Heinrich Schenker

Heinrich Schenker's approach to musical analysis involved most fundamentally a dissection of the work into heirarchically ordered structural levels, these levels' being ever more complex elaborations of some basis. In this sense, in the 1920s Schenker posited a decomposition of a piece of music exhibiting the same form over several levels, that is, a fractal aspect of the piece. A feature of Schenker's analysis is the notion of motivic parallelism, where a motive (defined by pitch instead of rhythm) is repeated over several levels. For example, Beethoven's Sonata in A, Op. 110, exhibits this motivic organization in that much of the piece can be derived from the first four measures (page 31 of Beach. Schenker asserted that great music manifests repetition across levels, concealed repetition, and yet his writing never provides abstract methodologies for locating such repetitions. Rather, this type of analysis, based on the recognition of subtle modulations, is mastered only with arduous study. Perhaps the point is most clearly stated in Schenker:

"Music was destined to reach its culmination in the likeness of itself.''