Textural Ambiguity In The Piano Music Of Johannes Brahms
This dissertation examines textural ambiguity in the piano music of Johannes Brahms and contextualizes this aspect of his compositional style with discussions of nineteenth-century performance practice, and changes in piano building during Brahms?s life. Recent analyses of Brahms?s music have emphasized several types of ambiguity encountered, including metrical, harmonic, and formal ambiguity. This dissertation focuses on Brahms?s use of textural ambiguity: specifically, his frequent obscuring of thematic lines, obscuring the identity of individual lines in polyphonic works, and fluctuating hierarchies among individual voices. The question of balance and melodic clarity has been a primary concern for scholars concerned with historically-informed performance of Brahms?s music. However, many of these scholars have misinterpreted Brahms?s piano-writing, and misconstrued historical evidence as to Brahms?s preferences regarding instrument. This dissertation proposes new ways of understanding the relationship between Brahms?s music and changes in piano building based on analysis of his textures, and a consideration of late-ninteenth-century treatises on performance and composition.
Brahms; Piano Music
dissertation or thesis