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Liszt's "Bagatelle Without Tonality:" Analytical Perspectives

Garcia, Federico (2006) Liszt's "Bagatelle Without Tonality:" Analytical Perspectives. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The present text is an analysis of Franz Liszt's Bagatelle without tonality, the first self-proclaimedatonal piece ever written. The main analytical techniques used as a startingpoint are derived from 'paradigmatic' and 'reductive' analysis, both applied freely accordingto the features of the piece. A review of Robert Morgan's analysis of the piece inhis 1976 article 'Dissonant Prolongation' prompts an alternative reduction. The role andlimitations of this analytical technique, the potential for creating misleading analogieswith tonal music, and its general adequateness for the piece are discussed.Also visited is the technique of tonal composition that eighteenth- and nineteenthcenturies theorists coined as Mehrdeutigkeit-'multiple meaning'-because of David C.Berry's thesis that the Bagatelle is a continuous outgrowth of it. With an independentreview of this technique, and of the theory around it, Berry's thesis is refuted as a possible technical account of the piece.Finally, by a reflection on the possible compositional process in the creation of theBagatelle, I maintain the thesis that Liszt had no precompositional design of any kind:on the one hand, abandoning tonality in this piece meant abandoning the relationshipbetween tonic and dominant altogether, not replacing them with something else; on theother, there is no sign of a general preconceived planning on the part of Liszt in the image of what twentieth-century atonality would experiment with, or of what many of therelationships revealed by analysis could suggest.Fulfilling the composition requirements of the Ph.D. degree in Composition and Theory,my Concerto for Violin and Orchestra follows the essay from page 60 on.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMoe, Ericemoe@pitt.eduEMOE
Committee MemberWilliams, Amyamywill@pitt.eduAMYWILL
Committee MemberLooney, Dennislooney@pitt.eduLOONEY
Committee MemberLewis, Marylsm@pitt.eduLSM
Committee MemberRosenblum, Mathewrosenblu@pitt.eduROSENBLU
Date: 28 September 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 5 December 2005
Approval Date: 28 September 2006
Submission Date: 2 August 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: atonality; Liszt; Mehrdeutigkeit; multiple meaning; paradigmatic analysis; Schenkerian reduction
Other ID:, etd-08022006-114731
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:56
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:47


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