Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-gvrqt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-06T05:46:40.929Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

The ‘Problem’ of Schubert's String Quintet

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 April 2011

James William Sobaskie
Hofstra University


Eschewing the polemic surrounding Franz Schubert's private life, as well as the habit of judging his art by Beethovenian criteria, many musicians now have chosen to focus on unique aspects of the composer's œuvre in order to illuminate its distinctive aesthetic values. In particular, some have sought to isolate and explain contextual processes responsible for compelling perceptions of drama and unity in Schubert's later instrumental works. The objects of their inquiries consist of progressive sequences of internally defined musical elements, relations and events that confer effects of internal momentum and comprehensive coherence on Schubert's music. These contextual processes complement tonal, formal and thematic procedures in Schubert's compositions and reveal an ingenious artist engaged in a restless search for new ways of organizing music.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2005

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 Cone, Edward T., ‘Schubert's Promissory Note: An Exercise in Musical Hermeneutics’, Nineteenth-Century Music, 5/3 (1982), 233–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar . Cone revealed how a striking E n in bar 12, a raised fifth scale degree belonging to a V/vi, was deflected from its immediate goal, thus becoming a ‘promissory note … a troubling element of which one expects to hear more’ (236). On several occasions, the ‘promissory note’ returned, sometime enharmonically respelled, and sometimes in other octaves, yet it was prevented from satisfying earlier implications. Only in bar 47, with the surprising arrival of its alluded-to goal, an F prominently articulated in the expected register, is Schubert's ‘promissory note’ redeemed.

2 Kurth, Richard, ‘On the Subject of Schubert's “Unfinished” Symphony: Was bedeutet die Bewegung?’, Nineteenth-Century Music, 23/1 (1999), 332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

3 Kurth, , ‘On the Subject of Schubert's “Unfinished” Symphony, 24.Google Scholar

4 Sobaskie, James William, ‘Tonal Implication and the Gestural Dialectic in Schubert's A Minor Quartet’, in Schubert the Progressive: History, Performance Practice, Analysis, ed. Newbould, Brian (Aldershot, 2003), 5380.Google Scholar

5 The first of these gestures is introduced at the beginning of the Quartet in A minor and is represented by the opening descending arpeggiation of the tonic triad (E–G#–A). It is expressed unembellished by the first violin in the upper register, its characteristic ‘voice’. The other is represented by the subsequent rising arpeggiation of the dominant (E–G#–B), expressed more elaborately by the cello in the lower register, its characteristic ‘voice’. For more on these two gestures, see Sobaskie, , ‘Tonal Implication and the Gestural Dialectic in Schubert's A Minor Quartet’, 6670.Google Scholar Throughout the Quartet, these distinctive gestures seem to engage in a kind of dialogue, each maintaining its distinctive identity. At the midway point of the finale, a broad, descending, elaborated arpeggiation of the subdominant (A–F#–D), heard in the lower register of bars 167–223, emerges as a compromise between the two long-opposed gestures. Confirmed by subsequent repetition in bars 249–70, and later by a resounding climax, this reconciliation of the two gestures concludes the Quartet's dialectic. See Sobaskie, ‘Tonal Implication and the Gestural Dialectic in Schubert's, A Minor Quartet’, 74–5Google Scholar.

6 Sobaskie, James William, ‘A Balance Struck: Gesture, Form, and Drama in Schubert's E b Major Piano Trio’, in Le Style instrumental de Schubert: sources, analyse, contexte, évolution, ed. Hascher, Xavier (Paris, 2005), 115–46.Google Scholar

7 The narrative of the Trio in E b major, in which themes assume distinctive dramatic characters, clearly emerges in its finale. There, the B theme of the movement reveals the quality of modal variability – that is, it appears in the minor as well as the major. When this theme is juxtaposed with the reprise of the elegiac theme from the second movement (bars 477–513), which heretofore always appeared in the minor, the elegiac theme quietly assimilates the same trait of modal variability. Later, when the elegiac theme reappears in the tonic major (bars 819–27) and concludes with a triumphant and transcendent rising gesture that recalls the opening theme of the first movement (bars 827–31), the Trio's narrative is complete. For more on this thematic interaction, see Sobaskie, ‘A Balance Struck: Gesture, Form, and Drama in Schubert's E Trio’.

