Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Joseph Straus

Committee Members

Philip Lambert

Norman Carey

Sylvia Kahan

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Music


Schoenberg, Phantasy, Op. 47, Form


Scholars have long debated the form of Schoenberg’s Phantasy for Violin and Piano accompaniment, Op. 47, his last instrumental work. The numerous accounts (by Rufer, Lewin, Lester, Hasty, Hyde, and others) have variously proposed a pseudo-sonata, a three-part, and a four-part form. This dissertation suggests that the piece is best thought of as a multi-layered four-part form, in which the thematic pattern ABB1A1 is found at every structural level, from the phrase up to the entire work. An intriguing compositional sketch found on the Schoenberg Center’s website inspired the exploration of a four-part form with elements of symmetry. Linear graphs and rectangular outlines of the form of the Phantasy illustrate Schoenberg’s concept of symmetry within the four-part design on every level.

My analysis suggests that Schoenberg creates the Phantasy with the principal hexachord [F, G, A, Bb, B, C#] sc 6-21 (023468) as the Grundgestalt and combines it with its combinatorially related inversion to construct the prime row, P10, with a micro “abba” design. Schoenberg composes four-part patterns on every level culminating in an overall ABB1A1 formal design with elements of symmetry that create unity. The micro and macro ABB1A1’s mirror each other to create a paradigm of the twelve-tone system. This dissertation explores Schoenberg’s Phantasy as his fantasy four-part symmetrical ABB1A1 design within a heroic form (albeit relatively short). This ABB1A1 design represents a formal paradigm of the structures inherent in his twelve-tone system from the Grundgestalt through the overall form. Furthermore, this paper offers a rebuttal to Boulez’s “Schoenberg is Dead” proclamation.

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