Paul Hindemith's Trumpet Sonata Analysis

Faculty Sponsor

Katharina Uhde


Arts and Sciences


Music History

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Fall 11-1-2022


By 1940, the time Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) emigrated to America, Hindemith was at the height of his creative powers, having established in the 1930s "a well-regulated and standardized compositional technique, thanks to the purest possible operation of the principles of the ‘two-voice framework’, ‘harmonic fluctuation’ and ‘progression in 2nds’", elements which Hindemith scholar G. Schubert has noted as essential markers of this decade. But there was one more element that differentiated Hindemith's 1930s style: "an individual formal structure" for each piece, often inspired by timbre. Specifically, Hindemith's sonatas are "tailored [...] snugly to the character of the solo instrument [...] [like] portraits of the instruments themselves, the music being generated by the unique qualities of each individual timbre." Building on, and expanding, the research of Paul Davis Morton (1995), Erik Mahon (2000), and William C Rabun (2016), this research paper investigates Hindemith's Trumpet Sonata in light of G. Schubert's above-named stylistic elements and tests their validity in this 1939 composition, thereby throwing new light on a little-discussed piece in Hindemith's oeuvre.

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