Monothematism |
Music Terms

Monothematism |

Dictionary categories
terms and concepts

from the Greek monos – one, single and tema – what is the basis

The principle of building music. works associated with a special interpretation of one topic or one set of topics. M. should be distinguished from the concept of “mono-darkness”, which refers to the forms of non-cyclic. order (fugue, variations, simple two- and three-part forms, rondo, etc.). M. arises from the combination of sonata-symphony. cycle or one-part forms derived from it with one theme. Such a theme is often called a leitteme or, using a term associated with operatic forms and denoting a phenomenon related to M., a leitmotif.

The origins of M. are in the intonational similarity of the initial themes in different parts of the cyclic. prod. 17-18 centuries, for example. Corelli, Mozart and others:

A. Corelli. Trio sonata op. 2 No 9.

A. Corelli. Trio Sonata op. 3 no 2.

A. Corelli. Trio Sonata op. 1 no 10.

W. A. ​​Mozart. Symphony g-moll.

But in own sense of M. was first used only by L. Beethoven in the 5th symphony, where the initial theme is carried out in a transformed form through the entire cycle:

Beethoven’s principle formed the basis of M. y composers of later times.

G. Berlioz in the “Fantastic Symphony”, “Harold in Italy” and other cyclical. prod. endows the leading theme (leitmotif) with program content. In the Fantastic Symphony (1830), this theme represents the image of the hero’s beloved, accompanying him at different moments in his life. In the final she is exposed especially mean. changes, drawing the beloved as one of the participants in the fantastic. coven of witches:

G. Berlioz. “Fantastic Symphony”, part I.

Same, part IV.

In Harold in Italy (1834), the leading theme personifies the image of Ch. the hero and is entrusted to the always solo viola, standing out against the background of program-pictorial paintings.

In several M. is interpreted in a different form in the production. F. List. The desire for the most adequate embodiment in music is poetic. plots, the development of images to-rykh often did not meet the traditions. music construction schemes. prod. large form, led Liszt to the idea of ​​building all software products. on the basis of the same theme, which was subjected to figurative transformations and took decomp. shape corresponding to dec. stages of plot development.

So, for example, in the symphonic poem “Preludes” (1848-54) a short motive of 3 sounds, which opens the introduction, then, respectively, poetic. program forms the basis of a very different, contrasting thematic. entities:

F. List. Symphonic poem “Preludes”. Introduction.

Main party.

Connecting party.

Side party.



Unity thematic. foundations in such cases ensures the integrity of the work. In connection with the application of the principle of monothematism, List developed a symphony characteristic of his. poems a new type of form, in which the features of sonata Allegro and sonata-symphony were combined. cycle. Liszt applied the principle of M. and in cyclic. program compositions (symphony “Faust”, 1854; “Dante”, 1855-57), and in works not provided with a verbal program (sonata in h-moll for piano, etc.). Liszt’s figurative transformation technique uses the experience gained earlier in the field of thematic variation, including romantic free variations.

M. Lisztovsky type in its pure form in the subsequent time received only limited use, since the embodiment is qualitatively Sec. images with the help of just a different rhythmic, metric, harmonic, textural and timbre design of the same intonation turns (a change to which would lead to the loss of the thematic unity itself) impoverishes the composition. At the same time, in a more free application, in combination with the usual principles of muses. development of leittematism, monothematism and the principle of figurative transformation associated with them have found and are widely used (the 4th and 5th symphonies of Tchaikovsky, the symphony and a number of chamber works by Taneyev, the symphonies of Scriabin, Lyapunov, the 7th and other symphonies of Shostakovich, from works by foreign composers – S. Frank’s symphony and quartet, Saint-Saens’ 3rd symphony, Dvorak’s 9th symphony, etc.).

V. P. Bobrovsky

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