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Aspetti del linguaggio armonico di Aleksandr Skrjabin. Sguardo alla produzione pianistica, in “Diastema”, 2, 1992, pp.16-24.

Diastema 02This research summarizes shortly the most relevant issues as to the development of Skrjabin’s harmonic system, especially by concentrating on a few procedures set in the Sonatas: It is possible to suppose finally that the peculiar sonority of Skrjabin’s music derives from a use of modal passages where vertical arrangement never includes two adjoining semitones; these modal passages include three fundamental forms: exatonal scale, “Prometheus synthetic chord” (from the same work where it is almost exclusively used), and octophonic mode; the terms of scale, chord and mode take an almost identical meaning in Skrjabin’s mature works. Skrjabin’s early compositions date back to the last decade of 19th century and do not allow to foresee the great originality of the following works. Anyway some of them already show some significant elements for the composer’s further evolution. In the Second Sonata in Sol minor sharp, for example, the first part (Andante) ends with a long coda in Mi major, with a completely diatonic character; the last 24 sumptuously appreaing measures do not contain any sharp/flat alteration; this wide diatonic surface already allows to foresee the modal purity of Skrjabin’s last compositions, of the Sixth and the Seventh Sonatas or of Guirlandes. In the Second Sonata his piano writing begins to become personal; in the high register, wide melodic figurations often develop, determining complex rythmic superpositions with the other voices (groups of 3 out of 4, of 4 out of 5, of 9 out of 5, of 12 out of 15). The Second Sonata (Sonata-Fantasia) remains young Skrjabin’s most mature experience; during the  period in which he devoted himself to its composition, from 1892 to 1897, he wrote all works included between op.6 and op.26. The Third Sonata does not provide significant examples of widening of traditional harmonic devices. Anyway, it is worth while mentioning some superpositions of functions: in measure four, the subdominant components are spaced more than an octave apart upon a dominant pedal.

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