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TENSION-THEORY
AND STRUCTURE LAYER
in
Aural Analysis
If you focus on the tunes, and the phrases.
You may be understanding the piece in a
Schönbergian approach, called the
PHRASE ANALYSIS
If you focus on the slow-fast, or the
quiet-loud organization,
you may be understanding the piece in a
Ernst Kurth’s approach, called the
TENSION-THEORY
AND STRUCTURE LAYER
in music analysis
PHRASE ANALYSIS let you see – in
objective ways – how the elements
of music are organized. But this
objective picture can be varied
in one way, or another in
real-time performance.
Knowing the objective
ways does not always
guarantee us a full
vision of an art.
Tension theory allows us to see more into
the music than mere noting how tunes are
structured; how the harmonies are varied;
how the music is organized, etc. It is useful
to inform us the differences when the same
pieces are played in a variety of ways.
Benefit from wave-editing software, Kurth’s
tension theory can be a powerful tool for
aural analysis
Kurth, Ernst
(b Vienna, 1 June 1886; d Berne, 2 Aug 1946)
Swiss musicologist, studied with Adler and Gund, Kurth was a creative
thinker who was able to impart to his deeply intuitive and dynamic
approach to music. He published a number of works both to musicology
and philosophy.
Kurth’s most extensive work was that on Bruckner (1925), where in
addition to providing an acute biographical study, he developed his
theory of musical form: findings are summarized in Musikpsychologie
(1931), where music & sound are regarded as proceeding from the
composer’s being – this philosophical basis of Kurth’s thought stems
from Schopenhauer’s conception of music as the of music as the
manifestation of a will that created both the world and its culture.
KURT VON FISCHER