A Fantasia Op. 17 de Schumann e o estranho caso da sonata supertônica
a tônica ausente e suas consequências
This paper explores some fresh angles (Schenkerian and sonata-formal) on one of Schumann’s most famously intractable works. In the process it draws some larger conclusions regarding Schumann's paradoxical relationship to sonata form and Schenkerian approaches to unusual sonata forms. Form in the first movement has been much debated as variously sonata-based (though with considerable differences as to its parsing), rondo-based, a Romantic Fragment writ large, or sui generis, unclassifiable. Analytical challenges include: 1) rondo-like recurrences of a main theme that prolongs a dominant seventh (or ninth) throughout, resolving only at the very end of the movement; 2) an exposition with an extraordinarily unconventional tonal scheme; 3) a long, static central episode, tonally closed in the tonic minor; and 4) a teleological thematic process gradually converging on a climactic quotation of another composer (Beethoven). Although the subdominant has usually been considered the exposition's principal secondary key, I will instead make the case for the supertonic, projecting a new kind of expositional tonal relation based not on key but rather on chord, preserving the essentially Classical (fifth-based) expositional tonal motion, but projected in a radically novel way (V–II). Schumann's relationship to sonata form was paradoxical, constantly pulling in opposite directions of, on the one hand, fantasy and improvisatory spirit, and on the other, a tendency to elaborate artifice. From the former perspective the Fantasy is perhaps the most audacious and original sonata form he ever wrote. The flexible yet rigorous Schenkerian approach pursued here proves remarkably responsive to its highly unconventional tonal structure, suggesting exciting potential for new paths into 19th-century sonata form.