Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)



First Advisor

Thomas Couvillon

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Richard Byrd

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Richard A. Crosby

Department Affiliation



Sergei Prokofiev categorized his compositions by grouping them into several "lines," namely, the classical, modern, toccata, and lyrical lines. This thesis will examine six solo piano works by Sergei Prokofiev, their relationship to one another, and their relative significance in context of Prokofiev's oeuvre as a whole. Three of the movements are specifically listed by the composer in the toccata line category, and the remaining three possess arresting similarities that could place them in that line.

Chapter 1 places the following six compositions in historical context of Prokofiev's career as composer and pianist: Scherzo, Opus 12, No. 2; Third Sonata, Op. 28, Etude in C minor, Opus 2, No. 4; Suggestion diabolique, Opus 4, No. 4; Toccata in D minor, Opus 11; and the final movement of Seventh Sonata, Op. 83. It also examines some societal preconceptions and biases of the composer's time collectively in favor of or opposed to his musical aesthetic and voice. Chapter 2 deals with small and large-scale form as well as motivic and thematic development. Chapter 3 presents the rhythmic processes at work within each of the six movements, comparing and contrasting surface, middle, and core-level time factors that either govern the moto perpetuo thread or stray from it. Chapter 4 discusses the harmonic language of these works, such as chromaticism and dissonance treatment. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings and explores possible explanations for Prokofiev's statement that the toccata line works are his "least important."

Included in

Music Commons