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  1. #1

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    I thought Schenkerian analysis wasn't so big in music theory education, that his stuff was somewhat esoteric. He analyzed counterpoint, tonal gravity resolutions, and talked about layers or "foreground, middle ground and background." I thought music theory in regards to 17th and 18th century classical music was developed before Schenker came along.
    Last edited by rintincop; 09-11-2020 at 03:38 AM.

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  3. #2

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    Well people like Schenker - even Reimann with his theory of functional harmony, enter into the picture very late. It’s a rationalisation of what went before, not the system Mozart etc used to compose (or improvise.)

    If you are interested in getting an idea of how 18th century composers may have thought about harmony etc I would recommend Robert O Gjerdigen’s Music in the Gallant Style.

    Whats interesting is while we are used to theory in jazz being ‘doing’ oriented, much theory in classical is more geared towards ‘appreciation.’ Gjerdingen suggests that historical accounts imply 18th century musicians had a more practical approach to music theory that would be more familiar feeling to us jazzers, and has attempted to reconstruct this from old harmony treatises and exercises. It’s fun stuff to play with anyway!

  4. #3

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    FWIW as I understand it Schenker is widely taught in the US but not nearly so popular elsewhere

  5. #4

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    He is the target of radical musicologists who want to decolonise the subject. Norman Lebrecht has been covering the ongoing:

    It started with a lecture by the inflammatory Philip Ewell, a New York campaigner for ‘decolonising’ the music curriculum. Ewell gave a talk titled ‘Music Theory’s White Racial Frame‘ at the Society for Music Theory (SMT) Annual Meeting in November 2019 and debate has exploded since then with 100 pages of responses to Ewell’s lecture in the Journal of Schenkerian Studies.

    Ewell’s accusation of racism was met with an accusation of anti-semitism by Professor Timothy Jackson of the University of North Texas, which lead to hounding.

    And so it goes.

  6. #5

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    What I remember about Schenker class from music school so long ago is:

    1. Western European tonal music boils down to Mi Re Do
    2. I marked up scores until they were no longer legible
    3. The German language is cumbersome


    8-)

  7. #6

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    It’s the frame for Henry Martin’s new book,Charlie Parker, Composer

  8. #7

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    I mentioned Schenker to the missus (after watching the Neely video about Ewell's ideas) and she said 'oh is he the three blind mice guy?'

    Probably the most exciting thing to happen in music theory for ages... Oooooh controversy.

    I'll get the popcorn.

    Reading Ewell's stuff now. I have thoughts.
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-09-2020 at 06:34 PM.

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  10. #9

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    It's only a big deal in the US. Much of theory taught in the US ultimately stems from Schenker. In France, the approach is much more practical (not many talk about Schenker here). You realize tons of figured basses and melodies on paper and at the keyboard. My teacher can improvise chorales in the style of Bach and can, almost instantly, create harmonically and contrapuntally sophisticated realizations over practically any bass or melody. As Christian pointed out, the training is much more akin to how jazz musicians approach things. You start to see the common "voicings" used over basses and melodies and can plug them in instantly. No need to check for parallel 5ths and 8vs because you eventually internalize all the "correct" pathways to and from any chord. It's about learning the language until it's a reflex.

  11. #10
    I keep hearing Schekner analysis is big in the US. I don’t know that to be true, I think it’s perhaps a big exaggeration. Where’s the evidence? I majored in music theory in the California State University system in the 1980’s and Schekner analysis was not included.

  12. #11

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    I remember getting into Layered Analysis back in 70's. Which was created from Schenker-type of analysis, use of prolongation technique, discrete background lines and Layers.

    I mean the point of analysis is to make something simpler... so that certain relationships are easy to see without losing the original Reference. Schenker-type analysis begins with simplification of whatever we're making an analysis of. All the standard melodic terms and their simplification resulting with function of resulting notes, with their structural hierarchies and the background lines..... you end up with the concept of the "Ursatz". His 3 types of ending musical figures... meaning the overall structure or fundamental shape. They are recognizable by their interval of decent to the Tonic in the top line. 1st type descends a 3rd, the 2nd descends a 5th and the 3rd descends an octave.

