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Cadence and Formal Function in Mendelssohn's Sonata Forms

KAVANAGH-CLARKE, MADDIE (2019) Cadence and Formal Function in Mendelssohn's Sonata Forms. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Mendelssohn’s sonata-form practices owe much to classical syntactic paradigms, but his music testifies to the growing trend in the nineteenth century for novel methods of syntactic organisation. He engages methods of syntactic proliferation, functional expansion and extension, truncation, compression, and deletion, which engenders a phrase-structural complexity and a multi-layered thematic syntax. In so doing, Mendelssohn makes cadences and structural support subservient to a continuous, proliferative agenda, and capitalises on the capacity for cadential deferral, and delayed consolidation of the tonic. Despite marshalling seemingly coherent, conventional intrathematic units, Mendelssohn’s radical treatment therein undermines clear interthematic groupings, engaging a continuous reorientation of functionality. As a point of departure from classical precedents, reconsideration of the interdependence between cadence and closure is evidently necessary. This study contributes to recent scholarly momentum in nineteenth-century music and in Mendelssohn studies by addressing formal articulation in the context of Mendelssohn’s novel approach to syntax, in order to illuminate his continued process of downplaying, deferring, and deleting cadences, and the issues of long-range teleology, functional instability, and interthematic indeterminateness that result from these processes.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Aug 2020 12:00

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