Joseph Riepel’s Anfangsgründe zur musikalischen Setzkunst [Fundamentals of Musical Composition], published between 1752 and 1768, contains some of the most detailed discussions of the Simpfonie along with a great number of examples and several complete movements. While the opening two chapters contain the most explicit references and examples, the discussion of the Simpfonie continues throughout the remaining eight chapters. Unfortunately, the scholarship on Riepel’s symphonic conception has focused mostly on the first two chapters and has yet to demonstrate a meaningful relationship between small and large-scale compositional processes. For example, Marie Louise Göllner judges Riepel’s ideas in hindsight against traditional sonata-form conceptions and diagnoses a “lack of any formal guidelines, even those concerning tonality.” This paper provides a close reading of Riepel’s discussion of the Simpfonie within all chapters of the Anfangsgründe. It highlights the compositional instructions and demonstrates the wide range of concerns related to the mid-eighteenth century Simpfonie. Drawing on Gjerdingen’s Galant schemata and topic theory while highlighting musical function, this paper provides a hands-on reading of Riepel’s discussion of the Simpfonie from the standpoint of a practice that rests on musical conventions based on the combination and manipulation of pre-existent models and patterns. Throughout the Anfangsgründe, Riepel treats the Simpfonie synonymous with large-scale musical structure, addressing melodic relationships, metric expectations, performance aspects and most importantly phrase relationships. As a result, this paper not only addresses Riepel’s mid-eighteenth century conception of the Simpfonie, but it also provides insight into a moment in the history of music analysis.
12.H.1Séance - Formenlehre, Old and New
Dr. Stefan Eckert received a Diploma from the Staatliche Hochschule für Music in Trossingen (Germany) and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Music Theory from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His research focuses on the History of Music Theory, especially on compositional theory in the 17th–19th-centuries, on Musical Form, and Music Theory Pedagogy. He has published an Edition of Joseph Riepel's Violin Concertos, and articles and reviews in Musiktheorie, Ad Parnassum, Theoria, Music Theory Spectrum, ZGMTH, and MTO. At the moment, he is working on a book entitled “Compositional Theory in an Era of Taste - An interpretative context for Joseph Riepel’s Anfangsgründe zur musicalischen Setzkunst.”
Eastern Illinois University United States of Americaseckert@eiu.edu