[Smt-talk] "Core syntax" and 6/4 chords etc.

Ildar Khannanov solfeggio7 at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 26 15:47:09 PST 2010

Dear Dr. McKinney,
Thank you very much for referring to p. 95. That is not, however, the conceptual definition of the neighbor and passing tones. These terms are not used here; neither the intent of Zarlino was to describe hierarchical relationship, the subordination of a passing or neighboring tone to a structural tone. What Zarlino does is very different from such conceptualization. He simply suggests how to hide the harsh sound of a dissonant interval by placing it on a week part of a measure and covering it with stepwise motion. Later, in Baroque, Classicism, and Romanticism, not every composer followed this advice. It is impossible to conclude from this innocent stylistic suggestion that the relationship of a neighbor or passing tone to a structural note can constitute a core syntactic structure of a large-scale musical composition. Here, Schenker was bluffing. He was honest enough to call his unthinkable revision Neue musikalische Theorien und Fantasien. Fantasies,
Schenker’s critique of Rameau (which, I remember, one of the members of this List called once a libel), is not only unfair, but is significantly misconceived and misleading. Rameau offered his new concept of large-scale syntax, the syntactic relationship of tonic, subdominant and dominant. It was desperately needed because the instrumental music of that time emancipated itself from the sacred vocal genres and has become independent from the text. The music of the strict style did not need a large-scale musical syntax: this task has been fulfilled by the syntax and form of the liturgical text. Dr. Valentina Kholopova calls the forms of strict style era textual-musical, while the vocal forms of Baroque, Classicism and Romanticism she calls musical-textual. Even the greatest masterpieces of Palestrina do not have an independent musical form; their form is structured by the forms of the verbal text. In this context, indeed, the diminished counterpoint,
 together with imitation and double counterpoint, served t local functions quite well. Still, as it is seen in the treatises, the most important question for theorists of that time was the relationship of intervals in note-to-note connection, just as for Greek theory was the relationship of dissonance and consonance. That old business is called harmony (Zarlino uses this term religiously).
The most anachronistic and, I would say, comic aspect of Schenkerian theory is its attempt to debunk T- S-D-T syntax in favor of the mythical contrapuntal large-scale principle. Good luck searching for it! 
Best wishes,
Dr. Ildar Khannanov
Peabody Conservatory

--- On Tue, 1/26/10, McKinney, Timothy R. <Timothy_McKinney at baylor.edu> wrote:

From: McKinney, Timothy R. <Timothy_McKinney at baylor.edu>
Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] "Core syntax" and 6/4 chords etc.
To: "smt-talk smt" <smt-talk at societymusictheory.org>
Date: Tuesday, January 26, 2010, 3:25 PM

On 1/26/10 1:49 PM, "Ildar Khannanov" <solfeggio7 at yahoo.com> wrote:

I have been rereading Zarlino's The Art of Counterpoint, looking for a chapter, or a paragraph, defining passing or neighbor tones. I could not find anything in this translation...

For passing tones, see the first full paragraph on p. 95 of the Marco/Palisca translation (chap. 42), and the example on the following page.

Timothy R. McKinney
Associate Professor
Baylor University

Timothy_McKinney at baylor.edu

Smt-talk mailing list
Smt-talk at societymusictheory.org

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.societymusictheory.org/pipermail/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org/attachments/20100126/a14137fc/attachment-0004.htm>

More information about the Smt-talk mailing list