Social Critique and Analysis 1
This paper is born of the analytic intractability of "Vergangenes," Schoenberg's opus 16, no. 2, and of reflections upon Theodor Adorno's essay "Arnold Schoenberg, 1874-1951." 2 The opening measures of the piece - concise, taut, pregnant in analytic suggestion - offer great potential for coherent and unified tonal development. Schoenberg, for his reasons, sets aside this promise; the remainder of the piece seems to relate at best tangentially to its opening. Schoenberg - following Adorno's social critique - could not create a work of integrity and coherence for reasons at heart social. "Vergangenes," as a totality, is as much a product of a certain compositional sterility with roots in a social condition as the opening measures, taken in their own right, are a product of compositional fertility grounded in the principle and techniques of tonality. My appreciation of the work will attempt to address this compositional sterility and its social roots, an unusual endeavour, admittedly, for a music theorist.
"Erwartung" and Musical Space
Schoenberg's earliest published song, given the foreboding title "Erwartung," op. 2, no. 1, shows already the evident mastery of the principle of tonality, the reference of all pitches to a tonal centre by compositional means. The tonality of "Erwartung" is hardly adventuresome; the tonal distance traversed modest (see Figure 1): to begin, modulation from tonic E-flat major to C major, the latter followed by a chain of dominants leading to V7 of E major (enharmonically F-flat, the distant Neapolitan region). Ultimately V7 is reinterpreted implicitly as the familiar "augmented sixth" harmony in the tonic region, and thus the harmony returns to its point of departure.
I shall describe the tonality of "Erwartung" as constructed of interval cycles, successions of tones distant by a single interval (following the model of the cycle of fifths, as Schoenberg did in the Harmonielehre and elsewhere). Figure 2 comprises three interval cycles - descending semitones, descending minor thirds, and ascending perfect fifths - all starting from E flat. (Here I adopt the familiar convention of describing pitches and intervals by integers, with C=O [ten represented by t; eleven by e].) The backslashes in Figure 2 mark the end of a given interval cycle and the beginning of its repetition. The two upper cycles of Figure 2 are aligned according to common pitch content reckoned from the lowest cycle, the referential cycle of fifths.
Figure 1: The Tonal Regions implicit in Schoenberg's "Erwartung," op. 2, no. 1 3
Figure 2: Interval Cycles of Ascending Fifths, Descending Thirds, and Descending Semitones: the Tonal Space of Erwartung,'-op. 2, no. 1 4 5 6
Schoenberg begins Erwartung" with a progression to the lower third, to C major, a progression which defines the interval cycle of descending minor thirds as characteristic of the song's tonality. The chain of dominants to V7 of E major defines the interval cycle of ascending fifths as another characteristic. Every entry of the cycle of descending thirds duplicates the pitch class content of every third entry in the cycle of fifths (note where the two cycles align in Figure 2 at pitch classes 3, 0, 9, and 6). The cycle of thirds exhausts itself when after four entries it returns to E flat to cycle anew, at the same point at which the cycle of fifths is exhausted and begins its own new cycle. A moment's glance at Figure 2, will show how the coincidence of common pitch content between the two cycles divides the cycle of fifths into four parts (again, at pitch classes 3, 0, 9, and 6) coinciding with each of the four entries in the cycle of thirds.
The implicit reinterpretation of the dominant seventh of E major as augmented sixth of tonic E-flat major in m. 17 establishes a third complementary interval cycle, built of descending semitones.7 Every entry in this cycle of descending semitones duplicates the pitch class content of every fourth entry in the cycle of ascending perfect fifths (in Figure 2, at pitch classes 3, 2, 1, 0, etc.). But since the cycle of descending semitones exhausts itself only after twelve entries, the cycle of ascending fifths must be repeated four times before the two coincide again on E-flat (pitch class 3). Figure 2 presents the three divisions of tonality articulated in "Erwartung" - into cycles of descending semitones, descending minor thirds, and ascending fifths, coinciding through common pitch-class content. 8
Figure 3: The Tonal Space Particular to "Erwartung," op. 2, no.1
Figure 3, taken from the last division of Figure 2, presents the tonal space particular to "Erwartung." The integers in bold face correspond to the pitch classes tonicized in the song; entries in bold duplicated on two lines mark points at which the harmony pivots from one cycle to another. Beginning with the descending third cycle moving from tonic E-flat (integer 3) to a tonicized C major (integer 0), the harmony continues with the ascending fifth cycle from 0 to 4 (V7 of E major), and concludes with the semitone cycle from 4 back to 3 (to E-flat major), by reinterpreting V7 of E major as augmented sixth harmony in tonic E-flat major.
