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Aznacheeva E.N. COMPOSITIONAL PRINCIPLES OF MUSICAL FORM IN FICTION / E.N. Aznacheeva, I.V. Mamonova // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2016. — № 3 (7). — С. 45—49. — URL: (дата обращения: 18.01.2019. ). doi:10.18454/RULB.7.01
Aznacheeva E.N. COMPOSITIONAL PRINCIPLES OF MUSICAL FORM IN FICTION / E.N. Aznacheeva, I.V. Mamonova // Russian Linguistic Bulletin. — 2016. — № 3 (7). — С. 45—49. doi:10.18454/RULB.7.01


Азначеева Е.Н.1, Мамонова Ю.В.2
1Доктор филологических наук, 2Кандидат филологических наук, ФГБОУ ВО "ЧелГУ"
Статья подготовлена при поддержке гранта РГНФ 15-04-00455
В статье рассматриваются принципы передачи художественной информации в классической музыке и классической литературе. Анализируется применение музыкальных средств в художественной литературе. Мы полагаем, что основные типы музыкальной формы представляют собой динамические когнитивные модели, которые передают эмоциональное и когнитивное восприятие и вызывают соответствующую реакцию в сознании реципиента. Предпринятый анализ применения форм сонаты, фуги и вариации осуществлен на материале немецкой прозы.
Ключевые слова: композиционные принципы, музыкальная форма, когнитивные модели.
Страницы: 45 - 49

Aznacheeva E.N.1, Mamonova I.V.2
1Doctor of Sciences in Philology, 2Candidate of Sciences in Philology, Chelyabinsk State University
The article is supported by the grant of the Russian Foundation for Humanities 15-04-00455.
The article discusses some general principles of creation of artistic information in classical literature and music. Some ways of extrapolation of musical compositional means onto the sphere of fiction are analyzed. We suggest that the main types of musical form are dynamic cognitive models, which reflect emotional and cognitive experience and thus stimulate corresponding emotional and cognitive processes in recipients’ minds. We have undertaken the research of sonata, fugue and variation forms in fiction based on the German prose.
Keywords: Compositional principles, musical form, cognitive models.
Pages: 45 - 49
Почта авторов / Author Email:,



The focus of the semiotics of artistic communication is on fine arts and fiction. The semiotics trend in musicology is also fairly representative, though it is less studied. Such musicologists as N. Ruwet[12], J.-J. Nattiez [8], have studied the possible application of semiotic approach towards music.

Iconicity in music can be witnessed in different ways: onomatopoeia; intonation signs corresponding speech intonation – a question, exclamation or order; musical images which are perceived from a musical work, such as “Flight of the bumblebee” by Rimsky-Korsakov or “La Mer” by A.-C. Debussy; musical images as reflection of emotions and feelings; iconic signs in the notation system (figures of cross and arch in Bach’s and Shostakovich’s musical scores).

Musical compositional form can also be interpreted as the sign, which unlike the above mentioned, is the supersign and is implemented in the scope of the whole work of art or its accomplished part. As any other musical sign it has a complex nature combining iconic and symbolic characteristics. Thus, musical form can be defined as an iconic symbol.

As an iconic sign musical form presents modeling of psychic processes: transfer of tension, culmination, waves of growth and decline, that is it can be classified as iconic sign-diagram in Peirce’s classification [11]. As we remember, Ch. Peirce distinguished several types of iconic signs – images, which are “simple qualities” of the signified; metaphors, which are based on parallelism of the sign and the object; diagrams, schemas and other types of non-figurative pictures, which Peirce called “logical iconic signs”.

As a symbolic sign the musical form can be compared with the conceptual representation. But unlike verbalized concepts in the natural language, which state the result of cognition, the musical form is a cognitive dynamic model simulating the development of emotional and cognitive processes.

