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Middleground Motives in the Adagietto of Mahler's Fifth Symphony

Author(s): Allen Forte


Source: 19th-Century Music, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Autumn, 1984), pp. 153-163
Published by: University of California Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/746760
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in the
Motives
Adagietto
Middleground
Of Mahler's Fifth
Symphony
ALLENFORTE

The Significance of the Motive in Mahler'sMusic. The melodic surface of Mahler's music,
with its wealth of detail and florid exploitation
of traditional polarities such as the suspension,
is surely one of its most immediately attractive
features. Embedded in this surface are the
atomic melodic components which we know as
motives, the lucid and memorable musical elements which are combined in the most artistic
and often "simple" ways to form melodies.
Among these motives are some which appearto
have the deepest symbolic significance in the
composer's music-for example, the turn, the
octave leap, and the appoggiatura, symbols
which elicit direct and strong responses from
Musical examples for this article were preparedby Melvin
Wildberger.
19th-CenturyMusic VIII/2(Fall 1984). ? by the Regents of
the University of California.

the sensitive listener even without benefit of


learned theoretical explanations.
Although the present article proceeds from
this traditional idea of motive, it extends that
familiar concept in three directions. First, the
motive is regardedas fundamentally an intervallic structure, hence can occur in simplest
form as a simultaneity. (TheAdagietto contains
striking instances of this phenomenon.) Second, the motive is not restricted to the foreground stratum, but may occur at the middlegroundlevel in expandedform. Finally, as it will
be shown, one can appropriatelyspeakof "motivic counterpoint" in Mahler's music, and that
term offers a significant degree of analytical
advantage.
Because the article incorporates certain
novel features in its approachto the study of the
music, a few words of explanation, including a
disclaimer, are in order. First the disclaimer:
153

19TH

CENTURY
MUSIC

while the graphicform of the examples reflects


an orientation which is Schenkerian in nature-in particular, a belief in the reality of
structural levels and a reverence for the truth
and beauty embodied in the consonant triadthese graphs do not always follow Schenkerian
paradigmsand may occasionally bend textbook
norms.' The basic rationale for these occasional
departuresresides, of course, in the music itself,
a prime exemplar of late nineteenth-century
music and a work which contains many of the
innovative and non-traditional aspects associated with that period of music history.
In addition, it should be said that the single
movement which is the primaryfocus of the article is not an isolated example of middleground
motives (a Schenkerian concept) and related
phenomena-neither isolated with respect to
Mahler's ceuvre nor with respect to late nineteenth-century music in general.2
Finally, although the article does not include
an explicit theoretical apparatus,it does imply
one in the analysis of motivic structures and
substructures and in the analytical determination of motivic identity undersome transformation (such as a transposition) or combination of
transformations.
TheMotive in Late Nineteenth-Century Music:
An Historical-Technical View. The brevity of
the musical motive in the music of the late
nineteenth century is discussed in an interesting essay by Carl Dahlhaus that focuses mainly
'Such, for example, as those presented in Allen Forte and
Steven E. Gilbert, Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis
(New York, 1982).
2See Allen Forte, "Motive and Rhythmic Contour in
Brahms's Alto Rhapsody," Journal of Music Theory 27
(1983),255-71. Also in this connection the readermay wish
to referto CharlesBurkhart'sexcellent article, "Schenker's
'Motivic Parallelisms',"Journalof Music Theory22 (1978),
145-75, which deals with the enlargement of foreground
motives in a wide rangeof tonal works, including compositions by Brahmsand Debussy.
With respect to middlegroundorganizationin general,
the only published Schenkerian analyses of works by
Mahler are in Felix Salzer, StructuralHearing (New York,
1952);in PeterBergquist,"The FirstMovement of Mahler's
Tenth Symphony: An Analysis and an Examinationof the
Sketches," Music Forum 5 (1980), 335-94; and in V. Kofi
Agawu, "The Musical Languageof KindertotenliederNo.
2," Journalof Musicology 2 (1983),81-93. In addition,copious analytical sketches will appearin Stephen Hefling's
Yale dissertation, Mahler's Todtenfeier:A Documentary
and Analytical Study (1985).
154

upon the music of Wagner and Brahms.


