[Smt-talk] Nature and Labeling of the Cadential Six-Four

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Mon Feb 13 12:02:21 PST 2012

But why this rage against Schenker? Who said that 5-6-7-8 is an 
"heresy"? Certainly not Schenker! See his analysis of BWV 924 in Der 
Tonwille IV (1923), p. 3-6, or his ascending Urlinie in Erläuterungen 
(in the last two volumes of Der Tonwille and the first two of Das 
Meisterwerk). Don't think that because you read Free Composition you 
know Schenker!

The 5-6-7-8 line can reasonably tought of only in its major form, with 
high 6 and 7 even in minor. In this form, however, it poses contrapuntal 
problems, as 6 and 7 above IV (or ii) and V make to successive major 
thirds by conjunct motion, which is forbidden in strict counterpoint at 
least since the 15th century, if I am not mistaken (and Schenker has no 
share in this interdiction). Free composition does find solutions, as in 
BWV 924 (or BWV 939), but these remain tricky and exceptional.

Schenker's Urlinie is not an "inflexible concept", it merely is the most 
general representation of the polyphonic concept. For more about this, 
especially about the "cantizans" line, 5-6-7-8, see also 

Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

Le 13/02/2012 19:22, Ninov, Dimitar N a écrit :
> [...]
> The same happens with the perfect ascending line 5-6-7-8. It is in no manner less convincing than the descending urline 5-4-3-2-1. But Schenkerians do not pay attention to it, for the theory forbids such a "heresy", and each time they see it and hear it clearly, they erase it and look "deeper" to find an imaginary line to replace it. This is an example of what I call "theory which bends the music for the sake of proving an inflexible concept." I am in favor of theoretical concepts which are flexible and open to the diversity in music.

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