Scheonberg analysis Essay

Submitted By hazzabobht
Words: 761
Pages: 4

Second Viennese School
Five Orchestral pieces
Peripetie = 4thMovemnet 1909

Explain what expressionism is

Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express meaning or emotional experience rather than physical reality. They did this through music, art and poetry. Schoenberg was a famous expressionist composer who flourished in the early 20th century. Peripetie was the 4th out of 5 orchestral pieces. It was first performed in 1912.


Hauptsstimme(main Voice) is the part which plays the main bit of the melody. The Nebenstimme(neighbour voice) is the secondary part. The melodies are not similar to what you would usually think of a conventional melody. This is because they are very disjunct and many of the dissonant notes make them less appealing to listen to. The phrases are angular and are fragmented throughout. Schoenberg octave displaces some of the melody to add to the expressionist mood. The melodies are also inverted diminished and augmented to further convey the extreme mood style of the piece.

Rhythm and Dynamics

The rhythms are complex and varied. The metre is changing often. The three tempo terms are passionate, ruhiger (calm), rasch (Very fast) and heftig. There is canon involved in the last 6 bars where phrases are repeated (Bar 61). This builds up tension as the same phrase is repeated.

There are sudden changes throughout this piece in the dynamics and mood. For example the piece starts in Forte and by bar 5 it is fff. Schoenberg also uses extreme dynamics such as this instance and many others with ppp. The sudden changes from very loud fast melodic phrases, to slower relaxed and much quieter phrases create tension and convey the unusual mood. Sudden changes rhythmically and in the dynamics are features of expressionist music and aren’t used nearly as much as in Mozart’s pieces.


Peripetie was written in free rondo form (A, B, A1, C, A2). Section b starts in bar 18 where a new mood is introduced. Then in bar 35 a variation of section A starts with similar motifs and hexachords as in beginning of the piece.In section A2…
The sections are not as distinct as in Mozart’s music.


This piece is atonal. Schoenberg uses every note in the chromatic scale by using hexachords and then at some point using the complement.A hexachord is a chord with six notes of the chromatic scale in it.A complement completes the hexachord with the other six notes out of the possible 12. The piece starts with an opening hexachord played by the clarinets and bassoon in bar 1. Thenlater in the piece it is complemented. There are many Dissonant notes throughout to create the distinct mood.
Schoenberg makes the hexachord have the…