


sixth. The minor sixth reay b0 Vi~W0d 8S the sum of the
minor third and the perfoct fourth, wi.l1ch relates it to trie
Introduction.
The thus interrupted falling fourth (m. 45) constitutes
the germ from which Theme I is evolved in the Exposition. A
relationship to motive 2 can also be seen in the rising and
falling shllpe as well as in its rhythmic cha.racter, in spite
of the fact that the ,first 'note of Theme I is a quarter note
instead of an eighth. On the other hand, the mi nor !'Sixth

may be seen as an expansion of the descending minor third of


motive 2.
The characteristic accompanying figure Of Theme I has
the contour of a minor fourteenth (minor seventh) containing
the minor sixth and two perfect fifths. It 13 evolved out
of the expansion of the major-ninth span of th~ chords found
'in measure 34 and the intervenlng measures. The rhythm of

the down\:lard-flowing eighth-note triplets is che.nged into

staccato quarter-note quadruplets; this emphasizes the pro­

. cess of gradual ':expansion which typifies the entire composi-


I

tlon up to this point. Note hOlrl highly compressed the ele­


ments are. at the beginning, and how both structure and mate­
rials .expand towards the Exposition.
The meter of the Prologue changes often, from 5/8 to 4/8,
and to 6/8. In addition, the thematic materials usually be­
"
gin on the offbeat, thereby increasing the irregular rhythm
72 I

and seemingly absent pul~c.

With the accmnpantnlPnt pl}l~torn'" monsure 45 forming an


ostinato, and con!'Jequently a kind of pcc1.al point on ell, the
first theme (I, ex. 38, p.82 ) of the Exposition unfolds over
two six-measure phra:'lot:! (7'~L1\" 't7-5e) .. Thi3 unfolding i~ ef­
fected through the contraction to a fourth plus :!lacond of the
minor-third-minor-~ixth motive, ita expansion through the
leap of a minor seventh, (whic.h is simply oct;a.ve displacement
of adjacent triads) and ita completion whlch a1terna,tes the
major second A# to Q;¥ (aee Tl1ea,sure 13-14 for a precedent).
The melodic interval of a minor seventh in measure 49 oon­
stltutes the range of the melody. Rhytl~ic motion of the
syncopation,., inCl"'eases towards the end of the theme.
Harmonization of the melody 111 major and minor triads
over the ostinato provides another instance of expansion.
In the 'first half of measure 47, we find growth from the
single note B, to a major triad with B as ita root. Since
the B recur,., every measure of Theme I to initiate the osti­
nato, it seems to assume a role a5 a. continuing memher of
the chordal structure, not oisappearing after the first beat
of the'measure as written. Then, ~nce the triad is heard,
we notice progression, in contrary motion, of the outer in­
·tervals to a minor-major ninth-chord with its neW root on
0#, over a pedal df (ex. 39, p.82).
Af'ter a short development of 11lOt i ves dari ved from the
theme'(see rom. 59-67), Theme I returns, but now w1th the

l
I
73 .-'
,

pedal point and osttnnto ~>t:;Ul'O n'(} • In the second state-,


ment of 111eme I tho fnl1i -:' ;'~~:.l. mot,-lve of tbo 05tinato is

isolated into an upward-lt)RpinC: f . . th (j:n. eO ff.) and a!H3Ul1leS


a role in the tran3iti~n to tho ~ocond erne. In mes:!Iures
92-94, the falling fift;h rOCL1r':;J la ~0njuncti::)n wIth other
notes which again fill in the contour of a major ninth. The
harmony of these measures gOE:,"j through a kind of contraction
by the following means: in meusure92, the chor~al structure
is that of a me.jor thirteenth on A ano A. major nint;h on F,
in the next measure. Both intervals relate to the very first
chord of the piece. At the cadence point in measure 94, the
chord is reduced to an unre~olved ~ajor seventh chord on D.
Note the root movement by thirds (A....F-D)" Cox. 40, p.82).
Theme III (rom. 96-105) con5ist~ of two successive fall­
ing minor sixths followed by a rising 5 emit one ' (ex. 41, p.S).
The straightforward rhythm and widespread intervals seem to
indicate a derivation from the accOlti.pany1ng quadruplets of
Theme I, measure 47. The second tnt IH'val of this figure, a
taIling, fifth, 115 temporarily expanded to a minor sixth in
Theme Ill, the second note of which resolves upward, revealing
it to be a fifth ornamented by an extended appoggiatura. We
find accompp,nying III a widespread arpeggio outlining a major-
minor seventh chord with the fifth omitted. The falling
, .
major ~econd of' measures 13-14 i3 discernible in augmentation,
the c# appearing as an extondod appoggiatura to a¥ in the
major-minor seventh-chord hArmony. The arpeggiOS in the left
74
hand (rom. 96-97) b0COm0 (l ktno of o!'\tinnto, alternating with

an enharmonic chord131 ver:'i tor., 01111wJ 1 itJhoa by a lower neigh­


boring tone, in the r:lcht h9nd(I;.2, ::l't1Il.' ()O'-99).

d ar i va d t rom mo ti va;Jr:! (l','l .. , .


19). ~j " j .... "''''''''''''n·.:> b y a st at'i
ue'-",Jl>~rJ'" ,d.. 6u c
harmonic minor seventh, 8.1;1(1 ioS found a tritone below the right
hand. Root movement in. thLa section is by tritone and thirds
, '

until 113 (rom. 114-119).


In mea.,ure 114, Over a i:lhil"'ling widespread B.l'peggio in
the lett hand, there appears a motive marked gus-51 trombe,
which we shall label 113 (ex. 42, ,p. 83 ). It3 origin is
clearly lound in measure 49 of Theme I, but since it B.!!!umes
its individuality here, we shall consider it part of the
second theme; i't must be added, however I that 113 could.
equally well serVe as transitional material. The harmony
of 113 consists of a major-seventh-chord. on Eb moving to a
major':minor-major ninth-chord on 0, which ultimately re:so1ves
to a chord of similar construction on F in the following
section. In measures 116... 119, the tension subsides during
a transition to the Closing Theme III, and contains the down­
ward-mo~ing semitone figure which further links Themes II and
III (ex. 43, p.83).
The 'Closing, Theme (nun. 120.,.139) begins over the ninth­
chord on F mentioned above. It is 'paired with the 12. motive,
which is extended m'd is hardly recognizable because of the
slower tempo. The r'ising minor-third of the Prologue forms
the first and last notes of Theme III, with the intervening
75

in the ba~5 (m. 120) moves


downwc~rd to form a. tr:tt ono melooI.cnl. . . Y fmc harmonica lly, re­
versing the order, hnrm()nl,l.~ t:('itoCI() to 1'JGventh, found in the
Prologue (rom. 13-14). Upon repotlt;i')n, tbe overall leap of
the melodic minor third 13 expandGd to a perfect fourth
(rom. 124-126). In meD:~u:re~j 1213-133 .. the theme whlch starts
a perfect fourth higher than beforo to aChieve the climax on
a, and immediately £all3 back to 1"£(;, forming the tritone, is
then treated sequentially. The mnjor-l1linor...major ninth-chord
of measure 120 is now tranaposed to Bb in mea.!lUre3 128-129.
Twice more Theme III is heard as in measures 120-122, only
the characteristic leap at the end is missing; the Development
follows immediately.
With 'a two-measure episode based on a rhythmiC variant of
112, the Development begins its rathel" complex elaboration
(ex. 44, p.84). The 1it;tle f(~pi50de is harmonized by a major
seventh-chord
. and. cadencos abruptly on an augmented-major sev­
enth-ch;:lrd. By far the largest single 5ecti')n of the sonata,
the Development is twice as long aa the Bxpo::sltion. The open­
ing episode, which i:3 later repented and enlarged (mm. 289-'
304), and appea.rs aga.in in the Cooe. (lorn. 401-416), is. indic­
ative of the combination of thematic fragments. There is some
motivic expansion, whtch can be found in llleasures 225-227 with
an augmentation of Pr010t;110 :rrif:lterie.l; in mea3ures 264-268 we
u,

76

find the expan~i.on of 1110 1.('10 2, i, in n;(,:}3\1t'OS 146-1.57 113


. i:5 inter:!peroed with mot 1. VWJ fl'om ·.Ph~~mo I. 1 t is intere5ting

to note here, in rer.a1'd to ti:!l In1;roduc~;trm-Proloe:ue materi9l5,


that of the 189 meanur09 or th lopmGnt 68 are .from the
introductorY' section. ilr.:;ain, ocoss of Qxpan9ion i~ ~een

in the changing ro.tlon, i'rOIT; 1:2 in the B;~po3itLm to approx­


imately 1:3 in the Develop111ent, in reference to the initial
46 measure~ of the Introc1uctl,on- ague.
The technique of deve10pment most often employed is that
of fre.gment alternation in m05aic-like fae;l;.ion, as in meaaures
207-218, in which a four-meaaure :!Jtatement of Theme I is in­
terrupted by the III motive for twom~a3ures. Then two mea5­
ures of Theme I are followed by four of Ill. There are only
two instance5 of the a.ct unl combinat ion of d tfferent thematic
motive5: measures 185-190, and 231-242 (ex. 45', p.(4). The
tlr5t 5egmEmt combino3 Thome 1 Hith Ill, after which they
5epa.ra.te and follow the more uoual pattern of alternatlon.
The 5econd segment combinezs fl'agrnen1;.!l of the Prologu.e (4) with
Theme I in its transitional form in n kind of pseudo-polyphony.
In the first development of Theme I (rom. 11t3-157) the theme is
again stated in its transitional form (5ee mea.sures 61-67, 88­
90).11 3 ·interrupt:3 The:me-I materinl three times, eHch time
heralded in the ba3~ by a lOB.ping fifth in ')ctaves - .each
suocessive entry of 11 3 more in3i~tent and longer than the
previou5 one (ex. 46, p .. 85). Fil'st, 1n Inea:sure 146, the three­

note motive appes.rs and cadences briefly with a major seventh­


77
chord on Bb. Tho 3ec')nd t;lmn. :(13 I:; extended by two dotted­

,quarter-note boat3~ and tho ird, by throe beat3, another


instance of the eXpa"~i0n
,.,

from the Prologue un­
dergoes 5evernl altoraLlc\~l:;: Lhe '::'a111ng t cone (3) becomes
a falling dim:Lni3hed fou;."th (1'1:;.3, .lor third), \{hile t; he other

characterist ic figure5 ramo in in. the :sarno tnt erval proport ion.
The fragment labelled U~) 1:3 liahed with comp03ite grnce­
note flourishes 8.S found in tb,e I j"'oduction, but they are
built upon major-minar-major ninth harmony. The chromatic
motive (5), in a.ugmentation., 13 extonded to fill the falling
perfect fourth (1). Prologue material i5 further transformed
in measures 263-270. The ninth-chord moves to a chord of un...
equal fourths, known a3 the J-Jly~tic Chord, on A (A n# G ri;',T,'
\,I'
T;I#
...

