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Schenker's 'Eroica'

Author(s): Derrick Puffett

Source: The Musical Times, Vol. 137, No. 1843 (Sep., 1996), pp. 13-21
Published by: Musical Times Publications Ltd.
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1004142
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not much remarked on since) but also by the very Vaughan Williams's passionate if politically incorrect 28. On receiving the
nature of his musical response to traditional musical comment on the indebtedness of an earlier genera- first Aspen Award
material, he was nevertheless concerned to infiltrate (London, 1965),
tion (Walton, Bliss, Lambert and Hadley) to the folk-
and dominate their chosen fields of activity on his song movement: 'they may deny their birthright; but
own terms. The sponsorship of the alternative having once drunk deep of the living water no 29. National music,
Grainger and the reclamation of Holst through the amount of Negroid emetics or "Baroque" purgatives p.85.
incorporation of his daughter into the working will enable them to expel it from their system.'29 As
household at Aldeburgh were only later touches to a has often been remarked, Britten certainly moder- 30. Journal of the
plan that, looked at one way, seemed from the ated his eclecticism during the very same period that English Folk Dance
and Song Society,
moment of return in 1942 to be matching the ideol- the onset of folksong and Purcell arrangements vol.4, no. 4
ogy of the 'Pastoral school' item by item. The invo- occurred. Perhaps, then, he ultimately understood (December 1943),
cation of the powerful British sea myth, again on the that, returning to his native country and exorcising quoted in Mitchell,
composer's own terms, in Peter Grimes and Billy certain fears in the cathartic score of Grimes, he also ed.: Letters from a
Budd, and the substitution of Aldeburgh, Suffolk and needed to fulfill his role in ways that were laid out life, p. 347.
East Anglia for Hereford, Gloucestershire and the by Vaughan Williams in a gracious review of the first
West country, all seem to fit the pattern. 'Finding volume of the folksong arrangements. The older
one's place in society as a composer is not a straight- composer, casting himself in the role of an 'old fogey'
forward job', wrote Britten in a speech, like 'National welcomes the 'divagations', either to right or to left,
music', originally delivered to Americans, and of the younger generation 'so that in the end the
sounding remarkably like the earlier document in straight line is kept intact'.30 The line was kept
tone.28 Perhaps, as part of returning home, he had indeed, arguably to run on through Maxwell Davies.
even consciously understood and applied to himself Intact, perhaps, but not exactly straight.

Schenker's 'Eroica'
DERRICK PUFFETT commends a seminal Beethoven study
WEN I heard that a translation of Derrick Puffett is a
terwerk text, published two years before the Fiinf
former editor of
hIISchenker's Das Meisterwerk was in Urlinie-Tafeln,3 there is a tendency, despite allMusic the
the offing, I immediately asked if I verbiage, to let the graphs speak for themselves. (As Analysis.
might translate the 'Eroica' essay; and William Drabkin points out in his General Preface to
the first debt of gratitude I must acknowledge (there Meisterwerk III, it was around the same time as1.he Notably Counter-
being no opportunity to do this within the actual was working on the 'Eroica' analysis that Schenker point [Kontrapunkt],
translation) is to John Rothgeb, the eminent transla- planned a publication - the Five graphic music analy-
ed. John Rothgeb,
tor of so many Schenker texts,' who had already ses - in which 'the picture [Bild] could "speak" even trans. John Rothgeb
and Jiirgen Thym
agreed to translate this particular piece but gra- without a text', i.e. without any text at all.4) Al-
(New York, 1987),
ciously withdrew when he knew I wanted to do it. though the graphs would not actually need translat- and Beethoven's
Enthusiasm at the prospect so unexpectedly opened ing - Cambridge would be reproducing Schenker's Ninth Symphony
up turned, however, into something like dread when originals, with a glossary to explain technical terms,
[Beethovens neunte
I realised how difficult the task would be. I had rather than making new ones - the problems of
Sinfonie], trans.
translated Schenker before, but only for my own John Rothgeb (New
bringing text and graphs into line with each other,
enlightenment (every would-be Schenkerian analyst achieving a consistent terminology, preservingHaven,the 1992). See
also n.9 below.
has a translation or two, usually incomplete, in the original relationship between the two disparate sets
bottom drawer); and as an editor of a journal I had of materials, and, perhaps above all, making the2.col-
Das Meisterwerk
checked the translations of others. Neither of these lective analysis 'speak' naturally to the reader with-
in der Musik, vol.3
experiences prepared me adequately for the prob- out an ostentatious display of scholarly parapherna-
(Munich, 1930;
lems of translating one of Schenker's biggest texts. lia (anyone who has attempted a large-scale transla-
repr. Hildesheim,
The 'Eroica' essay is, with the exception of the tion knows that such things do not happen auto-
monograph on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (but matically), seemed formidable indeed.
3. (Vienna, 1932),
this is early Schenker), the longest he ever devoted As usual in such times of crisis, I turned for trans.
help as Five
to the analysis of a single work; the 72 pages of to my friend and partner-in-crime, Alfred Clayton. graphic music
gnarled Gothic that make up the essay - 'Beethovens Clayton is a British writer who has lived in Germany
analyses, ed. Felix
Dritte Sinfonie zum erstenmal in ihrem wahren Salzer (New York,
for the last twenty years and is a translator of great
Inhalt dargestellt' - in the original German2 comeexperience and erudition as well as a scholar in1969).
own right (he probably knows more than anyone
out as over 150 in modern typescript. Moreover, the
else in the world about the life and music of Zem-
text is accompanied by a large portfolio of graphs
linsky). We had collaborated before, in 1985-86, on
(35 pages in landscape format: already in this Meis-


