Comparing Schenkerian and Partimento Analyses for Dramatic Potential in Haydn's Die Sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuzee

Eloise Boisjoli, University of Texas at Austin

An analysis is an abstract representation of music that frequently supports interpretive claims about musical meaning. However, the covert values embedded within an analytical tool can limit the interpretive potential of an analysis. Awareness of these covert values can be retained by comparing readings derived from different theoretical tools. Recent work on Italian partimento provides a new method for analyzing tonal structure in eighteenth-century music. In this paper, I compare complementary readings of musical meaning found in the structure of Joseph Haydn's Die Sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze through a Schenkerian analysis and a "partimento analysis." I conclude this paper by showing the benefits of an intertextual reading that draws upon both interpretations, suggesting the conflicting analytical results are a musical metaphor for understanding the shifting aesthetic concern from imitation to expression in late eighteenth-century music.