Post-Tonal Compositional Techniques of Alexander Scriabin in the Piano Music of Nikolai Roslavets and Frank Bridge

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McBane, Liam
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
The late compositions of Alexander Scriabin (1871-1915) have long been recognized for their innovative, post-tonal methods. His final works utilize the Mystic chord, a specific six- or seven-note sonority, to generate the entire pitch content of a piece’s harmony and melody through a series of transpositions, especially at the tritone level. The Soviet composer Nikolai Roslavets (1881-1944) utilized a similar system in his compositions, in which a six- to eight-note “synthetic chord” is transposed to create an entire piece. The British composer Frank Bridge (1879-1941) shows some similarity to Scriabin through the use of a referential “Bridge chord,” but also departs from Scriabin in key respects. This thesis demonstrates that Roslavets’s and Bridge’s compositional methods show strong parallels to the technique of Scriabin. It concludes with a brief overview on the question of influence, proposing topics for further research.