Dahlhaus writes persuasively of "the close and
intricate relationship between . . . aesthetic

principles and the technical compositional issues.... These are the pre-eminence of originality, the shrinking of thematic material in inverse proportionto the ambition to createlarger
forms."3However, he apparentlydoes not perceive the extension of the atomic motives to the
level of middleground structure-a Schenkerian concept, as indicated above. If this is a general feature of late nineteenth-century music, as
is believed, then the thematic motive has a
significance far beyond that which accrues to it
merely as a result of its presence in the foreground.
In the same essay, Dahlhaus discusses the existence of "padding"in music of the Classical
period, in particular. Again, this notion, while
commonly held, is at odds with the Schenkerian view that even commonplace musical motions, such as those surroundingthe neighboring tone, acquirea unique structuralmeaning in
each individual art work. Indeed, this is one of
the miracles of tonal music: the enormous diversity of musical structures generated from a
very small stock of basic musical motions
which are determined by the constraints of the
particular harmonic and contrapuntal syntax.
As will be seen, the Adagietto movement of
Mahler's Fifth Symphony is a particularly
poignant and elegant manifestation of this remarkablefeature of tonal music.
1: The Second Song of Kindertotenlieder.As a
way of approachingthe Adagietto and introducing some of the analytical nomenclature and
techniques to be used in the main partof the article, I turn first to the second song of Mahler's
Kindertotenlieder (ex. la). Mahleriansknow, of
course, that the opening subject of this song is
closely related to the opening of the Adagietto.
Indeed,a literal replica of the subject of the Adagietto occurs at the end of the song (m. 67). The
chronological relation between the two, although interesting, cannot be discussed, since
there are no definitive dates of composition.
Both were composed during the period 1901-02,
3CarlDahlhaus, "Issues in Composition," in Between Romanticism and Modernism,trans.MaryWhittall (Berkeley
and Los Angeles, 1980),p. 76.

Ruhig, nicht schleppend.

ALLEN
FORTE
Mahler's
Fifth
Symphony

Voice

CiektuurTickhalleand

PIANO

Nun seh' ich

war - um

wohl.

,3-

S-P

-._

so dunk-le Flam-men

ihr

__

J_

Gleich

Au - gen!

w
,
L,

*t

sam, um

voll

in

ei- nem

II

t
6&6U.LW

LJ

'

'

Example Ib: Motivic Featuresof Nun seh' ich wohl.


155

19TH

CENTURY
MUSIC

but which came first is entirely a matter of speculation at the present time.
Some of the most prominent motivic features of Nun seh' ich wohl are summarized in
ex. lb. Here and in the study of the Adagietto
which follows there are three basic graphic
symbols. Lower case Greek letters designate
motives delimited by brackets,while the prime
appended to a Greek letter indicates that the
motive is modified in some way and does not
replicate the motive without prime. The bar
placed above a Greek letter symbolizes ordinary
contour inversion.
Motive ac (ex. ib) comprises the ascending
line that spans a fourth. By rhythm andphrasing
a articulates two submotives marked P and y,
the ascending minor second and the ascending
major third, respectively. A third component of
ax,the ascending majorsecond designated8, will
prove to be of special importance when it appears in the Adagietto.
Motive a' immediately follows axin the music (m. 3). Now, however, since axhas undergone
compression and traversesa diminished fourth,
it is designated a'. Similarly, y now spans a minor third and is called y'. While y' representsa
rhythmic contraction with respect to y in m. 1,
0 (beginningin m. 3) expandsrhythmically with
respect to its original form in m. 2. Motive 8 disappearsfrom within ac';rather,it is replacedby
another statement of 3, with the result that p is
intensified by repetition, ex. lb.
After the statement of a and ax',which comprises the first two phrases of a traditional bar
form, the voice enters in m. 5 with a on the
same pitch classes as the originalform of a in m.
1. A recurrenceof a motive in this way is called
pitch-class specific with respect to some other
occurrence. If the recurrenceinvolves the same
pitches-that is, if it is not registrallydistinct-it is called pitch specific, with referenceto some
other occurrence of the motive.
As the voice enters in m. 5 with a, the orchestra joins in, doubling caa third lower. While the
intervallic span of both remains that of a fourth,
the lower form of axhas a different internal
structure. (This new form is not given a separate
name, since such a distinction is inconsequential for the purpose at hand. What it provides,
however, is analytical evidence that Mahler regards as equivalent motives that traverse the
same interval, all other factors being equal.)
156

