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Studio E • Friday morning, 9:00–10:30

Empirical Approaches to Eighteenth-Century Music

Nathan Martin (University of Michigan), Chair

David Jayasuriya (University of Southampton)

Developing an Analytical Framework for Fonte and Monte, and its Application to an Empirical Study of Haydn's Symphonies

David R. W. Sears (Johannes Kepler University Linz) 

Similarity, Prototypicality, and the Classical Cadence Typology: Classification based on Family Resemblance

Abstracts

Developing an Analytical Framework for Fonte and Monte, and its Application to an Empirical Study of Haydn's Symphonies

David Jayasuriya (University of Southampton)

Fonte and Monte were prominent harmonic-contrapuntal schemata in eighteenth-century compositional pedagogy and practice. This paper discusses the development of an analytical model for these schemata drawing on diverse theoretical and historical sources. It concludes with empirical results and a case study from Haydn’s symphonies.

I discuss Fonte and Monte in the partimenti and solfeggi, which already include techniques such as elision and Zwitter, and whose long ‘block’ schemata are precursors to more concise galant formations. Riepel includes many references to the two schemata in his Anfansgründe, where he emphasises that Fonte is still current, while Monte is past its peak and requires variation. In his Anleitung, Koch focuses more on the role of the schemata in phrase construction, and presents formal models for small compositions consistent with Haydn’s schematic employment in his symphonic minuets and trios. I discuss cognitive models in recent psychological schema theory which motivate the hierarchy of categories, parameters and types central to my analytical framework for the schemata.

Haydn’s symphonies contain 452 instances of Fonte and Monte, evenly distributed across the entire set. Instead of an expected decline in the employment of these schemata, we find an increase in Fonte from the early 1770s, and a resurgence of Monte in the Paris and London symphonies. Statistical analysis also provides valuable insights into individual parametric trends. I conclude by discussing schematic manipulation as a strategy of communication in Haydn’s last symphony, and explain how its identification and interpretation were aided by application of the analytical framework.

Similarity, Prototypicality, and the Classical Cadence Typology: Classification based on Family Resemblance

David R. W. Sears (Johannes Kepler University Linz)

In the Formenlehre tradition, contemporary accounts of the classical cadence typically identify the most common cadence categories according to essential characteristics relating to harmony and melody. In the perfect authentic cadence, for example, the dominant and tonic harmonies of the cadential progression must be in root position, and the tonic must support scale degree 1 in the soprano voice. I consider an alternative view, one that exemplifies the probabilistic approach to category formation adopted by cognitive psychologists over the last half century, in which a category is understood as a network of overlapping attributes, and members are prototypical to the extent that they bear a family resemblance to—have attributes in common with—other members of the category.

To support this claim, this paper presents a corpus study of the classical cadence that reexamines the cadence typology presented in William E. Caplin’s treatise, Classical Form—represented here by a collection of 245 exemplars selected from 50 sonata-form expositions in Haydn’s string quartets (Opp. 17–76) of the five cadence categories that achieve cadential arrival—using a family of techniques for similarity estimation and clustering pioneered by psychologist Amos Tversky. My findings suggest that category systems for the classical cadence are psychologically relevant if they mirror the structure of attributes encountered in a given repertory that listeners are likely to learn and remember, where category membership is determined not by essential features, but by family resemblance.