B). One can detect, interwoven into the texture, the falling
perfect fourth of the Prologue, and the expansion of the minor­
third mot i ve (2). A new mo~ tve eppear3 1n the to? voice (m,'1'J. ..,

263-264). It is, however, related to the falling tritone mo­


tive (3), but in3tead of fa1).i • it rises by way of a semi­
tone from F to F# to B, then fnll'-'1 A. minor seventh, which can
be traced to an octave displacement of The~e I (m. 49). As­
suming thematic importanGe, a chrornat i cs. lly-rlsing l1ne {mm.
265-267}, which is derived from rnea3ures 199-203 of the De­
velopment, leads to a cadence on another Mystic Chord, up a
semitone .from the previ:)u.s one.
It L .• _._ t ..

78
These two chord~ ore thG fir3t oX3Eplo3 of the Mystic
, Chord to be found spe110d fl;J ;;Ilch :! n the :3 ~nut as. Chord $ do

occur in equal fourth:'! f fir In 1;'[ tH'(~"lj.'" fourths ana thirds,


as in measure 273. Al~0, f:leventh-chord
found in measure J.i,7 may:' ere:,: Ll~r t:;:'n;·l.:<lnted i.nto a quartal
arrangement, changing
't ,I I:

I~'}/' .i~I:' eJI


/'

to read
Fi B. In this sort of chord::! t!H;'} F'lft;h Sonata abound~.
When the Cl05 ing-theme Cr'OLlT) N)t urn:} (reIn. 271-280), the

smooth, sustained character becarees rapid. The acc~m~animent

pattern, while emphasizing a pec;al point on B, i::1 broken up


into arpeggios punctu.'3t;od by l'O,;:;t;::; ;8'rlan u·p~'ifard ...:n>JOeplng 0.1"­

peggio, which is booed on tho mtxod chord of mea3UrS 273, re­


iterates the rising minor third at its poak.
I
Interval expan-
sian of the theme i3 reil~orced by a similar occurrence in

measure 278, emphasizing the rising fourth.


The episode motive of mo&aures 140-14l, transformS the
elegiac mood of Theme III into one of churning excitement.
Elements from Themes 112, 11 3 , and III provide the climax of
the Development (:rnm. 305-328), which moves directly to the
Recapitulation w~1 th, lwrdly a brenk - only a s:i..xteenth-note

rest.
The Recapitulation, abbreviated by the omission of meas­
ures 59-79 in the first-theme sc~tion of the Exposltion,
quotes Theme I transposed down a perfect fifth, or up a per­
fect fourth. Themes II and III also appear transposed up a'
perfect fourth when compared to th':;)ir counterparts in the Ex.­
position, and as fer ar: r~he:t nro c')Qcerned, tho Recapitulation
79

i3 ~nde to obacure tonal­


ity, so one mU:1t rolnto tbo tI'Ar)o')o:;iti,)!13 to tl:e original

sections by s1.mil.f1t'lty of }.u 1; ,''In} r;7v,:;ro301on::;. Ther.'\o II is

, a literal re3tatement OfU'i0 C.::;Utl;;cri' in the EXpo3ition.


The Closing Theme is altered ce y in three measures
of the accompaniment. The figure con~i~ting of a quarter-
note plus four sixteenth3 (;;un. ) changos to an eighth-
note quintuplet figure (mm~ 392:; 393, and 400). Otherwise,
this section is also literally reatated.
The Coda, meaaure3 ltOl-)-t56~ 1.3 introduced by the epiaode
materia.l of the Development, whl ex.tends by ::::equence (mm.
401-408), followed by triplet fieures ba30d upon the same con­
tour (rom. 409-416). In rrleasuros 417-432, over a peeal point
on Eb which continues almo3t to the end of the sonata, 113
recurs, this time in auc;mentation, embellished by snatches of
Theme I. In measures 421-42L~ we find the fragu:ent of measure
60 in augmentation, which i::; .8ce::nnpallied by a figure in dim­
inution derived from mel3.~lH'(:It) :U6-118 of the Exposition (ex.
41, p.86). This figure compri~cB nn arpeG~io on a IDajor-mlnor­
minor ninth-chord and wr,on the arpGge:lO~ contract into repeat­
ed triplet chords, a techniquo comparable to that found 1n
measures 96-99 1s diseer'nible. The repea.ted triplet chords
serve a function similar to that of the :segment in measures
116-118. 'Both are based on nlnth-ehord3 whose root3 r0301ve
to the following llinth-chord by i.'Lfths.
, .

80

motive~ 1, 2, ana 3 1.n fpl n::;,;;l~~:;. Tlw note~ of the tri­


tone (motive 3) can be fou 3b or tho ninth-chord
(m. 433), and the E-nlltl1:r.al a6t'ied to the .'Jt1rr.o chord a~ found
in Theme III (m. 134). The30 tri ch accoInnany the
Prologue Theme, change to minor' 3c'J'cath-chox'd.::l in sixteenth-
notes against triplets when t remainder of the Prologue
enters (4). The chrornat to iva (5) io alluded to in meas­
ure 439. In measure 441, rf. (ex. 46,p.86) the first-theme
version (I) as found at the beginning of the Development, a'O­
pears accompanied by the gUB.::il-trmilbe motiV"e of 11 3 and by a
trumpet-like repeated-note motive, Which may be seen as a
..
diminution of the repeated notes in measure 153. A structur­
a1 unity results, as this motive appears in the corresponding
places in the Development as well as the Coda, as adjuncts to
Theme "r and just before the Introduction material returns.
Immediately following, the flourishes from the Introduction
end the composition in one continuous upward sweep, again em­
phasizing the tritone, as if to avoid any hint of tonality.
81
Fifth (:1'1. r~'":;
- - __."1.... ,::",.?_

I ........ - ,.
. II' •••••••• til> •

Ex. 36. Fifth Son'1ta, On. C; 17 ...20.


82 .

Ex.. 38. Fifth Sonntn, .Op •

.
• :f:. .
• •

Ex. 39. Fifth Sonata, Op •.53" Ill; 47.

Ex. 40. Fifth Sonata, 2..2. ~, rom. 92-'14.


.. 83

1£'

Ex. 42. Fifth Sonata, Op. 5?" mm .. 114-115.

1[J

Ex. 43. Fifth Sonata, .£p. 21, rn1T,. 120-121.

\, :':
4

Fifth Sonntn, Or. l1iO-] 41.

Ex. 45!' Fifth Sonata, Op.


--~ - , mm. 18 5-186, 231-2)2.
85
b

86

Ex. 47.
t .... _ ",.. _ .... _ -_ _ . _ __ ... _
_~. ~....

-- - - ----

Ex. 48. Fifth Sonata, Op. ,22, mm. 441-l~44 •

• r==r­ ,,
•• ..fI- + '
. . 3., +
- •
NINTH SONATA, OPe 68

1 2
rJ.~ J.?_:r 3 1 1 +):......,:1:3 e-!:.-t!.l tr .&ext __I c1 .'._~
1 .5 7 11 19 23 97 J.

1-6'8 (68) 69-15!f (86)

A ib.lS'!.ce.l1y 1-11-1] - - - - . -..,-~~--- .- __ ~'___~'__'_"'''_''~_'_~.H~'_! f.

. B [ba.'l i c a 11 y (I) - I I ------.-.--\ ~l-~---- II - I ]

l- t ,)

II 1 3 II 1 3J_L.____
l _________ II II+tr.
_ II I II,It 11 ,
155 179 '
155-206 (46
183
+ 16 )
I i­

en
A' lbasica11y I . ·-11 11 -.,J
88

.
-« -.- ~ .. -..... -~

r ~
j~

I Ileo

..0 1M

I
)

I
~
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k~:>
t:r-.I ~i
j~
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fa:>
1M

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o
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.-t

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89
--_.
Mature Periocl:
--.~-
1913-1915
- -... _-
........

Ninth Sonata, Cp. 68

Rather than being conMtroc~~~ nJonG Gtrict sonata ltnes,

this composition, tho 0 1.0:' e[~t \:i~' I;, sonntas (216 ~ea9ures),

seems to be a lorDS A. B ;,J, O~!,C, 2;'::(~ ~.on h vLnr:; its own


, ternary subdivision. One of the reasons for deciding upon
arch-form is the syrnrnetrical layout of the large micdle secti-:.in

a b a b a

which expands the simple a b a to 18 18 14 18 18. ~~agu~~~


69 - 86 (a) serve BS a hinge overlapping A and B, which,
in fact, balance perfectly in number of measures. when one
considers these eighteen measures as part of both sections;
hence this segment is a kind of coda for A and nn introduction
to B. The third large s~ctionAlof the overall arch c~n­
tains its a b a, the first a and b of which balance with b of
the A section, contributing to an al:t'i1ost perfect sY-1t:metrical
structure with the middle a of B ss the midpoint of the sonata.
Justification for this cO~1binatio.n of a and b is fOlmd in the
tact that the first a in Al serves as an introduction to the
b material, much as measures 69-86 are the second a of A as
well as the .first a of B, and that the motive Y· is com.n:on
to both. At the midpoint of E, there occurs a climax in
Measure 110, and the last seven measures of the sonata are
alMost identical with the opening seven measures; these
features also strengthen the idea of considering the s~nata

as an arch-form. The Jtlultiples .... of-two idea also seems to


work in this sonata, since in A (1rml. 1-68 or 86), b contain~

ing 46 measures 1s approxbu:l.toly "cHlce the length of a, which


90

c :;Tf~es clo3e to

the length of B cor.~!."r1.11.

Aft "'1"
v the
l ' H"1'
.1.-
rt '....*'
.. _'- ~
',J i,
\.,) ....)....' L.)
.' - - ~
: -: , ' :1 "";­ :1 no lonr~0r wrot e key

of motlvc$ Dnd intervals,


repeated ~otes, complicated and rangy texture, triplet and
dotted figures, and apparent 8. ence of tl'>iElCHc strnctures,
with th~ possible exception of tr:o Prench aup;mented-3ixth
chord, which itself can ql:U:lrt; a11 y.

