|About the Book|
There is a good deal of recent scholarship concerning the putative demise of thoroughbass practice at the end of the eighteenth century. Not only do many modern scholars view the performance-practice aspects of thoroughbass as having become obsoleteMoreThere is a good deal of recent scholarship concerning the putative demise of thoroughbass practice at the end of the eighteenth century. Not only do many modern scholars view the performance-practice aspects of thoroughbass as having become obsolete by this time, but there is also a prevalent conviction that the pedagogical and compositional aspects of Generalbass had dwindled to the status of a mere mnemonic aid, no longer relevant to the communication of a substantive musical utterance.-The purpose of this dissertation is to illuminate the many uses---theoretical, rhetorical, hermeneutical, and in performance practice---that this well-established system still enjoyed in the nineteenth century, particularly as utilized and passed along by those within the Viennese sphere of musical endeavor. The fundamental-bass principles that are first codified in the Traite de lharmonie of Jean-Philippe Rameau (1722)---and explicated in terms of thoroughbass performance therein---are later assimilated, with significant modifications, into the theoretical systems of Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg and Johann Philipp Kirnberger. The confluence of thoroughbass and fundamental-bass practices that the systems of these theorists display is shown to have had a strong influence on a series of important Viennese composers from the beginning of the nineteenth century.-The dissertation focuses on two prominent composers of the nineteenth century, Ludwig van Beethoven and Anton Bruckner, and examines their theoretical training in relationship to their compositional output and performance practices. In the course of this discussion, the Generalbass treatises of theorists such as E. A. Forster, Joseph Drechsler, Joseph Preindl, and Ambros Rieder---all prominent members of the Viennese musical establishment---are considered. The concepts of Stufentheorie, as put forth by Georg Joseph Vogler and Gottfried Weber, and Funktionstheorie, as advanced in the latter part of the nineteenth century by Hugo Riemann, are also considered in relation to the need for these theorists to explicate their novel concepts to the public at large via the widely understood vehicle of Generalbass notation.