Harmony and History

I meant to mostly read articles about harmony/harmonic analysis this week: what are people currently doing with harmonic analysis? How can Functional Analysis help? However, I had some articles already checked off from last spring quarter and so started looking to some secondary historical sources and tying up some loose ends in the pedagogy category.

What I seem to keep finding is that harmonic analysis serves to further general analysis and lead to other types of analysis, whether Schenkerian, emotional, formal, or whatever. For me personally, FA feeds into Schenkerian Analysis easily and usefully, and I’ve found a couple other interesting interactions involving modes, transformation, and how and why to define certain things as functional from other’s perspectives. I still need to go back and review Steven Rings Tonality and Transformation, which I read some over the summer, but didn’t take good notes.

On the historical front, I read some about Rameau and his context in the French Enlightenment. Since Fundamental Bass ideas from the 18th century form the basis for other theories that come later, a solid understand of Rameau is important. Also, Rameau is one of the first (if not the first) to use the terms Dominant and Tonic, and some version of his ideas (such as Double Employment) still transfer down to applications in my version of FA.

Pedagogically, I went through 2 of the more important current pedagogy texts (Michael Rogers Teaching Approaches in Music Theory and Gary Karpinski Aural Skills Acquisition) to find support for my position that function can help students learn Theory and core musicianship more quickly. I think the idea of levels and the interrelation of chords also students to chunk better for Aural Skills, for example.

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