Discussion:
Let's cut Rameau some slack
(too old to reply)
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-04 17:42:38 UTC
Permalink
I swore I was going to stay out of all of this, mostly because the
people writing about this are way to happy to write and write and write.
I know I won't be able to keep up with y'all and I'll be written into a
corner pretty quickly. But here goes anyway...

1. Rameau's idea of the Fundamental Bass is one of the only ideas found
in the world of "musical theory" that is actually really theoretical.
The vast bulk of what is taught as musical theory (counterpoint, voice
leading, etc.) is really just technique.

Hell, Tonality itself is really just technique. We've all heard music in
which any tonal centre is either obliterated or is very very weak and/or
ambiguous.
But the fact that this tonal uncertainty is quite hard to achieve over
any length of musical time can be explained, to some degree, by Rameau's
theories of the weight that the simplest frequency rations of the OTS
seem to have in the human ear.
The concept of "tonal centre" *is* a theoretical idea and it happens to
be rooted (pun intended) in Rameau's ideas.
The concept of "key" is really a set of prescribed *techniques* to bring
about a particular type of tonal centre.
Tonal harmonic analysis is an attempt at a theoretical description of
those techniques. IMO. No wonder it is so fraught with pitfalls and snafus.

2. It appears that many people, including Rameau himself, attributed far
too much significance to his theory than it really warranted.
For example, his claim that his "book contains a special method for
learning how to compose music in a very short time." may have been true
if musical quality were not an issue. Nobody learns how to write music
of quality in a very short time no matter what their knowledge, unless
they are supremely gifted.

Taken from:
<http://www.schillerinstitute.org/fid_97-01/002-3_bach_kep.html>
"the French organist Jean-Philip Rameau published his Treatise on
Harmony, claiming to have discovered the fundamental law of all musical
harmony and composition, a law based on mathematics. According to
Rameau, the principle and basis of all music is located in what he
called "la basse fondamentale." Rameau promises, by reducing the
successions of notes in a piece of music to the single line formed by
the "fundamental bass," to make the study of music much easier:"

If Rameau really made those claims then he was obviously wrong and
totally overinflated his own importance.

It seems to me that Rameau's theory was not ever supposed to be seen as
a musical *method* but simply as an effective way to describe one of the
vertical facets of polyphony, i.e. the sensation that some chords have
roots and that those roots often remain in tact when the chord's tones
are inverted and/or put through various permutations. What a composer
decides to do with that knowledge is his own business.

Just knowing how and why it is that some chords have roots does not mean
that a composer has to not compose contrapuntally, although many have
done just that. The whole phenomenon of what has been called
"chord-based-music" in this ng could not have come about without Rameau.
Most, if not all, popular music today is chord-based to one degree or
another.
But this does not preclude composers working from a more contrapuntal
approach if they choose to.
And it seems to me that the analysis of chord-based Tonal music using
the analytical tools that were developed to analyse that style of music
(i.e. functional Roman numeral analysis) is still quite valid.
Figured bass can be seen as a type of intervallic analysis, I suppose,
but that's not really what it is was designed for, and it tells you
nothing about a chord's *function* within the key.

3. The whole argument here seems to be one of taste.
Some of you hate chord-based-music and will only give your respect to
contrapuntally based music. Etc.
That's just a form of close-mindedness to me.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
tom_k
2009-05-04 19:01:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Just knowing how and why it is that some chords have roots does not mean
that a composer has to not compose contrapuntally, although many have done
just that. The whole phenomenon of what has been called
"chord-based-music" in this ng could not have come about without Rameau.
Most, if not all, popular music today is chord-based to one degree or
another.
But this does not preclude composers working from a more contrapuntal
approach if they choose to.
Bach's WTC being a prime example of how to do both.
Post by Joey Goldstein
The whole argument here seems to be one of taste.
Some of you hate chord-based-music and will only give your respect to
contrapuntally based music. Etc.
That's just a form of close-mindedness to me.
I'm used to hearing statements like "the study of functional harmony is
useless to my musical development" from the lazier students who are not
willing to expend the mental energy to come to grips with it. At least
Joseph seems to have some undergraduate knowledge of the subject, so his
position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat surprising.

Tom
LJS
2009-05-04 19:26:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by tom_k
Post by Joey Goldstein
Just knowing how and why it is that some chords have roots does not mean
that a composer has to not compose contrapuntally, although many have done
just that. The whole phenomenon of what has been called
"chord-based-music" in this ng could not have come about without Rameau.
Most, if not all, popular music today is chord-based to one degree or
another.
But this does not preclude composers working from a more contrapuntal
approach if they choose to.
Bach's WTC being a prime example of how to do both.
Post by Joey Goldstein
 The whole argument here seems to be one of taste.
Some of you hate chord-based-music and will only give your respect to
contrapuntally based music. Etc.
That's just a form of close-mindedness to me.
I'm used to hearing statements like "the study of functional harmony is
useless to my musical development" from the lazier students who are not
willing to expend the mental energy to come to grips with it.  At least
Joseph seems to have some undergraduate knowledge of the subject, so his
position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat surprising.
Tom
Well put Tom. I agree completely.

LJS
Cormagh
2009-05-06 03:53:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by tom_k
Post by Joey Goldstein
Just knowing how and why it is that some chords have roots does not mean
that a composer has to not compose contrapuntally, although many have
done just that. The whole phenomenon of what has been called
"chord-based-music" in this ng could not have come about without Rameau.
Most, if not all, popular music today is chord-based to one degree or
another.
But this does not preclude composers working from a more contrapuntal
approach if they choose to.
Bach's WTC being a prime example of how to do both.
Post by Joey Goldstein
The whole argument here seems to be one of taste.
Some of you hate chord-based-music and will only give your respect to
contrapuntally based music. Etc.
That's just a form of close-mindedness to me.
I'm used to hearing statements like "the study of functional harmony is
useless to my musical development" from the lazier students who are not
willing to expend the mental energy to come to grips with it. At least
Joseph seems to have some undergraduate knowledge of the subject, so his
position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat surprising.
Tom
Tom,

What did you mean by "his position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat
surprising.", given what he said,
"And it seems to me that the analysis of chord-based Tonal music using
the analytical tools that were developed to analyse that style of music
(i.e. functional Roman numeral analysis) is still quite valid."
Did you, from whatever lofty place you occupy, expect him to eschew Roman
Numerals due to his "undergraduateness"?
tom_k
2009-05-06 17:22:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cormagh
Post by tom_k
I'm used to hearing statements like "the study of functional harmony is
useless to my musical development" from the lazier students who are not
willing to expend the mental energy to come to grips with it. At least
Joseph seems to have some undergraduate knowledge of the subject, so his
position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat surprising.
Tom
Tom,
What did you mean by "his position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat
surprising.", given what he said,
"And it seems to me that the analysis of chord-based Tonal music using
the analytical tools that were developed to analyse that style of music
(i.e. functional Roman numeral analysis) is still quite valid."
Because of his comments such as "ii6 gives no more information than a bass
note F with a figured 6."
Post by Cormagh
Did you, from whatever lofty place you occupy, expect him to eschew Roman
Numerals due to his "undergraduateness"?
No, I expected a more balanced view of RN from him. Did you really read my
comments?

Tom
LJS
2009-05-06 20:11:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by tom_k
Post by Cormagh
Post by tom_k
I'm used to hearing statements like "the study of functional harmony is
useless to my musical development" from the lazier students who are not
willing to expend the mental energy to come to grips with it.  At least
Joseph seems to have some undergraduate knowledge of the subject, so his
position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat surprising.
Tom
Tom,
What did you mean by "his position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat
surprising.", given what he said,
"And it seems to me that the analysis of chord-based Tonal music using
the analytical tools that were developed to analyse that style of music
(i.e. functional Roman numeral analysis) is still quite valid."
Because of his comments such as "ii6 gives no more information than a bass
note F with a figured 6."
Post by Cormagh
Did you, from whatever lofty place you occupy, expect him to eschew Roman
Numerals due to his "undergraduateness"?
No, I expected a more balanced view of RN from him.  Did you really read my
comments?
Tom
Tom, We seem to both observe the lack of reading the same. This should
be a clue for Joseph that he is not really reading as carefully as he
thinks he is. Misreading me is one thing, but this is not the first
time that others have made the same comment! The truth is out there
Joseph, you only have to listen for it.

LJS
Cormagh
2009-05-08 04:21:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by tom_k
Post by Cormagh
Post by tom_k
I'm used to hearing statements like "the study of functional harmony is
useless to my musical development" from the lazier students who are not
willing to expend the mental energy to come to grips with it.  At least
Joseph seems to have some undergraduate knowledge of the subject, so his
position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat surprising.
Tom
Tom,
What did you mean by "his position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat
surprising.", given what he said,
"And it seems to me that the analysis of chord-based Tonal music using
the analytical tools that were developed to analyse that style of music
(i.e. functional Roman numeral analysis) is still quite valid."
Because of his comments such as "ii6 gives no more information than a bass
note F with a figured 6."
Post by Cormagh
Did you, from whatever lofty place you occupy, expect him to eschew Roman
Numerals due to his "undergraduateness"?
No, I expected a more balanced view of RN from him.  Did you really read my
comments?
Tom- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
Cormagh
2009-05-08 04:35:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by tom_k
Post by Cormagh
Post by tom_k
I'm used to hearing statements like "the study of functional harmony is
useless to my musical development" from the lazier students who are not
willing to expend the mental energy to come to grips with it.  At least
Joseph seems to have some undergraduate knowledge of the subject, so his
position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat surprising.
Tom
Tom,
What did you mean by "his position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat
surprising.", given what he said,
"And it seems to me that the analysis of chord-based Tonal music using
the analytical tools that were developed to analyse that style of music
(i.e. functional Roman numeral analysis) is still quite valid."
Because of his comments such as "ii6 gives no more information than a bass
note F with a figured 6."
Post by Cormagh
Did you, from whatever lofty place you occupy, expect him to eschew Roman
Numerals due to his "undergraduateness"?
No, I expected a more balanced view of RN from him.  Did you really read my
comments?
Tom- Hide quoted text -
- Show quoted text -
I don't see the quote, "ii6 gives no more information than a bass note
F with a figured 6." anywhere. I suppose that the quotation can be
judged incorrect, but I googled it and the best I could find was a
recent post from a different person with a similar meaning.

What this poster said, was that RN was valid. I think I'm detecting a
tendency on this group to begrudge the past and ignore exactly what's
being said in the current thread, which is something I wouldn't have
expected.

Cormagh
tom_k
2009-05-08 16:53:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by tom_k
Post by Cormagh
What did you mean by "his position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat
surprising.", given what he said,
"And it seems to me that the analysis of chord-based Tonal music using
the analytical tools that were developed to analyse that style of music
(i.e. functional Roman numeral analysis) is still quite valid."
Because of his comments such as "ii6 gives no more information than a bass
note F with a figured 6."
Post by Cormagh
Did you, from whatever lofty place you occupy, expect him to eschew Roman
Numerals due to his "undergraduateness"?
No, I expected a more balanced view of RN from him. Did you really read my
comments?
Tom
I don't see the quote, "ii6 gives no more information than a bass note
F with a figured 6." anywhere. I suppose that the quotation can be
judged incorrect, but I googled it and the best I could find was a
recent post from a different person with a similar meaning.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
See the "Theory vs. Composition, Part One" thread - Joseph DuBose's last
post on 5/1/09. It has a time stamp of 8:04 PM on my newsreader. The quote
was accurately cut & pasted from Joseph's post.

Earlier in that same post, he said it slightly differently:
"My "analysis" (a bass note F with a figured bass 6) conveys
the exact same information as ii6, as well as a lot more."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

What this poster said, was that RN was valid. I think I'm detecting a
tendency on this group to begrudge the past and ignore exactly what's
being said in the current thread, which is something I wouldn't have
expected.
Cormagh
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Orlando, LJS & myself have contended that figured bass notation is
descriptive and that it is RN which is analytical. Joseph's argument at
that time was that figured bass notation was analytical. If he has changed
his position, he should clarify that.
Tom
paramucho
2009-05-08 17:13:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cormagh
Post by tom_k
Post by Cormagh
What did you mean by "his position vis a vis Roman Numerals is somewhat
surprising.", given what he said,
"And it seems to me that the analysis of chord-based Tonal music using
the analytical tools that were developed to analyse that style of music
(i.e. functional Roman numeral analysis) is still quite valid."
Because of his comments such as "ii6 gives no more information than a bass
note F with a figured 6."
Post by Cormagh
Did you, from whatever lofty place you occupy, expect him to eschew Roman
Numerals due to his "undergraduateness"?
No, I expected a more balanced view of RN from him. Did you really read my
comments?
Tom
I don't see the quote, "ii6 gives no more information than a bass note
F with a figured 6." anywhere. I suppose that the quotation can be
judged incorrect, but I googled it and the best I could find was a
recent post from a different person with a similar meaning.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
See the "Theory vs. Composition, Part One" thread - Joseph DuBose's last
post on 5/1/09. It has a time stamp of 8:04 PM on my newsreader. The quote
was accurately cut & pasted from Joseph's post.
"My "analysis" (a bass note F with a figured bass 6) conveys
the exact same information as ii6, as well as a lot more."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
What this poster said, was that RN was valid. I think I'm detecting a
tendency on this group to begrudge the past and ignore exactly what's
being said in the current thread, which is something I wouldn't have
expected.
Cormagh
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Orlando, LJS & myself have contended that figured bass notation is
descriptive and that it is RN which is analytical. Joseph's argument at
that time was that figured bass notation was analytical. If he has changed
his position, he should clarify that.
Tom
Who were you initially replying to in this thread: "Joseph" or "Joey"?

Ian
tom_k
2009-05-08 18:23:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by tom_k
Orlando, LJS & myself have contended that figured bass notation is
descriptive and that it is RN which is analytical. Joseph's argument at
that time was that figured bass notation was analytical. If he has changed
his position, he should clarify that.
Tom
Who were you initially replying to in this thread: "Joseph" or "Joey"?
Ian
Joseph - by "this thread", I assume you mean Theory Vs.. Comp Pt 1.
Actually my initial thread post was to amplify the reply that Orlando made
to Joseph. Joey didn't post on this topic until 5/3.

Seems like one can't tell the players without a scorecard!

Tom
paramucho
2009-05-05 10:40:05 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 04 May 2009 13:42:38 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
I swore I was going to stay out of all of this, mostly because the
people writing about this are way to happy to write and write and write.
I know I won't be able to keep up with y'all and I'll be written into a
corner pretty quickly. But here goes anyway...
And I was gonna stay out of it to because there's usually just too
much gunk to work through. Stuff like the idea that Bach grew out of
Palestrina because of Fux when in fact Bach rejected the "dry bones"
of the Fux-approach completely. Then there's the idea that Bach
rejected Rameau, which is what his son wrote. However, as Lester has
pointed out, few people in Germany actually had a first-hand knowledge
of what Rameau had written and in fact the position ascribed to him
was far from correct. And, in any case, if it's a matter of tossing
around composer's names in an attempt to legitimize this or that
technique, Lester includes an Rameau-style analysis of a piece written
apparently by Mozart. The real misconception here is the idea that
these composers had any sort of life-and-death interest/dependency
in/on any theory of music at all.
Post by Joey Goldstein
It seems to me that Rameau's theory was not ever supposed to be seen as
a musical *method* but simply as an effective way to describe one of the
vertical facets of polyphony, i.e. the sensation that some chords have
roots and that those roots often remain in tact when the chord's tones
are inverted and/or put through various permutations. What a composer
decides to do with that knowledge is his own business.
Just knowing how and why it is that some chords have roots does not mean
that a composer has to not compose contrapuntally, although many have
done just that. The whole phenomenon of what has been called
"chord-based-music" in this ng could not have come about without Rameau.
Most, if not all, popular music today is chord-based to one degree or
another.
But this does not preclude composers working from a more contrapuntal
approach if they choose to.
In any case the situation was completely different for the Bachs and
Beethovens. They did not attend classes to learn about a two-hundred
year old system of music with a principal aim of passing some exam.
The music they wrote was the music they heard and participated in on a
daily basis all their lives. They couldn't write anything else. The
situation is the same today for anybody who joins a rock band.

