[Smt-talk] Criteria for Old and New

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at scarlet.be
Wed Mar 6 02:45:34 PST 2013


The question concerns the filiation of Schenker, the insertion of his 
theories in a Viennese context determined mainly by Sechter's 
/Grundsätze der musikalischen Komposition/ and very much opposed to the 
German tradition that culminates in Riemann – and to which, I think, you 
belong yourself.
     Schenker insists on the psychological aspect of his own theory and 
writes that, in this particular respect, it better serves than Sechter's 
work. This probably is very true, as Sechter seeks no psychological or 
perceptual justification for his description of chord progressions, 
while Schenker's claims in this particular respect deserve some 
consideration. Also, Schenker is speaking of the generation of musical 
content, something indeed very special to his theory, which is both 
generative and organicist. Sechter had nothing to say on such points.

Note that the translation by Rothgeb and Thym that you quote 
(/Counterpoint/, I, p. xxxi), although perfectly correct, does not lay 
the stress exactly as Schenker's own formulation, that I would translate 
as follows:

    One need only compare Sechter's work, for instance, with my own to
    see that the psychology of scale degree progression, as I present
    it, better serves the practical artistic purpose of generating and
    increasing content, and that also in the issues of chromaticism and
    alteration, my theory presents far more pure, unified and deepened
    points of view, etc.
    (Man braucht nur z. B. Sechters Werk mit dem meinen zu vergleichen,
    um zu sehn, dass auch die Psychologie des Stufenganges, wie ich sie
    darstelle, dem künstlerisch praktischen Zweck der
    Inhalts-beschaffung und -mehrung besser dient, dass auch z. B. in
    den Fragen der Chromatisierung und Alterierung meine Lehre um vieles
    reinere, einheitlichere und vertiefere Gesichtspunkte bringt, u. s. w.)

This is somewhat conceited, perhaps, but certainly not "mean". Schenker 
was 42 years old when he wrote this: there is little comparison possible 
with "one of your students".

You write "no normal person will claim that his theory is more 
compelling than other's". But is not that what you do all the time on 
this forum?

As to Schenker's degree in the Vienna conservatory, do you put such 
confidence in degrees? Federhofer writes that the documents concerning 
Schenker's studies in the conservatory are now in the library of the 
Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde: you should perhaps ask there?


Nicolas Meeùs
Université Paris-Sorbonne

Le 5/03/2013 21:07, Ildar Khannanov a écrit :
> Dear Nicolas,
> I think that the question here is much more general, than just the 
> detail of reference and quotation. Still, if one of my students will 
> write after studying with me that
> "One need only compare Sechter's work, for instance, with my own to 
> recognize that the practical artistic purpose of generating and 
> increasing content is better served by the psychology of scale degree 
> progression as I PRESENT IT, and that my theory presents viewpoints on 
> issues of chromanicism and alteration which are far more pure, 
> unified, and compelling"
> I would think that as a teacher I have done something wrong here.
> In general, no normal person will claim that his theory is more 
> compelling that other's. Compelling, in fact, requires another 
> person's opinion.
> And I am still looking for a copy of the transcript of Schenker's 
> degree form Vienna Conservatory.
> Best,
> Ildar Khannanov
> Peabody Insitute
> solfeggio7 at yahoo.com <mailto:solfeggio7 at yahoo.com>

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