The Parameter Complex in the Music of Sofia Gubaidulina


Although the music of Sofia Gubaidulina is well known, it has received little analytical attention. Approximately twenty-five years ago Valentina Kholopova worked out a system for analyzing Gubaidulina’s music. Kholopova shows that the composer usually groups together five so-called expression parameters (EP): articulation and methods of sound production, melody, rhythm, texture, and compositional writing. Moreover, each EP has either a consonant or a dissonant function; rarely does Gubaidulina mix the two functions. These ten parameters — five Eps functioning as either dissonant or consonant expressions — form what Kholopova calls the Parameter Complex in Gubaidulina’s music. In this article I examine these topics, using Gubaidulina’s Concordanza and “Ten Preludes for Solo Cello” as exemplars. This item appeared in English in “Music Theory Online” in Volume 20, Issue 3 on September 2014 ( It was authored by Philip A. Ewell,, with whose written permission the Russian translation of the article is printed here.



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