Beethoven said that he never needed figured bass and learned it only
so that it could use it in teaching. The idea that composers needed
theory classes in order to create their music is simply unsupported.
Which doesn't mean that they were disinterested in all facets of their
craft, including theory.

I had occasion a couple of weeks ago to revisit Rameau and I must
confess he looked more sensible to me this time around. And I've been
re-reading the three main Riemann textbooks since then, and they have
a lot of sensible things to say as well. The interesting thing about
the German writers, and I've seen this point made elsewhere before, is
that they are much less dogmatic and much more likely to talk about
the weaknesses and holes of their models. They see theory as a means
to an end, not a religion.

What Rameau, Riemann and Schenker all have in common is that their
students and their student's students have progressively adapted their
theories to (a) get rid of the wierd stuff (all these theories were
based on kinds of ideas which were quite respectable in their day but
which seem like little more than numerology in retrospect), and, (b)
reconfigure the material to produce undergraduate textbooks.

Any theory of music is bound to be partial in its applicable area and
ephemeral in its popularity. Of the tiny percentage of the human
population who are interested in music theory an even smaller
percentage actually *care* about the theory wars. For most people
music theory is just a way of building up a useful set of mnemonic
categories with which to think and talk about music. The actual theory
itself is a bit of scaffolding and not much more. Most theories can be
used for that purpose.

If we view music theory as a means of enabling the intelligent
discussion of music then I think we can say that most of them
succeeded. Most of the books on theory that I've read are able to
provide contextually-sensitive insights into the music and thus impart
musical awareness. My feeling is that the "musical awareness" thus
imparted tends to be pretty much the same, regardless of the
particular brand of theory learned.

But as I said above, in Bach and Beethoven's time none of this was
necessary since musicians tended to grow up in a musical environment
in which they learned from mentors and advisors in practical
face-to-face situations with ideas transmitted via a musical
instrument (Haydn is an exception). Music is its own best theory.
Post by Joey Goldstein
And it seems to me that the analysis of chord-based Tonal music using
the analytical tools that were developed to analyse that style of music
(i.e. functional Roman numeral analysis) is still quite valid.
Figured bass can be seen as a type of intervallic analysis, I suppose,
but that's not really what it is was designed for, and it tells you
nothing about a chord's *function* within the key.
3. The whole argument here seems to be one of taste.
Some of you hate chord-based-music and will only give your respect to
contrapuntally based music. Etc.
That's just a form of close-mindedness to me.
I share some of your views on this subject: there are quite separate
contrapuntal and chordal *views* of music, but I would not expect to
get any joy on the topic in this newsgroup regarding the latter; which
is not a criticism or complaint, just a statement of fact. Perhaps
we'll pick up the topic again sometime in the future...

Ian
Alain Naigeon
2009-05-05 13:13:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Beethoven said that he never needed figured bass and learned it only
so that it could use it in teaching. The idea that composers needed
theory classes in order to create their music is simply unsupported.
Which doesn't mean that they were disinterested in all facets of their
craft, including theory.
OTH, one cannot be sure that what had been taught to them had no
consequence on their musical world ; as a matter of fact, a "Fux"
has been found, with comments written by Beethoven's hand (and
he sometimes disagreed with Fux).
--
Français *==> "Musique renaissance" <==* English
midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensuration
http://anaigeon.free.fr | http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
Alain Naigeon - ***@free.fr - Oberhoffen/Moder, France
http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
paramucho
2009-05-05 14:15:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alain Naigeon
Post by paramucho
Beethoven said that he never needed figured bass and learned it only
so that it could use it in teaching. The idea that composers needed
theory classes in order to create their music is simply unsupported.
Which doesn't mean that they were disinterested in all facets of their
craft, including theory.
OTH, one cannot be sure that what had been taught to them had no
consequence on their musical world ; as a matter of fact, a "Fux"
has been found, with comments written by Beethoven's hand (and
he sometimes disagreed with Fux).
Beethoven studied strict counterpoint Haydn/Albrechtsberger at the
same time as he took lessons in vocal writing with Salieri, but I
hadn't heard of him adding notes to a "Fux". I do recall Haydn
correcting his copy of Koch and perhaps Fux as well. I am sure that
Beethoven picked up some skills in these studies, as one does, but I
don't think the study was central in any way to his understanding of
the genre and the technique. Regarding Fux, Bach, IIRC, was explicit
in having nothing to do with the "dry bones" of Fux when it came to
teaching. One can go back and forth on this topic.



Ian
Alain Naigeon
2009-05-05 15:24:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Beethoven studied strict counterpoint Haydn/Albrechtsberger at the
same time as he took lessons in vocal writing with Salieri, but I
hadn't heard of him adding notes to a "Fux".
In my Fux (Norton) there are several footnotes mentionning his
comments taken from Gustav Nottebohm's "Beethveniana",
for instance, note 3 on page 125 of Fux :
"Beethoven (Nottebohm, Beethoveniana, I, p 174) : "Such liberties
are more acceptable in a descinding than in an ascending motion".
However, in his Introduction (ibid page 181) we find Beethoven's
comment on this example and this particular instance (the succession
occurring between outer voices) : "The second progression, at B,
would never be exusable for my ear.""

[the point is about a voice going from an octave to a fifth with respect
to the bass, this being, according to the teacher Aloys "not to be
considered as a mistake because of the difficulty of this species" ;
oh, it is "quarter notes against whole notes", not that difficult :-o]
Post by paramucho
I do recall Haydn
correcting his copy of Koch and perhaps Fux as well. I am sure that
Beethoven picked up some skills in these studies, as one does, but I
don't think the study was central in any way to his understanding of
the genre and the technique.
I can't have a personal opinion on this point ("central"). I was just
remembering having seen these footnotes. But it doesn't mean you're
wrong, since it shows that Beethoven had already personal views
at the moment he was reading Fux !
--
Français *==> "Musique renaissance" <==* English
midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensuration
http://anaigeon.free.fr | http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
Alain Naigeon - ***@free.fr - Oberhoffen/Moder, France
http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
paramucho
2009-05-06 02:09:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alain Naigeon
Post by paramucho
Beethoven studied strict counterpoint Haydn/Albrechtsberger at the
same time as he took lessons in vocal writing with Salieri, but I
hadn't heard of him adding notes to a "Fux".
In my Fux (Norton) there are several footnotes mentionning his
comments taken from Gustav Nottebohm's "Beethveniana",
"Beethoven (Nottebohm, Beethoveniana, I, p 174) : "Such liberties
are more acceptable in a descinding than in an ascending motion".
However, in his Introduction (ibid page 181) we find Beethoven's
comment on this example and this particular instance (the succession
occurring between outer voices) : "The second progression, at B,
would never be exusable for my ear.""
[the point is about a voice going from an octave to a fifth with respect
to the bass, this being, according to the teacher Aloys "not to be
considered as a mistake because of the difficulty of this species" ;
oh, it is "quarter notes against whole notes", not that difficult :-o]
Post by paramucho
I do recall Haydn
correcting his copy of Koch and perhaps Fux as well. I am sure that
Beethoven picked up some skills in these studies, as one does, but I
don't think the study was central in any way to his understanding of
the genre and the technique.
I can't have a personal opinion on this point ("central"). I was just
remembering having seen these footnotes. But it doesn't mean you're
wrong, since it shows that Beethoven had already personal views
at the moment he was reading Fux !
Which is not surprising since he was about 39 years old at the time
when he wrote those comments!

I hadn't really noticed Beethoven's comments on Fux even though I have
the Mann translation of Fux here. Mann goes into more detail in his
wonderful book THEORY AND PRACTICE which has facsimiles of Beethoven's
lessons with Hadyn/Albrechtsberger (along with other lessons from/to
Handel/Haydn/Mozart/Schubert etc). But even there it's not exactly
clear which document Mann refers to.

The treatment of this Beethoven document has always been a little
controversial. Actually, part of the controversy is that it's a group
of separate documents bundled together. Nottenbohm's description is
difficult to decipher because it's mixed up with his criticism of
another authors adaptation of the material for a book. Mann is
surprisingly unclear about where the material belongs chronologically
(unless I skipped over his reference in my usual haste). More recently
Richard Kramer (in HAYDN, MOZART, & BEETHOVEN, p295) criticizes Kinsky
in his treatment of parts of the document. And, the document itself is
currently in private hands.

In any case, the best I can make of it is that Beethoven constructed
this part of the document around 1809 in preparation for the lessons
he would give Archduke Rudolf. In BEETHOVENIANA, p177, Nottenbohm
describes the document that Beethoven assembled titled "Materialen zum
Kontrapunkt" containing rules which are quoted variously from Fux,
Kirnberger, CPE Bach, Albrechtsberger etc.

Now, Kramer's point is that some of the material in this bundle comes
from a later period than 1809. I'm not entirely clear if the Fux
comments come from the 1809 period or the later period. Mann's dating
is unclear in THEORY AND PRACTICE because he is not explicit.

But it doesn't really matter either way. Beethoven was, as stated, was
already 39 in 1809, and it's material that Beethoven prepared in order
to teach Archduke Rudolf. Around that period Mann (THEORY AND
PRACTICE, p71) cites Beethoven as saying:

Dear Friends, I took such trouble merely in order to clarify bass
figuration so that I might guide others. So far as mistakes are
concerned, I almost never needed to study for myself; I felt such
sensitivity since childhood that I proceeded without knowing that
something had to be so or could not be otherwise.

And this is the point I have been making. He grew up with the stuff
filling his ears and his mind. His later counterpoint lessons helped
him refine his practice just as his lessons with Salieri, taken around
the same time, helped him refine his vocal writing.

Ian
Alain Naigeon
2009-05-06 20:43:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by Alain Naigeon
Post by paramucho
Beethoven studied strict counterpoint Haydn/Albrechtsberger at the
same time as he took lessons in vocal writing with Salieri, but I
hadn't heard of him adding notes to a "Fux".
In my Fux (Norton) there are several footnotes mentionning his
comments taken from Gustav Nottebohm's "Beethveniana",
"Beethoven (Nottebohm, Beethoveniana, I, p 174) : "Such liberties
are more acceptable in a descinding than in an ascending motion".
However, in his Introduction (ibid page 181) we find Beethoven's
comment on this example and this particular instance (the succession
occurring between outer voices) : "The second progression, at B,
would never be exusable for my ear.""
[...]
Post by paramucho
Post by Alain Naigeon
Post by paramucho
I do recall Haydn
correcting his copy of Koch and perhaps Fux as well. I am sure that
Beethoven picked up some skills in these studies, as one does, but I
don't think the study was central in any way to his understanding of
the genre and the technique.
I can't have a personal opinion on this point ("central"). I was just
remembering having seen these footnotes. But it doesn't mean you're
wrong, since it shows that Beethoven had already personal views
at the moment he was reading Fux !
Which is not surprising since he was about 39 years old at the time
when he wrote those comments!
:-o I didn't realize that ! If I have had a clear opinion, it would have
changed after reading your info ;-)
Post by paramucho
I hadn't really noticed Beethoven's comments on Fux even though I have
the Mann translation of Fux here. Mann goes into more detail in his
wonderful book THEORY AND PRACTICE which has facsimiles of Beethoven's
lessons with Hadyn/Albrechtsberger (along with other lessons from/to
Handel/Haydn/Mozart/Schubert etc). But even there it's not exactly
clear which document Mann refers to.
The treatment of this Beethoven document has always been a little
controversial.
[...]

Thanks for your info about the source "Nottenbohm" which appears
to be second hand, at best. I've printed your answer and inserted it
in my Fux :-)
--
Français *==> "Musique renaissance" <==* English
midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensuration
http://anaigeon.free.fr | http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
Alain Naigeon - ***@free.fr - Oberhoffen/Moder, France
http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
paramucho
2009-05-07 01:57:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alain Naigeon
Thanks for your info about the source "Nottenbohm" which appears
to be second hand, at best. I've printed your answer and inserted it
in my Fux :-)
You can download Nottenbohm at
Ian
paramucho
2009-05-07 02:01:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alain Naigeon
Post by paramucho
Beethoven studied strict counterpoint Haydn/Albrechtsberger at the
same time as he took lessons in vocal writing with Salieri, but I
hadn't heard of him adding notes to a "Fux".
[...]
Thanks for your info about the source "Nottenbohm" which appears
to be second hand, at best. I've printed your answer and inserted it
in my Fux :-)
You can download most of the relevant primary "Nottebohm"(!) texts at:

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=Nottebohm%20AND%20mediatype:texts


Ian
Alain Naigeon
2009-05-12 22:09:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=Nottebohm%20AND%20mediatype:texts
Ian
Thanks, Ian, though, I'm afraid, German is a great problem for me ;-)
--
Français *==> "Musique renaissance" <==* English
midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensuration
http://anaigeon.free.fr | http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
Alain Naigeon - ***@free.fr - Oberhoffen/Moder, France
http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
paramucho
2009-05-14 10:47:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alain Naigeon
Post by paramucho
http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=Nottebohm%20AND%20mediatype:texts
Ian
Thanks, Ian, though, I'm afraid, German is a great problem for me ;-)
Et le francais c'est un grand probleme pour moi!

http://www.scribd.com/doc/2187259/Code-de-Musique-Rameau


Ian
Alain Naigeon
2009-05-14 18:21:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by Alain Naigeon
Post by paramucho
http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=Nottebohm%20AND%20mediatype:texts
Ian
Thanks, Ian, though, I'm afraid, German is a great problem for me ;-)
Et le francais c'est un grand probleme pour moi!
http://www.scribd.com/doc/2187259/Code-de-Musique-Rameau
Un grand merci, Ian :-)
--
Français *==> "Musique renaissance" <==* English
midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensuration
http://anaigeon.free.fr | http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
Alain Naigeon - ***@free.fr - Oberhoffen/Moder, France
http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
LJS
2009-05-05 19:58:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by Alain Naigeon
Post by paramucho
Beethoven said that he never needed figured bass and learned it only
so that it could use it in teaching. The idea that composers needed
theory classes in order to create their music is simply unsupported.
Which doesn't mean that they were disinterested in all facets of their
craft, including theory.
I do find support that they learned it in their writings. Maybe they
did not learn it in class, but they learned it never the less.
Post by paramucho
Post by Alain Naigeon
OTH, one cannot be sure that what had been taught to them had no
consequence on their musical world ; as a matter of fact, a "Fux"
has been found, with comments written by Beethoven's hand (and
he sometimes disagreed with Fux).
See below. This is really another example of Old vs. New. Of course he
disagreed with Fux. They were of different periods. But you can still
see the beautiful part writing in Beethoven that you see in Fux, but
Beethoven and Bach did it mostly in the major/minor system with chords
as a generator and Fux only did is contrapuntally and in the modes.
Post by paramucho
Beethoven studied strict counterpoint Haydn/Albrechtsberger at the
same time as he took lessons in vocal writing with Salieri, but I
hadn't heard of him adding notes to a "Fux". I do recall Haydn
correcting his copy of Koch and perhaps Fux as well. I am sure that
Beethoven picked up some skills in these studies, as one does, but I
don't think the study was central in any way to his understanding of
the genre and the technique. Regarding Fux, Bach, IIRC, was explicit
in having nothing to do with the "dry bones" of Fux when it came to
teaching. One can go back and forth on this topic.
Ian
When Bach is quoted here saying something of that nature, I have to
consider the context and I would have to wonder what exactly Bach
meant. The fact is, he is a perfect example of how to put Fux's
theories into practice. I have cited Bach as being the the "perfect
storm" that fully made use of the clear and precise theories of
counterpoint and consonance and dissonance. This comment does not
surprise me in the least, but I do have to wonder what he was actually
talking about.

