[Smt-talk] The Concept of Appoggiatura

Stephen Jablonsky jablonsky at optimum.net
Wed Oct 24 07:37:29 PDT 2012

Thank you Donna for reminding us of the universal and eternal problem with theory textbooks. It has always been my contention that no one ever learned music theory from a textbook. I have a library filled with them and one is more brilliant than the next. I keep them in my bookcase as reference materials but cannot imagine a beginner picking one up and actually learning something new and significant. Each one teaches their own curriculum. 

***If you have 10 music theorists analyze the same piece, you will have 10 different theories.

Reading about music theory usually causes narcolepsy. The other problem is that publishers force authors to make their books encyclopedic so they weigh a ton and cost a fortune. Way back in the olden days guys like Tchaikovsky and Rimsky wrote relatively short guides and, as Donna points out, the rest was done orally in conjunction with the study of scores, but that was before texting and tweeting. Ah, for a return to the good old days--reading about appoggiaturas by gaslight.

On Oct 24, 2012, at 9:05 AM, Donna Doyle <donnadoyle at att.net> wrote:

> RE textbooks:
> Around 20 yrs ago, Charles Kaufman, Mannes College Dean at the time, exclaimed, at the 
> publication of a new harmony text, "Does the world really need another harmony book?" 
> Not a few harmony texts work well for their author in the author's curriculum but fail when 
> used in another educational context. No text is universal. Some are astoundingly incorrect.
> But almost each contains enough useable material.
> Let's remember our profession's history--an essentially oral tradition supplemented with written materials. 
> Let's not be slaves to the written word! Yes, students need something to consult at home, and
> why should each instructor reinvent the wheel, but, if the instructor is a sensitive, well-educated 
> musician, able to define and nuance things for his/her students and to encourage lively debate, 
> as you do, Dimitar, the students will gain. Isn't that the inestimable value of person-to-person/
> classroom interaction? 
> Best,
> Donna Doyle
> Aaron Copland School of Music
> Queens College
> 65-30 Kissena Blvd.
> Flushing, NY  11367
> tele: 718-997-3819
> fax:  718-997-3849
> email: donna.doyle at qc.cuny.edu
> email: donnadoyle at att.net

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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