SOUND PATTERNS

A Structural Examination of Tonality, Vocabulary, Texture,
Sonorities, and Time Organization in Western Art Music

by PHILLIP MAGNUSON

THREE ANALYSIS PROJECTS

Chapter 40. Richard Strauss: Morgen, op. 27, no. 4

Chapter 38. W. A. Mozart: Minuet in D Major
Chapter 39. Frederic Chopin: Prelude in E Major
.

PRELIMINARIES

Richard Strauss (1864-1949) wrote Morgen, op. 27, no. 4, in the mid 1890's, at the end of the Common Practice Period. You can read background information about this piece at Morgen.

You need to prepare by doing three analyses of this piece:

  1. Phrase design
  2. Roman numerals
  3. Schenkerian graph

This piece is difficult to analyze since it was written so near the end of the Common Practice Period. It has some chords that can be easily labelled as Roman numerals but are seemingly impossible to explain. When you encounter them, find other ways to justify them.

The score is located in Music for Analysis [#357]. Listen to a performance on YouTube.

Translation of the text:

Tomorrow!
And tomorrow the sun will shine again,
And on the path where I am going,
We, the happy ones, will again be one
In the midst of the sun-drenched earth.
And toward that far and hazy horizon,
We will quietly and slowly wander.
Mute, we will gaze into each other's eyes,
While on us falls the blissful silence.

40.1 SOME GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE MUSIC:

40.2 FIRST PHRASE [a]

  1. Phrase design:
    • Standard 8-measure phrase
    • Phrase consists of two 4-measure sub-phrases
    • Half cadence

  2. Roman numerals:

  3. Schenkerian graph:

40.3 SECOND PHRASE [b]

  1. Phrase design:
    • Standard 8-measure phrase
    • Phrase consists of two 4-measure sub-phrases
    • Perfect authentic cadence that overlaps into the next phrase
    • Soprano enters two measures early, not waiting for the next period to begin
    • Combines with previous phrase to make a period [A]

  2. Roman numerals:

    "And tomorrow the sun will shine again,"

  3. Schenkerian graph:

40.4 THIRD PHRASE [a']

  1. Phrase design:
    • Standard 8-measure phrase, piano is identical to first phrase
    • Phrase consists of two 4-measure sub-phrases
    • Half cadence

  2. Roman numerals:

    "And on the path where I am going,
    We, the happy ones, will again be one
    In the midst of the sun-drenched earth."

  3. Schenkerian graph:

40.5 FOURTH PHRASE [b']

  1. Phrase design:
    • Standard 8-measure phrase. piano is identical to second phrase except for cadence
    • Soprano is completely different from second phrase
    • Phrase consists of two 4-measure sub-phrases
    • Perfect authentic cadence that overlaps into the next phrase (tonic, however, is greatly altered)
    • Combines with previous phrase to make a period [A']

  2. Roman numerals:

    "And toward that far and hazy horizon,
    We will quietly and slowly wander."

  3. Schenkerian graph:

40.6 FIFTH PHRASE [c]

  1. Phrase design:
    • Standard 8-measure phrase
    • Contrasting material to previous phrases
    • Half cadence

  2. Roman numerals:

    "Mute, we will gaze into each other's eyes,
    While on us falls the blissful silence."

  3. Schenkerian graph:

    This is an extraordinary phrase. The Roman numeral analysis is relatively easy to do, but is completely meaningless since none of the secondary dominances resolve in any manner to their intended goals. In this case, the only way to understand the passage is through the Schenkerian graph. There are two primary events going on to propel the passage forward and to hold it all together:

    1. The soprano and bass are moving in contrary motion to ^5 (notice they exchange the penultimate goals but still arrive at Sol).
    2. There are two pitches in the inner voices that are in common to two adjacent chords, and another two pitches that are in common to three adjacent chords, providing unity.

    As strange as this excerpt may seem in Common Practice Period terms, the ultimate effect is logical in other terms. And it is the perfect setting of the exquisite text.

40.7 CODA

  1. Phrase design:
    • Not really a phrase, consists of five measures of tonic areas
    • Uses material from first phrase
    • Serves as extended tonic, resolving the previous half cadence
    • Last measure appears to be tonic in second inversion, but the root position was established in the first three measures; this is the "blissful silence" of the text.
    • Combines with previous phrase to make a period [B]

  2. Roman numerals:

  3. Schenkerian graph:

Clearly, this piece of music has taken us to the historical end of the Common Practice Period, and the next chapters will move on to the twentieth century.


Links to chapters in this unit:
Chapter 38. W. A. Mozart: Minuet in D Major
Chapter 39. Frederic Chopin: Prelude in E Major

Link to previous unit: CHROMATIC PROCEDURES III: Advanced Vocabulary

Link to next unit: MICROCOSMS: Musical Styles of the Twentieth Century


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