Friday, June 12, 2015

Reti's The Thematic Process of Music

excerpt from Reti's The Thematic Process in Music
 showing some of the melodic relation in
Beethoven's Sym. no.9
This premise of this 1951 book showed how melody can be a basic building block to a musical work. Reti found a tendency in a wide range of compositions of  composers to develop melodic ideas throughout a piece as a structure building device. Furthermore he found  the order in which they first occurred was preserved, yet could even be expanded to direct the key relationships between movements.

  Here from the beginning of his book is an analysis  of Beethoven Sym. no. 9. This has been edited by myself in order to condense on a single page. Like in a theme and variation, he shows how in this piece the motifs that occur in example 1 occur in sequential order throughout the work.

Is it possible that our ear might impose such unity to a certain extent? I would think so as our perception will alway try to find the pattern of a stimuli. I might be possible to say exchange the middle mvt. between two Haydn Symphonies in the same key might allow enough similarity to cause us to imagine like relationships. Still the approach is worthy from a compositional point of view and feel this book is underrated especially in that light. 

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