Often seen as the summation of Schenker's work but in fact an extreme development of its tendencies towards abstraction, Free Composition (1935) can be understood as a form of “inner emigration”, a withdrawal from an increasingly tolerable sociopolitical situation; this is illustrated by a comparison between Free Composition and Adalbert Stifter's novel, The Indian Summer. It is this tendency towards abstraction, as well as the emigration during the 1930s of many of Schenker's (predominantly Jewish) pupils to North America, that enabled Schenker's theory to take root in the positivist atmosphere of post-war American academia. In its Americanized form, Schenkerian theory lost contact with the social and arguably even the musical values that had originally informed it. The purpose of this book is to recapture these dimensions of Schenker's thought and so argue for more broadly conceived Schenkerian practice.
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