8 For a broad study that pursues the ‘wanderer’ premise within Schubert's keyboard music, see Fisk, Charles, Returning Cycles: Contexts for the Interpretation of Schubert's Impromptus and Late Piano Sonatas (Berkeley, 2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

9 The second movement of Schubert's String Quartet in A minor (Op. 29; D. 804; 1825) features a lyrical theme that appears in his incidental music for Rosamunde (no op.; D. 797; 1823) and in his Impromptu in B b major (Op. 142; D. 935; 1827), while the third movement quotes the beginning of his Lied, ‘Strophe aus “Die Götter Griechenlands”’ (D. 677; 1819). The second and fourth movements of Schubert's Trio in E b Major (Op. 100; D. 929; 1828) feature the elegiac melody of the Swedish folksong ‘Se solen sjunker’ (‘See, the sun is setting’). For a study of this borrowing, see Willfort, Manfred, ‘Das Urbild des Andante aus Schuberts Klaviertrio Es-Dur, D 929’, Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, 33, 277–83Google Scholar.

10 The analysis presented in this essay is not the only one to suggest that the four movements of the Quintet are mutually dependent and structurally bound. Nicholas Rast has proposed that the source of the Quintet's comprehensive coherence is a grand fundamental line, an octave-span that unfolds over the course of its four movements. See Rast, Nicholas, ‘Schubert's C Major String Quintet D 956’, Schubert durch die Brille, 21 (1998), 111–25Google Scholar . While tonal hyperstructures that extend over multiple movements are not impossible, Rast's analysis – which indicates that the primary tone of the grand line, C6, is established in the first movement and sustained throughout the second movement as a dissonance, before a preliminary descent to G5 in the first section of the Scherzo and a conclusive descent in the finale – is questionable. See Rast, , ‘Schubert's C Major String Quintet D 956’, 121Google Scholar.

11 Arnold Schoenberg, ‘Beauty and Logic in Music’ (Wien [T 67.02]). Schoenberg's unpublished essay, handwritten and in English, appears on several sheets of music paper, together with some musical sketches, and is preserved in the Arnold Schoenberg Centre in Vienna. I thank Eike Feβ, archivist at the Arnold Schoenberg Centre, for sending me a digital facsimile of the document. A partial transcription of this document appears in Schoenberg, Arnold, The Musical Idea, and the Logic, Art, and Technique of its Presentation, ed. Carpenter, Patricia and Neff, Severine (New York, 1995), 395–6Google Scholar.

12 Schoenberg, Arnold, ‘Linear Counterpoint’, in Style and Idea, ed. Stein, Leonard (Berkeley, 1975), 290.Google Scholar

13 Ibid., 290.

14 Schoenberg, , The Musical Idea, and the Logic, Art, and Technique of its Presentation, 226–7.Google Scholar

15 Schoenberg, , The Musical Idea, and the Logic, Art, and Technique of its Presentation, 104–7Google Scholar . Schoenberg's statement, ‘the tonic … must wander through all regions and prevail over every single one after having allowed each to display its full power’, should not be taken literally. That is, he does not assert that tonal progression is random or aimless harmonic movement. Similarly, he does not require that each tonal composition tonicize and then undermine every possible key. Rather, Schoenberg simply suggests that all degrees, to the extent they are emphasized within a given piece, ultimately defer to the primacy of the tonic.

16 Schoenberg, Arnold, Fundamentals of Musical Composition, ed. Strang, Gerald and Stein, Leonard (New York, 1967), 102.Google Scholar

17 While Schoenberg may not have used his concept of musical problem as an analytical tool per se, he did describe musical problems in some detail on a number of occasions. Patricia Carpenter and Severine Neff offer an insightful gloss on Schoenberg's discussion of Brahms's Piano Quartet, Op. 60, from his unpublished essay, ‘The Constructive Function of Harmony’, in Schoenberg, , The Musical Idea, and the Logic, Art, and Technique of its Presentation, 6386Google Scholar . I thank Severine Neff for directing me to this discussion, and for her close reading of an earlier version of this essay.

