Julian Horton

Formal Function and Voice Leading in the First Movement of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony

Although Bruckner’s music has (albeit controversially) attracted Schenkerian attention (Jackson 1997 and 2001; Laufer 1997 and 2001; but see, in counterpoint, Puffett 2001), analyses investigating its form-functional organisation remain scarce, and detailed consideration of the interaction between function and voice leading has yet to be undertaken. Taking its cue from Schmalfeldt 2011, this paper maps the relationship between formal function and voice-leading structure in the first movement of the Eighth Symphony (1890 version). I pay close attention to Bruckner’s tendency to preserve the rhetorical design of classical thematic types, whilst disrupting the synonymy of end function and cadence. Writ large, such disruptions impact directly on the Schenkerian claim that sonata form arises from the interruption of the ‘Ursatz’, because the recapitulation is articulated neither by half-cadential preparation nor perfect-cadential closure. Invoking the double-tonic idea advanced by Robert Bailey and recently extended by Matthew Bribitzer-Stull (2006 and 2007), I develop a model that understands the relationship between structure and syntax in this music as facets of a self-consistent late-tonal practice.