This pivoting path through three cycles constitutes the tonal space particular to "Erwartung." It goes without saying that there are countless paths through this pitch space, "Erwartung" - unlike "Vergangenes" - works in tonal terms, by tracing such a readily appreciable path through tonal space. 9
Let me propose an analytic model from my analysis of "Erwartung," figures 2 and 3 in particular. We can conceive of tonal space as a set of interlocking cycles reckoned from a tonic (Figure 2). During the course of a piece, the harmony will move from cycle to cycle, tracing a particular path through space (Figure 3). When all the appropriate cycles in a work are aligned, a path emerges that encapsulates the harmony of the piece. In other words, the coherent alignment of cycles unlocks a spatial perspective on the musical work.
To turn to an analogy: briefcases often come with a kind of combination lock with which one aligns several numbered cylinders according to a code. The arrangement of cylinders affords a multitude of potential combinations (as does Figure 2). When aligned in a particular combination (as in Figure 3), the cylinders fall into synchronization and the lock is released. What I have done in "Erwartung" is to show the alignment of several cycles - thirds, fifths, and semitones - that unlock, so to speak, a perspective on the tonality of the song.10
The Opening Contrapuntal Combination in "Vergangenes"
"Vergangenes" begins with a remarkable three-voice contrapuntal combination (see Example 1):11 the inner voice as a subject, with an invertible countersubject in the lowest and highest voices. 12 The most striking aspect of the
Example 1: Arnold Schoenberg "Vergangenes", op. 16, no. 2, mm. 1-2 in Anton Webern's reduction for 2 pianos, and the contrapuntal combination.
combination, however, is its treatment - that Schoenberg should make so little use of its potential. Nowhere in "Vergangenes" does one find the tonal clarity of "Erwartung," or the serial works, or in truth the next of the Five Pieces, "Farben," op. 16, no. 3. 13 Schoenberg had his reasons (which I shall turn to shortly), but there is no denying the potential of the "Vergangenes" combination.
Implying a cyclical space like that of "Erwartung," the "Vergangenes" combination comprises four cyclically related trichords (read vertically in Figure 4) arranged in three voices (read horizontally in Figure 4). Each voice is comprised of alternating interval cycles or cyclic patterns the highest and lowest voices move by directed intervals - 3 and +2 (pitch class 8 to pitch class 5 to pitch class 7, in the highest voice), while the middle voice moves by -2 and +1. (The integers in parentheses in
Figure 4 represent directed intervals between successive pitches in a given voice.)
The first and second trichords are invertible (in Figure 4, compare the integers in italics and parentheses, which represent interval classes between members of a given trichord), as are the first and fourth trichords (6 above 5, in Figure 4, inverts as 5 above 6). The inversional relationship, then, that governs trichords 1 and 2 holds as well between 1 and 4, so that one might say the inversional association of trichords 1 and 2 is embedded within the larger inversional link of trichords 1 and 4.
Figure 4: The Contrapuntal Combination Expressed as Trichords 14
Following the model of "Erwartung," and Figure 2 above, I have extended these cyclic patterns until the pitch class content of trichord 1 (with vertical interval class content 6 above 5) is replicated as trichord 25 (see Figure 5). Taking the replication of trichord 1 in trichord 25 as a large-scale point of articulation, and all the intervening trichords in the -3+2 cyclic pattern to be divisions thereof, one has an articulate musical space - implicit in the combination - not unlike like the musical space of the cycle of fifths in "Erwartung." Let me continue now to extend and develop the opening "Vergangenes" combination in an effort to demonstrate its potential.
Figure 5: The Contrapuntal Combination Extended Cyclically 17 15 16
Recall that the inversional relationship governing trichords 1 and 2 of the combination is identical to that between trichords 1 and 4. The distance between the highest pitch classes of trichords 1 and 4 is ordered interval -4, the descending major third. Figure 6 presents another hypothetical cycle, "-4," created by eliminating the second and third trichords.of the combination. (For the sake of clarity, hereafter I shall represent trichords by the pitch class content of the highest voice of the combination alone, and the interval class content of the respective trichord below.)
