• Rebecca Day (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Rotational form and the double-tonic complex: Towards a metatemporal analysis of the opening movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony

The categorization of tonal strategies in what has been termed the ‘second practice’ of the Nineteenth-Century has advanced a plausible and convincing understanding of the relations of fin-de-siécle music to many of the conventions that precede it. Yet, analyses that focus on tonal considerations often overlook the overall effects of such processes on the rhetorical and structural aspects of this music. What happens to the thematic rotations of a sonata form, for instance, when the larger structure carves space for a second tonic? The opening movement of Mahler’s Third Symphony offers one such example, where rhetorical characteristics interact with these tonal processes to go as far as to construct the space for a secondary sonata form within parenthesis, complete with a distinct tonal and rhetorical outline.

This paper expands upon the above statement through a rotational reading of the first movement, and turns the possibility of such a secondary structural space into a question of analytical temporality. How is it possible that multiple forms with individual tonal and rhetorical rotations might unfold within a singular linear structure? Using Christopher Lewis’s readings of ‘process time’ against ‘retrospective time’ in post-romantic music, the analysis advances a ‘metatemporal’ reading of the movement that suspends the linear unfolding of the form within a perspective that incorporates the musical past, present, and future as a complete and current reality in order to reveal some of the more intricate relations between fin-de-siécle rhetorical and tonal characteristics.
Period2 Apr 20163 Apr 2016
Event typeConference
LocationUniversity of Liverpool in London, United KingdomShow on map