Musical Examples

Nathan Pell, Key Profiles in Bruckner’s Symphonic Expositions

Main Examples

Ex. 3: Bruckner VIII: Finale Opening | Ex. 4: Bass-Line Sketches | Ex. 5: Symphony VI: Adagio (Middleground) | Ex. 6: Symphony VI: Adagio (Foreground)


Symphony III: Finale | Symphony IV: Finale | Symphony V: Finale | Symphony VI: Finale | Symphony VII: Finale | Symphony VIII: Finale | Symphony VI: Adagio, Opening (Alternate Reading)

Symphony V: Finale

mm. 47–57 | mm. 67–83 | mm. 91–96 | mm. 97–131

The chord in measure 92 (one measure before Rehearsal D) requires some explanation. It has the appearance of a dominant seventh chord built on Fsharp, but leads to G major in m. 93 as if it were a deceptive cadence in B minor. Indeed, the voice leading is exactly the same as a deceptive cadence to flatVI, except that the chord of resolution functions as a local tonic. The progression takes advantage of the premise that the dominant chord’s “business end” is the leading tone, which can in turn be unfolded or even abstracted from the dominant (see Example 2b, first footnote). Thus I call this chord a “leading-tone dominant seventh.” Bruckner was hardly the first to avail himself of this voice-leading opportunity; as Burstein (1998, 302–3) observes, composers as early as Haydn occasionally used a VIIsharp chord to lead to I, as in the first movement of the Eflat Piano Sonata, Hob. XVI:25, mm. 50–51 (a reference I owe to Cody Franchetti). In Bruckner’s treatment, the leading-tone chord is given a seventh, for which reason I regard it as an altered diminished seventh chord. Such chords become an important fixture of Bruckner’s late harmonic language, although they can be found in early symphonies as well; a very exposed case is the retransition of the Seventh Symphony’s first movement (mm. 277–281). Bruckner’s leading-tone dominant sevenths are not troublesome from a Schenkerian perspective, which ascribes great importance to the leading tone. Indeed, the figure from Der freie Satz cited in Example 2b, third footnote gives a near-exact Schenkerian analogue ([1935] 1979, Fig. 114,2b, sketching the retransition of Haydn, Symphony No. 104 in D, iv)! Kevin Swinden discusses the chord (2004, 206–15), providing several examples from Bruckner (some not entirely convincing).

Measures 89–93: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilhelm Furtwängler, 1942