If one were to extend the -4 cycle of inverted trichords, this series would continue untill trichord 1 is replicated (uninverted) as trichord 7 of the cycle (see Figure 6 and Figure 7 below).
Figure 6: Derived Cycle Directed Interval -4 19. 18
If one takes the uninverted replication of trichord 1 to be a large scale point of articulation in the cycle -4, and all the intervening trichords in the cycle to be divisions thereof, surely we have a second articulate musical space - a partner to the cyclic pattern -3+2 (see Figure 7), much as in "Erwartung," the cyclic space of fifths was combined with the cyclic spaces of thirds and semitones. With this counterpoint of cycles and cyclic patterns, one must repeat the -3+2 cyclic pattern once before the -4 cycle exhausts itself and, in beginning again, replicates the pitch class content (and thus the interval class content) of the opening trichord. (Accordingly, only the first and last entries of Figure 7 are exactly equivalent).
Figure 7: Counterpointed Cycle -4 and Cyclic Pattern -3+2.
Motion in the -3+2 cyclic pattern constitutes the finest spatial gradation, equivalent to a progression from station to station on the cycle of ascending fifths in "Erwartung." Motion in -4 space leaps over the finer gradations of -3+2 space, much as do the descending third progressions or the resolution of the chord of the augmented sixth in "Erwartung."
How easy it would be to create a particular tonal space from these cycles and patterns. The two overlap at six points; there are six, indeed seven (with the repeat of the duplicated pitch class 8) opportunities to move from one cycle to another.
Other partitionings of space suggest themselves: a cyclic pattern compounded of -4 (the first to the fourth trichord of the combination) and +1 (from the fourth trichord [past the first] to the second trichord), which enriches the -4 array of Figure 7 by adding pitch classes 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11 to the upper voice (see Figure 8).
Figure 8: Counterpointed Cyclic Patterns -4+1 and -3+2. 20 21
Figure 9: Counterpointed Cyclic Patterns -4 0 and -3+2 22 23
Or a partition that follows the fourth trichord of the combination with its untransposed inversion, creating the cyclic pattern -4 0.- Reckoned from the upper voice of Figure 9, every trichord is inverted immediately while retaining the same upper voice pitch class (hence the 0 entry in the cyclic pattern): the trichord with pitch class 4 (in its upper voice) and interval content 5 over 6 is followed by a trichord with the same pitch class but with interval content 6 over 5 (see the lower part of Figure 9 above). The effect is to speed up the cycle in counterpoint with the -3+2 cyclic pattern: the content of the first trichord is duplicated without having to repeat the -3+2 pattern (compare Figure 7).
With these various hypothetical spaces, I am not attempting to reconstruct "Vergangenes"; reconstruction is not the point of the exercise above. My point is simply that Schoenberg might have found in the opening combination a means to create the kind of tonal articulation found in "Erwartung." The respective musical spaces of the two works would have been dramatically different: one a tonal space oriented toward a central point; the other a cyclic space, without intrinsic orientation. These not insignificant differences aside, there is material in the opening measures of "Vergangenes" to create a clear and coherent musical space, and Schoenberg's neglect of this material seems hardly happenstance.
Cyclic Material in "Vergangenes"
Schoenberg does not in truth neglect the combination entirely. The viola part in m. 23 (see Example 2) suggests a cyclic pattern comprised of descending major seconds filled in chromatically (D-C#-C natural) repeated a semitone below (C#-CnaturalB) in mm. 24-25. The two descending figures are separated by an ascending leap to E in m. 24 (setting aside the D# linking this E to the subsequent descending figure.) The viola part resembles the inner voice of the work's opening measures by its descending major seconds (see the oboe part replicated in Example 2) and resembles the upper voice by the leap of a major third, like the leap from F to the accessory A in m. 1 (see piano part, the right hand, m. 1, in Examplel). Interpreting this motive as a cyclic pattern, there are four essential components: directed intervals -2 (filled in as two descending semitones), +4, -3 (filled in by D-sharp), and -2 (again filled in as two descending semitones), yielding the cyclic pattern -2/+4/-3/-2.
Example 2: "Vergangenes," mm. 23-25.
The passages that follow m. 23 present variations that would yield new cyclic patterns, were they continued sequentially. Some of these variants are presented imitatively, others are linked, and one variant alludes back to the trichordal content of the initial contrapuntal combination. At m. 26, in lieu of +4 we find +3, in lieu of -3, -4 (Example 3), which I shall call the cyclic pattern -2/+3/-4/-2.
