A determination of similarities by a stylistic comparison of the works of Igor Stravinsky before and after 1952



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After 1952, Igor Stravinsky came to feel that serialism, a technique he had previously rejected, offered possibilities in the composition of his music. He began experimentation with this technique in his works beginning with Three Songs from William Shakespeare, Canticum Sacrum, and Agon. Studies made of representative works dating before and after 1952, Trois Histoires pour Enfants, Octet, Symphonie de Psaumes, Orpheus, In Memoriam Dylan Thomas, Canticum Sacrum, and "The Owl and the Pussy-cat," indicate that stylistic consistencies may be found in the works which are composed with the serial technique and without. These similarities include motivic development, tonal relationships, formal considerations, rhythmic devices, instrumentation, and melodic structure. Therefore, Stravinsky's turn to serialism in his later works can be seen as another adaptation of a formal technique to his basic, always consistent, compositional principles. Tonality remained an important factor in works of both periods.