The usage of musical form as a compositional device in fiction can be deliberate and undeliberate, as well as more or less detailed. In this regard we distinguish two cases: the phenomenon of imitation when the author intentionally simulates peculiarities of musical form with the help of literary means; and the phenomenon of homomorphism when the compositional similarity between literary and musical works is based on deep universal characteristics of the way the material is organized, though these characteristics are expressed more in music and thus are considered musical (for example, the principle of symphonism).

To analyze the peculiarities of the application of musical form in fiction we have taken the works of German writers who were under the influence of music – Тh.Mann, W. Hildesheimer, Fr. Fühmann. The research has shown that three musical forms can be distinguished in the analyzed fiction – the sonata form, the fugue and the variations.

The sonata form in fiction

The sonata form is the most universal cognitive model and is more characteristic of poetry. Some parallels of a sonnet composition with the sonata form can be found in Johannes Becher’s framework, who compared a sonnet with Gegel’s development of contradiction according to the schema: thesis – antithesis – synthesis. But, on the other hand, in fiction the sonata form is found as a principle, it means that here we can find the most general characteristics of this form.

As an example of the prosaic literary work based on the sonata form we have taken Thomas Mann’s “Tonio Kröger”.

The composition of “Tonio Kröger” has much in common with the form of sonata allegro, as Horst Petri [10] states. It is expressed in the three-part structure, in the symmetry of exposition and recapitulation and their contradiction to the second part – the analogue of the sonata form development. For instance, both the first and the second parts finish with the vivid rhythmic leitmotif: (1) "Damals lebte sein Herz: Sehnsucht war darin und schwermütiger Neid und ein klein wenig Verachtung und eine ganz keusche Seligkeit“[7, 290]. Besides, the third part contains the analogue of a coda – the main character’s letter to Lizaveta Ivanovna, in which we witness the conclusive result of his reflection. On the plot level the development in the novel is realized primarily through the contrast between the main character – Tonio Kröger and his antagonists, ordinary burghers; whereas on the thematic level the themes of life (love) and creative work are in progress. The main themes are presented with lots of leitmotifs, united by functional relations of contrast and equivalent. The thematic development happens as a result of a split of thematic elements and their description from different points of view. It should be noted that the life (love) theme is the main one in the first and third parts, while in the second it is in the background with the creative work theme going to the fore.

The common features of the deep semantic messages of the sonata form in music and in literature are determined on the one hand, by contrast, and on the other hand, by the presence of recapitulation. According to Тheodor Adorno, the greatest musicologist of the XXth century, recapitulation in the sonata form is justification of the past, as if the returning things become more prominent just by returning: “Rechtfertigung des Gewesenen, dessen… was ohnehin war…, als wäre das Wiederkehrende kraft seiner bloßen Wiederkehr mehr, als es ist…“ [1, p. 127]. The presence of recapitulation and the final part of the novel, where the leitmotif of love and longing with a “touch of contempt” can be heard, makes it clear that the discrepancy between life and creative work cannot be resolved completely and that the attempt should be made to overcome outer discrepancy on the inner psychological level. Similarly, in the sonata form in music, the main and secondary themes in exposition are used in contrasting tonalities but in recapitulation both themes appear in the key of the main party.

While the sonata form in fiction is applied undeliberately, the other two musical forms– the fugue and variations – present the examples of iconicity that is the deliberate application of their characteristics in fiction.

The fugue form in fiction

Fugue is a musical work based on the imitative polyphony and characterized by multiple repetitions of one or several themes using different instruments or voices. Fugue is the most complicated and peculiar musical form and its full similarity with a literary work is hardly possible. H. Petri commenting on the interest of many writers to this form stated that only few works can be considered successful, as the independence of voices contradicts the laws of literary text composition[10]. He names the poem “Todesfuge” by Paul Celan as the only example of a successful fugue application in literature.