    Yada Yada... a bunch of simple rules that result with a contrapuntal short phrase of notation. Useful for analysis of contrapuntal music....

    Personally.... most of the time, theory, analysis etc... really isn't just about the actual result. It's more of becoming aware of different approaches and concepts for seeing, hearing, composing and performing Music. The vid someone posted that got this thread going, by Adam, (guy drives me crazy), anyway.... useless for performing jazz. Kind of like putting on green shirt with a red tie and then forgetting to ware your pants before you perform or practice.

    pro jazz BSer

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by powersurge
    It's only a big deal in the US. Much of theory taught in the US ultimately stems from Schenker. In France, the approach is much more practical (not many talk about Schenker here). You realize tons of figured basses and melodies on paper and at the keyboard. My teacher can improvise chorales in the style of Bach and can, almost instantly, create harmonically and contrapuntally sophisticated realizations over practically any bass or melody. As Christian pointed out, the training is much more akin to how jazz musicians approach things. You start to see the common "voicings" used over basses and melodies and can plug them in instantly. No need to check for parallel 5ths and 8vs because you eventually internalize all the "correct" pathways to and from any chord. It's about learning the language until it's a reflex.
    That's jolly interesting. Gjerdingen mentions that the Paris conservatoire was a holdout for that type of teaching? It was old school even late on - Debussy entered the conservatoire at 12 IIRC. More like an apprenticeship than higher education.

    I just played around a little with Gjerdingen's stuff and was pleased even with my limited piano skills how I could easily come out with convincing classical voice leading. It's just like harmonising a standard with block chords or something, becomes something you just do automatically without thinking about the theory once that pattern or pathway is internalised. I suppose that allows the composer/improvisor to focus on melody and form and subordinate all the voice leading stuff to intuition and motor memory while developing and directing the music at a higher level.

    No wonder they could write so fast! As Gjerdingen puts it the professional composers of the 18th century could compose music as fast as we could copy it.

    Good on guitar too. And then you look at a formally simple piece like the Weiss Passacaglia or something and you go - oh - that's all the chord shapes I just practiced for the rule of the octave broken up in a million ways. I should teach that stuff to my classical grade students.

  14. #13
    A Partimento (from the Italian: partimento, plural partimenti) is a sketch (often a bass line), written out on a single staff, whose main purpose is to be a guide for the improvisation ("realization") of a composition at the keyboard.
    Attached Images Attached Images I thought Schenkerian analysis was rather esoteric in theory-rule-octave-1-jpg 

  15. #14

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    That's the sort of thing, although there are quite a few consecutives in the voice leading for the rule of the octave (did you write this out or get it online?) I've struggled a bit with that.

    The original exercise tend to favour oblique motion as much as possible between the bass and the treble which makes it easier.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by rintincop
    I keep hearing Schekner analysis is big in the US. I don’t know that to be true, I think it’s perhaps a big exaggeration. Where’s the evidence? I majored in music theory in the California State University system in the 1980’s and Schekner analysis was not included.
    It was still gaining traction at that time. The evidence is practically in every current music theory curriculum in the states... very few schools call it a I6/4 anymore, it's a cadential 6/4 (V6/4). Where does that come from? Schenker. The way counterpoint is currently taught is also based off Schenker. The most common books used are by Carl Schachter, a student of Schenker himself. Harmonic prolongation? Schenker. Schenker dominates the music theory field in the US, more so than anywhere else (yes, even more than Germany, where his theories aren't actually well received). I graduated in 2017 and you couldn't avoid it, especially as a comp/theory major.
    Last edited by powersurge; 09-10-2020 at 04:24 AM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I just played around a little with Gjerdingen's stuff and was pleased even with my limited piano skills how I could easily come out with convincing classical voice leading. It's just like harmonising a standard with block chords or something, becomes something you just do automatically without thinking about the theory once that pattern or pathway is internalised. I suppose that allows the composer/improvisor to focus on melody and form and subordinate all the voice leading stuff to intuition and motor memory while developing and directing the music at a higher level.

