[Smt-talk] Subdominant versus Predominant

Stephen Jablonsky jablonsky at optimum.net
Mon May 7 07:37:01 PDT 2012

Dimitar and Ildar,

We may be a club with only three members. 

After every excited series of postings I am always amused at our desperate attempts to make sense of something (music) that may not be fully explainable. How does one explain the magic of the masters? Liszt wrote some wonderful piano music but he was no Chopin. Now there is magic! I'd like to see Schenker give that a try. My contention is that the genius is in the details. Yes, it is nice to know that the general structure has an integral logic, but it is those rare, special moments that become most memorable and define the difference between craft and art. There is no place for style on a Schenker chart and that's what really interests me. How is it possible that we can tell that a piece is by Chopin after hearing only one measure? How do you chart the rightness of the melodic/harmonic narrative as it moves from beat to beat and unfolds a tale of splendor and beauty? That is what I try to share with my students. Some times I just shut up and play the piece for them, allowing the composer to speak for himself. When the piece ends I just shrug because I do not know what can I possible say that would add to the experience. 


On May 7, 2012, at 9:43 AM, Ninov, Dimitar N wrote:

> Dear Ildar and Steve,
> I want to congratulate both of you on your postings on the subdominant - brilliant and logical! And there is nothing wrong in saying "The Emperor has no clothes" -  a little child said that, after all, without being burdened by the whole mental baggage of prejudice, vanity, snobbery, and illusion.
> Best regards,
> Dimitar
> Dr. Dimitar Ninov, Lecturer
> School of Music
> Texas State University
> 601 University Drive
> San Marcos, Texas 78666
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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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