Academic Commons

Articles

Experiencing Structure in Penderecki’s Threnody: Analysis, Ear-Training, and Musical Understanding

Kozak, Mariusz S.

Elliott Carter once extolled the visceral, primitive effect of Penderecki’s Threnody on untrained listeners. In this article, I examine how a formalized analytical approach to the central section of the piece contributes positively to a phenomenological experience of the whole piece. Part 1 presents an ear-training progression aimed at bringing to attention some important structural relationships between pitched elements of the passage, including pitch-space transformations that act on chordal-density compressions. Part 2 initially questions the relevance of transformational analysis––construed as an enactment of a particular kind of understanding––to the experience of Threnody, ultimately favoring a transformational hearing of the work. The conclusion points out how a rationalized ear-training allows a listener to chart an auditory course through the passage and how the resulting experience can illuminate a new way of conceptualizing Penderecki’s intricate sonic materials.

Files

  • thumnail for Kozak_Penderecki_Threnody_MTS_38_2__Published.pdf Kozak_Penderecki_Threnody_MTS_38_2__Published.pdf application/pdf 1.07 MB Download File

More Information

Published In
Music Theory Spectrum
Publisher DOI
https://doi.org/10.1093/mts/mtw015
Volume
38
Issue
2
Pages
200 - 217
Academic Units
Music
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.