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Durham e-Theses
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Between Formenlehre and Cognition: A Puzzle-Based Investigation into the Perceptibility of Classical Syntax

EREL, LAURA (2022) Between Formenlehre and Cognition: A Puzzle-Based Investigation into the Perceptibility of Classical Syntax. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



A hybrid of theory-based analysis and empirical enquiry, this dissertation seeks to investigate the perceptibility of Classical syntax, ultimately striving to bridge the knowledge gaps that have long existed between the fields of analysis and cognitive science. In particular, the study looks to address the following unknowns: 1) recognition of initial tonic; 2) recognition of tight-knit and loose thematic constructions; and 3) understanding of the contextual nature of cadence. The study centres on the reconstruction of Classical piano sonatas that have been segmented into puzzle pieces using form-functional and sonata theories, an approach that enables the application of syntactical and formal perspectives in an empirical setting, thus giving this study its novelty. The following were hypothesised: 1) sequential accuracy, the ability to process Classical syntax and level of formal training are linearly related; 2) functional recognition, however, is found in any individual familiar with Western musical style regardless of educational background; 3) understanding of Classical syntax is largely Mozartean.
The experiments were carried out virtually and were targeted at subjects that were representative of the spectrum of theoretical expertise. Results collected confirm the ability of subjects to organise formal functions, discern initial tonic given a random mix of harmonic shades, recognise the difference between tight-knit and loose themes and their significance, as well as the prevalence of Mozartean idiom in the cognitive faculty and the linear relationship between expertise and accuracy. Inasmuch as these findings strongly suggest that form-functional relationships are audible, the dissertation argues for the incorporation of both analysis and empirical science in music education, a combination that results in a richer understanding and deeper appreciation of musical processes.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Music, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Apr 2022 09:33

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