Title page for ETD etd-06052007-110551

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Swart, Inette
URN etd-06052007-110551
Document Title An analysis of For the Left Hand by Leon Kirchner with specific reference to the use of the octatonic scale
Degree MMus (Performance)
Department Music
Advisor Name Title
Prof J Stanford
  • no key words available
Date 2005-12-12
Availability unrestricted
The study proposes an analysis of Leon Kirchner's For the Left Hand with specific reference to the use of the octatonic scale in this composition. Its aim is to test the hypothesis that the composer used the octatonic scale because it is ideally suited for compositions limited by the restrictions of single-handed performance. A related question to which an answer is sought in this study, is whether the different transpositional possibilities of the octatonic scale are used to delineate structural junctures in this piece.

A survey of the available relevant literature on the composer himself, on the left-handed pianist Leon Fleisher, the octatonic scale and its properties, and theories of the analysis of twentieth century music are followed by an independent comprehensive analysis of For the Left Hand. Where appropriate, the applicability of some observations by other authors on Kirchner's style characteristics to For the Left Hand are investigated.

As orientation to the analysis, attention is given to how Kirchner adapted the styles of his teachers into a unique personal compositional idiom, to Leon Fleisher as an exponent of music for the left hand, to definitions and properties of the octatonic scale, to Kirchner's motivation behind composing this piece, to examples of successful styles of composing for the left hand as employed in For the Left Hand, as well as to aural impressions created by the piece.

The analysis itself considers aspects such as temporal fluctuations, rhythmic flow, dynamic structure, directional tonality, range, tessitura, density, texture, flexion count, meter, tempo, pitch class content, pedalling, unifying melodic elements, polyphonic characteristics, and the use of specific intervals and modes.

The conclusion summarizes the findings of the analysis, and indicates that the research hypothesis proves to be accurate.

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