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4. The quoted the translation of a book by Carl Dahlhaus;5 now he haus's favourite turns of phrase). I don't think I ever
phrase is from a agreed to work with me again. found time to explain to Stephen Hinton that such
letter of early 1930, decisions were not just a matter of editorial whimsy
translated in
but had a certain amount of thought behind them).
C OLLABORATION is an activity that has a
Drabkin: 'A lesson
in analysis from certain mystique about it. Its practitioners The rest was a matter of honing and polishing.
Heinrich Schenker: like to shroud its workings in secrecy, As with Dahlhaus, so with Schenker: the 'Eroica'
the C major Prelude believing, no doubt with some justice, that study seemed to divide itself up naturally between
from Bach's Well-
what takes place between two consenting adults in chapters of heavy-duty analysis (or rather one long
tempered clavier, private should not be bruited to the world at large. chapter, which I, the official 'analyst' among the two,
book 1', in Music
As with the secrets of the marriage bed, everyone took on) and chapters concerned with text-critical
Analysis, vol.4
(1985), p.253. In knows (more or less) what goes on, but it is not con- matters, performance, the musicological 'literature'
the 'Eroica' analysis sidered quite nice to talk about it. Thus do the de- and so on (these became Clayton's responsibility).
the foreground tails of a collaboration remain beyond the ken of To be fair to myself, the number of pages devoted to
graphs are referred ordinary folk. Collaboration in scientific endeavour, analysis exceeded the remainder by a proportion of
to as Bilder.
or in the branches of a humanistic discipline that two to one, so if our original plans had worked out
most nearly approximate to a science (an example in I would have done the lion's share of the work.
5. Schoenberg and
the new music musicology is the Johnson, Tyson and Winter cata- Unfortunately, those plans did not work out. When
(Cambridge, 1987). logue of Beethoven sketches6), is another matter; the time came round for us to exchange drafts - this
there researchers are used to working as a team. But was in the summer of 1989 (the fact that we lived in
6. Douglas Johnson, when Felix Meyer and Anne C. Shreffler, for exam- different countries and that I had to obey the con-
Alan Tyson and ple, write, by way of introduction to one of their col- straints of a university term meant that this time,
Robert Winter:
laborative articles, 'Both authors collaborated on perhaps the most crucial stage in the collaboration,
The Beethoven
sketchbooks every aspect of the research and writing of the pre- had to be fixed well in advance) - Clayton had fin-
(Berkeley, 1985). sent essay',7 I find it hard to understand what they ished all three of his chapters but I, alas, had only
mean. Research in the humanities is a solitary activ- completed a small portion of mine. The reasons why
7. 'Webern's revi- ity: it is through the application of the individual I was unable to fulfil my side of the bargain no
sions: some analyti- imagination to a given problem that discoveries are longer matter. But they shade, dimly but inexorably,
cal implications', made. And as for collaboration in writing - well, the into the difficulties of Schenker's German: I had long
in Music Analysis,
old adage about a camel being a horse designed by a begun to realise that, if Dahlhaus was not exactly
vol.12, no.3
(October 1993), committee comes to mind. Anyone who has tried to easy, Schenker was quite beyond me (I say this for
p.355n. draft even the simplest document on a committee the sake of honesty. I envy the linguistic talents of
knows that the only way to get the job done properly those who can read Schenker, apparently without
8. See 'Heinrich difficulty, in the original. Nicholas Cook, for in-
is to go away and do it oneself. Writing is not some-
Schenker, polemi- thing that lends itself to team-work. (I exclude the stance, in the course of a long review of Rothgeb's
cist: a reading of the
composition of 19th-century Russian operas from translation of the Ninth Symphony book, feels able
Ninth Symphony
monograph', in
this generalisation. With the exception of those to characterise it as 'admirable' without making any
Music Analysis, composed by Tchaikovsky, all Russian operas seem qualification whatever.8 Impressive though this is, it
vol.14, no.1 (March to benefit from collaborative input.) is not quite what one wants from a review of a trans-
1995), p.89 And so, too, is surely the case with translation. lation: it might have been more useful had he offered
When Clayton and I translated the Dahlhaus book a few nuts-and-bolts insights, for the benefit of those
9. See especially linguistically less gifted, on exactly how competent
Schenker: 'The Sara-
together, we simply divided up the chapters between
us. He took the chapters concerned with general, the translator had been. There are different schools
bande of JS Bach's
Suite no.3 for unac- historical and social/cultural matters, I the more of Schenker translation, just as there are different
companied violon- analytical ones. After we had each produced a draft, approaches to the translation of any great author).
cello [BWV 1009]', we set to work criticising each other's efforts; the We then carved up the work in a different way.
trans. Hedi Siegel, main aim at this stage, apart from accuracy, was to Clayton, in the little remaining time that was avail-
in The Music Forum, able to us, would draft the sections I hadn't been able
achieve a consistency of style such that it would be
vol.2 (New York, difficult for the uninformed reader to tell who had to manage while I applied my editorial skills to this
1970); 'A contribu-
tion to the study of translated what (I remember Stephen Hinton, whodraft as well as to his completed chapters. Working
ornamentation', had translated Dahlhaus's essay on form for a sepa- hard, we produced a provisional 'working draft' of
trans. Hedi Siegel, rate publication and had then, because Dahlhausthe whole thing in a fortnight. In the months that
in The Music Forum, wanted to include it in the new collection as well, followed, with Clayton back in Germany and me
vol.4 (New York, found his work being tampered with by two editorsback at my lectures, I would go over this working
1976); and 'The
he never expected to work with, asking me, ratherdraft again and again, trying to make sure that we
Largo of JS Bach's
Sonata no.3 for plaintively, 'But can't one fulfil a function as well ashad got as close to Schenker's meaning as it was pos-
unaccompanied vio- perform one?' Of course one can; but it is preciselysible (for us, at any rate) to get. I also added a hun-
lin [BWV 1005]', little inconsistencies such as this that give away thedred or so footnotes, some quite extensive, amplify-
trans. John Rothgeb, fact that a translation has been shared between two ing and clarifying Schenker's text. Eventually, after
or more people. At some stage in the process it hadmuch correspondence and many telephone calls, a
been decided that functions had to be performed,typescript emerged which corresponds more or less
not fulfilled (eine Funktion erfillen was one of Dahl- to what is being published. With one significant dif-


