Read my TAGS Prize Essay on Sibelius’s little-known Worker’s March (Työkansan Marssi) in the Society for Music Analysis’s April 2020 Newsletter here. The essay lays out a new theory of ‘rotational projection’ and contextualises Sibelius’s march amid the politicisation of language in 1890s Finland before applying adapted Schenkerian voice-leading Analysis and considering Theodor W. Adorno’s material theoretical category of Erfüllung [Fulfilment] to understand the small ternary form of the song.
This was first presented at the SMA’s Theory & Analysis Graduate Student Conference at University of Edinburgh (April 2019).
The Sonata Type Tree is an interactive tree diagram that visually represents James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy’s rotationally-defined Sonata Types 1, 2, 3 and 4, as theorised in Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late Eighteenth-Century Sonata. The Tree can be used as a pedagogical or research tool to investigate the alternative trajectories of each type including the points that they diverge from one another, and converge. It is a work in progress right now, but here is a preview:
I hope it might be used as an introduction to the types and as a revision tool for students too.
What it is not.
It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway: my Sonata Type Tree is merely a visual representation of the first four sonata types defined by Hepokoski and Darcy. It does not account for the whole gamut of norms, defaults, or deformations discussed in the book or anywhere else. The tree is also a representation of a theory, not an analysis, and should be approached with the same critical eyes and ears as any other music theory that makes generalising claims. The diagram is not a concrete depiction of how the types manifest in individual works or a definitive guide to how a sonata form should be constructed or heard. And it’s certainly not ‘the answers’.
What is more, there are plenty of other convincing sonata theories out there, and plenty of theorists that raise convincing criticisms of the four sonata types. While it is beyond the scope of this post to consider such criticisms in detail, a few worth noting include an apparent lack of statistical evidence to support the existence of norms and types; a bias towards the music of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven in the examples that support these claims; and the conceptual unavailability of sonata types to these composers other than Type 3. I have included some of the reviews that raise these concerns in the bibliography below.
Subscribe to this blog to explore the Sonata Type Trajectory Tree when it’s launched!
‘Introduction to the Sonata Type Trajectory Tree’, Klang! A Music Theory + Analysis Blog
Drabkin, William, ‘Mostly Mozart’, Reviewed Work: Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata by James Hepokoski, Warren Darcy, The Musical Times, Vol. 148, No. 1901 (Winter, 2007), 89-100.
Galand, Joel, Reviewed Work: Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata by James Hepokoski, Warren Darcy, Journal of Music Theory, Vol. 57, No. 2 (Fall 2013), 383-418.
Hepokoski, James A.. and Darcy, Warren, Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2006, rev. ed. 2011).
Horton, Julian, ‘Bruckner’s Symphonies and Sonata Deformation Theory’, Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, 1 (2005), 5-17.
______, ‘Criteria for a theory of nineteenth-century sonata form.’, Music Theory and Analysis, 4 (2) (2017), 147-191.
Hunt, Graham G., Reviewed Work: Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata by James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy, Theory and Practice, Vol. 32 (2007), 213-238.
Monahan, Seth, Mahler’s Symphonic Sonatas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).
Wingfield, Paul, ‘Beyond “Norms and Deformations”: Towards a Theory of Sonata Form as Reception History’: Reviewed Work: Elements of Sonata Theory: Norms, Types, and Deformations in the Late-Eighteenth-Century Sonata by James Hepokoski, Warren Darcy, Music Analysis, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Mar., 2008), 137-177.
In Schenkerian theory, the descending steps of the Fundamental harmonic structure (the Urlinie) as well as the steps of linear progressions are referred to by their degree of distance from the tonic.
These are scale degrees (Stufe).
For instance, the note G in the key of C major is scale degree 5 and the note E is scale degree 3.
Scale degrees are indicated with a caret symbol (or hat) directly above the scale degree number. Several fonts that offer a caret symbol like Bach Musicology Font (Character 0222), can be downloaded for free but it can be fiddly to use one font for the body of your text another one for the scale degrees, especially if you decide to change font halfway through what you are writing.
To avoid this problem, the equation function in MS Word can be used to create carets.
Follow these steps to create your own scale degrees in MS Word (Apple).
Select Insert > Equation. A blue equation box will appear.
2. Type the scale-degree number in the box that appears and highlight the number.
3. Select the ‘Accent’ button on the ‘Equation Tools’ tab and choose the hat symbol.
4. A caret will appear above the number to turn it into a Schenkerian scale degree.
NOTE: The hat will stretch over several numbers so click away from the equation box to avoid this.