18 For instance, see Patricia Carpenter's discussion of the first movement of Beethoven's, Appassionata piano sonata, Op. 57Google Scholar , in her essay ‘Tonality: A Conflict of Forces’, in Music Theory in Concept and Practice, ed. Baker, James, Beach, David and Bernard, Jonathan (Rochester, 1997), 97129Google Scholar . Severine Neff analyses Schubert's Lied ‘Der Wegweiser’ in her essay ‘Schönberg and Goethe: Organicism and Analysis’, in Music Theory and the Exploration of the Past, ed. Hatch, Christopher and Bernstein, David W. (Chicago, 1993), 409–33Google Scholar . Finally, Murray Dineen explores a character piece by Brahms in his article Schönberg's Logic and Motor: Harmony and Motive in the Capriccio No. 1 of the Fantasien Op. 116 by Johannes Brahms’, Gamut, 10 (2001), 328Google Scholar . I thank Murray Dineen for sharing a copy of this essay with me, as well as for his advice.

19 Schoenberg, , The Musical Idea, and the Logic, Art, and Technique of its Presentation, 91.Google Scholar

20 While many brief references to Schubert's String Quintet have appeared in the literature over the twentieth century, extended and detailed studies have only begun to appear with any frequency in recent years, corresponding to the burgeoning resurgence of interest in the composer. See: Webster, James, ‘Schubert's Sonata Form and Brahms's First Maturity’, Nineteenth-Century Music, 2 (1978/1979), 1835CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Gülke, Peter, ‘Zum Bilde des späten Schubert: Vorwiegend analytische Betrachtungen zum Streichquintett op. 163’, in Musik-Konzepte Sonderband: Franz Schubert, ed. Metzger, von Heinz-Klaus and Riehn, Rainer (Munich, 1979), 107–66Google Scholar ; Gülke, Peter, ‘In what Respect a Quintet? On the Disposition of Instruments in the String Quintet D 956’, in Schubert Studies, ed. Badura-Skoda, Eva and Branscombe, Peter (Cambridge, 1982), 173–85Google Scholar ; Beach, David, ‘Schubert's Experiments with Sonata Form’, Music Theory Spectrum, 15/1 (1993), 118CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Beach, David, ‘Harmony and Linear Progression in Schubert's Music’, Journal of Music Theory, 38/1 (1994), 120CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Gingerich, John, ‘Schubert's Beethoven Project: The Chamber Music’, 1824–1828, PhD dissertation, Yale University (1996), 364441Google Scholar ; Rast, , ‘Schubert's C Major String Quintet D 956’, 111–25Google Scholar ; Gingerich, John, ‘Remembrance and Consciousness in Schubert's C-Major String Quintet’, Musical Quarterly, 84/4 (2000), 619–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Surpää, Lauri, ‘The Path from Tonic to Dominant in the Second Movement of Schubert's String Quintet and in Chopin's Fourth Ballade’, Journal of Music Theory, 44/2 (2000), 451–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar ; Hascher, Xavier, ‘Eine “traumhafte” barcarola funebre: Fragmente zu einer Deutung des langsamen Satzes des Streichquintetts D 956’, in Schubert und das Biedermeier, Beiträge zur Musik des frühen 19. Jahrhunderts (Festschrift für Walther Dürr zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. Kube, Michael (Kassel, 2002), 127–38Google Scholar ; and Wollenberg, Susan, ‘The C Major String Quintet D956: Schubert's “Dissonance” Quintet’, Schubert durch die Brille, 28 (2002), 4554Google Scholar . While several of these address motivic relations in Schubert's Quintet, none specifically invokes Schoenberg's concept of musical problem.