We suppose that the fragment of W. Hildesheimer‘s "Tynset" "Legende vom großen Bett", which can be considered a separate work, is an example of a literary work in the form of fugue. Benno von Wiese, an anthologist and publisher of the German short story, believes that "Legende vom großen Bett" is the best example of the German prose in the XXth century [13, p. 12]. The plot of the story is a legend about an enormous bed, which could suit seven people at a time, and about the plague epidemic that hit England in 16th century, as one of the hotel guests infected the people, he shared the bed with, with plague. "Legende vom großen Bett" consists of three parts: narrator’s introduction of the legendary bed; the legend itself, written in the form of fugue; and a kind of an epilogue, where we come to know that the hostess of the hotel took the corpses into the river, and the epidemic spread through the county and later the whole England. W. Hildesheimer proves to be a masterful writer who manages to reproduce the musical fugue form with the help of literary stylistic devices. The author explicates the musical basis of the story uncovering the compositional devices of fugue. He does it by the usage of musical terms (Fuge, Stimme, Exposition, Transposition, neues Thema, kontrapunktisch, Haupttonart, Fermate, genauer Gegensatz), as well as lots of stylistic devices imitating the peculiarities of the polyphony in a musical work.

One of these peculiarities – many voices at the same time – is imitated in "Legende vom großen Bett" by describing the characters’ arrival at the hotel. All the hotel guests in turn approach the hotel, then the bedroom, where the tragedy happens. Such successive appearance corresponds to the order of the voice introduction in fugue, where the succeeding voice appears before the previous voice finishes its tune. The moment the first hotel guest – the monk – is in the bedroom, the succeeding character – courtesan Anna – is entering the hotel, the soldier is approaching it, the miller and his wife are far from it, the bath attendant is entering the town gates, while the noble man and his companion haven’t reached the town gates yet. Local markers (town gates, hotel, dining-room, staircase leading to the second floor, bedroom, bed), which the hotel guests get at, seem to be analogous to musical intervals, marking the position of the characters. The antithesis of local adverbs oben andunten pointing at the relative “high voice” (monk) and “lower voice” (Anna) helps to fix the height of the voices position as well. (2) "Während oben… der Mönch… die Hände zwischen dem Rosenkranz faltet,… leert unten Anna mit der Wirtin einen Krug mit Ale…"(Hildesheimer 1989:148).

The imitation of polyphony proves to be possible due to expressed redundancy – multiple description of the guests approaching the hotel; presence of a variety of utterances with several verbs of movement – enter (the hotel), reach (the hotel, town gates), approach – while all “voices”-characters make the same way as if playing one and the same tune. (3) "…ein Mönch … betrat das Gasthaus" "…die Gästin…, die das Haus betritt" . das Müllerpaar, das ins Gasthaus getreten ist, der Bader, der ins Haus tritt”.Besides imitation of polyphony, these repetitions serve as variations of the vocabulary which is analogous to musical variation.

The main problem the author faces while imitating fugue is impossibility to render simultaneous movements of several voices with the help of literary devices. The author tries to apply various means to compensate the differences between the synchronism in music and linearity in fiction. As we know, the word “fugue” in Latin means “run”, “getaway”. Although the characters are always on the move in the exposition, it paradoxically produces the impression of something static. The constant fixation on the characters’ location produces the effect of momentary shots, which are like film images, but do not merge into one film. It is music, but frozen, stiff, as in the Mikalojus Čiurlionis’s work "The Fugue". Sketchy characters and practically no plot tension add to the static exposition.

The other parts of fugue are less static as the plot is becoming more dynamic, but we still feel the slowing down in narrations or where the “voices” are united in counterpoint.

As for counterpoint, this term is polysemous. In the theory of music it mainly means a simultaneous combination of melodies. In the literature studies it means a combination of several time or other planes of narration, various material or characters in a relatively short text fragment [2, p. 201]. From the linguistic point of view counterpoint can be considered an arrangement of paradigmatic units on the syntagmatic axis, the result of which is concentration of the main elements of the plot and narration or thematic levels in a little space.

