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Structural Acceleration in Nielsen’s Sinfonia Espansiva

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher Tarrant



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The form of the first movement of Carl Nielsen's Sinfonia espansiva rejects the traditional three‐part sonata form in favour of an experimental two‐part strategy. The dialogue between the two types of sonata has an important impact on the way we hear this movement; from a rhetorical perspective, the absence of a normative simultaneous return of theme and key invites a new analytical approach. This is informed by the idea that the movement's form, relative to the signposts set up in its exposition, appears to speed up as it continues – a phenomenon which I call ‘structural acceleration’. The reception of Hepokoski and Darcy's Type 2 sonata is unpacked before an investigation of aspects of modular layout, tonality and cadential structure which contribute to the movement's sense of formal urgency.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tarrant C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Music Analysis

Year: 2019

Volume: 38

Issue: 3

Pages: 358-386

Print publication date: 01/10/2019

Online publication date: 17/06/2019

Acceptance date: 01/08/2018

Date deposited: 11/10/2019

ISSN (print): 0262-5245

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2249

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1111/musa.12132


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