Dissertation Index

Author: Doerksen, John F.

Title: A Theory of Set-class Salience for Post-tonal Music, with Analyses of Selected Lieder by Anton Webern

Institution: University of Western Ontario

Begun: March 1993

Completed: June 1994


This dissertation treats the question of hierarchical structure in post-tonal music. Its principal invention, the salience theory, offers a systematic means of interpreting the structural weight of a musical event. The salience theory, of which Allen Forte's genera theory and a rather regimented segmentation strategy form two aspects, purports to model post-tonal compositions as series of events. Many events share structural and contextual properties, some of which I identify and specify as event-classes (ECs). Each pc set within a composition, through its association with ECs, achieves a numerical ranking that reflects its relative salience--the more times a pc set instantiates an EC, and the broader the range of ECs it instantiates, the greater its structural role is deemed to be. While the salience theory has generalizability as its ultimate goal, the purview of the present study is limited to selected atonal Lieder of Anton Webern.

Keywords: Webern, post-tonal, salience, matrix, event, segmentation, Forte, genera


Chapter 1. Introduction
Trends in Hierarchical Analysis using Set Theory
The Salience Theory: Introduction and Context
Chapter 2. Exclusivity Index: The Representation of Genus Uniqueness
The Exclusivity Index
A Reinterpretation of Two Analyses by Forte
Chapter 3. The Salience Theory: Its Derivation and Implications
Salience Theory Definitions
Events and Event-classes
The Salience Matrix
Segmentation and the Salience Theory
Chapter 4. Analyses of Selected Webern Lieder
"Dies ist ein Lied" (Op. 3/1)
"Du, der ichs nicht sage" (Op. 8/1)
"Der Tag is vergangen" (Op. 12/1)
"Nachts" (Op. 14/5)
"Dormi Jesu" (Op. 16/2)
Chapter 5. Conclusions
Macro-salience: the Five Lieder Combined
Future Research


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