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Society for Music Theory Sets, Scales, and Symmetries: The Pitch-Structural Basis of George Crumb's

Society for Music Theory

Sets, Scales, and Symmetries: The Pitch-Structural Basis of George Crumb's "Makrokosmos" I and II Author(s): Richard Bass Reviewed work(s):

Source: Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 1-20 Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the Society for Music Theory

Accessed: 09/06/2012 10:22

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Sets,

Sets,

Sets,

Sets,

Sets,

Sets,

Sets,

Basis

Basis

Basis

Basis

Basis

Basis

Basis

Scales,

Scales,

Scales,

Scales,

Scales,

Scales,

Scales,

of

of of of of of of

George

George

George

George

George

George

George

and

and

and

and

and

and

and

Symmetries: The

Symmetries:

Symmetries:

Symmetries:

Symmetries:

Symmetries:

Symmetries:

The

The

The

The

The

The

Pitch-Structural

Pitch-Structural

Pitch-Structural

Pitch-Structural

Pitch-Structural

Pitch-Structural

Pitch-Structural

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Makrokosmos

Makrokosmos I and

Makrokosmos

Makrokosmos

Makrokosmos

Makrokosmos

Makrokosmos

I I I I I I

and

and

and

and

and

and

II

II II II II II II

RichardBass

RichardBass

RichardBass

RichardBass

RichardBass

RichardBass

RichardBass

George

George

George

George

George

George

George

Crumb's

Crumb's Makrokosmos,

Makrokosmos,

Makrokosmos,

Makrokosmos,

Makrokosmos,

Makrokosmos,

Makrokosmos,

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Volumes

Volumes

Volumes

Volumes

Volumes

Volumes

Volumes

I I I I I I

and

I and

and

and

and

and

and

II,

II,

II,

II,

II,

II,

II,

are

are

are

are

are

are

are

widely

widely

widely

widely

widely

widely

widely

regarded

regarded

regarded

regarded

regarded

regarded

regarded

as

as major

major

major

major

major

major

major

as

as

as

as

as

contributions

contributions

contributions

contributions

contributions

contributions

contributions

the

to the

to

to

to

to

to

to

the

the

the

the

the

twentieth-

twentieth-

twentieth-

twentieth-

twentieth-

twentieth-

twentieth-

century

century

century

century

century

century

century

piano

piano

piano

piano

piano

piano

piano

literature

literature

literature

literature

literature

literature

literature

and

together

and together

and

and

and

and

and

together

together

together

together

together

constitute

constitute

constitute

constitute

constitute

constitute

constitute

a

tour

a tour

a

a

a

a

a

tour

tour

tour

tour

tour

de

de

de

de

de

de

de

force

force of timbral exploitation

force

force

force

force

force

exploitation

exploitation

exploitation

exploitation

exploitation

exploitation

of timbral

of timbral

of timbral

of timbral

of timbral

of timbral

of the instrument.

of the instrument.

of the instrument.

of the instrument.

of the instrument.

of the instrument.

of the instrument.

Previous an-

Previous an-

Previous an-

Previous an-

Previous an-

Previous an-

Previous an-

alytical studies concerned with pitch structure in these pieces

of various

seemingly

of various seemingly

of various

of various

of various

of various

of various

consist

consist

consist

consist

consist

consist

pieces

alytical

alytical

alytical

alytical

alytical

alytical

pieces

pieces

pieces

pieces

pieces

consist principally of the identification

seemingly

disparate compositional

aspects

been

been

been

been

been

been

insight

little

little

little

insight

might

might

might

might

might

might

might

insight

insight

insight

insight

insight

little

little

little

materials and devices and offer little

disparate compositional

disparate compositional

disparate compositional

disparate compositional

disparate compositional

disparate compositional

studies concerned

studies concerned

studies concerned

studies concerned

studies concerned

studies concerned

with

with

with

with

with

with

pitch

pitch

pitch

pitch

pitch

pitch

structure

structure

structure

structure

structure

structure

in these

in these

in these

in these

in these

in these

principally

principally

principally

principally

principally

principally

of the

of the

of the

of the

of the

of the

identification

identification

identification

identification

identification

identification

seemingly

seemingly

seemingly

seemingly

materials and devices and offer

materials and devices and offer

materials and devices and offer

materials and devices and offer

materials and devices and offer

materials and devices and offer

into

into

into

into

into

into

into

any

any

any

any

any

any

any

larger

larger

larger

larger

larger

larger

larger

aspects

aspects

aspects

aspects

aspects

aspects

of

of

of

of

of

of

of

structure

structure

structure

structure

structure

structure

structure

that

that

that

that

that

that

that

strengthen

strengthen

strengthen

strengthen

strengthen

strengthen

strengthen

the music.'

