[Smt-talk] The Concept of Appoggiatura

Ninov, Dimitar N dn16 at txstate.edu
Thu Oct 25 19:45:33 PDT 2012

Dear Colleagues,

I just wanted state for one last time that suspension and appoggiatura are historical twins that create vertical conflict within the texture, and studying them separately does not make sense. It is best to teach NCTs in two different categories: accented and unaccented. This way we will all be in accord with historical practices and with colleagues from all over the world to whom the concepts of a “mandatory leap” and a “weak” appoggiatura  are unknown.

Thank you for a lively discussion. I think many of us were able to realize that the manner non-chord tones are taught in some American schools has gone astray, breaking the connection with history and the traditional notion of appoggiatura. I am sure there are colleagues who have not embraced the “all-by-melodic-contour-only” classification of non-chord tones and still teach them in the traditional manner.

I regret that the old American school of harmony has been neglected in favor of questionable concepts that are gradually strangulating diversity and creativity, replacing them with quasi musical methods.

"Does the world really need another harmony book?" Yes, it does at this very moment. A normal book, like the ones written by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky and Schoenberg – not attractively colored and with no CD, but with more information on harmony than its recent monstrous-encyclopedic counterparts offer. A book of harmony that emits creative energy and challenges. Not a book of undergraduate mish-mash theory that begins with baby-sitting story tales about note symbols and ends with theories that have no musical value. But such a book will not be imposed on any musical department by a vote of majority. It will be freely chosen and complemented by a variety of other materials.

"The only good theory is a living theory". I could not agree more. All else is pretense.

With best regards,


Dr. Dimitar Ninov, Lecturer
School of Music
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, Texas 78666

More information about the Smt-talk mailing list