Exploring complementation in Bartók’s Third Quartet.

Mawer, Deborah (2007) Exploring complementation in Bartók’s Third Quartet. Music Theory Online, 13 (4).

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Despite, on the one hand, a healthy if circumscribed tradition of Bartók music studies and, on the other, a continuing analytical concern with notions of complementation and contrast, I argue that these two domains have not been brought together to full effect, and that doing so can significantly enhance a reading of Bartók’s Third Quartet of 1927. In this setting, complementation applies not only to sets and pitches, but also to modes and, more broadly interpreted, to parameters such as texture, rhythm and form. Complementation across several parameters, or at different levels of significance, may operate as a multi-faceted complex which serves to heighten, or on occasion diffuse, tensions in the music.

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Journal Article
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Music Theory Online
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8,000 words
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22 May 2012 11:00
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 22:17