The Simplicity of Fauré's Harmonic Complexities
Abstract: Gabriel Fauré, recognized primarily for his musical contributions to late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century French art song, composed a small but interesting body of string quartets and quintets in addition to works for piano and voice. These compositions include modal elements, harkening back to pretonal music, while nevertheless still employing a fully contemporary harmonic langua... read morege. Fauré's quartets and quintets have been infrequently examined by music theory scholars, perhaps because their complex yet simple forms, rhythms, melodies, and harmonies do not fit easily within any given analytical paradigm. Fauré's distinctive musical language can be explained in part through the many compositional techniques which he learned during his tenure at the l'Ecole de Musique Classique et Religiuese. This thesis intends to explore the knowledge Fauré learned from Louis Niedermeyer and Gustave Lefèvre. It will explore Fauré's melodies and harmonies through an understanding of modality and tonality informed by the treatises written by Niedermeyer and Lefèvre. Using various music-theoretical lens to highlight the intricacies of Fauré's melodic and harmonic complexities, this thesis offers a case-study analysis of the first movement of the Piano Quintet No.2, Op. 115 on both macro and micro-scale levels. By selecting a work that has been under-analyzed by music theory scholars, my thesis intends to demonstrate the applicability of three methodologies usually kept separate: modal analysis, neo-Riemannian analysis along with cross-type transformation theory, and Schenkerian Analysis. In addition to the teachings of Niedermeyer and Lefèvre, this draws upon recent music-theoretical scholarship written by James Sobaskie, Robert Cook, Taylor Greer, as well as Julian Hook.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2017.
Submitted to the Dept. of Music.
Advisor: Frank Lehman.
Committee: Joseph Auner, and Deborah Stein.
Keyword: Music.read less