21 Here, the ten-bar antecedent phrase exceeds the paradigmatic four or eight bars because of the thematic function it fulfils in conveying the basic shape. Similarly, its consequent stretches to nine bars. Charles Rosen has suggested that this may reflect Schubert's continuing study of Mozart's music, specifically the first movement of Mozart's String Quintet in C major, K515, which features five-bar phrases. See Rosen, Charles, ‘Schubert and the Example of Mozart’, in Schubert the Progressive, ed. Newbould, Brian (Aldershot, 2003), 213Google Scholar.

22 For ease of reference, I generally shall refer to specific pitches by their pitch-class designations. Thus, the harmony in bar 3 of Example 1, which consists of C4, E#4 F#4, FA4, and C5, is expressed by the pitch-class collection [C,E b,F#4, #A]. To facilitate harmonic comparison, diminished seventh sonorities will be represented by their pitch classes enclosed within brackets. The pitch classes of German augmented sixth sonorities and dominant-seventh homonyms will appear within bolded bars, while those of French augmented sixth sonorities will be notated within curly braces.

23 Schoenberg often described chords and progressions that implied motion away from the tonic as ‘centrifugal’. See Schoenberg, , Structural Functions of Harmony (New York, 1969), 2Google Scholar.

24 David Epstein drew attention to the essential chromaticism that characterizes the Quintet's first phrase: ‘Chromaticism in both melody and harmony is a prominent shaping element of the opening idea. It is asserted as early as the second chord in measure 3, which recurs at the cadence several measures later. It is this chromaticism of ascending or descending half steps to neighbour tones that influences all movements of the work.’ See Epstein, David, Beyond Orpheus (Cambridge, 1979), 45Google Scholar . However, Epstein refrains from identifying a Grundgestalt at the start of the Quintet in this discussion. David Beach also remarks on the generative nature of this chromaticism; see Beach, , ‘Schubert's Experiments with Sonata Form’, 13Google Scholar , and Beach, , ‘Harmony and Linear Progression in Schubert's Music’, 2Google Scholar.

25 Schoenberg often described diminished sevenths as ‘vagrant’ harmonies since they simultaneously belonged to multiple keys. See Schoenberg, Arnold, Structural Functions of Harmony, 4450Google Scholar . Thus, in Schoenberg's view, the diminished seventh sonority of bars 3–4 [C,E b,F#,A] could belong to, or at least allude to, Db major/minor, E major/ b major/minor.

26 Susan Wollenberg presents a persuasive argument for an intertextual relationship between Schubert's String Quintet and Mozart's ‘Dissonant Quartet’ in C Major, K 465, in ‘The C Major String Quintet D956: Schubert's “Dissonance” Quintet’. While the dissonant diminished seventh sonority represents an obvious connection, she identifies numerous other harmonic and voice-leading details common to the two works. I thank Susan Wollenberg for sharing a copy of her article before its publication, and for her close reading of an earlier version of the present essay.

27 Nicholas Rast describes the turn figure of the opening musical gesture as “the single most important element, providing the Grundgestalt that connects all parts and hierarchic levels of the Quintet’, see Rast, , ‘Schubert's C Major String Quintet D 956’, 116.Google Scholar However, Rast never cites Schoenberg's own discussions of his notion of Grundgestalt and never refers to Schoenberg's concept of ‘musical problem’. The various instances of the ‘Turn Grundgestalt’ Rast identifies represent compositional development of a component of the Quintet's basic shape, and correspond to motivic parallels in the Schenkerian sense; see Rast, , ‘Schubert's C Major String Quintet D 956’, 115Google Scholar and Ex. 4. Patrick McCreless has identified a similar motivic network in another late chamber work of Schubert; see A Candidate for the Canon? A New Look at Schubert's Fantasie in C Major for Violin and Piano’, 19th Century Music, 20/3 (1997), 205–30Google Scholar . Such motivic networks may create vast webs of associative relations, yet lack the dynamism and exigency of contextual processes.

28 For more on developing variation, see Schoenberg, , Fundamentals of Musical Composition, 815 andGoogle Scholar 58–9. See also Schoenberg, , The Musical Idea, and the Logic, Art, and Technique of its Presentation, 227–41Google Scholar.

