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Smoke, Mirrors and Prisms: Tonal Contradiction in Fauré

Author(s): Edward R. Phillips

Source: Music Analysis, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Mar., 1993), pp. 3-24
Published by: Wiley
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For Allen Forte

The art song occupied Gabriel Faur6 throughout his career more
consistently than any other genre. In the period between 1861 (the year of
composition of 'Le Papillon et la fleur', Op. 1, No. 1) and 1898, only ten
years saw no music for voice and piano. And, while after 1900 song
composition occupied Faur6 less, the genre is nonetheless represented
among his most mature works: the two last song cycles, Mirages (Op. 113)
and L'Horizon chimerique (Op. 118), were composed in 1919 and 1921
respectively.' That the genre of art song so pervades Faur6's compositional
output makes it the logical starting point for an examination of the
development of his harmonic language and, further, for a search for an
explanation of the stylistic changes that marked the so-called 'third period'
of his compositional career.
If 'Le Papillon et la fleur', written when Faur6 was but sixteen, were the
only piece of his that was well-known, it might justify the reputation Faur6
has undeservedly had as a composer of salon music. In the lightness of its
subject and its dance rhythm, it seems even to anticipate the so-called
'genteel tradition' of the 1890's music-hall stage. Within the larger context
of more than 100 songs of various moods and complexities, it can be seen
for what it is: a charming miniature whose airiness reflects both the mood
of Victor Hugo's poem and Faur6's sense of humour. Whatever the
aesthetic evaluation of the piece, it is evident that subtle surface chroma-
ticism and underlying complexity of structure are both foreign to it. What
chromaticism is present is easily heard as decorative and obscures nothing
of the harmony. For example, motivic use is made of the raised second
scale degree as chromatic passing note to intensify the voice leading from
second to third scale degree over a dominant-to-tonic progression.2
Chromatic usage in other early songs often presents a more richly
Romantic surface; but, again, the chromaticism is easily understood as an
ornamentation of the basic tonal structure. Consider bs 4-6 and 30-4 of
'Au bord de l'eau' (Op. 8, No. 1), composed in August 1876.3 In each o
these passages the prolongational device is the decorated descent of a fifth

MUSIC ANALYSIS 12:1, 1993 3

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(g~'-c#') in the upper voice. In bs 4-6 (see Ex. l

phshed by a familiar 5-6 alternation somew
sevenths. In the second excerpt (Ex. ib), the de
linear pattern alternating augmented fifth and
second motion is only slightly more chromatic
the chromaticism of both is 'unnecessary' - th
prolongation of the fifth-descent could have been made with diatonic
materials. So evident is this to the ear that any obscuring of key or function
is but momentary.
In the song 'Lydia' (Op. 4, No. 2), composed c. 1870, Faure again uses
a commonplace chromatic inflection, but the results are somewhat
different. At the opening Faur6 moves through arpeggiation to the main
melodic note, 5, over a change of support from I to III where the entry to
III is made through its German sixth. The e~' of the German sixth (b.51)
finds its resolution in the f#2 on beat 3 but is isolated from that resolution
by temporal and registral displacement and, most importantly, by an
intervening e12. The disguising of the German sixth's resolution results in a
tonally inappropriate dominant-seventh sonority on the downbeat and in a
mild and momentary confusion of tonal function in which the arrival of the
primary note in b.6 seems almost an afterthought (see Ex. 2).'
The imputation of the 'wrong' function to a harmony at one level of
structure while that harmony proceeds in its 'right' function at a deeper
level is the technique to which the word 'mirror', in the title of this essay,
refers. In the opening bars of 'En Sourdine' (Op. 58, No. 2), composed in
1891, Faure manipulates a straightforward progression to produce a
reversal of function at the foreground (see Ex. 3). Bars 2-5 are based on a
I-IV-I-IV-I progression (over a tonic pedal); as I returns on the downbeat
of b.4, its stability is weakened as ebl is omitted in favour of d', which
progresses to db', thus turning I into V of IV. The conversion of the tonic
into the dominant of the subdominant is an ordinary elision of the
cadence, but here details conspire to present different information at
different levels of structure. The resolution of the V of IV is ambiguous:
while IV is implied by the motion of the db' of b.4 to the c' in b.5, it is
weakened by g"s not moving up to alb; and, further, while this quasi-IV
should then return to an Et triad, its c' refuses to continue to the necessary
bb. As a result, two structures which are contradictory arise. The passage as
a whole is governed by an upper neighbour to scale degree 3 (g'-a~'-g'); the
g' returns first in b.4 and is taken again over the change of harmony at b.6
(without, as mentioned, a second statement of the neighbour). Yet at a
level nearer the foreground the ear is tempted to hear a prolongation of IV
beginning in b.3, with the * 1 of b.4 serving as chromatic passing note (ebb$)
in a motion from scale degree 3 to scale degree 3 in the key of Ab (see the
dotted beam in Ex. 3).
Faur6 uses false dominant harmonies elsewhere in 'En Sourdine' to
place a smoke-screen about underlying, middleground structures.

