The Medial Caesura in Schubert's Sonata Forms: Formal and Rhetorical Complications
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractSchubert's treatment of the medial caesura differs on many levels from that of the Classical tradition. He problematizes many of its norms, introducing complications to the course of his sonata movements. Much research has been devoted to Schubert's approach to sonata form, his large-scale formal deformations as well as his innovative harmonic language. However, few of these writings have discussed the importance of the medial caesura to his sonata forms. Through the lens of Sonata Theory, this dissertation examines Schubert's handling of the MC, demonstrating how the complications derived from his unorthodox practice modify the structural and rhetorical layout of his pieces. I investigate Schubert's approach to three stages surrounding the MC articulation, TR and the energy-gaining process, the MC point of articulation, and the S-theme, discussing specific formal and rhetorical complications that arise from each of them. In chapter 1, I reconsider Schubert's MC practice from a dialogical perspective, demonstrating how some non-normative procedures (in Classical terms) became the norm within his own style. In chapter 2, I examine the impact of two common Schubertian procedures on the function, perception, and meaning of the MC: tonally over-determined TRs and the early arrival of the secondary key within TR. Finally, in chapter 3, I demonstrate how Schubert broadened the available cadential arrangements within MC pairs in declined-MC situations, exploring the expressive potential of normative/non-normative dual oppositions. The conclusion shows that 1) Schubert's stylistic preferences radically expand many of the default procedures posited by Sonata Theory, inviting refinements of the theory; and 2) that the Schubertian MC may incorporate two structural roles beyond its most fundamental function as a formal articulator: clarification of the function of a formally ambiguous passage, which is often connected to cases of tonal over-determination or the early arrival of the secondary key; and introduction of tonal and formal complications into the work's trajectory, invoking some kind of "correction" or compensation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College