In mm. 10-13 ax'appearstwice in direct succession, the second form a transposition of the
first by a minor third (see ex. ib). Here P is associated with the word "Augen,"which is central
to the meaning of the poem thoughout this
song. In both cases the rhythmic shape of P corresponds to that of its first appearance,in m. 1.
In m. 14 the upper voice begins with P as
though it would present ax';however, it falls
back in m. 15 to form 8, the majorsecond. As the
orchestra plays a'-g' the voice sings gl-al. The
resulting exchange of voices creates a harmonic
or simultaneous form of 8 and 8 (see ex. Ib).
From the analytical standpoint, this opening
music of KindertotenliederNo. 2 illustrates six
fundamental and general aspects of the motive
in Mahler's compositions, as listed below.
I. Rhythmic shape is variable:the same pitch
motive may occur in different rhythms and yet
retain its identity.
ii. The intervallic boundaryof a motive may
be changed, as in the contraction of acto form a'.
iii. The effect of a contraction (or expansion)

is to modify the internal structure, the submotives, of a motive. Forinstance, not one but two
forms of p occur within ax',creating an expressive intensification.
iv. A motive may be transposedwithout losing its association with the originalform.
v. A motive may be inverted without losing
its essential identity.
vi. The interval of a motive-its intervallic
span-may be presented as a simultaneity.
2: Basic Motives in the Foregroundof the Adagietto. Example 2 displays the basic stock of
6

aA

AM

E(Y')

bE

Example 2: Basic Motives in the Foreground of


the Adagietto.

motives of the Adagietto. Motive a is the same


as oain the song discussed above; in the Adagietto, however, a has an inverse image called 1&.
Similarly 3, the ascending minor second, has an
inverse labelled j, as do y and 8. Moreover, y
has a condensed counterpart,y', that spans the
interval of a minor third; and since y' has an inverse, the symbol -' comes into play--the most
complicated of motive names to be used in this
analysis. Finally, there is another motive, E,
which, like y', descends over a minor third. Its
relation to y' will be explained in due course.
The music begins, as shown in the analytical
sketch, ex. 3, with the interval of a minor third,
y' (violas and harp).This proves to be one of the
principal motivic components of the music and
one which, fittingly, predominates in the closing music (ex. 9).
Against the cello-bass motion a-g-f (y) the
first violins introduce what is surely the motivic hallmark of the Adagietto, a. Three submotives are identified on the analytical sketch in
ex. 3: p, the tail of the motive, 8, the head of the
motive, and -5,the inverse of the bass motion. In
the very opening music we thus have an instance of motivic counterpoint as a in violins
unfolds against y in cellos. That these are, in
fact, motives, andnot arbitrarymotions of some
kind will become clear as we proceed.
In the second part of the opening melodic
phrase 0 extends from bb1 to join ~ , a'-g' (ex.
3). That is, the two submotives of a are inverted
and now appearin reverse order.Here the E(ex.
2) designates the combination of p and 8 . Un-

like y this is not an integral minor third, but a


concatenation of minor second and major second, as defined by harmony. Hence, it is both
useful and systematically obligatory to distinguish between the two motives E and y, although Ein some sense also involves the minor
third.
The next motion in the uppervoice presents
the a shape, rising to a climax on c2. As indicated in ex. 3, this form of a incorporates -',
here pitch-class specific with respect to the
opening form of motive y'. And again, we have a
lucid instance of motivic counterpoint, with
the bass presenting y' against the ascending a
motive. This form of y' is also pitch-class specific with respect to the opening form of that
motive (interval).
Attached to the climactic pitch c2 are motives 8 and ~ , pitch-class specific with respect
to the initial form of 8 (m. 2). The entire foreground figure ends with - c2-b' in m. 6, to
which the bass provides the motivic counterpoint Ab-G, also a form of 3.
The remainder of the foregroundcan be read
from the analytical sketch in ex. 3. However, it
may not be inappropriateto draw attention to a
poignant detail, the occurrence of a vertical
form of y' just as the a leads into the new section
in the upbeat to m. 11 at the end of ex. 3. In this
situation the pitch a' conflicts with the dominant harmony, a beautiful and idiomatic instance in which a statement of a motive takes
precedence over other compositional considerations.

4-

4-

6E

aC1?