    No wonder they could write so fast! As Gjerdingen puts it the professional composers of the 18th century could compose music as fast as we could copy it.
    Exactly, even the non-harmonic tones get codified to some extent. For example, the 9th and 7th over a iv chord is a very common double appoggiatura. Once these are internalized, you learn to immediately add interesting contrapuntal lines to your realizations. Yup, these guys write as fast as they can physically do so!

  18. #17

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    Sanguinetti’s the Art of Partimento has loads of great voice leading formulae

  19. #18

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    What interesting is the extent 18th century composers thought only in figured bass. CPE Bach, for example, was a vocal opponent of Rameau's new theory that gave chords the functional names we use today. Most composers of the time would have thought of inversions as different chords, using their figured bass names. Certainly Bach never thought in terms of ii-V7-I, they all had just thoroughly internalized this pedagogy and later theorists created common practice terminology to codify their results

    Thus in organizing the chords of thorough bass, Bach follows an older principle. Chords, regardless of their origin, are grouped according to the definitive interval that they contain. For example, all chords that contain sevenths are treated successively. They are the chord of the seventh, the seven-six, the seven-four, and the seven-four-two chords. Although only the first of these is a chord in the Rameau sense, all are chords in Bach’s sense. Each of them must be recognised from its signature and played instantaneously. The student’s task was to locate at the keyboard the definitive interval and then to bring under his fingers the various accompanying intervals. Identification of the root, real or supposed, did not aid him in his direct gauging of intervals above a given bass tone. Morever, in thorough bass some chords were closely associated, even though their roots were not identical. For example, above certain bass tones the six-three and six-four-three chords were regarded as interchangeable. Knowledge of the fact that these chords had different roots would have deterred rather than aided the student.
    The greatest difficulty with the older system was caused by the great increase in the number and variety of chords that made their appearance in the course of the eighteenth century…..Bach has twenty, but includes many others as subtypes, chromatic variants, and alternates. It was this unwieldy bulk of chords that aided the spread of Rameau’s system, but it is not pointless to note that the theory gained unquestioned acceptance only after the period of the basso continuo had passed. Bach’s method, the one he inherited from his father, was the only effective introduction to the musical practices of his time.

    CPE Bach’s alternative to Rameau’s theory of the Fundamental Bass | Theory of Music
    Last edited by BWV; 09-10-2020 at 12:33 PM.

  20. #19

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    Was Heinrich Schenker a German Nationalist, and if yes why are his musical theories being taught in America? I don’t get it.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Was Heinrich Schenker a German Nationalist, and if yes why are his musical theories being taught in America? I don’t get it.
    For the same reason we played Wagner I guess.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWV
    What interesting is the extent 18th century composers thought only in figured bass. CPE Bach, for example, was a vocal opponent of Rameau's new theory that gave chords the functional names we use today. Most composers of the time would have thought of inversions as different chords, using their figured bass names. Certainly Bach never thought in terms of ii-V7-I, they all had just thoroughly internalized this pedagogy and later theorists created common practice terminology to codify their results




    CPE Bach’s alternative to Rameau’s theory of the Fundamental Bass | Theory of Music
    You're a friggin gold mine today

    Actually you know what - I think I glanced at that book years ago. I was struck by the 'skeleton fugues' he had with the voices entering in written out in full, and then the rest of it as a figured bass line, partimento style. I remember thinking - 'oh maybe this is how his dad did it?'; maybe not. I don't know how much CPE was influenzas red by JS. Sound like rebellious kids TBH. ('Dad, why are you writing that old fart's music? Check out this new opera!')

  23. #22

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    Except to complicate things, Schenker was a Jew whose wife perished in the Holocaust (Schenker died in 1930), so a German musical nationalist like Schoenberg perhaps

  24. #23

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    I too thought of Schoenberg, who I think was basically a monarchist civic nationalist and in his case a convert to Catholicism IIRC.