Fux was a theorist of the previous golden age of counterpoint. Bach
was a functionalist with harmony. Fux was the old school and Bach was
the young talented whippersnapper. Fux also used the the a very old
style of writing his theories. It was the same led conversational
style that was used by Plato. Bach was of the new school and he was
intent on using the more modern theories of harmony that included a
more chordal structure. Unlike the previous period with Fux where
there was no particular consideration for the tones that happened to
combine with the C. F. resulting in a vertical structure where each
and every tone was judged by its relationship to the C.F. Bach was
using counterpoint in a manner that allow the voices to progress
through functional harmony. This was the new thing. The chords. Fux
did not have them and Bach made a career out of them. I don't wonder
that he considered Fux to be something to be avoided when it came to
teaching.

The thing is, he did write very well in the style of Fux. Bach
actually used these methods but made some slight changes. No more
could you add tones just because they were consonant to the CF. Look
at the structures that are possible with Fux for harmonic structure.
As you correctly stated, he made this statement

From a C.F. note of C you could have consonant tones of Eb E G Ab A
(above) and A, Ab, F, D, Db below. Put them together and you could
theoretically have all of these notes sounding at the same time
(although it is very unlikely to have the Eb/E and the A/Ab in the
same structure. The harmony is the result of the voices.

In Bach, the voices are shaped by the harmonic structure. The older
period was evolving towards Bach with the popular resulting structures
taking shape in the Bach like manner, but the old school and the new
school were at odds over this point.

Thus, Bach would certainly be on the side of the NEW regime. He was
the leader and he set the standard for counterpoint that was guided by
the functional progressions possible with the CPP tools.

So THIS is what I would think he meant by saying something like that.
In spite of his being new school and Fux the old school, Bach
certainly did understand and follow the modified theories created by
Fux. Fux was thus the teacher, but the student used his teachings in a
different context and the result was the rich counterpoint that Bach
produced. In your statement you used the phrase "of Fux when it came
to teaching". I don't thing that with this phrase, it is clear to
assume that he did not know and use Fux's part writing theory but
brought it into his own time.

We can go back and forth but I don't think we have to. Bach used Fux,
Fux was old school, Bach was new school and weather Bach admits it or
not, he learned his voice writings skills someplace! This was either
from Fux or from one of Fux's theories either heard or taught by
another, but he did know this theory and practiced it in a more
modern setting. But the context of Fux was correctly identified by
Bach as being "dry bones" and part of the boring older period that was
trying to hold on to its traditions in the face of all this chordal
stuff that the youngsters were producing with all that chord stuff!

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-06 00:15:32 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 5 May 2009 12:58:14 -0700 (PDT), LJS <***@gmail.com>
wrote:

<snip>
Post by LJS
We can go back and forth but I don't think we have to. Bach used Fux,
Fux was old school, Bach was new school and weather Bach admits it or
not, he learned his voice writings skills someplace! This was either
from Fux or from one of Fux's theories either heard or taught by
another, but he did know this theory and practiced it in a more
modern setting.
How can you possibly propose that Bach must have learned his skills
from Fux's "theories" directly or indirectly when Fux's book was first
published in 1725 when Bach was already forty years old? What was Bach
doing before 1725?
Post by LJS
But the context of Fux was correctly identified by
Bach as being "dry bones" and part of the boring older period that was
trying to hold on to its traditions in the face of all this chordal
stuff that the youngsters were producing with all that chord stuff!
To be more precise, and to correct my aging memory, the quote, as
given in Lester, is:

CPE Bach reports that his father "started his pupils right in with
what was practical, and omitted all the dry species of counterpoint
that are given in Fux and others."

The distinction was not between "old" and "new" but between a "dry
theoretical" approach and "real-life practical" approach.


Ian
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-06 00:57:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
To be more precise, and to correct my aging memory, the quote, as
CPE Bach reports that his father "started his pupils right in with
what was practical, and omitted all the dry species of counterpoint
that are given in Fux and others."
The distinction was not between "old" and "new" but between a "dry
theoretical" approach and "real-life practical" approach.
Out of curiosity....Did any of JS Bach's students ever become well-known
composers themselves?
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
paramucho
2009-05-06 02:21:30 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 05 May 2009 20:57:40 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
To be more precise, and to correct my aging memory, the quote, as
CPE Bach reports that his father "started his pupils right in with
what was practical, and omitted all the dry species of counterpoint
that are given in Fux and others."
The distinction was not between "old" and "new" but between a "dry
theoretical" approach and "real-life practical" approach.
Out of curiosity....Did any of JS Bach's students ever become well-known
composers themselves?
Only his children, I think, although "only" is an understatment. Four
became recognised composers, and CPE Bach was definitely *more*
recognised than JS Bach in the 18th century. A musical family: see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bach_family .

However, some of his students did go on to write theory books. In
fact, I just received "Die Kunst des Reinen Satzes in der Musik" by
Kirnberger, one of his students. Not only is it written in Ye Olden
German it's also printed in a blurry gothic font which is going to
keep me happily infuriated in times to come. Kirnberger's book is
supposed to at least partially reflect Bach's teaching method.

Ian
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-06 03:36:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
On Tue, 05 May 2009 20:57:40 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
To be more precise, and to correct my aging memory, the quote, as
CPE Bach reports that his father "started his pupils right in with
what was practical, and omitted all the dry species of counterpoint
that are given in Fux and others."
The distinction was not between "old" and "new" but between a "dry
theoretical" approach and "real-life practical" approach.
Out of curiosity....Did any of JS Bach's students ever become well-known
composers themselves?
Only his children, I think, although "only" is an understatment. Four
became recognised composers, and CPE Bach was definitely *more*
recognised than JS Bach in the 18th century. A musical family: see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bach_family .
However, some of his students did go on to write theory books. In
fact, I just received "Die Kunst des Reinen Satzes in der Musik" by
Kirnberger, one of his students. Not only is it written in Ye Olden
German it's also printed in a blurry gothic font which is going to
keep me happily infuriated in times to come. Kirnberger's book is
supposed to at least partially reflect Bach's teaching method.
Ian
Thanks.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
LJS
2009-05-06 02:46:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
To be more precise, and to correct my aging memory, the quote, as
  CPE Bach reports that his father "started his pupils right in with
  what was practical, and omitted all the dry species of counterpoint
  that are given in Fux and others."
The distinction was not between "old" and "new" but between a "dry
theoretical" approach and "real-life practical" approach.
Out of curiosity....Did any of JS Bach's students ever become well-known
composers themselves?
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
Almost any student of music is also a student of Bach, thus,
practically all the composers of note were his students! I think even
you studied Bach and we all know you!

LJS
LJS
2009-05-06 02:44:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
We can go back and forth but I don't think we have to. Bach used Fux,
Fux was old school, Bach was new school and weather Bach admits it or
not, he learned his voice writings skills someplace! This was either
from Fux or  from one  of   Fux's theories either heard or taught by
another, but  he did know this  theory and practiced it in a more
modern setting.
How can you possibly propose that Bach must have learned his skills
from Fux's "theories" directly or indirectly when Fux's book was first
published in 1725 when Bach was already forty years old? What was Bach
doing before 1725?
I said no such thing. Please try to read more carefully.

I do realize that if I were writing in something other than my native
language that I may very well miss the true meaning, but I would make
an effort to understand what was said before I attacked a straight
forward response that had an alternative interpretation. I will assume
that it is a communication problem rather than a deliberate attempt to
change my statement 180 degrees!

What I said was: "The thing is, he did write very well in the style
of Fux. Bach
actually used these methods but made some slight changes." As
evidenced by the rest of the post, this was clarified by the other
comparisons.

As you read carefully, you should see that they both learned from the
same source, that source being the composers that they studied. Fux
wrote the book for the older period, Bach practiced the same things
that Fux wrote about. Fux was more of a theorist and Bach as an
innovative composer. Please, try to think it through before you make a
comment that is a complete distortion of what I said. I have enjoyed
your posts in the past and I hope to do the same in the future.
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
But the context of Fux was correctly identified by
Bach as being "dry bones" and part of the boring older period that was
trying to hold on to its traditions in the face of all this chordal
stuff that the youngsters were producing with all that chord stuff!
To be more precise, and to correct my aging memory, the quote, as
  CPE Bach reports that his father "started his pupils right in with
  what was practical, and omitted all the dry species of counterpoint
  that are given in Fux and others."
This is also a bit more on target than your original post. My reply
still holds up even with this subtle change in context. I would not
think that Bach would use the same delivery as Fux (another statement
in my reply) nor would he be teaching the methods as used in the Modal
music of the previous period. As I said in my post (and reinforced by
your corrected quote!): Bach would have used (and thus taught, if this
little bit of info would have been in your mis-quote!) the application
of Fux's principles in the context of functional harmony (I hope you
at least read that part)


Let's try to read before we accuse!
Post by paramucho
The distinction was not between "old" and "new" but between a "dry
theoretical" approach and "real-life practical" approach.
Ian
That may be your opinion, but with what reasoning would you assume
that to be the case? Bach would have been a fool to teach students how
to write the older Modal music. If you consider the older modal music
"dry and theoretical" that is your opinion. I do not consider it fact.
I find the period to be really vibrant and exciting as well as very
emotional and personal. Dry and Theoretical would apply to the actual
presentation of Fux's findings as he studied the "older" music. It is
not the music that is Dry and Theoretical, it is the teaching style of
Fux that may give you that impression. Personally I find it a very
interesting and informative way of teaching in some circumstances. My
preference does not make it fact, however any more than your idea of
it being Dry does. It is what it is. The information is there.

Bach and Fux came up with the same solution to the part writing of the
Modal period. Fux wrote about it as a theoretician, Bach used his
results to usher in the new age with this very strong tie to the old
age. It is a perfect example of how theory can be used to free the
composer in a new context while still giving the listener the
connection to the previous period. This is the essence of the
evolutionary process! Learn the old, use what is there and apply it to
a new context and you have the birth of a new era.

It also shows how theory can take many different forms. Fux and Bach
both used the same music for their basic study. They both came to the
same part writing conclusions. Fux wrote it down for others to study.
Bach was more selfish (thank God!) and spent his time applying this to
the new context of functional harmony in the 12 tet. They both are
correct. Bach's music is now timeless and so are the theories written
by Fux. Both are still very current even in today's world. Two great
minds with two different approaches to theory. Both came up with the
same theory. Bach followed Fux's theories because they were true, not
because he studied Fux (they were alive at the same time as I
understand it and as I think you said, Bach was 40 or so when the book
came out. How could you possibly make a mistake like that and jump to
the erroneous conclusion that you made. Wasn't that fact a clue that
maybe you should check out what was actually said?

As related to another thread, this is also a perfect example of
Bloom's Taxonomy. They both gathered the facts. Fux is remembered for
his Explanation of the facts and their Application to the music of the
past. Bach took the same facts and is remembered for his Application
of the facts to a different context. This is all included in the ideas
of Bloom.

I generally enjoy your posts and responses. I do hope that this is
only a lapse of concentration.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-06 03:43:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
We can go back and forth but I don't think we have to. Bach used Fux,
Fux was old school, Bach was new school and weather Bach admits it or
not, he learned his voice writings skills someplace! This was either
from Fux or  from one  of   Fux's theories either heard or taught by
another, but  he did know this  theory and practiced it in a more
modern setting.
How can you possibly propose that Bach must have learned his skills
from Fux's "theories" directly or indirectly when Fux's book was first
published in 1725 when Bach was already forty years old? What was Bach
doing before 1725?
I said no such thing. Please try to read more carefully.
Actually, I read and re-read your paragraph very carefully:

Bach used Fux

From Fux, or from one of Fux's theories either heard or taught by
another

These are unambiguous statements that Bach relied on Fux and these are
the statement I chose to reply to.

And the preceding paragraph that I snipped is just as unambiguous:

<unsnip>
Post by LJS
So THIS is what I would think he meant by saying something like that.
In spite of his being new school and Fux the old school, Bach
certainly did understand and follow the modified theories created by
Fux. Fux was thus the teacher, but the student used his teachings in a
different context and the result was the rich counterpoint that Bach
produced. In your statement you used the phrase "of Fux when it came
to teaching". I don't thing that with this phrase, it is clear to
assume that he did not know and use Fux's part writing theory but
brought it into his own time.
</unsnip>

...the theories created by Fux.
Fux was... the teacher

So, with all due respect, I read your paragraphs as unambiguously
saying that Bach was using Fux's theories and responded accordingly.

I can see no other interpretation and see no reason for you to take
offence at what I think was a straight-forward response. I certainly
don't take offence and hope my remarks clarify the issue.

Are you now saying that Bach did not rely on Fux's theories?