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ference: our translation would be very much the many of these were to other works by Schenker, 10. Harmony, ed.
poorer had it not been for the superb editorial con- works that in at least one case - Der freie Satz -Oswald Jonas, trans.
Elisabeth Mann
tribution of William Drabkin, to whom my second existed only in a very provisional state at the time
Borgese (Chicago,
acknowledgement is due. If translation has to be when Schenker was writing the 'Eroica' essay. In this 1954).
done in collaboration, it can hardly take a happier particular case one was helped by the fact that Oster,
form than this. aided and abetted by his associates, had made a rea- 11. Free composition,
sonably good job of the translation, so that even trans. and ed. Ernst
though Schenker had not given page numbers (as, of Oster (New York:
T HE 'DIFFICULTIES' of translating Schen-
ker must be, in part, those of translating course, he was prevented from doing by the fact that Longman, 1979).
any scholarly text: a specialised vocabulary the work hadn't been published) it was usually pos- 12. (Vienna, 1956).
(some of it codified, even reified to classic sible to guess what part of the text he was referring
status, through the efforts of previous translators); to. In the case of the Harmonielehre, however, it was 13. Harmony,
references needing to be filled out and brought up to another matter. Although the German text had ap- pp.v-xxiv. The
date; the problem of striking the right tone, a sense peared as early as 1906, the English translation feuds between and

that the original was the product of a particular time (supervised by Oswald Jonas, who incidentally hadamong different
Schenker pupils,
and place. And in Schenker's case there is the addi- been responsible for the second German edition ofeach of whom
tional problem of the graphs. Maybe the biggest Der freie Satz, 12 but done in the main by Elisabeth believed himself to
problem of all is an internal one, an overcoming of Mann Borgese, one of Thomas Mann's daughters) be the sole guardian
the apprehension that one feels (quite rightly) when was so laughably inadequate that when we wanted of the sacred flame,
faced with such an imposing original - an apprehen- to quote a chunk of it we had to retranslate it our- are one of the most
sion which may lead one to treat it in too timid a selves. (The Jonas edition of Schenker's Harmonie- entertaining aspects
of Schenker recep-
fashion to do it justice. lehre is, in any case, a musicological scandal that can tion. Articles like
The specialised vocabulary had already been only be rectified by a completely new translation.Jonas's introduction
carved out for us, in the main with great success, by Valuable though its footnotes are - and these should ought to be col-
older Schenkerians. I still wince at the expression surely be incorporated into any new edition - its lected and repub-
'reaching-over' (for Obergreifen); 'superimposition', cuts make it totally unacceptable as a translation oflished in a special
or even the 'superposition' of Schenker translations Schenker's original. The most useful thing about it is place, perhaps with
annotations by
from the early days of Music Forum seemed to me a probably Jonas's introduction, which incidentally Richard Taruskin: a
better way of saying the same thing; but 'reaching- contains a scathing attack on another Schenkersort of Schenkerian
over' was the consensus reached after long delibera- pupil, Felix Salzer.)13 Still other references were to counterpart to
tion by Drabkin and his team, so 'reaching-over' it is. texts, like the Erlauterungsausgaben of Beethoven Slonimsky's Dictio-
Oswald Jonas, in editing the translation of Schen- piano sonatas,14 not yet translated: no doubt these nary of musical
ker's Harmonielehre put out by the University of Chi- will pose their own problems to a later generation ofinvective.
cago Press10 (more on this later), and in particular translators.
14. Beethoven, die
Ernst Oster, who had enjoyed the help of John Roth- The question of tone was one that I'm not sure we
letzten fanf Sonaten:
geb, Carl Schachter and others in preparing his edi- solved satisfactorily; indeed, I don't think that it can kritische Ausgabe
tion of Schenker's last, unfinished work, Der freie be solved satisfactorily. One would need the literarymit Einfahrung und
Satz (Free composition in English)," published by talents of a Robert Musil or a Stefan Zweig, together Erlduterung
Longman in 1979, had established a set of equiva- with the parodistic abilities of Thomas Mann or (Vienna, 1913-20);
lencies, between German and English versions of James Joyce, to do justice to the peculiar stylisticrev. 2nd edn, ed.
technical terms, which had become well-known aroma that emanates, like the scent of stale coffee, Oswald Jonas
(Vienna, 1971-72).
both in the Anglo-American analysis community from the blackened pages of Schenker's German. 'A
and in university teaching contexts and from which mixture of turn-of-the-century Austrian legal jargon 15. See his letter to
one departed at one's peril; and most of the time one and coffee-house gossip' was how my colleague Jarnach of 1 Decem-
didn't want to. Nevertheless there were a few head- described, in a moment of irritation (but there wereber 1919, in Ferruc-
aches. Grundton, in German, can mean 'root', 'tonic' many such moments), the unique fustian that con- cio Busoni: Selected
or 'bass note'. The word 'root' invokes a whole vari- letters, trans. and
fronted us, like an unknown early manuscript of
ed. Antony Beau-
ety of associations, some of them far from Schenke- Hans Keller translated into turn-of-the-centurymont (London:
rian: in particular, the tradition of functional har- Viennese. (One particular example is Schenker's ten- Faber, 1987), p.299.
mony, from Rameau to Riemann, that was so often dency to anthropomorphise when he is talking
the target of Schenker's ire. Yet 'root' is often what he about the instruments of the orchestra. He writes, 16. See Simon Cal-
low: Orson Welles:
seemed to be saying, so 'root' it had to be. Stufe, afor instance, as if 'violin 1' or the 'flute' is making its
trickier term this - trickier because it meant differ- the road to Xanadu
own individual choices when pursuing the path
(London, 1995),
ent things for Schenker during different periods of Schenker has deemed it necessary for them to follow.
his writing - had to be translated variously as 'scale This is linked, in turn, to his idea that each instru-
step', 'chord' or 'harmony', depending on the context ment expresses its 'true character' (p. 31 of the Ger-
(sometimes V Stufe, for instance, came out as just man) through its choice of register. Busoni, curi-
'V'). Further problems arose when Schenker used ously, expressed a similar idea in commending
different terms - Ausfaltung and Ausholen, for exam- Mozart's practice of writing for each instrument in
ple - to mean the same thing. its 'natural' register, as opposed to Wagner's mecha-
As for the references that needed to be filled out, nistic doublings.15 In Schenker's case, however, there


