Associative Tonality and Tonal-Harmonic Third Relations in the Interpretation of Textual and Dramatic Meanings in Richard Strauss’s Elektra
The subject of research in this paper is the specific manifestation of associative tonality and tonal-harmonic third relations in Straussʼs opera Elektra. Originating from the analytical discourse of several authors, dedicated to opera and musical drama, associative tonality is a dramatic-tonal concept within which a certain key is consistently associated with a specific dramatic element, such as character, collectivity, event, feeling and more. In addition to the strong presence of associative keys related to the dramatic characters, Elektra is distinctly characterized by a chromatic and doubly-chromatic third relation that occurs both between chords and between keys. It is important for the harmonic language of the opera that these two types of relations that are formed between keys, at certain moments become more important than the manifestation of one particular key. New achievements in the field of hermeneutic musical analysis represent the initial assumption in this paper, and within these achievements it is possible to talk about the interpretive analysis of harmony as an interpretation of an opera or music drama. The paper aims to examine the ways in which associative tonality, on the one hand, and two types of third relationships between keys and between chords, on the other hand, function as instances of interpretation, which would provide a deep or completely new understanding of the elements of dramatic structure.
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