Theme I contains three important motivlc groups, all of


which may be related to the initial measuro~ of the sonata.
1_1 (mm. 1-2) consists of four notes Clescondins chromatic­
ally, followod by a minor-third leap back to the starting
point (ex. 49, p.10]). The ha1")1,ony cO:1sists of alternating

major third sand d 1m! nished sevenths (rna jor sixths). Imme­
diately, in measure 2, I_I is imitated a. tritone lower. The

beginning of the im:ltati vo fiSCH'O entori nrs ag,'31:::lst Theme I re­


suIts in a French augmented-sixth chord. In measures 5-7 the
pair of descending minor sec·:;oris is sequenced upward, over a
dotted motive which we 3;~l&11 label 1_2 (ex. 50, p. 101). This
motive which consists of alternating half and whole steps. is
.,
related to the melodic span of I-~ by the minor thir~s. The
third element is made up of falling sN>eggios which, wlth the
material of I_I, outline seventh a~d ninth-chords with roots a
minor third apart. gac~·) snCCC33t vo Rrpeg~-io increases its
91

motion within the eighth-nota ~t by one note -- by triulot,

quadruplet, quintuplet, z-cxtl:,plct"; - smd c~H1(';:lce3 0n a diminished·

minor ninth-chord on A. A]~o, while the ba~5 moves down by

(see ex. 51, P.laU.


While the cadentiBI ninth-chord is still soun~in~. I-3
enters (rom. 7-10 ) with it:5 chars.ct erist i c repeated-note
pattern in triplets, which also outlines a minor third (ex.52,
P.102). The leap of the licaj or third 1st; 0 be scen as a.n
appoggiatura., and its re:101ution 15 related to the dowm.;ord
semitone movement of J-l. 1-3 is accompanied by a syncopated

motive derived from the chordal tritone of the cadence chord


(m. 7). As 1-3 1:3 imitated a mojor ·third higher- the motive

ends with the same triplet figure as it began- wh:l.le a sus­


tained Bb in the ba~fl, derived frOln the cadence chord, ascends
a major third together wi th the tritone accompaniment.
Beginning in measure 11, the opening material is repeated,
sequenced and brOUGht to e. cadence on Bb in m<9ssure 19 up a
semi tone from the first cadonce on A. Before this cadence
the dotted motive of 1-2 ana its c0unternoint derived from
1-1 are inverted. \ In measure 21 the de.3cen<::1ing pairs of. note3
as found in measure 1-2 appear in reverse order in the-left
hand on the beat, and in the right hand a half beat later.
Intervalllcally, they oro B trltone a~~rt. I-3 reappears,
in condensed form, and 15 Imxnedintely folloHed b'y a transition
92

(nun. 23-34) to the .:'lcCondt.hornc,IJ, bot~1. p[l;'t~ of 'Hhtch com­

pri~e the b sccti~n of A•

can be trac~d to ..,.. "')


~~
(
m. r' )
~ • trita~8 motive of 13 con­
tinue~ 9.:!\ a klnc1 of podol pr)jnt;, !;~'1. tend3 to ob~curo any
teeltng of t onali t J. Yet; one c;'::'[,crlc nces throu::.:ho.ut the
transition a sen3C of ri~ins intensity due to the sequential
treatment of thE: ;3 ixtY-l)ur'th n;;:;.t c figure. Tl'li3 figure i5

clearly derived from both the minor-soventh span of the dotted


motive a3 well as itD fa.lling ar'pcc;,:;io figure (mm. 5-7). The
contour of the minor ~eventh is filled with a minor second,
two major thirds, and another minor' 5ec~nd. The risine: third3
in half notes found in 13 (rum. 8-10) appear in the tran~ition
accompanied by the tritone I1loti-:e. HOl-leVer, now they are
minor thirds filled-in stopvlisCl. The tri tone m')t i 1'0 is reduced,
to two notes in measur03 25..33, /;Hld furthl'3r to a harmonic in­
terval which form~ the basis of the cadential quartal chord
in measures 30, 32..33, (0X. 54, p ..lce).
Relat ed to the trans i tica, 11heme II proper (rrilll. 35-L~2)

derive~ its initial motive from mca~u.re 32, addin;:; the re~olving

:5emitone. The rhythmic pattel"n is prepared in recasure 23,


while the pitch pattern 10 found in measure 5. Thl!:! indica.te:5 '
how closely the thematic mn.terials are '('olnt eo in thi3' "lork.
A:5 the transition evolved from tho first theme, so the second
theme :s;now~ it" relationship to both the first theme and the
transi t ion. ,J;t'urthermore, tho fIrst three not os of the :5ixty­
93

fourth-note fieura of me8JUre 23 introduco the d~unter?oint to


Theme II in the 1 crt hnnd, 111c n j 'Jr'C 3l\ J wllich occur::; in down- V
ward ~equenco Bnd in diTi~uti~n. Un~0rno8th tho two con-

ascend by minor thlrd~ at t~le rnt~ ~r one chango per measure,


again empha3izing the close relat;:to!1,shlp to Theme I a.nd the
tran~ition.

From mea:mre 42 to 50 (ex. 55, p. 103), 11 ~yncopated trip­


let motive related to the rep~atcd triplota of I-3 connects
succe33 i vely ~horter vorsloru3 of Theme II. Sln}::.8 the syn­
cCij'atod figure recur3 frequ.ent1y in 1-3, . . ; 0 5\1a11 contltlue to
give it this label. I'lhile 1-3 13 exten<'1ed and ornamented
with grace notes it 13 accompanied by a four-note descendtng
chromatic motive from I-I, wr:.ich end~j with an exteL3ion in
augmentation (rom. 48, 50-54). '1'h030 two n1Jtl ve,"!, accompany
Theme I I which recurs on the same notes, but the texture,
having been den3e a.t first, 15 now more widely snread. Yotive
1-3 ex.tended (rom. 48 and 50) engenders two udditional accom­
panying mot i ve:!! (rom. 51-54). 'l'b,{; fir:Jt encompa,5ses a minor
~ix.th, the top note of which doublos the extension of I-I at
the octave and consists of an B3ccnding perfect fifth plu~ a
semitone. The second nlJt1ve (rnm. 54-58), broken into clu~ter3

of alternating major and minor ::soconds, produces a melodic


perfect fifth together with a diminished fifth, showing the
conflict from the Cf.H10nCO chords in a melodic elaboration
(see rom. 7, 19, 30).
94

In measures 59 -60 th~ tr~n~ition returns and lead~ by


downwe.rd sequence to a c!;t(>~nc(') in measure 68 jLl.:3t before

/ Section B. That fragment fr~)-:'l' ':rh~)n;(: II vlb:lch i3 con3tructed

and cadence~ on a qUBrtHl


the perfect Bnd the diminished flfth. From this point to
the end of the transition, tho hnrm0ny remains ~tat~.c, with
the trltone reiterated in oach mca~ure. Also, the iriclu~ion

of a descending line in the middle part, derivrd from the bass


movement in rising minor thirds of 1'hcme II, incicates a
relationship to both themes of Section A.
At a (m. 69 ff.,) the closing of Sectton A ana thr:: be­
ginning of Section B, the .first theme (I) is transoo:!!cd down
a major ~ixth (diminished seventhl) indicating third-relation­
ship. 1-2 is apparently omittod and the remaining material
is conden~ed from ten to eight rneaaurc3, whi.ch includes by
augmentation the first three note.'l of I-l (mm. 73-71~) and a
cadence on the augmonted-~ixth chord 8.5.found in the second
measure of the sonata. At thE' cadence a new rhythmic fig­
.....,..
ur0· E=!·r, which,is without precedent, reverses the first
two harmonic intervals of 1-1. The augmented chord re30lve~

further to a major-minor s6\TEmth-chord with it~ root on Ab.


Interval contraction can be soen in I-3 which follows. In~tead

of rising in half-note third~ as in Section A (rom. 8-10), the


half-note~ in the lOHer staff 1l."1cend by scmitone, 'and in meas­
ures 83-86 where 1-3 is cxtcnd~d hy n half measure, the rising
95
semitone figure then oxp~nds to .fill a r.l!1jor third. Em·,ever,

one can viow tho Ab G Ab (111m. 71.1-76) and

the.t Sect 1.:)n:'3 A and B OV'H'}.9p1. n s.

Theme I_I appears only twida more in Sectton B. Other


references to it arc frap;I'nsntod vel~3ion3 in various rhythmic

mutations with Theme II. In the ~() c ond stat0ment ( r'J11. 105­
110) , elements of I_I and 1-2 are found at the center of the

sonata, again without tho aotted motive and with the rising
sequence of falling pa:i.r~ imitated at a tri.tonc and half a
beat (see m. 21). Tho notes aro the same or enharrronic
equivalents of I-I. After six measures and the cadence on
a#. fragmentation of I~l and 1-3 occurs, becoming counterpoint
to a brief, partial statement of Theme 11. Further fragmen­
tatton and development of those motives is found in bars 115,
ff.
The third appearance of The~c I (row. 141-154) leads to
At. In this material, I_I i3 at first altered to become a
transition to a m::>re reCOGnizable forrn and i3 then extended
(rnm. 141-145) in' counterpoint 1;-lith 1-3 w1lich is also extended
(ex. 57, p. lOl.j). This rnHterial in punctuated by the
motive (m. 74) The six.teenth-note quintuplet flourishes de­
rive from the first cadence c~lord on A (m. 7), and simply
transpose the tritone plus perfect fifth up an octave.

Havine traced tho cour3C of Tb.cwc I t;.. ,r::>ugh B" we shall


96

next follow Theme 11 (n~. 87-104) which i3 reintroduced by a


grace-note figure c:)n0i3~ins of tlH? tl."it,)t](' E to The
character of the second therrs 13 altored by the triplet stxty­
fourth-note figures ':IllL it, ~lvin~ it a kind of
.ile the ranre be­

comes more vJtc1e3pread (~:r.::. 58, p.1C1l). The hnr11'?ny con~d.at50f

measures. The leapint:::: acc':m;panlment reaches for Cantrs-C as


the climax of the theme arr.Lve3 in Tii6aSUre 89. At this point
.'1

the roots move again by tritonc from F7)' to C and then to A at


the cadene"., in measure 90. Here t triplet acc)~nanying

figure of measures 55-58 is changed frOM sixteenths to sixty­


fourth notes. 1-3, with its repeated notes, alternates with
fragments of Theme II (ex .. 59, p. lOq) •
The next appearance of TheIne II undergoes still another
change of accompaniment style: sixteenth-note triplets out­
lining two major-minor-ll1ajor ninth-chords wboso bass~s rise
by semitone but \,zhose roots are a tritone apart (mm. 97-104).

