[Smt-talk] Subdominant

Frank Samarotto fsamarot at indiana.edu
Thu May 17 08:39:14 PDT 2012


Thanks for your suggestion. Your reading is certainly possible. I am of the
mind that Schenkerian readings are interpretive in the same manner as
performances. What I most value about the method is its interpretive
flexibility (supported by clear logic).

I support my reading thus:
Energetically: the passage drives past the tonic (which we both agree is
passing) toward the high Eb, which, to my ear, places great emphasis on the
secondary leading tone (Dn) that confirms it. This sort of unbridled
enthusiasm is common in Schumann¹s openings. (Yes, this is a Seinfeld
Logically: Hearing the mid-phrase tonic as passing means that the time span
of mm. 1-5 belongs to the IV Stufe. This opens th possibility of hearing the
sonority containing Dn and F as a representative of that Stufe (through
leading tone inflection and 5-6 exchange).
Narratively (if that¹s a word): After the flatward intensification of the
middle part, the opening returns (m. 15) with a more measured stance‹the
melody curtails its sweep upward, and the IV yields to I6, and we finally
settle on a tonic cadence (albeit imperfect).

(At larger level, this whole section is an auxiliary cadence, a bravura
introduction to the main part of the piece.)

Thank you again for the suggestion. Again I stress how flexible are the
possibilities of the Schenkerian method. (Semper you-know-what.)


Frank Samarotto
Associate Professor of Music Theory
Jacobs School of Music
Indiana University Bloomington

On 5/17/12 8:26 AM, "Eytan Agmon" <agmonz at 012.net.il> wrote:

> This is a very interesting point, Frank, and certainly worth considering.
> I have a problem, though, with the chromatic voice exchange (NOT with the idea
> that IV moves to V via a ³passing² I). Having this voice exchange implies that
> the applied V4/3 of V (m. 5, beat 3) ³exists prior² to the I of mm. 4-5. But
> then, the applied chord seems ³passing² from I to V in exactly the same way
> that the V4/2 of m. 3, beat 3, ³passes² from IV to I6 (in fact, mm. 5-6 are
> essentially a transposition of 3-4).
> Just a thoughtŠ
> Eytan Agmon
> Bar-Ilan University
> From: smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org
> [mailto:smt-talk-bounces at lists.societymusictheory.org] On Behalf Of Frank
> Samarotto
> Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2012 6:16 AM
> To: Nicolas Meeùs; Ninov, Dimitar N
> Cc: smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org
> Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] Subdominant
> Nicolas,
> Thank you for an informative‹and delightfully continental---posting.
> ³Mall² makes me think of ³Promenade², and that makes me think of ³Carnaval²
> (Schumann¹s, that is).
> The opening Préambule steps right into a wonderfully sonorous subdominant, so
> emphatic that I hear resound through the next four bars, prolonging IV
> (through subsidiary functional progressions) up to the chromatic voice
> exchange in m. 5 leading to the dominant. (The first 24 bars are nice little
> essay in different uses of the subdominant, especially if one take the Fb
> chords of the middle as representing subdominant function.) A glorious way to
> step out (to a carnival, not to a mall) and to prolong a subdominant for most
> of a phrase.
> Thus I hear it‹or perhaps it is a crude error in judgment!
> Best,
> Frank
> Frank Samarotto
> Associate Professor of Music Theory
> Jacobs School of Music
> Indiana University Bloomington
> On 5/16/12 11:04 AM, "Nicolas Meeùs" <nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr> wrote:
> I can reassure you: I never called a supermarket "un Mall", and I never met a
> music theorist (nor anybody, for that matter) doing so around here. We use "un
> supermarché" (or at times, especially in Belgium, "un shopping centre", an
> obvious Anglicism). Some say "un shouk", but the meaning is not exactly the
> same ­ note that department stores at times are called "Bazar" or "Bazaar".
> Schenker may have said "ein Kaufhaus", or  "ein Geschäft", or possibly "ayn
> geve'lb", but the meaning is not exactly the same either.
>  Note that the word "Mall" is English in origin and has been used as early as
> 1644, in John Evelyn's diary, in the meaning of "a public walk", from the name
> of the game, "pall-mall", Fr. "paillemaille", from It. "pallamaglio". I think
> to know that Canadian French still has "un mail" to describe a large avenue
> with trees. The usage of "Mall" to denote a commercial gallery does not seem
> to predate the second half of the 20th century (perhaps beginning with the
> Bergen Mall, New Jersey, in 1957). As they say, "when you've seen a shop,
> you've seen a mall".
>  In any case, I don't feel that the purity of the concept is threatened in
> Europe: be reassured.
>  Nicolas Meeùs
>  Université Paris-Sorbonne

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