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17. See Ian Bent: is also the related notion that the choice of registers a leap of a third from the fifth(V5-b7). However, the
'Heinrich Schenker, on the composer's part itself fulfils an 'anthropo- elevation of 3 ultimately creates an impression of
Chopin and neighbour-note motion: 3-4-3; see 'Der freie Satz'.
centric' need: see his parenthetical note referring to
Domenico Scarlatti',
in Music Analysis,
a passage in the Erltuterungsausgabe of op.109. So
vol.5, nos.2/3 built into 'Schenker's voice' - if one may use such a The problem here was not so much the spe-
(July/October term without incensing New Musicologists such as cialised language - Urlinie, 'middleground layer' (for
1986), pp.146-47, Carolyn Abbate and Lawrence Kramer - is a whole Schicht) and 'neighbour note' (rather than the
in which Bent posits network of cultural associations which would ide- 'neighbouring note' favoured by Oster) had all been
the idea of a 'matrix'
ally have to be conveyed by the hapless translator. agreed by consensus among the other translators,
for Schenker's mode
Then again, there is a poignant contradiction be- before Clayton and I came on the scene - or the ref-
of analytical presen-
tween the high-production values with which CUP erence to Derfreie Satz (a footnote, not quoted here,
tation, a 'prescrip-
tive order' to which would cope with that) as the loose and wayward
proposes to celebrate Schenker at the end of the 20th
construction of the second sentence. Translators
most of his pub- century and the miserable, poorly printed copy
lished analyses (subsidised by Furtwangler) known to him. How- from German usually have to make a policy deci-
adhere: 'musical
ever, one can be too sentimental about such things. sooner or later, as to whether or not to divide
content (subdi-
If there is a paradox here, it is a similar paradoxlong
to sentences. My preference is generally not to
vided) - primary
source-materials - that presented by Schenker, the ardent nationalist divide.
- The advantage of keeping to a long sentence
subsequent editorial almost a First World War soldier with a spike on (and
his this is what we did, wherever possible, in the
activity - perfor- helmet - on the one hand, and Schenker, the con- Dahlhaus, though some reviewers complained that
mance - secondary temporary of Wittgenstein and a thinker of compa- their attention-span was being inordinately stretch-
rable originality, on the other. Such paradoxes,ed) as is that it is then possible to keep the exact rela-
tionship between its parts. One can do this in a
Orson Welles said, can only be recognised, not
18. See his transla-
resolved.16 series of short sentences, too (Bent is a translator
tions of three essays
from Das Meister- who prefers the short sentence18), but then one is
werk, vol.1, in NE FORGETS, now Schenker has be- stuck with the problem of what to do in the next sen-
Music Analysis (ref- come part of the musical 'establishment', tence, which often begins by referring to the first of
erence as for previ- recognised (in America and most Euro- the previous group. The relationship between sen-
ous note),
pean countries, at least) as a 'major fig- tences thus becomes hard to manage.
ure', institutionalised as fodder foruniversity analy- Here, however, we chose to divide, partly because
19. On p.29 of the
sis courses from London to Yale, how difficult he the German sentence shows little discernible struc-
German original. must have seemed to his contemporaries, how littleture at all (the boa-constrictor metaphor comes to
he was prepared to compromise. His analyticalmind) and partly because it is relatively sparing in
20. Instances of the
essays start straight in with difficult, uncompromis-those little words - 'still', 'and', 'but then' - that can
ing analysis. No introduction, no chitchat (the mate-turn a sentence in a completely unexpected direc-
metaphor (and they
rial on performance, the musical text and the 'litera- tion. The paragraph dealing with Fig.319 would have
are by no means the
only ones) occur on
ture', easier to read than the analytical substance, illustrated this last difficulty better. However, the
pp.30, 31, 36, 43 always comes later17); and the analysis itself is com-piece quoted above does contain one such treacher-
and 77 of the Ger- plicated by in-text diagrams and references to hisous word, 'aber', lurking in the depths of the penul-
man; the 'tragic par- other works (including some, as I have mentioned,timate phrase; and I am still not sure that we didn't
tition' is found on
not yet published). Something of the flavour of thegive that word too much emphasis by beginning our
p.50. last sentence... 'However'.
text is conveyed by the very opening:
When faced with a sentence full of small, treach-
21. p.30 of the Ger-
Die Urlinie des ersten Satzes bewegt sich im Raume erous words such as the ones just mentioned, what
der Terz: 3-2-1. does one do? The temptation is of course to simplify,
to write what one thinks Schenker meant to write
22. p.29 of the Ger- Die erste Schicht, siehe Fig. 1, zeigt die Unter-
man. brechung 3-2-11 3-2-1, wobei die Sept der V. Stufe, rather than translate what he did write. But then the
statt im Durchgang von der Oktave (V8-7), schein- sentence isn't by Schenker any more. 'Simplifying'
23. See Beyond bar von der Quint im Terzsprung (V5-b7) kommt, here means to lose 'what gets lost in the translation';
Orpheus: studies in wegen UJberhAhung der 3 schliesslich aber den Ein-
only this time it consists of the muddy sludge of lan-
musical structure druck der Nebennote 3-4-3 erweckt, siehe "Der freie
(Cambridge, Mass.,Satz". [Schenker's spaced typography is given here guage which any self-respecting writer would be
1980), p.121. There glad to be rid of. It is not as if we are dealing with the
as italics; his Fig.1 is reproduced below as part of
are some minor work of a great writer (a great musician, yes, a great
errors in Epstein's ex.3]
analyst, certainly, but a great writer?). These are not
transcription of the meaningful ambiguities of the sort Kafka or Mann
Figure. We translated this as follows:
would have delighted in. They are redundancies pro-
24. pp.36-38 of the The Urlinie of the first movement moves within the duced by someone who is not very good at writing.
German. space of a third: 3-2-1. Then there are the ordinary words that acquire sig-
The first middleground layer (see Fig.l) shows nificances too heavy for them to bear, like the 'Weg'
25.From this point the interruption 3-2-11 3-2-1. The seventh over V, - literally, way, course or path - that somehow gets
of view his method
instead of arising as a result of passing motion from mixed up in Schenker's mind with the mission of the
is similar to that of
the octave (Vs-7), seems to come about by means of German people even as he is writing about the


