The chapter considers how seventh chords, half-diminished chords, and diminished chords might fit into the book’s root–theoretical model of tonal function, grounded in the Romantic tradition of Schubert, Beethoven, and Chopin. The chapter works toward a full functional analysis of the Vorspiel and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde. The phantasy involved in Isolde’s transfiguration is explored from a Lacanian perspective, leading to reflections on how phantasy works to support tonal function. An addition to the canon of analyses of Hugo Wolf’s “An den Schlaf” covers the theme of death, sleep, and the land of limbo in between, offering a corollary to Isolde’s desire for death. These themes weave their way into the outlined theory of harmonic function and offer a precursor to the psychodynamics to come.
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