[Smt-talk] Subdominant versus Predominant

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Thu May 10 06:56:33 PDT 2012


If you do not want to consider my arguments, I see little point to 
continue this discussion.

Let me stress, very shortly:
– that Schenker's hierarchy of notes is not half note, quarter note, 
eighth note, in this order. It depends on context. Often, he adds a flag 
to a note stem to stress that note, not to reduce it to half its value. 
This is why he may add the flag to a white note as well as to a black 
one. The notes that Schenker writes white are not necessary half notes, 
nor black ones necessary quarter notes.
– that Schenker does not use the word /arpeggio/, although it existed in 
German. He writes /Brechung/, which has a similar meaning but a 
different etymology (it is akin to the English /break/).
– that the fifth does not represent "at the same time" a linearization 
(or an arpeggiation, a breaking) of the tonic chord (its "divider at the 
fifth") and another harmony. In this you conflate two successive moments 
of the organic elaboration of the work. You may dislike this way of 
viewing things, you may consider it subjectively wrong. But you cannot 
state that it is objectively false.
– that the hierarchic importance of IV or II (as compared to V or I) is, 
I think, a matter of opinion (as I said before). You refuse this and you 
repeat your certitude that they share the same hierarchical status. This 
makes further discussion pointless.

The rest of your message is irrelevant to the present discussion.

Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

Le 10/05/2012 02:29, Ildar Khannanov a écrit :
> Dear Nicolas,
> I aologize for a mistake with beaming 1, 3, 5. I wanted to say that 
> Schenker prioritizes scst3 in the bass line over scst 4. In the 
> following examples:
> Examples 14, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 5b,
> Examples 15, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a,
> Example 16, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b,4a,
> Example 18, 1abc, 2ab, 3ab, 4ab, FC, Longman 1979 Schenker marks scst3 
> as a “quarter note” or “half note,” which is the status, next to a 
> beamed note, while all the subdominants are given only a note head. He 
> provides RN's I6 and III under each scst3. In so many examples, scst 3 
> receives higher priority than scst 4 in the bass. Why? Because 
> Schenker himself called it bass arpeggiation:
> quote: I-V-I bass linearizes the tonic triad through a disjunct 
> apreggiation, by moving from the root to the upper fifth and back 
> again. Schenker referred to this motion as bass arpeggiation 
> (Bassbreshung). In /Free Composition/ Schenker initially represents 
> /Ursatz/ without an intermediate harmony, although in later examples 
> he shows how they may function in relation to I and V. The occurrences 
> of certain intermediate harmonies—as in the case of IV moving to 
> V—introduces stepwise motion in the disjunct bass arpeggiation 
> (I-V-I). In fact, the introduction of melodic motion intensifies the 
> motion toward the dominant. Ultimately, however, Schenker regarded 
> intermediate harmonies as subsidiary to the tonic and dominant scale 
> steps. p. 118./Analysis of Tonal Music. A Schenkerian Approach/.
> Allen Cadwallader and David Gangné. Oxford UP, 1998. end of quote
> Of course, the questions arise immediately: who said that playing 
> scst1 and scst5 in the bass consecutively creates “arpeggiation”? I 
> asked my wife, a harpist, She said 1 and 5 do not constitute arpeggio 
> because they do not comprise a chord. Just in case, I quote:
> Arpège. Terme italliene francisé (arpeggio): literal: jeu de harpe. 
> C'est le'exécutions successive des notes d'un/accord/, du grave a 
> l'aigu ou vice versa. 296. Encyclopédie de la Musique. Fasquelle, 
> Paris 1958. End of quote.
> And, in general, how it can be that I and V “linearize tonic triad” 
> and, at the same time, they represent two different harmonies (Tonic 
> and Dominant)? These are small things, of course.
> You wrote: Schenker does consider that the other notes are 
> hierarchically less important, but I think that this hierarchy may be 
> considered possible – unless you believe that there exists only one 
> truth. You say that in real progressions (why "real"?) T, S and D have 
> equal status; but how can you be sure of that, equal status for whom?
> My question: who told you, or Schenker, that “other notes are 
> hierarchically less important”? They are not less important, neither 
> they present “ structural functions less deep than the V.” This is a 
> figment of your imagination.
> In general, one can “arpeggiate I and V” and embellish it /ad 
> nauseam/. It will never create a meaningful harmonic progression.
> As for caricature, while you were fending off my attempts to question 
> some aspects of Schenker's thinking, Schenker managed to turn into a 
> monstrous caricature the whole history of music theory. If you and I 
> were Schenker's contemporaries, he would have turned us into a 
> caricature. He would turn you into a dwarf, and I would be simply 
> pulverized to molecular level: we both speak languages other than 
> German and come from the countries of Entente. Volker Schoendorff 
> responded to that by depicting the “avengers of German genius” as 
> dwarfs themselves.
> Best,
> Ildar Khannanov
> Peabody Conservatory
> Johns Hopkins University
> solfeggio7 at yahoo.com
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