    It obviously wasn't apparent to Schenker as a conservative anti-Marxist civic nationalist the existential threat the Nazi's posed.

    Sorry to be obvious, but there's the Niemoller poem, of course, which seems relevant.

    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist

    Then they came for the Socialists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist

    Then they came for the trade unionists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist

    Then they came for the Jews
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew

    Then they came for me
    And there was no one left
    To speak out for me

    Note for Americans - this is the version from Holocaust Memorial Day Trust in the UK. You may be more familiar with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum version, which omits the first stanza for some reason.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    I too thought of Schoenberg, who I think was basically a monarchist civic nationalist and in his case a convert to Catholicism IIRC.
    Schoenberg returned to Judaism later in life, 1930s I think

  26. #25

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    It’s a shame Schenker’s wife died in the holocaust. But much of the world held racist, superiority beliefs, during the time. So if that’s the case is it a surprise that Schenker would suddenly come under scrutiny today, especially given the political climate? We don’t live in the past, but people desire accountability for being classified as ‘less than.’

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    It’s a shame Schenker’s wife died in the holocaust. But much of the world held racist, superiority beliefs, during the time. So if that’s the case is it a surprise that Schenker would suddenly come under scrutiny today, especially given the political climate? We don’t live in the past, but people desire accountability for being classified as ‘less than.’
    Simply 'cancelling' Schenker seems trivial and counterproductive. Many intellectuals held views like that before the Holocaust, such as the guy who wrote the oft quoted poem above.

    I need to learn more about Schenker the man to proceed with these thoughts; how did his thoughts and ideas (and prejudices) evolve over time? What were his feelings after the war? The more I read and think, the more I feel like I'm being sold a line by Ewell and I don't like it.
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-10-2020 at 07:25 PM.

  28. #27

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    One more source reference, Phillip Ewell speaking at a Society For Music Theory event referencing Heinrich Schenker in more detail.I have it cued up in the video. It runs a little more than 20 minutes.



    I don't know the best answers but I feel it to be important for questions to be raised even when uncomfortable. I appreciate Phillip Ewell for having the courage to represent. Unlike Adam Neely who derives a portion of his livelihood based on subscribers and view counts, I don't think Phillip ever imagined the level of reaction both positive and negative in response to his writing and talks within the rather insular world of music theory academia.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    One more source reference, Phillip Ewell speaking at a Society For Music Theory event referencing Heinrich Schenker in more detail.I have it cued up in the video. It runs a little more than 20 minutes.



    I don't know the best answers but I feel it to be important for questions to be raised even when uncomfortable. I appreciate Phillip Ewell for having the courage to represent. Unlike Adam Neely who derives a portion of his livelihood based on subscribers and view counts, I don't think Phillip ever imagined the level of reaction both positive and negative in response to his writing and talks within the rather insular world of music theory academia.
    Thanks for this; I think Ewell’s line of argument hasn’t been unusual in academia for some time. You have Susan McClary for instance.

    It’s more that everything is being mobilised into a left/right culture war, so suddenly music theory is news. The right has been talking about ‘cultural Marxism’ for some time. This fits in with that narrative for them.

    I have the feeling Schenker’s story is more complex, and I’m interested in finding out more. There are a lot complex questions that go beyond simply condemning one person. I’m interested to see how Ewell adresses this.

  30. #29

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    Thanks for this; I think Ewell’s line of argument hasn’t been unusual in academia for some time. You have Susan McClary for instance.
    Very true re; inclusion and overemphasis. I was surprised though to hear details of Schenker's non-music/mathematical writings and opinions.
    I saw this lecture streamed when 1st given. At the time a simple search on
    google of Schenker and racism yielded many quoted passages from his extensive writings. At the moment this has disappeared, buried under the
    mass of ongoing response to these talks and blog.

