Helsingin yliopisto

 

Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Principles of Pitch Organization in Béla Bartók's 'Duke Bluebeard's Castle'

Rita Honti

Doctoral dissertation, September 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Institute for Art Research, Musicology.

The topic of my doctoral thesis is to demonstrate the usefulness of incorporating tonal and modal elements into a pitch-web square analysis of Béla Bartók's (1881-1945) opera, 'A kékszakállú herceg vára' ('Duke Bluebeard's Castle'). My specific goal is to demonstrate that different musical materials, which exist as foreground melodies or long-term key progressions, are unified by the unordered pitch set {0,1,4}, which becomes prominent in different sections of Bartók's opera. In Bluebeard's Castle, the set {0,1,4} is also found as a subset of several tetrachords: {0,1,4,7}, {0,1,4,8}, and {0,3,4,7}. My claim is that {0,1,4} serves to link music materials between themes, between sections, and also between scenes.

This study develops an analytical method, drawn from various theoretical perspectives, for conceiving superposed diatonic spaces within a hybrid pitch-space comprised of diatonic and chromatic features. The integrity of diatonic melodic lines is retained, which allows for a non-reductive understanding of diatonic superposition, without appealing to pitch centers or specifying complete diatonic collections. Through combining various theoretical insights of the Hungarian scholar Ernő Lendvai, and the American theorists Elliott Antokoletz, Paul Wilson and Allen Forte, as well as the composer himself, this study gives a detailed analysis of the opera's pitch material in a way that combines, complements, and expands upon the studies of those scholars. The analyzed pitch sets are represented on Aarre Joutsenvirta's note-web square, which adds a new aspect to the field of Bartók analysis.

Keywords: Bartók, Duke Bluebeard's Castle (Op. 11), Ernő Lendvai, axis system, Elliott Antokoletz, intervallic cycles, intervallic cells, Allen Forte, set theory, interval classes, interval vectors, Aarre Joutsenvirta, pitch-web square, pitch-web analysis.

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Last updated 05.09.2006

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