Ian
LJS
2009-05-06 04:36:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
We can go back and forth but I don't think we have to. Bach used Fux,
Fux was old school, Bach was new school and weather Bach admits it or
not, he learned his voice writings skills someplace! This was either
from Fux or  from one  of   Fux's theories either heard or taught by
another, but  he did know this  theory and practiced it in a more
modern setting.
How can you possibly propose that Bach must have learned his skills
from Fux's "theories" directly or indirectly when Fux's book was first
published in 1725 when Bach was already forty years old? What was Bach
doing before 1725?
I said no such thing. Please try to read more carefully.
 Bach used Fux
 From Fux, or from one of Fux's theories either heard or taught by
  another
These are unambiguous statements that Bach relied on Fux and these are
the statement I chose to reply to.
<unsnip>>So THIS is what I would think he meant by saying something like that.
Post by LJS
In spite of his being new school and Fux the old school, Bach
certainly did  understand and follow the modified theories created by
Fux. Fux was thus the teacher, but the student used his teachings in a
different context and the result was the rich counterpoint that Bach
produced.   In your statement you used the phrase "of Fux when it came
to teaching". I  don't thing that with this phrase, it is clear to
assume that he did not know and use Fux's part writing theory but
brought it into his own time.
</unsnip>
  ...the theories created by Fux.
  Fux was... the teacher
Yes, he used the theories. I did not say that he studied them from
Fux. That is where you didn't understand what I said
So, with all due respect, I read your paragraphs as unambiguously
saying that Bach was using Fux's theories and responded accordingly.
Well, what exactly did Bach do that was not the same as Fux theorized?
I compared their use of the same material. Fux wrote the theories.
Bach heard the theories or whatever on his own, what is so hard to
understand. Fux's theories were followed by Bach. They were followed
even though Fux had not penned them until after Bach was using them.
If Bach had written them down, then they would be Bach's theories, but
he did not do that. Fux wrote them down so they are his theories. You
are quite argumentative these days? Is something wrong?
I can see no other interpretation and see no reason for you to take
offence at what I think was a straight-forward response. I certainly
don't take offence and hope my remarks clarify the issue.
They are clear to me, if you understand that Bach and Fux both saw
the same theories and used them differently then they are clear to you
as well.
Are you now saying that Bach did not rely on Fux's theories?
Ian
I don't understand this statement. I am saying what I have always
said. Bach used these theories. These theories were inherent in the
music. Fux and Bach did different things with the knowledge. What does
your closing statement mean? I don't know where that is coming from.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-06 05:10:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
We can go back and forth but I don't think we have to. Bach used Fux,
Fux was old school, Bach was new school and weather Bach admits it or
not, he learned his voice writings skills someplace! This was either
from Fux or  from one  of   Fux's theories either heard or taught by
another, but  he did know this  theory and practiced it in a more
modern setting.
How can you possibly propose that Bach must have learned his skills
from Fux's "theories" directly or indirectly when Fux's book was first
published in 1725 when Bach was already forty years old? What was Bach
doing before 1725?
I said no such thing. Please try to read more carefully.
<snip>
You are quite argumentative these days? Is something wrong?
Not in the least, but when some tells me that what I read in black in
white is actually painted in dubious shades of grey or gray and that I
should read more carefully then I'm going to get to the point and
clarify (with no ill will intended at all -- just robust
conversation).

You used the possessive form when referring to "Fux's theory" not
once, not twice but over and over. Now, perhaps you were *thinking* "a
theory as represented by Fux", but that's not what you wrote and no
 Bach used Fux
 From Fux, or from one of Fux's theories either heard or taught by
  another
This doesn't say "some theory" it say's "Fux's theory".
  ...the theories created by Fux.
  Fux was... the teacher
Here you have the theories "created by Fux" -- there's nothing about a
shared theoretical culture here. I'd have to be a mind-reader to
interpret your statement in any other manner than that the theories
belonged to Fux.

That Bach and Fux were members of the same musical culture is, of
course, obviously true, and if that's what you're now saying then we
have no dispute.


Ian
LJS
2009-05-06 11:11:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
We can go back and forth but I don't think we have to. Bach used Fux,
Fux was old school, Bach was new school and weather Bach admits it or
not, he learned his voice writings skills someplace! This was either
from Fux or  from one  of   Fux's theories either heard or taught by
another, but  he did know this  theory and practiced it in a more
modern setting.
How can you possibly propose that Bach must have learned his skills
from Fux's "theories" directly or indirectly when Fux's book was first
published in 1725 when Bach was already forty years old? What was Bach
doing before 1725?
I said no such thing. Please try to read more carefully.
<snip>
You are quite argumentative these days? Is something wrong?
Not in the least, but when some tells me that what I read in black in
white is actually painted in dubious shades of grey or gray and that I
should read more carefully then I'm going to get to the point and
clarify (with no ill will intended at all -- just robust
conversation).
You used the possessive form when referring to "Fux's theory" not
once, not twice but over and over. Now, perhaps you were *thinking* "a
theory as represented by Fux", but that's not what you wrote and no
 Bach used Fux
 From Fux, or from one of Fux's theories either heard or taught by
  another
This doesn't say "some theory" it say's "Fux's theory".
  ...the theories created by Fux.
  Fux was... the teacher
Here you have the theories "created by Fux" -- there's nothing about a
shared theoretical culture here. I'd have to be a mind-reader to
interpret your statement in any other manner than that the theories
belonged to Fux.
That Bach and Fux were members of the same musical culture is, of
course, obviously true, and if that's what you're now saying then we
have no dispute.
Ian
None are so blind as those that won't see. Have it your way. Bach did
not follow Fux's theories. The possessive is because he wrote it dwon
and it is attributed to him. If you don't see the connection, of the
two and how they used the same information, so be it.
LJS
paramucho
2009-05-06 14:17:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
None are so blind as those that won't see. Have it your way. Bach did
not follow Fux's theories. The possessive is because he wrote it dwon
and it is attributed to him. If you don't see the connection, of the
two and how they used the same information, so be it.
I'm quite happy to accept your interpretation of what you wrote, but
to criticize me for initially reading it according to the dictionary,
and to suggest that I might be twisting your words, was way over the
top. My reading was surely and without doubt an entirely valid
interpretation of your post as it was written, and I see no reason for
you to get upset about my stating how I read your post.

Anyway, I still disagree with your explicated interpretation. If by
"Fux's theories" you really meant "Species theory" then many people
had "written it down" and they have names. Roughly speaking, the
species model evolved through the 1600s: Diruta 1609, Banchieri 1613,
Zacconi 1622, Bonocini 1673 and others all have ideas shared in Fux's
model. According to Ian Bent in THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC
(p569) Fux's main contribuition was to package the material around the
concept of the triad. I have not seen any evidence that Bach had
access to any of these earlier works nor have I seen any evidence to
suggest that it was necessary for Bach to have access to such a
theoretical work. Indeed, as has been cited, Bach positively rejected
this form of theoretical approach to learning.

Which brings us back to the beginning...


Ian
LJS
2009-05-06 17:55:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
None are so blind as those that won't see. Have it your way. Bach did
not follow Fux's theories. The possessive is because he wrote it dwon
and it is attributed to him. If  you don't see the connection, of the
two and how they used the same information, so be it.
I'm quite happy to accept your interpretation of what you wrote, but
to criticize me for initially reading it according to the dictionary,
and to suggest that I might be twisting your words, was way over the
top. My reading was surely and without doubt an entirely valid
interpretation of your post as it was written, and I see no reason for
you to get upset about my stating how I read your post.
Anyway, I still disagree with your explicated interpretation. If by
"Fux's theories" you really meant "Species theory" then many people
had "written it down" and they have names. Roughly speaking, the
species model evolved through the 1600s: Diruta 1609, Banchieri 1613,
Zacconi 1622, Bonocini 1673 and others all have ideas shared in Fux's
model. According to Ian Bent in THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC
(p569) Fux's main contribuition was to package the material around the
concept of the triad. I have not seen any evidence that Bach had
access to any of these earlier works nor have I seen any evidence to
suggest that it was necessary for Bach to have access to such a
theoretical work. Indeed, as has been cited, Bach positively rejected
this form of theoretical approach to learning.
Which brings us back to the beginning...
Ian
Well, I certainly don't hold grudges and I think I said that I
understand that the subtle aspects of language is probably the problem
here. I really did not disagree with your facts, only on the
interpretation. My point has nothing to do with who said what when. I
may never be able to explain to you what I meant with my reply. And
God knows that if I were writing in a second language, I would not be
any where near you competency in doing just that. Still, you are a bit
quick to think that you are getting all of the meaning. If we were
communicating in person, I could probably explain what I was saying as
I know you are an intelligent person that has done a lot of work with
learning music.

But I am not really so much talking about species as I am talking
about Part Writing. It is a part of all the species he writes about
but all one needs to understand is the theory of how to connect the
voices as expressed in his first species.

Do you really think that Bach grew up in a vacuum? Of course he heard
the earlier works. There was plenty of it around in his lifetime. He
learned the same things that Fux did. He used it differently.

Cambridge is a good general reference. I am not sure what they are
talking about the triad! The important part writing is pretty much
covered in the first part of GP where there are only 2 voices and
there are no triads. Everything ends and begins on either an octave or
a 5th and this is from the tonic note.

I am wondering if you actually read the Fux and his Steps. Your quote
and comments seem to indicate that you have not, but I really don't
know. If you have not, them please to give it a go. You will be
surprised with what you find. If you have, revisit the first part and
look for what information is actually there. You will find all the
things you need to write as correctly as Bach did in re part writing.
Did they study each other? no, did they come to the same conclusion?
yes, Does it matter who wrote what? I don't think so.

Sorry if you took offense.;

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-07 10:20:50 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 6 May 2009 10:55:21 -0700 (PDT), LJS <***@gmail.com>
wrote:

<snip>
And God knows that if I were writing in a second language, I would not be
any where near you competency in doing just that.
But English *is* my first language.

<snip>
But I am not really so much talking about species as I am talking
about Part Writing. It is a part of all the species he writes about
but all one needs to understand is the theory of how to connect the
voices as expressed in his first species.
As I said, I can't read your mind.
Do you really think that Bach grew up in a vacuum? Of course he heard
the earlier works. There was plenty of it around in his lifetime. He
learned the same things that Fux did. He used it differently.
I must now question whether you have been reading my posts at all. The
central point I have been making, over and over, ad nauseum, is
precisely that Bach, and other composers of the period did not grow up
in a vacuum but rather grew up hearing this music all the time and
could indeed write no other way. This is essentially what Beethoven
was saying when talking about figured bass:

Dear Friends, I took such trouble merely in order to clarify bass
figuration so that I might guide others. So far as mistakes are
concerned, I almost never needed to study for myself; I felt such
sensitivity since childhood that I proceeded without knowing that
something had to be so or could not be otherwise.

I made the point quite explicitly in an earlier post to the thread:

In any case the situation was completely different for the Bachs and
Beethovens. They did not attend classes to learn about a two-hundred
year old system of music with a principal aim of passing some exam.
The music they wrote was the music they heard and participated in on
a daily basis all their lives. They couldn't write anything else.
The situation is the same today for anybody who joins a rock band.

Beethoven said that he never needed figured bass and learned it only
so that it could use it in teaching. The idea that composers needed
theory classes in order to create their music is simply unsupported.
Which doesn't mean that they were disinterested in all facets of
their craft, including theory.

Your statement that he "learned the same things that Fux did" is too
vague to be meaningful to me. Yes, they learned the same music, and
yes they recognised the same surface behavior but we can't say that
they viewed the music from the same theoretical perspective. And if
that's not the subject then I don't know what this thread has been
about at all :-)
Cambridge is a good general reference. I am not sure what they are
talking about the triad!
Have you read the article?
The important part writing is pretty much
covered in the first part of GP where there are only 2 voices and
there are no triads. Everything ends and begins on either an octave or
a 5th and this is from the tonic note.
I did this in counterpoint classes forty years ago. Indeed, you don't
"Fux's theories" for this, indeed one of the most complete treatments
is in Zarlino's LE INSTITUTIONI HARMONICHE published in 1558, i.e. in
the same period as Palestrina.
I am wondering if you actually read the Fux and his Steps. Your quote
and comments seem to indicate that you have not, but I really don't
know. If you have not, them please to give it a go. You will be
surprised with what you find. If you have, revisit the first part and
look for what information is actually there.
I have read Fux a number of times and I've read commentaries (mostly
by Mann and Lester). But to get a full picture of the period one also
has to study the "other half of the world" and that's well-represented
by C.P.E. Bach's ESSAY IN THE TRUE ART OF PLAYING KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS
which is apparently based on JS Bach's method. Have you read that?
This is the real world that Bach lived in.
You will find all the things you need to write as correctly as Bach
did in re part writing.
But almost nothing that I need to write as Bach actually did.

Now, part writing may be a big part of a student's job when it comes
to passing exams, but we shouldn't view Bach's world through the prism
of the 21st century teaching environment. In Bach's world part writing
was a relatively small part of the composer's job. Bach's attitude
seems to have been that one should learn how to write/improvise whole
pieces of music and that the details should be refined as one learns
the craft. Apart from that, figured bass, as presented by CPE Bach,
provides a vehicle for the study of voice leading between chords
(which Fux can't provide).
Did they study each other? no, did they come to the same conclusion?
yes, Does it matter who wrote what? I don't think so.
I don't know what you mean by "did they come to the same conclusion?"
If you're saying that Bach wrote music that Fux might have approved
of, then "yes" is the answer, but that doesn't establish any kind of
theoretical connection between Fux and Bach at all. Thousands of
composers could write counterpoint before Fux. At this broad level I
think Fux is almost redundant in Bach's world. He became more relevant
as the church style became more and more old ancient history.

