[Smt-talk] Semitonal voice leading

Seth Monahan seth.monahan at rochester.rr.com
Tue May 7 04:12:52 PDT 2013

Dear colleagues:

Can anyone direct me to a theoretical discussion of 19th-century chromaticism that (1) addresses the kinds of creeping, semitonal chord-connections that inspired Kurth’s conceit of “leading-tone energies,” but which (2) argues that their apparent purposiveness is less a matter of intrinsic striving "within" the notes themselves than a function of retrospective hearing—i.e., that many or even most motions by semitone can be heard as “directed” or “purposeful” after the fact?

Surely someone has argued this; any leads would be greatly appreciated! (Off-list replies are welcome, of course.)

With thanks in advance,


Seth Monahan
Assistant Professor of Music Theory
Managing Editor, Theory and Practice
Eastman School of Music
26 Gibbs St.
Rochester, NY, 14604
(585) 274-1556
smonahan at esm.rochester.edu

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