Despite the overwhelming primary and secondary literatures on Wagnerian studies, discussions of Wagner’s temporal organizations are decidedly rare. In this paper I aim to remedy this imbalance by combining Schenkerian analysis and time-span networks to reveal recursive temporal structures in Act II of Die Walküre. First, I focus on a particular harmonic device—the enharmonic equivalence of the dominant seventh and German augmented sixth—that occurs three times throughout the Todesverkündigung in Act II, Scene 4. These resolutions create a large-scale motivic parallelism whose time points are then used to create temporal networks that show a nested symmetry of highly organized and nearly isomorphic hierarchies throughout the excerpt. Connections to the drama offer clear explanations for the increasing fuzziness of these isomorphisms. I then connect my temporal networks to Lewin’s own pitch-class GIS of this excerpt, suggesting that the excerpt’s tonal and temporal material are inseparably linked. Following the completion of this Act II, Scene 4 analysis, I then proceed with a similar analysis of all of Act II, Scene 5, wherein the temporal and narrative process just discussed is reversed, ultimately concluding at the precise moment of Siegmund’s death. I connect this work to prior Wagnerian research, with special emphasis on the formal analyses of Lorenz (1924) and the notion of orchestral control of BaileyShea (2007). I conclude by creating time-span networks of several leading recordings of the excerpts to consider how well they match the aforementioned symmetries.
À propos de Sam Bivens
Sam Bivens is a Ph.D. candidate in Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music, where he received his MA in Music Theory Pedagogy in 2013. Sam's dissertation addresses new approaches to form in Wagner's Die Walküre, the only Ring drama without its own dedicated analytic study. In 2016 Sam received the prestigious Presser Graduate Music Award, allowing him to spend three months in Bayreuth studying in the Wagner archives and attending his first live Ring performance at the Bayreuther Festspiele. (He loudly and proudly booed Castorf.) Other research interests include music theory pedagogy and the role of free/open-source software in our field. A dedicated pedagogue, Sam was awarded Eastman's Outstanding Teaching Assistant Prize for the 2011–2012 school year.