Pre-organised session - Ways of Organizing the Inventory: In Search of a Systematic Ordering of Voice-leading Schemata
Chair: Markus Neuwirth & Thomas Noll
In the past decade, numerous publications on voice-leading schemata have advanced our understanding of music between ca. 1500-1900. From a music-analytical perspective, it is the great flexibility of voice-leading schemata that make their application in practice both appealing and troublesome. It is appealing because it allows analysts to compare a wide range of seemingly diverse objects by subsuming them under the same schema category. On the other hand, the extraordinary variability regarding the realization of a given schema poses the question precisely how a musical passage can be recognized as an instance of a given category.
Our session therefore aims to bring various strands of research on voice-leading schemata in a productive dialogue. In so doing, we seek to contribute to a conceptual improvement of schema theory, addressing problems such as the lack of a coherent system underlying the multiplicity of schemata, the occasional overlap between distinct prototypes, and the issues of style-dependent schema elaboration and concatenation.
Since the schema lexicon in its current form is far from all-encompassing, new schemata will be introduced and their relation to existing schemata will be clarified. The broad historical scope of a voice-leading approach is revealed by considering a repertoire stretching from Froberger all the way to Jazz, with special attention paid to 18th-century music. By bringing research on voice-leading schemata in dialogue with powerful theoretical perspectives such as Schenkerian theory, the new Formenlehre, structural modes, and 18th-century counterpoint, this session aims to propose novel approaches to musical structure-building.