[Smt-talk] Criteria for Old and New

Ildar Khannanov solfeggio7 at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 10 14:48:55 PDT 2013

Dear Dimitar and Paul,
I may add that there are errors in Schenker's theory in its speculative aspect as well. For example, the treatment of non-chord tones as something that does not belong to "so-called ""harmony"" (CP, p.xxiv). So, for him, these are true non-harmonic tones--the proof of existence of "pure theory of voice leading" (CP, p. 10). However, all of them have harmonic origin. For example, the anticipation note did not come from outer space: it is a part of harmony of the following chord. Suspension is the part of the previous harmony. There is no Passing 6/4 chord: it is a passing Dominant 6/4. Students who learn Schenkerian theory before harmony always write the supertonic triad in its place. They follow the logic of Schenkerian theory, in which the main criterion is adjacency. Yet, the I to ii connection does not make sense at all functionally. That is why this passing chord is exactly the Dominant 6/4.
Before Rameau, in figured bass notation, these non-chord tones were often treated as chord-tones ("9/4/2" chord, for example). The theorisists of this tradition simply did not understand the logic of harmony. Rameau qualifies them as those "who have the taste for  some bass line of non-harmonic nature, which is also VULGARILY called continuo" (Generation harmonique, p. 160).
Everything in harmony can fit into Rameau's theory. After all, he represents the Age of Reason. The Light of Reason penetrates every place, every white spot on the map and every remote dark place. In comparison with that, the post-WWI environment, in which Schenker grew up, is the Dark Age. The former produced the voice of reason, the latter--the scream.
Ildar Khannanov
Peabody Conservatory
solfeggio7 at yahoo.com

--- On Fri, 3/8/13, Ninov, Dimitar N <dn16 at txstate.edu> wrote:

From: Ninov, Dimitar N <dn16 at txstate.edu>
Subject: [Smt-talk] Criteria for Old and New
To: "Sheehan, Paul J." <Paul.Sheehan at ncc.edu>, "smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org" <smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org>
Date: Friday, March 8, 2013, 5:13 PM

Dear Paul,

If they compose, or arrange, or play harmonic progressions on the piano and devise modulations, they are certainly using working knowledge on harmony, not a speculative one.

Thus they would certainly enjoy the dynamic interaction between T, S, D and their substitute chords: at some places where Schenker prescribes a prolongation, they will hear clear harmonic exchange; wherever he alters an ascending melodic line to convince the world it is descending, they will appreciate the ending on “si-do” or “sol-do” as a perfect melodic cadence; wherever he erases scale degree 4 in the bass to replace it with 3, they will appreciate the logic of the “do-fa-sol-do” fundamental bass as a typical means of  unfolding a key. 

In doing all that, they will see no Schenker, but the colorful picture of the holy trinity (T, S, and D) and their apostles (SII, M, SM and DVII). 

Thank you,


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