Dissertation Index

Author: Benoit, John R.

Title: An Alternative Model of Fundamental Structure in Selected Lieder by Franz Schubert

Institution: The University of Texas at Austin

Begun: January 1991

Completed: August 1994


A central tenet of Heinrich Schenker's theory of tonal music is that the Ursatz, in one of its three forms, constitutes the fundamental structure of all well-wrought tonal compositions. Many of Franz Schubert's Lieder, however, challenge this notion. A careful reading of their voice-leading transformations suggests that they are based upon a different contrapuntal paradigm. This paradigm, the composite fundamental structure (CFS), is a three- voice structure which consists of (1) a fundamental descent from scale degree 3 to 1, (2) a fundamental ascent from scale degree 5 to 8, and (3) a bass arpeggiation. In this dissertation, the author describes the structural attributes of the CFS as well as the manifestation of the structure in numerous Schubert songs. In addition, he notes the way in which the opposition of the two upper voices of the CFS often serves to enhance the expressive rendering of poetic ideas drawn from the songs' texts. Two chapters of the dissertation are devoted to much broader theoretical issues surrounding the legitimacy of the criteria which have traditionally limited the Ursatz to the three forms set forth by Schenker in Free Composition.

Keywords: compensation, focal shift, fundamental structure, Schubert, Lieder, Urlinie, Ursatz


1. Schenkerian Theory and the Concept of Fundamental Structure
2. An Alternative Model of Fundamental Structure in "An Sylvia"
3. A Theoretical Model of the Composite Fundamental Structure
4. Manifestations of the Composite Fundamental Structure
5. Compensation Between Primary Voices
6. The Stationary 5-line
7. Focal Shifts and Melodic Function Exchanges


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