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Salons 1 & 2 • Sunday morning, 9:00–10:30

Twentieth-Century Analytical Methods

Severine Neff (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill), Chair

Áine Heneghan (University of Michigan)

Liquidation and Its Origins

William O’Hara (Gettysburg College)

Music Theory on the Radio: Excavating Hans Keller's Functional Analyses

Abstracts

Liquidation and Its Origins

Áine Heneghan (University of Michigan)

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Schoenberg’s Fundamentals of Musical Composition, a book in which the technique of liquidation is first elucidated. Alexander Goehr, in one of the earliest reviews, celebrated the concept while decrying the term itself, seemingly because of its association with the Second World War. Schoenberg’s appropriation, however, reaches back to the First World War, when contemporary accounts of the financial crisis referred to liquidation [liquidieren, Liquidation] and to businesses being dissolved [aufgelöst].

As a musical term, liquidation is idiosyncratic. Probing its history enables us to capture the resonances that it had for Schoenberg and, in so doing, to refine our current usage. This philological investigation entails examining a host of related terms, charting their use over time. In his German writings, we observe differences in the two editions of the Harmonielehre as well as an expansion in meaning as Auflösung depicts dissolution as well as resolution. His English writings provide further details: in the drafts for Fundamentals, he describes the process where “characteristic features” are “annihilated/disintegrated” and “transformed into insignificance,” and where “obligatory” forms become “non-obligatory.” Through his library, we gain access to the meaning of these descriptors and come closer to understanding the “obligations” of the motive. Reading Schoenberg’s texts in their original form allows for a clearer and richer understanding of liquidation and provides a much-needed framework for differentiating formal components such as “shape” [Gestalt], “figure” [Figur], and “motive” [Motiv].

Music Theory on the Radio: Excavating Hans Keller's Functional Analyses

William O’Hara (Gettysburg College)

Hans Keller developed his method of “functional analysis” (FA), which he described as “the musical analysis of music.” Heavily influenced by his studies in Freudian psychology, Keller believed that his analyses revealed “the latent unity behind manifest contrasts,” without using any labels or descriptive prose. In an effort to make explicit to his listeners what he believed to have been the composer’s own unified perception of the work, Keller’s analyses set between-movement interludes that extracted, juxtaposed, and modified prominent themes, and included intervals of silence, during which listeners were to reflect on what they had just heard. Keller produced a total of fourteen FAs (Figure 3), focusing primarily on the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. These functional analyses have often been remarked upon—frequently appearing in the same breath as Rudolph Reti’s motivic studies, or even Schenkerian analysis—but their musical details have never been systematically studied. This paper explores Keller’s first functional analysis, of Mozart’s D Minor String Quartet (K. 421), revealing Keller’s analytical interest in the relationships between the motives and themes of a given movement, and with motivic connections and thematic transformations across movements. Through Keller’s re-arrangements of motives and themes, the listener is meant to hear one motive gradually transforming into the other. Keller’s FAs are thus revealed as a style of analysis whose form—a musical performance—mirrors its content: a mediation between the listener’s experience and the non-linear temporality of compositional labor.