[Smt-talk] Specialization versus Generalization

Nicolas Meeùs nicolas.meeus at scarlet.be
Fri Oct 11 05:54:51 PDT 2013

Hindemith wrote:

    Erschwerend für den Unterricht ist die unglückselige Spaltung der
    Lehre in zwei getrennte Unterrichtsfäder. Gewiß muß dem Studierenden
    der Stoff übersichtlich geordnet dargeboten werden; mit Übungen zur
    Entfaltung der melodischen Phantasie müssen solche zur Erziehung
    einer klaren harmonischen Satzweise abwechseln, wie ja auch der
    Instrumentalschüler Fingerübungen und Vortragsstücke nebeneinander
    erlernt. Die gänzliche Abtrennung aber des harmonischen Lehrstoffes,
    dem frühestens nach einem Unterrichtsjahre ebenso abgesondert wie
    unzulänglich melodische Übungen folgen, ist so verfehlt wie etwa
    eine Methode des Schlittschuhlaufens, die vor dem Erlernen der
    eigentlichen Bewegung forgestztes Üben jedes einzelnen Beines
    (/Unterweisung im Tonsatz/ I, Neue, erweitete Ausgabe, 1940, p. 19.)

    The unfortunate division of the teaching in two separate strands of
    education is complicating the instruction. Certainly the matter must
    be presented to the student in a clearly arranged order; exercises
    for the development of the melodic imagination must alternate with
    those teaching a clear harmonic writing, much as the student
    performer must learn side to side finger exercises and concert
    pieces. The complete separation of the harmonic matter, which
    follows after at least a year of teaching equally segregated and
    inadequate melodic exercizes, is as faulty as a method of skating
    which before the acquisition of the movements properly speaking
    requires the continuous exercice of each leg separately.

The context makes it clear that what Hindemith understands by "melodic 
exercizes" concerns voice leading and counterpoint.

Nicolas Meeùs,
Université Paris-Sorbonne (emeritus)

Le 11/10/2013 00:21, Ninov, Dimitar N a écrit :
> Dear Colleagues,
> In relation to the discussion on specialization versus generalization, I would like to summarize my thoughts with the following passage.
> Frequently, we hear the claim that the “integrated approach” to music theory leads to the development of a more complete musician. In our current situation, this literally means that if you studied for three semesters (the fourth one is lost to calculating sets and drawing matrixes) a little bit of harmony, counterpoint and musical form – all in one single “integrated” book – you would gain more theoretical and practical knowledge in theory than if you spent two years in studying separately harmony, counterpoint and musical form from books written by composers or other professionals (who make a living off the creative application of those disciplines). If many colleagues believe that that is the case, I will probably not be able to convince them in the opposite. On the other hand, I believe that specialization eventually leads to greater professionalism and greater completeness in the study of music theory.
>      Eventually, one thing is certain. The deficiency of skills in the craft of harmonization severely affects one’s scholarship and undermines the development of original ideas which can only emerge in the process of “doing things”. In this sense, I believe that professional theorists cannot rely on research and verbal speculation alone, unless they are historical musicologists. But even then they must possess musical talents and  certain performing skills.
> Thank you,
> Dimitar
> Dr. Dimitar Ninov, Lecturer
> School of Music
> Texas State University
> 601 University Drive
> San Marcos, Texas 78666
> _______________________________________________
> Smt-talk mailing list
> Smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org
> http://lists.societymusictheory.org/listinfo.cgi/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.societymusictheory.org/pipermail/smt-talk-societymusictheory.org/attachments/20131011/2f212eb8/attachment-0003.htm>

More information about the Smt-talk mailing list