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Ex. 1 'Au bord de l'eau'

a) bs 1-6
Andante quasi allegretto
dolce T

S'asseoir tous deux au bord du flot qui pas - se, Le voir pas- ser,
Andante quasi allegretto

Reproduced by kind permission of A. Leduc & Cie.

Lr L

6 5 6 5 6 5

I- -V

b) bs 29-34

TI. .,. .vdo, - . w

Qu' sa - do - rer. Sans nul sou - c des querelles du mon - de Les i - gno - rer:

A V 2

Reproduced by kind permission of A. Leduc & Cie.

7 x5 10 x5 10 6 5

MUSIC ANALYSIS 12:1, 1993 5

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Ex. 2 'Lydia'

Andante -P_ I F I I IL I

Ly-di- a su

sempre dolce

Reproduced by kind permission of A. Leduc & Cie.



Ex. 3 'En Sourdine', bs 1-6

0 00

Iv (V)

I IV I 7 (IV) I

mild example, con

which expresses a m
to the dominant
harmony is presen
at the foreground
as the second half
dominant seventh
a false harmony -
anticipations of th

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Ex. 4 'En Sourdine', bs 17-22

67 64



made explici
In this song, as in 'Lydia', the arrival of the main melodic note is
occasion for a surface clouding of the underlying reality, again involving
the dominant relationship. In bs 6 and 7 (Ex. 5), the fifth scale degree is
achieved over a middleground motion to the dominant. Yet the foreground
suggests most strongly a move towards the mediant, G minor. Several
details conspire to create this illusion. The Bb% in the bass in b.6 is
undermined as root of the dominant by the g' in the upper voice, left over
from the tonic harmony that should have closed the previous structural
unit. Consonant support for the raised fourth degree, the a?' (which is
normally a very strong and audible clue that the main melodic note is
indeed the fifth scale degree), together with the syncopation of the primary
note, bb', over the barline, the prominence given to the lower neighbour,
f#', in b.7 and the movement to D in the bass, causes bb' to be heard as a
suspension (which never resolves) as if it originated as an upper neighbour
to the an'. Only with the repetition of the gesture upwards through raised 4
to 5 over V7 (bs 7-8) does the middleground structure become clear.
However, this moment of clarity is short-lived, as the next five bars
(8-12) obscure their role as prolongation of V by a surfeit of counterfeit
dominants. In terms of Roman numerals, the surface progression following
the brief V6 in b.8 continues with a diminished-seventh chord serving as V
of V of V, to V of V, by rising chromatic motion to another diminished
seventh serving as V of III, to an E? dominant seventh (by root movement,
VI of III; by structure, V of IV), to a Db triad in bs 10 and 11 which may
be heard as IV of IV, and finally to V6 in b.12. This entire convoluted
foreground structure prolongs the dominant harmony, as the analytical
graph in Ex. 5 shows, but it does not do so from within the dominant
harmony - that is, there is nothing in the surface structure (at least, after
the V of V) which is consistent with progression in the key of the
dominant. Motion from chord to chord may seem logical, but there is no
overarching tonal logic to these elements of progression as they are
perceived on the surface of the music. It is the rising bass line that prevents

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Ex. 5 'En Sourdine', bs 6ff.

L cresc.
: i- [ i I I I I T im1 dI o

Pe - ne - trons bien notre a - mour.

. *,. *S,'b. *. * S,.

Reproduced by kind permission of A. Leduc & Cie.

