[Smt-talk] Theory impacting performance

Donna Doyle donnadoyle at att.net
Thu Jul 5 12:36:20 PDT 2012

I, too, believe we should all make music, as performers and/or  
But what about a similar situation in physics, where Peter Higgs  
admits he was
"no good in the lab"?

Donna Doyle
Queens College
Flushing, NY

On Jul 5, 2012, at 11:30 AM, Stephen Jablonsky wrote:

> One interesting question about the teaching of "theory" is what does  
> that include. As a composer/theorist I always included a component  
> about folk song composition in Theory 1, a component on American  
> Songbook composition in Theory II, and some free composition in  
> Theory 3. I am always amused when when I pick up a distinguished  
> theory tome and it does little or nothing about melody. It's always  
> chords, chords, chords. Hey, nobody likes chords better than I, but  
> if your students cannot construct a simple, decent melodic double  
> period then something critical about the study of music is missing.  
> I need to believe that my students benefitted from practicing the  
> art of composition. In conclusion, I must add that I often look  
> askance at theorists who do not compose or perform. How much  
> credence should we give to theorists who are not musicians?
> On Jul 5, 2012, at 9:55 AM, Kris Shaffer wrote:
>> I'll refrain from joining the well worn debate over the relative  
>> merits of composers and theorists in teaching music theory, which I  
>> hope has not been newly ignited by the above comment. The  
>> discipline of music theory involves more than teaching voice- 
>> leading, harmony, form, and aural skills to undergraduates. And I  
>> think that most of the folks on this list would agree that our  
>> discipline is all the richer for having a diversity of composers,  
>> composer/theorists, performer/theorists, "pure" theorists, etc.  
>> teaching theory at various institutions and contributing to the  
>> ever growing body of music theoretical knowledge.
> 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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