[Smt-talk] Classical Form and Recursion

Dmitri Tymoczko dmitri at Princeton.EDU
Wed Mar 25 06:21:23 PDT 2009

> Normally we might tend to say that the tonal functions should be  
> meanings of chords.

The philosophers and linguists I know would be pretty unhappy with  
this description.  An alternative way to think about functions is as  
grammatical categories like "noun" and "verb."  To say two chords are  
"predominants" is to say that they behave similarly.  This leads to  
the North American view of functions whereby ii and IV are  
predominants, viio and V are dominants, I is a tonic, and iii and vi  
are each in their own categories -- neither tonic, nor dominant, nor  
subdominant.  I find this view more congenial than orthodox function  
theory, where iii is sometimes D and sometimes T.


Dmitri Tymoczko
Associate Professor of Music
310 Woolworth Center
Princeton, NJ 08544-1007
(609) 258-4255 (ph), (609) 258-6793 (fax)

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