The theme is extended by the syncopated triplet repeated~note

motive 1-3 in augmentation (see nl. 75), from the usual four-
\
measure phrase to nine measures. \ Interval exnansion, leadIng
to the return of Theme I, may be seen in the her-monic sequence
by major-minor-major ninth-chords whose basses move IJPward by
semitone (rom. 97-99), se~.ence by bass notes a third apart
(rom. 100-101) and finallY' a fourth apart, oach with the tri­
tone (rom. 102-104).
.L..

'17

In measures 115-116 The~8 II return3 briefly in an in­


complete ~t atement ....I i th 1-3 }'OJ C ~)l)nt; orpoint. Both of these

fragment 3 arc bun t 0'/1"1' ~ j nor IHlventh-chord:3 who~e rO.ots


are a tritane np~rt

bridge to the furti)-~r c1ovc'lo!Jrn(~nt of '1'heme II in measure 119­

140, with m increaso inbempo. Throughout thi3 section the


secone!.. theme again a.ltorna.tes "("Jith the rcpeGted-noto part of
1-3 and is accompanied by the leaping-third part of 1-3. For
no apparent rea!5on, within the "prm, of two mea:suros (119-1;::0),
.Ii
Scriabin spells motive 1-3 in three ways: A~

and then proceeds to sequence the figure in a de5cendin~ semi­

tone pattern. Thus fragm~nted, oxtended, Theme II doe::! not

appear in full until mea~Ll,re5 137-139, with tho last psrt in

diminution.

At this point it is necessary to reiterate and amplify


the importance of 1-3 and I-I as they rocur with increasing
frequency throughout th~ B soction as unifying devices. In
addition to its u~es described in the foregoing paragraphs,
1-3 undergo8:J a slight interval alteration in. measure 111,
1n which it shows a similarity to 1-1 (ex. 60, p.l05). Pre­
viously, 1-3 consisted of the fol1oHing intor"J'a1 progression:
m3 M3 m2, with the accont on the second n~te. The rela­
t10nshlp to 1-1 1s seen in the movement of the A# A G#, dis­
regarding the #. Altered thus. 1-3 appears frequently and,
at times, gives the entir~ :melodic line of I-I (rom. 11)-114).
In measure 128, the tntt101 f311Lnt;; ~HHnitonc rair. of 1-1 1s
98
heard in the middlo of th~ t~~~uro a~ 3u3talned Quartors and

Because the sonnta 0n0~ with materinl from Theme I, we


shall delay discu~~l

order to preserve cln ;;,. 1'J co:)', :Lnl) L\3 the discussion of
'rhame II material, and THu"t;ly 1:;,) er.lphasize tho :mirroring of
the thematic sections in A and A 1. Theme II recurs in­
complete in measure::; 179-200, 8.nd 13 punctuated by the ever
r ....."'''!L p

.;.1' c fl"'om the bCi!;inniDg of the B


insi:s:tent rhythmic motive W·
section. The fall Lng fourth is highliGhted by repetition
in the manner of clanging bells (mm. 181-182, 185-186, 191­
192) • The theme will n')ti be found in its cOl'"rlnlcte form in
the remainder of the sonata. In me~sures 183-186 we find
the trill motive of the transition (m. 25) combined with·
parts of Theme II, a130 adornod by a trill givinr; this theme
a kind 'of transitional charactor (ex. 62, p.105). This leads
to the coda-like :!lection (nun. 187-216). At this point Theme.
I make a subtle appearance in dimtnution (mm. 189 ..192) antici­
pated by its alto line (nun. IV7-1cl,(3), (ex .. 63, p.106).
At the beginning of At, 1-1 itl presented in dimInution

companied 'by the -


and sequence for eisht measures (nun. 155-162).
U~:motive
It is ac­
(m. 74) introducinz;'an arpeggiation
of the augmented-sixth chord fr:')}TI measure 2. Later 1-3 ap­
pears in counterpoint with the continuing 1-1. The lowe8t
note 1s contra-? which per'3:i.nttl b 0 the very end of the s'Jnata..
In measures 163-174 th~ lMltntivo pattern or 1-1 return5,
99

interrupted aftor ,t\.,to U"lC'l::HH'O,"I oS 1-3 and tho rhythmic motive.


The material i:'J compro:1~",)d f""Jlil four mea:':!ures to two beginning

in measure 171. ,1:111 in diminutlon, repeatin...'S


the descendin.:~ four-noLo pot\; rnJ .Ji1:1t Or.! 1'hcme II does its
falling-fourth pattern. It is ace onted by the rhythmic
motive at flr3t, alternating with a chordal vern ion (m. 17~

of the first three notos of the arpeggio found in measure

In measure3 187, ff., tho lower part of the chord3 of


Theme 1-1 and the swirling llccompan.ime"lt from moasures 1.55­ ..
1.56 are combined vlith the rhythmi c mot i ve and Theme II. Two

measures later the full chords of I-I appear. In measure


193 Theme II make:3 it:3 finn1 ontrnnce, transposed down a
major seventh, and then surges up-...,rard in minor thirds, sup­
ported by the same rise in the controlling notes of the ac­

companiment (rom. 198-200). 'rho accompaniment tncrease3 in

momentum from eighth-note qulntnplet3 over tvlO beats (rom. 187­

192) to eighth-note trlple~,'g (mm. 193-199), and then to ~ix­


teenth-notes (rom. 200-204,).
'\
At the Eiu vivo (201) the harmonic major third and major
sixth of I-I are spread and arpeggiated. The melodic minor
seconds appear on beat~ three alld four in octave displacement
as part of the arpeggio figures. If we include the t~o state­
ments of I-3 we obtain the n:elodic line of I-lin augmentation .. '
Root alternation in mlnor tr,ird3, bebween the pedal tone F and
# (Ab) temporarily brea:\,." tho cont~inulty of the F sc>und (mm. 201-.
100

207) •
Another coda-like element occur~ 1n thE Pre5to, i.e.,'
a stripping-down proces3. I-lis reduced to a figure of •
descending .
semltones
, in
. a~~entation, accompanied by 1-3
(ex. 64, pJ.06).' The 1-1 froe,:ment is transposed dm.,rn by
octaves (rom.. 205-208) .while the accompaniment, first ap-.
pearing as angry thirty-seconcl-notepairs based on the seme
harmony as in measure 19.3, gradually dissolves. The figu­
ration, consis.ting:of a harm:>nic. perfe:ct fifth fol,lowed by
a tritone leap is found on each eighth-note beet, is grad­
ually reduced to purely melodic intervals on beats one and
three, and is ultimately abandoned by measure 208. At
measure 209 only the Contra F remains. It reappears as the
last note with the restat~mentofthe opening theme (rom. 1­
7), which is limited to its basic.'motive. Although the aug­
mented-sixthchorddoes not .reach the traditional rel!lolution
the return to the mood of t he opening, the relaxation of the
rhrtbm, the slmplltlcationo.f thematic material and the re­
pose of the'flnallow:'F' make aver:':" satisfying close.
101

Ex. 49. Ninth Son~t.a, OP. 68, mm. 1-2.

Ex. 50. Ninth Sonata, Op. 68, rom. '5-6 •


.,
f

I"
b
, 0
I
11M
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....--
I
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...
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1.1 U
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1

Ex. 51. Ninth Sonata, QQ. ~, rom. 5-7.


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t~
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102

Ex. 52. Ninth Sonet~, ~. ~, wrn. 7-8.

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53. Ninth Sonata, Op. 68, mm. 23-24.


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Ex.

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103

Ex. 56. Ninth Sonata, Ope .2§, mm. 8;-86 •

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Ex. $8. Ninth Sonata, ~ .§§, m. 87.

Ex. 59. Ninth Sonata, 2£. ~, rom. 95-96.

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*. =49;:I;P ,,4i . AI . $.. $ ! , s;:;a:aaasS..L 2. tl
-
.

105
Ex. 60. Ninth Sone.tEl, ~ 6R, m.. 111.

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EX. 61. Ninth Sonata, QR.' 68, mm. 130-131.

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Ex. 62. Ninth Sonata, QJ?.. 68, mm. 183-184.

)

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106
Ex. 63. Ninth Son~t~, QQ. kn, mm. 189-190 •

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Ex. 64. Ninth Sonata, .2.E.: ~, :m. 205.

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.......
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~.
VERS LA FL~~, OP. 72
-'-".-:;"

.. e. b a b a at bab

11-26 '27-76 '81-96 97-106' 107-124 I 125-1371

70-80

A (26) B (54) Bt (26) At (18) Coda (13)

I-'
o
-.1
'------~--~~-----------.....- - - - - ; _ 1 --"'111....
..... --------------_2_
108
Vers 18 flawme, Ope 72

Formal sections in this poe~ are ob~oure, if indeed they


exist. The tormal strtlcture so€nr.!'J to be Ii tt le li',ore than a
continuous web of changing color with chromatic motives en­
twined. It is a3 if the composer 'ltJere primarily interested
in transposing the motivic bits to many different levels of
sound and playing them against chromatic alternatiljns of quar­
tal sonorities, allowing the relative thickness or thinness
of texture to supersede formal considerations.
I t one proceeds on the' premise that tormal ~ections must
occur in this piece (for it they did not, this composition
would be nothing more than a i.'oril1al experiment when compared
to the other pieces, who se fOl'lllal struotures are clear), then
a numerical scheme similar to the type found in the Satanic
~ is also present in this one. The outer sections are in
the ratio 2:1 as far as the length is conoerned, but it mU3t
be added that the thematic material i3 dissimilar. Section
B is a little more than double the size of A, and B1 is the
SQll8 length as A; so as B is to A, then B is to Bl. A re­
i
lationship can therefore be drawn between the weight of Bl and
the Coda, which consists of thirteen measures. A ratio of
.3:1 can be seen in B to Al, but this ratio is not found again.
The opening Motive centering .around D, it extended to
m.easure 5, m.ight be considered a first theme (fran, ex. 65,
p. 116). This material 1s briefly stated 1 n measures 70,
=_3&

