[Smt-talk] Subdominant

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at paris-sorbonne.fr
Wed May 16 08:04:38 PDT 2012


I can reassure you: I never called a supermarket "un Mall", and I never 
met a music theorist (nor anybody, for that matter) doing so around 
here. We use "un supermarché" (or at times, especially in Belgium, "un 
shopping centre", an obvious Anglicism). Some say "un shouk", but the 
meaning is not exactly the same -- note that department stores at times 
are called "Bazar" or "Bazaar". Schenker may have said "ein Kaufhaus", 
or "ein Geschäft", or possibly "ayn geve'lb", but the meaning is not 
exactly the same either.

Note that the word "Mall" is English in origin and has been used as 
early as 1644, in John Evelyn's diary, in the meaning of "a public 
walk", from the name of the game, "pall-mall", Fr. "paillemaille", from 
It. "pallamaglio". I think to know that Canadian French still has "un 
mail" to describe a large avenue with trees. The usage of "Mall" to 
denote a commercial gallery does not seem to predate the second half of 
the 20th century (perhaps beginning with the Bergen Mall, New Jersey, in 
1957). As they say, "when you've seen a shop, you've seen a mall".

In any case, I don't feel that the purity of the concept is threatened 
in Europe: be reassured.

Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

Le 16/05/2012 04:19, Ninov, Dimitar N a écrit :
> Dear Colleagues,
> Although I opened a big polemic on the topic "Subdominant versus Predominant" nearly  three months ago, and this topic has now been resumed, I cannot fight the fact that some North American theorists have decided to call the subdominant a "predominant". If this is what they feel, no one can convince them that it is wrong, and my appeal to relate harmonic functions to the tonal center rather to the dominant function, are in vain.
> But I have a question. While the term "predominant" has been invented by American followers of Schenker, it has not been popular in Europe. Why, then, some  European theorists started repeating it, as if they have grown up with it in the United States? It is like calling a Department store or a supermarket a "Mall" only because they call it so in the United States. Believe me, in this regard I criticize my Bulgarian countrymen, because they really started calling their supermarkets "Malls"! I am ashamed of this parrot-like adoption of foreign terms in Bulgaria, but I think that is an inferiority complex of the weak, who always have the need to be under someone's umbrella - whether it be the Soviet Union, or The United States.
> Well, if I, as a Bulgarian, have the decency to criticize the mentality of a large group of my countrymen, why should I abstain from criticizing other European citizens for nodding and reiterating concepts and terminology that does not stem from a solid tradition on their soil?
> To eliminate further confusion, and to rehabilitate Bulgarian teachers of harmony, I will add that, if they call the supermarket a "Mall", they still keep calling the old subdominant with its genuine name. The cadential six-four, which is literally depended on the dominant, and announces its arrival in an unprecedented manner, is the real bearer of the term "pre-dominant".
> Thank you,
> Dimitar
> Dr. Dimitar Ninov, Lecturer
> School of Music
> Texas State University
> 601 University Drive
> San Marcos, Texas 78666
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