A Study of Melodic Peaks

Zohar Eitan

224 pages | 7 x 10
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512801897 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume

In Highpoints Zoltan Eitan investigates a universal melodic phenomenon—the melodic peak—in Western repertories ranging from eighteenth-century Galant music to twentieth-century Expressionism. Using "hard" statistical analysis, Eitan examines the rhythmic, melodic, harmonic, and dynamic configurations associated with contour peaks in the music of Haydn, Chopin, and Berg, three composers of decidedly different t musical casts. This empirical examination serves as a starting point in Eitan's exploration of the structural and expressive functions of melodic shape in these diverse bodies of music.

Melodic contour has received increasing attention from psychologists, music theorists, and ethnomusicologists partially because, unlike functional tonal relationships, it is a universal facet of auditory patterning and may be strongly related to primeval, "natural" aspects of perception. By focusing on this elemental aspect, rather than on pitch syntax or conventional form, the author provides fresh insights into the work of the individual composers he discusses as well as an innovative approach to broad issues of musical style and style change. Highpoints concludes with a discussion, drawing on empirical findings, of melodic gesture and syntax as distinct, independent dimensions of style, style boundaries, and style change.

Zohar Eitan is Professor of Music at Tel Aviv University.

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