    I have the feeling Schenker’s story is more complex, and I’m interested in finding out more. There are a lot complex questions that go beyond simply condemning one person. I’m interested to see how Ewell adresses this.
    More complex for sure than the examples cited in the videos and articles.

    I did one semester at a school whose theory department was Schenkarian driven. I remember the placement person at the school as being very dismissive of my previous school because that theory dept. was in the hands of composers. My teacher was a very closed minded person. Schenker was never mentioned in his class. One day, Carl Schacter (who co-wrote a textbook on the subject in common use) subbed for my teacher. I found him far more approachable. For a day, theory was once again perspectives that could be discussed, not a set of facts to swallow whole.

    I did manage to find this which likely has far more than you will ever want to know but I found it very hard to navigate and quickly gave up.

    Schenker Documents Online: Der Abend

  31. #30

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    Yea bako... I remember. Most of these types of awareness are slow to come. I've always used terms like vanilla and embellishment for cover. And grew up living in what we call the subdominant area of function. Some of my earlier compositions... would use improve, well sections of precomposed bars of notated music for all musicians that had different possible results. Which were really my door for letting those subdominant harmonies develop without having functional control. The result of 20th century compositional developments...you could either go experimental which opened doors without getting in the face of tradition.... Ives, Ruggles, Cowell, Seeger or go in your face approach, more in the avant-garde style with a purpose, Cage. I guess that's why I've always made sure I could cover when performing... anyway, I usually don't get involved verbally. (probably should)

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    I remember the placement person at the school as being very dismissive of my previous school because that theory dept. was in the hands of composers.
    Urgggghhh not COMPOSERS, writing music. yuck. Better back to saying why music I already think is good is good using numbers. Much more beneficial to humanity!

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Simply 'cancelling' Schenker seems trivial and counterproductive. Many intellectuals held views like that before the Holocaust, such as the guy who wrote the oft quoted poem above.

    I need to learn more about Schenker the man to proceed with these thoughts; how did his thoughts and ideas (and prejudices) evolve over time? What were his feelings after the war? The more I read and think, the more I feel like I'm being sold a line by Ewell and I don't like it.
    After the war? You mean WW1? Why would his prejudices soften after WW1? He’s under scrutiny because he permeates teaching in America and people are examining everyone. And there are those in the classical profession who agree it’s high time to examine all professions. Actually it’s way past time! I’ve lived with racial biases my entire life, and I’m 65. We finally got the right to vote 55 years ago. Why does it take 55 years to examine all aspects of American life? Racial oppression is why. And it won’t end until we end it. And finally more white people are actually listening. And we aren’t going to get all whites. But more are more awake than at any other time in our short lifetime. 400 years of dealing with this shit! Don’t get me started.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    After the war? You mean WW1? Why would his prejudices soften after WW1? He’s under scrutiny because he permeates teaching in America and people are examining everyone. And there are those in the classical profession who agree it’s high time to examine all professions. Actually it’s way past time! I’ve lived with racial biases my entire life, and I’m 65. We finally got the right to vote 55 years ago. Why does it take 55 years to examine all aspects of American life? Racial oppression is why. And it won’t end until we end it. And finally more white people are actually listening. And we aren’t going to get all whites. But more are more awake than at any other time in our short lifetime. 400 years of dealing with this shit! Don’t get me started.
    Oh sorry he died in 1935, duh. My bad. Well it’s neither here nor there. I think it’s harder to judge someone who if he had lived longer would probably have repented his earlier support of nazism much like Niemoller. (It’s all speculation, but as he was Jewish it seems likely.)

    It isn’t irrelevant to his theory obviously. I think we need to examine his ideas, and determine whether they support his German supremacist project.

    My main line of attack against Schenker would be - what is the point of him? (see above.)

    I don’t see the point of retroactively analysing music in a way where you essentially justify conclusion you already had. That is scientism at best, even without white supremacy. And I think I could compellingly argue against his ideas having much value to music education based on that.

    I mean Kant did that back in the 18th century and nobody took any bloody notice because they all had a vested interest in it probably... nationalism?

