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The ‘Harmonic Major’ Mode in Nineteenth‐Century Theory and Practice

The ‘Harmonic Major’ Mode in Nineteenth‐Century Theory and Practice NINETEENTH-CENTURY The ambivalent relationship between music theory and compositional practice is all too familiar to historians of theory and aspirants to `historically informed' analysis. The problem is especially acute when studying theorists who conceived their work as a discrete discipline, at least partly independent of (for some, even superior to) practice. One such strand of thought is embodied in the systematic, semi-speculative treatises of nineteenth-century Germany by authors such as Moritz Hauptmann, Arthur von Oettingen and Hugo Riemann. The development of Neo-Riemannian theory in the United States over the last two decades has re-focused interest in this work and encouraged us to read it with new eyes. Despite the theorists' various commitments to such abstractions as Hegelian dialectics and the putative `undertone' series, and notwithstanding the general dearth of illustrative examples from musical literature in their writings, their ideas have been shown to be newly relevant to the music of their time. But the very success of Neo-Riemannian theory has simultaneously highlighted once again its antecedents' problematic relationship to practice by the very fact that so much that was essential to Riemann's viewpoint has been altered: harmonic dualism is jettisoned, equal temperament and enharmonic equivalence are assumed, and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Music Analysis Wiley

The ‘Harmonic Major’ Mode in Nineteenth‐Century Theory and Practice

Music Analysis , Volume 23 (1) – Mar 1, 2004

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0262-5245
eISSN
1468-2249
DOI
10.1111/j.0262-5245.2004.00193.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

NINETEENTH-CENTURY The ambivalent relationship between music theory and compositional practice is all too familiar to historians of theory and aspirants to `historically informed' analysis. The problem is especially acute when studying theorists who conceived their work as a discrete discipline, at least partly independent of (for some, even superior to) practice. One such strand of thought is embodied in the systematic, semi-speculative treatises of nineteenth-century Germany by authors such as Moritz Hauptmann, Arthur von Oettingen and Hugo Riemann. The development of Neo-Riemannian theory in the United States over the last two decades has re-focused interest in this work and encouraged us to read it with new eyes. Despite the theorists' various commitments to such abstractions as Hegelian dialectics and the putative `undertone' series, and notwithstanding the general dearth of illustrative examples from musical literature in their writings, their ideas have been shown to be newly relevant to the music of their time. But the very success of Neo-Riemannian theory has simultaneously highlighted once again its antecedents' problematic relationship to practice by the very fact that so much that was essential to Riemann's viewpoint has been altered: harmonic dualism is jettisoned, equal temperament and enharmonic equivalence are assumed, and

Journal

Music AnalysisWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2004

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