DMA Paper in 2024

More Than A Gesture

This essay expands some ideas in Michael Buchler’s recent article, “Ornamentation as Gesture in Atonal Music”, published in Music Theory Spectrum in 2020. Buchler’s claims are based on the long-running question of prolongation in post-tonal music. His article is in someways a response to Joseph Straus’ seminal “The Problem of Prolongation in Post-Tonal Music.” For this reason, my review essay begins with a brief overview of both Buchler’s and Straus’ claims. In order to apply Buchler’s ideas to other repertoire, I present additional musical examples. Finally, I discuss how my approach is differs from Buchler’s idea of gestural ornamentation in post-tonal music by considering issues of motive and musical perception.