Form, Monothematicism, Variation and Symmetry in Béla Bartók’s String Quartets

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Title: Form, Monothematicism, Variation and Symmetry in Béla Bartók’s String Quartets
Author: Jyrkiäinen, Reijo
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, musiikkitiede
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2012-05-30
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: This analysis of form and structure focuses, in chronological order, on the six String Quartets of Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945). The printed scores were used as source material. The research problem is presented in four hypotheses: The Quartets contain many different types of form. They also comprise several kinds of monothematicism, variation techniques, and symmetries. Along with traditional music theory and tonal functions, other structural and hierarchical forms emerge as well. The form of the movements and the general form of the Quartets are defined with the help of a motif-, theme-, and harmony analysis. Compared to earlier works treating the same topic, this study presents a more meticulous approach to treating the subject and also applies the Schenkerian analysis and pitch-class set theory to all the Quartets. Following the introduction (1), the ensuing themes are examined: how the genre of the string quartet took shape in Europe leading into the 1940s (2), Bartók s sources of inspiration, starting from folk music and Beethoven to his contemporaries (3), analysis of the Quartets, movement by movement (4 9), the conclusions (10). Included in the study are Bartók s own analyses of the Fourth and Fifth Quartets. Many viewpoints and study results of earlier researchers are incorporated as well. Among the most renowned are the Hungarians János Kárpáti, Ernö Lendvai, and László Somfai; the German Roswitha Traimer; and the Americans Elliott Antokoletz, Allen Forte, and Paul Wilson. Music notation examples are placed within the text. The appendix contains literature and other source materials, a glossary of terms, a list of pitch-class sets, as well as a catalogue of Bartók s works. Keywords: Bartók, string quartets, Schenkerian analysis, pitch-class set system.
Subject: musiikkitiede
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.

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