[Smt-talk] Subdominant versus Predominant

Daniel Wolf djwolf at snafu.de
Mon May 7 11:25:33 PDT 2012

On Mon, 07 May 2012 16:37:01 +0200, Stephen Jablonsky  
<jablonsky at optimum.net> wrote:

> There is no place for style on a Schenker chart and that's what really  
> interests me.

While I am far from expert in matters Schenkerian, I believe that this is  
a fundamental mischaracterization of what Schenker's work was about.  
Schenker, if nothing else, was after an accounting of all the details and  
elements of a particular tradition and its styles and how they emerge from  
a deeper structures and connections, both unique to a single work and  
common to styles.  He was not producing "charts" as an end product — and  
certainly not the generic "Schenkergrams" routinely produced in some  
modern classrooms — but rather using a collection of notational devises to  
record moments in a dynamic process of composition and audition.

There is an anecdote which Babbitt told (and identified as apocryphal; I  
belive it's in the Madison lectures) about Schoenberg looking at the  
Eroica analysis by Schenker and exclaiming critically "But where are my  
favorite places?" Babbitt then made the case that Schenker's analysis did,  
in fact, deal with those "favorite places" by describing how they fit,  
both stylistically and uniquely, into the continuity of a particular  
work.  We can argue about the success of this project and about the  
problems of its focus upon a particular repertoire, but I don't think we  
can argue that it was unconcerned with style.

Daniel Wolf

Dr. Daniel Wolf
Frankfurt am Main


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