-3

#7-8

Example
3: Middlegroundof the Opening Music of the Adagietto.
Example

3:

Middleground

of

the

3: Middleground of the Opening Music of the


Adagietto. We come now to consider the first
transference of a motive from the foregroundto
the middleground. This begins with c2, the primary tone signified by the caret surmounting
the numeral 5 above the open notehead in m. 5.

Opening

Music

of

the

Adagietto.

This climactic pitch is the head note of a linear


progression (in Schenkerian language) which
proceeds downwardstepwise to gl in m. 9, as indicated by the stem and beam notation, at the
half cadence on the dominant: an enlargedform
of &.
157

ALLEN
FORTE
Mahler's
Fifth
Symphony

19TH

CENTURY
MUSIC

Within this is a subsidiary stepwise motion


that prolongs bbi from m. 6 through m. 8 by descending from bbi through a' to gX,as shown by
the stems without beams (ex.3). This configuration, too, is motivic; it is a pitch-specific form of
E,as symbolized on the analytical graph.
The musical significance of this event lies
not only in the extraordinaryfact that it replicates in the large a motive of small scale, but
also in the general (Schenkerian)sense that it is
a primary contributor to the moment-to-moment unity and coherence of the music. Each
step in the progressionrepresentsa phase in the
determinate motion toward the final goal, the
cadential gXabove the bass C in m. 9-what Felix Salzer has called "directed motion." Moreover, the head note of the progression is not
placed in some randomposition in the music; it
is precisely the terminal note of the second form
of x in the foreground.
And, of course, the foregroundremains. No
effort has been made to reduce it out of the analytical graphin ex. 3, lest the readerreceive the
impression that it is somehow of no signifi-

cance. On the contrary, each component of the


long line moves to the next by way of decorative
motives drawn from the opening music, beginning with two forms of 8, followed by the p motive combined with P, and finally the pitch-

class specific form of y which prolongs the


penultimate a' that precedes the cadence.
The richness of motivic detail in this opening
music of the Adagietto can only be fully appreciated contextually, with reference to the special motivic structures that characterize the
thematic aspect of the composition. Notice, for
example, that the suspensions in m. 8 highlight
the a motives, reflecting the suspendedpresentation of p in its initial manifestation. In this
connection, I should point out that while the
figured bass symbols which areprovidedon the
analytical sketches are intended primarily to
elucidate the voice leading, they also point to
motives not all of which receive Greek letters,
with or without primes or bars.Thus, the figure
4-3 beginning in m. 9 representsthe inner-voice
motion fl-el, which is -p.

Example 4: Continuation of First Section of the Adagietto.


4: Continuation of First Section of the Adagietto. This subsection (ex. 4) begins as a variant
of its predecessor shown in ex. 3. In m.13 the
leading tone g# 1, introduced as the second note

of ~ , signals the forthcoming harmonic motion


from tonic to mediant (A minor). Against the
next motive in the uppervoice, E, enters in the
bass, pitch-class specific with respect to its initial statement in m. 3. Indeed, as indicated on
the analytical sketch, the form of p that lies an
octave higher at this point (e-f) is the end of a
complete statement of a. Here again we encounter an instance of motivic counterpoint: E
158

in the uppervoice moving against P in the bass.


In m. 15 the upper voice a1 which resolves the
suspended bI is the head note of an elaborate
form of y' in which the second and third notes
appearin the octave below (aX-bb-c1).The elaboration of y (as shown in ex. 4) consists first of
two forms of W filling in the fifth from a1down
to d1.The middle note of y' then enters, having
been preparedwithin the Neapolitan harmony
which precedes it. Finally, the last note of the
motive, c', comes in as the sixth of the cadential

8, to complete this middleground statement of

y'. This is not, however, the end of the musical

motion, for c' is the head note of the inverse of


the preceding motive, that is, y', and in this
transformationthere occurs an expressive chromatic exchange: bb in y' becomes b in y'.
Having arrived on the mediant harmony in
m. 19, the music commences a coda-like motion of which all the melodic components are
motivic, as shown on ex. 4 beginning
- in m. 19.
are most
Of these, p and its inverse image
prominent. However, y' puts in an appearance
in the bass in a form pitch-class specific with respect to the most recent form of y' in the upper
voice.
This delicate coda ends with a restatement of
the minor third of y' just before the reappearance of thematic motive a (m. 23), which leads
into the next section. At this point it becomes
clear that the harmonic middleground-the
progressionfrom I to IIIand back-is motivated

'
_I ,.....1...I.......l..........,....i

[.