and energize the music.'

the music.'

the music.'

the music.'

the music.'

the music.'

and

and

and

and

and

and

energize

energize

energize

energize

energize

energize

Much of what has been

Much of what

Much of what

Much of what

Much of what

Much of what

Much of what

has

has

has

has

has

has

An

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Eleventh Annual

at the Eleventh Annual

An

An

An

An

An

at the Eleventh Annual

at the Eleventh Annual

at the Eleventh Annual

at the Eleventh Annual

at the Eleventh Annual

earlier version of this

earlier version of this

earlier version of this

earlier version of this

earlier version of this

earlier version of this

paper

paper

paper

paper

paper

paper

was

was

was

was

was

was

presented

presented

presented

presented

presented

presented

1988.

Meeting

Meeting

Meeting

Meeting

Meeting

Meeting

Meeting of the Society for Music Theory, Baltimore, 1988.

1988.

1988.

1988.

1988.

1988.

of the

of the

of the

of the

of the

of the

Society

Society

Society

Society

Society

Society

for Music

for Music

for Music

for Music

for Music

for Music

Theory,

Theory,

Theory,

Theory,

Theory,

Theory,

Baltimore,

Baltimore,

Baltimore,

Baltimore,

Baltimore,

Baltimore,

'Detailed

'Detailed analyses of pieces from MakrokosmosI and II are attempted

attempted

attempted

attempted

attempted

attempted

attempted

in three earlier studies. Both Suzanne Harkins, in "A Study of Construc-

of Construc-

of Construc-

of Construc-

of Construc-

of Construc-

in three earlier studies. Both Suzanne Harkins, in

in three earlier studies. Both Suzanne Harkins, in

in three earlier studies. Both Suzanne Harkins, in

in three earlier studies. Both Suzanne Harkins, in

in three earlier studies. Both Suzanne Harkins, in

in three earlier studies. Both Suzanne Harkins, in

"A Study of Construc-

'Detailed

'Detailed

'Detailed

'Detailed

'Detailed

analyses

analyses

analyses

analyses

analyses

analyses

of

of

of

of

of

of

pieces

pieces

pieces

pieces

pieces

pieces

from MakrokosmosI and II are

from MakrokosmosI and II are

from MakrokosmosI and II are

from MakrokosmosI and II are

from MakrokosmosI and II are

from MakrokosmosI and II are

"A

"A

"A

"A

"A

Study

Study

Study

Study

Study

tional Principles in George Crumb'sMakrokosmos,Volume I" (M.A. thesis,

thesis,

thesis,

thesis,

thesis,

thesis,

thesis,

tional

tional

tional

tional

tional

tional

Principles

Principles

Principles

Principles

Principles

Principles

in

in

in

in

in

in

George

George

George

George

George

George

Crumb'sMakrokosmos,Volume I"

Crumb'sMakrokosmos,Volume I"

Crumb'sMakrokosmos,Volume I"

Crumb'sMakrokosmos,Volume I"

Crumb'sMakrokosmos,Volume I"

Crumb'sMakrokosmos,Volume I"

(M.A.

(M.A.

(M.A.

(M.A.

(M.A.

(M.A.

American

American University, 1974), and Robert Vernon Shuffett, in "The Music,

and Robert Vernon Shuffett, in "The Music,

and Robert Vernon Shuffett, in "The Music,

and Robert Vernon Shuffett, in "The Music,

and Robert Vernon Shuffett, in "The Music,

and Robert Vernon Shuffett, in "The Music,

and Robert Vernon Shuffett, in "The Music,

American

American

American

American

American

University,

University,

University,

University,

University,

University,

1974),

1974),

1974),

1974),

1974),

1974),

1971-1975, of George Crumb:A Style Analysis" (D.M.A. thesis, Peabody

Peabody

1971-1975, of

1971-1975, of

1971-1975, of

1971-1975, of

1971-1975, of

1971-1975, of

Peabody

Peabody

Peabody

Peabody

Peabody

George

George

George

George

George

George

Crumb:A

Crumb:A

Crumb:A

Crumb:A

Crumb:A

Crumb:A

Style Analysis" (D.M.A.

Style Analysis" (D.M.A.

Style Analysis" (D.M.A.

Style Analysis" (D.M.A.

Style Analysis" (D.M.A.

