Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Buggert, Robert W. (Robert William), 1918-||Weed, Maurice, 1912-2005||Baker, Charles E. (Professor of music)

Degree Name

M. Mus. (Master of Music)

Legacy Department

Department of Music


Hindemith; Paul; 1895-1963. Sonatas; organ; no. 2.


The study of Sonata II for organ by Paul Hindemith was made by the application of Hindemith's own method of analysis as provided in his Craft of Musical Composition. The purpose of the study was an approach to better understand this particular work (to be performed by the author) and to better comprehend twentieth-century music. The Hindemith method provides a solution to the analysis which would be difficult to do in the traditional manner. This method is based upon a concept of tones and overtones. "A tone consists of many partial tones. . . . Their order is not arbitrary: it is determined by law." It is the overtone series (particularly the octave, fifth, fourth, major and minor thirds) which Hindemith believed is the foundation of music. "In the world of tones, the triad corresponds to the force of gravity. It serves as our constant guiding point, our unit of measure, and our goal. The combination of tones in a chord usually follow the overtone series in tonal weights. In addition to the weights of intervals harmonically, there is a melodic element. Using the distribution of melodic and harmonic forces as guides, Hindemith evolved a system of chord analysis which includes all vertical structures. This system places all chords in two major classifications: chords without tritones and chords with tritones. By using the Hindemith system of harmonic analysis each chord has a fixed value, whereas in the conventional theory of harmony each tonal combination has a relative value (ranked according to their relation to an a priori tonal scheme). The analysis of the sonata appears in Volume II. Six steps were followed: melodic analysis of (1) melodic units providing the degree progressions and (2) step progressions: Harmonic analysis of (3) the two-voice framework (spatial limits), (4) fluctuation of chords, (5) degree progressions (chord base), and (6) tonality. The most evident conclusion of the study was that Hindemith's work is a logical construction. It is a balance of contrasts: the first movement is harmonic while the second and third movements are melodic; short and long phrases are used in succession and at once; bi-tonal and tri-tonal effects are a result of linear movements; meters of the basic two and three beats alternating as against the regular mono-rhythmic whole. All of these contrasts demand a contrast in performance style. This twentieth-century composition is best characterized by its unusual harmonic progressions resulting from the usage of chords from group I (triads) and group II (triads with seconds, sevenths, or both) and a few chords containing tri-tone or indeterminate chords in sharp contrast. The tonality of the sonata is basically in the first two movements closing in the fugue (third movement) in an A tonality. Each movement is complete in itself and/or complementary to the whole. The study was rewarding. It has given the author a deeper insight into the construction of Twentieth Century music which extends to this and other music and its performance.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes music.


3, 16, 17 pages




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