Post-tonal lead-ins?

Does anyone know a good example of an Eingang (lead-in) from a composition written in a post-tonal or atonal idiom? Thank you!


  • Some good examples are Schoenberg, op. 14, no. 1, mm. 1–3; op. 15, no. 14, m. 1; and op. 21, no. 17, m. 1 with the pickup (the canonic entries in the viola and clarinet prepare the vocal entry). Another is op. 21, no. 8, mm. 1–2, although some might consider it a kind of motto. Other examples that are more accompanimental (which some might understood as its own category) are op. 11, no. 2, m. 1; op. 19, no. 2, mm. 1–2; and op. 19, no. 6, mm. 1–2.







  • Thank you Matthew. Those are very helpful. Are there any examples of lead-ins that connect the end of one section to the start of another in the manner of a Mozart Concerto Rondo, for example?

    Much appreciated!


  • Sorry for the delay, Tim. If I understand you correctly, you are thinking of lead-ins as including bridges (short connective passages). I want to suggest that lead-ins and bridges are totally different. I raise this issue in “Form – Function – Content,” Music Theory Spectrum 40/2 (2018): 218–26. Lead-ins are primarily preparatory (not connective), and lead-ins can and often do come directly after bridges. A tonal example of this situation is Beethoven, op. 92, I, mm. 61–62 with pickup (bridge) and mm. 63–67 with pickup (lead-in). A non-tonal example is Schoenberg, op. 11, no. 1, mm. 46–47 with pickup (bridge) and mm. 48–50 with pickup (lead-in), discussed in the article mentioned above. There is another such example as well as other bridges and lead-ins in op. 11, no. 2, as follows:


    • Primary theme (with lead-in): mm. 1–13
    • Counterstatement becomes bridge (or short transition): mm. 13–15
    • Secondary theme: mm. 16–19 with pickup
    • Closing theme: mm. 20–26
    • False recapitulation becomes bridge: mm. 26–28

    Contrasting middle

    • Interior theme: mm. 29–37
    • Counterstatement becomes bridge (or short retransition): mm. 38–39


    • Secondary/primary theme: mm. 40–49 with pickup
    • "Interior theme" as bridge (or short transition): mm. 50–55
    • Primary/secondary theme (with lead-in): mm. 55–62 with pickup
    • "Interior theme" as closing theme: mm. 63–66
Sign In or Register to comment.