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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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2. The Impact of Folk Music and Speech Melody


Chapter 2

The Impact of Folk Music and Speech Melody

I have one great joy: Moravia alone is enough to give me all necessary inspiration. So rich are her sources.1

Folksong has one spirit, because it possesses the pure man, with God’s own culture, and not the one grafted upon him. Therefore, I think that if our art music can grow out of the folk source, all of us will embrace each other in these products of art music. It will be common to all of us: it will unite us. Folksong can bind the nation—indeed nations—can bind all of mankind into one spirit, one kind of happiness, one kind of bliss.2

There is no boundary line between folk and art music—just a small difference in their development.3

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