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A Basic Overview of Schenkerian Analysis

By Eric J. Potter

Music in Nature
Schenker derives many of his early theories from Nature. He constantly refers to nature in Music Tonal Music is man-made Tonal Music is the only art which cannot immitate nature as other arts do

The other Theory


In reading Schenkers treatises, he mentions multiple times of a theory which is flawed in many was Schenker does not explain this theory in detail but Oswald Jonas, his pupil, describes it as unpractical

The Schenkerian approach


Schenker discovered the use of structural pitches and essential harmonies He discovered many techniques composers used to move within and through a piece

The fifth relationship


One of these discoveries was the fifthrelationship. The fifth-relationship could be used to define any progression and was used many a time by the Great Composers

The Great Composers


Schenker mentions the Great Composers many times in his books and writings. The composers he is referring to are those who could compose fully and completely (within tonality) despite any flawed teachings in theory or voice leading Some include Mozart, Beethoven, The Bachs, and Franz Liszt. There are many others

The Use of Music Theory


What is the actual point to study Music Theory? Why teach it in college? Why not just perform?

Music Theory in Practial Use


The most important use for music theory is to better ones performance. In using music theory, one can try to understand what a composer may have meant when the piece was written. This would allow for an effective and outstanding performance.

Helpful Sources
Heinrich Schenker, Annoted by Oswald Jonas, translated by Elisabeth Mann Borgese. Harmony (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954 Heinrich Schenker, Translated and edited by Ernst Oster. Free Composition (Der Freie Statz) (New York: Longman Inc.) Oswald Jonas, Translated and Edited by John Rothgeb. Introduction to the Theory of Heinrich Schenker (New York: 1934, 1982)

Dr. Donald Watts, Towson University Music Theory Staff

Some more sources


Joseph Lubben, Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Spring, 1993), pp. 59-75 http://www.jstor.org/stable/view/745909?seq=2&Search=yes& term=schenker&term=analysis&list=hide&searchUri=%2Facti on%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3DSchenker%2Banalysis% 26gw%3Djtx%26prq%3DSchenker%2BUrline%26hp%3D25&it em=5&ttl=3604&returnArticleService=showArticle 114. Roger Sessions, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Autumn, 1975), pp. 113-119 http://www.jstor.org/stable/view/1342804?seq=2&Search=yes &term=auskomponierung&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2 FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3DAuskomponierung&item=3&ttl =99&returnArticleService=showArticle

Thank you for your time!


Thank you for allowing me to speak a little about Schenker and the basics of his theory I will take any questions now and answer them to the best of my abilities