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The First Four Notes of Lulu

  • George Perle

Abstract

For me, the first and most striking fact about the four-note figure that opens the opera Lulu (Example 1) is the important role that the same figure plays in certain works by Béla Bartók.

Keywords

Basic Cell Symmetrical Relation Tonal Music Pitch Class Pitch Level 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Joseph Frank, ‘Spatial Form in Modern Literature’, Criticism: the Foundations of Literary Judgment, ed. Mark Schorer et al (New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1958), p. 383.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    George Perle, Serial Composition and Atonality (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 5th edn, 1981).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    George Perle, The Operas of Alban Berg,, vol. 2: Lulu (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    George Perle, ‘Symmetrical Formations in the String Quartets of Béla Bartók’, Music Review, vol. 16 (1955), pp. 300–312.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Leo Treitler, ‘Harmonic Procedures in the Fourth Quartet of Béla Bartók’, Journal of Music Theory, vol. 3 (1959), pp. 292–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    George Perle, ‘The Music of Lulu: a New Analysis’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 12 (1959), pp. 185–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 8.
    George Perle, Twelve-Tone Tonality (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1977), pp. 166–7.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    See George Perle, ‘Scriabin’s Self-Analyses’, Music Analysis, vol. 3 (1984), pp. 101–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 11.
    Arthur Berger was the first to draw attention to the relevance of the octatonic scale to Stravinsky’s music and the first to call that scale by this name: ‘Problems of Pitch Organization in Stravinsky’, Perspectives of New Music, vol. 2, no. 1 (fall–winter 1963), pp. 11–42. Pieter C. van den Toorn, The Music of Igor Stravinsky (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983) is an exhaustive study of octatonicism in Stravinsky.Google Scholar
  10. For the Russian sources of the octatonic scale see Richard Taruskin, ‘Chernomor to Kashchei: Harmonic Sorcery; or, Stravinsky’s “Angle”’, Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 38 (1985), pp. 72–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 12.
    For the role of the octatonic scale and of symmetry in general in the music of Bartók, see Elliott Antokoletz, The Music of Béla Bartók (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984).Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Douglas Jarman, ‘Dr. Schön’s Five-Strophe Aria: Some Notes on Tonality and Pitch Association in Berg’s Lulu’, Perspectives of New Music, vol. 8, no. 2 (spring–summer 1970), pp. 23–48. In ‘Alban Berg: the Origins of a Method’, Music Analysis, vol. 6 (1987), pp. 273–88, Jarman shows how Berg exploits Basic Cell I in association with symmetrical formations as early as the Altenberg Songs.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Perle

There are no affiliations available

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