0 0 ? ?

ri6 6 6 4 () 6 6 57 07
5 4(6,
(2) 5

r *r

the suspensions and accented chromatic passing notes from creating total
tonal disorientation in these few bars by suggesting in its conjunct motion
that the harmonic relationships of the foreground are not real, that they are
subservient to some more linear prolongational event. This is indeed the
case: the bass line outlines a dominant seventh (stemmed bass notes in the
graph).5 The opening gesture of this section, in b.6, where the relative impor-
tance of a?' and bb' is reversed, recalls the mirror metaphor of my title; and
the subsequent bars of false harmonic motion represent the first stage of
what I shall call Faur6's prismatic writing, in which the underlying struc-
ture is refracted and distorted by tonal relationships at the foreground level.
The sense of tonal disorientation continues as the cadence to I expected
after the dominant of b. 12 is evaded by a brief but complex prolongation.
The first hint of complexity lies in the treatment of the pitches D and C in
b. 13 (see Ex. 6); d2 is the leading note of the dominant in b. 12 transferred
up an octave by a reaching over, suspended into b.13 over G in the bass
and resolving in the upper voice of the piano to eV2. At the same time, by
means of the same mirror technique as that used in b.6, c2 is treated as a
principal note in the melody (and in the piano left hand) and d2 as upper
neighbour. Explaining this apparent conflict in function requires an
understanding of the elliptical nature of the progression in bs 13-16.6
Example 6a shows the structure of the passage without Faure's ellipsis.

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This progression is a prolongation of the mai

chromatic upper neighbour, cK2, supported by
(bVI): 16-II'-V-I. The primary note then return
Note how this completely explicit progression
(graphed in Ex. 6b): in the hypothetical, 'com
bour to bb' in b.12 completes its embellishing
main melodic note actually appear over the to
the upper voice bb' supported by the domin
leading note to c1; finally, the f6' of b. 15 is clea
bour to eb' (itself an appoggiatura to the leading
With Faur6's omission of the goal chord in
hension of the music changes greatly as expe
underlying structure are created. As a result,
tonic in b. 16 comes as both surprise and relie
of the Cb unit omitted, the neighbour constru
already complete over V of Cb in b.14; Gb
logical continuation to Cb, moves stepwise to
engenders a diminished-seventh chord that the ear assumes to be the
dominant of IV. The conflict between middleground and foreground
structures, heard here in unresolved neighbour notes and false bass notes,
can be characterised as a second stage of prismatics in which both the
horizontal and the vertical dimensions of the harmonic progression are
distorted. As a smoke-screen obscuring tonal function, these techniques
are most effective when, as here, the middleground relationship between
dominant and tonic harmonies is clouded at the foreground level.
These techniques can also create formal conflict. In b.16, the return to
tonal clarity coincides exactly with a formal division, the end of the second
stanza of the poem. The melodic recapitulation which introduces the
poem's last stanza in b.33 does not occur at such a point of coincidence,
for the previous unit (a lengthy prolongation of the dominant harmony)
has not been completed. As the analytical graph in Ex. 7 shows, the
middleground moves from a tonic-minor pillar at b. 17 to the dominant at
b.22 (as mentioned above in the discussion of Ex. 4). This dominant
harmony is confirmed by a cadential motion ending at b.24 (coinciding
with the end of the third stanza of text), but this harmonic-formal
coincidence is a foreground event designed to confirm the minor third over
the dominant which had appeared first in b.22. The prolongation of V over
the long span is a large-scale unfolding from the bb' in b.22 to the P of b.33
(voice and piano right hand). The unfolding is composed out with diatonic
and chromatic passing notes; much of the span is given over to the
prolongation of one of these, the ab', seemingly as seventh over the
dominant - but far greater prominence is allotted at the foreground to the
chromatic passing note gb,, which enjoys a motivic association with the
movement from c2 to c2 of b.13. It is the emphasis given to this
chromaticism which persuades the ear on first hearing that the g1 of b.33 is

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Ex. 6 'En Sourdine', bs 13-16

- i les va - - gues lan - gueurs des pins

legato sempre dolcissimo

I. , . E r. t/ I

Reproduced by kind permission

o (? o) o

, t
I dI

? ? 1

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Ex. 7 'En Sourdine', bs 31ff.

ga - zons roux

,inf cresc.

f espressivo

. I j h I~ . _I
.J .................w Wv

Et quand, so- len - nel, le soir Des ch - nes noirs tom - be-


A 1--l- -0do
Reproduced by kind permission of A. Leduc & Cie.

