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Mosaic Polyphony: Formal Balance, Imbalance, and Phrase Formation in the Prelude of Schoenberg's Suite, Op. 25

Richard B. Kurth
Music Theory Spectrum
Vol. 14, No. 2 (Autumn, 1992), pp. 188-208
Published by: on behalf of the Society for Music Theory
DOI: 10.2307/746107
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/746107
Page Count: 21
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Mosaic Polyphony: Formal Balance, Imbalance, and Phrase Formation in the Prelude of Schoenberg's Suite, Op. 25
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Abstract

Order-number mosaics and their associated pitch-class mosaics are applied to twelve-tone rows in Schoenberg's music, and the notion of mosaic polyphony is developed to study the rhythmic structures thus highlighted in a musical excerpt. The mosaic polyphony is then used as a basis for observations about the music's formal construction. Several analyses, all drawn from the Prelude from the Suite for Piano, Op. 25, show how rhythmic, metrical, and registral features, sometimes involving powerful symmetries, affect phrase formation and cohesion, and give the music its special dynamic balance and characteristic fluidity.

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