Example 3: "Vergangenes," mm. 26-28.
At mm. 28 and 29 two more variants of the motive appear (Example 4). (in this and subsequent examples, editorial additions and deletions have been made only to clarify the relation of these passages to their model.) Two overlapping cyclic patterns are involved: first -2/+5/-4/-2 (with a compass of a descending interval 3), and secondly - 2/+4/-4/-2 (with a compass of a descending interval 4). Four statements of the cyclic pattern -2/+3/-4/-2 appear in mm. 30-34 (Example 5). In m. 36 (Example 6), the cyclic pattern -2/+4/-4/-2 appears, set with accompanying lines. (The celeste joins with the downbeat pitches of the violin to present common-tone trichords, akin in interval content to the opening trichords). Measures 40-45 involve cyclic patterns, -2/+4/-4/-2 and -2/+3/4/-2 (Example 7), combined in overlapping successive statements, so that the concluding -2 of one pattern becomes the initial -2 of the next.
Example 4: "Vergangenes," mm. 28-30.
Example 5: "Vergangrenes," mm. 30-34.
Example 6: "Vergangrenes," mm 36-38.
Example 7: "Vergangrenes," mm 40-44.
Each of the cyclic patterns presented above could be extended sequentially to make a true cycle. In Example 8, 1 have extended editorially the cyclic pattern -2/+3/4/-2 taken from mm. 30ff. This particular pattern would exhaust itself rapidly - the last 3 pitches of m. 34 replicate the first three pitches of mm. 30-31. After four overlapping entries of the pattern (each starting down a minor third from its predecessor), the first two pitches of the pattern return. The cyclic pattern -2/+31-4/-2 itself becomes part of a larger pattern, -3.
Example 8: "Vergangenes," mm. 40-44.
I shall call such sequential statements of a cyclic pattern entry cycles, in this case entry cycle -3 (as indicated in Example 8), since successive entries start at interval -3 below. To recapitulate, for terminological clarity: Let intervalcycle denote a succession of a single interval class, for example the cycle of fifths. Let cyclic paffern denote a succession of two or more intervals in compounded interval cycles, like the succession -2/+3/-4/-2 to be found in the motive of m. 23. And let the term entry-cycle refer to the interval or intervals between successive cyclic patterns, as in mm. 30-34. Since the pattern -2/+31-4/-2 begins (with overlapping entries) on A (m. 30), G-flat (m. 31), E-flat (m. 32), and C (m. 33), 1 refer to this as entry cycle -3.
These three notions - interval cycle, cyclic pattern, entry cycle - when combined lead easily toward a notion of a structural hierarchy: that is to say, interval cycles embedded within cyclic patterns, embedded in turn within entry cycles.
As I have suggested (and despite the minor resemblances cited immediately above) the greater part of "Vergangenes" shows little systematic relation to the opening combination. A passage beginning at m. 40, however, is worthy of further note in terms of the cyclic concepts introduced above. Example 9 is extrapolated from the cyclic patterns and entry cycles of Examples 7 and 8. (The rhythm is interpreted freely, and editorial additions are noted in brackets). The lower stave, starting with score m. 41, is built around the entry cycle -3, with overlapping entries of the cyclical pattern -2/+3/-4/-2 (as in the lower stave of Example 7 and 8). The entry cycle in the higher stave is built of two entry cycles and cyclic patterns in alteration (as in the upper stave of Example 7), entry cycles -2 (with pattern -2/+4/-4/-2) and -3 (with pattern -2/+3/-4/-2). There are at least two noteworthy aspects of this combination of entry cycles:
1. First, if extended as I have done in the graph, the two entry cycles will share briefly a common pitch content (the last seven pitches in each stave of the example) and then diverge again. Since two different entry cycles are appearing successively in the upper stave, counterpointed against only one entry cycle in the lower stave, the two staves orient to each other like a wedge; they grow successively further apart by semitone with every appearance of the -2 entry cycle in the higher stave. I have tried to indicate this wedge-like shape in the example by noting in boxes the vertical interval separating simultaneous entries: first interval class 10, then interval class 11, etc. As noted, the two staves will share the same pitch content for a brief moment and then begin growing apart again. The two complete entry cycles (-2/-3 in the higher stave, -3 in the lower) would align as in Figure 10. (The initial pitches of each cyclic pattern in the higher and lower staves are represented in Figure 10 by the highest and lowest lines of integers; the vertical intervals between these pitches are in italics. Compare the last seven entries (bold face) in each line of the figure with stemmed notes and with the intervals in boxes in Example 9):
Example 9: "Vergangenes," mm. 40ff
Figure 10. 24 25
2. Secondly (again with reference to Example 9), wherever entry cycle -2 in the lower stave combines with entry cycle -3 in the upper it will replicate, however briefly, an aspect of the original contrapuntal combination.