? ? 22

65 _ (43)
--6VI [V] V

the resolution of the prolonged dominant seventh; the recapitulating

melody attempts further to present the eb' of b.34 as the goal of a motion
from this g' through f' as passing note. Yet subsequent events conspire to
weaken any feeling of close on the downbeat of b.34: the eb' in the vocal
line is made to seem part of a IF chord over a dominant pedal, associated
with al' as unfolding answered by the g'-d' fourth of b.35.
A second hearing produces the suspicion in the listener that the
harmonic-melodic structure is not so simply arranged and that the analysis
just offered does not constitute a convincing reading of the details. Faur&'s

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ultimate obscuring of the dominant-tonic progression is subtler than

foreground conflict between melody and accompaniment - between an
apparent progression and the pedal over which it appears.
The g' at the beginning of b.33 is no point of rest but rather a passing
note which completes the unfolding to f over the dominant bass. Similarly,
the subsequent eb' is not a goal of a melodic-harmonic gesture; nor is it
associated with the immediately adjacent ab'. This latter pitch, stated by
voice and piano on the second beat of b.34, is the long-awaited seventh
over the dominant which resolves to g' over E, on the downbeat of b.35.
The el, of b.34 is associated with the g' of b.35 as the second half of an
unfolding which is begun within the dominant seventh between the f' of
b.33 and the ab' of b.34. As by a prism, the voice leading is distorted, and
the e' is displaced backwards from the tonic harmony into the dominant;
and it remains the voice-leading predecessor of the d' within the tonic
harmony at b.35. (The presence of the d' within the tonic recalls b.4.) The
effect is not simply to weaken the tonic, which arrives in b.35 in the middle
of a phrase of text, but also to weaken the seventh of the dominant seventh
in the previous bar.'
Bar 36 provides, through passing motion and Ubergreifen, a dominant
preparation to the arrival in the following bar of scale degree 2 of the
Fundamental Structure, supported by V6. The close of the Fundamental
Structure occurs at b.42. The intervening bars prolong the dominant by
means of secondary dominants which move the penultimate harmony to
V2 (b.40) and thence to a quasi-V in b.41 in which the leading note is
replaced by an anticipation of the tonic note. Of course, neither the
temporal distance between the dominant harmony of the Fundamental
Structure and the final tonic nor the immediacy of the final foreground
cadence challenges the analytical validity of this interpretation, but it is
true that the listener perceives the most important cadential motion to be
the surface close from b.41 to b.42. Faur6 exploits this experiential reality
in the closes of a number of later songs.
Consider now some examples from the end of Faure's career which
concentrate on two aspects of compositional technique: the clouding of the
dominant-tonic relationship, particularly at the presentation of the final
close, and the distorting of voice leading (and, to a lesser extent, of formal
structures) by a technique of 'advanced prismatics'.
The song cycle Le Jardin clos (Op. 106), was composed between July
and November of 1914. Robert Orledge, in attempting to characterise
Faure's late style, describes that style as 'developing from Le Don silencieux
onwards, through the contrapuntally-alive duets for voice and piano-bass
around a softening chordal centre that make up Le Jardin cldos' (Orledge
1979: 136). He continues with a comment about 'Exaucement', the first
song of the cycle, by saying that its 'long harmonic voyage of exploration is
only resolved when the tonic is unequivocally regained with the last syllable
of the text three bars from the end' (Ibid.). Orledge's comments have some

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validity, in the sense that the song's surface does conceal much of its
underlying structure; it is a natural consequence of this that the tonal
security of an unequivocal tonic is not evident until the end of the piece.
However, what Orledge misses is that it is not the lack of a frank tonic
harmony which makes the song's organization elusive but rather the
manipulation of the basic tonal relationship between dominant and tonic.
Such manipulation is present over both small and large spans of the
music of 'Exaucement'. The underlying progression of bs 7 and 8 (see
Ex. 8) is V of V to V to I; the motion from the secondary dominant to the
dominant is confounded by the bass's anticipation of g under the D
dominant seventh and by the persistence of f#', the secondary leading note,
into the V harmony. This f#' undermines V as a goal of its own dominant
as well as its effectiveness as dominant to the C triad that follows. The
tonal centre of this progression is 'softened', as Orledge would have it,
prismatic distortion of the voice leading which is much like that alr
examined at the recapitulation of 'En Sourdine' and which Faure uses
much greater scale later in the present piece.
Ex. 8 'Exaucement', bs 7-8

poco crescendo

- re, Vien - - ne comme un ex-

poco crescendo

Reproduced by kind permission of

Iv] v I

The most significant disruption of t

the most basic level of structure, that
Structure itself. The close of the piece
degree i in the discant supported by
preceded, as would be normal, by sca

MUSIC ANALYSIS 12:1, 1993 13

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dominant. Rather, the dominant bass is struck

notably absent in the upper part (c#' refusing
to it). The penultimate note of the upper line i
its bass note and spatially from its expected o
bass note in b.25, where it creates a foregro
reminiscent of the prolongation of the fundam
of 'En Sourdine'. In the earlier song, this cons
an extensive prolongation of the final dominant; here it replaces that
dominant, completely violating Schenker's precepts concerning obligatory

Ex. 9 'Exaucement', bs 24-6

Trou - ve la joie et le re - pos.