7-

by the statement of y in its fundamental intervallic shape, the minor third A-C, here a component of the A-minor triad. The fifth of that
triad, e, belongs, of course, to P and its inverse,
as remarkedabove. Thus, the entire harmony of
A minor is motivic in origin and significance; it
is a harmonic symbol that refers to the very
opening musical gesture of the Adagietto.
Measure 23 also contains a new instance of
motivic counterpoint. a in its originalregisteris
counterpointed by y in the bass (as at the beginning, but y', spanning the interval from c2 to a
(the "A-minor" interval), moves in parallel
tenths with y in the bass, enriching the counterpoint. It is also worth noting that the relation
between y' and p becomes explicit here: the
formerincorporatesthe latter as a submotive, as
indicated in ex. 4.

-3

,-"[4o

/6cuplin
f

_-

10 10

10

10

Example 5: Concluding Partof the First Section.


5: Concluding Part of the First Section. Example 5 shows an analytical graph of the foregroundand middlegroundof the final partin the
first section of the Adagietto (excluding the
coda, mm. 34-38). This is a variation on the first
section, not only at the foregroundlevel, but at
the middleground level as well, as will be explained.
The first foreground motion in the upper
voice peaks on p e2-f2, then E enters in a form
which is pitch-specific with respect to its first
appearance (ex. 3) and prolonged at the foreground level through a Mahlerian turn.
With the completion of this motion on g' in

m. 26 begins the most extraordinarypart of this


concluding section: a large-scale middleground
presentation of a, the components of which are
stemmed and beamed in ex. 5. Subsidiaryto and
interruptive of this ascending linear motion is
the voice projectedupwardfrom the tenor register: dl-d2, el-e2, fl_f2, shown by diagonal lines
on the analytical sketch. Although this motion
might be regardedas an instance of the ascending minor third motive y', the graphshows that
the motion begins on cI in m. 24 and that the total configuration is nothing other than a form of
the primal motive a: cl-dl-(d2)-el-(e2)-fl-(f2).
Thus, in this section two forms of a intersect,
159

ALLEN
FORTE
Mahler's
Fifth
Symphony

19TH

CENTURY
MUSIC

motivic counterpoint involving a single motive-in effect, an exchange.


In this upward motion c#2in m. 29 (equivalent to d62within the Bb-minortriad)providesa
striking element of chromatic tension. Although it proves to be a neighboringtone which
falls back to c2 with the arrival on bass c in m.
30, it has strong ascending passing-tone implications-hence, the "tension." In short, it aspires to become the head note of 3.
Other features of this section can be read
from the analytical sketch. One that needs to be
singled out for special attention, however, is the
large-scalebass motion A-B1-C (mm. 28-30), a
pitch-class specific form of the initial statement
of -"'.

but, in context, the form that begins on g'


should be regarded as the more fundamental,
since it is the point of departurefor the climax
music, to which I will return below. The counterpoint for this form of a, shown underneath
the analytical sketch in ex. 5, is a traditionalseries of imperfect consonances: 6-10-10-10-10.
At the conclusion of the main middleground
statement of a on c2(at the end of m. 28) the music moves toward the climax on a2 in m. 30,
where that note forms the interval of y', pitchclass specific, with the bass. This is a particularly effective culmination, since the melodic
motion from m. 29 arches upward from c2
through f2 again forming y when it reaches a2.
Thus, the outer voices from m. 29 comprise a

?A

()Example

2I

I-r-

6: Final Section of the Middle Partof the Adagietto.

Example 6" Final Section of the Middle Part of the Adagietto.

