The formal and hierarchical nature of Schenker's pitch derivations are examined. A distinction is first made between background to foreground and foreground to background derivation, and Schenker's position on this is discussed. Then, pitch notational aspects of Schenker's derivations, as well as the nature of his interruption technique, are examined in order to establish some of the formal constraints as well as inadequacies of Schenker's derivational system of analysis.

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