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The musico-poetics of the flat submediant in Schubert's songs

The musico-poetics of the flat submediant in Schubert's songs
The musico-poetics of the flat submediant in Schubert's songs
Composers’ increasing and increasingly evocative use of chromatic mediants during the first few decades of the nineteenth century is arguably a hallmark of early Romantic harmony. The apparent association in Schubert’s songs between ♭VI and the representation of utopia, fantasy, reverie, dreams and other positive, other-worldly states has been noted by many scholars. However, the fact that he also occasionally employed ♭VI to portray darker sentiments is rarely commented on and questions the degree to which the ♭VI harmony itself acts as a positive, other-worldly signifier. This article accounts for these various opposing uses and proposes that surface voice-leading details (ones that are often overlooked by Schenkerian and neo-Riemannian approaches) are key to understanding the musico-poetics of ♭VI in Schubert’s songs.
Franz Schubert, song, harmony, voice leading, flat-VI, flattened submediant, otherworldliness
1471-6933
239-286
Bretherton, David
5d675429-1285-4ab3-9e59-3907afc60390
Bretherton, David
5d675429-1285-4ab3-9e59-3907afc60390

Bretherton, David (2019) The musico-poetics of the flat submediant in Schubert's songs. Journal of the Royal Musical Association, 144 (2), 239-286. (doi:10.1080/02690403.2019.1651495).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Composers’ increasing and increasingly evocative use of chromatic mediants during the first few decades of the nineteenth century is arguably a hallmark of early Romantic harmony. The apparent association in Schubert’s songs between ♭VI and the representation of utopia, fantasy, reverie, dreams and other positive, other-worldly states has been noted by many scholars. However, the fact that he also occasionally employed ♭VI to portray darker sentiments is rarely commented on and questions the degree to which the ♭VI harmony itself acts as a positive, other-worldly signifier. This article accounts for these various opposing uses and proposes that surface voice-leading details (ones that are often overlooked by Schenkerian and neo-Riemannian approaches) are key to understanding the musico-poetics of ♭VI in Schubert’s songs.

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Bretherton, in preparation 2017 - Author's Original
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Bretherton The Musico-poetics of flat-VI in Schubert's songs rev + db - Accepted Manuscript
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JRMA email thread re Bretherton 'accepted manuscript' [evidence of REF eligibility]
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More information

Submitted date: 21 April 2017
Accepted/In Press date: 22 January 2018
Published date: 30 September 2019
Keywords: Franz Schubert, song, harmony, voice leading, flat-VI, flattened submediant, otherworldliness

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421261
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421261
ISSN: 1471-6933
PURE UUID: 1d88dd78-1e76-4cd3-9cd7-2dd9b1439471

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 29 May 2018 16:31
Last modified: 16 Nov 2021 05:02

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