Musical Structures in Wagnerian Opera

Author: Tuttle, Marshall
This monograph presents original research based on Wagner’s theoretical writings and demonstrates that there is a precise logic to his tonal structures.


"Marshall Tuttle brings a fresh analysis, one that suggests that the ‘problem’ of Wagner’s music may not be as complex as traditional discussions suggest. . . . Musical Structures in Wagnerian Opera is technically detailed, simultaneously discussing Wagner’s own commentary on his musical intentions and how traditional analytic methods confirm these intents. Tuttle’s book reveals both surface-level and unstated, hidden tonal events . . . . a persuasive argument for a viable hypothesis: Richard Wagner exercised absolute command over traditional Western musical harmony, utilizing it for thorough in-depth portrayal of fantastic dramatic characters and events. For Tuttle, the outcome of careful, painstaking analysis results in confirming Wagner’s own words as well as a clearer (though still complex) understanding of his operas. The outcome will keep the Wagnerian debate percolating for generations to come." Harold E. Fiske

Table of Contents

Table of contents (main headings):
Preface by Leland Smith
1. Introduction
2. Late Wagnerian Harmonic Grammar: General Principles of Wagner’s Tonal System (Basic Definitions; Analytical Methods – Roman Numeral Analysis; Text Key Analysis; Linear Harmonic Analysis; Sequence of Tonics); Wagner the Atonalist? (The Conspiracy Scene in Gotterdammerung; Fricka’s Lament; The Final Tristan Chord)
3. Wagner and Modulation in Tristan
4. Interlude: Tonal Association and the Poetic Music Period
5. Magic in the Ring
6. A Wagnerian Scena
7. Wotan’s Dream of Self Destruction
8. Motivic Transformations
9. Key Relationships and Tonal Association
10. Summary and Concluding Remarks
11. On Interpretation of the Ring
Bibliography; Index