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movement of a note from eb2 to g2. Or the metaphors Drabkin writes, in his General Preface to the vol- writers who play on
that don't quite work, like the overworked 'seed/har- ume, that 'The text functions more as an aid tothe 'expectations'
set up by the com-
vest' idea (somebody should have told Schenker, understanding the graphs, rather than the other way
poser (Leonard B.
poor horticulturist that he evidently was, that it is round, and it is only the greater complexity of theMeyer and Hans
not the seed that is harvested but whatever grows graphs that necessitates a greater amount of verbalKeller come imme-
from the seed; had they done so, they would have commentary in them, compared to those of earlierdiately to mind),
spared his translators much grief) or the 'tragic par- essays.' But this cannot quite be the case. The graphswho then proceeds
tition' that comes down like an iron curtain in the included in the Five graphic music analyses, espe- to thwart or satisfy
middle of Beethoven's development section.20 cially that of the Chopin 'Revolutionary' Study, arethose expectations
in interesting ways.
And now we are getting into very murky waters hardly simple, and yet Schenker wanted - expected (!)
indeed. For we are entering an area of actual or sup- - his readers to understand them without any verbal26. 'Good teaching',
posed confusions and mistakes. Some of these are explanation at all. I think that the relationshipIsaiah Berlin once

easily cleared up. It is a fact, for example, that almost between text and graphs is skewed. Sometimes theysaid, 'is a mixture of
all Schenker's references to other composers - exist in parallel (and here the verbal commentary,generosity and a
desire to show off.'
Haydn, say, or Brahms, in the context of the 'Eroica' though strictly not necessary, acts as an adjunct to
essay - contain at least one piece of information thatwhat one sees in the music). I have not, alas ('alas' 27. pp.59-60 of the
is wrong. Does one correct such 'mistakes' silently, from the point of view of New Musicologists inter-German.
correct them in the text but add a footnote (but that ested in text-music relationships), come across any
28. p.59 of the
swells the enterprise immoderately), or just ignore examples of their actually contradicting each other.German
them? We opted for the second course. And can one But there are plenty of cases where text and graphs
be so certain when the reference is to a bar number seem to exist at an angle to one another, neither sup-29. See Esther
in Beethoven (a surprising number of mistakes, porting the point the other is making, complement-Cavett-Dunsby:
given the painstaking nature of the analysis) or to a ing it nor yet wholly contradicting it; the two sets of'Schenker's analysis
of the "Eroica"
page number in Schenker? What about analytical materials simply rub along together.
finale', in Theory
'mistakes'? A reference to a 'tonicisation of VI' was If there is a 'fruitful dialectic' here - a phrase and Practice, vol.11
changed to a 'tonicisation of II' (which Schenker's which floats across one's mind on such occasions, no
(1986), p.45. This is
Fig.5b clearly shows) by the series editor at a late doubt the result of translating too much Dahlhaus -a remarkable and
stage in the editing process; I am not sure I would then I have missed it. More often it just seems to bepioneering attempt
have had the courage to make such a change. bad writing. How else is one to account for a passageto get inside a truly
intractable text, and
Schenker's mention, on the other hand, of a quaver like the one describing the treatment of the 'conse-
one which makes a
diminution (f2-eb2-d2) which, after bars 13-14, quent' in the 'so-called second subject' (i.e. firstvaluable contribu-
'never reappears in the movement'21 - it does so in movement, bars 91-109: Schenker affects to despisetion to the literature
bar 630 and several other places - is simply puz- such expressions but uses them nevertheless)?in spite of its mis-
zling. There is also a reference, in the text,22 to a Schenker's treatment of this passage24 involves three reading of this one
I-II-V-I progression not shown at the relevant point reaching-over motives (i7bergreifmotive), in contrast (admittedly impor-
in the relevant Figure (3), even though another to the antecedent, which only uses one. In describ- tant) point. Urlin-
iemassig (p.82 of
I-II-V-I progression, clearly shown on the Figure, is ing these in the text, he makes extensive reference toSchenker's German
not mentioned anywhere in the text. Fig.3 in general Fig.13, which itself consists of three systems (label-
original) actually
comes off rather badly from Schenker's haphazard led a-c), as well as comparing it with Figs 10a and means 'behaving in
presentation. Nowhere is it made clear that this Fig- 10b. Fig.13a cannot be understood on its own, with-accordance with the
ure, which is simply introduced like all the rest, is of out reference to 13b, which in turn has to be read in Urlinie', or in terms
crucial importance for the understanding of the the light of the Foreground Graph; Fig.13b and theof one, meaning
that the line in
movement. The Foreground Graph for the first Foreground Graph, however, work together well.
question is in fact
movement (Bild 1), by which the reader is expected Nevertheless, the relationship of Fig.13b to 13a is the Urlinie and not
to orient himself for the rest of the piece, extends not obvious, especially as the three reaching-over something else.
over ten pages, and it is only by correlating it with motives shown on 13b are not the same as those Schenker is not ide-
Fig.3 that he can keep his place in the movement as shown on 13a. At the point in the text where Schen- ally lucid here. His
use of this word
a whole (part of Schenker's Fig.3 may be familiar to ker ought to be explaining this difference, he is in
raises doubt as to
readers from David Epstein's book Beyond Orpheus, fact discussing Fig.13c, though this Figure is whether not
the 'real'
where it is adduced to support an essentially referred to in the text until well into his discussion.
Urlinie descent
motivic, i.e. non-Schenkerian, reading of the first Fig.13c clarifies things enormously. When Schenker occurs in the first
movement23). But Schenker's discussion of this Fig- gets to his third reaching-over motive (bars 108-09) half of the move-
ure is any case unclear, on account of all the treach-he calls on no extra Figure, but, as if to compensate ment or the second
erous little words already mentioned. In such a situ- for any supposed loss, introduces the term 'reaching- (the most interest-
ation it is almost impossible for the translator to doout motion' (Ausholen). This term is not, however, ing feature of the
anything right (the politic thing would surely be to used on the Foreground Graph, which explains the analysis is sthat it
divides the finale
keep quiet, add the minimal necessary clarification passage as an unfolding (Auswicklung) of a seventh! into two halves,
and leave it to the reader to sort out the mess). It is at such moments that one thinks one really is each characterised
At this point one begins to suspect that the rela- in Kafka, and a character in Kafka, not just reading by its own Urlinie
tionship between text and graphic example is not as it. But instead of labouring the point that Schenker descent). Certainly
it sends Cavett-
straightforward as one would like it to be. William simply wasn't a very good writer - enough hostages


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Ex. 1

107 117 138 (140) 158 163 167 168 169 171 175 210 211 270 277

Ascent 3 (2 1)

Fig. 49 (C o m".) (C l
(Asc. 3-prg.) (Desc. 3-prg.)

(Asc.3-prg.) (Desc. 3-prg.)

[Some details omitted; annotations translated into English]