Style Analysis" (D.M.A.

thesis,

thesis,

thesis,

thesis,

thesis,

thesis,

that

1979), adopt descriptive-analyticalapproaches

Music, 1979), adopt descriptive-analyticalapproaches

Music, 1979), adopt descriptive-analyticalapproaches

Conservatory of Music, 1979), adopt descriptive-analyticalapproaches

Conservatory of Music, 1979), adopt descriptive-analyticalapproaches

Conservatory of Music, 1979), adopt descriptive-analyticalapproaches that

that

that

that

that

that

Conservatory

Conservatory

Conservatory

Conservatory

of

of Music,

of

of Music,

1979), adopt descriptive-analyticalapproaches

failto

failto identifyany underlyingprocess or to set up any structuralmodel which

would

would give depth or perspective to their observations. Donna Gartman

Schultz,

Schultz, in "Set Theory and its Application to Compositions by Five

of

dissertation.

dissertation. The University of

of

of

of

of

of

Schultz,

Schultz,

Schultz,

Schultz,

Schultz,

Five

Five

Five

Five

Five

Five

Twentieth-Century Composers" (Ph.D.

(Ph.D.

(Ph.D.

(Ph.D.

(Ph.D.

(Ph.D.

(Ph.D.

Twentieth-Century Composers"

Twentieth-Century Composers"

Twentieth-Century Composers"

Twentieth-Century Composers"

Twentieth-Century Composers"

Twentieth-Century Composers"

would

would

would

would

would

their observations. Donna Gartman

their observations. Donna Gartman

their observations. Donna Gartman

their observations. Donna Gartman

their observations. Donna Gartman

their observations. Donna Gartman

failto

failto

failto

failto

failto

identifyany underlyingprocess

identifyany underlyingprocess

identifyany underlyingprocess

identifyany underlyingprocess

identifyany underlyingprocess

identifyany underlyingprocess

or to set

or to set

or to set

or to set

or to set

or to set

up any

up any

up any

up any

up any

up any

structuralmodel which

structuralmodel which

structuralmodel which

structuralmodel which

structuralmodel which

structuralmodel which

give

give

give

give

give

give

depth

depth

depth

depth

depth

depth

or

or

or

or

or

or

perspective

perspective

perspective

perspective

perspective

perspective

to

to

to

to

to

to

in

in

in

in

in

in

"Set

"Set

"Set

"Set

"Set

"Set

Theory

Theory

Theory

Theory

Theory

Theory

and its

and its

and its

and its

and its

and its

Application

Application

Application

Application

Application

Application

to

to

to

to

to

to

Compositions by

Compositions by

Compositions by

Compositions by

Compositions by

Compositions by

dissertation.

dissertation.

dissertation.

dissertation.

dissertation.

The

The

The

The

The

The

University

University

University

University

University

University

one of the

one of the pieces ("Rain-Death Variations") from

from

from

from

from

from

Michigan. 1979) subjects one of the pieces ("Rain-Death Variations") from

Michigan. 1979) subjects

Michigan. 1979) subjects

Michigan. 1979) subjects

Michigan. 1979) subjects

Michigan. 1979) subjects

Michigan. 1979) subjects

one of the

one of the

one of the

one of the

pieces ("Rain-Death Variations")

pieces ("Rain-Death Variations")

pieces ("Rain-Death Variations")

pieces ("Rain-Death Variations")

pieces ("Rain-Death Variations")

