Thinking about musical reduction and the prolongation of ideas (as in Schenker). When we hear a reduction of a piece it feels 'right' because it is what we recognise as its essence. The essence is the thing that is prolonged. What is the mechanism by which it is prolonged? What is the context within which the prolongation takes place?
The context is easier to think about. It disrupts, coerces and exhorts. Thus, we have an analytical technique which identifies the essence, and then sees how the context acts around the essence. This is what I've tried to do with the KinderScenen piece below. There isn't really any exhortation here. What if he had done some?
I shall take this approach to some other musical examples in future.