article progress

This week while fussing with CV and other job application materials, I decided on a title for the article I’m distilling out of my dissertation: Functional Analysis in the Classroom. I really like it, but now I’m afraid I’ll have to go back through and change large chunks of example explanations to fit the title/intro I’ve written. It’ll be a better paper, and more likely that people will want to read it, so I hope it’s worth it. (If you want to read it sooner/help with edits, please let me know!)

I also went through and edited all the .tiff files for examples; there are only 39 instead of 70 some from the dissertation, and I still had the Sibelius file, so it was only mildly tedious.

Here’s the re-done intro. Still needs more work, but it has already put me in a better position to do more edits.

Functional Analysis in the Classroom

Functional Analysis is a method of harmonic analysis for music that follows common-practice era tonality. This paper aims to detail its benefits as a teaching tool. To that end, I start with an explanation of Functional Analysis while highlighting its pedagogically oriented construction, then provide competing examples of similar systems used in other classrooms, and finally close with impressions from a quarter-long classroom trial.

My system is based in part on Hugo Riemann’s Funktionstheorie,[1] borrowing many of his functional ideas but focusing very little on the transformational ideas associated with the newer Neo-Riemannian theory. In this way, my system of Functional Analysis (FA) resembles the type of analysis currently in use in Germany, but I have translated and adjusted it for English speakers to maximize easy implementation. Additionally, I have adapted Functional Analysis to flow smoothly into Schenkerian-type reductive ideas.[2]

I have designed Functional Analysis to provide new insights into common-practice tonality more quickly than current methods, principally by encouraging a combination of short- and long-term thinking to more quickly identify interesting harmonic occurrences. I am not necessarily trying to arrive at new analytical outcomes; instead, I aim to show that we can achieve current analytical outcomes more quickly and simply if we focus on function by using labeling that clarifies the analysis process, thereby allowing students a faster and less frustrating access to more interesting music-theoretical territory.

[1] I will use “Funktionstheorie” when referring to the German/historical practice and “Functional Analysis” when referring to my own adaptation.

[2] The focus of Functional Analysis is common-practice era music and tonality, but extensions to other genres are also possible.

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