Reproduced by kind permission of Editions Durand S.A.

3- 1
r ____

This treatment of background structure is taken a step further in

suis embarqu&', the second song of the cycle L'Horizon chime'r
composed in 1921. The opening section of the piece is based on a cir
chromatic prolongation of the tonic harmony, Db, approached at the
the section by a V' chord (see Ex. 10a). Scale degree 2 of the Fundam
Structure arrives in b.35 supported by a V' chord that has no imme
resolution (see Ex. 10b); instead, there are ten bars of chromatic wr
whose association with the previous material is not immediately obv
The final tonic harmony of Db arrives relatively unambiguously in bs
preceded by a D major triad. Scale degree I has already ma
appearance, disguised as c~2 in bs 40ff., over F# (Gt), the bass note o
dominant 4 in b.35. This bass note descends (reading enharmonically)

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through Fb and Ebb to Db. Thus, the final close at

effected by displacement forward of the bass of the V
cadence note in the upper voice. And the close at t
is heard as a chromatic variation of the V4-I (El to
Again, Faur6 has chosen the most vulnerable part of the structure as
location for his most enigmatic prolongation.'o

Ex. 10 'Je me suis embarqu6'

a) bs. 4-11 ?

4 4 4

b) bs. 30-45

4 3 2

The dominant-tonic d
large spans have been a
the structural levels at
nique being used in an
constitute a prolongat
Ex. 11 charts the comp
of the two unfoldings c
in b.16, to that in b.2
between c2 and g'. This
second of which is its
resolves on the final (implied) g' in b.21 (see Ex. 1 la). As various
contrapuntal events (many of them chromatic) are themselves harmonized
and made consonant (and occasionally disguised enharmonically), the
foreground lends itself to readings at odds with the underlying,

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middleground structure. For example, the f#'

simply a chromatic lower neighbour to the goa
harmonized, it appears to be part of a V2 of V
(again, a dominant-tonic relationship clouded). T
really an al' passing chromatically between a' an
in its enharmonic incarnation of g#', it appear
series of parallel tenths within the smaller unfolding. Still, the most
contradictory situation exists between the structure at level b and the
foreground diagrammed at level a. The foreground is the result of a
distortion of the structural voice leading (the prism effect again), a
distortion which is applied to different degrees in different voices: a given
bass note is often nowhere near the upper voices it is supporting, and the
result is a very Faur6en cloud of smoke.

Ex. 11 'Exaucement', bs 16-21

a) -

Tr- 0- 7o l



IV]) IV : lIV I'mi

z f - : --w

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Distortion is not limited to harmonic structures;

in formal contradictions. In 'Exaucement', for exa
complex passage just discussed comes back into foc
comes out from under the prism - when the prol
reaches its goal in b.21; it is also true that this ch
structure of the text, for the midpoint of the last sta
bar. However, within the complex passage of bs 16
point is placed at the least important point harmon
ab'/g#'. Further, this prismatic passage begins wi
achieved in b.16 (all its constituent parts never do
with this evasion of a cadence the end of the seco
My next example, the song 'Cygne sur l'eau', is the first of the son
cycle Mirages, composed during the summer of 1919. Example 12 pro
a metric reduction of bs 13-25, together with a graph which has extra
the underlying voice leading from the prismatics of the foreground.
subsection from b.13 to b.22 takes the progression from the tonic to
dominant; at b.22 the bass C supports bb' as seventh over the domina
The passage from b.22 to b.25 resolves the seventh to ab' over I, intro
ducing the tonic minor. A comparison of the two levels of Ex. 12 will
evident the way in which the surface was deciphered to yield the mo
conventionally tonal structure of the graph.'2
However, the undeciphered foreground can itself be considered in t
of the small number of pitch-class sets produced by the prismatics. T
sets are, for the most part, the seventh chords which are familiar sono
in tonal music but which do not function as such here; not surprisingly
majority are, then, members of the dia and dia-tonal genera describe
Allen Forte in his article 'Pitch-Class Set Genera and the Origin
Modern Harmonic Species' (Forte 1988).'3 Set 4-27, which is prese
though not particularly prominent, in bs 13-14, assumes a greater ro
the piece progresses. This set is the dominant/half-diminished sevent
chord that Forte describes as 'a hallmark of late 19th-century experim
music [which] connects... the whole-tone genus with... the "diminis
genus, and, at the far end of the spectrum, joins the traditional 'dia-t
genus' (Forte 1988: 204).
Bars 25-34 (see Ex. 13) progress from tonic minor harmony to a do
nant seventh by means of two linear passages. The first (bs 25-9) is b
on parallel sixths between the outer voices and effects the octave transf
db', upper neighbour to the fifth of the tonic chord. The middlegrou
structure is clearly tonal, but the chromaticism of the foregroun
puzzling until it is examined in terms of sets. The foreground is seque
in the pattern 4-27 - 3-11 - 3-12. The same sequence is used to realize
parallel tenths from b.30 to b.33 which introduce bb' as seventh over
dominant. It would seem that Faur6 was forming the surface sequenc
the transposition of specific sound colour, since each 4-27 is in the for

