[Smt-talk] Schenker quotation

Olli Väisälä ovaisala at siba.fi
Thu Aug 25 02:57:12 PDT 2011

Dear List,

I wonder if anyone could help me with the following problem. I am  
writing an article in my native language (Finnish) and would like to  
quote Schenker's statement printed as "E" in Appendix 4 of Free  
Composition. Now I feel it would be a bit clumsy to translate the  
quotation from English (or quote it in English) instead of the German  
original. However, it is not so easy to get the German original,  
since the German edition we have in our library is the 1956 Jonas  
edition, in which, I think, this passage is omitted (though I have  
not been able to check this since the library is closed until Sep. 1).

I don't suppose the original edition of Der Freie Satz is available  
in the Internet, even though there is a Schenker Documents Online  
project? If I am wrong, I would be grateful for information.  
Otherwise, I would be most grateful if someone with the original  
edition available could kindly send the passage to me.


Perhaps someone might be interested in, or amused by, my purpose in  
this quotation. I am writing an article about Sibelius's 5th symphony  
(1st movement), comparing the 1915 first version with the 1919 final  
version. I argue that the latter includes several features not found  
in the former that support the formation of Schenkerian patterns,  
including a strongly articulated 5-Urlinie. In other words,  
Schenkerian theory has great explanatory power for Sibelius's  
revisions, which ties in with my general interest in explicating the  
empiric support for Schenkerian concepts.

When working on this Symphony, Sibelius wrote in his diary, "It is as  
if God the Father had thrown down mosaic pieces from the floor of  
heaven and asked me to figure out how it was." Now, it seems that the  
first version already contained all the necessary mosaic pieces, but  
the larger "floor of heaven" pattern was only discovered during the  
revision of the Symphony and shows a Schenkerian Ursatz! Reflecting  
Zeitgeist, Sibelius's metaphor reverbates amusingly with the Schenker  
passage I am inquiring about, in which Schenker, invoking theological  
perspectives, compares the Ursatz (fundamental structure) to the  
celestial in music.

Olli Väisälä,
Sibelius Academy
ovaisala at siba.fi

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