    “The Germans are the only people who currently make use of the word ‘aesthetic’ to signify what others call the critique of taste. This usage originated in the abortive attempt made by Baumgarten . . . to bring the critical treatment of the beautiful under rational principles, and so to raise its rules to the rank of a science. But such endeavors are fruitless.” (The Critique of Pure Reason.)
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-11-2020 at 02:15 PM.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Oh sorry he died in 1935, duh. My bad. Well it’s neither here nor there. I think it’s harder to judge someone who if he had lived longer would probably have repented his earlier support of nazism much like Niemoller. (It’s all speculation, but as he was Jewish it seems likely.)

    It isn’t irrelevant to his theory obviously. I think we need to examine his ideas, and determine whether they support his German supremacist project.

    My main line of attack against Schenker would be - what is the point of him? (see above.)

    I don’t see the point of retroactively analysing music in a way where you essentially justify conclusion you already had. That is scientism at best, even without white supremacy. And I think I could compellingly argue against his ideas having any value based on that.

    (Logically, I don’t need to know anything about his system in fact, to know it is BS on that basis and I’m sorry if that offends anyone who spent hours studying this stuff at music college. Well done to the person who has a YT channel on it. They managed to find a use for it.)

    I mean Kant did that back in the 18th century and nobody took any bloody notice because they all had a vested interest in it probably... nationalism?

    “The Germans are the only people who currently make use of the word ‘aesthetic’ to signify what others call the critique of taste. This usage originated in the abortive attempt made by Baumgarten . . . to bring the critical treatment of the beautiful under rational principles, and so to raise its rules to the rank of a science. But such endeavors are fruitless.” (The Critique of Pure Reason.)
    Yes, I was wondering where you were going with the “after the war” thing. Lol!

    As to Schenker exactly, who made him an expert. It’s almost as if some American preferred a German musical theorist, and decided to make him the reference of what should be taught. When was Schenker elevated to such notoriety that he’s being taught in schools, and why? But let’s face it, folks today aren’t standing for it because of what’s in his notes, which survived him. Heck, there could have been American theorists elevated who likely share Schenker’s fate. You see, when you begin going down this rabbit hole and investigating these people everyone who lived during white superiority times ends up with the same evil dirt on them.

    Schenker didn’t even succeed to being a prominent theorist in Germany during his lifetime. So why is this Supremacist elevated to such notoriety in America? I don’t get it.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    Yes, I was wondering where you were going with the “after the war” thing. Lol!

    As to Schenker exactly, who made him an expert. It’s almost as if some American preferred a German musical theorist, and decided to make him the reference of what should be taught. When was Schenker elevated to such notoriety that he’s being taught in schools, and why? But let’s face it, folks today aren’t standing for it because of what’s in his notes, which survived him. Heck, there could have been American theorists elevated who likely share Schenker’s fate. You see, when you begin going down this rabbit hole and investigating these people everyone who lived during white superiority times ends up with the same evil dirt on them.

    Schenker didn’t even succeed to being a prominent theorist in Germany during his lifetime. So why is this Supremacist elevated to such notoriety in America? I don’t get it.
    Uhuh. It’s kind of like - let’s justify our elevation of European music with FACTS and LOGIC.

    (And send everyone to study with Nadia Boulanger lol.... that’s not a bad thing I think; she had a LOT of students, but to go from Copland, to Piazzolla, to Glass, to Quincy Jones? Wow. But Nadia was kind of a massive racist and Piazolla supported the Argentinian junta apparently, so hey ho.)

    How well does Copland come off in a Schenkerian analysis? Do the numbers add up or is ‘computer says no’?

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    He is the target of radical musicologists who want to decolonise the subject. Norman Lebrecht has been covering the ongoing:
    It started with a lecture by the inflammatory Philip Ewell, a New York campaigner for ‘decolonising’ the music curriculum. Ewell gave a talk titled ‘Music Theory’s White Racial Frame‘ at the Society for Music Theory (SMT) Annual Meeting in November 2019 and debate has exploded since then with 100 pages of responses to Ewell’s lecture in the Journal of Schenkerian Studies.