6: Final Section of the Middle Part of the Adagietto. Since this article did not set out to give a
complete chronological analysis of the Adagietto, but rather to focus on middleground
manifestations of foreground motivic configurations, we do not hesitate to skip now to
the final portion of the middle part, starting at
m. 63 (ex. 6).
Although Mahler's key signature of two
sharps here suggests D major, a statement of
that implicit tonic sonority never occurs. Instead, as shown by the figured bass symbols in
ex. 6, the basic long-rangevoice-leading motion
between m. 63 and m. 68 comprises the provisional resolution of 46 to 37 and the final denouement on tojust before the repriseof the opening
music in F major.
The upper voice of this portion of the music
160

presents two forms of a, both at the middleground level, the longest of which traversesthe
entire section and is indicated by the upper
beam in ex. 6. Within this long a is nested a
pitch-specific replica of itself which begins in
m. 64. This is also identified by a beam in the
analytical sketch.
When the bass changes to FOin m. 67 (violas)
the upper voice momentarily digresses to bring
in C&,
the fourth, which descends from e3to b2via
- and -, with inverse forms of each of those
motives interpolated so that the pattern folds
back upon itself as 9 -P-0 --8, a highly refined
foregroundconfigurationwhich is prefiguredin
the music at m. 57 (ex. 8). The pitch b2 which
concludes the small & here then becomes the
second note in the longer of the two ascending
middlegroundforms of ta.

'
In m. 68, with the progressionof the to 9,the
bass is preparedfor the subsequent descent to F,
traversingthe majorthird and thus forming motive y-.This middlegroundbass motion is pitchclass specific with respect to the original form
of y (an octave lower). Here again the statement
of the motive appearsto be the paramountmusical concern. More specifically, the motivic
counterpoint created by the completion of a
in the upper voice against the descending y in
the bass would render any other resolution inartistic-such as one that would bringin a dominant harmony for the tonic F-majorkey at m.
72.
It is also completion of the middlegroundo
motive in the upper voice which is responsible
gY':

for the d3in the upper voice of m. 72 and which


renders the conflict with the tonic harmony so
absolutely compelling. The postponement from
m. 72 to m. 74 of bass F (bracketedin ex. 6) can
also be explained cogently on a motivic basis.
At this moment in the composition, Mahlernot
only returns to the beginning music but he also
brings back the characteristic harp sonority
from the opening, which has been absent for
some time (since m. 46). Associated with the
harp is its original motive, y', and in order to
highlight its interval, the minor third, the composer omits the bass F, which would cover that
delicate sonority if played by low strings. Here
Mahler has given us a lesson in motivic orchestration as well as motivic counterpoint.

g2

S (m.4)
A

a'

bb'

coupling g2-a'
6

r---16i

-10

9-10

-9/

IV(m,: 1I

bVI

Example 7: The Transition between the Firstand Second Partsof the Adagietto.

7: The Transition between the First and Second


Parts of the Adagietto. Let us now look back
and consider a section of the work which does
not readily yield up its secrets, the music which
connects the first section in F major to the second section, which begins in G1 major(ex. 7).
First, the harmonic progressionis unusual. It
seems at first to be directed toward Bb major/
minor, a motion which, had it been consummated, would have modulated to the subdominant and thus, in Beethoven fashion, elevated
the bb' of the first motive to the status of a
tonic.
The transition begins with a prolonged
(middleground)form of -' which terminates on
el'. However, because of the pitches involved,
c'-d'-eb', the final pitch of y sounds like the
chromatic counterpartof el in the a motive, the

kind of chromatic shading so characteristic of


nineteenth-century music.
Within the middleground y' is y-',as shown.
And following the middlegroundform is a miniature replica of that motive.
Probablythe most striking event in the transition is the sudden appearanceof motive 8 in
the upper voice of m. 43, a form of the motive
which is pitch-class specific with respect to its
first appearancein m. 4. Following this climactic form of & is a descending stepwise chain
made up of the same motivic shape, indicated
by beams in ex. 7. The resulting change of register links g2to a', a coupling, in Schenkerianlanguage, notated by the dotted slur. Thus, at the
middleground level G in the uppervoice is prolonged until it moves to A, and A then progresses to Bb.As shown above the upperstave in
161

