Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



In this dissertation, I examine four works by Chopin and address issues of expressive performance derived from principles of the nineteenth-century Swiss theorist, Mathis Lussy (1828-1910). Lussy’s systematic approach into the understanding and organization of the individual phrase in relation with performance practice resembles many recent theories of rhythm and performance methodologies. As have several recent theorists, Lussy sought the causes of expressive performance in the structure of the musical phrase, rather than a performer’s artistic intuition, and identified a tripartite classification of accent. The purpose of this study is to adapt and expand the application of Lussy’s theory of accent, rhythm, and expression as a basis for performance as it relates to a discussion and analysis of the four selected works by Chopin in conjunction with critical appraisal of recent literature. Topics of discussion include metrical and hypermetrical analyses, grouping structure issues, questions of initial and terminal articulations, expressive accents, and variations of tempo and dynamics as they relate to expressive performance. Each of the works that I have chosen traces a different form, and this allows comparison among different arrangements of phrase and periodic structures. My performative and analytic recommendations and suggestions are compared and contrasted with other published analyses—by Edward T. Cone, Harald Krebs, John Rink, and William Rothstein, among others. The analyses include selected passages from the Prelude, Op. 28, No. 7 in A major; the Mazurka, Op. 7, No. 2 in A minor; the Prelude Op. 28, No. 17 in A-flat major; and the Etude Op. 10, No. 3 in E major. Using Lussy’s precepts, along with additional commentary, I formulate alternative ways to perform and to connect short segments and ways to shape their successions into convincing larger and expressive designs.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Smyth, David H.



Included in

Music Commons