Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2016

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Jennifer Iverson

First Committee Member

Robert Cook

Second Committee Member

Nathan Platte


The early polystylism of Alfred Schnittke demonstrates a gradual movement away from strict serialism towards a more mimetic music of quotations, allusions, aleatoric techniques, and tonal styles. This thesis investigates three pieces from 1968: film music for The Glass Harmonica, Serenade for Five Musicians, and Violin Sonata No. 2, Quasi Una Sonata. The first piece is analyzed as a clash of two ideas, the transcendent and the grotesque, which are exhibited in the music’s allusions to J. S. Bach and the presence of twentieth-century aleatory and atonality. The various technical features of Serenade and Violin Sonata No. 2 show the importance of dodecaphony and motivic atonality as unifying procedures. Temporal and pitch indeterminacy are also prevalent but it is perhaps the fleeting tonal references that hint at how important appropriation of older styles would be for Schnittke’s later music.


Alfred Schnittke, Composition, Polystylism, Techniques


viii, 109 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 105-109).


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Copyright 2016 Solomon Fenton-Miller

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