UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Harmony and voice-leading in music by Philippe Gaubert : innovation in a traditional context Simpson, Rebecca Suzanne


Philippe Gaubert, French composer and flutist (1879-1941), began his musical career in the creative and innovative atmosphere of the late nineteenth-early twentieth centuries. While much of his music appears to follow the traditions of the common practice period quite closely, it displays peculiarities that prompt the development and application of less traditional analytical concepts. To be sure, his music projects an overall impression of simplicity and familiarity, but there are many instances where Gaubert appears to deliberately avoid the fundamentals of tonality and for which traditional analytical concepts do not suffice. This thesis explores, in Part 1, the ways in which the dominant-tonic cadence and other harmonic expectations are avoided, and in Part 2, the manner in which traditional voice-leading and counterpoint are supplemented with new approaches to pitch organization within a diatonic or nearly-diatonic context. More specifically, Part 1 discusses dominant substitution, non-traditional harmonic progressions/modulations, and the use of non-diatonic, symmetrical pitch-class collections (hexatonic, octatonic, and whole tone), as found in the first movement of Gaubert's "Troisieme Sonate" (1933), while Part 2 discusses unusual voice-leading techniques and symmetrical (but mainly diatonic) pitch and pitch-class arrangements, as found mostly in the "Scherzo-Valse" movement of his "Suite" (1921).

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