Gene Biringer's Home Page
Lawrence University


Gene Biringer, Registral and Temporal Influences on Segmentation and Form in Schoenberg's Twelve-tone Music (Ph.D. diss., Yale University, 1989).

The dissertation examines the relationship between music theory and analysis as it applies to the study of Schoenberg's twelve-tone music. An extensive critique of recent research in twelve-tone theory and analysis controverts the widely-held assumption that twelve-tone theory provides the analyst with purely-pitch/intervallic criteria for the segmentation of this music. The applicability of pitch-class set theory as an analytic tool for descriptive and interpretive analysis is also explored in detail.

An attempt is then made to develop an analytic theory of Schoenberg's twelve-tone music which excludes such highly abstract criteria for segmentation and concentrates instead on "registral" and "temporal" criteria whose perceptual immediacy is less questionable. The analyses in turn reveal Schoenberg's extensive use of the complementary compositional procedures "intervallic segregation" and "intervallic concentration," through which certain pitch-intervals, interval classes, or sets thereof emerge as structurally significant harmonic formations. Since the same kinds of harmonic formations are shown to occur in compositions based upon different twelve-tone rows, the dissertation provides a broader understanding of harmonic structure in this music than has been achieved by studies which define harmonic structure purely in terms of the twelve-tone row.

Finally, the study reveals that the compositional procedures "intervallic segregation" and "intervallic concentration" correspond to formal properties of certain symmetrical pitch-class set types, which in turn are shown to satisfy both the logical and perceptual requirements of a purely-pitch/intervallic criterion for segmentation.


Theory/Comp Dept | Conservatory | Library | Lawrence University