Dissertation Index

Author: Tucker, Gary R.

Title: Tonality and Atonality in Alban Berg's Four Songs, Op. 2

Institution: University of Western Ontario

Begun: August 1993

Completed: August 1995


In Berg's own estimation, his Four Songs, Op. 2 (1908-1910), lie right at the border between tonality and atonality. More recent assessments agree: the first three of the songs are usually considered to be still (barely) tonal, while the fourth is held to be Berg's first "atonal" composition. In the present thesis, these songs serve as a basis for probing just what the categories "tonal" and "atonal" might mean. With a detailed analysis of pitch organization in each of the songs, the author also considers analytic approaches to this "transitional" repertoire. The analysis incorporates elements of Schoenberg's harmonic theory, Schenkerian theory, and pitch-class set analysis.

Keywords: tonality, atonality, Berg, songs


Gary Tucker
Dept. of Music
Mount Allison University
Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada E0A 3C0

e-mail: gtucker@mta.ca
Voice: (506) 364-2387
Fax: (506) 364-2376

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