i. Recall that the upper and lower voices in m. 1 fall interval -3, while the inner voice falls interval -2 (see Figure 4). In Example 1 0a, note the vertical intervals 10 followed by 11 (in boxes) between the staves and the entry cycles -2 in the upper voice and -3 in the lower. These counterpointed entry cycles replicate the interval content of the middle and lower voices in the opening combination.
ii. Were we to extend these two entry cycles along the lines of Figure 10, this parallel would occur eleven times, wherever the intervals in boxes between staves change, i.e. from 0 to 1, from 1 to 2, and so forth, (noted by asterisks in Figure 11). There are, then, eleven possibilities for drawing this type of motivic parallel between large scale entry cycles and the cyclic pattern of the opening combination.
Example 10 a - b: "Vergangenes," mm. 41ff
Figure 11: Entry cycles -3 and -226
Surely here is a potential that Schoenberg overlooked, and not by happenstance I will suggest again.
Working with the initial combination of "Vergangenes," and following the model of "Erwartung," I have developed musical spaces built of interval cycles, cyclic patterns, and entry cycles. To reiterate, my intention is not recompositional (certainly not to suggest a repaired "Vergangenes") but rather to show the potential of the opening combination and to show the minimal relation it holds to the remainder of the piece.
In this respect, I call the work intentionally "flawed," since it goes against the premise of organic unity so central to Schoenberg's writings, to their reception, and to much analytic work undertaken in North American theoretical studies. This would entail a shift in the conception of a theorist toward the role of social critic, a shift with dramatic consequences for another widely held analytic premise, that of the work's purely musical autonomy. In truth, my analysis and my reconstructed spaces are an attempt to demonstrate the effect, in Schoenberg's middle period oeuvre, of a set of social circumstances that denied the composer the ability to write organically.
From the perspective of a fundamentally flawed work, I am forced as an analyst to go beyond the score in admitting evidence. Above all, I am forced to invent evidence (something analysts are not accustomed to doing) - my notion of various musical spaces stemming from the opening contrapuntal combination. Had I been able to adopt a premise of organic unity in "Vergangenes," I could limit my analysis to within the bounds of the work and avoid straying into ancillary questions. But by invoking the notion of a "flaw" I am forced to seek external support for my conclusions about the work's failure. A flaw, after all, is not the product of a work's inner nature but rather produced by some lack or excess in which the making of the work, its design, and the ability of its own terms, intrinsically. A flawed work fails only with regard to some standard above and beyond itself, to which, for reasons likewise extrinsic, it does not measure up.
To find a sociological context for assessing the work's failure, I turn to Theodor Adorno, not because I agree with his modernist tenets - out of date in a postmodernist era - but rather because he addressed Schoenberg's work, the post-tonal and pre-serial work in particular, by articulating a larger, rigorous critique of a social nature. I turn to Adorno to help formulate a rationale for why Schoenberg would construct such a contrapuntal combination at the beginning of a work and then ignore its potential, and why - if you will allow me my analysis above - he should make only brief and obscure reference to the intricate and potential musical space that I have crudely just begun to fathom.
Working within Adorno's critique, I conclude that Schoenberg created "Vergangenes" in reaction to certain sociological and historical pressures that trivialized the expression of a composer's idea. Following Adorno, for Schoenberg the only avenue to take in avoiding the corruption and petrification of musical style in the first decades of our century was to destroy the accustomed medium of stylistic presentation, musical space. My task as a theoretician and analyst has been "negative," in the sense of trying to rebuild something that was, for reasons historical and social, necessarily destroyed and hence could not go into the concept of a musical piece. The foundation of my analysis is history and society: in trying to reconstruct the space that Schoenberg left unrealized, I am seeking to understand the extent to which he abrogated - destroyed through neglect - the implicit space of "Vergangenes" under the weight of social and historical pressures.