I have seen no evidence to support the notion that Bach used a formal
species/linear approach to counterpoint. His approach to teaching was
based on figured bass. Now, the precise details of Bach's tuition
remain a mystery but if anything is to be believed at all it is that
he rejected the Fuxian approach, as quoted.
Sorry if you took offense.;
At no point--I just like clarity.
LJS
Ian
LJS
2009-05-07 17:44:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
<snip>
And God knows that if I were writing in a second language, I would not be
any where near you competency in doing just that.
But English *is* my first language.
In that case, I apologize for the assumption. I have worked with ESL
speakers all over the world and your typos sound like the same pattern
that they use for communication. It also would have explained your
constantly not understanding what was written. I again apologize for
my assumption.
Post by paramucho
<snip>
But I am not really so much talking about species as I am talking
about Part Writing. It is a part of all the species he writes about
but all one needs to understand is the theory of how to connect the
voices as expressed in his first species.
As I said, I can't read your mind.
Well, true, but Fux and this whole subject was about part writing. I
don't know if species were even mentioned until you did here. Maybe,
once. Certainly not as the main topic.
Post by paramucho
Do you really think that Bach grew up in a vacuum? Of course he heard
the earlier works. There was plenty of it around in his lifetime. He
learned the same things that Fux did. He used it differently.
I must now question whether you have been reading my posts at all. The
central point I have been making, over and over, ad nauseum, is
precisely that Bach, and other composers of the period did not grow up
in a vacuum but rather grew up hearing this music all the time and
could indeed write no other way. This is essentially what Beethoven
I don't know that Beethoven really used figured bass. He may have, but
I did not see any examples of this. Since this topic is about theory,
however, could it be that you mean Roman Numeral notation for
Functional harmony? Figured bass is a notational method that spells
chords used a lot in the Baroque period?
Post by paramucho
  Dear Friends, I took such trouble merely in order to clarify bass
  figuration so that I might guide others. So far as mistakes are
  concerned, I almost never needed to study for myself; I felt such
  sensitivity since childhood that I proceeded without knowing that
  something had to be so or could not be otherwise.
I don't know what this is about. Is this your words or a quote from
someone else? Or are you saying that you redefined RN analysis as
figured bass? There is a big difference in the two.
Post by paramucho
  In any case the situation was completely different for the Bachs and
  Beethovens. They did not attend classes to learn about a two-hundred
  year old system of music with a principal aim of passing some exam.
  The music they wrote was the music they heard and participated in on
  a daily basis all their lives. They couldn't write anything else.
  The situation is the same today for anybody who joins a rock band.
I don't know about that. They could have written less interesting
pieces as many of their contemporaries often did. But because they did
study, they understood more and thus they heard more choices. The
thing is, they are not like you describe them to be. Bach wrote in
just about every style that was available at the time and created some
more. For example, the fugue. Not that he "invented" the fugue, but
his fugues were definitely different than the others of his day. If he
heard things like everyone else, he would not have been remembered in
the same manner as he is. THe same is of Beethoven. There is only one
Beethoven and one Bach. If there were more "Beethovens" and "Bachs"
maybe I could understand how the only Beethoven and Bach are in any
way like what you are implying by comparing them to rock musicians.
And I don't even underrstand the analogy. You seem to be saying
that rock musicians can only play one way. If you really believe this,
then you should get out more. Rock music is a very lucrative field and
its members are not limited to people that can only play one way.
Again, if this is your experience, you should get out more.
Post by paramucho
  Beethoven said that he never needed figured bass and learned it only
  so that it could use it in teaching. The idea that composers needed
  theory classes in order to create their music is simply unsupported.
  Which doesn't mean that they were disinterested in all facets of
  their craft, including theory.
Is that term actually used in the your research? I find it hard to
believe that Beethoven used the term 'Figured bass' to describe
functional harmony. If he did, I would suspect that it was a
translator's mistake.
Post by paramucho
Your statement that he "learned the same things that Fux did" is too
vague to be meaningful to me. Yes, they learned the same music, and
yes they recognised the same surface behavior but we can't say that
they viewed the music from the same theoretical perspective. And if
that's not the subject then I don't know what this thread has been
about at all :-)
Well, sorry. It does seem to me that it is quite clear if you read
what I said (especially as you are claiming that I don't read what you
have said). The theory that Fux wrote about and that Bach used were
the same thing and it was written in the actual music. They both
learned it in their own manner and applied it as it suited their
purpose for their situation. This, however, is not surface behaviour
that they saw as the theory of the older music. It is the essence of
how to create the music that they studied. (or listened to and
observed) They both saw this fundamental aspect of the music as what
it is, the key to this style of music. Fux reported it for people to
learn to write in the old school and Bach used it as a basis to
connect it to the old school in the new setting of functional
harmony.
Post by paramucho
Cambridge is  a good general reference. I am not sure what they are
talking about the triad!
Have you read the article?
No, I have not used Cambridge in years as it always seemed to be more
"music appreciation" oriented rather than theory. What specifically
does it say to support your statements?
Post by paramucho
The important part writing is pretty much
covered in the first part of GP where there are only 2 voices and
there are no triads. Everything ends and begins on either an octave or
a 5th and this is from the tonic note.
I did this in counterpoint classes forty years ago. Indeed, you don't
"Fux's theories" for this, indeed one of the most complete treatments
is in Zarlino's LE INSTITUTIONI HARMONICHE published in 1558, i.e. in
the same period as Palestrina.
Maybe even too complete. Fux sums it up in a few paragraphs both in
theory and in practice.
Post by paramucho
I am wondering if you actually read the Fux and his Steps. Your quote
and comments seem to indicate that you have not, but I really don't
know. If you have not, them please to give it a go. You will be
surprised with what you find. If you have, revisit the  first part and
look for what information is actually there.
I have read Fux a number of times and I've read commentaries (mostly
by Mann and Lester). But to get a full picture of the period one also
has to study the "other half of the world" and that's well-represented
by C.P.E. Bach's ESSAY IN THE TRUE ART OF PLAYING KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS
which is apparently based on JS Bach's method. Have you read that?
This is the real world that Bach lived in.
If we were talking about these topics you would be correct. You are
saying that my statement about Bach and Fux are wrong, the rest of
this is not really relevant now is it?
Post by paramucho
You will find all the things you need to write as correctly as Bach
did in re part writing.
But almost nothing that I need to write as Bach actually did.
If were were talking about that I this may be relevant, but we are not
and so neither is this factoid.
Post by paramucho
Now, part writing may be a big part of a student's job when it comes
to passing exams, but we shouldn't view Bach's world through the prism
of the 21st century teaching environment. In Bach's world part writing
was a relatively small part of the composer's job. Bach's attitude
seems to have been that one should learn how to write/improvise whole
pieces of music and that the details should be refined as one learns
the craft. Apart from that, figured bass, as presented by CPE Bach,
provides a vehicle for the study of voice leading between chords
(which Fux can't provide).
Here is that term again. When a composer used figured bass, he wrote a
bass part and the figured bass to indicate the chords to be sounded
above it. The performer then used this as a guide and improvised
(according to conventions of the day) the piano piece. The composer
did not write voice leading in the keyboard parts, he only wrote the
figured bass. Hence the name, there is a bass part with the
"figures" (numbers) above it. Other than that, there may be a melody
written for reference or to be played, and the performer improvised
the part writing.

This, however, has never been referenced by me, nor has your stated
context in this paragraph. Part writing is quite evident in all of
Bach's vocal ensembles and his instrumental ensembles. That has been
the discussion so far.
Post by paramucho
Did they study each other? no, did they come to the same conclusion?
yes, Does it matter who wrote what? I don't think so.
I don't know what you mean by "did they come to the same conclusion?"
If you're saying that Bach wrote music that Fux might have approved
of, then "yes" is the answer, but that doesn't establish any kind of
theoretical connection between Fux and Bach at all. Thousands of
composers could write counterpoint before Fux. At this broad level I
think Fux is almost redundant in Bach's world. He became more relevant
as the church style became more and more old ancient history.
Actually, I don't think that Fux would have approved of Bach's music
very much. Bach was a functional harmony composer and Fux only wrote
about the older modal style. I think that we will have to leave it at
your not being able to understand the similarities of Fux and his part
writing in the modal style and Bach using the same concepts in the
Functional style. This seems to be evading you and it is the focus of
my response. If you don't see it as different applications of the same
theory, then there is no sense continuing as it will lead to nothing
but more misunderstanding and arguments for arguments sake. Maybe at
another time.
Post by paramucho
I have seen no evidence to support the notion that Bach used a formal
species/linear approach to counterpoint. His approach to teaching was
based on figured bass. Now, the precise details of Bach's tuition
remain a mystery but if anything is to be believed at all it is that
he rejected the Fuxian approach, as quoted.
Sorry if you  took offense.;
At no point--I just like clarity.
Well then we are at least trying for the same end. Maybe this question
will help achieve this goal.

Can you see that if you used the procedures for part writing expressed
in Fux's writings that the same procedure used with functional harmony
will result in the same part writing solutions that will be obtained
if you learn the myriad of rules that are taught in many theory
classes to produce good part writing?

Basically I am asking if you can see the connection of the concept
written by Fux to its use by Bach in his part writing.
Post by paramucho
LJS
Ian
paramucho
2009-05-08 03:58:26 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 7 May 2009 10:44:31 -0700 (PDT), LJS <***@gmail.com>
wrote:


<snip>
Post by LJS
I don't know that Beethoven really used figured bass. He may have, but
I did not see any examples of this. Since this topic is about theory,
however, could it be that you mean Roman Numeral notation for
Functional harmony? Figured bass is a notational method that spells
chords used a lot in the Baroque period?
Functional harmony theory and Roman Number theory did not exist in the
18th century. You seem to believe that figured bass was merely a
notational device and you seem to be oblivious to the central role
that figured bass occupied in 18th century music theory. See further
below.

In any case, you entirely miss my point which was to show that I did
believe that Bach et al grew up in a vacuum.
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
  Dear Friends, I took such trouble merely in order to clarify bass
  figuration so that I might guide others. So far as mistakes are
  concerned, I almost never needed to study for myself; I felt such
  sensitivity since childhood that I proceeded without knowing that
  something had to be so or could not be otherwise.
I don't know what this is about. Is this your words or a quote from
someone else? Or are you saying that you redefined RN analysis as
figured bass? There is a big difference in the two.
In fact, this is a direct quote from Alfred Mann's wonderful book
THEORY AND PRACTICE, page 71, where he discusses Beethoven's
counterpoint lessons with Haydn et al. I am increasingly aware that
you "don't know what this is about" since you seem to know nothing
about the theoretical role played by figured bass in the 18th century.

<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
  Beethoven said that he never needed figured bass and learned it only
  so that it could use it in teaching. The idea that composers needed
  theory classes in order to create their music is simply unsupported.
  Which doesn't mean that they were disinterested in all facets of
  their craft, including theory.
Is that term actually used in the your research? I find it hard to
believe that Beethoven used the term 'Figured bass' to describe
functional harmony. If he did, I would suspect that it was a
translator's mistake.
See above for the exact quote. The translator is Alfred Mann, LOL, the
translator of the Dover edition of Fux. He's the expert in the field.
Now perhaps you'd like to ask yourself why Mann would think the
mention of figured bass was quite natural in the period.

As stated already, the concept of "functional harmony" did not exist
in Beethoven's time. Figured bass was still in use as a theoretical
vehicle when Beethoven was younger. It took some time for Rameau-based
teaching systems to evolve. Until that happened figured bass was just
about the only way to describe chordal behavior. It is still in use
today in one form or another.
<snip>

<snip>
Post by LJS
If we were talking about these topics you would be correct. You are
saying that my statement about Bach and Fux are wrong, the rest of
this is not really relevant now is it?
If you go back to the beginning of this thread you'll see that these
topics were part of the earlier posts. Until you realize that figured
bass was an alternate theory, predating Fux's book, you won't really
be able to make any sensible judgements about Bach's world.

<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
Now, part writing may be a big part of a student's job when it comes
to passing exams, but we shouldn't view Bach's world through the prism
of the 21st century teaching environment. In Bach's world part writing
was a relatively small part of the composer's job. Bach's attitude
seems to have been that one should learn how to write/improvise whole
pieces of music and that the details should be refined as one learns
the craft. Apart from that, figured bass, as presented by CPE Bach,
provides a vehicle for the study of voice leading between chords
(which Fux can't provide).
Here is that term again. When a composer used figured bass, he wrote a
bass part and the figured bass to indicate the chords to be sounded
above it. The performer then used this as a guide and improvised
(according to conventions of the day) the piano piece. The composer
did not write voice leading in the keyboard parts, he only wrote the
figured bass. Hence the name, there is a bass part with the
"figures" (numbers) above it. Other than that, there may be a melody
written for reference or to be played, and the performer improvised
the part writing.
This, however, has never been referenced by me, nor has your stated
context in this paragraph. Part writing is quite evident in all of
Bach's vocal ensembles and his instrumental ensembles. That has been
the discussion so far.
Figured bass has been one of topics since you joined this thread.
Indeed, your first response to me was:

<begin quote>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
Post by paramucho
Beethoven said that he never needed figured bass and learned it only
so that it could use it in teaching. The idea that composers needed
theory classes in order to create their music is simply unsupported.
Which doesn't mean that they were disinterested in all facets of their
craft, including theory.
You wrote:
I do find support that they learned it in their writings. Maybe they
did not learn it in class, but they learned it never the less.
<end quote>

Reading your post I can only come to the conclusion that you seem to
be entirely unaware of the teaching role played by figured bass in the
18th century. Figured bass acted as a vehicle to teach chord-to-chord
behavior. Think about it this way: the improvised realization of a
figured bass was expected to sound as if was a composed piece of
music, thus, to learn how to realize a figured bass was to learn how
to compose.

CPE Bach's ESSAY ON THE TRUE ART OF PLAYING KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS is
one of the core documents of the 18th century. In the thorough bass
section Bach begins with a chapter on intervals and signatures. The
second chapter deals with the triad, voicings etc. He also instructs
the novice to begin with contrary motion in order that "treacherous
progressions" may be avoided with the advice that similar motion may
be introduced as the novice becomes more experienced. Bach then
describes to chord-to-chord behavior in greater detail than I think
you'll find in any later textbook. Here's a random passage (page 248
of the Mitchell translation):

THE SIX-FIVE CHORD
1. The examples of Figure 318 show us how the sixth, as well as its
underlying diminished fifth, may enter unprepared (a). The
underlying progression without elisions is illustrated in b. The
fifth of the first bass note must not be placed on top, for the
diminished fifth progression belongs to the inner parts.

Figure 318
6\-
a. 5b a.6 5b 6 5b 6 a. b. 6 5b b. 3 5b 6
C: E |#F G ||G |F# G||E |#F G ||G...||E |#F G ||E |#F G ||

Bach's manual is a complete description of the practice of his period
and he implies that it's based on his father's approach. (IIRC JS Bach
seems to have used his edited version of Neidt's thoroughbass manual).


Haydn called the CPE Bach "Essay" "the school of schools". Beethoven
insisted that the young Czerny bring a copy of the "Essay" to his
music classes. Etc, etc.
<snip>
Ian
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-08 18:05:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
I don't know that Beethoven really used figured bass. He may have, but
I did not see any examples of this. Since this topic is about theory,
however, could it be that you mean Roman Numeral notation for
Functional harmony? Figured bass is a notational method that spells
chords used a lot in the Baroque period?
Functional harmony theory and Roman Number theory did not exist in the
18th century. You seem to believe that figured bass was merely a
notational device and you seem to be oblivious to the central role
that figured bass occupied in 18th century music theory. See further
below.
Hmm.
By today's methods of functional analysis figured bass tells us hardly
anything about a chord other than its vertical intervallic qualities.
It tells us nothing about its relationship to the key.
By today's standards and compared to today's methods of Tonal analysis I
really don't think of figured bass as being much of a "theoretical"
description of anything. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I see figured bass as
being simply a form of chord-symbol notation similar to the jazz/pop
chord symbols in use today by jazz and commercial musicians.

Excuse my ignorance of pre-Tonal ideas, but in what ways was (is)
figured bass used in a theoretical capacity?

And by "theoretical" I don't mean a discussion of harmonic techniques
that were used or not used by various composers.
I mean an abstract explanation of important facets of the harmonic movement.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
paramucho
2009-05-09 06:10:29 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 08 May 2009 14:05:17 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
I don't know that Beethoven really used figured bass. He may have, but
I did not see any examples of this. Since this topic is about theory,
however, could it be that you mean Roman Numeral notation for
Functional harmony? Figured bass is a notational method that spells
chords used a lot in the Baroque period?
Functional harmony theory and Roman Number theory did not exist in the
18th century. You seem to believe that figured bass was merely a
notational device and you seem to be oblivious to the central role
that figured bass occupied in 18th century music theory. See further
below.
Hmm.
By today's methods of functional analysis figured bass tells us hardly
anything about a chord other than its vertical intervallic qualities.
It tells us nothing about its relationship to the key.
By today's standards and compared to today's methods of Tonal analysis I
really don't think of figured bass as being much of a "theoretical"
description of anything. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I see figured bass as
being simply a form of chord-symbol notation similar to the jazz/pop
chord symbols in use today by jazz and commercial musicians.
Excuse my ignorance of pre-Tonal ideas, but in what ways was (is)
figured bass used in a theoretical capacity?
And by "theoretical" I don't mean a discussion of harmonic techniques
that were used or not used by various composers.
I mean an abstract explanation of important facets of the harmonic movement.
Regarding the the question of figured bass, while we now think of
chord signatures as mere labels that's not how they were approached in
the 18th century. There's an analogous situation with Roman Numbers,
which, without further intepretation, merely label chords, and yet
most of us associate particular behaviors with I, IV and V. Likewise,
the 18th century musician associated particular behaviors with chord
signatures or chord signature progressions.

For example, CPE Bach takes over twenty pages to describe behaviors
associated with the 7th chord which he presents in terms of figured
bass progressions. For each he describes the motion of specific
notes/intervals. He's also concerned with voicing, doubling and often
comments on behaviors appropriate to "galant" or church music.

Now, you might wrinkle your brow at this point and say that's all
irrelevant to the analysis of music, but there simply is no simple way
to project our mindset back on that period. They *wrote* about music
terms of chord-to-chord relationships, and I think we still do think
in that approach. The kind of structural analysis we expect these days
has been layered on top of chord-to-chord thinking.