29 In a personal communication, Susan Wollenberg suggested that the C–d relation of the first two statements of the basic shape recalls older harmonic practice, for example the Baroque sequences of Corelli. She noted that frequently there are passages in Schubert's chamber music that bear a similar ‘antique’ harmonic flavour, citing in the Quartettsatz the chordal sequence over the descending-fourth bass progression toward the end of the exposition.

30 David Epstein noted that the octave Bs in bar 24 suggest the dominant in E minor, not the key of B major itself, adding: ‘The passage at measure 20 is particularly important vis-àvis key relations; having begun in C major and concluded on the octave B, the passage implies this early in the piece the possibility of juxtaposed key centers a half step apart.’ Epstein, , Beyond Orpheus, 45Google Scholar.

31 For more on the concept of associative harmony, see Sobaskie, James William, ‘Associative Harmony: The Reciprocity of Ideas in Musical Space’, In Theory Only, 10/1–2 (1987), 3164Google Scholar.

32 While it is well known that Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg – certainly the most influential music theorists of the twentieth century – rarely saw eye-to-eye, there are certain instances in which their theories and methods may be compatible and complementary. Here, the expanded neighbour figure, which forms part of the Allegro's broad voice-leading structure, and corresponds to a component of the Quintet's musical problem, is readily revealed via Schenkerian graphic techniques. Of course, the best-known precedent for such reconciliation is David Epstein's Beyond Orpheus.

33 Like the diminished seventh, the French augmented sixth is a harmony of limited transposition, possessing only six truly distinct forms, which include {C,D,F #,A b}, {C#D#G,A}, {D,E,G#,A#}, {E#,F,A,B}, {E,F#,A#,B#}, and {F,G,B,C#}.

34 Several observers have remarked on the tenuous quality of this second key area. For instance, see: Rosen, Charles, Sonata Forms (New York, 1980), 244–6Google Scholar ; Webster, James, ‘Schubert's Sonata Form and Brahms's First Maturity’, 20 and 22Google Scholar ; Beach, David, ‘Schubert's Experiments with Sonata Form’, 1316Google Scholar ; and Beach, David, ‘Harmony and Linear Progression in Schubert's Music’, 26Google Scholar . As Beach explains, ‘The second theme from the initial movement of the C-Major Quintet … illustrates clearly what might be called “multiple harmonic function” … Eb is not the middle member of a large-scale arpeggiation to the dominant, but rather it prolongs the tonic before the modulation to the dominant is achieved. It is precisely because of the instability of this E b area that we hear its harmonies as having more than one function or meaning.’ Beach, ‘Harmony and Linear Progression in Schubert's Music’, 2.

35 Beach considers this component of the Quintet's basic shape to be particularly determinative in the Allegro ma non troppo: ‘As I have suggested elsewhere [Beach 1993], the motion E n–E n may be considered as a basic motive – a generating source, if you will – of this movement. The statements of this idea in measures 1–6 and 33–39 are surface representations of a much larger statement that encompasses the first and second theme areas. At this level, Eb Major offers support for the middle member of the motive, which is corrected to En before the modulation to the dominant is accomplished. Seen in this light, the unstable passage in E b–E b is a coloration of the E n in the motive.’ Beach, ‘Harmony and Linear Progression in Schubert's Music’, 5–6.

36 This passage, perhaps more so than any yet in the Quintet, reveals how audacious Schubert could be within the domain of harmony. Such innovation cannot have escaped the notice of Arnold Schoenberg, who wrote: ‘The richness of Schubert's harmony perhaps marks the actual transition to Wagnerian and post-Wagnerian procedures.’ See Schoenberg, , Structural Functions of Harmony, 156Google Scholar . In his essay ‘National Music’, Schoenberg indicated what he learned from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Wagner, and acknowledged that he ‘also learned much from Schubert and Mahler, Strauss and Reger too.’ See Schoenberg, , Style and Idea, 174Google Scholar.