Two essays, Schoenberg's "New Music, Outmoded Music, Style and Idea," taken from the collection entitled Style and ldea, and Adorno's essay entitled simply "Arnold Schoenberg, 1874-1951," from the collection entitled Prisms27 will serve as principal sources for the following discussion. For Schoenberg purely musical ideas are the immutable stuff of music. Immutable, eternal in a Platonic sense, musical ideas are not susceptible to historical variation or social pressure. For Schoenberg, music is I'art pour I'art 28 Given the influence of Schoenberg's music and thought, it is more than coincidental that the tenet I'att pour I'att orients much North American analytic work.
For Adorno, however, Schoenberg's musical ideas were not beyond the influence of certain social and historical necessities. Schoenberg's non-tonal works were composed in resistance to a sociological and historical development: the growth of the entertainment industry and the commodification of music, which brought about a petrification and corruption of style. For Schoenberg, style was the simply a commodity a fact that rendered the musical idea redundant. In reaction, Schoenberg pared style t~ a minimum, and one of the essential elements done away with was the impression - the stylistic presentation - of musical space.
Following Schoenberg, we can speak of tonal relations spatially - measured by distance (or "interval") in a consistently delineated system (the system of scale degrees) reckoned in terms of direction from a tonal centre. In the time frame allotted the title "common practice harmony", such a space was generalized from piece to piece, so that one may speak of a common spatial practice in tonality.
The essential link to Adorno in Schoenberg's thought is the distinction between idea and style, one that harkens back to the distinction between noumenal and phenomenal that Schoenberg would have had at least from Schopenhauer. For Schoenberg, style is a means of representing an idea. By way of example, a generalized idea of musical space would be represented (or made concrete) in the spatial layout of a particular work-'s tonality - this spatial concretization constituting one aspect of the work's tonal style.
Style flows from idea: a composer "will never start from a pre-conceived image of a style; he will be ceaselessly occupied with doing justice to the idea. He is sure that, everything done which the idea demands, the external appearance will be adequate."29 Accordingly, the style of the work must of necessity correspond to a musical idea. Style must never be preconceived. Style, the vehicle, must never precede idea, the verity.
For Adorno, the elevation of style at the hands of the entertainment industry caused a dramatic reaction: Schoenberg amplified the pure, essential, ideational structure of his music at the expense of style:30
Both practically and then theoretically [Schoenberg] steadfastly rejected the notion of 13 style", in the sense of a category existing prior to the subject-matter and oriented on external consensus; instead, he spoke of the 'idea', meaning the pure elaboration of musical thoughts.
Schoenberg pushed musical ideas directly to the surface:31
What he designated as the 'subcutaneous' - the fabric of individual musical events, grasped as the ineluctable moments of an intemally coherent totality - breaks through the surface, becomes visible and manifests itself independently of all stereotyped forms.
Adorno speaks of a "second, latent structure," built of ideas underpinning Classic and Romantic music,32
The manifest sound- material of Classicism and Romanticism, the tonal chords and their normed associations, the melodic lines balanced between triad and second intervals, in short the entire facade of the music of the last two hundred years is submitted to productive criticism [by Schoenberg] .... what was crucial in the great music of the tradition was not those elements as such, but rather the specific function they -assumed in the presentation of a particular compositional content. Beneath the facade was a second, latent structure.
and which became the principal structure of Schoenberg's work:
Schoenberg's spontaneous productive power executed an objective historical verdict - he liberated the latent structure [the musical idea] while disposing of the manifest one [style].
For Adorno, Schoenberg's op. 11 piano pieces mark the beginning of this development. Prior to op. 11, Schoenberg's music seems to rely on clear and articulate tonal space (witness "Erwartung"). But by op. 11, tonal space has become too decadent and precious, and must be destroyed. Adorno saw this clearly: "It is precisely this illusion of [musical space] that the movement of the piano pieces op. 11 destroys."'34The opus of "Vergangenes" is, of course, numbered 16.
Conclusions: Social Critique and Analysis
As I said above, it is with the tenet l'art pour l'art that many of us orient our analytic work. We look at tonal spaces intrinsic, or "organic," to a piece of music. And yet, as I have tried to show, Adorno's thought would support the view that pieces do not work in spatial terms, indeed are made not to work for reasons extrinsic to the work proper, social and historic reasons. To take up such a train of thought as a tenet of analysis has been my task. What this entails for analysis and theory, I want to briefly consider now.
