[Smt-talk] BELGIAN +6

Ildar Khannanov solfeggio7 at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 23 07:02:05 PST 2011

Dear Stephen,
thank you for a quick response. I am not angry or dissatisfied. Just wanted to make sure that we are not thowing away an infant together with the bath water. These matters are technical, but they do affect teaching and learning. On the one hand, a metaphor can be helpful, here and there. On the other hand, students can use logical memory, the memory of structure in the process of developing. The latter provides the basis for hearing tonal music.
As for jazz, it remains one of a kind-- a living, live, organic practice which does not require extensive explanations and introductions. Go, sit down and listen. This sense of immediacy is precious. And I am not surprised that jazzmen lean toward 19th century traditional teaching of harmony. Harmonization of a melody is their main compositional model.
Thank you for this discussion.
Ildar Khannanov
Peabody Conservatory

 From: Stephen Jablonsky <jablonsky at optimum.net>
To: Ildar Khannanov <solfeggio7 at yahoo.com> 
Cc: "Salley, Keith" <ksalley at su.edu>; smt smt-talk <smt-talk at societymusictheory.org> 
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 8:45 AM
Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] BELGIAN +6


Thanks for the historical perspective. I certainly agree with you that the national appellations are misleading, prejudiced, and do not help students learn. Maybe it is time to get rid of them. I must admit that my initial suggestion of Bel+6 had a touch of mischief in it inspired by the silliness of the practice.

I am always distressed when I see authors of theory textbooks writing It+6, Ger+6, or Fr+6 in place of chord names or chord functions. One of the interesting things about most theory textbooks is the fact that they never ask the students to name the chords they are analyzing. It is always assumed that we know the name, but I have found that the most efficient analytical process begins with lead sheet chord symbols followed by function identification (chord numbers) followed by a discussion of the data. Many students when asked to look at sheet music (not Bach chorales) are not able to label chords with speed and accuracy.

The "Ger+6" in C is labeled Ab7. Because I was taught that any chord that contains a leading tone has a dominant function I number the chord vii#6/5 of V. I am not certain where you get the notion that the chord is subdominant. For me the word "subdominant" means the chord contains scale step 4, not #4. The "Fr+6" is labeled Ab7b5 when it appears in its traditional 4/3 position. The number is V#4/3 of V.

On Nov 22, 2011, at 8:48 PM, Ildar Khannanov wrote:

For all the great composers and musicians of the 19th century, the chords with the augmented sixth had very important meaning. They all were the modifications of the simpler chords and, together with them, they belonged to the Subdominant function. 

Prof. Stephen Jablonsky, Ph.D.
Music Department Chair
The City College of New York
160 Convent Avenue S-72
New York NY 10031
(212) 650-7663
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