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Fantasy PiecesMetrical Dissonance in the Music of Robert Schumann$
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Harald Krebs

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195116236

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195116236.001.0001

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Interactions of Metrical Dissonance with Titch Structure; Form, and Extramusical Elements

Interactions of Metrical Dissonance with Titch Structure; Form, and Extramusical Elements

(p.142) SIX Interactions of Metrical Dissonance with Titch Structure; Form, and Extramusical Elements
Fantasy Pieces

Harald Krebs

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates that metrical dissonance frequently interacts with other musical aspects in Schumann's works. One such aspect is musical form. Changes in metrical state often coincide with large- or small-scale formal boundaries. Particular metrical dissonances may recur at successive formal boundaries, thereby functioning as markers of those boundaries. Different formal sections may be dominated by different metrical dissonances; these dissonances thus contribute to sectional contrast, and hence, to the clarification of the form. Interaction of metrical dissonance with pitch structure is common as well. Metrical dissonance may be coordinated with analogous states in the pitch domain (various types of instability — pitch dissonance, sequential structures, lack of closure, or tonal ambiguity, and conflict). Finally, metrical dissonance may interact with extramusical elements, particularly the texts of vocal works. Dissonances may have a pictorial function, mimicking sounds mentioned in the text. They may highlight especially significant points of a text. They may symbolize contradictory aspects of a character or a situation; certain negative emotional or spiritual states (for example, insanity); or various types of conflicts and tensions mentioned in a poem. By reaching an understanding of the meanings of metrical dissonance in Schumann's vocal works, we can, by extrapolation, make some hypotheses about their meanings in the instrumental works as well.

Keywords:   text, instability, conflict, tension, insanity, musical meaning

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