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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aspects of structure in Gabriel Fauré’s Le jardin clos and related works Skoumal, Zdenek Denny


Despite an ever-increasing number of specialized studies in music theory, only a limited number can be found which examine the music of Gabriel Faure. Most discussions of this music are in context of a historical overview, with emphasis on Faure's use of modality. This thesis presents detailed analyses of songs from the cycle Le Jardin Clos, Op. 106, and highlights several aspects of Faure's style. Various earlier songs are brought into the discussion in order to trace stylistic development and present evidence for views taken with regard to Le Jardin Clos. Although modality is periodically discussed (particularly in Chapters III and IV), the focus is not on this feature. Chapter I introduces the notion of ambiguity, a problem encountered commonly in the analysis of Faure's music. It then proceeds to point out one source of ambiguity--harmonic progressions derived from the implications inherent in the motions of outer voices. Particular attention is given to instances where the outer voices move "in contrary motion to create wedge-shaped structures. In this chapter, linear motion is emphasized. Chapter II turns to various structures of third-relation. The most extended portion of the chapter is devoted to a discussion of the "superchord", a tertian structure which, although heard in segments only, appears as a controlling element in larger areas of music. Distinction is made between this phenomenon and a normal progression in thirds (i-VI-iv). Other structures related to the superchord are also considered. The last example of Chapter II shows a structure based on a combination of a tertian design and a wedge shape. In Chapter III, various non-traditional ways of treating the leading tone are examined. In addition to leading tones which are lowered (in modal and tonal contexts) or avoided, the discussion concentrates on melodic lines which rise to the leading tone and retreat downward. Chapter IV reviews melodic characteristics encountered up to that point, and, with the addition of further features, presents a melody typical of Faure's later style. The major issue in this chapter concerns melodies that center around the fifth degree of the scale. The final chapter returns to the topic of ambiguity by discussing instances where two tonal centers are juxtaposed. This feature of Faure's music is distinguished from bitonality, as the latter is generally understood.

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