109 ,

74, 77-80, and is alluded to in men3ure5 97-101, before it


returns in measures 107-124 in an nbbrevia.ted form (the eight
bars comparable to nun .. 19-26 are omitted). There is but
one other allusion to "a", found in the Coda (ro. 127), in
which it seems to make one llJ::\t effort to speak before it is'
obliterated by the "b" material.
The poem appears to be harmonically oriented, that is,
even melodic' elements are derived from a generating chord,
which in this case consists·o! twotritones comprising a
minor seventh (see ex. 65). This sonority, found in the
f1rst measure, is spelled E All ali D, and 1:s the :same :sound
as the geQerating chord of the Ninth Sonata. Possible me­
lodic intervals which can be derived trom this are the minor
seventh, tr1tone, major third, and the major second. Or,
harmonically, we find two major-minor seventh-chords with
roots on E.and A# (a tritone apart) with the f1fth omitted
in each seventh-chord. The generating sonority is transposed
up a minor third in measure 5, and again in measure 11, final­
ly resolving to a minor-major seventh-chord 1n mea~ure 23.
On each note of the material o! measures 17-19 ls stacked a
i
,
minor third in the music which follows (Mm. 19-23), and the
whole texture is repeated down an octave in t he succeeding
few :measures, ending on a minor-major-major ninth-chord, which
then continues to support the )laterial (ttb ft ) which follows.
This contrasting "b" material in measure 27 prevades the
entire poell. 'It is first stated in mea:sures 27-34 {ex. 66,
"_. ___ ._"' ' e"""'' ' ' ' ' ' '_.......,...,c,.....,...., ...., _
• ......,... .. _..........o._=-:-,- - - - - - . . ..... .• -.-;---"'I!'!!!~----'I!!a"!!.£2L!!!!!!!!!_!!I,. !__!IIIL!I!!!IIlIIIII!!I!!!I!!!!!!!!!-IIIIIIIIII!IIIIIIII!!.II!I!!!_-­_ _- .

110
p. 116). Not only in it;~ rhythmic character would "bit seem
to be related to "a", but al~o in its thematic material it
is much like a mirroring of "uft, albeit an imprecise one.
The descending half-step motive could be considered a mirror
of the ascending hal!'-~tep in mOO,:,;uro 1 and also a deriva­
tive ot measure 5. Tho compo30r ha! indicated by dashes
this figure, which occurs with great frequency either in
the top of the texture, or in~ido it (as in ~~. 46, 47-48,
54. 59-60). giving the appearance of free imitation from
measures 41 to 75, a large portion of the composition. Be­
ginning in meal3ure 30 we find. a contour l3imilar to that of
meal3ure 3 with the perfect rourth~ C# F# c# now embellished
by an appoggiature a#. In spite of thil3 affinity with "a"
we may be jUl3tified in calling this material "b" since it
is supported by a different type of harmony.
If the chords underlying the beginning of "b" (m. 27,
ff.) were spelled quartally with the root on c# (c# Fi B

AI n#), the E being absent, and on E (E A# D a# 0#) then
their roots would be a minor third apart. The G-natural of
measure 28 is part of a descending three-note motive.which
can be traced to measures 18-19 (soe ex. 66, p. 116)" and
which is of a certain thematic importance. This again bears
out the close resemblance of thematic elements through the
entire po~m. ·In measure3 33 - 35 this motive is extend­
ed to become a tour-note figure.
111

Beginning in }'I'lea~ure 41_ the "b" material i~ supported


by a rhyth:mio ostinato patt~rn of perfect-fourth quintuplets
in the bas! (ex. 67_ p. 117) and a syncopated, undulating tri­
tone figure 1n the middle of thr- texture. Both of the~e g~ve

inoreased rhythmio life, especially when compared to the fore­


going measures, which consisted primarily of long, 3ustained
ohords beneath the quiet11-n1oving melody. Interwoven into
the texture ju~t described we tind the imitation-like motive~

of the desoending half.steps, which also contribut~to the


inoreased motion. In measure 65, the quintuplet figure i~

rep1aoed temporarily by a downward flourish in l!1:xteenth note~,

and as lnusical ten,!Jiot'l increaso" the quintuplets expand in


range from a perfect fourth to an eleventh before they are re­
placed in measure 77, ff. brthe sixteenth-note triplets. In
measures 10-16 a motive like that found in measure 3 is worked
into the texture. An allusion to this material might aleo be
noted 1n the grace-noteflouri:Shot measure 73 (ex. 68, p. 111).
The quartal chord on Ab found on the third dotted-quarter
beat or measure 16 is simply a transposition up a minor third
of the acoompaniment figuration of the first beat. Its Major­
Minor-seventh solund produoes a cadence-type Movement which re­
solves ,to the E-major chord with sixth and raised fourth added
\

in measure 77. The trltone of the Ab.chord beoomes a perfeot


fourth in the resolution (ex. 69,p. 117).
The alternating harmonic .major seconds in sixteenth­
note triplets" (m. 77 J tt.) provide an impressionistic shiMll'ler.
,
I
. I
i

112

It might be noticed that these triplets are the result of


rhythmic diminution presaged by the eighths and their sub­
division into sixteenths in the section beginning in meas­
ure 70.
Below the impress1on1stic f1gurat1on is worked a var1ant
of the f1gure from measure 3, no longer syncopated, but 1n
eighth notes, and on the exact p1tches of the orig1nal "a".
Th1s four-measure segment is over the same harmony (E major)
which moves to a major-minor-major ninth-chord on Bb (a tri­
tone away) beginning in measure 81, or at Bl. It was
Scriabin's practlce to divlde the octavelnto two parts by
the tritone, treating it and chords bu1lt on it as a klnd of
dom1nant. The qulntuplet accompan1ment f1gure whlch filled
an entlre meaSure in bars 41-67, now occupies a single beat,
provlding by this intensiflcatlon an impetus to the next
, .
section. It is marked eclatant, lumineux, comme ~ fanfare.
Ths sixteenth-note trlplet rhythm 1s continued, but the figure,
the contour of wh1ch had before been confined within the span
of a perfect fourth is now expanded to a minor.seventh, alter­
nating a perfect fourth w1th a major third. In measure 82,

C Cb ); the progression shows durlng measures 81-84


to
the
c.
the span of the mlnor seventh is decreased by a half-step to
a diminished seventh in the sixteenth-note figure (D

relationship of this figure, C Cb C Eb greatly dls­


gulsed, to measure 3 (ex. 70, p. 118). The melodic material
of this sectlon is a statement of "b" in the same rhythm
transposed up an octave and a tritone, the only difference
113

being a slight rhythmic va.riation 1n mea~ure 85. Such

variation is typical in Scriabin's music. The repetition

is exact tor eight bar~, and then Scrtabin transposes this

'material down a minor th1.rd. ,( mn: .. 81)-96) cademcing on what

sounds like a chord of the lm .joP-lllinor-m.ajor ninth on E,

with the sixth and raised fourth added as in m. 77 or a

quartal sonority (E A# D G# C# pH B, or the Mystic chord

plus an additional perfect fourth).

At measure 97, the "all. motive returnl!l, stripped of' all


but the ascending semitone which i3 followed by the descend­
ing minor third (found on the last beat of measure 3). While
tpeorizing about relationshipa, we could point out that the
bass movements by minor thirds could be related to the :minor
third. The underlying chordal structure is now comprised
at a major-minor seventh-chord (perfect fifth below a tri­
tone), as opposed to the tritone inm. 1, which indicates
the, importance of the minor second as a principal structural
element. The semitone motive is accom.panied in the upper
part by tremolos which alternate the tritone (F# C) and minor
third (all B), the abOI'd!! in the right-hand part in m. 1; these
l

tremolos are played below syncopated perfect fourths (Fil B E)


whose derivation Jnay be traced to measure 3 (ex. 71, p. 118).
This is the first appearance of such a sonority in superposed
perfect fourths. The quartal chords are used through the
I coda to t he end at the composition. The sixteenth-note trip­
lets, as f'irstcfound in measure8l, are used in measures 99-100
114
to accolllpan;r the falling-third idea of th~me "a". The rising
semitone and falling third from rt a " alternate every two meas­
ures until "al " (the coda ~t'\ction) appears in measure 107,
at which time the triple-ts g'ive way to the tremolo and per­
teet-fourths accompanl1nent.
We find that Scriabin, in conforming to his praotioe 01'
melodic variation, changed the matnrlal 50mewhat, betw6en
measures 107 and 125: the second anaorusis becomes a'six­
teenth-note instead of an eIghth-note (m. 107); the second,
third, fourth, fifth, and sixth eighth-note beats of measure
.
110 use the motive of the previous measure instead of the
sustained notes of mcasu.ro ); the harmony- i! no longer the
double-tritone chord, but a major-minor seventh-chord on E.
Otherwise, the repetItion is exact until measure 124, where
Scriabin Simply- moves the Ab of the left hand part up chro­
matically in order to reach smoothly the major-seventh-chord
O~'E of measure 12$. This chord i:5 similar to the sonority
round in measure 9$, except that the D is now a. rJf, and as
a quartal chord it would be spelled B E A# n# G# c# ~ . Root
movement into this'~ection from the Italt! which precedes it
is by tritone. The· descending semltone Itb rt appears in
measure 12$.\ In measure 127, the motive Ab Ab A-natural
A# appears. This is a mirror of the descening semitone
figure of "a" in measures 17-19. However, the "b" idea i8
stronger, forcing out'The "a" idea altogether and "repeating
itself over the E pedal. Beginning in measure 133, the bass
115

outlines and re-emphasizes the notes of the chord of measure


12;, including the syncopated chords, and the compos1t1on ends
1n a full range ofclang1ng, bell-11ke sonorit1es util1z1ng
most of the keyboard's compass (EE to eII~.

, " ,,~, ,,"

116

, "

Ex. 66. Vel'S la flal'nme, QE. 11., ltlID. 27-33 •

..

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117
"Ex. 67. Vers Is flmrl'r!3, On •.7..?.J. rrm.' 41-43.

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Ex. 68. Vers la flamr::e, Qp. ll, lU., 73.

Vers lEi flamme, Q.ll.. ll., wn. 76--77 •


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118

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- PRELUDE NO • 2. OP. 74

-­ a 1 a2 a 1 +2 a2 a 1+ 2 a 2 +3 a 2 -­ a1 ­
1-- -. I - ,
-I
1-2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9-10 11-12 13-14 15-17

to"'
~
,,¥ .dU .. £ .w .

