Order and Continuity in Igor Stravinsky’s Music:

An Analysis of “Marche du Solda” from L’Histoire du Soldat.


  • Tian-Yan Feng Postgraduate Student, MScR, Musicology, University of Edinburgh




Igor Stravinsky, L’Histoire du Soldat, order, consistency, temporality


The works of Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) have been criticised for the tendency of their compositional technique towards ‘repetition,’ ‘stasis,’ ‘non-progression,’ ‘block juxtaposition,’ and even ‘discontinuity’ by musicologists and analysts including Taruskin (1996), Whittall (1997), Cross (1998), and Boulez (1968). However, more and more contemporary theorists argue that his music is not only characterised by repetition or consistency, but also that many structural phenomena and musical parameters have distinct development within the internal structure. Moreover, they point out that characteristics of both discontinuity and continuity are found at different structural levels within his compositions (Cone; Horlacher 2018; Wang 2004; Kramer 1986, 1988).


Taking the above scholarship into consideration, this essay analyses several musical elements to explore features of order, regularity, continuity, and consistency in the first movement of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, “Marche du Solda”. Closer analysis reveals that this movement exhibits many tendencies of order and consistency within individual parameters, but this order is broken when considering all parameters together, as each has its own pace and structural pattern. The analytical results presented in this essay align with the emphasis by contemporary musicologists and scholars on Stravinsky’s tendency towards consistency and order in his compositions, affirming that his music does indeed possess these features, but they require a different perspective to observe.