Dunsby up a blind
have been given to fortune already - let me try to which, for the most part, it is in perfect harmony.
alley. Quoting suggest
two why this was. Confusions in Schenker nearly But at the end of the passage27 - whether because
sentences from later
always arise when he is trying to express too many Schenker was tired, or because he simply had too
in the essay, she
argues that the sec-
thoughts at once. Many of his 'difficult' passages much to say - he lapses into apparent gibberish,
ond descent has have a density of ideas which can easily be helped referring to events that can have no possible con-
greater structural out by the judicious addition of a phrase in square nection with anything shown on the graph. Here, as
weight than the brackets. His discussion of the development section on other occasions, it seemed kindest to help him
first, 'even though is an example. Here, as so often, his technique is to out with a discreet footnote. In this footnote we
[Schenker] is
present a schematic version of what might happen - show that he was intent on pursuing at least three
unable, or uncon-
cerned, to indicate
in this case, Fig.21 - and then to show, by means ofdifferent lines of argument; it is when these argu-
this graphically' ments clash, or when one point gets sacrificed in
further graphs (Fig.22, which itself shows additional
(ibid.). It is true relationships, not discussed in the text), what order to make another, that confusion results.
that both descents Beethoven does in fact do.25 The 'schematic' Fig.21 Supposing, however, one got it wrong? Supposing
are marked in Figs has in addition to be read in the context of the there were connections that the translator hadn't
44 and 45. How-
equally schematic Fig.3, with its Bb-B -C-B-Bb
noticed? Then one could at least plead that the harm
ever, Fig.43 is movement in the bass - an idea which is attractive had been done in the footnote, where it is clear that
unequivocal in
showing that the on paper but (do I risk receiving a fatwa from
it is the translator's, and not in the text. There is a
Urlinie moves in the Schenkerian fundamentalists?) is not, perhaps, so further category of doubtful ideas or usages that I
two-line octave: in easily reconciled with the aural reality (but in usingprefer to think of as 'food for thought'. These include
other words, the that phrase I know I shall be in trouble from other his use of the term 'applied fugal technique', in pref-
first descent is the
quarters). The confusion results from his imagina- erence to 'fugato', in one part of the essay while the
'real' one. As
Schenker writes
tion seeing so many different possibilities - not all term
of 'fugato', referring to the same passage, is freely
near the beginning
them strictly relevant to the argument he is pursuing employed in another28 (in the analysis Schenker
of the finale section - and his wanting to share as many of them with the bends over backwards to avoid using the term
(p.74 of the Ger- reader as he can.26 'fugato', even though he insists on using other fugal
man), 'What follows Then again, there is the confusion that comes terminology while at the same time making it clear
is basically a repeti- near the end of Schenker's discussion of the fugato inthat this is not, in his opinion, a genuine fugue.
tion, or, to be more the second movement. This is a marvellous discus- Later, in the performance chapter (p.96), he talks of
precise, a coupling
of the two-line and sion, one of the best things in the essay, and fugato it is without any qualms); his seemingly indis-
accompanied by an equally marvellous graph with criminate use of d2(3), d3 and other such notations


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Fig. 24

284285 288 289 292 300 305

a2) -----of

322 325 331 362

b2) . . . .. -
5 - 6,(5) - 5,(3) 5

[Some details omitted]

(even Drabkin found himself mystified by these); three-line octaves

and the term Mittelstimme, which ideas.
seems inmust
He somehave been a marvellous
which contributes teach-
parts of the essay to denote a kind ofer:collective
the enthusiasm inner
that caused him to make nothing new to our
voice, consisting of all the inner voices put falling
mistakes, together,
over himself in his excite- understanding of
the Ursatz'.
in other parts not. As for the word
ment, wonurliniemassig
him many followers. And the greatness of
Whether one goes
(used in the section on the finale), it continues
his achievement to For all the reser-
is unquestionable. along with such an
exercise me to this day For on it hangs
vations I haveone's
above - the confused pre- explanation, which
interpretation of the finale, and at least
sentation, one writer
the mangled prose, the mixed metaphors implies that the
has come to grief believing it to mean that what
- the voice-leading at he pioneered re- movement is more
issue is not the actual Urlinie, top line
mains ofthe
by far the powerful means of under- or less over by bar
277, is of course
Fundamental Structure, but something merely
standing tonal cor- Nothing his de- another matter.
music yet devised.
responding to it or behaving like tractors
it.29 may say can change this. The sheer amount