    Ewell’s accusation of racism was met with an accusation of anti-semitism by Professor Timothy Jackson of the University of North Texas, which lead to hounding.

    And so it goes.
    Notice how this works. If you’re left leaning, and not complying with anyone’s BS, no matter how old, you’re instantly labeled a “radical.” Man, that’s a very right leaning label, therefore you’re disqualified from further comment IMO.

  38. #37

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    Well done to Ewell for making anyone give a shit about this incredibly dry corner of music, I guess?

    As I say this sort of critique of Dead White Guys has been de rigeur since the 70s. In the meantime music education has changed a lot.

    The only reason it has wings now is because of the current political atmosphere. Although BLM is a part of that, too, it seems tangential to that struggle. I don’t want to sound like I’m downplaying the importance of thinking about these issues in music education, but by and large Ewell’s writing should mostly be of interest to music educators.

    I have to say it sounds like the right (Fox News) seized on this as a new front in the Culture Wars. I think Neely might be a bit of a unwitting conduit in that as he has such a large platform. Facebook has been blowin up....
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-11-2020 at 03:09 PM.

  39. #38

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    I have a minor in music theory from UNT, which I got back in the early 90s, never took Schenkerian analysis, but it was always taught, when brought up in other theory or comp classes, that it applied only to common practice classical music and was sort of engineered to demonstrate the superiority of German music. These were not controversial opinions as far as I remember. Don't know if there is some sub sect of Schenkerian supremacists who make grander claims than this or if Phillip Ewell saw an opportunity to advance his career by attacking an easy target and getting a bonus from the lame responses by Jackson and others who circled the wagons when they saw their fiefdom under attack. Have always found it better to think of academics all as cynical careerists rather than people motivated by some higher search for truth

  40. #39

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    Well, is German music superior do you think? Perhaps this is an idea that should be challenged? Just because it’s not controversial doesn’t mean it’s true; it was once uncontroversial that the Earth was the centre of the universe and diseases were caused by bad smells.

    I say only because I think Russian music is clearly better which I shall demonstrate through my Aesthetic Theory of Badassery.

    Schubert is not badass. -20.
    Beethoven is badass but not as badass as Tchaikovsky. -5
    Last edited by christianm77; 09-11-2020 at 03:37 PM.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Well, is German music superior do you think? Perhaps this is an idea that should be challenged?

    I say only because I think Russian music is clearly better which I demonstrate through my Aesthetic Theory of Badassery.
    German music is certainly superior by the standards of German music.

    German music is the most important and influential with European Classical Music, the analogy would be NYC's position in the development of Jazz. Austria in Mozart and Beethoven's day was the cultural capital of the continent and it had the most patrons and attracted the best talent (and don't forget most of Italy was Austrian at the time as well). France had a great baroque tradition but got derailed by the Revolution and for whatever reason England had very little in the late 18th & 19th centuries. In a time where information did not travel easily, geographic advantages were hard to surmount.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako
    One more source reference, Phillip Ewell speaking at a Society For Music Theory event referencing Heinrich Schenker in more detail.I have it cued up in the video. It runs a little more than 20 minutes.



    I don't know the best answers but I feel it to be important for questions to be raised even when uncomfortable. I appreciate Phillip Ewell for having the courage to represent. Unlike Adam Neely who derives a portion of his livelihood based on subscribers and view counts, I don't think Phillip ever imagined the level of reaction both positive and negative in response to his writing and talks within the rather insular world of music theory academia.
    I watched the entire video. It was very professional and well done.

    It’s clear that both Joe Feagan and Ewell have each done their homework. When you’ve exact quotes of Schenker’s views towards blacks being unable to govern themselves, dismissing black spirituals as a ripoff of Euro theory, and saying very racist things about jazz music an entire picture of Schenker is formed. You can’t separate his theories from his biology. In fact the two are inseparable, which is the point Ewell is making. I don’t see any problem with what Ewell is pointing out. In fact we should be thankful he’s pointing these facts about Schenker out to us. It’s 2020! If it’s not a time for true diversity, then when?

