HARMONIC PHENOMENA OF 20th-CENTURY MUSIC AS REFLECTED IN THE PASSACAGLIA OF ARNOLD SCHÖNBERG'S “PIERROT LUNAIRE”? Cover Image
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HARMONIC PHENOMENA OF 20th-CENTURY MUSIC AS REFLECTED IN THE PASSACAGLIA OF ARNOLD SCHÖNBERG'S “PIERROT LUNAIRE”?
HARMONIC PHENOMENA OF 20th-CENTURY MUSIC AS REFLECTED IN THE PASSACAGLIA OF ARNOLD SCHÖNBERG'S “PIERROT LUNAIRE”?

Author(s): Hans-Peter Turk
Subject(s): Music
Published by: MediaMusica
Keywords: thematic cell; continuous variation; pre-serialism

Summary/Abstract: Nacht (Night), the eighth song of Schoenberg's melodrama Pierrot Lunaire (1921, on texts by Albert Giraud), is a basic milestone among the composer's pre-serial works. Subtitled Passacaglia, consisting of only 26 measures and developed on a theme (cell) based on only three sounds (E – G – E flat), the piece stands out as an extremely concentrated and ingenious construction, in which the initial thematic cell is subjected to constantly evolving variational processes. The operations of inversion, retrograde and retrograde inversion of the cell, in linear succession or in vertical harmonic grouping, anticipated in nuce what would later become (starting with the Suite Op. 25 for piano, 1921) serialism, or the 12-tone composition, a method of organization of the musical material that was theorized and applied by Schoenberg and his school.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 99-112
  • Page Count: 14