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30. Structural func- of hard work behind his analyses - for the 'Eroica', ular, especially that of bars 233-59 (prima volta),
tions of harmony, ed. with the exception of a few passages he omitted (the actually looks like Schachter. Schachter, in introduc-
Leonard Stein (New
most famous of these is the recapitulation (Reprise) ing his article on durational reduction, renotated a
York, 1969),
pp.153-56. of the first movement, for which Schenker simply passage from an early Beethoven piano sonata,32 but
writes 'repeat' (Wiederholung)), he had to make ain the analysis of the 'Eroica' Schenker had already
31. And indeed decision for every single note - makes the work of done his work for him. Schachter, a generous man,
have done so, in the New Musicologists look effete; the rigour that would I am sure be the first to acknowledge this
two series of Cam- debt. It is also in connection with the Scherzo that
informs (most of) what he does makes Tovey, cer-
bridge seminars I
tainly a comparable figure, look unacceptably ad hoc, Schenker makes the first of his fascinating observa-
gave on the 'Eroica'
in 1989-91. There it Schoenberg (who analysed the development section tions on orchestration - 'an inspired example of the
was proved, if proof of the 'Eroica' in his Structural functions30) merely manipulation of registers by means of couplings, and
were needed, that amateurish, Adorno (a greater 'mind') splashy in his also an example of the only kind of instrumentation
one can get a lot out wanderings among socio-cultural issues; his concern that may be deemed convincing'33 - referring to a
of the graphs with- with the 'notes on the page' makes the critical aspi- style of 'organic instrumentation' that has only
out having to refer rations of the Berkeley/CUNY School (as if anyone recently begun to receive close study.
to Schenker's text at
could presume to judge a work like the 'Eroica'! - Anticipation of a different kind comes in Fig.49,
one might find fault with it, wish to rewrite certain dealing with part of the finale. I find this graph quite
32. 'Rhythm and mind-boggling. Especially powerful when read in
passages, even reject it; but judge it?) curiously irrel-
linear analysis: evant. In the last part of this article I want to list conjunction with the Foreground Graph, it shows
durational analysis', some of the really marvellous things in Schenker's prolongations of diminished and augmented inter-
in The Music Forum, essay, things which have stayed with me for all of the vals, the two combined in interlocking unfoldings:
vol.5 (New York,
seven years since I worked on it and which I think (ex.1). 'Dissonant prolongation', in other words,
1980), p.200.
will continue to stay with me. forty-three years before Robert P Morgan wrote his
33. p.85 of the First, the graphs, especially the Foreground groundbreaking article introducing the term.34 May-
German. Graphs and the most detailed middleground layer be some of the flak directed at Morgan - mostly by
before one gets to the Foreground Graphs (Fig.3 for hard-line Schenkerians, it has to be said - would
34. 'Dissonant pro- the first movement, Fig.28 for the second, Fig.33 for have been avoided had he mentioned this precedent
longations: theoreti-
the third and Fig.45 for the finale: these Figures are instead of the rather pallid example from Free com-
cal and composi-
tional precedents',
explicitly designed to show the 'play of registers' for position he actually used. For Schenker's Figure
in ournal of Music each movement but are in fact an indispensable clearly has implicit within it the potential for the
Theory, vol.20 adjunct to the even more detailed Foreground kind of analysis Morgan carries out on Schubert,
(1976). Graphs). These could serve as a guide to the sym-Liszt and Wagner, as well as most of the equally con-
phony on their own.31 Two passages in particulartroversial analysis conducted by Salzer.35
35. See especially stand out in the memory: Schenker's treatment of the I have quoted Fig.49 selectively (it has a third
Structural hearing
four fifth-progressions that make up the latter part of layer, c), but I wanted to focus on the central portion
(New York: Dover,
1962 [first pub- the first movement exposition (again, a schematic of the graph (bars 140-71), where the dissonant pro-
lished 1952]). idea, and one that is applied a little too schematicallylongations are shown most plainly. I also wanted to