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Ex. 12 'Cygne sur l'eau', bs 13-25

4-22 4-26 4-14 4-20 4-26 4-20 4-26 4-20 4-20 4-26 4-26 4-20 4-20 4-27 3-12 4-23 3-1 1

r, 422 .,, -

[Iv] [v4] V

3-11 10011101 4-22 1021120] 4-27 [012111]

3-12 [0003001 4-23 (0210301

4-14 1111120] 4-26 [012120]

4-20 [101220]

the half-diminished seventh except for those in bs 30 and 33; these

in the dominant-seventh form of the set, inversionally related to t
instances of it, and serve to demarcate the two underlying patterns of
and tenths.
The passage following (bs 36-45), which Orledge describes as a
'nebulous harmonic sequence' (1979: 173), is a prolongation of V7. It does
have a certain nebulous quality, tonally, and presents numerous difficulties

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Ex. 13 'Cygne sur l'eau', bs 25-34

4-27 3.11 3-12 4-27'3-11 3-12 4-27 3-11 3-12 4-27 4-20 4-14 4-27 3-11 3-12 4-27 3-11 3-12 4-27 3-11 4-14


6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 10 10 0 10 10 10 0 10 7


in dealing with details in Schenkerian terms, but it is also alive with sets,
some in mini-sequences and others as the simple repetition of sonorities
with invariant dyads (see the brackets on Ex. 14). (Indeed Faur6 succeeds
in maintaining essentially this small vocabulary of sets with very few
changes in pitch - that is, with many common notes in the voice leading.)'4

Ex. 14 'Cygne sur l'eau', bs 34-46

I 4 2 I . / -
4-27 4-20 4-20 4-27 4-26 4-26 4-20 4-27 4-26 4-20 4-27 4-26

[ .i..,, . .. ..

4-27 4-26 4-26 4-27 4-26 4-26 4-27 4-26 4-20 4-27 4-23 4-22 4-23 4-26 4-27

v-- -i
13- --A

This integr
'Diane, S6l6n
texture and so distorted the voice leading that the underlying tonal
structure, complete with peculiar background close," is very well disguised.

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However, evasion of tonal clarity is not limite

although the Fundamental Line descends gradu
the entire span of the piece, middleground pr
of the basic structure do not reaffirm that st
nowhere in the middleground is there a prolon
step which involves a stepwise descent over a
progression. Instead, each step is prolonged in
neighbour motions in both discant and bass or
the vertical prolonged. (For example, the prolo
occupies nearly a quarter of the piece but is sim
a C minor triad in the bass supporting the sus
listener is aware of a consistency of sonority a
sets involved are, with a few additions, the one
- but in the absence of a strong middleground
sets' loses its anchor to the tonally organized b
lends itself more to comprehension in terms of
is a new level of integration of tonal materials a
Various analytical investigations of the tonal
music of the late nineteenth and early twenti
mented the increased use of atonal sonorities a
different levels of structure in this music. How
discussion of exactly how the basic organization
harmonic axis - was effectively abandoned for
The idea that tonality was broken under the
foreground chromaticism - a persistent model f
a truly appealing one - is a notion which ign
levels of musical structure and which analysts
perspective have rejected. Rather, it is almost a
to have been any real transition from one meth
another, the basis for the older one - the domin
to have been weakened in specific ways at b
background levels. As I have demonstrated,
this basic tonal relationship with specific te
historical sense, originate near the foreground
structures that are more fundamental.
Although analysis of this music may contribute to an understanding of
the transition from tonality to atonality, it raises as many questions as it
answers. For instance, I refer above to a 'Faur6 sound' involving whole-
tone dissonance. To what extent does this set vocabulary characterize a
'French sound' as distinct from a 'German sound' of the period involving
sets rich in semitone dissonance, the distinction expressible in terms of
Forte's theory of set genera? To what extent did Faure's music influence
the development of such a vocabulary in succeeding generations of French
composers? Specific answers to these questions must, of course, await
further analytical research, but it is indeed possible that Faur6 had a

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greater influence on the music of this century than is generally att

to him.