R. Peacock, one of the famous researchers of Th. Mann’s creative work, states that verbal counterpoint differs from musical counterpoint even in Th. Mann’s works (though he is a distinguished master of it), as we cannot talk about simultaneous elements, but rather about their succession (“nicht Punkt contra Punkt, sondern Punkt nach Punkt") and their union happens only in imagination or cognition [9, p. 28].

While analyzing "Legende vom großen Bett" we find counterpoint quite significant here and distinguish several types of it:

a. Combination of subjective planes of the narrator and characters on a short text fragment.

(4) "Licht verläßt sie (Anne), als sie … den Soldaten erblickte…, während er selbst im Delirium ist, nicht mehr im Diesseits angesiedelt, bis auf die Schmerzen, das einzige, was ihn noch auf dieser Erde hält. Und was hält mich auf dieser Erde?"

b. Synchronism in characters’ actions. It is the most frequently used type of counterpoint in W. Hildesheimer’s works. It arises from the technique where one “voice” has barely finished its play yet when the second voice enters, then the third and so on creating contradiction to the first.

(5)".. .unten sitzt also die Wirtin, sitzt Anne, knackt, schlürft, schleckt sich die Lippen…, oben liegt der Mönch, müde, draußen gehen Wanderer, waltet die Nacht, scheint der Mond…". Similarity with musical contradiction becomes evident in the episode where the author uses the word "gegensätzlich" (antagonistic, counterpoit), one of whose meanings is musical. (6) "Die Wirtin hört zu und schweigt und verschweigt den gegensätzlichen Gast dort oben".

c. Simultaneous actualization of all “voices”. The author states the location of all characters in relation to each other, as if contemplating the way his fugue is developing. (7) "Ich habe das Ende parat: Müllerpaar vor der Tür, Bader im Mond, Traum im Mönch, Mönch im Bett, Anne im Bett, Soldat im Haus, Wirtin beim Soldat”.

d. Counterpoint junction of all the themes the author points at. In the analysed work this type is exemplified by the counterpoint between the content of the soldier’s dream, which the reader is not informed about, and something he is to face, that is the death theme.

(8) "Dafür beleuchtet dieser Mond den Traum des keuschen Schläfers, der vielleicht einen kontrapunktisch genauen Gegensatz zu dem enthält, was ihm bevorsteht, vielleicht aber auch nicht”.

e. Counterpoint junction of two main themes – apotheosis of eroticism and death in the finale of the fugue. The erotic theme and the death theme are developed in the middle and final parts. In the middle part the erotic theme is restricted to Anna’s and monk’s voices. Here, as well as in the final part, the author masterfully uses the effects of dynamic growth and decline (climax and anticlimax).

In the final part the erotic theme undergoes a mighty sound with the further fading (which is analogous to musical diminuendo). Thus in the third part it is found in five voices (except the part of the soldier and the monk): (9) "…noch greift der Edelmann nach dem Knaben, der Knabe nach der Müllerin, die Müllerin nach dem Knaben, der Müller nach Anne, Anne nach dem Soldaten". Then it comes back several times but each time it is fainter with fewer voices, till it is heard in Anna’s voice only. The active verbs (greifen nach, sich zuwenden, ziehen) give way to the verbs, expressing finality (ablassen, sich abwenden), feelings (spüren) and state (liegen): (10) "…sie liegen im Dunkel, Mül1er, Mönch, Müllerin und Knabe und Edelmann, als seien sie hingefallen. . . und alles andere liegt in Dunkelheit". Means of expressing aspectuality with meanings “decease, fade” are of great importance here: (11) ihr Vorhaben entschwindet, Begier verebbt, Tätigkeit eingestellt, das Schluchzen der Courtisane verebbt, der Schrecken in den Augen verglimmt. The theme of death, heard only in the soldier’s voice in the previous parts, on the contrary, is gaining strength and in the culmination scene the erotic symbols become the symbols of death.

The variation form in fiction.

