home > analysis > Boulez


The Tone Row Workman
in France


Pierre Boulez "LE MARTEAU SANS MAITRE"


The interpenetration form


Before beginning to analyze the tone row, it is necessary to mention the composition of the whole work. Because they are related. To that, I quote a preface by composer himself about this work.


The work consists of nine pieces associated with three poems by René Char. the titles fo these three poems are as follows: 1. L'Artisanat furieux, 2. Bourreaux de solitude, 3. Bel édifice et les pressentiments.

However, the voice is not an obligatory part of each piece; I make a distinction between the pieces where the poem is directly incorporated and expressed by the voice, and the development-pieces where the voice has, in principle, no role to play.

Thus the cycle based on l'Artisanat furieux comprises: AVANT l'Artisanat furieux (instrumental), l'Artisanat furieux proper (vocal), and APRES l'Artisanat furieux (instrumental).

The cycle constructed on the basis of Bourreaux de solitude consists of: Bourreaux de solitude (vocal), and Commentaires , and on Bourreaux de solitude (instrumental).

The cycle based on Bel édifice et les pressentiments is made up to the first version and its 'double'.

However, the cycles don't follow one after another: they interpenetrate in such a way that the overall form is itself a combination of three simpler structures. It should be enough for me to give the order of the pieces; one will see the desired hierarchy wihtout futher comments being necessary:




(from the preface of "Le martaeu sans maitre" by P.Boulez)




"Three simpler structures" means each of L'artisanat furieux(1.3.7.), Bourreaux de solitude(2.4.6.8.), Bel edifice et les pressentiments(5.9.).
If seeing a table above slowly and carefully, it should find the fact how they are well arranged.


As above mentioned, in this work such a form that the movements interpenetrate each other is taken. Based on the above, we can make an analysis of the primary series.



Analysis of the primary series


The shown below is the primary series for "Le marteau sans maitre". What order does it have ?



1 - 12 numbers are put to each note. when paying attention only to the note with odd number, the existence of a relation of halftone becomes clear.



Moreover, the halftone relation is found between 4 and 8, 2 and 10, too. This corresponds to the interpenetraion form.



Except for the 12nd F# only putted # in this tone row a symmetrical structure centered on 6th B is surfaced. Moreover, let's attempt to observe the interval relation. There is order there again.



Drawing the whirlpool the midpoint of which is B, making Bb a start point, the interval spreads gradually from minor second to major third.



After the major third, perfect fourth should come. By that the interval between B in the center and F# which is out of the symmetry is perfect fourth, this tone row is beautifully closed.







home > analysis > Boulez