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Building BlocksRepetition and Continuity in the Music of Stravinsky$
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Gretchen Horlacher

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195370867

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195370867.001.0001

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Stravinsky's Stutter

Stravinsky's Stutter

(p.71) 3 Stravinsky's Stutter
Building Blocks

Gretchen G. Horlacher (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

When queried in 1964 by a New York Times reporter about the origins of the Elegy to J. F. K., Stravinsky described “a melodic-rhythmic stutter of my speech from Les Noces to the Concerto in D, and earlier as well—a lifelong affliction, in fact.” The comparison of his melodic writing to a stutter, perhaps offered as a slightly acerbic riposte to frequent critiques, in fact serves as a clever metaphor, for it links the fragmental, dislocated, and repetitive aspects of the composer's melodic style with underlying connective origins inherent in speech. This chapter develops criteria by which we may gauge ordered succession as it plays out in melodies. The melodic evolution of a fragment may be measured along five spectra, each of which is bounded at one end by stasis and discontinuity and at the other by activity and connection.

Keywords:   Igor Stravinsky, melodic writing, compositional style, fragment, spectra

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