Contrary to the many commentators who presumed there to be a tension, between Sechter's theory and Bruckner's mature musical language, this study demonstrates their compatibility. Using the Adagio of Bruckner's "Ninth Symphony", the case is made for fundamental-bass theory as a revealing tool for analyzing the composer's music. Anton Bruckner was already in his thirties when he gave up composition for six years to study with Simon Sechter. Fundamental-bass theory, Sechter's idiosyncratic method, was the basis for Bruckner's instruction, and it not only became the bedrock for Bruckner's own teaching but also, according to first-hand accounts, underpinned all his subsequent harmonic thought. Scant attention has ever been given to the influence that Sechter's ideas had on Bruckner, mainly because fundamental-bass theory was itself superseded and all-but forgotten. This work discusses the context of fundamental-bass theory not only in relation to the history of theory but also in the light of Sechter's compositional practice, including his re-working of Beethoven's "Sonata, Op. 110". The theory is explained with examples from Bruckner's student exercises.
Previous applications of the theory are examined, from Mayrberger's use of the theory to analyze Wagner's harmony onwards.