Schubert, chromaticism, and the ascending 5-6 sequence

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A diverse selection of wondrously creative renderings by Franz Schubert of the ascending 5-6 sequence serves as the foundation for a reeevaluation of the procedure and of the analytical tools used to describe it and to assess its role within a musical and (for texted music) poetical context. A range of late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century thought on both sequential progression and harmonic analysis in general, by Emanuel Aloys Förster, Johann Philipp Kirnberger, and Gottfried Weber, among others, is assayed. Opportunities for chromaticism within the 5 and 6 phases of the 5-6 cycle are separately considered. The 5-phase trajectories are classified as diatonic, idiosyncratic, or obstinate. Despite its long history and current dominance, the mode of analysis based on Roman numerals and tonicizations is eschewed for sequential progressions. Instead, the connective role of sequential progressions within broader harmonic progressions is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-275
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Music Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


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