[Smt-talk] Classical Form and Recursion

Ioannis Rammos rammos at nyu.edu
Mon Mar 30 02:47:08 PDT 2009

On 29 March 09 at 21:46, Dmitri Tymoczko wrote :

> I completely agree that most present-day Schenkerians are  
> compatibilists.  Schenker and Salzer (and maybe Beach and Rothgeb)  
> weren't/aren't.  So there's been a pretty big shift here -- with  
> hardly a single music-theoretical publication about the subject.  In  
> fact, the only relevant writing I know of is an excellent  
> unpublished paper by Bill Rothstein, who's also a compatibilist.  I  
> wish he'd publish it, because I think it's a really important issue.

I think that a distinction between early and late Schenker is  
warranted here. While "canonized" Schenker (i.e. later Schenker, that  
of "Free Composition" and, in many ways, "Das Meisterwerk in der  
Musik") is a stern "anti-compatibilist", earlier Schenker seems more  
willing to grant paradigmatic elements some degree of autonomy. His  
notion of  "Synthese", whose abandonment after "Der Tonwille" Lubben  
laments in his 1995 dissertation, reflects what we could  
retrospectively refer to as younger Schenker's relative ("motivic")  

Richard Cohn's  "The Autonomy of Motives in Schenkerian Accounts of  
Tonal Music", in Music Theory Spectrum 14.2 (1992), provides a partial  
account of various shifts between "compatibilism" (Dmitri Tymoczko's  
term) and its opposite extreme, although the article is primarily  
critical in intent.


Ioannis Rammos
Doctoral Candidate
New York University

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