A Paradigmatic and Gestural Approach to Musical Meaning in Francis Poulenc's Sonata for Oboe and Piano
Groskreutz, Shannon Sue (author)
Jones, Evan Allan (professor directing dissertation)
Ohlsson, Eric Paul, 1952- (university representative)
Kraus, Joseph Charles, 1955- (committee member)
Mathes, James, 1951- (committee member)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
College of Music (degree granting college)
College of Music (degree granting department)
This dissertation explores musical meaning and narrative in Francis Poulenc’s music through an interaction of three main analytic approaches: the paradigmatic method of analysis as previously demonstrated by Jean-Jacques Nattiez and Kofi Agawu, and Robert Hatten’s significant work in both musical meaning and gestural theory. The richly motivic and deeply poignant final substantial work of Francis Poulenc—Sonata for Oboe and Piano (1962)—is my composition of choice in undertaking this substantial analytic feat. Hatten’s gestural theory has a significant impact on the manner in which I segment each movement of the sonata and choose appropriate paradigms for the segmented motivic units. Likewise, Nattiez’s and Agawu’s paradigmatic analyses and charts play a substantial role in how I generate my own paradigmatic charts, yet I make significant adjustments to correct for what I believe to be shortcomings in my predecessors’ charts and to supplement the narrative trajectory that I trace through each movement. Hatten’s work in musical meaning, in particular, profoundly influences my narrative analysis of each movement. The first chapter serves as an introduction to the dissertation, followed by an in-depth review of the literature that aided me throughout this project. Sources reviewed include a variety of topics relevant to my dissertation: the paradigmatic method of analysis, narrative and musical meaning, topical analysis, tonal tensions and musical expression, intertextuality, harmonic theory, gestural theory, and Schoenbergian motivic relations. For each source I review, I consider what aspects propelled me forward in my dissertation. Additionally, when relevant, I discuss why I chose not to adopt the methods of a particular source, or I discuss how I adapted the methods of a source to help better fit my analytic needs. Chapter 2 begins with an explanation of my adaptations to the paradigmatic method of analysis and how it benefits my analytic approach. Introduced at the beginning of the chapter are two charts that are significant to my analytic approach, the paradigmatic chart (adapted to fit my analytic needs) and the Master Diachronic Motivic Event Chart, an in-depth diachronic picture of my process of segmenting the movement into motivic units and placing them into appropriate paradigms. The main body of Chapter 2 begins with an in-depth analysis of the two main oppositional motives of the first movement, followed by a phrase-by-phrase chronological tracing of motivic interactions and transformations that influence both the form and narrative trajectory of the movement. My conclusion that the first movement fails to provide motivic or tonal closure influences the direction in which I take the final chapter of my dissertation. The third and final chapter of my dissertation continues the investigation into the thematization of lack of closure in the remaining two movements of Poulenc’s Oboe Sonata. This lack of closure is approached through an examination of a series of phrase restarts that are brought on by unresolved dominant thirteenth harmonies functioning as undercutting agents in the second movement and a series of wrong dominant arrivals between the melody and underlying harmony in the third movement, with phrases either ending on functionally-mixed iv9 harmonies or transgressive minor thirteenth dominant harmonies in the wrong key. Finally, I discuss the parallel and contrasting features between the inconclusive endings of the first and final movements of the Oboe Sonata from both an analyst’s and a performer’s perspectives. The protagonist (from my narrative analysis) and the oboist both long for a resolution to scale-degree 1 that never arrives. The reader still has the option to follow a detailed chronological analysis of movements 2 and 3 by reading the analytic comments that align with my motivic segmentations within my Master Diachronic Motivic Event Charts for both movements.
Gesture, Meaning, Motive, Oboe, Paradigmatic, Poulenc
April 28, 2016.
A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Evan A. Jones, Professor Directing Dissertation; Eric Ohlsson, University Representative; Joseph Kraus, Committee Member; James Mathes, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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