Functional analysis doesn't suddenly burst into life with Rameau. He
does provide major building blocks, but we tend to see them our
functional eyes, not as they were seen at the time. Rameau's
definitions of Tonic, Dominant and Subdominant overlap our modern
definitions, but they're not exactly the same. And while Rameau did
have an almost immediate impact, it was mostly concerned with
inversion theory and the like, not harmonic analysis.

Indeed, the vocabulary of ideas we now associate with chord function
took a century to emerge. For example, functional analysis, as we
understand it, couldn't really get off the ground until theories of
form had evolved. In that period Rameau's ideas were reshaped and
refined.

Another consolidator was required to pull this new stuff together.
According to Lester, in his chapter on Rameau in THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY
OF WESTERN MUSIC THEORY, p774, "a full-blown theory of harmonic
functions did not flower until the work of Hugo Riemann late in the
nineteenth century." Riemann was still refining his model in the early
1900s. It's Riemann who made the idea of "function" famous. British
writers such as Prout and Tovey build on Riemann, as does Schenker for
that matter.

So, the actual history of functional analysis is not all that old,
indeed, it's probably still in a post-Riemann flowering period.
Riemann is not well known in the english-speaking countries, but he's
the common denominator in Germany, Russia and other european countries
(although heavily reformulated, just as Rameau is). And, what might
interest you is that he is a chord-based analyst who rejects figured
bass. When Schenker comes along he rejects Riemann and embraces
figured bass.


Ian
LJS
2009-05-10 05:42:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
On Fri, 08 May 2009 14:05:17 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
I don't know that Beethoven really used figured bass. He may have, but
I did not  see any examples of this. Since this topic is about theory,
however, could it be that you mean Roman Numeral notation for
Functional harmony? Figured bass is a notational method that spells
chords used a lot in the Baroque period?
Functional harmony theory and Roman Number theory did not exist in the
18th century. You seem to believe that figured bass was merely a
notational device and you seem to be oblivious to the central role
that figured bass occupied in 18th century music theory. See further
below.
Hmm.
By today's methods of functional analysis figured bass tells us hardly
anything about a chord other than its vertical intervallic qualities.
It tells us nothing about its relationship to the key.
By today's standards and compared to today's methods of Tonal analysis I
really don't think of figured bass as being much of a "theoretical"
description of anything. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I see figured bass as
being simply a form of chord-symbol notation similar to the jazz/pop
chord symbols in use today by jazz and commercial musicians.
Excuse my ignorance of pre-Tonal ideas, but in what ways was (is)
figured bass used in a theoretical capacity?
And by "theoretical" I don't mean a discussion of harmonic techniques
that were used or not used by various composers.
I mean an abstract explanation of important facets of the harmonic movement.
Regarding the the question of figured bass, while we now think of
chord signatures as mere labels that's not how they were approached in
the 18th century. There's an analogous situation with Roman Numbers,
which, without further intepretation, merely label chords, and yet
most of us associate particular behaviors with I, IV and V. Likewise,
the 18th century musician associated particular behaviors with chord
signatures or chord signature progressions.
Isn't this a description of functional harmony? We have spoken many
times in this NG about the tools of analysis. The numerals themselves
are notational devices, the patterns that they follow is the first
step of the analysis and when this is done, these [particular
behaviors] are the the functional progressions that we know to be
characteristic of that period. This is all rather common ideas and
established facts. Call it [Particular behaviors] if you like, during
my lifetime, I know it as Chord progressions.
Post by paramucho
For example, CPE Bach takes over twenty pages to describe behaviors
associated with the 7th chord which he presents in terms of figured
bass progressions. For each he describes the motion of specific
notes/intervals. He's also concerned with voicing, doubling and often
comments on behaviors appropriate to "galant" or church music.
Yes. That is an interesting example of a very important concept. The
one I remember reading was concerning the conventions of the day that
was acceptable for musicians to play from figured bass. He may have
dropped in theory as he was documenting the conventions that he found
and heard to be accepted at that time. It was an interesting lesson. I
didn't know that he wrote another one that used it for analysis.

The one I remember covered things that a performer might use in
performance. It was of interest to me because it talked about things
like voicing and motion and basic part writing "rule" and it was a
performance teaching text. Musicologists love it as it is so detailed
etc that they can and did write hundreds of papers on this. But CPE
used this as a vehicle for explaining how to play. He, as a teacher,
had to explain some things to the students that would study his book.
He may have even been the spark that created the RN notation, but
Figured Bass is the notation system. CPE then taught theory while he
taught the notation. You can see that it was a book that was showing
how to perform. Galant, church music, different ways of interpreting
the Figured Bass.

Let me ask you. Does his theory comments tell you HOW to use the
theory to perform the work? or does it tell you WHY the composer chose
that particular "figure" for that particular "bass"?
Post by paramucho
Now, you might wrinkle your brow at this point
[ I'm all a twitter ] and say that's all
Post by paramucho
irrelevant to the analysis of music, but there simply is no simple way
to project our mindset back on that period. They *wrote* about music
terms of chord-to-chord relationships, and I think we still do think
in that approach. The kind of structural analysis we expect these days
has been layered on top of chord-to-chord thinking.
Now you are describing Fux's teachings. Mostly the first species! and
then as you point out, we now expect chord to chord thinking. Well yes
it took a while for us to get to chord to chord thinking to the other
layers, it took the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque
period. His FATHER really bridged the gap of the two ways of thinking.
I am sure that he knew more of the theory than even his father did. He
would have to teach it and maybe he did use Figured Bass in the same
manner that a Jazz musician would use chord symbols to show you how to
get through a gig on a society band that only required you to play a
musical part writing of the chords indicated. These composers knocked
out an arrangement simply for these types of things. A melody, maybe a
counter melody or more depending on who was available for the gig. and
a bass part that had the figures to spell out the chords for any of
the guys on the gig that could not hear what was going on. Sort of
like wedding casuals of today. So the composer basically wrote a bass
line chord symbols and the melody. That is the concept of figured
bass. The fake books of today is the Figured Bass of yesteryear. It is
no more theory than a lead sheet from the fake book is theory. Does
theory help to understand and preform it better? Yes, but Figured Bass
is NOT theory.
Post by paramucho
Functional analysis doesn't suddenly burst into life with Rameau. He
does provide major building blocks, but we tend to see them our
functional eyes, not as they were seen at the time. Rameau's
definitions of Tonic, Dominant and Subdominant overlap our modern
definitions, but they're not exactly the same. And while Rameau did
have an almost immediate impact, it was mostly concerned with
inversion theory and the like, not harmonic analysis.
Well, they are functional. And we can see where they came from. Just
because we can see different things beyond Rameau's experience doesn't
mean that we can't see it through his eyes, or any one else's eyes.
Conceptualization is one of the important skills required of the
musician. I am sure you, just as I and most musicians, have these
skills. I can only speak from my own experience. I can see rather
clearly how they though about theory in its various stages. It is,
after all, well documented in the music itself. If you learn the
music, you can learn to think like the composer. At least, I can. Well
with the composers that I am studying that is and at least to certain
levels.

Can I completely think like any one specific composer? At least some.
But only from a musical sense and with lots of study and analysis.
But this is what studying music theory is. It is learning to think
like the composers of each period. I may have mentioned this story
before, but Bill Evans was known for going to the practice room and
playing through the fake books #1 and #2 (orginal) and working through
the tunes in the styles of what he was studying. We were taught that
way. That is how we learned theory. One of the tests as to weather you
know something is if you can use it and if you can put it into
application and to put it into different contexts and to discover
which contexts have been changed or chosen or modified and how and why
and how ever you think it is important to go into any specific point.

But yes, you can go back to what was in the head of the composer.
Post by paramucho
Indeed, the vocabulary of ideas we now associate with chord function
took a century to emerge. For example, functional analysis, as we
understand it, couldn't really get off the ground until theories of
form had evolved. In that period Rameau's ideas were reshaped and
refined.
So are you saying that as Rameau learned more he came to my way of
thinking?
Post by paramucho
Another consolidator was required to pull this new stuff together.
According to Lester, in his chapter on Rameau in THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY
OF WESTERN MUSIC THEORY, p774, "a full-blown theory of harmonic
functions did not flower until the work of Hugo Riemann late in the
nineteenth century." Riemann was still refining his model in the early
1900s. It's Riemann who made the idea of "function" famous. British
writers such as Prout and Tovey build on Riemann, as does Schenker for
that matter.
So, the actual history of functional analysis is not all that old,
indeed, it's probably still in a post-Riemann flowering period.
Riemann is not well known in the english-speaking countries, but he's
the common denominator in Germany, Russia and other european countries
(although heavily reformulated, just as Rameau is). And, what might
interest you is that he is a chord-based analyst who rejects figured
bass. When Schenker comes along he rejects Riemann and embraces
figured bass.
Ian
Ian, I don't know what to say. You are going on and on about
notational issues and have somehow missed the implications of what ou
have said. If FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS was not understood until the 1900s,
what do you think that LvB, Mozart, Bach, and all the rest, Brahms,
hell EVERYONE of the CPP was writing and all of these composers just
had no idea of what they were doing. They were just going along
writing variations of this always striving to find a new way to
disguise the functional progressions so as to create surprise and
other reactions but they had no idea of what they were doing.
Amazing.

And far from true as well. Maybe you are confusing the NOTATION with
the THEORY. Maybe Roman Numeral Notation was not solidified until
1900 but your statements suggest that it was being worked on earlier
than that. But irregardless, Chord function was no mystery to the
composers. It may have taken theorists until then to decide upon which
system of analysis should be universal, but the theory was around as
long as the music. Maybe written down, maybe passed on word of mouth,
but it was there.

Figured bass is a notational system. Use it how you want, it is still
a notational system just as Roman Numeral Notation is not theory
either, it is also a notational system. And so is a Tone Row Matrix.
And so is Alpha Chord notation with and without /bass notation and/or
inversion notation thrown in with chord modifiers. They are all
notational systems and may be used in theory but they are in no way
what theory is about. They are about theory, theory is not about the
notation.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-10 11:06:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Ian, I don't know what to say. You are going on and on about
notational issues and have somehow missed the implications of what ou
have said....
And far from true as well. Maybe you are confusing the NOTATION with
the THEORY...
Figured bass is a notational system. Use it how you want, it is still
a notational system just as Roman Numeral Notation is not theory
either, it is also a notational system. And so is a Tone Row Matrix.
And so is Alpha Chord notation with and without /bass notation and/or
inversion notation thrown in with chord modifiers. They are all
notational systems and may be used in theory but they are in no way
what theory is about. They are about theory, theory is not about the
notation.
Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures. However, the professional
musician of the period was expected to more than just play
disconnected chords, thus manuals like that of CPE Bach describe just
about every chord-to-chord context a musician might encounter, and in
doing so provide instruction in voice leading. Heinrich Schenker
recognises that when he writes:

The first to fall victim to the new theory of Rameau was figured
bass... The theory of figured bass, however, could have still
remained as a theory of voice leading. It was therefore a fatal
blunder to have exchanged the voice-leading theory of figured bass
for Rameau's theory of harmony.
DAS MEISTERWERK IN MUSIK in CONTEMPLATING MUSIC, p634

http://books.google.com/books?id=KQGzpmGfgu0C&pg=PA634&dq=figured+bass+theory&ei=1pQGSon7HarKkQTJr-nwCA

[In a footnote on the same page Schenker references:]
CPE Bach's Generalbasslehre [The Theory Of Figured Bass], a
profound work of German genius and the only work in musical
literature which actually leads towards the music...

In fact the literature is peppered with references to and descriptions
of thorough-bass theory. You'll find a summary of the origins in the
reference below. Other references can be found in the same docuent via
the SEARCH bar using "thorough-bass"
http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA457&dq=thoroughbass+theory+subject:music&lr=&as_brr=3&ei=RYMGSpW2IJWWkATwk-X9DQ#PPA456,M1
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF MUSIC THEORY, 456

In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that expect that to deter you.

Ian
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-10 22:00:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures. However, the professional
musician of the period was expected to more than just play
disconnected chords, thus manuals like that of CPE Bach describe just
about every chord-to-chord context a musician might encounter, and in
doing so provide instruction in voice leading.
But voice leading is technique, not theory.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
LJS
2009-05-11 02:34:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures. However, the professional
musician of the period was expected to more than just play
disconnected chords, thus manuals like that of CPE Bach describe just
about every chord-to-chord context a musician might encounter, and in
doing so provide instruction in voice leading.
But voice leading is technique, not theory.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
LJS
2009-05-11 02:52:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures. However, the professional
musician of the period was expected to more than just play
disconnected chords, thus manuals like that of CPE Bach describe just
about every chord-to-chord context a musician might encounter, and in
doing so provide instruction in voice leading.
But voice leading is technique, not theory.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
no, it really two, two, two things in one!" Yes, things can be that
way. Just think about what you are saying Joey, your sttment implies
that voice leading is not theory. Fux wrote books about it, we all
stydy it, it has different "rules" for different periids and it is
theory just as anything that involves how you connect the notes as
well as other things. Is it a technique, yes it is. Once the theory
describes the conventions and "rules" for a specific period, Then you
can use the techniques that define the proper conventions to create
music in that specific style.

Your statement also implies that since we use technique to put chords
together with a melody that there is no technique that you ccan learn
to do this. Well, that simply is not true. If you learn the technique
of moving away from tonic and then returning through the cycle of
fifths that this is not theory either.

The real question here for Para is more one of why would you think
that because there are theory connections to the Figured Bass that it
is the theory? You can use the figured bass to teach theory. It is the
same as using Roman Numerals (RN by the way is not theory either? With
FB, the chords are spelled out. This is just like the Alpha notation
used in Jazz. It tells you what notes are in the chords. BUT just as
the fake book doesn't tell you how to voice the chords, neither does
the figured bass. The writing that is being discussed by CPE is
similar to a theory book that uses theory to teach the conventions of
the gig that uses FB.

Joey might teach theory using Alpha notation similar to CPE Bach. BUt
he is using theory that he learned some other way and this technique
of how to use these chords on the gig requires theory from an outside
source. Just as Joey might teach how or when to slide chromatically to
connect some chords or to change position for better voice leading so
it is with CPE and Figured bass. The descriptions by CPE and Joey are
the theory. They are applying the theory to the chords defined by the
figured. bass. There is no functional implication derrived from the
figured bass. The FB provides no information of relation of the chords
as to key or progression or anything except the notes that are there
so there is no theory that is directly related to the Figured bass.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-11 13:38:35 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 10 May 2009 19:52:54 -0700 (PDT), LJS <***@gmail.com>
wrote:

<snip>
Post by LJS
The real question here for Para is more one of why would you think
that because there are theory connections to the Figured Bass that it
is the theory?
I have used the accepted historical term, "thorough-bass theory" to
describe the school of thinking. You're the person who has been
restricting the term to its notational usage. That's your problem.

<snip>
Post by LJS
The FB provides no information of relation of the chords
as to key or progression or anything except the notes that are there
so there is no theory that is directly related to the Figured bass.
As in your previous response to me, you seem to be blissfully unaware
of throrough-bass theory and teaching which, in essence, develops the
whole area of chord-to-chord relationships.

Here again is my response to your previous post where I clarified the
distinction between thorough-bass as a purely notational system and as
a school of thought. Go right ahead if you want to reinvent history
and un-invent thorough-bass theory--no-one here is going to stop you.

Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures. However, the professional
musician of the period was expected to more than just play
disconnected chords, thus manuals like that of CPE Bach describe just
about every chord-to-chord context a musician might encounter, and in
doing so provide instruction in voice leading. Heinrich Schenker
recognises that when he writes:

The first to fall victim to the new theory of Rameau was figured
bass... The theory of figured bass, however, could have still
remained as a theory of voice leading. It was therefore a fatal
blunder to have exchanged the voice-leading theory of figured bass
for Rameau's theory of harmony.
DAS MEISTERWERK IN MUSIK in CONTEMPLATING MUSIC, p634

http://books.google.com/books?id=KQGzpmGfgu0C&pg=PA634&dq=figured+bass+theory&ei=1pQGSon7HarKkQTJr-nwCA

[In a footnote on the same page Schenker references:]
CPE Bach's Generalbasslehre [The Theory Of Figured Bass], a
profound work of German genius and the only work in musical
literature which actually leads towards the music...

In fact the literature is peppered with references to and descriptions
of thorough-bass theory. You'll find a summary of the origins in the
reference below. Other references can be found in the same docuent via
the SEARCH bar using "thorough-bass"
http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA457&dq=thoroughbass+theory+subject:music&lr=&as_brr=3&ei=RYMGSpW2IJWWkATwk-X9DQ#PPA456,M1
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF MUSIC THEORY, 456

In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that I expect that to deter you.

Ian


Ian
LJS
2009-05-11 18:09:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
<snip>
The real question here for Para  is more one of why would you think
that because there are theory connections to the Figured Bass that it
is the theory?
I have used the accepted historical term, "thorough-bass theory" to
describe the school of thinking. You're the person who has been
restricting the term to its notational usage. That's your problem.
<snip>
The FB provides no information of relation of the chords
as to key or progression or anything except the notes that are there
so there is no theory that is directly related to the Figured bass.
As in your previous response to me, you seem to be blissfully unaware
of throrough-bass theory and teaching which, in essence, develops the
whole area of chord-to-chord relationships.
Here again is my response to your previous post where I clarified the
distinction between thorough-bass as a purely notational system and as
a school of thought. Go right ahead if you want to reinvent history
and un-invent thorough-bass theory--no-one here is going to stop you.
Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures. However, the professional
musician of the period was expected to more than just play
disconnected chords, thus manuals like that of CPE Bach describe just
about every chord-to-chord context a musician might encounter, and in
doing so provide instruction in voice leading. Heinrich Schenker
  The first to fall victim to the new theory of Rameau was figured
  bass... The theory of figured bass, however, could have still
  remained as a theory of voice leading. It was therefore a fatal
  blunder to have exchanged the voice-leading theory of figured bass
  for Rameau's theory of harmony.
    DAS MEISTERWERK IN MUSIK in CONTEMPLATING MUSIC, p634
http://books.google.com/books?id=KQGzpmGfgu0C&pg=PA634&dq=figured+bas...
  [In a footnote on the same page Schenker references:]
  CPE Bach's Generalbasslehre [The Theory Of Figured Bass], a
  profound work of German genius and the only work in musical
  literature which actually leads towards the music...
In fact the literature is peppered with references to and descriptions
of thorough-bass theory. You'll find a summary of the origins in the
reference below. Other references can be found in the same docuent via
the SEARCH bar using "thorough-bass"http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA457&dq=thoroughbas...
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF MUSIC THEORY, 456
In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that I expect that to deter you.
Ian
Ian
And when you learn what it is and how to keep things in the same
context for your conclusions you may understand what you are really
saying.

Didn't I respond to this and point out how your context was different
with your facts and your conclusion!

Read, actually read the citations that you linked to the google books.
They are talking about something other than theory?

Maybe this will help you understand. Answer this question please:

What do you think music theory is? Maybe this is the problem. I
really don't understand. You research, you get information and then
you don't seem to apply it to the question. If your research shows
something other than you are trying to say, then it is not applicable!
Now you are trying to find 'Through bass Theory' to use in your
argument!!

Look, didn't it seem a bit strange that when you looked up another
term, that they spoke of the thorough bass theory on page 457 and they
got to some specifics that were in reference to the tuning that was
required for this theory and other statements that have nothing to do
with Figured Bass that you might be misunderstanding something? These
are all different things than Figured Bass! But, no, you see the term
BASS and you just copy and paste anything that uses the same words
with no thought as to how the words are used in the article.

If you went any farther off context you would be claiming that this
large mouthed fish with tatoos was the same as music theory?

What exactly are you trying to say?

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-12 03:57:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that I expect that to deter you.
Ian
Ian
And when you learn what it is and how to keep things in the same
context for your conclusions you may understand what you are really
saying.
In fact it was you responded to me, out of context, in a response to
Joey. There was no post for me at the time, so I took that as your
response.
Post by LJS
Didn't I respond to this and point out how your context was different
with your facts and your conclusion!
Your direct response to me came after I had posted the above, and I
have now responded to that post as well.


Ian
LJS
2009-05-12 13:42:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that I expect that to deter you.
Ian
Ian
And when you learn what it is and how to keep things in the same
context for your conclusions you may understand what you are really
saying.
In fact it was you responded to me, out of context, in a response to
Joey. There was no post for me at the time, so I took that as your
response.
No, it isn't.
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
Didn't I respond to this and point out how your context was different
with your facts and your conclusion!
Your direct response to me came after I had posted the above, and I
have now responded to that post as well.
Ian
Huh! But I still don't have your position clear. You may have
responded, although I am not sure to what you are referring, but you
have not answered anything asked!

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-11 13:38:23 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 10 May 2009 18:00:03 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures. However, the professional
musician of the period was expected to more than just play
disconnected chords, thus manuals like that of CPE Bach describe just
about every chord-to-chord context a musician might encounter, and in
doing so provide instruction in voice leading.
But voice leading is technique, not theory.
Here's a discussion of an improvised fantasia from CPE Bach's manual
that I copied some time ago (transposing the text and example from D
major to C major). The exact details don't matter, it's way he talks
analytically about chords and the piece in general.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
CPE Bach, Improvisation, THE TRUE ART OF PLAYING KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS
(Mitchell), p442
[IH: my comments in square brackets]

The framework of the [improvisation], in the form of a figured bass,
may be found in Figure 479. The note values have been written as
accurately as can be expected. In performance each chord is
arpeggiated twice. When the second arpeggio is taken in a different
register by either the right or left hand, the change is indicated in
the fantasia. The tones of the slow, fully gripped chords, which are
played as arpeggios, are all of equal duration, even though the
restrictions of space have necessitated the superposing of white and
black notes in the interests of greater legibility.

At the beginning and end (1) of the sketch (Figure 479) we find long
extensions of the tonic harmony.

At (2) there is a modulation to the fifth on which the performer
remains for some time until at (x) he moves toward D minor.

The three tones at (3), joined by a slur, elucidate the transition to
the repetition of the chord of the second [3rd inversion 7th chord]
which is regained by an interchange of chordal tones.

The transition is performed in slow figuration, the bass being
purposely omitted from the piece as performed.

The change from the seventh chord on A to the following chord on
A-flat is an ellipsis, for normally the six-four chord on A or the
triad on B flat would precede the chord of the second.

The chord at (4) seems to point toward C minor, but the minor chord is
omitted and instead the chord of the second (5) with an augmented
fourth is played on Bb as if the plan were to move on to the F major
chord. Instead, the F minor chord is played at (6), to be followed
largely by dissonant relationships leading back to the principal
tonality, on which the fantasia ends over an organ point.
Post by Joey Goldstein
Figure 479
Allegro
7
6 7 7 # 6n 7 b7 6 7 65 648
6 4 5 2 6 # 4 3 67 2n n 2n# 2 6 5 b 5 2 5 b 5 43 8b7423
<C A E F G G C B A D G EAA A GFA G B A F F E F F G C > Bass line
(1) (2) (x) (3) (4)(5)(6) (1)
------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, is Bach approaching the music entirely from a concrete/practical
or are there substantantial abstract/ theoretical elements? Statements
such as:

"the change...is an ellipsis...", where he discusses an expected but
missing chord in the progression.

or:

"the chord at (4) seems to point toward C minor", where he discusses
an expected progression.

or:

"to be followed by largely dissonant relationships leading back to
the principal tonality", which characterizes a longer chordal
passage and references the home tonality.

show clearly that CPE Bach knows what is happening in the music
tonally, as we would expect. What I find surprising is his ability to
express his thoughts so compactly and lucidly. He's not struggling to
get his description out but rather using a well-developed, refined
language to pinpoint the key elements of the progression he is
interested in. This kind of language doesn't drop like manna from
heaven, it needs to be evolved and refined and that's the process
takes place in the thorough-bass period (1600-17xx) using the
thorough-bass model as the vehicle.

The point that should be taken from thorough-bass notation is not that

it serves to label chords but that it reflects how musicians were
beginning to think about music in terms of harmonic entities and
relationships, i.e. as progressions of independent, but connected
sonorities. That's the revolution which takes place at the time.
That's where the new theoretical approachs are needed, it's this
thinking, which develops as thorough-bass theory, that Rameau takes as
his point of departure.

Ian
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-11 18:28:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
On Sun, 10 May 2009 18:00:03 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures. However, the professional
musician of the period was expected to more than just play
disconnected chords, thus manuals like that of CPE Bach describe just
about every chord-to-chord context a musician might encounter, and in
doing so provide instruction in voice leading.
But voice leading is technique, not theory.
Here's a discussion of an improvised fantasia from CPE Bach's manual
that I copied some time ago (transposing the text and example from D
major to C major). The exact details don't matter, it's way he talks
analytically about chords and the piece in general.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
CPE Bach, Improvisation, THE TRUE ART OF PLAYING KEYBOARD INSTRUMENTS
(Mitchell), p442
[IH: my comments in square brackets]
The framework of the [improvisation], in the form of a figured bass,
may be found in Figure 479. The note values have been written as
accurately as can be expected. In performance each chord is
arpeggiated twice. When the second arpeggio is taken in a different
register by either the right or left hand, the change is indicated in
the fantasia. The tones of the slow, fully gripped chords, which are
played as arpeggios, are all of equal duration, even though the
restrictions of space have necessitated the superposing of white and
black notes in the interests of greater legibility.
At the beginning and end (1) of the sketch (Figure 479) we find long
extensions of the tonic harmony.
At (2) there is a modulation to the fifth on which the performer
remains for some time until at (x) he moves toward D minor.
The three tones at (3), joined by a slur, elucidate the transition to
the repetition of the chord of the second [3rd inversion 7th chord]
which is regained by an interchange of chordal tones.
The transition is performed in slow figuration, the bass being
purposely omitted from the piece as performed.
The change from the seventh chord on A to the following chord on
A-flat is an ellipsis, for normally the six-four chord on A or the
triad on B flat would precede the chord of the second.
The chord at (4) seems to point toward C minor, but the minor chord is
omitted and instead the chord of the second (5) with an augmented
fourth is played on Bb as if the plan were to move on to the F major
chord. Instead, the F minor chord is played at (6), to be followed
largely by dissonant relationships leading back to the principal
tonality, on which the fantasia ends over an organ point.
Post by Joey Goldstein
Figure 479
Allegro
7
6 7 7 # 6n 7 b7 6 7 65 648
6 4 5 2 6 # 4 3 67 2n n 2n# 2 6 5 b 5 2 5 b 5 43 8b7423
<C A E F G G C B A D G EAA A GFA G B A F F E F F G C > Bass line
(1) (2) (x) (3) (4)(5)(6) (1)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Now, is Bach approaching the music entirely from a concrete/practical
or are there substantantial abstract/ theoretical elements? Statements
"the change...is an ellipsis...", where he discusses an expected but
missing chord in the progression.
"the chord at (4) seems to point toward C minor", where he discusses
an expected progression.
"to be followed by largely dissonant relationships leading back to
the principal tonality", which characterizes a longer chordal
passage and references the home tonality.
show clearly that CPE Bach knows what is happening in the music
tonally, as we would expect. What I find surprising is his ability to
express his thoughts so compactly and lucidly. He's not struggling to
get his description out but rather using a well-developed, refined
language to pinpoint the key elements of the progression he is
interested in. This kind of language doesn't drop like manna from
heaven, it needs to be evolved and refined and that's the process
takes place in the thorough-bass period (1600-17xx) using the
thorough-bass model as the vehicle.
The point that should be taken from thorough-bass notation is not that
it serves to label chords but that it reflects how musicians were
beginning to think about music in terms of harmonic entities and
relationships, i.e. as progressions of independent, but connected
sonorities. That's the revolution which takes place at the time.
That's where the new theoretical approachs are needed, it's this
thinking, which develops as thorough-bass theory, that Rameau takes as
his point of departure.
Ian
Fine. It's obviously true that figured bass played a role in what can be
called the development of chord-based music.
But the figured bass itself is not part of the analysis above. The
analysis here is his discussion of the music and he's using abstract
terms like "tonic" etc. to describe how the chords are moving. As far as
I can see he only mentions figured bass once when referring to a 6/4
chord and that's only for the purpose of identifying it.

Your paste of "Figure 479" didn't work so well. It's unintelligible. I
think you need to use a mono-spaced font.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
tom_k
2009-05-11 18:57:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Fine. It's obviously true that figured bass played a role in what can be
called the development of chord-based music.
But the figured bass itself is not part of the analysis above. The
analysis here is his discussion of the music and he's using abstract terms
like "tonic" etc. to describe how the chords are moving.
Joey, would you also say that lead sheet chord symbols are similarly "not
part of the analysis", but that they simply identify groups of notes as a
precursor to analysis?
Tom
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-11 21:00:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by tom_k
Post by Joey Goldstein
Fine. It's obviously true that figured bass played a role in what can be
called the development of chord-based music.
But the figured bass itself is not part of the analysis above. The
analysis here is his discussion of the music and he's using abstract terms
like "tonic" etc. to describe how the chords are moving.
Joey, would you also say that lead sheet chord symbols are similarly "not
part of the analysis", but that they simply identify groups of notes as a
precursor to analysis?
Tom
They are definitely not part of the analysis.
They are for reading purposes only.
In most cases, as far as improvisers are concerned, they are easier to
read if they also happen to conform closely to a proper harmonic analysis.
But if faced with labelling a chord correctly whereby it makes it harder
to read, a smart writer will opt for the incorrect label that is easier
to read.

I don't know about them being a precursor to analysis though.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
tom_k
2009-05-11 21:06:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by tom_k
Post by Joey Goldstein
Fine. It's obviously true that figured bass played a role in what can be
called the development of chord-based music.
But the figured bass itself is not part of the analysis above. The
analysis here is his discussion of the music and he's using abstract
terms like "tonic" etc. to describe how the chords are moving.
Joey, would you also say that lead sheet chord symbols are similarly "not
part of the analysis", but that they simply identify groups of notes as a
precursor to analysis?
Tom
They are definitely not part of the analysis.
Then we're in agreement.
Post by Joey Goldstein
They are for reading purposes only.
In most cases, as far as improvisers are concerned, they are easier to
read if they also happen to conform closely to a proper harmonic analysis.
But if faced with labelling a chord correctly whereby it makes it harder
to read, a smart writer will opt for the incorrect label that is easier to
read.
I don't know about them being a precursor to analysis though.
They may be precursors in the sense that identification usually precedes
analysis. For example, recognizing that a group of notes form a C7 to an F
in the key of F is a big help in determining the function to be V7 - I.
Tom
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-11 21:15:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by tom_k
Post by Joey Goldstein
I don't know about them being a precursor to analysis though.
They may be precursors in the sense that identification usually precedes
analysis. For example, recognizing that a group of notes form a C7 to an F
in the key of F is a big help in determining the function to be V7 - I.
Tom
OK. Sure.

