Jason Hooper, speaker (Music Theory faculty, UMass Amherst)
Schenker's Conception of Sonata Form before the Urlinie: History, Theory & Aesthetics
Heinrich Schenker famously dismissed previous theories of sonata form in Der freie Satz (1935), replacing those approaches with one based on an interrupted Ursatz and its elaboration. However, before this late work—indeed, before the discovery of the Urlinie in 1920—a more traditional conception of sonata form is implicit in both his published writings and unpublished notes. This paper reconstructs this theory, beginning with the combination of motives into periods and groups, followed by the disposition of groups within a three-part exposition. Special consideration is given to the different ways the first and second groups may relate to the transition section, while analyses of Beethoven’s late piano sonatas and Haydn’s string quartets are used to illustrate these ideas. By rehabilitating his early Formenlehre, we are given a new context to reconsider Schenker’s late work and its relationship to more recent theories of form.