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

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Mon Feb 13 13:47:48 PST 2012

I don't mean that the Urlinie could be ascending, I mean that the 
descending Urlinie is not an "inflexible concept", that it is the result 
of a long reflexion, in which ascending lines were taken into 
consideration as well. There is no reason to "reject" 5-6-7-8 as a line 
(what would that mean?), but you recognize yourself that it does present 
some contrapuntal and harmonic difficulties.
     Schenker's Ursatz is a model of the most general case. As such, it 
must be conceivable in three chords only, I--V--I, even if in practice 
it often supposes a pre-dominant at a deep middleground level. The 
ascending line 5-6-7-8, on the other hand, always requires a 
pre-dominant in its harmonization. But harmonizing 5-6-7-8 normally 
requests another voice doing 3-2-1, which is the most general case and 
therefore a good choice for the Urlinie.
     Schenker has nothing against 5-6-7-8, he does not describe it as an 
"heresy" (your term!), it is not true that this line would not be 
"accepted" in Schenkerian theory (again, what would that mean?). It 
merely cannot be used as a general description of the most general 
cases, for the very reasons that you state below, which make it a 
special case, and also for the additional reason that its harmonization 
requires four chords, etc. Note that a 5-6-7-8 line, in all its possible 
cadential harmonizations, normally is accompanied by a 3-2-1 line; the 
reverse is not true.

Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

Le 13/02/2012 21:52, Ninov, Dimitar N a écrit :
> But Nicholas...how many urlines do you have in today's Schenkerian theory? Only three versions: long (descending from 8 down to 1); middle size (downward from 5 to 1); and short (downward from 3 to 1). If Schenker has considered the descending progression 5-6-7-8 as an urline, this is certainly not known or not recognized by today's Schekerian analysts., which is regrettable. In other words, would you say loudly that in contemporary Schenkerian theory theascending line 5-6-7-8 is an urline?
> One of the reasons that this line is not accepted may be the fact that there are voice-leading difficulties if we decided to harmonize it with I-IV-V-I, because of the connection between two successive triads with an ascending melody. Unless we double a non-normative tone, parallel fifths or octaves in the harmonic motion will result. For me this reason is not good enough, though, because viio6 could successfully replace V in the progression. To this they will say that this compromises the perfect cadence. That is true, but it creates another type of perfect cadence that has a melodic character: clausula vera. In other words, the perfection of the ascending 5-6-7-8 does not have to be underminded because of technical difficulties in the harmonic support or becauise of an imperfection of the harmonic closure.
> Of course, if we harmonize 5-6-7-8 with I6-V7/V-V7-I there will be no problem. One detail is that the seventh of V7/V will resolve upward to avoid the doubling of the leading tone in V7, but that is not something unusual if you chose V7/V instead of V/V.
> Best regards,
> Dr. Dimitar Ninov, Lecturer
> School of Music
> Texas State University
> 601 University Drive
> San Marcos, Texas 78666
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