Macroharmony and centricity in music of Paul Hindemith



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Through the work in his book and dissertation, David Neumeyer has established an authoritative methodology specifically intended for rigorous analysis of the music of Paul Hindemith. His work, however, explicitly proscribes the search for “tonal cognates” as they make “too many assumptions about the music.” And while this may have been the case in the literature preceding Neumeyer, such as Hans Redlich claiming a melody is in “D minor”, the abstract concepts surrounding the tonal cognates are no longer considered inextricably linked to the pitch material. This recent development is most evident in Tymoczko’s book A Geometry of Music in which he distinguishes scale, macroharmony, and centricity as wholly independent concepts. Most importantly, this approach flips the issue on its head by considering the diatonic scale as an abstract collection of pitches that forms an independent musical object, rather than a fundamentally tonal cognate. With that said, it is challenging to account for the specific pitch level of collections with traditional set-class analysis which is more focused on comparisons of prime forms. In this presentation, I will show how accounting for the specific pitch level of collections and relating them to centricity can descriptively inform analysis of Paul Hindemith through select works.



Hindemith, Paul, 1895-1963 -- Criticism and interpretation, Musical analysis, Music theory