Makrokosmos II to a highly restrictive analysis based on the set-complex

set-complex

Makrokosmos II to a

Makrokosmos II to a

Makrokosmos II to a

Makrokosmos II to a

Makrokosmos II to a

Makrokosmos II to a

set-complex

set-complex

set-complex

set-complex

set-complex

theories promulgated in Allen Forte, The Structure of Atonal Music (New

theories

theories

theories

theories

theories

theories

highly

highly

highly

highly

highly

highly

restrictive

restrictive

restrictive

restrictive

restrictive

restrictive

analysis

analysis

analysis

analysis

analysis

analysis

based on the

based on the

based on the

based on the

based on the

based on the

promulgated

promulgated

promulgated

promulgated

promulgated

promulgated

in Allen Forte,

in Allen Forte,

in Allen Forte,

in Allen Forte,

in Allen Forte,

in Allen Forte,

The Structure of Atonal Music

The Structure of Atonal Music

The Structure of Atonal Music

The Structure of Atonal Music

The Structure of Atonal Music

The Structure of Atonal Music

(New

(New

(New

(New

(New

(New

written

written about the Makrokosmos

written

written

written

written

written

Makrokosmos

focus

focus

focus

focus

focus

focus

focus

Makrokosmos

Makrokosmos

Makrokosmos

Makrokosmos

Makrokosmos

about the

about the

about the

about the

about the

about the

pieces has tended instead

instead

instead

instead

instead

instead

pieces has tended instead to

pieces

pieces

pieces

pieces

pieces

to

to

to

to

to

to

This in turn has

has

has

has

has

has

has

that pitch structure in this work

work

work

work

work

work

work

that

of

of

of

of

of

of

of

that

that

that

that

that

structure in

structure in

structure in

structure in

structure in

structure in

has tended

has tended

has tended

has tended

has tended

on

on Crumb's stylistic

an

assumption

an assumption

an

an

an

an

an

assumption

assumption

on

on

on

on

on

assumption

assumption

assumption

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

stylistic

stylistic

stylistic

stylistic

stylistic

stylistic

idiosyncracies.

idiosyncracies.

idiosyncracies.

idiosyncracies.

idiosyncracies.

idiosyncracies.

idiosyncracies.

This

This

This

This

This

This

in turn

in turn

in turn

in turn

in turn

in turn

encouraged

encouraged

encouraged

encouraged

encouraged

encouraged

encouraged

pitch

pitch

pitch

pitch

pitch

pitch

this

this

this

this

this

this

is

insignificant,

is insignificant,

is

is

is

is

is

insignificant,

insignificant,

insignificant,

insignificant,

insignificant,

or

simplistic,

or at best simplistic,

or

or

or

or

or

simplistic,

simplistic,

simplistic,

simplistic,

simplistic,

at best

at best

at best

at best

at best

at best

and that the essence

essence

essence

essence

essence

essence

essence

and that the

and that the

and that the

and that the

and that the

and that the

the music

the music lies more

the music

the music

the music

the music

the music

lies

lies

lies

lies

lies

lies

more

observed,

It has often been observed,

more

more

more

more

more

observed,

It has often been

It has often been

It has often been

It has often been

It has often been

It has often been

observed,

observed,

observed,

observed,

use of a limited

a

a

a

a

a

a

with the

with

with

with

with

with

with

the

the

the

the

the

the

extramusical

extramusical

extramusical

extramusical

extramusical

extramusical

extramusical

references

references

references

references

references

references

references

and

and

and

and

and

and

and

special effects.

special

effects.

effects.

effects.

effects.

effects.

effects.

special

special

special

special

special

for

example,

for example,

for

pitch

pitch

pitch

pitch

pitch

pitch

for

for

for

for

example,

example,

example,

example,

example,

that

of

of pitch con-

of

of

of

of

of

that

that

that

that

that

that

Crumb's

Crumb's persistent

structions

structions

structions

structions

structions

structions

structions

to

to

to

to

to

to

consistency;

consistency;

consistency;

consistency;

consistency;

consistency;

consistency;

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

Crumb's

persistent

persistent

persistent

persistent

persistent

persistent

use

use

use

use

use

use

of

of

of

of

of

of

limited

limited

limited

limited

limited

limited

number

number

number

number

number

number

number

con-

con-

con-

con-

con-

con-

lends

lends

lends

lends

lends

lends

lends

to his music

music

music

music

music

music

music

his

his

his

his

his

his

a

a high degree

degree

degree

degree

degree

degree

degree

a

a

a

a

a

high

high

high

high

high

high

of

of clarity and

of

of

of

of

of

and

and

and

and

and

and

clarity

clarity

clarity

clarity

clarity

clarity

but the

but the existence

existence

existence

existence

existence

existence

existence

but the

but the

but the

but the

but the

of

substantive

of any substantive

of

of

of

of

of

substantive

substantive

substantive

substantive

substantive

any

any

any

any

any

any

structural

structural

structural

structural

structural

structural

structural

depth

statement

lowing statement

depth

depth

depth

depth

depth

depth

statement

lowing

lowing

lowing

lowing

lowing

lowing

statement

statement

statement

statement

has

remained

has remained

has

has

has

has

has

remained

remained

remained

remained

remained

in

question,

in question,

in

in

in

in

in

question,

question,

question,

question,

question,

as

evidenced

as evidenced

as

as

as

as

as

evidenced

evidenced

evidenced

evidenced

evidenced

by Robert

Robert

Robert

Robert

Robert

Robert

Robert

by

by

by

by

by

by

Moevs:

Moevs:

Moevs:

Moevs:

Moevs:

Moevs:

