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  191 Gebrauchs -Formulas  robert o. gjerdingen O ne autumn day in 1896, anton arensky invited  Rachmaninoff and Glazunov to dinner at his St. Petersburg home to celebrate a visit from Sergey  Taneyev. A network of personal and professional ties linked these notable musicians. Rachmaninoff, for example, had stud-ied with Arensky and Taneyev; Arensky and Glazunov had in turn studied with Rimsky-Korsakov. After dinner the four composers played a musical parlor game. 1  Each of them took a sheet of paper and wrote out the initial phrase of a small character piece for piano. When all were ready, each passed his sheet to a colleague who extended the composition, and this round robin continued until the sheets returned to their starting positions. The srcinal composer then completed the final phrases and cadence. Example 1 shows the first of the resulting four compositions, the one begun and completed by Arensky. 2 F ew classical musicians today could play this game at such a high level. Arensky and his guests displayed amazing musical fluency, a score-reading ability that took in all the harmonic and contrapuntal implications on the page, and an aural imagination capable of devising satisfying continuations to complex musical gestures penned by others. How were they able to do this?  The same question could be put to jazz musicians from the 1930s or to actors in the commedia dell’arte   from the 1630s. Two giants from that distant world of Italian theater, in explaining their craft, emphasized that the novice had to build up a large memory of stored material and then learn to control it: Niccolò Barbieri (1576 – 1641): [Actors must] study and fortify their memory with a wide variety of things such as sayings, phrases, love-speeches, reprimands, cries of despair, and ravings, in order to have them ready for the proper occasion. 3 Pier Maria Cecchini (1563–ca. 1630): [T]he actor must see to it that his mind controls his memory (which dispenses the treasure of memorized phrases over the vast field of opportunities constantly offered by comedy). 4 Elsewhere I have detailed how eighteenth-century musicians built up their “treasure of memorized phrases” through long apprenticeship to masters who taught them using an array of pedagogical materials known, in the Italian tradition, as regole,    partimenti  , solfeggi  , and intavolature  . 5   Regole   were exemplars of basic patterns such as cadences and various sequences. Partimenti   were basses intended to be realized as full-fledged compositions at the keyboard. Solfeggi   were exercises in style for voice and basso continuo, providing a storehouse of contra-puntally and harmonically contextualized melodic exemplars useful in  partimento  realizations and free composition.  Intavolature   were instructional works for keyboard that offered models of keyboard textures and figurations. Regole  , solfeggi  , and intavolature   filled the student’s storehouse of memory, and  partimenti   gave the student practice in controlling and applying that treasure “over the vast field of opportunities constantly offered” by the changing bass patterns in a  partimento . This regimen may seem strange in relation to the modern music classroom, but in its day it was simply the time-honored tradi-tion of apprenticeship adapted to the craft of music. Apprentice  joiners spent their days learning to craft the wooden shapes demanded by their masters, and apprentice musicians did much the same with tonal shapes. They learned the “mystery” of their craft through long years of observation, internalization, and reproduction of a whole repertory of patterns. 6 In 1921, with the experience of having conducted the pre-mieres of   Histoire du Soldat   and Pulcinella under his belt, Ernest  Ansermet remarked, “The teaching of composition in Russia, as far as I can gather from what Stravinsky received from Rimsky-Korsakov, is much more in the spirit of Medieval guild appren-ticeship than our own generally academic instruction. . . . Stravinsky . . . is an artisan.” 7  Certainly the artisanal system of  partimento  training was imported to Russia in the eighteenth century through a long series of famous maestros hired for the court in St. Petersburg. The very first print of Neapolitan  parti-menti  , by Giovanni Paisiello, was published there in 1782, and Giuseppi Sarti even established a music school in Russia.  Whether compositional instruction in Russia became more “academic” after the lapse of Italian hegemony (ca. 1806) or remained artisanal has been unclear, at least to this author. And so I was greatly intrigued to read Professor Taruskin’s reference to Gebrauchs  -formulas—compositional exemplars for emulation 1  Adapted from the story posted by Amphissa (2007) on the website of The Rachmaninoff Society.  2  Arensky et al. (1949, 174 [No. 1 of the four improvisations]). The four manuscript pages of these improvisations were first published in an appen-dix to Taneyev    (1925).   3  Barbieri (1954, 53).  4  Cecchini (1954, 50).   5  Gjerdingen (2007).  6  Dunlop (1912); Stuart (1933).  7   Ansermet (1921, 16): “L’enseignement qu’on donne de la musique en Russie, autant que j’en puis juger par celui que Strawinsky a reçu de Rimsky-Korsakow, est beaucoup plus près—dans l’esprit—de l’apprentissage corporatif du Moyen-Age que l’enseignement aca-démique que est généralement le notre. . . . Il est un trait particulier par lequel Strawinsky ressemble encore aux hommes du Moyen-Age: il est comme eux un artisan.”  