Weitzmann Regions

Richard Cohn

in Audacious Euphony

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199772698
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932238 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Music Theory

Weitzmann Regions

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Chapter 4 presents a second preliminary model of the triadic universe, developing an idea from Weitzmann’s 1853 treatise on the augmented triad. The consonant triads are grouped into four regions, on the basis of voice-leading proximity to the four augmented triads. Unlike hexatonic cycles, Weitzmann regions constitute a flat space whose members are equidistant from each other. A canonical sequential progression through the triads of a region nonetheless arises in the music of Schubert, as a concatenation of relations fundamental to diatonic tonality. The chapter traces the historical genesis of this canonical progression. As one stage of this genesis, the chapter identifies a four-chord double-agent complex that approaches the precipice of enharmonic indeterminacy while maintaining a footing in diatonic-tonal determinacy, and shows how Schubert, Chopin, Liszt and Brahms use it to tease the ear’s sensitivity to enharmonic paradoxes. The chapter concludes by analyzing non-sequential explorations of full six-chord Weitzmann regions in Parsifal and in one of Strauss’s “Last Songs.”

Keywords: weitzmann; double-agent complex; augmented triad; enharmonic; strauss; schubert; chopin; liszt; brahms

Chapter.  7209 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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