Form, harmony, and tonality in S. Rakhmaninov's three symphonies.
AuthorCollins, Dana Livingston.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSergey Rakhmaninov wrote three symphonies in different periods of his life. The First Symphony in D Minor, opus 13 (1895) reflects his style as an apprentice and beginning composer; the Second Symphony in E Minor, opus 21 (1907), his mature style of the early 1900's; and the Third Symphony in A Minor, opus 44 (1936), his style at the end of his life in the United States. Each symphony is representative of his musical style at its time of composition. In addition, the evolution of his musical language can be traced through a study of various components of these three works. Structural, harmonic, and tonal aspects of each of the three symphonies are the musical components examined in this dissertation. The formal and tonal structures are examined and concisely presented in a series of charts for the individual movements of each symphony. The examination of the formal structure of the symphonies shows Rakhmaninov's gradual expansion and alteration of the symphonic plan, as well as the formal construction of the individual movements. The First Symphony stays within the boundaries of the student composer, while the Second Symphony expands every aspect of the symphonic blueprint. The Third Symphony is the antithesis of the Second Symphony and turns away from the excesses of that Symphony. Some of the changes in the composer's style can be seen in the tonal relationships and plans of each work. The tonalities of the symphonies and the individual movements are related to and helps determine the formal structure of the movements. For these reasons the important tonalities of each movement are presented on the formal charts. Rakhmaninov's harmonic language, in his early years, was considered daring and progressive, but, at the end of his life, anachronistic and conservative. The harmonic analysis traces and helps evaluate his progression from a daring to an anachronistic composer. The harmonic analysis will include a tabulation of sonority and modulation types, according to type and frequency of use, as well as investigation into some of the representative harmonic progressions of each symphony.