Dissertation Index

Author: Waters, Keith, J.

Title: Rhythmic and Contrapuntal Structures in the Music of Arthur Honegger

Institution: Eastman School of Music

Begun: July 1994

Completed: January 1997


The dissertation examines fundamental principles of musical organization in the music of Arthur Honegger. These principles are based upon systematic rhythmic and contrapuntal strategies, illuminated through a study of Honegger's compositions and compositional sketches. While techniques of pitch organization are diverse in the compositions of Honegger, the strategies of rhythm and counterpoint provide an underlying source of compositional unity.

The initial chapter provides a biographical summary, reviews the analytically-based secondary literature, and examines Honegger's prose writings. Chapter 2 discusses rhythmic organization, and refines current thories of rhythmic consonance and dissonance to highlight methods of rhythmic conflict. Contrapuntal strategies are expressed through techniques of inversional symmetry, considered here through contour symmetry, generic interval symmetry, and specific interval symmetry: this provides the focus of Chapter 3.

Chapters 4 and 5 provide extended analyses of two orchestral works. Mouvement symphonique #2 (Rugby) establishes a series of correspondences based upon pitch material, rhythmic groupings, and rhythmic conflicts. The analysis of the first two movements of Symphonie pour cordes is supplemented by the composer's sketches which illuminate intervallic and contrapuntal processes. The final chapter suggests avenues for future inquiry in pitch organization of Honegger, in coordination with current analytical approaches for the tonally-centric music of Stravinsky, Bartok, and Hindemith.

Keywords: Arthur Honegger, rhythmic (or metrical) consonance and dissonance, inversional symmetry, interval cycle, pitch centricity, Mouvement symphonique, Symphonie pour cordes, counterpoint


1. Background; 2. Rhythmic Structures; 3. Contrapuntal Structures and Symmetries; 4. Mouvement symphonique (Rugby); 5. Symphonie pour cordes


Keith Waters
1826 19th St., #213
Boulder CO 80302

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