1. With one exception, discussed below, my dating of pieces fo


2. Simple though this embellishment may be, that it is the dominant harmo
which is so treated is an indication of things to come in Faure's harmonic
3. The date of composition for this song has been given very precisely by th
major biographers of Faur6 (Nectoux 1980: 425, 1980a: 30 [1984: 29], 1990:
529 [1991: 532]; Orledge 1979: 281) as 'August 1875'. This dating is
consistent with one manuscript source (Bibliotheque Nationale MS 20293,
donated in 1985) containing a sketch of this song (in D minor) surrounded by
sketches for the first and second movements of the Sonata for violin and piano
No. 1, Op. 13, composed in 1875-6. However, the autograph source for the
completed song (Bibliotheque Nationale MS 20291, donated in 1985) is
signed and dated on the title page '15 aofit 1876'. It is unlikely that this date
represents anything but the date of the piece's completion, as Faur6 was not
in the habit of dating copies made either for presentation or for the engraver.
In any case, this source (in C minor) is probably not a later copy intended for
either purpose since, in the first place, there are numerous differences in detail
- voicing of the piano accompaniment, and the like - between this version and
the published one and, in the second, there are in the manuscript no
engraver's marks or publisher's stamps.
4. Taylor Greer (1986: 16ff.) presents an analysis of this passage using an
analytical method based on Schenkerian principles and dealing with structural
implications of the whole-tone scale. Greer's analysis differs from the one
presented here principally in the reading of the prolongational motion to the
primary note and of the details of voice leading.
Frangoise Gervais, whose analytical method is fairly traditional in its
application of Roman numerals to foreground verticals, explains the
modulation from I to III in this passage as the result of the coincidence of the
scale of the Lydian mode on G and the scale of B minor (Gervais 1971: 68).
Indeed, this passage has been much analysed in the scholarly literature on
Faur6 with particular reference to the raised fourth scale degree's creating the
Lydian mode whose presence is a musical pun on the song's title. That Faur6
was trained at the Ecole Niedermeyer in the accompaniment of Gregorian
chant has fostered the theory that certain chromaticisms in his music are
expressions of a predisposition to modal structures (for the most detailed
study, see Kidd 1973). This idea has proved popular, but it is not without its
detractors (see Beltrando-Patier 1978: 469f.). In this song, while the Lydia/
Lydian pun is probably intended - it is certainly in keeping with Faure's sense

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of humour - the raised fourth degree can be exp

represent more than a passing, surface reference to
5. Greer's analysis (1986:44) identifies the prolong
does not explicitly characterize the bass motion in these bars as an
arpeggiation of that harmony.
6. Greer's detailed discussion of this passage (1986: 43-7) does not posit an
ellipsis. As a result, his analysis is fundamentally different from that presented
here in the overall reading of the bass in bs 7-16, in the reading of the upper-
voice prolongation of bs 13-16 and in the understanding of the origin and
voice-leading implications of the f b' of b. 15.
7. Gervais shares this perception: '... Faur6 pousse au maximum l'art d'egarer
momentanement l'auditeur, ou de le surprendre, presque, "avec ce qu'il
attend"' (1971: 84).
8. The accent over the left hand Bb% in b.33 becomes, then, an important detail,
as it is a correct reading of the bass that is the key to this passage. It is
interesting to note that Faur6 inserted this accent as one of his corrections to
the proof copy now in the collection of the Bibliotheque Nationale (Res. Vmb
9. Gervais analyses b.44 as a Neapolitan sixth (written enharmonically) but
offers no explanation why this chord should proceed directly to the tonic
(1971: 61, 70).
10. Faur6 further obscures the final close in bs 45-7. The upper-voice b?b of b.45
resolves as upper neighbour to ab1 in b.46; at this point the bass moves from
D[ to A6 while the rhythmic motive of the piano left hand invokes g, as minor
seventh above, producing a hint of dominant seventh (see Gervais 1971: 86).
Careful consideration, however, reveals the bass motion as a prolongational
arpeggiation within the tonic harmony, the g, as upper neighbour to the f of
b.43, and these bars as coda.
11. One of three extant manuscripts of Le jardin clos bears the engraver's stamp
and is part of the collection of the library of the Ransom Center for
Humanities Research of the University of Texas at Austin. This source shows
erasures in the right hand of the piano part on the last beat of b.16. The
pitches g' and c' were originally c' and a, a situation which would have further
obscured the arrival of the tonic harmony.
12. An example: in bs 22 and 23, notes of the tonic triad (f and a6l) project
themselves backwards into the prolongation of the dominant harmony. The
manuscript source (Bibliotheque National MS 11546) indicates that this
clouding of the cadence was worked out in stages: f was erased from the even
semiquaver positions of b.23, to be replaced by f' a third below a,' on the odd
semiquavers, the better to strengthen the effect of the tonic intrusion; in the
piano right hand on the last beat of b.24, c' and ab replace the original pitches
b6, and g which, taken together with the bass E?, would have made explicit the
end of the dominant prolongation.
13. Of the tetrachords employed in this segment, only 4-14 and 4-20 are capable
of producing semitones; the result is a characteristic 'Faur6 sound' in which