- Schenker's third fifth-progression, for example,emphasise that these Figures have to be read verti-
36. One of consists of nothing more than a series of quavers cally, - that it is in the interaction of the different lay-
Schenker's main
but without it one would not have the extraordinary ers that the key to understailding lies. This is not a
points (he is so
fond of it that he
voice-leading analysis of bars 45-57 and bars new message, but it always bears repeating, espe-
makes it twice) 109-44), and his discussion, already mentioned, of cially when the graphs are as relatively unfamiliar as
would not be lost the second movement fugato. they are in this case. Schenker's Figure showing the
on modern conduc- His description of the end of the funeral marchlater - stages of the first movement development sec-
tors of the 'Eroica': a classic piece of Schoenbergian liquidation - is re- tion (Fig.24) looks like a semiologist's graph (well,
of the coda to the
markable, too, though not so much for its explana- he was an early structuralist after all) (ex.2). Here
first movement, 'all
conductors tell the
tory power as for its poetic language. The final sen- two parallel passages - bars 284-305 and 322-62 -
tence, 'We bury the corpse of the first diminution are superimposed in order to bring out the corre-
trumpet to play g2
[sounding bb2] at stripped of its metrical and rhythmical soul', is much spondences (the vertical alignment is slightly less
this point.., this is more than a piece of 'fine writing'; it is hermeneutics clear in the original). The differences between the
wrong'. Later he at its best, based on detailed technical observation two passages are made amply clear in Schenker's
condemns this prac- and achieving eloquence. text.
tice as 'trite, even
Metrical analysis of another kind pervades the This manner of superimposing things leads me to
crude'. See pp.89, section devoted to the Scherzo. Here Schenker looks the last thing I want to say about Schenker's essay.
95 of the German.
beyond the conventional, Riemann-dominated met- (and I have said nothing about his chapter on the
rical analysis of his time - there is much discussion musical text, which is surely required reading, de-
of 'weak' and 'strong' bars, though always apposite - some trivial inaccuracies, for anyone preparing
and anticipates Carl Schachter (who, of course, has an Urtext edition;36 or his chapter on performance,
built his entire life's work on Schenker). He notates in which, half a century before Roger Norrington, he
the Foreground Graph in such a way as to bring insists out on the rightness of Beethoven's metronome
the hypermetre; and the graph of the Trio, in partic- marks; or his chapter on the literature (only Halm


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3 (2)-2 N 3 A2 1

3 5- 17
1 _/V I V I

3- N3 1 3 N 33

Fig. 31 Fig. 40
[abridged] -


Fig. 43 N 2 AI

Fig. 44]
Fig. 44] Ii (111) V I

and Nottebohm are considered superimposed;

worth and they can literally be superim-
mentioning).) Music examples are
As everyone knows, Schenker posed, if one takes the everything
reduced background graphs and to ? Cambridge
University Press and
'Three blind mice'. This isthe a middleground
stupid graphs remark which
(too lengthy to be repro-
reproduced by kind
pales into insignificance asduced soon here) as
as one's
one exemplar
looks (ex.3). at
The tale
any theypermission.
one graph in detail. But if tell anyis different
one and yet the same.
graph, why Each onenotconcerns
whole series of graphs? One the history
of the of a neighbour
most note (Ab). To read this
Volumes 1 & 2 of
musical experiences of myhistory lifein wasfull onetohas to read Schenker's
hold all three text. But
Schenker's The mas-
middleground graphs (I mean, the graphs,the middleground
taken together, say more about the unity terwork in music are
graphs of the three Eb movements) of the 'Eroica' than before
any words could me do. and
It is already
an available.
realise that in each of them Beethoven
inspiring message, and it- hasBeethoven,
been a privilege to be Vol.3 will be pub-
not Schenker - was sayinginvolved the in samespreading the message
thing. a little wider.
There islished early next
a sense in which the three Eb movements can all be From now on let Schenker speak for himself. year.


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