IC1/IC5 interaction in the music of Shostakovich

Stephen C. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Several analysts have observed in Shostakovich's later works a particular focusing of pitch resources - namely, a frequent emphasis on interval classes 1 and 5. In fact, pitch structures highlighting these interval classes occur in music from throughout his career, although no one has considered this phenomenon in depth. The present study does so by exploring the interaction of ic1 and ic5 within the context of Shostakovich's multi-faceted tonal language, interpreting passages from the Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, the Viola Sonata, the Symphonies Nos. 14 and 15, the String Quartet No. 12, the 'Funeral March' from the Aphorisms and the song 'Noch'-Dialog' ('Night Dialog') from the Suite on Verses of Michelangelo. Drawing on the methodology of dual interval space, the article demonstrates that a focus on ic1/ic5 relationships offers a compelling perspective on much of Shostakovich's music, one that engages both local detail and large-scale organization. Not only can ic1/ic5 interaction shape a piece on its own, but it can also connect to other aspects of design, even to relationships between music and text. Moreover, an ic1/ic5 approach sheds new light on previous Shostakovich analyses, most notably those by Russian theorists on modality in Shostakovich.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-220
Number of pages36
JournalMusic Analysis
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Jul 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


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