A continuity of fragments: Aspects of formal organization in Schumann's piano cycles
Bae, Jae Hee
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This paper studies Schumann's piano cycles in general and Schumann's Carnaval , opus 9, in particular. My research proceeds in two large parts, each of which consists of two chapters. The first part considers Schumann's cycles in general; the second part is an analytical study of aspects of several of these piano cycles. Chapter 1 is a brief survey of the literature on Schumann's cycles--a literature that is far too vast to deal with comprehensively in this context, since almost every writer who has ever discussed "cycles" deals at least tangentially with Schumann's works. Instead, I have chosen to investigate selected scholarly studies of three kinds: analysis of Schumann's works, sketch studies, and narrative strategies. In Chapter 2, I develop a classification scheme that sorts the cycles in several different categories, in order to avoid the confusion inherent in comparing pieces from distinct categories. In the second part of this study (Chapters three and four), I consider the problem of formal organization within a piano-cycle. I devote these two chapters to two important formal aspects of most cycles, especially Carnaval : (1) Fragment (features of the individual movements that encourage us to regard them as incomplete); and (2) Continuity (connections between adjacent movements, especially those that on their own seem fragmentary). The intent of this study is to uncover some of the special features of the individual movements that relate to their being members of a cycle. In so doing, this study will further expand and explore our knowledge and understanding of Schumann's piano cycles, and will place them in a more accurate historical setting.