37 Lauri Surpää demonstrates how stepwise ascending bass motion organizes the sections of Schubert's Adagio; see his article, ‘The Path from Tonic to Dominant in the Second Movement of Schubert's String Quintet and in Chopin's Fourth Ballade’, 455–65. Xavier Hascher also offers several detailed voice-leading sketches of the Adagio; for these, see his essay, ‘Eine “traumhafte” barcarola funebre: Fragmente zu einer Deutung des langsamen Satzes des Streichquintetts D 956’, 130, 132, 134 and 135.

38 See Schoenberg, , Structural Functions of Harmony, 1529 and 68–75.Google Scholar

39 Schoenberg would consider F minor to be the ‘subdominant minor's submediant minor’ (sdsm), and enharmonically equivalent to the ‘mediant major's submediant minor’ (Msm).

40 The yearning quality of the Adagio never fails to move its listeners. John Gingerich suggests that the composer sought to create contemplative and existential states in the Quintet, most notably in the Adagio, in which obsession with loss appears to prevail. See Gingerich, ‘Remembrance and Consciousness in Schubert's C-Major String Quintet’, 619–34.

41 Example 18 reveals that octave doubling distinguished the opening phrase of the Scherzo, where the melody initially appears in three registers, played by Vln. I, Vla and Vlc. I.

42 John Gingerich notes that the preceding movement of Schubert's Quintet also emphasizes octave doubling: ‘Schubert avails himself the luxury of five instruments to write doubled-octave passages of unprecedented length (as here [the Adagio]) and to an unprecedented extent [in the Quintet]. Other doubled-octave passages in the Quintet: I, mm. 40–56, 168–173, 204–210, 259–261; the naked doubled-octave passages in the Trio; IV, mm. 83–97, 268–286, 370–382.’ Gingerich, , Schubert's Beethoven Project: The Chamber Music, 1824–1828, 392, n.30Google Scholar.

43 Instances of octave doubling in the Trio may be heard in bars 0–5 (vla, vlcII), bars 10–12 (vlnI/vlcI), bars 12–16 (vla/vlcII), and bars 21–3 (vlnI/vlcI). Those in bars 23–7 (vlnI/vlcII), bars 27–31 (vla/vlcI – cello above), bars 31–5 (vlnI/vlcII), bars 35–7 (vla/vlcII), and 35–40 (vlnI/vlcII) are all repeated. Finally, bars 42–8 (vla/vlcII) and bars 42– 50 (vlnI/vlcI) make for a total of sixteen.

44 See bars 9–10, 11–12, 16–17, 20–1, 22–3 and 41–2 (repeated).

45 For more on precursive prolongation in the music of Schubert, see Sobaskie, , ‘Tonal Implication and the Gestural Dialectic in Schubert's A Minor Quartet’, 5379Google Scholar . See also: Sobaskie, James William, ‘The Emergence of Gabriel Fauré's Late Musical Style and Technique’, Journal of Musicological Research, 22, 228–33Google Scholar . A precursive prolon-gation consists of one or more contextually dependent tonal elements associated with and preceding a contextually distinguished pre-eminent element, the latter of which is promotable to the next higher level of tonal structure as the unit's representative. Familiar examples include anticipations, appoggiaturas, secondary dominants, and initial ascents. Precursive prolongations may appear at all structural levels and in upper or lower voices. In addition, they may be contrapuntally combined with other precursive prolongations and elaborated by subordinate prolongations. The allusive effect of these structures arises from the contextual dependency of the prefixial elements, whose significance derives from their object and, more specifically, from the corresponding expectations the prefixial elements elicit for their object. Heinrich Schenker described passages like the opening of Schubert's Allegretto as auxiliary cadences. For more on Schenker's concept, see Schenker, Heinrich, Free Composition, trans. and ed. Oster, Ernst (New York, 1979), 88–9Google Scholar . Closely examined, Schenker's idea reveals theoretical weakness, most notably in its premise that instances like the opening of Schubert's Allegretto were founded on forms of the fundamental structure that had been abbreviated and transferred to lower levels of tonal structure. This assumption renders Schenker's notion of auxiliary cadence a transformational construct, a deductive and prescriptive idea that is more theoretical speculation than analytical tool, a means for explaining the generation of music like that in bars 1–19 of Schubert's Allegretto, and not an objective representation of its nature, content and structure. In contrast, the concept of precursive prolongation, which draws on Schenker's concepts of structural levels and composing-out, recognizes the prefixial nature of certain tonal structures, focuses on contextual dependency, and enables direct representation instead of transformational speculation.