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    I watched the entire video. It was very professional and well done.

    It’s clear that both Joe Feagan and Ewell have each done their homework. When you’ve exact quotes of Schenker’s views towards blacks being unable to govern themselves, dismissing black spirituals as a ripoff of Euro theory, and saying very racist things about jazz music an entire picture of Schenker is formed. You can’t separate his theories from his biology. In fact the two are inseparable, which is the point Ewell is making. I don’t see any problem with what Ewell is pointing out. In fact we should be thankful he’s pointing these facts about Schenker out to us. It’s 2020! If it’s not a time for true diversity, then when?
    Can you show me that they are inspeperable? Where does the three blind mice stuff come into it? I mean to me it feels like Astrology or something (which the Nazis loved BTW) so I feel I can save some time by not bothering to look into it. But is it actually more akin to ... Phrenology? Race 'science'? Ot is it just that the dude who invented it was a bit of a dickhead?

  44. #43

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    It’s interesting that both the Russians and the Germans each have strong composers. Picking one over the other is being too subjective. One should simply appreciate both for the beauty they present. This my bike is better than your bike nonsense is kids stuff. We’re grownups after all. So why must we act like children with these comparisons?

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWV
    German music is certainly superior by the standards of German music.
    Uhuh. I feel the overall tone of Schenker is probably not a million miles away from Schoneberg, where he attaches value judgements to harmonic behaviour.

    German music is the most important and influential with European Classical Music, the analogy would be NYC's position in the development of Jazz. Austria in Mozart and Beethoven's day was the cultural capital of the continent and it had the most patrons and attracted the best talent (and don't forget most of Italy was Austrian at the time as well). France had a great baroque tradition but got derailed by the Revolution and for whatever reason England had very little in the late 18th & 19th centuries. In a time where information did not travel easily, geographic advantages were hard to surmount.
    Sure. Italian music was supreme in the late baroque era though, everyone wanted Italian composers and so on. The Germans that did well were the ones who could write in the Italian style (like Handel) - Bach was an irrelevance at that time. English music influenced the formation of tonal harmony in the late 15th century. French music was the centre of the action during the 14th. It comes and it goes.

    But some people actually think Schumann is better than Monteverdi. These people are not of interest to me.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Can you show me that they are inspeperable? Where does the three blind mice stuff come into it? I mean to me it feels like Astrology or something (which the Nazis loved BTW) so I feel I can save some time by not bothering to look into it. But is it actually more akin to ... Phrenology? Race 'science'? Ot is it just that the dude who invented it was a bit of a dickhead?
    He’s more than a dickhead. Ewell’s comments are only 20 minutes long. You can fast forward through the previous comments to get to Ewell towards the end. Asians and Hispanics have been isolated and put on the sidelines as well. An Asian speaker speaks after Ewell.

  47. #46

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    I don't care about Schenker. Schenker is DEAD.

    What I care about is whether his ideas on music actually uphold white supremacy. I'm open to the idea that they are. Although, to be honest I care less about that then the fact that they are almost certainly stupid to start off with, for the reasons explained above not because racism isn't important, but because if you don't focus on this stuff you end up replacing stupidness with more stupidness.

    What Thomas Regleski calls methodolatory, which is EVERYWHERE in music education.

    I didn't see the video; I'll watch it if I have a moment.

  48. #47

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    And then there is the tendency to mistake fortunate happenstance of history and geography for some sort of innate superiority, which brings us back to Schenker


    But I would rather listen to Schumann than Monteverdi

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWV
    But I would rather listen to Schumann than Monteverdi
    What the fuck is wrong with you?

  50. #49

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    He is the wrong Schu.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    What the fuck is wrong with you?
    You dont like Schumann??? Dude was a genius