My approach in this paper has differed fundamentally from that adopted by other analysts. First, I have not tried to reconstruct a coherent spatial whole from incomplete or fragmentary evidence (along the lines of Deryck Cooke's reconstructions of Mahler); such an enterprise I would call a positive reconstruction, since it seeks simply to create another musical object to stand in lieu of its flawed correspondent. Instead, I have tried to postulate what could have been spatial unity in a work I take to be intentionally flawed; I have tried to create a ghost or spectre, the purpose of which is simply to better show the "flaw" in the original, and not to supplant it. Let me call this negative reconstruction. Surely from internal evidence alone "Vergangenes" is flawed by the standards set in the musical tradition Schoenberg fell heir to; not to take up coherently the manifold possibilities latent in the opening contrapuntal combination is an act of flawing, of deliberately destroying the a potential of a coherent whole. But we can only know such a flaw by constructing its repair.
In projecting a working musical space for "Vergangenes," I have engaged in an act of social critique. To reconstruct Mahler or Schubert is to create coherence for properly internal reasons; such a project is undertaken (perhaps naively) out of a spirit of charity to the composer and his idea. But to construct a repaired "Vergangenes" would be to violate Schoenberg's intent (following Adorno) and to do his idea the greatest disservice.
Were I to proffer my analysis as a means to correcting Schoenberg, to patching the flaw (and I an certain that Schoenberg would have slammed the score on my fingers had he looked over my shoulder and seen what I was up to), I would (following Adorno) weaken the deliberate stance Schoenberg took in his music against the elevation of style at the hands of the culture industry and crass commercialism. To do so would be to take a position linked inextricably to a social critique. By making "Vergangenes" work as an embodiment of a unified musical space, a space worn thin or petrified by Schoenberg's day, I would be rejecting Schoenberg's social stance.
Instead, I offer my analysis as means of showing how far Schoenberg went in abrogating musical space, by leaving largely unaddressed the tonal possibilities of the opening contrapuntal combination in "Vergangenes." My analysis, in effect, honours the critical social stance that Adorno attributes to Schoenberg.
Social critique, I would suggest, is a necessity in the analysis of "Vergangenes." My stance, as I have suggested, involves a social critique; but so too does the stance I eschew, the positive construction, a stance of a far more brutal kind. Positive reconstruction is linked closely with organicism - that a work is as absolute and self contained l'art pour l'art, as a human cell - and organicism, at least the nineteenth century formulation taken up by music theory, takes little into account of social circumstance. "Vergangenes," I think, challenges all that.
1 A version of this paper was read at the annual meeting of the Canadian University Music Society at Carleton University in Ottawa, June 1993, under the auspices of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The author wishes to thank, among others, William Benjamin, Edward Laufer, and David Huron for the colloquy that followed the paper's presentation.
2 See Murray Dineen, "Adorno and Schoenberg's Unanswered Question," Musical Quarterly 77, no. 3 (1993): 415-27.
3 The abbreviated names of the regions, circled in the figure, are taken from Schoenberg's Structural Functions of Harmony.
4 Cycle of descending semitones (augmented sixth as enharmonic dominant seventh.)
5 Cycle of descending minor thirds.
6 Cycle of ascending perfect fifths
7 The descending semitone cycle, known as the Neapolitan relation, is a very powerful mechanism for partitioning the traditional tonal space built of fifth and third relations into larger divisions. With a certain prudence, composers working with a largely diatonic tonality confined themselves to the last entry in the cycle - the customary Neapolitan relation.
8 This representation of tonality as an array is implicit in Schoenberg's circle of fifths, found in the Harmonielehre. The coordination of two arrays is implied in the chart of the regions in Schoenberg's Structural Functions of Harmony, in which a horizontal array of third relations (between relative majors and minors) is aligned with vertical arrays of fifth relations. George Perle has noted Alban Berg's exhaustive catalogue of interval cycles in "Berg's Master Array of the Interval Cycles," Musical Quarterly 63, no. 1 (1977): 1-30.
