Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Wallace C. McKenzie


Webern's String Quartet in A Minor (ca. 1907), M.121 has survived in fair-copy performance parts for violin II and cello and twenty-six pages of sketches. In this study, the score has been reconstructed on the basis of those sources. This intensely expressive composition, which, with 269 measures, is one of Webern's most extensive movements, exhibits great motivic concentration, richly polyphonic texture, and sections in which tonality is suspended. Evidence suggests that it was played under Webern's direction. In Chapter I, the nature and extent of the problems encountered in reconstructing the score are described. Autograph sources are incomplete for some sections of the quartet, and for other sections the surviving sources leave Webern's intentions unclear. It has been possible to derive about two-thirds of the violin I part and about three-fourths of the viola part from the sketches. Sections for which no sketches exist have been reconstructed by this writer on the basis of internal logic. For about one-fourth of the quartet, the sketches leave Webern's intentions unclear because of (1) unclear notation, (2) multiple versions of sketches with no indication of preference, and (3) discrepancies between the fair-copy parts and the sketches. Chapter II describes and evaluates the autograph sources. Comparison of the fair-copy parts with the sketches identifies portions of the quartet for which no sketches exist or in which sketches do not match the fair-copy parts. Where the sketches do not match the parts, the discrepancies are described. In Chapter III, the reconstruction of sections in which the autograph sources leave Webern's intentions unclear is described. The cause of the uncertainty in each of these sections is indicated and the rationale behind the reconstruction is presented. Chapter IV is concerned with reconstruction of sections of the quartet for which no sketches exist. The reconstructive process, based on fair-copy parts, analogous sections, and the immediate context, is described. Chapter V describes the style of the quartet, pointing out relationships to other works by Webern and Schoenberg from the 1905-1908 period. The complete reconstructed score of Webern's String Quartet in A Minor (ca. 1907), M.121, constitutes the Appendix.