192 music theory spectrum 33 ( 2011 )by the artisan apprentice. 8  I thought that perhaps Arensky’s demonstrated talent for improvisation might be a by-product of  partimento -style instruction, and so I looked for a publication of his that might show the least traces of “generally academic in-struction.”Given my limitations with the Russian language and the scar-city of relevant material in North America, I was fortunate to find a copy of Arensky’s Sbornik zadach (1000) dlja prakticheskogo izucheniia garmonii   (A Collection of 1000 Lessons for the Practical Study of Harmony) from 1897. 9  This is a  partimento  collection in all but name. It contains no explanations, no theory of harmony, no real instructions outside of occasional descriptive headings (e.g., “Suspensions in two or three voices”). Instead, it is packed solid (over 1300 lines of single-stave exercises) with musi-cal patterns to be absorbed and stored in memory. At its begin-ning the young apprentice would find short and easy figured-bass exercises in simple note values. By its end the journeyman musi-cian would be expected to realize florid unfigured basses of forty to fifty measures and equal in complexity to published character pieces. The book contains both basses and melodies, what the French call “basses et chantes données,” many of which, accord-ing to his student Matvey Pressman, Arensky had improvised for classes at the Moscow Conservatory: “At that time there were still no books with [extensive] harmony exercises. So he devised any number of melodies or basses to be harmonized according to given rules—assignments that he improvised off the cuff.” 10  Arensky’s Sbornik  reveals many layers of style and influence.  The eighteenth-century layers are most obvious in the earlier exercises. Almost all the rules of Italian  partimenti   find their ex-emplars in Arensky’s basses; even very particular and unpredict-able eighteenth-century patterns find their place. Example 2 shows the beginning of an advanced  partimento  in E 󰁢  major by Paisiello (the bass is his, the upper voices are my interpretation of his figures) along with the analogous exercise from Arensky, his No. 513 in G 󰀣  minor (again the realization is mine). The topic of these exercises is the simultaneous suspension of at least two voices in the context of a famous ground bass (the basso ostinato from Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which is likewise the major-mode, “B”-section bass of La romanesca,  known better to English speakers as the scheme of “Greensleeves”). 11  This inter-locking gestalt—Romanesca bass supporting parallel descend-ing thirds, with or without double suspensions—was apparently a jewel stored in Arensky’s memory for ready retrieval. It was the very pattern that he selected to lead off his after-dinner improvisation (see Example 1, mm. 1–3, in E minor). example 1.  A joint improvisation by Arensky, Rachmaninoff, Glazunov, and Taneyev, 1896  Arensky, Glazunov, Rachmaninoff, and Taneyev: “Four Improvisations,” in Serge Rachmaninoff, Polnoe sobranie sochineni ı ˘ dlia fortepiano ( Rachmaninoff: Complete Works for Piano ),  vol. 3, Muzgiz, Moscow, 1949                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            916  Glazunov . . . Arensky . . .Rachmaninoff . . .Taneyev . . .Arensky . . .   8  Taruskin (2011, 175).  9  Arensky ([1897] 1929). I consulted the 1929 reprint; Arensky’s collection remained in print until 1960.  10  “Bücher mit Harmonielehre-Aufgaben gab es damals noch nicht. So dachte er sich irgendwelche Melodien oder Bässe aus, die nach bestimmten Regeln zu harmonisieren waren—Aufgaben, die er im Stegreif erfand.” Translation from the srcinal Russian to German in Wehrmeyer (2001, 42).  11  For eighteenth-century examples of this schema, see Gjerdingen (2007, Chapter 2).    gebrauchs  -formulas 193  The type of circumlocution needed to describe the Paisiello/ Arensky variation on the Romanesca schema is already cumber-some, whether one speaks in words or thoroughbass figures.  When Arensky progressed to the more complex combinations of his own day, he eventually abandoned any implied metalanguage and resorted to a page of fully realized Gebrauchs  -formulas—“exemplars” in my terms. 12  That page is reproduced as Example 3. Arensky titled this page “ МОТІВЬІ ДЛЯ МОДУ-ЛИРУЮЩИХ СЕКВЕНЦИЙ ” (“Motives for Modulating Sequences”). Thus, these formulas were both integral, in the sense of constituting independent modules, and connectable, in the sense of working well when strung together in larger ascending or descending schemes. As shown in Example 4, the Schumannesque No. 846 fits nicely into a descending sequence that moves diatonically to the relative minor. By con-trast, No. 847 suggests a thoroughly chromatic sequence in the manner of Rimsky-Korsakov. And No. 865, with its Tchaikovsky-like intensity and initial upward thrust, suggests an ascending sequence and a triumphant breakthrough to the major mode. A purple expression like “triumphant breakthrough” may ir-ritate some readers, yet ignoring the affective preoccupations of this music culture would be the greater sin. These Gebrauchs  -formulas are, to be sure, describable