Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





L. Poundie Burstein

Subject Categories



This dissertation examines Dmitri Shostakovich's sonata-form movements--often framed as "sonata arch" or "reverse recapitulation" structures, wherein the primary- and secondary-zone themes return in reverse order after the development--through the lens of rotation. Using methodology from Hepokoski and Darcy's Elements of Sonata Theory (2006), I explore concepts of rotation in Symphony No. 4's opening movement and its interaction with a larger effect of boundary blurring and typological hybridity, manifest as a blending of double- and triple-rotational sonata-form types. This blurring effect is heightened by use of nontonal boundary sonorities at moments of expected tonal closure.

I begin by outlining double- and triple-rotational sonata structures--layouts corresponding to Hepokoski and Darcy's Type-2 and Type-3 sonata forms respectively. Analyses from the initial movements of Shostakovich's First and Fifth Symphonies, as well as contemporary initial movements by Sibelius and Shebalin, illustrate Shostakovich's techniques of evoking triple-rotational elements within a double-rotational construction. By featuring both primary- and secondary-theme elements at the moment of post-development tonic return, Shostakovich simultaneously elicits expectations of both sonata types, thus creating a kind of sonata-type hybrid while underscoring ordered rotational structures.

In-depth examination of Symphony No. 4's first movement explores moments of formal demarcation--including the MC, EEC, and ESC--as illustrating Shostakovich's combination of double- and triple-rotational constructions at formal boundaries, and his postponing of tonal cadential closure in favor of non-tonal boundary sonorities. These post-tonal events correspond to formal boundaries, displacing tonal closure until the movement's coda while forming transpositional and rhetorical correspondences across the movement analogous to tonal boundaries markers. This movement's relationship with Mahler's First Symphony--apparent in various thematic quotations--is broadened to include thematic, formal, and rotational elements, further highlighting Symphony No. 4's rotational patterns and structural correspondences.

Sonata Theory's emphasis on thematic rotations presents a new way of understanding Shostakovich's blurring of sonata-form boundaries. In turn, Symphony No. 4 provides a fruitful landscape in which to examine the interplay between rotational, rhetorical, and tonal aspects of Sonata Theory and their application to polystylistic repertoire.

Included in

Music Commons