The last musical form we have researched is variation. Variation in music consists of the preliminary tune presentation and a series of its variations. It should be stated that the semantics of variations – combination of development, variability and repetition – is so abstract that is actually the basis of all nature phenomena. On the other hand, less expressed sequence of elements in fiction in comparison with music makes the application of the variation principle in prose rather problematic that is why it is mainly used in folklore, in so-called “musical” prose and texts of sacred character, such as parables. H. Petri in his book devoted to the problems of parallelism in literature and music while describing variations in fiction confines himself to few examples from poetry where variations have a formal, or even formalistic character which paradoxically leads to them being static [10].

We suppose that the following characteristics of the variation form are witnessed in fiction: formal and semantic variations of linguistic signs (tendency to synonymy, homonymy, and polysemy), the presence of an invariant set of utterances, plot details, some semantic characteristics uniting different variations with each other, architectonic and syntactic parallelism, the analogous text construction. Some peculiarities of the thematic-rhematic articulation and transmission of aesthetic information are common for variations in fiction and music. High redundancy of text elements is compensated by the variety of their characteristics: recurrent elements differ from each other. For instance, the theme appearing each time along with constant and known elements necessarily contains some new elements; moreover, it is not new information that is delivered, but new characteristics of the familiar information are specified. The main discrepancy of thematic-rhematic articulation in variations consists in combination of recurrence with rheme, which is resolved by non-linear merged expression of theme and rheme. Along with linear succession of theme (known) – rheme (unknown), such models as theme + rheme and rheme +theme are realized.

As an example of a masterful use of variations we have analyzed “Sieben Variationen über ein Thema von Johann Peter Hebel“ by the Austrian writer Heimito von Doderer. The work consists of the theme – the anecdote by the German writer Hebel, seven variations and the coda. Borrowing the theme for variations here corresponds to the way the musical theme is borrowed from folk music or another composer’s work in musical variation.

The author is very precise in conveying the peculiarities of this musical form; he repeats even typical graphic notation: variations are numbered (seven is a typical number for this musical form), each variation as well as the theme and coda is titled – “Theme”, “Variation 1”, “Coda”. Each variation has a dominant type of varying, some variations are more close to the theme, while others are less attached to it. The last variation is transformed into the coda as it often happens in music. The neighboring variations may form pairs, combining according to some essential characteristics, but may contrast each other due to their emotional state. This makes the whole construction stronger and more integrated. The coda contains synthesis of the theme developed in variations, but at the same time it brings in new content not fully deduced from the previous narration.

Doderer recites the theme concisely and unemotionally, the epic style prevails, the characters are not evaluated, nor are emotions explicated. The story tells us that one accountant bet with his friend that the latter would not frighten him. The friend asked a familiar doctor for a corpse’s arm and hid himself under the accountant’s bed. At night he ran the corpse’s arm over the sleeping man’s face three times, and when the accountant awoke, put the arm into the accountant’s hand. The accountant got ill with the fright and died in some days.

The theme and the first two variations stand out, as they have a great plot similarity; they contain lots of textual coincidences. These three parts are united by the invariant set of predicates both on the plot and speech levels; many utterances are characterized by formal similarity, even by equivalence. What differs them is the way the story is presented: the theme goes from the story-teller’s stance, the first variation is narrated from the prankster’s stance, while the second variation is given from the accountant’s stance. Thus, the episodes describing the narrating character’s actions are more detailed: the first variation tells about prankster's actions, his talk with the doctor, his wait under the bed and so on; whereas the second variation specifies the feelings of the frightened – his fear and fight with the death. If we compare these variations with the theme, we notice that the epic narration is transferred into the dramatic narration in variations. The first variation sounds romantic, which is manifested in high expressiveness, use of emotionally colored epithets, especially in culmination. The second variation is characterized by a psychological character, and the bigger part is taken by the inner monologue, revealing the psychological state of the frightened. This variation is presented with fatalism anticipating the philosophical basis of the following variations and coda.

