Webern’s many references to Goethe’s Metamorphose der Pflanze can be understood in connection with the composer’s conception of row and theme: a row is not any more a theme in the sense of a melodic-rhythmic unit, but a matrix of thematic units. In Webern’s works the original theme lies beyond the actual work and is expressed by the row – often by a part thereof – whose continuous metamorphoses produce the whole work. This means that what is initially presented as a theme already represents a metamorphosis of another entity, lying beyond the actual work: it is a metamorphosis in itself, and that is why it never regains its initial form. Thus, the various units of a piece represent different metamorphoses of the initial row, exactly in the way that various parts of a plant represent – according to Goethe – different metamorphoses of the original plant.The reduction of all units to one basic shape (Grundgestalt), represented only by a part of the basic row (the Grundreihe), is the rule, not only in the last of Webern’s works; moreover, the initial row itself is being reduced to a minimum number of intervals, which represent the basic shape (Grundgestalt). However, the reduction of the initial row to a minimum number of intervals bears important consequences on all other structural elements in Webern’s works, as e.g. the organization of rhythmic values and the way a melody is distributed at different instruments. Thus, the overall organization of all units ultimately depends upon the construction of the initial row.