Wednesday 5 June 2019. 2-4PM, Room 339.
Chair: Alan Dodson, University of British Columbia
Theory, Musicology, and Cultural Hermeneutics: Revisiting the Salome Complex from an Analytic Vista
Kyle Hutchinson, University of Toronto
Strauss’ Salome remains a fixation for musicological dialogue in relation to the titular character as a woman in nineteenth-century opera (Rowden, 2013). This paper engages the debate surrounding whether Salome is a victim of the gaze to which she is subjected (Kramer, 1990/2004; McClary, 1991), or whether she inverts conventional power dynamics (Abbate, 1993) and controls it (Hutcheon and Hutcheon, 2000). Regrettably, most discussion in this debate is not informed by musical analysis (Johnston, 2014). Indeed, Kramer argues that analysis hinders cultural discussion. But where Kramer intimates that women in opera are often subsumed into dominant male hierarchies, close analysis of Salome suggests that musically Salome resists similar subsumption.
Analysis of Scene 1 illustrates how the C♯ tonality associated with Salome is established as the structural tonic, the locus of structural centricity (Carpenter, 1989). Conversely D and C—tonalities associated with male characters—are treated as deep-level neighbour tones prolonging—and subordinate to—the tonic. I contrast the centricity of Salome’s tonality with earlier nineteenth-century opera, demonstrating how tonalities of male characters often subsume those of women, such as Kundry in Parsifal. That Salome is not subjected to this process reinforces the claim of an inverted power dynamic, while calling the others into question. This combination of cultural hermeneutics augmented by analysis suggests that Musicology and Theory are synergistic fields (Abbate and Parker, 1989). Cultural discussions of music are significant, and supporting such arguments with analysis strengthens both our understanding of the music, and its role in larger cultural tapestries.
Many of Fanny Hensel’s song autographs contain instances of adjustments in the text underlay. It is obvious that Hensel was concerned that the declamation in her songs be attuned to the rhythm of the poetry as well as to its meaning. Her revisions in declamation range from small- to large-scale changes. The Eichendorff setting “Nacht ist wie ein stilles Meer” illustrates both types of revisions. A superb example of Hensel’s work on declamatory minutiae is her extensive series of revisions of the placement of the last few words of the endings of the first and second strophes within an incomplete first version of the song. A second, complete version, written on the same day, illustrates large-scale revision; Hensel displaces the text by half a bar within the 4/4 meter, demonstrating her concern with responding in an appropriate manner to the strongest stresses within the poem.
Temporal relationship in Schubert’s music has not yet been widely addressed, particularly in the areas of metrical dissonance and phrase rhythm. This paper first wrestles with these theoretical concepts, and then ventures beyond by exploring a particular kind of phrase rhythm that is resulted from the subliminal metrical dissonance, which I refer to as “subliminal hypermeter”. By integrating theoretical concepts derived from Harald Krebs on the one hand, and formal model developed by James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy’s Sonata Theory on the other, I suggest that metrical dissonance and its resultant phrase rhythm can shape and articulate Schubert’s sonata form both conformationally and generatively. This paper takes the first movement of three Schubert’s instrumental works – Piano Sonata in E minor, D. 566, Piano Trio in E-flat Major, D. 929, and Piano Sonata in C minor, D. 958 – to demonstrate such interaction between metrical dissonance, phrase rhythm, and sonata form.
Throughout the nineteenth century, composers explored increasingly complex harmonic possibilities that intentionally pushed the boundaries of diatonicity, arguably to its demise. Harmonic relations that overtly disrupted the diatonic imperative of the Tonic-Dominant axis were constantly employed to a point in which one wonders whether diatonic-based models are still appropriate. Traditionally, however, the structural relevance of such ‘non-normative’ harmonic relations is usually downplayed. Writers such as Harold Krebs (1980), David Kopp (2002), David Damschroder (2010), Richard Cohn (2012), etc., have often approached harmonic ‘non-normativeness’ through the adapted lenses of Schenkerian and/or neo-Riemannian analysis and, consequently, have failed to convey the sense of an unified syntax to this repertoire. Here, I explore the possibilities afforded by a tonal space that is neither truly diatonic nor fully chromatic, but rather ‘in-between’ those two. Expanding on notions of mode mixture, I demonstrate how ‘non-normativeness’ can be integrated into an broader harmonic system.