Metrical Dissonance and Phrase Grouping in Selected Dances from Edvard Grieg’s Slåtter, op. 72
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Norwegian folk music fascinated Edvard Grieg, and he was determined to preserve the enchanting sound and character of the Hardanger fiddle dances in his arrangement of Knut Dahle’s slåtter (Norwegian folk dances) while incorporating harmonic progressions and formal structures so that the music shared commonalities with 19th-century European art music. He prioritized metrical dissonance, motivic structure, and the use of Lydian mode that characterize “Gibøens Bruremarsch,” “Nils Rekve’s Halling,” “Springdans (‘efter Möllargutten,’)” and “Skuldalsbruri. Gangar” as he sought to refine aspects of the music that were less familiar to classical musicians and audiences. Understanding the metrical dissonance and formal structure in Grieg’s Slåtter illuminates how this work connects with the music of the Norwegian hardanger fiddle as well as the procedures he used to join this folk music with his identity as a Norwegian classical musician and composer. Comparing the metrical traits of Johan Halvorsen’s transcriptions, Grieg’s source material, with the piano pieces reveals the ways in which he preserves and exaggerates metrical dissonance. This technique is analyzed using procedures outlined by Harald Krebs, Fred Lerdahl, and Roy Jackendoff to expose the metrical dissonance in three layers: low level, the metrical, and interpretive (hypermeter). Simultaneously, Grieg uses harmony and register to create higher-level structural organization from the many motivic repetitions heard in each dance. He develops this material by constructing a harmonic narrative between the tonic and dominant key areas. Through tonicization, sequences, and his own closing sections, Grieg imbues the source material with formal structures familiar to European art music including sentences and periods, and ternary form.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Analytical procedure -- Slåtter form -- Aspects of meter -- Grieg's phrase grouping and formal structures -- Appendix A. Halvorsen's Slåtter - selected scores -- Appendix B. Grieg's Slåtter - selected scores
M.M. (Master of Music)