[Smt-talk] Analytical methods and critical thinking

Ninov, Dimitar N dn16 at txstate.edu
Fri May 11 14:33:05 PDT 2012

Dear Bob,

I actually agree with you about what a Schenkerian graph may represent, and with the fact that a blunt attack on a method, without enough knowledge, is not a wise move. 

But if you feel that a theory is missing or dismissing a fundamental principle or concept which, for you and for many others, represents an essential part of the study of functional harmony - you may express your disagreement with this situation, even if you are not a Schenkerian guru.
For example, you do not have to become a rocker or a skinhead to express a dissatisfaction with those social groups. There are certainly layers of awareness that will help you to understand the mentality and the story of a skinhead and their actions, should you join their group . But if, at first glance, something very big is unappealing to you, you don not nave to waste your time with the rest, do you?

The unappealing and the very big, fundamental thing in Schenkerian theory, for me, is the liquidation of the concept of the subdominant function, and its downgrading into two subcategories: pre-dominant, and tonic prolongation. From the moment of this realization on, with the background analysis lacking one of the most important functional bass notes - the fourth scale degree - I do not have to become a specialist in Schenkerian analysis to express my disagreement with this particular theoretical concept. Of course, I have a lot more disagreements, some of which were mentioned by Ildar - for example the ignoring of the phrasal structure, the formal functions, and the final note a phrase or a period or a sentence ends with in different situations (both in the bass and in the soprano). But I only shared my most fundamental disagreement with Schenkerian theory, and I think that this issue is the Achilles' heel of Schenkerian analysis.

Another fundamental issue is the alteration of the cadential types because of the concept of functional prolongation - my previous posting was on that, but so far it has been lost.

But I guess Ildar's questions were purely practical, and so far no one has answered them.

Best regards,

Dr. Dimitar Ninov, Lecturer
School of Music
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, Texas 78666

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