The plot of the other variations has a vague resemblance with the theme. However, some of them have common plot lines. For instance, the fifth variation tells about a young man intending to seduce a young lady, but rejecting the idea later as she was rather unappealing. Whereas the sixth variation differs from the fifth by the fact that the main character is not a virgin but two prostitutes. But in both variations the young man goes back on his intention and has to behave as a decent man.

The connection between the theme and variations from 4 to 7 is based on a deeper similarity. The invariant part on the plot level is contradiction between expectation and reality. Moreover, the common part for these variations is the scheme of action development: the previous life is interrupted by intrusion of something strange, hostile and frightful. Another common plot element is the attempt of the character to come back to the previous way of life. This attempt is successful in the third, fifth and sixth variations but it fails in the first, second and fourth ones.

The similarities are expressed differently in variations. They all vary with emotional and genre character. For example, the first, second and fourth variations are dramatic, while the third has a lively, scherzo character. As for the fifth and sixth variations, we witness here the epic element together with some everyday characteristic and more psychological justification of the characters’ actions. The seventh variation and the coda have a specific philosophical and lyrical color. These characteristics are analogous to genre differences in so-called characterological musical variations.

Common predicates induce continual leit-motifs: "Hohlraum", "leer", "Brücke", "Hand", which become the basis for developed metaphors. Here are examples of the motif of fate unexpectedly intruding into the person’s life with the help of the leit-motif “Hohlraum":

(12) Variation 2: «…da entsteht plötzlich ein aufgerissener Hohlraum unter ihm, in den er hinabstürzt, das ganze finstere Zimmer rückt ein paar Meter tief hinunter, er fällt, fällt und hält die tote kalte Hand umkrampft…".

(13) Variation 3: "…da kommen ihre Zähne in den trockenen, mehligen, süßen Marzipan, es bleibt ihr der vorige Ausdruck noch in den Zügen stehen, darunter aber ist es wie ein Hohlraum…").

(14) Variation 4: "In ihm ist gleichsam ein Hohlraum entstanden, in welchen die Trümmer seiner früheren Stimmung und Haltung… hineinpoltern, wie ein eingestürztes Gewölbe in den Raum darunter".

(15) Variation 6. "Ja, Kinder", sagt Milan, (in ihm ist gleichsam ein Hohlraum entstanden, in dem sämtliche Trümmer seiner zerbrochenen Erwartung hinabgefallen sind.

The image of the emptiness corresponds to the image of the bridge, symbolizing the attempt to return to the previous life: (16) Variation 6.:"…Über den entstandenen Hohlraum gibt es jetzt nur… diese eine Brücke, dass man sich nämlich sogleich auf eine andere Ebene und Basis begibt".

H. von Doderer masterfully uses some specifically musical devices, underlying partial similarity of the different and the diversity of the similar with the help of variability of the word stock. Along with the leit-motif “Hohlraum"/ emptiness he uses its synonym “leer", "leere Stelle", which is used not in its figurative meaning but in its direct meaning:

(16) "…da fehlt ihm plötzlich etwas, er spürt eine leere Stelle an der einen Seite und stellt fest, dass die eine von den beiden Frauen seinen Füllbleistift, den sie herausgezogen hatte, nicht mehr zurückgesteckt, sondern das Ding… behalten hat".

Along with varying the form the author varies the meaning as well. For example, the word "Hand" changes its meaning from the direct, denoting the body part of a person or a corpse in the first variations, into a symbolic meaning denoting its owner and acquiring some mystical meaning – of strange or even spiritual power intruding the person’s life.

(17) "Aber auf der Straße, da greift es ihn an… – welche Hände wirtschaften da in unserem Leben?" …es erfüllte ihn jetzt eine ganz allgemeine Empörung, als wäre dieser Fall wirklich ein allgemeiner Fall, als würden allen Menschen  von Zeit zu Zeit in solcher Weise die Wohnungen ausgeräumt, von unsichtbaren Händen… Welche Hände wirtschaften da in unserem Leben, aus welchem Dunkel kommen solche Hände…" (Variation 4).

