The Musical Idea and the Logic, Technique, and Art of Its Presentation, New Paperback English Edition

The Musical Idea and the Logic, Technique, and Art of Its Presentation, New Paperback English Edition

Arnold Schoenberg, foreword by Walter Frisch, edited by Walter Frisch, translated by Walter Frisch
Distribution: World
Publication date: 07/18/2006
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21835-3
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The Gedanke manuscripts, from which The Musical Idea is compiled, are legendary writings of Arnold Schoenberg. Central to his concern was his concept of the "musical idea," which represents the wholeness of the musical work and embraces Schoenberg’s notions of motive, gestalt, phrase, theme, rhythm, harmony, and form. Ultimately, the musical idea is the vision of the composer by which a musical work achieves unity in relation to the means by which the work is comprehended in its unity by the listener.

Author Bio

Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) is one of the most prominent figures in 20th-century music and musical thought, perhaps best known for his development of Twelve Tone theory.

Patricia Carpenter (1923–2000) was Professor Emerita, Barnard College, and former Vice President of the Society for Music Theory.

Severine Neff is currently Eugene Falk Distinguished Professor in the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


“Based on the legendary Gedanke manuscripts of Arnold Schoenberg, The Musical Idea is one of the most important documents in 20th-century musical thought. Finally available in an affordable paperback edition, this book is a must for any complete musical library.”

“ . . . [this book] is the single best volume extant if one wishes to learn about the technical conception of music held by one of the greatest composers (and greatest music educators) of modern times.”
 — MLA Notes

“This book is easy to read because there is no analysis without aim, no theoretical viewing without connections to genuine musical aspects.April 2007”
 — Eike Feβ, Besprechungen

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Table of Contents

Foreword (2006) by Walter Frisch
List of Abbreviations of Cited Sources
Editors' Preface
Schoenberg's View of Art
Schoenberg's Preface
The Musical Idea
Comprehensibility and Coherence
Theory of Form
The Constructive Function of Harmony
The Musical Idea and the Logic, Technique, and Art of Its Presentation
Preface and Overview
Title Page
Principles of the Presentation of the Idea
Plan of the Book
The Profundity of the Idea and Its Realization as a Standard
The Musical Idea and the Logic, Technique, and Art of Its Presentation
Idea (1 and 2)
The Idea in the Contrapuntal Art of Composition and Its Presentation
Principles of Construction
Laws of Comprehensibility
The Laws of Musical Coherence
Elements of Form
The Parts of a Piece
Elements of Form
Grundgestalt and Motive
The Difference Between Gestalt and Phrase
Features of the Motive
Stable Formation
Loose Formation
Sonority as a Formative Element
Classification of Rhythms
Accentuation and Nonaccentuation
Formal Procedures
[Formal Procedures]
Change, Variation, Variant, Varying
Kinds of Variation
Coherence of "New Components"
Mirror Forms
Cadential Fall
Kinds of Connection
Technique of Joining
Dissolution, Liquidation
Tendency of the Smallest Notes
The Structural Capacities of the Scale
Wave-Shaped Progression
Contrasts (Contrasting Themes)
Digression from the Main Idea
Principal Idea, Subsidiary Idea
Subordinate Theme
Secondary, Tertiary, etc. Gestalten and Motives
The Shaping of Principal and Subordinate (Acc