Annotation for Komar, Arthur J.
Theory of Suspensions: A Study of Metrical and Pitch Relations
Annotation (by Jonathan E. Brooks):
- Arthur Komar's study begins by considering the function and prominence of suspensions
in tonal music. Coming from a Schenkerian perspective, he assumes structural levels
for pitch derivation through a limited set of tonal operations and
formulates a set of rhythmic
operations which will generate durational values for notes at subsequent structural levels from background note configurations. Since suspensions are
generally metrically accented and can occur at all foreground and middleground
levels, Komar develops a theory of meter which connects strength of metric accent with the structural level
from which a pitch structure is derived. Though Komar believes that suspensions are metrically accented
at the level at which they are generated, a suspension may appear
to be metrically unaccented if "a supported linear-note is suspended
into the time-span of its linear displacement." An example of this configuration is the soprano E in measure
four of the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 27/2, which is viewed as a middleground suspension from the tonic in
measure one that resolves on beat three. Chapter four explains that the
compositional uses of suspensions
include easing the displacement of a linear-pair, especially when the
first pitch is generated prior to
the second, and clarification of problematic foreground contexts. Chapter five considers the analysis of suspensions
and indicates how they can be used for determining high-level accents.
A complete metrical analysis is given in the appendix for the second movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 13.