Meeting 6. Phrase Expansion

Review of phrase connections and hypermetrical irregularities

Based on Rothstein, Phrase Rhythm in Tonal Music, chapter 2

Both phrase overlap and metrical reinterpretation have to do with a contraction of musical material.  Something new begins early.

In phrase overlap, the final element of a phrase is also the first element of the next.

In metrical reinterpretation, an expected weak (hyper)beat is reinterpreted as a strong (hyper)beat.

Metrical reinterpretation occurs, it seems, only in conjunction with a phrase overlap.  Phrase overlap can occur without metrical reinterpretation.


Examples from Rothstein

Example 2.20. Beethoven, Piano Sonata in C Major, Op. 2, No. 3, first movement, mm. 1-13.

Discussion of Phrase Connections in Beethoven Excerpt

Example 2.30. Mozart, Quintet in C Major, K. 515, first movement, mm. 1-24.

Discussion of Hypermetrical Anomalies in Mozart Excerpt

Example 2.18. Verdi, “De’ miei bollenti spiriti,” from La Traviata.

Discussion of Meter in Verdi Excerpt


The Basic Phrase and Prototypes for the Basic Phrase

The basic phrase is the essentials of the phrase, with all the phrase expansions stripped away.  A prototype is a demonstration of how the basic phrase would have sounded.

Supporting an analysis involving expansion: three kinds of prototype.

1. A completely hypothetical prototype.  Demonstration by recomposition.

Show how the phrase could have been without the expansions by rewriting the music.  It is important that the voice leading still works despite the omission of expansions.

2. Literal prototype

A phrase elsewhere in the work that does not include the expansions.  The basic phrase actually occurs elsewhere in the score

3. Middleground prototype

This is a hypothetical phrase located at the middleground of a Schenkerian analysis, where all the essentials of the phrase are present, but the expansions are not.

Prototypes for the Basic Phrase


Phrase Expansions

Phrase expansions fall into three categories: prefixes, internal expansions, and suffixes.


Phrase Expansions


Examples of Phrase Expansion:

Lennon and McCartney, “Michelle”

Brahms, A Major Violin Sonata, first movement

Haydn, String Quartet in C Major, Op. 74, No. 1, Menuetto



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