120
Prelude No.2, Opus 74

The form of thi~ preludo i~ not read1ly identifiable due


to the repetition and ext~n!" tOl, of the de.'Scenr11ng ~lx:-tone

scale from which thr; c0r:1positi:m i~ r,uilt. There is no con­


trast except for the thickening of texliL1re, ~o the form might.
.
best be described as monothematic and cyclic, rath~r than
through-co:mposed owing to the repetition of the melodic motive.
Each statement of the scale motive consists usually of 2 +·2
measures, and upon each the texture thickens, increasing trom
three voic~~ to as many as five and six. At the" end, the .
motive of t he first few bars reappear3 to r'orm a lit't1e epi­
logue which rounds otf the prelude and provides a release
ot the tension built up through the chromatic harmonies and
piling of melodic members in the texture.
The motive of thi3 piece is characterized by a leap up
and down of a minor third (written as an augmented :!'Iecond)
tollowed by a descending major second and three semitones
(ex. 72, p. 122). The span of the melody is a descending
minor sixth (appearing as an augxllentErl firth). This is sup­
ported below by a peI~fect flfthonpll, which appears in every
measure to give the effect of atonal center .,n FIf- in fact,
the first measure would seem to indicate a tonality ot ¢
minor. The Ail found in measures5-l> in the lowest part
ot the treble stafr, how6ver,would tend to vie tor # lIl~jdr.
All this controversy over mode is obscured by having the
theme end on the note E and by having an ostinato figure in
121

if
alternating perfect fifths over the A pedal. Therein·
are implied two tritone~ pH and C, and ell and G. Very pro-
l'1inent too is the 3elllitone
I'
eif C which results from the al­
ternating firth~1 and whtch r'lny trace its origin to the
descending semitonos of the ~otive in meBsure 2. The harmon,.
is static due to the alternation of the s~~e notes in the
figure. At the end of the first phrase (m. 4) the semitone
figure c# C is transposed up am$~or'-minor seoond still
over the ~I pedal providing a neighboring figure, which in­
oreases the harmonic interest here and in various other
plaoes.
\fuen the theme is repeatod, it is combined with a descend­
ing ohromatio 3-note motive in diminuti ~n d,eri ved from beats
2-4 of measure 2. This is the rirst textural thickening,
and provides a five-voice fabric. In measure 9 it is re­
stated (with the first note implied), and extended, but now
it 1s doubled in the top voice by a minor third, whioh doubling
can also be related melodically to the minor thirds (augmented
seconds) of the motive (a l ).
The rigure 'coneisting of a 'rising sen1itone and a falling

minor third in Ileaeure 11, fr., ie derived from the anacrusis
or the last statement of the melod7 (mm. 8-9) and' the rising
semitones which follow rill out the minor third or m. 1 (ex.
73, p. 122).
Unity 1s aohieved through the manipulation of thematic
material over "the constantly-repeated Fli in the bass, whioh

is the "tone center" rather than the key center.


122

Ex. 72. Prelude lb. ~, On. 74, mm. 1-4 •

..

Ex. 73. PrelUde No. ~, OPe 711-, mm. 11-13.

r-r---~

.\ .
.--.
PRELUDE NO.3, OP. 74

A Codettt\
A

0· 21::~ · ::::6 (OOdet_~a2l


1

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1-2
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3-4
,. a
5-8
tr.
9-12

I 1:-14 1:-16 17::


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.....
N
\..oJ
-- --- ---_.. _._----------------------------------­
124

Prelude No.3, op. 74


This composition is in two sections, the second being a
literal transposition of the firat down a tritone. The first
section is primarily in four two-~~a3ure phrases followed by
a single four-measure phrase. 'l'he second section is identi­
cal to it but for the transposition, tor a single additional
note changing the descending duplet at the end of the first
section to a triplet, and finally, for a two-measure exten­
sion or cadette. The codetta is a repetition of the last
five notes of the measure preceding it and emphasizes the
trltone D# A, cadencing on a chord of unequal fourths.
The melody begins with an aacendtng diminished octave
Which falls by way of minor seconds and a minor third a tri­
tone (A nH) and then leaps up a minor seventh (ex. 74, p.126).
The tritone is very much in evidence in this prelude, most
notably in the bass as a kind of pedal point. The notes of
the melody and the pedal point can be analyzed as a quartal
chord F# pjI E A# rJI G, which is the same chord found at the
final cadence (m. 26). The A-natural is perceived by the ear
as a kind of appoggiatura to the harmonic note G with G# heard
as filling in the interval of the second. Measures,3 and 4
contain the same material transposed up a trltone, with the
note A anticipating its third entrance (m. S) by a full meas­
ure. ~hrough all the transposition of ~elodic material, the
harmonic ~ritone G C# found in the middle of the texture
(m. 2) Jr.oves -by m1northirds implying :melodic tritones in
each sequence until :measure 5, at '!tlhlch point the syncopated
125

tritone pedal point is also t;rflnsposed up by minor thirds ..


In measures 9-12, tho melodic tritone of the pedal polnt be­
comes har~onic, still noving b] tnor th!rd. This melodic
progression is repDfltod in. rr:0;)"11)rCS 20-25, in the second
pa.rt .. 19

In the codetta we find the notes of the t ri tcme n# A


11

in reverse order fro:m the one l1hich opened the prelude (A D1f),
and with the last chord, which also corresponds to the ini­
tial underly-ing chord, 'irIS find double tritones (FiT df., E At/)
emphasizing the :melodic nnd barr.:onic importance of this in­
terval as the principal structural unit.

19A similar melodic construction involving the tritons


span is found in S'travlnsl!y's ?lrebird Suite, M. 30,
except that the minor third is a 1t18jOI' teltrd in the
Stravinsky- excerpt (ex. 75, p. 126).


126

Ex. 75. Igor Stravinsky, Firebird SUite, rom. 1-3.

-..'.-'

CHAPTER III
EVOLUTION OF STYLE

!
l With Soriabin, there was a tendenoy to use the olas­
sical forms to embody romantic content. Miniatures were in
rondo, song form, or were through~composed, while the larger
pieces and sonatas were a bit more inventive, taking on a
."

oyc11ca1 aspect; The f1rst three sonatas were in three to


./
four movements and were typical of the 01ass1c attitude to­
ward form; there was hardly any experimental feature in these
ea~ly sonatas. By the Fourth Sonata, however, a oondensation
began, shortening the four movements to two. In faot, the
end of the first movement in the Fourth Sonata is marked
attaooa, indicating that Scriabin was concerned with cont1­
nuityand formal relationships within a s1ng1e movement. The
remain1bg sonatas (nos. 5-10) bear th1s out, as they are
slngle-movement works.
The single-movement sonata seemed to be a more suit&ble
vehicle for express1on, as Scrtab1n was apt to present h1s
me1od10 ideas and develop little satel11te'motives trom them,
tlnlch appear throughout the entire pieoe. He would present

127

128

a chordal sonority, a3 In t~e Nin~ Sonata, and develop


motives which are closely related 'to this chore, extending
these 'motives into long-breathed then:os. Also tvpical of
the macroform is the slou nt r l ) i ' '],' ~', i on and optlosue (as in
the Fifth and Ninth So~ntv3). author believes thQt
Scriabin showed greater imagination il1 these one-movement
works than he did in the 08r11er sonatas. Elements of the
classical sonata, including scherzo and adagio character are
present. Especially typica1 are the whirling orgiastic
cOGas, which are reputed to have special meanlng to· the mystic
initiated into Scriabin's metaphysical realm of thought.
These codas, true to classical function, tend to strip down
to the barest essentials the thematic elements, which are in
combination and juxtaposition. Thus in the Ninth Sonata,
he leads us back to the generating chord, a typical R~mantic

device 'and in the Fifth !onate.. back to the original flourish­


es of the Introduction. G1c11c1s~1 also plays an im?ortant
unifying role in the Sonatas.
The smaller pieces, 1.e., the preludes, etudes, etc.,
are round to be througb-composed"repetltion song form, rondo,
or a type of variation form in l-lhlch the theme is reoeated
but is rhythmically or melodically varied in some way upon
each entrance, as 1n the Etude, 2£. ~, ~~. £ •. These forms
remained essentially unchanged at Scr~abinfs hands, but from
the transition period to the end, Scriabin developedanothe~

form, the poem'. Such a. composition Hith certain programmatic


SA))
.M.

129

inferences I (as the SntlL11c E.oe!1'1, Vers III f'larnme) I :might have
one or two themes, depending uTlonche e};:tent and variety of
the composer's inspiration. I:o soerr.::> to pre fer a form which
would allow him more flcn;lbiL;.~,'t to unfold his idons than a
more tightly-organizod form, ospecJnll] in the light of his
harmonic practice, which tended to obscure formal boundaries
due to its chromaticism with no definite resolution.
Recapitulations and returns of thematic ideas tend to be
literal restatereents of previous sections, with occasional
shortening of the material and some slight melodic or rhythmic
variation. "Transitions, which often contain anticipatory
elements, and episodes are kept brief, usually lasting from
one measure to three or four.
A certain ambiguity of form seems to be typical of the
larger mature works, as the Ninth Sonata, which can be ana;'
lyzed in Sonata-form but is better described as an A B A with
sections A and B overlapping. Also, the form of Vers 1.!
flamme, while 'discernible, is nebulous due to the frequent
use of the ascending or descending half-step motive, the
continuous chromatic harmonies and texture.
Microform is perhaps less interesting in Scriabin's
music. For the most part, he i.scontent to keep the four-
bar phrase unit and eight-bar periods, a fact which, accord­
ing to some writers, inhibited Scriabin's musical expression.
The author believes that with occasional condensat·ion of
phrase-lengths, extensions of the four-bar phrase, and the
130

ingenious manner in which the COmp09f'r interrupts the flow


with sudden changes of mood affectively disguise what could
otherwise prove pedr-tnl;ic.
Of striking in~:{Jre:3t i.;'! :~cpjJl.bin' s penchant for balance

and the interrelation.'J 11in of fCrI11nl 30ctioD3 w:1:thin a com­


position. Often, the Itmgth. of one segment will be a mul­
tiple of another, in rat:i.o to it, or equal to it. Also,
we find that different numerical schemes ffiieht overlap and
that even rate of ke1 signature changes may be based on a
certain numerical proportio·n. These number relationships
seem to be another strong indication of Scriabin'g occupa­
tion with mysticism.

Harmon!

