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The Symphonic Works of Leoš Janáček

From Folk Concepts to Original Style


John K. Novak

This book investigates the spectrum of meaning inherent in six orchestral works by Leoš Janáček. It codifies his compositional style, first through a thorough examination of its origins in folk music and speech-melody, then in discussions of the features of its melody and motivic techniques. His harmonic style and multiple organizations of tonality are examined in rich detail. The analysis section consists of the examination of each musical work’s musical elements, its affective and programmatic associations, as well as four narrative codes through which the listener discovers further meaning in the work: the hermeneutic code (which governs enigmas), the semic code of musical motives, the proairetic (formal) code, and the referential code (which draws on analogous passages from other pieces of music).
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I believe that theory ought to follow practice. Thus, I would like to begin by thanking those persons who taught me to play music. Francene French taught me the accordion when I was seven years old; she fascinated all in the class with her playing and teaching. Although I loved the accordion (even before it was cool!) I wanted also to play the piano. I bought my own piano at age 12 and taught myself. When I entered the University of Texas at Austin, three excellent pianists helped me to unlearn the bad habits that come with being self-taught: Betsy Parker, Betty Mallard, and A. David Renner. They instructed me lovingly in the art of the piano in a rich, historically informed and comprehensive manner. Those years of study are like gold to me.

Virtually all the piano students at University of Texas in those days were like a family: we went swimming, bowling, dancing and watched Jeopardy together. Many of these remain among my closest friends today; they were and are a great support to me in every way.

There were a great number of history and theory professors at UT from whose instruction and ideas I benefitted, especially Dorothy Payne, Douglass Green, Elliott Antokoletz, and Patrick McCreless. I frequently and happily notice aspects of their teaching in my own, and I even quote them in class. My inspiring piano pedagogy professor Amanda Vick Lethco also became my most important writing instructor...

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