Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



During the latter half of the twentieth century there was a marked shift in the way that many scholars approached analysis of late-nineteenth-century tonality. This shift in approach was motivated by the behavior and interaction of harmonic and melodic entities encountered in the music of the great composers of the nineteenth century, such as Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Mahler, Wagner, and Strauss. The question arose: did the diatonic system remain at the heart of tonality during the late nineteenth century, or—as some propose—did a new chromatic-based tonality emerge? The acceptance of this new chromatic-based tonality is at the heart of this project. In order to address the acceptance of this premise, this dissertation brings together two disparate strands of research and posits a system termed the tonal-chromatic scale. First, the writings of Mitchell, Marra, and Proctor help define the need for and structure of a chromatic scale that implies tonal function; second, the mechanics of transformational theory, stemming from the work of Lewin underpins the methodology of the system. The recent work of Rings is an influential aspect of the methodology. Throughout past century, different analysts have used a myriad of methodologies to explore the complex musical language of Gustav Mahler. Mahler’s work represents an important turning point in the evolution of tonal music. Specifically, his work contributed to the onset of and evolution toward the complete breakdown of tonality. The chromatic tendencies in Mahler’s music make it an especially relevant candidate for analysis using this type of system. Even though his music exhibits an inordinate amount of chromaticism, the pillars of functional tonality are still operative. Three selected works of Gustav Mahler serve as the examples of the analytical usefulness of the proposed system: 1) the first movement of the Piano Quartet in A minor, which was composed as a student at the Vienna conservatory; 2) the fourth movement of Symphony no. 5, Adagietto; and 3) Kindertotenlieder, no. 2, “Nun seh’ ich wohl, warum so dunkle Flammen.”



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Peck, Robert



Included in

Music Commons