Since Scriabin's ea.rly compositi:::ms sho~fed the influence


or Chopin, his harmonies u~ilizod the same color palette, with
emphasiS on triadic structures which included seventh-chords.
Sevenths and ninths, which occurred rarely in his earl" neri ... ·
od (op. 2 to op. 30) as '\-1ell a.s non-harmonic tones (passing
tones, anticipations,
,
suspensions, neighbori:'lg tones; etc.)
were all handled accordfng to convention.] Altered tones and
augmented-sixth chords were often used, the raised fourth
giving a modal flavor. Alread~ then, pedal points appeared
,rrequently_
In the transition perlod (op" 3lt to,op. 53) we rind that
Scriabin begins to build chord3 in unequal fourths, especially
131

in the Etude in rr Mln0r# 2£.


'(
~, E£. 2 Bnd the Fifth Sonata,

It may be rememberod that the beginnin~of quartal


chords were found in t udo "8 qUArtsl spellings of tri­
adic sounds {i.e., nltnrcd
chords of fourthd is to bo S0C~ l~ thD increnscd use of the
harmonic tritone, taken from tho r«i30d f'::Jurt'h degree of me­
lodic figures. It must be remembered, however, that in
spite of the new and somm{hat tentative beginnings, the tri­
adic structures continuo bo predominate in this period. As
man,.. as six superimposed fourth.s, often with one fourth miss­
ing, can be found in this period. As a ma.tter of fact, among
the works analyzed, the Mystic Chord makes its first appear­
anae in the Fifth Sonata (see p. 77). However, this is not
typical for the transitional Deried and OCCurs only in fleet­
ingmoments of the music.
Unresolved seventh-chords, while still exceptional, may
be found in measure 94 of the Fifth Sonata, (ex. 40, p. 82).
Chords of the ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth, which tend to
stack up in thirds can 1n some cases, be rearranged quartally.
The frequent use of the tritone and augmented-sixth chords.
tends to disguise t.he toniC, as does the harmonization of the
root of. the key by the submediant r
With the Fifth Sonata the key Signature was abandOned
'and there is no definite assertion of the tonic" although the
feeling of the piece is tonal. The elimination or the feel-
it;J.g o~ tonic harmony 1.s enhanced by the continual dominant
-

·132

character of the scvcnth- [<nd nl!1.th-chords as well as by

quartal constructionJ, whlch of't(ln outll:1GO minor sevenths.


To provide var1e~1, Scrinbin divld~d the octave eXBctly in
half, allowing the t I;D·1~ it:; .::;: ta funct:ian as 0 kind of
dominant.
Bass progression in equal intervals becomes a feature of
the harmony in this period and continuos prominently in the
last period (including the 1;1n1;11 Sonata" the la.:::t preludes and
poems). This progression is usually by minor thirds.
In the mature period lop. 68 to O~. 74), a chord of
fourths is often founo to generate the cornposi.tton; in Vers
10.' flammo, the similarity of thomatic matl')rtal is due to tl-).e
ohange of one or two notes in. the chljrd on w\.'i ah the niece is
based. The feeling of cadence is achieved by relaxation of
musice'l tension through slmplLficnt'Lon of rhythm and thinning
of texture rather then by harmonic resolution. Under1y-ing
harmonies, though no lonDer functional, are usually simple
with triads, seventh- and ninth-chords embellished by non­
chord tones or with tones such as the sixth and raised fourth
added, as in Vers 1a flamme.
Throughout Scriabln 1 s output there is little counter­
point in the traditional senso. True, there is some imita­
tion, but only for a moment. Of greater interest is the tis­
sue of melodies or melodic fragments which bring about certain
harmonies as in the Ninth SonElta or the Prelu0e~ On. 7h, No. 2.
Modulation in the earl:r period \vB.S achieved b:v common
chord, by altered chord, or by 3 nted-sixth chords; this
133

was usually to near-related k013 anc to keys ih t1:ird rela­


tionship. The more eomn1.cx chords of the mid~le neriod al­
lowed still greater freed~m to mo~ulAtc. Chrow8ttcism end
obscuration of the tonic contrtbuted to av~tdDnce of tonality
'"',
in the mature works. - Only n feol i. o[ tono center remained­
. that is, the composition 1s hoard to be built on a given tone
and not necessarily a given chord. Thus "key" changes became
little more than shifts tn the bass progressions, by tritone,
or by the more usual minor third. Such h;rperchromattcism led
to the breakdown of tonality and harmonic anal:~sis in the
traditional sense. Compositi,:>ns centered around a single note
or tone were typical of the "New Husie" of the twantieth
century.

Melody and Rhythm

Skrrabint s early music shows an affi.nit:v wi.th


Tchaikowsky in the drooping pathos of its l~ricism:
with Chopin in its rendness ••• f~r a languishing de­
corative elegance: and with Liszt in its exploi~5-
tion of the bravura possibilities of the piano.

These remarks sum up the characteristics of the early parted.


Melodies were usually conjunct, diatonic with embellishing
i'ioriture as found in the Noctlll:'ne ~ Db, Op. 9, No. 2, in­
dicating the influences of Chopin ano·Liszt. Helodic leaps
attain prominence during this period, however, especially
the intervals of the pe.t'fect fourth ana the ma,ior or minor

20wilfrid Mellers, ~omantici.t1m ~ the 20th Cantur;v, p •. 120.


134
sixth. These interva.13 nrc 8r''iroachea b:r leap Bno filled in
or they may exist as isolated psrts of the line. The chro­
matic melo~ic constructlona Bro found beginning with the
Etude in Qb, QQ. 8:, No. 10, n.t1d :rr.olocH c 1nt ercst is
heightened by loops of t :101' C"t fourth. Chromatic melo­
dies or fragm~nts become t'::'plCtll orche style 1n this period
and continue through the entire output. Another melooy-t:;rpe
1s the upward-striylng theme which 'Progresses by leaps, orop­
ping by seconds only to leap still hif,her either by the same
interval, or by expanding the orielna.1 interi.Tal mmthe theme
"
of the Faeroe tragique. In the contrasting theme of t~ts

piece, we find still another melodic characteristic, motives


which are interrupted by dramatic rests. Developing his
melodic ideas to a further point in the middle Bnd last peri­
ods Scriabin provides a melody, often of chromatic character,
which is derived from a harmonic basis. That is, the actual
tones are found to be part of a certain sonority with occa­
sional non-chord tones.
It is known that Scriabin was hardly influenced by folk
music of Russia,nor that he tried to capture the sou.nds of
nature in his music. Ho\.Jever, 1 t :Ls perhaps no coincid ence
that much of the music sound3 Oriental, especially in the
construction of lines which involve the tritone soan, and
which contain the augmented second.
The melodictrltone is B. c .." acteristic interval in the
mature period having super'} "';c1cd t':,\!,' perfect fourth and the
135

major or minor sixth. It mi t occur in the mn10dic figure


or, more often, it 13 Ctllcd br sn~811er ItltcrvaJ s, the trt­
tone highlighted by B sudden chnn~0 of dtr~ction, as in the
, ; .P,.; .r. .; ,c. ;,; l. .;,;u. ;,.d. ; . e _N'_o. g, _O_P • Z!l .
Scrlabin's tcchn:i.(~l~(i oe t
r.}
descri bed as repot it iva, ro,?ot: it 1 ve 1;Ji t h slight rhJth..'11ic or
o
melodic variation, and interrur·tivo (t::..at is, a two-measure
motive might be interrupted mor;icntarily by a fragment of con­
trastlng character as in the FIfth SonDta). Another impor­
tant aspect of his themntic techD.ique is the complete domina­
tion of the harmony by a systorn of melodic fragments and var­
iants. These fragments are often intl)I'HOVen giving the im­
pression of several contrapuntal VOices, and yet they begin
and end often without any regularity whatever. Asatiev de­
scribes the resulting tissue as poly-melody:

••• Surpassing the limit8 of primitive homophony,


I would define ?the tissue;] as 'Pol~.,rr,el~dic, i.e.,
essent ially complicnt ed b:r song-l1.l{e varia nt s (pod
goloski), since It ].3 noi.ther a harmonic counter­
point in the western-European sense, nor a linear
Qne a
la Bach. I use t term ••• in order to more
graphically determine the peculiqrity of the melo­
dic polyphony in a harmonic encirclement (in an21n­
teraction ,~f the background and, the design) ••••

Poly-melody is seen very clearly in the more complex compo­


Sitions, and can be construed to be part of the composer's
method. ot working out his thematic material, rather than by
the traditional motivlc development process. Contrasting
136
themes are often nl01oa'Lcn11j and/or rn;rthmicall'f c1 er1 vat! ve

beginning *ith the mt~~le p~rLod. The new nlnterial sowe­

la flarume.

Rhythm in Scriabl.,."s n::.~.1.l..C i~l t·~o11-ci·J8cribed by the

following:

The trend tOT/HlrcJ Qtc;i" rh;rtr.l.rric elasticity


and dri vi Off, rnot i vo fore.:, ••• i'Oi.:lna exnrC3S i on in
the polyrhytlunic toxtUl'C ci ll.arraonic structure
of romantic nlu.slc. lTtlt~ l"-:'Gl"!i1'c)fltC :~"oundation of
the new linear tendency 61zttnguishos this styl­
istic development: of -i.e nmsic frore the
linear counterpoin:; of I'e~;:li ssallce Dolyohcny.
Apart from the haI'jll0nic structure, other styl­
istic tendencie~ "Ihleh relate to tho rhythmic
structure of oi th.':,r the i11denendont or the sup­
porting voice parts of romanttc piano literature
include the accelerated motion of the accompani~
ment figuration, the preva.lence of characteris-'­
tic accompaniment figures and the greater rhyth­
mic independ~2ce and compoxit:r of the separate
voice parts.

Rhythm became incredlbl;r COI1Jol€x especially in the middle

period. Scriabin would work all manner of odd-num:::'er fig­


ures against each other, as in the Etude, 2.:£. Ii 2, E2.. 2.

He was especially fond of q uin.tuplets, mainly as an Bccom­


panling figuration. Accompaniment patterns which overlap
the bar line, as in this Etude, while not original with
Scriabin, at least perpetua.te rhythmic complexity, an ear­
mark of twentieth-century music.. Other rh~rthmic devices
include syncopation, vlhich was used with singular effective­

ness during the chromatically-lGclinod middle period. Also,

22Marion Loui~e Perki.'·'J."l, Concepts ot. Rhythm in the


Romantic Ern (UIr)\) ." i>; ;,':;'3r~; [;;t; ton, Uni vel'S it Y
of SOtltllCl'll (~u,l,~"i~ (~;~ .
,t' ~;" I • "
('j "'j
137

the dotted rhyt~nic motive is a consistent characteristic


or Scriabin's music throllgholJt h1s productive nerioo.

