[Smt-talk] Harmonic functions (was Classical Form and Recursion)

Ildar Khannanov solfeggio7 at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 15 17:23:58 PDT 2009

Dear Nicolas,
I regret that this topic is boring for my colleagues. I find it the most important nowadays as it has been for centuries. Dominant is not just a name, it is a term of music theory, while V is just a number. Although Roman Numerals were used  by Vogler, the terms tonic, dominant and subdominant predate Vogler by 80 years. 
"No, Schenker's opinion about the French is quite particular, dictated both by his ideas on World War I and the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires, and by his opinion about Rameau's theories." 
I meant exactly that, that his ideas were dicated by the outcome of the World War I for Germany. Very similar ideas circulated in the minds of the most nototious politicians of the same time. In order to deride absolutely every teacher of counterpoint, absolutely every theorist of harmony (except for Sechter), absolutely every performer of the 1920s, absolutely every musical tradition except for German, one must have serious reasons and qualifications. I am not ready to trade 25 centuries of music theory and musical performance for one brilliant Phantasie. 
I do not see the point in comparing national traditions in music theory in favor of the Viennese. You cannot have both, it is often either great Watzes or good theory. On my opinion, Viennese theory is light-weight and pragmatic, it lacks the capacity for the transcendental and for the immanent, it deals predominantly with what it sees on paper. As for French tradition, I can only bow deep down to its magnificence: it has been the avantgarde for centuries. To deride it means to be an outsider.
If Sechter's book was difficult to find, then he was not in geat demand. Commercial conditions of publishing in 1854 were not bad: the Lerhe of Marx has been published much earlier and it is available even in Siberia.  This means that people were reading and using it.
"Schenker may not often have quoted Sechter, but his theories evidence how deeply influenced he was by Sechter..."
This looks more like a complete disregard than evidence of deep influence. You quote Heinrich Schenker in every other sentence. I quote and refer to Hugo Riemann, Pieter Van den Toorn and Jury  Kholopov openly. This IS the evidence of deep influence and also a common courtesy toward the teacher.
"Schenker has a specific position in this matter, as he does not admit dissonant chords as such: for him, any dissonance is a contrapuntal device that must resolve contrapuntally." 
This is an example of Schenkerian rhetoric. Good job! Of course, the goal is to totally confuse the listener. Dissonant and consonant intervals were around since very long time ago. All the treatises in counterpoint from the 13th century and on deal, one way or another, with this category. Even Fux mentions mi to fa, diabolus in musica. Now, I have to revise my understanding of dissonance. It does not exist because... it has to RESOLVE contrapuntally. What will resolve contrauntally if dissonance does not exist? 
"I am not sure that it is (always) a good idea to hear each new leading tone as the token of a new key, as so doing one misses the tonal unity of the piece."
Tonal unity of the piece is worth nothing if a listener does not hear the finest details of its structure.  

Best wishes,
Ildar Khannanov
Peabody Conservatory
solfeggio7 at yahoo.com

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.societymusictheory.org/pipermail/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org/attachments/20090415/755f84a3/attachment-0004.htm>

More information about the Smt-talk mailing list