Functioning in its figurative meaning leit-motifs become the basis for the metaphorical images. It is characteristic for music as well, as music usually appeals to the listeners’ image perception. For example, besides the image of falling into emptiness to express the invariant content of the unexpected change the author uses a definite plot detail, such as contradiction of the face expression to the new situation (Variation 3), when the character bites marzipan instead of a fruit; or in the sixth variation when the character making a frightening grimace to himself unexpectedly sees a young woman:

(18) "Und als er eben kurz auflachen und mit einem höhnischer Grinsen schief und seitwärts schielen wollte, gleichsam sich selbst eine Fratze zeigend…- da trafen sein höhnischer, beleidigender Blick und sein schiefes Grinsen beide voll in das Gesicht eines jungen Weibes… – er  vermochte nicht mehr abzubremsen, was sein Gesicht da ausschrie… Milan verhielt in Schrecken den Schritt, während auf seinem Gesicht diese sinnlos höhnische Fratze erst jetzt langsam entzweibrach, wie  eine Eisdecke, unter der das Wasser gesunken ist".

The plot detail in (18) corresponds to the horror on the character’s face in the first and forth variations.

A similar but more abstract meaning of change we see in the metaphors based on the words “Wendepunkt", "Achse", "Feder", "Angel", which help to perceive the way a slightest move of the soul can lead to drastic consequences.

(19) "Nein, er kann und kann denen Punkt nicht erreichen da in sich selbst, den Wendepunkt, der erreicht werden musste, um lebendig zu werden, die springende Feder – jа, die Angel und Achse, um die jetzt alles herumschwingen, wenden und kippen musste: vom Grauen in den Scherz, der ja Wirklichkeit ist".

(20) "Ach unsere verwunderliche Seele, die oft des äußeren Einschubes gar nicht bedarf als Angel und Ecke, um darum zu wenden: nein, sie vermag's aus sich allein in wenigen Augenblicken, baut sich selbst die Ecke, pflanzt sich selbst Angel und Achse auf und kiррt und schwingt drum herum und treibt es ganz ebenso wie das Ackerland draußen, das auch seine Miene spielend und ständig verändert".

Examples (19) and (20) show that the lexical meaning of the key words and the metaphor content correspond to the semantics of the musical signs which arise usually space and kinetic associations.

The integral content of ““Sieben Variationen über ein Thema von Johann Peter Hebel“ emerges from the interaction of the messages contained in different variations and the coda. Although the author explicates the theme from the very beginning it is only a starting point for the development and the real sense becomes clear while the story is progressing. The main theme can be named as following: the man and his fate, the miracle of existence, inner sense which lies beneath little things and tiny events in a person’s life. This theme is progressing differently: in the 1, 2 and 4 the man appears to be helpless in front of the fate, but in 5, 6, 7 and the coda on the contrary the man is capable of managing his own life and destiny.

Although the variation form has invariant content in literature and music, their deeper semantic messages are different. Musical development is going from the general (theme) to its realizations (variations). Varying here is the way to look at the phenomenon from different perspectives and to discover all alternatives to the theme. In literature variations develop from particular to general, and varying recurrence of lexical units on different levels help to reveal integral content which is presented differently in separate variations of the literary work.

From the receptive point of view, literary texts based on the variation principle are not a cognitive model to transfer some knowledge, but a reflexive model to create this knowledge in the reader’s consciousness. And such texts are not only the means of communication, but auto-communication as well. The variation form influences not only consciousness but subconsciousness as well, and contributes to creative activity of the recipient, thus it is quite often used to render philosophical content.


Varieties of musical form can be viewed as dynamic models which reflect a “patterned” (Levi-Strauss) emotional inner state and help establish the way the experienced situation is perceived by listeners. As a rule, extrapolation of the principles of musical form to the literary text is applied not only to create formal resemblance (like analogous structure, variations of the lexis, use of leit-motif or counter point, polyphony, through-composed compositional technique), but to express semantic content with the help of the way text elements are organized. The cognitive content of musical form is procedural knowledge, which unlike declarative knowledge, presents one of the universal ways of transferring artistic information and organizing the perception process of the literary work.

