[Smt-talk] Written record of Boulanger pedagogy?

Dmitri Tymoczko dmitri at princeton.edu
Sun Dec 19 10:30:50 PST 2010

Thanks to everyone who wrote to offer suggestions, they were very  

First, the Vidal basses have now been published, edited by Narcis  
Bonet.  Actually, a tiny bit of Googling turned up a PDF copy which I  
downloaded.   (DINSIC Publicacions, Barcelona).

A number of people also pointed me to the Dubois "Traite d’harmonie,"  
both publicly and privately.

There are also persistent rumors of mimeographed sheets transcribed  
from Nadia Boulanger, including some that describe progressions as  
being rare or common -- or even in more detailed terms, such as "rare  
in general, common in Schumann."  I'm going to try to find a copy.   
I'll report back if there's anything interesting, but if the  
descriptions are true, they certainly suggest that Boulanger was  
thinking about a "grammar" of common progressions.

Finally, the warning about the Vidal basses is well taken -- one of my  
projects is to try to look through them and see if they contain some  
implicit theory of tonal progression.  My first impression is that  
they look very straight -- there are no root-position V-IV  
progressions, for example, and very little that looks completely  
strange.  But I'd like to get some more quantitative info about this.   
Still, I would be surprised if the progressions they contained  
diverged radically from those in standard tonal harmony.


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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