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Harmonic Function in Chromatic Music A Renewed Dualist Theory and an Account of Its Precedents cover
  • ISBN: 9780226318080
  • ISBN10: 0226318087

Harmonic Function in Chromatic Music A Renewed Dualist Theory and an Account of Its Precedents

by Daniel Harrison

  • List Price: $105.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 04/01/1994
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In this ground-breaking exploration of late nineteenth-century music and music theory, Daniel Harrison illuminates the structure and idioms of highly chromatic music, long resistant to investigation. Reanimating Hugo Riemann's notion of harmonic function Harrison explores the technical bases of post-Wagnerian harmony and ideas ancillary to it. He engages the work of Brahms, Franck, Strauss, Mahler, Reger, Busoni, and Wolf, creating new analytical methods to penetrate their harmonic complexities. Applicable on a wide scale not only to this repertory, Harrison's lucid explications of abstract theoretical concepts provide new insights into the workings of tonal systems in general. One of Harrison's central innovations is his reconstruction of the notion of harmony. Harrison understands harmonic power to flow not from chords as such but from the constituents of chords, reckoned for the most part as scale degrees of a key. This approach allows the analyst access to any harmonic formation, not just to one recognized either by convention or by consequence of a theoretical system. Harrison's theory of harmonic function suggests three distinct analytic approaches, each attuned to different aspects of harmonic structure. The first is the conventional method of segmentation into chords or longer units. The second takes the skepticism about chords to an analytically profitable extreme and seeks to connect unusual progressions or key relations to a controlling key by focusing solely upon scale-degree constituents of chords. The third is sensitive to the varieties of functional strengths and preferences in a passage, so that a phrase which contains many dominant-functioned entities - even if theybelong to different keys - could be said to have "accumulated" an overarching dominant charge. The second and third approaches constitute entirely new analytic devices. Harmonic Function in Chromatic Music also contains a critical history of nineteenth-century German harmonic theory, the inspiration and foundation of Harrison's analytical method. Tracing the development of Riemann's ideas on dualism and harmonic function and examining aspects of Riemannian theory in the work of later theorists, it provides the first thorough coverage of the history of music theory in the period 1850-1925. Combining theoretical innovation with a sound historical overview, Harmonic Function in Chromatic Music will be an indispensable tool for anyone studying this pivotal period of Western music history.
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