ALLEN
FORTE
Mahler's
Fifth
Symphony

19TH

CENTURY
MUSIC

ex. 7, this motion is a form of -' within which P


as a'-bbI effects the final motion to the new
key, Gb. Here p is pitch-specific with respect to
the first P in the opening music: it is the retrogradeof that motive.
8: First Section of the Middle Part. The y which
first appearedin the bass of the opening music,
is predominant here in the foreground,together
with its inverse image, I-, and its minor third
variant, y' (ex. 8). y also penetrates the middleground: bb'-ab _-gg1, the beamed structure that
begins in m. 47 of ex. 8.
However, oaand &play significant roles, with
oagiven more tenuously, beginning on dV2in m.
50. In this passage it is interesting to hear the
way in which ' and -' are incorporatedinto a's
ascending fourth, still another instance of the
elegant ways the basic motives interact to form
new configurations.
In m. 53 the melodic pitch cb3is attained in
the upper voice, introduced via motive y, as indicated. From this point onward the motion is
directed toward the melodic climax of the section, O c64-bb3in m. 57. The climactic - motive, however, occurs within the context of a,
the fourth which ascends from f3 in m. 56, and
attached to the head note of that motive is I-'.
Thus, the climax incorporatesthree of the basic
motivic shapes of the Adagietto, again creating
a new melodic structure in the foreground.
In this section the middlegroundmotion of
largest scale is the registral coupling from c63

motive, db3,should resolve over the dominant


bass or over the tonic G6 triad as a final reference to db2of m. 47, which derives from the primary tone of the movement, c2.Instead,the linear transition to the next section begins, with
the bass moving to the c just before the double
bar,and the db3in question ascends to d#3. Here
the foregroundmotivic structures interlock in a
complicated way. -' just before the change of
key signature picks up the errantdb3.With the
motion to d#3a form of a is completed, creating
the melodic upbeat which introduces the new
section. This d#3 is then the head note of the
new foregroundmotive, y.
The large-scalebass progressionfrom the end
of the G6-majorsection through the "E-major"
and "D-major"sections leading, ultimately, to
the return of the tonic F region and the initial
music in m. 72, is motivic. Specifically, this
presents two successive forms of y, the descending thirds db-B-A andA-G-F. (Thelatter has already been discussed in connection with ex. 6.)

fected by the stepwise ascent, as shown on the


is the
analytical sketch. The reason P6
c,4-b,4
climactic motive has to do with its
placement
within the prevailing tonality of G6 major: in
that key pitch classes C6 and B1 are precisely
the analogues of the original form of- in the
opening subject, Bk-A.
Immediately following the climax on - in
m. 57 the foregroundmelody descends, forming
the motivic succession
-P, the latter as d3p-eV3.The pitch eV3then appears above the domi-

9: The Closing Music of the Adagietto. The


final section of the Adagietto (mm. 93-103) features y-'in its initial portion, pitch-class specific
with respect to its first occurrence.As shown in
ex. 9, this motive, which first appears in the
foregroundof the upper voice, is then projected
upward in a long middleground arc, culminating on a3 in m. 94, which is the final climax in
the movement. Violins carrythat pitch forward
to m. 95, with the characteristic performance
instruction "viel Bogen wechseln." Over the
same span of music (mm. 93-95) the bass ascends from A to c, an expression of '. The accessory example below the main part of ex. 9
provides an analytical sketch which shows the
motivic counterpoint created by the upper
voice and bass: an exchange of y' and -'. Within
this framework the motion to c~2 in the inner
voice suggests, as it did in m. 29 (ex. 5), a continuation to d2,and this indeed does occur, addinga
third component to the motivic counterpoint,

nant to establish a ninth, as figured in the


sketch, and this proves to be the head note of the
beamed middleground form of -, prolonged by
5 and 5', as shown in the detail on the graph.
This is a particularly remarkable occurrence of
- in the middleground, since the tail note of the

namely, 8 and 6 , in which c#2 is a sentient and


axial passing tone. The two 8 motives then form
the main bass configuration prior to the final cadential motion, which expresses y in pitch-class
specific form (mm. 99-103). In fact, the bass
motion from the beginning of the section

(m. 53) to ck4 (m. 57), a coupling which is ef-

162

6(5,

-7S -

L z

J,. ,

coupling:
c63- c64m.57

P13
_r_

I:.a

8va ----

6t-

-eI U

"'y.LAL

ALLEN
FORTE
Mahler's
Fifth
Symphony

-10

-10-

-r
6

TT

--to A m.63 (y)

Example 8: First Section of the Middle Part.

-::

_-

4,

6&

K,

'Example

"

6&6

9 The Closing Music of the Adagietto.

Example 9: The Closing Music of the Adagietto.

strongly hints at the atmotive, constructedfrom


y' (A-Bb-c) concatenated with 8 (c-d).
The music of the Adagietto closes as it began,
with y andy-'in the foreground.As the final me-

lodic gesture in the first violins, 5 appears,an


extraordinaryand perhaps unexpected conclusion to this splendid
composition.
163