9 A glance at the opening measures reveals a remarkable economy in "Erwartung": the descending semitone cycle, which comes into play at mm. 17-18, is anticipated in the opening measure by the characteristic harmony of the song: C-flat, G-f [at, E-flat, and A (setting to one side the D-natural) form the familiar chord of the augmented sixth in E-flat major, the means (respelled enharmonically as the dominant seventh of E major) by which the harmony returns to the tonic region in m. 18, the means by which the descending semitone cycle is brought into play. Schoenberg, I think, would have taken a certain pride in this, and might have called it an organic relation, and the chord of the opening measure a "germinal cell".
10 With apologies to Henry James's The Figure in the Carpet
11 The term "contrapuntal combination" in Schoenberg's usage is defined in P. Murray Dineen, "The Contrapuntal Combination: Schoenberg's Old Hat," in Music Theory and the Exploration of the Past, C. Hatch and D. Bernstein, eds. (New York: Norton, 1993), 435-48.
12 Paul Lansky has noted various characteristics of the combination: 1) Trichords 3 and 4 are transpositions at T [11 ] of trichords 1 and 2, respectively. 2) Trichords 2 and 4 are ';inversions" of trichords 1 and 3. They are not only "inversions" in the pitch-class sense, such that each pitch class in each trichord has one complementary pitch class in tis inversionally related trichord, and all the sums of complementary pitch-class numbers between any two inversionally related trichords are the same, mod 12, but these are also pitch inversions and this creates several important musical relations. First, the succession of intervals formed by registrally adjacent pitches in trichords 1 and 3, reading from bottom to top, [5,6] is reversed in trichords 2 and 4. Second, the pairs of complementary pitches in trichords 1 and 2, for example, (G-sharp, G-flat), (D,C) and (A,F, are "symmetrically arranged" around a "centre of symmetry," d-flat [above middle c].... See Paul Lansky, "Pitch-Class Consciousness," Perspectives of New Music 13, no. 2: 37.
13 See Charles Burkhart, "Schoenberg's Farben," Perspectives of New Music 12, nos. 1-2 (1973-740: 141-72, Allen Forte, The Structure of Atonal Music (New Haven: Yale University, 1973), 166-77, and John Rahn Basic Atonal Theory (New York: Longman, 1980), 5973.
14 Roman numeral integers refer to pitch classes; integers in italics and parentheses to vertical intervals between members of trichords; directed integers in parentheses to intervals of the cyclic patterns in a given voice.
15 These integers represent cycles of pitch classes in their respective voices (see figure 4 above.)
16 These integers in italics represent the vertical interval class content between pitch classes of a trichord.
17 These integers represent cycles of pitch classes in their respective voices (see fig. 4 above). Integers in italics represent the vertical interval class content between pitch classes of a trichord.
18 Only the highest voice of the combination is presented here, accompanied by the interval content of the respective trichord below (integers in italics.) This particular cycle is derived from the first and fourth entries of the opening combination (compare figures 4 and 5.)
19 Only the highest voice of the combination is presented here, accompanied by the interval content of the respective trichord below (integers in italics). This particular cycle is derived from the first and fourth entries of the opening combination (compare figures 4 and 5).
20 A cyclic pattern created from every fourth entry in the highest voice of the combination, extended cyclically.
21 The highest voice of the combination, extended cyclically.
22 A cyclic pattern created from successively every second and fourth entry in the highest voice of the combination, extended cyclically.
23 The highest voice of the combination, extended cyclically.
24 Entry cycles -3 -2.
25 Entry cycle -3.
26 Compare the integers in bold with the stemmed notes in ex. 10b.
27 Arnold Schoenberg, "New Music, Outmoded Music, Style and Idea," in Style and ldea.- Selected Writings of Arnold Schoenberg, L Stein, ed., L. Black, trans. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), 118-19; and Theodor W. Adomo, "Arnold Schoenberg, 1874-1951," in Prisms, Samuel and Shierry Weber, trans. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1983), 147-72.
28 "One thinks only for the sake of one's idea. And thus art can only be created for its own sake. An idea is born; it must be molded, formulated, developed, elaborated, carried through and pursued to its very end. Because there is only' l'art pour I'art', art for the sake of art alone." Schoenberg, "...Style and Idea," 124.
29 Schoenberg, Style and Idea, 121.
30 Adorno, "Arnold Schoenberg 153.
31 Adorno, "Arnold Schoenberg 153.
32 Adorno, "Arnold Schoenberg 155-56.
33 Adorno, "Arnold Schoenberg 156.
34 Adorno, "Arnold Schoenberg 161 ftnt.
as published in Vol. VIII/1, Summer 1996