46 Schoenberg referred to harmonic motion that tended towards the tonic as ‘centripetal’. See Schoenberg, , Structural Functions of Harmony, 2Google Scholar.

47 The Golden Mean corresponds to approximately 0.618033, so the precise location of the delineation would be 265.136586. For more on this phenomenon, see Howat, Roy, Debussy in Proportion: A Musical Analysis (Cambridge, 1983)Google Scholar.

48 Roy Howat analysed the exposition of the first movement of Schubert's Piano Sonata in A, D 959. See Howat, , Debussy in Proportion: A Musical Analysis, 187–9Google Scholar.

49 David Epstein characterizes the conclusion thus: ‘The final cadence of the fourth movement consists of a heavily textured chord of the augmented sixth closing into C major in such a way that both outer parts emphasize the half-step relationship (measure 425). The Db–C descending half step of the last measure gives a final confirmation of the relationship.’ Epstein, , Beyond Orpheus, 45Google Scholar.

50 Donald Francis Tovey clearly seems to have perceived the Quintet's contextual process: ‘The C major string quintet is one of the greatest of all essays in tonality and especially in the Neapolitan relations … The finale is half minor and half major and does not, except in the wanderings of a short development, go further than the dominant major and minor. But the very last bars emphasize the flat supertonic in the boldest way conceivable. If this stood by itself we should certainly take it for the dominant of F; but so grand is the tonal poise of the whole movement that in its full context it is more forcible an assertion of C major than any normal cadence. It may truly be said to have been prepared for by the whole course of the movement.’ Tovey, Donald Francis, ‘Tonality’, Music and Letters, 9 (1928), 354–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

51 Thus, I am in only partial agreement with John Gingerich, who wrote: ‘In the finale of the Quintet the cyclicism is at once more extensive and more cryptic: extensive, in the sense that Schubert refers, however obliquely, to all of the movements that have preceded; cryptic, because these references are not quotations. And the Quintet marks an important innovation in Schubert's cyclic procedures in another important way: as I have indicated, the final emphatic Db–C cadence is not prepared, and makes no sense within the isolated context of the finale. Its meaning is precisely in its reference to the key relationships within the middle movements, and in its lack of organic assimilation. In these works [the Quartet in A minor and the Quintet in C major] the movements are not knit together by thematic derivations from a common melodic motive or rhythmic cell. Instead of the quintessentially Beethovenian unification of a work through “motivische Arbeit,” Schubert recombines themes previously presented in a different context, establishes new ties among them, and probes the relationship between identity and context. Instead of a unifying device that is capable of establishing continuity and coherence on a subliminal level, Schubert's cyclicism demands from his listeners a conscious play of memory.’ Gingerich, , Schubert's Beethoven Project: The Chamber Music, 1824–1828, 439–40Google Scholar . Actually, the final gesture, C–D b–C, has been prepared for since the very first phrase of the Quintet, implied by the ubiquitous semitonal neighbour figures originally introduced within the basic shape and developed over the course of the work, and it makes perfect sense in the context of the finale. And while the four movements of the Quintet ‘are not knit together by thematic derivations from a common melodic motive or rhythmic cell’, all proceed from the complex of components that make up its basic shape. Schubert's innovation, then, consists of the creation of a profoundly pregnant musical gesture – the basic shape – whose potential is systematically explored and exploited as the Quintet's contextual process unfolds from the first to the last bar. Retrospection plays an important part in its perception, yet simultaneous relation and projection also contribute to the listener's experience.