as mere combinations of tones and intervals. Perhaps more importantly, however, they represent specific locations in a cultural web of emotional, so-cial, and historical associations. When I played No. 848 for a colleague, he smiled and said “Schubert.” These exemplars are the musical equivalents of the “sayings, phrases, love-speeches, reprimands, cries of despair, and ravings” that were learned in the commedia dell’arte  . Gebrauchs  -formulas were musical utter-ances that meant something, and in giving them to students, Rimsky-Korsakov and Arensky were providing starting points for the creation of meaningful music.Stravinsky’s early teachers, Fedir Akimenko and Vasily Kalafati,  were both recent students of Rimsky-Korsakov, so one could expect to find echoes of chromatic Gebrauchs  -formulas in their music. I  was thus surprised to see even standard Italian diatonic formulas still in evidence. The first of Kalafati’s Op. 9 bagatelles (1907) em-ploys what I term the  Indugio  (It.: “lingering or tarrying”), an old     34                  34          3 6 4 6 4  Arensky (1897) . . .                                      5 3 5 38 4 2 4 23 8 3 8 Paisiello (1782) . . .  56493864534233645349387 6 5     example 2.  A partimento  by Paisiello published in St. Petersburg and a similar exercise by Arensky  In Giovanni Paisiello, Regole per bene accompagnare il partimento o sia, il basso fondamentale sopra il cembalo,  St. Petersburg;  Anton Sepanovich Arensky, Sbornik zadach (1000) dlja prakticheskogo izucheniia garmonii (  A Collection of 1000 Lessons  for the Practical Study of Harmony  ),  Gosudarstvennoe Izdatel’stvo-Muzykal’nyi Sektor, Moscow, 1929   12  Arensky ([1897] 1929), numbered as lessons 844 – 67. music-rhetorical strategy of delaying the arrival of an important cadential dominant chord by means of (1) an inner pedal on the tonic, (2) passing motions between different positions of a 6/5/3 chord over the fourth scale degree in the bass, and (3) the frequent raising of the fourth degree as it finally moves to the fifth degree. Below Kalafati’s phrase, Example 5(a), I have placed the relevant esempio  (“example,” but also “exemplar”) by the early nineteenth-century Neapolitan maestro Saverio Valente (Example 5[b]),  whose lessons may still have been used at the Naples conservatory  when Glinka visited there in the early 1830s. I mention Glinka because in the overture to Ruslan and Ludmila   (1837–42; see Example 5[c]), one finds the same strategy employed at a corre-sponding location, though with the passing 5/4 over the dominant replaced by the more common passing 6/4. Example 5(d) is taken from Akimenko’s Romance for Violin and Piano , Op. 9 (1901), and represents a more remote derivation of the  Indugio . Akimenko pro- vides most of the features of this Gebrauchs  -formula, but he recom-bines and reinterprets them in a way reminiscent of Rachmaninoff’s command of sonority and harmonic implication.In 1974 a window opened onto Stravinsky’s compositional apprenticeship when Eric Walter White published the early Scherzo (1902) and the substantial Sonata in F  󰀣  Minor (1903–4). The Scherzo is a modest work playable by any good amateur pianist. In its Trio one finds Stravinsky working out, in Arensky’s phrase, “motives for modulating sequences.” The modules that he chose to sequence invite comparison with the Gebrauch -formulas notated by Arensky. For instance, Example 6(a) pairs  Arensky’s No. 849 (extended to fall a third) with mm. 7–8 from the Trio of Stravinsky’s Scherzo. Similarly, Example 6(b) pairs  Arensky’s No. 859 (extended to rise a second) with mm. 11–12 from the same Trio. Speaking of the Sonata in 1960, and not knowing that a copy of it had survived in Russia, Stravinsky quipped that “It  was, I suppose, an inept imitation of late Beethoven.” 13  Like so many of Stravinsky’s bons mots,  this one is both sardonic and slyly misleading. His sonata is a virtuoso piano work very much of its time, one that challenged Rachmaninoff, Medtner, and other young lions of the keyboard on their own ground, even if not always to Stravinsky’s advantage. Yet Gebrauchs  -formulas 13  Stravinsky and Craft (1960, 28).  194 music theory spectrum 33 ( 2011 )   14  See Gjerdingen (2007,   Chapter 3). example 3. Compositional exemplars—  Gebrauchs -formulas—published by Arensky  from the Rimsky-Korsakov circle remain close to the surface. Example 7, taken from the Andante, shows Stravinsky’s ascend-ing and descending presentations (mm. 7 – 8 and 19 – 20 respec-tively) of a module closely related to the opening gesture of  Arensky’s No. 865 (seen previously in Example 4[c]). What I never expected to find in such a chromatically ad- vanced sonata was a Prinner. What, you might ask, is a Prinner? During the eighteenth century it was the most common riposte to an opening thematic gambit, something like an all-purpose rejoinder to the standard thematic assertions of the galant style. 14   The compositional utility of such a Gebrauchs  -formula helped it survive well into the nineteenth century, especially in social cir-cles where connotations of aristocratic poise were still welcome.Example 8 displays four Prinners in chronological order. The first comes from the well-known opening Allegro of Mozart’s Sonata in C Major, K. 545 (1788). Mozart presents two bars of
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