Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Shepherd School of Music
The Evolution of Musical Language and Sonata Form in the Piano Sonatas of Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
to 5:00 PM
2233 Alice Pratt Brown Hall
The evolution of Scriabin’s musical style has been unmatched by any other composer and poses questions until this day. The collection of Scriabin’s ten piano sonatas most aptly demonstrates Scriabin’s long-term transformation. The composer’s early and late sonatas are radically different on the surface but share similar underlying principles. The purpose of this dissertation is to show the profound lines of development between Scriabin’s early and late styles and conceptions of sonata form.
The introductory chapter provides a background necessary for the study of change in Scriabin’s approach to sonata form. The main body of my dissertation consists of three analytic chapters on Scriabin’s third, fifth, and seventh sonatas - representative works of the composer’s three creative periods. These analyses focus on three areas which are most indicative of Scriabin’s musical development: harmony, form, and extramusical ideas. By comparing these indicative areas in Scriabin’s early, middle, and late sonatas I gain a better understanding of his idiosyncratic musical language and sonata form. The concluding chapter releases my observations and places Scriabin’s sonatas in a broader musical context.