Moevs:

in

in the

in

in

in

in

in

the fol-

fol-

the fol-

the fol-

the fol-

the fol-

the fol-

Heterogeneous borrowings,superpositions, sometimes rudimentary

rudimentary

rudimentary

rudimentary

rudimentary

rudimentary

rudimentary

transcriptions that enter along the way, sounds, motives, phrases,

transcriptions

transcriptions

transcriptions

transcriptions

transcriptions

transcriptions

passages, procedures, entire structuresfail to break this persisting

Heterogeneous borrowings,superpositions,

Heterogeneous borrowings,superpositions,

Heterogeneous borrowings,superpositions,

Heterogeneous borrowings,superpositions,

Heterogeneous borrowings,superpositions,

Heterogeneous borrowings,superpositions,

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

sometimes

that enter

that enter

that enter

that enter

that enter

that enter

along

along

along

along

along

along

the

the

the

the

the

the

way,

way,

way,

way,

way,

way,

sounds, motives,

sounds, motives,

sounds, motives,

sounds, motives,

sounds, motives,

sounds, motives,

phrases,

phrases,

phrases,

phrases,

phrases,

phrases,

passages, procedures,

passages, procedures,

passages, procedures,

passages, procedures,

passages, procedures,

passages, procedures,

entire structuresfail to break this

entire structuresfail to break this

entire structuresfail to break this

entire structuresfail to break this

entire structuresfail to break this

entire structuresfail to break this

persisting

persisting

persisting

persisting

persisting

persisting

unity, but rather point up the sense of constriction produced by

unity,

unity,

unity,

unity,

unity,

unity,

produced by

produced by

produced by

produced by

produced by

produced by

but rather

but rather

but rather

but rather

but rather

but rather

point up

point up

point up

point up

point up

point up

the

the

the

the

the

the

sense

sense

sense

sense

sense

sense

of constriction

of constriction

of constriction

of constriction

of constriction

of constriction

tightly circumscribeduse of primary material, an assemblage of

tightly

tightly

tightly

tightly

tightly

tightly

of

of

of

of

of

of

circumscribeduse

circumscribeduse

circumscribeduse

circumscribeduse

circumscribeduse

circumscribeduse

of

of

of

of

of

of

primary material, an

primary material, an

primary material, an

primary material, an

primary material, an

primary material, an

assemblage

assemblage

assemblage

assemblage

assemblage

assemblage

and

spooky

spooky effects and symbols chosen to evoke a particularmood, and

a

a compositional method reduced essentially to their simple con-

catenation.

catenation. The lack of musical substance, in turn, exposes the

the

the

the

the

the

the

catenation.

catenation.

catenation.

catenation.

catenation.

a

a

a

a

a

con-

con-

con-

con-

con-

con-

spooky

spooky

spooky

spooky

spooky

and

and

and

and

and

effects and

effects and

effects and

effects and

effects and

effects and

symbols

symbols

symbols

symbols

symbols

symbols

chosen to evoke a

chosen to evoke a

chosen to evoke a

chosen to evoke a

chosen to evoke a

chosen to evoke a

particularmood,

particularmood,

particularmood,

particularmood,

particularmood,

particularmood,

compositional

compositional

compositional

compositional

compositional

compositional

method reduced

method reduced

method reduced

method reduced

method reduced

method reduced

essentially

essentially

essentially

essentially

essentially

essentially

to their

to their

to their

to their

to their

to their

simple

simple

simple

simple

simple

simple

The lack of

The lack of

The lack of

The lack of

The lack of

The lack of

musical

musical

musical

musical

musical

musical

substance, in

substance, in

substance, in

substance, in

substance, in

substance, in

turn,

turn,

turn,

turn,

turn,

turn,

exposes

exposes

exposes

exposes

exposes

exposes

titles

emptiness

emptiness behind the assortment of symbolic-expressionistic titles

titles

titles

titles

titles

titles

emptiness

emptiness

emptiness

emptiness

emptiness

behind the assortment of

behind the assortment of

behind the assortment of

behind the assortment of

behind the assortment of

behind the assortment of

symbolic-expressionistic

symbolic-expressionistic

symbolic-expressionistic

symbolic-expressionistic

symbolic-expressionistic

symbolic-expressionistic

Haven and London: Yale

Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1973); her inconclusive results

are due

of the score.

are due largely to a rather arbitrary and myopic segmentation of the score.

are due

are due

are due

are due

are due

her inconclusive results

her inconclusive results

her inconclusive results

her inconclusive results

her inconclusive results

her inconclusive results

Haven and London: Yale

Haven and London: Yale

Haven and London: Yale

Haven and London: Yale

Haven and London: Yale

University

University

University

University

University

University

Press,

Press,

Press,

Press,

Press,

Press,

1973);

1973);

1973);

1973);

1973);

1973);

largely

largely

largely

largely

largely

largely

to a rather

to a rather

to a rather

to a rather

to a rather

to a rather