The undertaken research reveals that musical form is mainly used as a principle, that is authors don’t copy musical form, but apply it to mediate ideas. The most frequently used musical forms are sonata, fugue and variations. The deeper semantic message of the sonata form can be interpreted as an interiorization of an outer conflict and its partial resolution or compensation on the nonmaterial level. The application of the fugue form can be understood as one of the ways of polylogue thinking which may lead to further insight. As for variations, they are used to reveal the integral content of the literary work, which is refracted differently in certain variations.

Список литературы / References:
  1. Adorno Th. M. Eine musikalische Physiognomik. – Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1969.
  2. Апт С.К. Над страницами Томаса Манна: очерки. - М.: Сов. писатель, 1980. - 390 с.
  3. Aznacheeva E.N. Intrasemiotic correlations between literary and musical texts (based on the German fiction). Dissertation. – Saint-Petesburg. 1996.
  4. Doderer H. von. Sieben Variationen über ein Thema von Johann Peter Hebel. – München: Biederstein Verlag. 1966.
  5. Hildesheimer W. Legende vom großen Bett. Deutschland: von Rainer Maria Rilke bis Peter Handke. – Frankfurt/M.: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1989.
  6. Knaus J. Sprache. Dichtung. Musik. – Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1973.
  7. Mann Th. Tonio Kröger. Bln. und Weimar, 1975.
  8. Nattiez J.-J. Toward a Semiology of Music. trans. Carolyn Abbate. – Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
  9. Peacock R. Das Leitmotiv bei Thomas Mann. – Bern: Haupt, 1934.
  10. Petri H. Literatur und Musik. Form und Strukturparallelen. – Göttingen, 1964.
  11. Peirce C.S. “Logic as Semiotic: The Theory of Signs”. In Philosophical writings of Peirce. / Ed. By Buchler, J. – New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955. – Pp. 98-119.
  12. Ruwet N. Langage, musique, poesie. – Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1972.
  13. Wiese B. “Einleitung“. In Deutschland erzählt. – Frankfurt/ M., Fischers Taschenbuch Verlag, 1989. – Pp. 7-16.

Список литературы на английском / References in English:
  1. Adorno Th. M. Eine musikalische Physiognomik. – Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp Verlag, 1969.
  2. Apt S.K. Nad stranitsamy Tomasa Manna [Reading Thomas Mann]. – M.: Sov. Pisatel, 1980. –390 p. [in Russian]
  3. Aznacheeva E.N. Intrasemiotic correlations between literary and musical texts (based on the German fiction). Dissertation. – Saint-Petesburg. 1996.
  4. Doderer H. von. Sieben Variationen über ein Thema von Johann Peter Hebel. – München: Biederstein Verlag. 1966.
  5. Hildesheimer W. Legende vom großen Bett. Deutschland: von Rainer Maria Rilke bis Peter Handke. – Frankfurt/M.: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1989.
  6. Knaus J. Sprache. Dichtung. Musik. – Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1973.
  7. Mann Th. Tonio Kröger. Bln. und Weimar, 1975.
  8. Nattiez J.-J. Toward a Semiology of Music. trans. Carolyn Abbate. – Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990.
  9. Peacock R. Das Leitmotiv bei Thomas Mann. – Bern: Haupt, 1934.
  10. Petri H. Literatur und Musik. Form und Strukturparallelen. – Göttingen, 1964.
  11. Peirce C.S. “Logic as Semiotic: The Theory of Signs”. In Philosophical writings of Peirce. / Ed. By Buchler, J. – New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955. – Pp. 98-119.
  12. Ruwet N. Langage, musique, poesie. – Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1972.
  13. Wiese B. “Einleitung“. In Deutschland erzählt. – Frankfurt/ M., Fischers Taschenbuch Verlag, 1989. – Pp. 7-16.

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