[Smt-talk] The Craft of Harmonization

Ninov, Dimitar N dn16 at txstate.edu
Sun Oct 6 09:43:20 PDT 2013

Dear Colleagues,

I forgot to mention about another article of mine, entitled "The Craft of Harmonization".  It is published in two parts in "Проблемы музикальной науки" (Music Scholarship), a Russian Journal of Academic Studies. The first part came up as 2012/2 (11), and the second part is yet to come out. The articles there are in both English and Russian, and it has been a great honor to see my work published in a journal governed by the Rectors of all Russian conservatories. 

My essay is devoted to the well-forgotten craft of harmonizing melodies, and it uses a comprehensive palette of means pertaining to the common practice period and its extension in the field of standard jazz harmonic idiom. My approach is non-Schenkerian, and its ideas stem from the best traditions of the schools of Rameau, Riemann, Rimsky-Korsakov, Schoenberg, Stor, Benzion Eliezer, Stepan Grigoriev, Walter Piston, Hans Tischler, and others, while, of course, it is shaped by my ideas, original melodies and harmonizations.

Another problem that I treat in the introduction is the necessity for a national discourse on the theory curriculum in American music departments. I am an advocate of such changes that will let the disciplines of harmony, counterpoint and musical form emerge on their own  right, freed from the umbrella of a generalized theory sequence, and taught creatively by professors who have specialized in each of these disciplines - musicians whose working knowledge will allow them to harmonize all kinds of melodies, play harmonic progressions and modulations idiomatically, work out skilfully canonic sequences in invertible counterpoint, and analyze musical forms creatively, going beyond the limitations imposed in most books. The most important factor here is the realization that a theory teacher will become a professor of harmony, or a professor of counterpoint or a professor of musical analysis - he/she does not have to cover all of those disciplines at a dilettante level, but specialize in one of them and bring real professionalism to the school!

Only through such an approach will our students gain an in-depth knowledge in harmony, counterpoint and musical form. Only through this kind of activities will they become creative professionals and overcome the stage of being a speculator.

The journal could be found on-line by googling the Russian title (Проблемы музикальной науки), but I do not know if its readily available for free public access.

Thank you for your attention, and best wishes,


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

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