Olli Väisälä ovaisala at siba.fi
Mon Apr 22 23:08:46 PDT 2013

Dear List,

While many of you are certainly fed up with unhappy thread, I'll make  
a couple more of comments:

Hali Fieldman wrote:

> For what it's worth, here's a different reading (mine, in this  
> case) of
> Proctor's remark:
> "To speak of chord inversions rather than of counterpoint is to  
> once again
> privilege the vertical above the horizontal aspects of music of the  
> time.
> This privileging is problematic from many standpoints, and it seems  
> we've
> been having conversation about this for a long time."

If this reading is really what Proctor meant, it is almost exactly  
opposite to my impression. Nowhere in his posts in this thread can I  
find any reference to the significance of counterpoint or horizontal  
direction. What he stated was: "what 'inversion' a chord is in is  
usually insignificant compared to its nature (triad, added sixth,  
seventh)." If this does not mean "identifying the chord root and type  
('nature') is the significant thing," I believe I can be excused for  
taking it to mean that. And, of course, that attitude is liable to  
lead to the undermining of horizontal aspects, as the characteristic  
linear functions of two chords with the same root and "nature," such  
as I and I6, can be completely different.

Charles Smith wrote:

> Gregory is, as most of know (or should know) is one of the deepest  
> thinkers about music out there. Someone whose every utterance is  
> worth careful scrutiny, no matter how loony it might sound on the  
> surface, if only because of all the brilliant things he has already  
> said, in so many contexts on so many different subjects.

OK, suppose Charles is right. But this is an e-mail list with  
worldwide following, and I do not think it is fair to expect that we  
all should know who are the impeccably brilliant thinkers around the  
world. I do not think that even the deepest thinkers among us can  
afford to assume the attitude that "everyone should know that I'm  
such a deep thinker that even my most confusing statements ought to  
be revered, and I will not condescend to clarify them to those who do  

Olli Väisälä
Sibelius Academy
University of the Arts, Helsinki
ovaisala at siba.fi
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