The pathotype motive as a constructional element in the solo violoncello sonatas of Vahram Babayan

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This document investigates the extent to which the pathotype motive accounts for motivic, thematic, and harmonic relationships in the cello sonatas of the Armenian composer Vahram Babayan. A brief biography of the composer opens the work, followed by a discussion and examples of the pathotype motive in traditional literature. Warren Kirkendale identified the pathotype motive as consisting of "the fifth formed by first and fifth degrees, and the diminished seventh which lies a semitone outside these notes." Susan Tepping describes the pathotype motive as "a perfect fifth or fourth with each element embellished by a neighbor note" . Archetypical examples of this type of motive in traditional literature are particularly well represented in the late string quartets of Beethoven (see op. 133, The Grosse Fugue), studied assiduously by Babayan, and Handel's Messiah (And with His Stripes We are Healed). Babayan's compositional output is large and varied and demonstrates his thorough knowledge of the music of iconic Western European masters, particularly Beethoven. In addition to his technical mastery of the traditional constructional elements in Western music and the successful creation of large forms, his music is enriched on occasion by extra-musical symbols. For example, he reports that in his view intervals of the sixth are very full of energy and comparatively unstable while perfect fifths are relatively pure and consequently more stable, and that in his composition a combination of these two intervals can serve as a symbol of the crucifix with the perfect fifth as the stable vertical and the sixth as the supported less stable horizontal. This construction can be related to the pathotype motive especially in the solo cello sonatas. The main body of the paper examines the pathotype motive in Babayan's cello sonatas, using the pathotype motive and its derivatives as analytic paradigms.

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