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major seconds (minor sevenths) are the predominant dissonance in ve

14. The flat on e' in the piano right hand on beat 1 of b.37 is not prese
manuscript (Bibliotheque Nationale, MS 11546), but its omission is a
certainly an error. With the flat the vertical is 4-26, which is promin
without the flat the vertical is 4-19, which is not otherwise found. An
alternative version of bs 39-43 is crossed out in the manuscript; this version
differs in the rhythmic placement of the text and, more interestingly, in the se
regularities visible in Ex. 14.
Several versions exist of the final bars of the song as well. None change
the foreground V4-I cadence; indeed, in one discarded version, the bass G is
dotted minim instead of the crotchet of the published version (bs 58-9).
15. Gervais, too, has noted Faure's use of conjunct bass motion at the cadence i
the late vocal works and cites the close of this song as example. However, sh
attributes this foreground event to 'l'esprit gregorien' (1971: 35).
16. In b.13 (see Ex. 15) this consistency is broken. As the prevailing rhythm is
broken by the submetrical syncopations introduced by the piano, new sets
arise from the rhythmic displacement. The most conspicuous is 4-Z29, which
occurs for the first time in the song on beat 2:

Ex. 15 'Diane, S6lne', b.13

ta r - - di- t In - ju - ri-

4-21 4-22 4-27

Sb 4-Z29

Reproduced by kind permission of Editions Durand S.A.

Forte describes the circumstances in which this set tends to a

settings: '4-Z29, one of the two all-interval tetrachords and a favorite of
Chopin and Mahler, among others, occurs most often as an elaborate
suspension formation' (Forte 1988: 218).


Beltrando-Patier, Marie-Claire, 1978: 'Les Melodies de G. Faure' (Diss.,

University of Strasbourg II).
Forte, Allen, 1988: 'Pitch-Class Set Genera and the Origin of Modern Harmonic
Species', Journal of Music Theory, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp.187-270.
Gervais, Franqoise, 1971: Etude comparee des langages harmoniques de Faure et de

MUSIC ANALYSIS 12:1, 1993 23

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Debussy (Paris: Editions de la Revue Musicale).

Greer, Taylor, 1986: 'Tonal Process in the Songs of Gabriel Faur6: Two
Structural Features of the Whole-Tone Scale' (Diss., Yale University).
Kidd, James C., 1973: 'Louis Niedermeyer's System for Gregorian Chant Accom-
paniment as a Compositional Source for Gabriel Faure' (Diss., University of
Nectoux, Jean-Michel, 1980: 'Gabriel Faure'. New Grove Dictionary of Music and
Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, Vol. 6 (London: MacMillan), pp.417-28.
- 1980a: Gabriel Faure: Correspondance (Paris: Flammarion).
1984: Gabriel Faure: His Life Through His Letters (London: Boyars). (English
translation of 1980a by J. A. Underwood.)
1990: Gabriel Faure: Les Voix du Clair-obscur (Paris: Flammarion).
1991: Gabriel Faure: A Musical Life (Cambridge: CUP). (English translation
of 1990 by Roger Nichols.)
Orledge, Robert, 1979: Gabriel Faure (London: Eulenburg).

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