[Smt-talk] Subdominant

Olli Väisälä ovaisala at siba.fi
Fri May 18 07:19:47 PDT 2012

Nicolas, I must confess that I do not understand your point:

> It seems to me that Olli's criteria are excessively "reductionist"  
> in that it tries to identify "points" in the score which, one  
> supposes, are of sufficient weight to be retained at the next level  
> of the reduction.
> Schenker describes the process as one of elaboration and, more  
> specifically, elaboration of a tonal space, i.e. of the disjunct  
> spaces between the notes of a triad, by passing notes, i.e. a  
> conjunct voice leading (see "Erläuterungen" in Der Tonwille 9 or 10  
> or Das Meisterwerk 1 or 2). The identification of the elaboration  
> therefore passes by the identification of conjunct, or at least  
> "fluent" lines. In this case, there is a complete octave line in  
> the upper voice, Eb–F–G–Ab–Bb–C–Dn–Eb (which probably warns that  
> the key is not Db major), but it obviously is the 6th-line F–G–Ab– 
> Bb–C–Dn that interests us, supported by an almost complete  6th- 
> line in contrary movement, Db–C–Bb–Ab–(G)–F; these two lines form a  
> voice exchange accompanied by a chromatic inflection, F/Db becoming  
> Dn/F, elaborating a IVth degree. Embedded inside this elaboration  
> (and at a lower level), one may see another voice exchange, Ab–Bb–C/ 
> C–Bb–Ab, elaborating the tonic.

Under Schenkerian theory, the composer, of course, elaborates  
structural frameworks at levels closer to surface. However, an  
analyst, when trying to determine the underlying framework, cannot  
help reducing out some elements on the basis of *some* criteria. I do  
not understand in which sense my efforts to explicate such criteria  
can be regarded as "excessively" reductionist.

Of course, the criteria might be mistaken, but is this really what  
you are suggesting? Given that you call the 6th-progression from F to  
D as an entity that "interests us" and that my discussion of criteria  
suggested how we can justify the demarcation of this 6th-progression,  
our notions would not at all seem mutually incompatible.

Olli Väisälä
Sibelius Academy
ovaisala at siba.fi
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