Some Notes on Analyzing Wagner
The Ring and Parsifal
This chapter looks at Example 11.la, which sketches the Tarnhelm motive from Das Rheingold as first heard; Example 11.lb sketches the modulating middle section of the Valhalla theme, again as first heard. Examples 2a and 2b “make visually clear a strong functional relationship” between the two passages, “a relationship which it is difficult to express in words.” A very specific relationship can now be asserted between the two passages: they admit of isographic analyses under the interpretations of Example 11.4. That is, the configurations of nodes and arrows are the same, in Example 11.4a as in Example 11.4b; furthermore, there is a certain privileged way of relating transformations that makes the those of Example 11.4b analogous to those of Example 11.4a, as they label their respective arrows. One reason for assuming a relationship between Tarnhelm and Valhalla in the first place was that the two thematic ideas grow to interact more and more as the Ring progresses. Example 11.8b aligns beneath the Communion theme the first statement of the Grail motive in Richard Wagner's opera.
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