Bartók’s Viola Concerto manuscript: Some questions and speculations

Antokoletz, Elliott (2012) Bartók’s Viola Concerto manuscript: Some questions and speculations. Studia Musicologica, 53 (1-3). pp. 69-84. ISSN 1788-6244

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The question of authenticity in the creation of Bartók’s Viola Concerto has been one of the most enigmatic in the viola repertoire. Inconsistencies among revisions of the work by different scholars since the first attempt by Tibor Serly in 1946 reveal that the task of uncovering an authentic final version by scrutinizing the manuscript itself is not always a clearcut or “purely mechanical” endeavor. Following a brief overview of the manuscript’s layout, this article addresses some ambiguous details based on a number of puzzling indications. Some of these questions can only be resolved by acquiring an in-depth knowledge of Bartók’s musical language. The manuscript draft is thereby approached not only by studying the primary-source materials alone, but also by means of a theoretic-analytical approach. The latter takes into account principles of modality, polymodal combination, and more abstract types of pitch sets, such as hybrid modes, the octatonic scale, and other more chromatic configurations. General types of scalar or modal construction are discussed as basic determinants in performing certain figural details. Such principles as diatonic expansion, chromatic compression, and polymodal chromaticism are shown, for instance, to be essential for understanding the content and function of the trill figures and the larger linear constructions to which they belong. Thus, we may assume that the combined levels of research and analysis suggested above are essential in arriving at Bartók’s authentic conception.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music / zene, szövegkönyvek, kották > M1 Music / zene
M Music and Books on Music / zene, szövegkönyvek, kották > M1 Music / zene > M10 Theory and philosophy of music / zeneelmélet, muzikológia
Depositing User: Endre Sarvay
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2017 12:23
Last Modified: 16 Oct 2017 12:23

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