The Ron nnt:lc id rtl cC


1 t,1"i0 qrl~-;OlJ.n(~r~d, tl1e tde~l,
the infinite t;nve ',1.';:(: ;~('\ :; C Gion. oJ' n:.0trical
boundrlrics, Sy!~.c~ :>t::LY1, i-.i" ;:', 1C r:rOUT)­
ings '\-Thich c:J:1Cliec td. ~1; trj c 1 s('h.;;:me, 'Ot)l:vmet­
ricel combinat1.ons..... :'reo cadenzas, recitatives,
fermate break continuit:r •••• N'egation ac~,ieved
through incongruity betHeen plast:l.c ("ontoDr 0f the
rhytr-.unio structure and the metrical scheme '.'18.3
common.t:::.3

Finally, Scriabin would often utilize a rhythmic patt~rn

continuously as in the first Etude in


-- G;f"

or he.would use it periodically at strategic places in the


­
lUnar. Cn. 2, "lo. 1,
'.

composition for the sake of uni tj, as in the Ntnth Sonata.


Rhythmic diminution and augmentation occur, most notably 1.n
the sonatas.
Scriabin paid much attention to all these techni~es,

making great demands upon the performer's ability to decipher


them and make them musically effective. Tbis demonstrates
that rhythm is a vital aspect of Scriabin's 3t~11e, and its
perception and accurate execution are essential fot' an ef­
.fective performance or the music.

23Perk1ns, ££. £!!., pp. 31-32.


-

... ~ ....,
CONTRI nUTI OTiS l' " I I,. ' J

In the light of' histor!. ':'~i',l rer'n::'eeti V8.11 a few lasting


contributions t 0 '9~e[jGll't -uay t 0C~::Ltques of composition are
apparent I in spite of the fact that the music of today no .
longer bears the ScrlablnGs~ue 3t • Leonard has described
a 'lew of the:m:

Themes of sl:r.r:'t]) c')n.t c> ·1' J~:·,,~(:t) up of' lealJi11g in­


tervals •• '.presage t iJ.]''v:r, r::etalli'C ring
of the nmv anti-i.."'O:iV:3.::'1bic l:Hl'jic. ;:i"l1ytlr:icco;::plica­
tion is still another ~~rk originality and mo­
derni t y. In the las"c sonat; $.S to.ore is cant i nual
shifting of accents !:'.nd D.llil:';lnner of ti1re values
sounding against each other •••• He opens up new means
of technical display and puts new dexands upon the
pianist. The COpiOU3 use of chords built unon
fourths requires a no,;] t;r96 of digit:::..l skill, 'tIThile
the rhythmic and c::'lorde.l cmr:ple:r.:i t ias deF!and a spe­
cial degr~~ ot concentratio~. The dynamic range is
enormous. If

All of the above stylistic feELtu.res Her'e di3~ussed in detail


in Chapter II.
The use of chordal tor).l'1ations (and/or scale arrangements
of the same) to derive melod:r and harmony of an entire C01l1­

position indicates a similarity to serial techniaue but \-ltth­


out the rigorous control of the latter. Scriabtn's technique
1s sOll1el-1hat 11111i ted due to the u~e, of no ~ore thB.n six to

24Richard Anthol1;rLeOnllrd, A J_.I.._ _ >~ of Russian Music, p. 224.


139

seven tones, with the poss i t'l Ii ty of :3 o-:r:e "110n-har:ronic"

tones.

. .
ment of sonorities w\tleh req')'Y"') no i..
1
0so1uti')n contributed
to the eventual bren 0\-)')1 of to:1flJ.ity, tut Scri.:lbln never

totally escaped orientation around a Given tone. The use


at higher partials could have led to the duodecuple scale,
and yet, it is not known whether there was a direct in­
fluence upon Schonberg. DisBonant c~lord cOlr~binatLons and
bell-like sonorities a190 have a ~odern soun~.

There is no doubt that Scriabin had di.rect influence


upon SC>lne J1ajor composers, ;.'J.ost notably Strav~nskY'.

stravinsky denies any continuing L:.fluence today, but the

earlier piano works, e.g., PiQ.'£l2. St'loi.es (1908), and even


~ ~

the difficult rhythmic pas sagos in the Serenade and the


Sonata for Piano bear a relationship to the music of Scriabin.
A
In Reve~, 2£. 6, of Prokofieff, we also find a similarity of
style, but he soon discarded the characteristics of Scriabin's
mus ie for his own original sta:!t.p, re jecting lyrical pathos
and lush haTllionies and prei'erri ng cmnplex dri vi ng rhythms;
in a sense perhaps even this 1I1igbt be attributed to a
Seriabinesque influence.
Co~posers who, to a greater or lesser extent, followed
Seriabin's ideas include Miaskovsky, Gliere, Medtner, Rebikov,

Feinberg, Obukbof.f ,Sho.stnkovi t ch, Szy::.uanov.lski, A. Krein,


Lladov, Teberepnin - all w1.t~d.'1 the Russian School. 1JVith
140

the poss1ble except10n of Shostakovltch, these composers


failed to ach1eve great success, 1n part as the result of
1m1tating.the techniques of Scr1ab1n, whose style was so
personal that 1t could not bear 1m1tat1on without sound1ng
l1ke Scrlab1n h1mself. Composers 0ubs1de the Russ1an sphere
of influence whose works were related to Scr1abin include
Theosoph1st Cyr1l Scott and Impress10nists Del1us and Griffes.
A case might be made for a Scr1ab1n 1nfluence upon

Aaron Copland. whose 1ntr1cate rhythms, angular melodic

construct1ons, motlv1c metamorphoses, quartal sonor1t1es

(bell-like effects, etc.), and rhapsodic approach tend to

exhibit a marked similarity to Scriab1n's techniques. In

. turn, Copland has exerted a wide 4nfluence upon American

composers in suoh a way that, 1nd1rectly, Scr1ab1n's contr1­


bution is manifested even today.

How last1ngthese contr1but1ons and influences are w1ll


be for future generations to decide; Wh1le Scr1abin liv.ed
a relat1vely brief time, he should be viewed 1n perspective
as a tr~nsitional figure, not, as some wr1ters have offered,
a mere end-of-the-period romanticist whose effect is minimal
and perhaps to be discounted altogether. He was undoubtedly
. overshadowed by the better-known Debussy, Schonberg, and
Strav1nsky. but th1s author strongly be11eves that Scrlabin
ach1eved at least part1al fulf1llment of h1s MessianiC role
as a l1berator - not of the Soul::of Man, but of music.
- .,.
.
}.'t

',,; Yorlc, 1939.


Antcliffe, Herbert. "Tho:3 tgr:J.r· C,'l~1r,e of Soria bi nil ,

Musical Quarterly X (1924), 333-345.

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_ 1_ Cambridge, Mass.,
1958 ..
Asaf'ev, Boris V. (Asafiov). T\~uslc from t~~ B~R'innin~
of the Nineteenth Centur-.·r-.-·"".,.......-. Alfr€ . ,d J: Swan. Ann
Arbor, 1953. ­
Austln, William W. MU3ic from Debussy
thr0ugh Str$lvtr.si(:r.
Bakst, James. A Historv of Ru Music. New York,
1966. ~----~" ------- -----­
Bauer, Marion. T1>lont iet:} Cc ur,":" r':usie: How It Developed,
HOvr to ListCll to It. ""1(m.j YOl"'k:, 1933.-- -- --"-'- ,
'--...-- --­
Burns, Ed1rl8.rd MeNs,ll. He;tern Civt].1.7..flt1.ons - Their i-Jistor:r
and Their Culturo. oth ad.: ~ew York, 1963 ..
Calvocoressi, H.D., and Gerald Abraham. Masters or. Russian
Music. New York, 1936.

Encyclopaedia Erit8.nnica. 13th cd., Vol. XXII. Article,


"Theosophy" • .
Gleich, Clemens-Cristoph Johannos von. "Skrjabin", Die Musik
1.!l Geschichte m~~ Gesem19,:;''''C. Vol. XII. 751-75S:­
Grove's Dictionar;;: of Nuslc And l';usiclans. 5th ed., Vol. VII,.
Article, "Scriabin ll •
Hull, Arthur Eaglefield. A Great Russian Tone-Poet, Scriabin.
~ London, 1918.
'b­
-~ IIA Survey of the Pianoforte \vorks of Scriabin", Musical
Quarterly II (1916), 601.
-~---.-., ~,-

Leonard, Ricbard AntLony. A Historz of Rus31an· rJ[usic. New


York, 1957.
142

Mellers, Wilfrid. Centnr:r (from


1800). Fair L81tm,

Perkins, Marion Louise. C~h,~;~·~r·:·!.r:i·~ !;·"):;1C0.nt1 o.r rU'"l.'!thm in

tho nom~ntic ;·r~:


cst PLict ure-,­
. ~ 0 r:r~'~~91;d-1? t) ~t~; ;.';":; ?,<r- ~'l 1:-:'(': 0 -Plant)
L"t t (~r8t u.rc .-i.:'.,_:T;U --"'---c
Issor -- -.-­
~ ion, Univer­
sity ot" ::;OL'.t:~\·· :.'l: .;;. ~ ; ·"Y'~. J-unc;, 1 S () J..•

. Reiter, Florenco LiIC.iJ 1. '.~.


Pianoforte. Unpuolishe
Sabaneiev, Leonid Loonidovich. Modern Rus8ian Comnosers.
Tr. Judah A.. Joffe. iiel-v Ycn--k;l927 ..

------. "Scriabin and the Idea of a Rf:lltgious Art",


Musical Times LXXII (1931), 739.
Salazar, Adolfo~ Music Tren~s
- -..-
in ~usic Since
--i"71l.r
~
the Romantic Ern. pe. lIe'''; York, 1940.
Scholes, Percy. The Oxford Crm:pAnton to l'''uslc. 9th ed.,
London, 1960:-------­
81onlmskr, Nicholas, ed. Music Since 1900. 3rd ed.; New
York, 1949.
------. "Scrle.bine tl , R<:Jkerts Blogranhical Dictiona.ry of
Musicians. 5th ad.; Ne~ York, 1958.
Swan, Alfred J. Scriabln. London, 1923.
Thompson, .Oscar, ed. New York,
1941.
Ulrich, Homer, and Paul A. Piske A History of !vIueic and
Nusica.l Style. New York, 196.3 .--. ­