Dissertation Diary 2016-01-07

Back to the word mines! Except I finally caught the crud this week, and missed a whole day of work. oh well. I got organized today, and I think I can make my goal of having the prose of my dissertation mostly written before spring break. Today I took notes on Richard Cohn’s Audacious Euphony, which has a nice little analysis of the Chopin prelude I’m including in chapter 4.

He writes: What has caught the interest of literally dozens of publishing analysis, and many more teachers of analysis, are the connections between the opening tonics of each phrase and their structural subdominants. The voice leading of both connection gestures is exclusively semitonal and distributed among the four voices so as to combine into species familiar from the classical harmonic bestiary: dominant sevenths, minor sevenths, half- and fully diminished sevenths, and French sixths. … Framing these chromatic downshifts are progressions featuring whole steps. These “leaps” in chromatic space, mark the moments when tonic first loses and then regains its focus.

My analysis is similar to his, but his “moments when tonic loses and regains its focus” are for me much more of functional harmony reasserting itself and driving to cadences. Also writes that he is: “cultivating ways of documenting and exploring motion among standard dissonant harmonies, when those motions do not harken to the call of the tonal forces to which those harmonies are normally subjected under the terms of classical tonality.”

My chapter 4 analyses hope to make use of some of these ways layered together with standard functional harmony where appropriate.

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