Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





William N. Rothstein

Committee Members

Philip Ewell

L. Poundie Burstein

Blair Johnston

Subject Categories



All-Night Vigil; Music Theory; Mutability; Rachmaninoff; Schenkerian analysis; Vespers


Recent English-language scholarship has given considerable attention to the issue of tonal disunity, particularly the concepts of tonal pairing, directional tonality, and double-tonic complex. Relatively little attention, however, has been given to Russian music, specifically liturgical repertoires, where tonal centricity has historically been weaker than in most tonal music. This dissertation investigates tonal disunity in Russian sacred works, with special emphasis on Rachmaninoff's All-Night Vigil (1915). This work, though in many ways tonal, relies largely on the structural principles of Russian sacred repertoire, a reliance that is especially evident in movements that challenge traditional Western norms of monotonality.

The order of the chapters is defined by a motion from theory to analysis. After a brief historical introduction to Russian liturgical music and the Vigil (Chapter 1), Chapter 2 offers a study of the Russian concept of mutability (peremennost'), which refers to tonal or modal decentralization, and provides a larger theoretical context by discussing related concepts that originate in English- and German-language sources. Chapter 3 applies all these concepts in the analysis of church music of Rachmaninoff's time (and slightly earlier). Chapters 4 through 6 focus on three movements from the Vigil that defy monotonal reading, using Schenkerian analytical technique. Movement 12 exhibits relative mutability (pairing of relative keys) at all levels, including the background; movement 1 displays multiple centers related to a proto-harmonic structure (Andreĭ Miasoedov's term); and movement 2 has a relative-mutable structure extremely decentralized by the weakness and indefiniteness of closure.

Further specific contributions of this work include (1) experimentation with the Schenkerian analysis of non-monotonal works, a task that has not yet been undertaken for this specific repertoire; (2) a study of cadence in Russian church music; (3) the occasional combination of Schenkerian (linear) and Riemannian (functional) analytical approaches; (4) a theoretical development of the recent Russian notion of proto-harmony; and (5) the introduction of the term common church practice to refer to the anonymous repertoire routinely used in the Russian Orthodox Church.

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