Composing the Modern Subject: Four String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich

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    ABSTRACT: Insertions between the structural dominant and tonic of underlying perfect cadences delay and intensify progressions of harmony, voice leading and hypermetre. More disruptive than other evaded cadences, these cadential interventions ultimately still serve to unify the music through motivic development. Brief analysis of excerpts from the works of J.S. Bach and Haydn demonstrates the traditional use of cadential intervention and prepares for the analysis of an idiomatic approach by Shostakovich. His Prelude in C♯ minor, Op. 34 No. 10, and Second Piano Trio, Op. 67, contain extraordinary cadential interventions that seem to break continuity, on the one hand, yet serve vital unifying roles in the larger context of each piece, on the other. Since both structural and hermeneutical meaning in the Trio hinges on interpretation of its tonal closure, the cadential intervention at its conclusion receives special attention. Modified Schenkerian analysis invites an alternative approach, showing how an underlying complete tonal structure may substantiate a complete narrative.
    Music Analysis 07/2013; 32(2). DOI:10.1111/musa.12012