Dissertation Index

Author: Harper, Steven A.

Title: Minimal Interval Content Descriptions

Institution: University of Texas at Austin

Begun: June 1992

Completed: May 1994


Minimal interval content descriptions are collections of n-1 interval classes used to describe pitch-class sets. A collection of intervals is an MIC if two conditions are met: 1) each set element is included in at least one interval; and 2) each interval shares a set element with at least one other interval. Several theorists, including Richard Chrisman, Alan Chapman, Christopher Hasty, and Allen Forte have employed collections of intervals less than the total interval content of a set to describe it. In each case, however, there is a limitation on the manner in which the description is generated. Thus, they do not exhaust the possibilities under the above conditions.

Chapter Two reviews the historical record for evidence of MICs. Schoenberg's analytic writings are considered, with special emphasis on the analysis of the first of the Four Orchestral Songs, Op. 22.

The third chapter compares the results of MIC theory and more traditional techniques using music by Webern. MIC analyses are contrasted with a motivic analysis of Op. 3, No. 1 by Elmar Budde and a set analysis of Op. 5, No. 2 by John Vander Weg. The fourth chapter consists of an extensive analysis of the Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 7.

Keywords: atonal, 20th Century, Webern, Schoenberg, Austria, set theory


Chapter One: Minimal Interval Content Descriptions: Fundamentals
Chapter Two: Minimal Interval Content Descriptions: Historical Background
Chapter Three: Comparative Analyses: Webern's Op. 3, No. 1 and Op. 5, No. 2
Chapter Four: Webern's Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Opus 7


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