In the timed analysis charts given here, “A” represents the first theme or theme group of the sonata-form exposition, and “B” the second theme or theme group. For the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, who uses three theme groups instead of the standard two, this terminology is expanded to “A”, “B”, and “C”, which he referred to as respectively the Einleitung, the Gesangsperiode, and the Schlußperiode. In any case, following the theme groups, “K” denotes the closing section of the exposition or codetta, whether or not it is seamlessly welded to the material preceding it. “A1” is the first of two main themes in the first theme group, while “A2” is a second, contrasting theme still within the first theme group, and usually in the tonic key. The same numeric sequence is used for all the theme groups, as in B1, B2, C1, and C2, also K1 and K2. It is the purpose of this paper to determine whether in the production of any composer previous to Bruckner’s work, a theme normally denoted as B2 could be considered to fulfill the function that the C group does in Bruckner’s music, thus making it a prototype for his methods.
Extending the terminology, “Ak” is the closing division of the A theme group if there is one, and “Ax” a transitional extension, present with many composers but not always with Bruckner. “An” is a new theme brought into the reprised A group, while “N” is a new theme in a development or coda. The lower-case “a” is an accompaniment or ostinato which introduces and precedes the melody of the A theme. In Bruckner there are a lot of those, and they need to be shown in order to make clear where the formal elements begin, and where the recognizable melodies begin a bit later. In strophic themes which display a regular phrase structure, it is often desirable to identify the different phrases of the melody as ф1, ф2 etc. Themes in introductions are notated as “m” or m1, m2 as needed, meaning “motive”; the classic A, B notation does not begin until the onset of the exposition. Most of the developments and codas are divided into sections indicated by §1, §2 etc., with references to the themes indicated as for example (A) or (B1), when they are prominent.
The tonalities are given explicitly, without respect to their structural or harmonic function. The notation “→ C major” means that the passage which begins at the specified measure moves more or less rapidly to the C major triad, and the notation “C major →” means that the C major tonality is established only for a brief time before a harmonic change. The notation “dom. of C major” means that the chord is G major, but at the same time sounds as if it is about to resolve onto C even if it eventually doesn’t. “German” augmented-sixth chords are notated as enharmonically-equivalent flatted seventh chords; pedants must realize that Bruckner the consummate technician occasionally did that too. The notation “6-3” refers to a chord with the mediant of the triad in the bass, and “6-4” means the dominant is in the bass. This is irrespective of what pitch is in the treble. The instruments given in parentheses are those most prominently heard at that moment, sometimes given just to reassure the listener, and sometimes because they are playing significant solos.
Most of the analyses are based on performances available on You Tube, and many of them also include analyses based on the measure numbers of the score. Although performances differ, varying all the way from Sergiu Celibidache to Frederick Prausnitz, if there are tempo alterations in the music, and there often are, the proportions will be given much more realistically by any performance than by the measure numbers. The analyses consist of determining the relative proportions of the main structural elements of introduction, exposition, development, recapitulation, and coda, which are given under the heading “str.” for structure, and establishing the individual positions of the various thematic elements within each structure, given under the heading “thm.” for theme. These structural and thematic analyses are carried out for both measure numbers and timed performances. The heading “score” gives the measure number, the heading “time” the counter reading in You Tube in minutes and seconds, and the heading “dec.” the decimalized time in minutes adjusted to begin at zero. With these resources, it should be possible for the listener to get a very clear idea of the manifold and fascinating treasures in this trove of wonderful music.