They can be a precursor to analysis - or they can be a post-cursor to
analysis as in labelling the chord symbol *after* you've analyzed the
function of the sound you want to hear.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
paramucho
2009-05-12 03:56:49 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 11 May 2009 14:28:31 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
The point that should be taken from thorough-bass notation is not that
it serves to label chords but that it reflects how musicians were
beginning to think about music in terms of harmonic entities and
relationships, i.e. as progressions of independent, but connected
sonorities. That's the revolution which takes place at the time.
That's where the new theoretical approachs are needed, it's this
thinking, which develops as thorough-bass theory, that Rameau takes as
his point of departure.
Ian
Fine. It's obviously true that figured bass played a role in what can be
called the development of chord-based music.
But the figured bass itself is not part of the analysis above. The
analysis here is his discussion of the music and he's using abstract
terms like "tonic" etc. to describe how the chords are moving. As far as
I can see he only mentions figured bass once when referring to a 6/4
chord and that's only for the purpose of identifying it.
There's a difference between "Figured-bass notation" and "figured-bass
theory."

"Figured bass notation" is, of course, just a set of chord signatures
which describe chords. It's a notation which dominated performance of
many types of music the period 1600-1750 (roughly).

"Figured bass theory", is the musical theory which evolves in that
period. Perhaps a better expression would be "early chordal theory",
but the historical term I am familiar with is "thorough-bass theory".
The theory evolves out of a revolutionary new way of looking at music
and that is as harmonic progressions of vertical chord units.

When I look at the passage I come up with the following list which I'd
associate with "figured bass theory" (or "early chordal theory"):

Tonic harmony
Modulation
D minor
chord of the second
interchange of chordal tones
bass being omitted
seventh chord
six-four chord
chord of the second
chord seems to point at C minor
as if the plan were to move on to the F major chord
dissonant relationships leading back to the principal tonality
principal tonality

Regarding the initial term "tonic harmony", I'd need to see the German
original (which I have on order) for that particular term.

Finally, the idea of "analysis", as we understand it, is almost
non-existent in the period. Concepts form and "tonality", which
emerged in the early 1800s, were required before the kinds of
structural analysis that we now expect could be carried out. Theory
isn't just about analysis.
Post by Joey Goldstein
Your paste of "Figure 479" didn't work so well. It's unintelligible. I
think you need to use a mono-spaced font.
I used a mono-spaced font, but it probably line-wrapped. Here's the
example split up.
Post by Joey Goldstein
Figure 479
Allegro
7
6 7 7 #
6 4 5 2 6 # 4 3 67
<C A E F G G C B A D G EAA
(1) (2) (x)
7
Post by Joey Goldstein
(continued)
6n 7 b7 6 7 65 648
2n n 2n# 2 6 5 b 5 2 5 b 5 43 8b7423
A GFA G B A F F E F F G C > Bass line
(3) (4)(5)(6) (1)
Ian
Danny Schorr
2009-05-12 04:49:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
On Mon, 11 May 2009 14:28:31 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
The point that should be taken from thorough-bass notation is not that
it serves to label chords but that it reflects how musicians were
beginning to think about music in terms of harmonic entities and
relationships, i.e. as progressions of independent, but connected
sonorities.
Not so much different than the roman numeral analysis thst followed, is it?
just different ways of noticing the same things. ( question mark?)
Post by paramucho
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
That's the revolution which takes place at the time.
That's where the new theoretical approachs are needed, it's this
thinking, which develops as thorough-bass theory, that Rameau takes as
his point of departure.
Ian
Fine. It's obviously true that figured bass played a role in what can be
called the development of chord-based music.
But the figured bass itself is not part of the analysis above. The
analysis here is his discussion of the music and he's using abstract
terms like "tonic" etc. to describe how the chords are moving. As far as
I can see he only mentions figured bass once when referring to a 6/4
chord and that's only for the purpose of identifying it.
There's a difference between "Figured-bass notation" and "figured-bass
theory."
"Figured bass notation" is, of course, just a set of chord signatures
which describe chords. It's a notation which dominated performance of
many types of music the period 1600-1750 (roughly).
"Figured bass theory", is the musical theory which evolves in that
period. Perhaps a better expression would be "early chordal theory",
but the historical term I am familiar with is "thorough-bass theory".
The theory evolves out of a revolutionary new way of looking at music
and that is as harmonic progressions of vertical chord units.
was figured bass really responsible for this revolutionary way of looking
at music? Seems to me to be just a new fangled way of notating what was
already obvious destiny - seems to me music was unavoidable onthat path,
with the death ( transformation?) of modality towards the major/minor
system, through misica ficta.

Maybe better said as - a new way of notating the direction the music was
destined to progress towards
Post by paramucho
When I look at the passage I come up with the following list which I'd
Tonic harmony
Not really unique to "figured bass theory", is it?
Post by paramucho
Modulation
had been done since modality
Post by paramucho
D minor
so?
Post by paramucho
chord of the second
a stack of tones existing way before a theory codified it
Post by paramucho
interchange of chordal tones
More Rameue than FB
Post by paramucho
bass being omitted
In figured Bass? wait, what?
Post by paramucho
seventh chord
not unique to FB
Post by paramucho
six-four chord
Ditto
Post by paramucho
chord of the second
Mentioned already.
Post by paramucho
chord seems to point at C minor
So what. all tonal moves to a period of rest
Post by paramucho
as if the plan were to move on to the F major chord
dissonant relationships leading back to the principal tonality
principal tonality
well, there's a lot that can be done dissonance wise on dominant
sonorities. Perhaps the most flexible of chord functions?
Post by paramucho
Regarding the initial term "tonic harmony", I'd need to see the German
original (which I have on order) for that particular term.
Finally, the idea of "analysis", as we understand it, is almost
non-existent in the period.
Codified, perhaps,but not in practice.
Post by paramucho
Concepts form and "tonality", which
emerged in the early 1800s, were required before the kinds of
structural analysis that we now expect could be carried out. Theory
isn't just about analysis.
God,we hope not.
Post by paramucho
Post by Joey Goldstein
Your paste of "Figure 479" didn't work so well. It's unintelligible. I
think you need to use a mono-spaced font.
I used a mono-spaced font, but it probably line-wrapped. Here's the
example split up.
Post by Joey Goldstein
Figure 479
Allegro
7
6 7 7 #
6 4 5 2 6 # 4 3 67
<C A E F G G C B A D G EAA
(1) (2) (x)
7
Post by Joey Goldstein
(continued)
6n 7 b7 6 7 65 648
2n n 2n# 2 6 5 b 5 2 5 b 5 43 8b7423
A GFA G B A F F E F F G C > Bass line
(3) (4)(5)(6) (1)
still gibberish. a score would be quite helpful atthis point.
Post by paramucho
Ian
Danny
paramucho
2009-05-12 14:34:32 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 12 May 2009 04:49:22 GMT, Danny Schorr <***@.> wrote:

<snip>
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
There's a difference between "Figured-bass notation" and "figured-bass
theory."
"Figured bass notation" is, of course, just a set of chord signatures
which describe chords. It's a notation which dominated performance of
many types of music the period 1600-1750 (roughly).
"Figured bass theory", is the musical theory which evolves in that
period. Perhaps a better expression would be "early chordal theory",
but the historical term I am familiar with is "thorough-bass theory".
The theory evolves out of a revolutionary new way of looking at music
and that is as harmonic progressions of vertical chord units.
was figured bass really responsible for this revolutionary way of looking
at music? Seems to me to be just a new fangled way of notating what was
already obvious destiny - seems to me music was unavoidable onthat path,
with the death ( transformation?) of modality towards the major/minor
system, through misica ficta.
Maybe better said as - a new way of notating the direction the music was
destined to progress towards
I couldn't agree more and that's more or less what I carefully said
above:

The theory evolves out of a revolutionary new way of looking at
music and that is as harmonic progressions of vertical chord units.

TB notation were a sign that the times were changing. What is now
called TB theory is the theory that grows out of those changes.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
When I look at the passage I come up with the following list which I'd
Tonic harmony
Not really unique to "figured bass theory", is it?
But TB theory gets the points for being first. In any case, as I noted
previously, I think this particular term arises out of translation
from German into English.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
Modulation
had been done since modality
Not what we now call "tonal modulation" though (and I don't think
that's exactly what CPE Bach called it either).
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
D minor
so?
Post by paramucho
chord of the second
a stack of tones existing way before a theory codified it
And the theory was TB theory.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
interchange of chordal tones
More Rameue than FB
FB predates Rameau by over a century.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
bass being omitted
In figured Bass? wait, what?
Post by paramucho
seventh chord
not unique to FB
The evolution of the independent 7th chord as we know it is is one
case where the actual notation of TB and the theory really are
intertwined.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
six-four chord
Ditto
"six-four chord" is a TB chord signature that we still use.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
chord of the second
Mentioned already.
Post by paramucho
chord seems to point at C minor
So what. all tonal moves to a period of rest
Is C minor is a period of rest?
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
as if the plan were to move on to the F major chord
dissonant relationships leading back to the principal tonality
principal tonality
well, there's a lot that can be done dissonance wise on dominant
sonorities. Perhaps the most flexible of chord functions?
But we don't know that *theoretically* until we describe it. It's
first described in TB theory.

Look at it this way: chordal theory had to be invented or evolve at
*sometime*. That time happens to be in the 1600-1750 period. Clearly
some form of chordal notation would be required to express that
theory. That notation just happens to be TB and the name given to the
theory that evolves in the TB period is "TB theory".

Don't get hung up on the term "thoroughbass". Some of the theory
doesn't involve TB notation at all. However, a lot of it does, and TB
notation helps musicians express themselves chordally.
<snip>

Ian
LJS
2009-05-12 17:18:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
There's a difference between "Figured-bass notation" and "figured-bass
theory."
"Figured bass notation" is, of course, just a set of chord signatures
which describe chords. It's a notation which dominated performance of
many types of music the period 1600-1750 (roughly).
"Figured bass theory", is the musical theory which evolves in that
period. Perhaps a better expression would be "early chordal theory",
but the historical term I am familiar with is "thorough-bass theory".
The theory evolves out of a revolutionary new way of looking at music
and that is as harmonic progressions of vertical chord units.
was figured bass really responsible for this revolutionary way of looking
at music? Seems to me to be just a new fangled way of notating what was
already obvious destiny - seems to me music was unavoidable onthat path,
with the death ( transformation?) of modality towards the major/minor
system, through misica ficta.
Maybe better said as - a new way of notating the direction the music was
destined to progress towards
I couldn't agree more and that's more or less what I carefully said
  The theory evolves out of a revolutionary new way of looking at
  music and that is as harmonic progressions of vertical chord units.
TB notation were a sign that the times were changing. What is now
called TB theory is the theory that grows out of those changes.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
When I look at the passage I come up with the following list which I'd
 Tonic harmony
Not really unique to "figured bass theory", is it?
But TB theory gets the points for being first. In any case, as I noted
previously, I think this particular term arises out of translation
from German into English.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
 Modulation
had been done since modality
Not what we now call "tonal modulation" though (and I don't think
that's exactly what CPE Bach called it either).
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
 D minor
so?
Post by paramucho
 chord of the second
a stack of tones existing way before a theory codified it
And the theory was TB theory.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
 interchange of chordal tones
More Rameue than FB
FB predates Rameau by over a century.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
 bass being omitted
In figured Bass? wait, what?
Post by paramucho
 seventh chord
not unique to FB
The evolution of the independent 7th chord as we know it is is one
case where the actual notation of TB and the theory really are
intertwined.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
 six-four chord
Ditto
"six-four chord" is a TB chord signature that we still use.
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
 chord of the second
Mentioned already.
Post by paramucho
 chord seems to point at C minor
So what. all tonal moves to a period of rest
Is C minor is a period of rest?
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
 as if the plan were to move on to the F major chord
 dissonant relationships leading back to the principal tonality
 principal tonality
well, there's a lot that can be done dissonance wise on dominant
sonorities. Perhaps the most flexible of chord functions?
But we don't know that *theoretically* until we describe it. It's
first described in TB theory.
Look at it this way: chordal theory had to be invented or evolve at
*sometime*. That time happens to be in the 1600-1750 period. Clearly
some form of chordal notation would be required to express that
theory. That notation just happens to be TB and the name given to the
theory that evolves in the TB period is "TB theory".
Don't get hung up on the term "thoroughbass". Some of the theory
doesn't involve TB notation at all. However, a lot of it does, and TB
notation helps musicians express themselves chordally.
<snip>
Ian
Ian, this whole thing is about your use of Figured Bass as Music
Theory. Yes, as I described and I am glad you finally are starting to
understand, Theory is NOT Figured bass. This is the best simple
definition of the terms that I have found recently.

****************************************

figured bass
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | 2008 | The Columbia
Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press.
(Hide copyright information) Copyright

figured bass in music, a system of shorthand notation in which figures
are written below the notes of the bass part to indicate the chords to
be played. Called also thorough bass and basso continuo, it arose in
the early 17th cent. in Italy as a means of notating an accompaniment.
It soon became so widespread that the baroque era is sometimes called
the age of basso continuo. The harpsichord's part in sonatas was
indicated by a figured bass, and the harpsichord and the organ are
usually played from a figured bass in the vocal works of Bach and
Handel. The realization of the basso continuo involves considerable
improvisation, varying in style according to composer and period. Both
Bach and Mozart wrote out rules for playing the figured bass. After
the time of Bach, with the development of the symphony, the figured
bass disappeared except for limited use in opera and as a device for
teaching harmony.

Bibliography: See F. T. Arnold, The Art of Accompaniment from a
Thorough-Bass (1931, repr. 1965); H. Keller, Thoroughbass Method (tr.
by C. Parrish, 1965).
..

***************************************

As you can see, by any name, it is still only a notation system. Think
about it, it was created as a short cut for a chordal approach to
harmony. The harmony had to come first! and then the Figured bass
notated this system. You might as well name chordal theory as "chord
symbol theory" as chord symbols do the same thing. In fact, FB, TB, BC
are all chord symbols. The harmonic rhythm is set by the bass line and
the quality of chord is in the symbols related to the chord and bass.

My only emphasis on this is you just insist on calling it wrong. Well,
then in trying to explain you keep getting yourself into side issues
as you are trying to explain how the error you are making is correct.
Well, it isn't.

Other than that, you have had, as I have said, an understanding of the
theory of the time, but you did not learn this through the FB. You
learned it by theory and then that theory is used to explain how to
play in FB notation.

Its not really that earth shattering except that statements saying
they are the same thing is really not literate. If you refuse to
educate your self, then stay illiterate on this topic. The world won't
end, but if you want to get it right, learn the fundamentals of what
you are saying.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-13 08:08:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
Post by Danny Schorr
well, there's a lot that can be done dissonance wise on dominant
sonorities. Perhaps the most flexible of chord functions?
But we don't know that *theoretically* until we describe it. It's
first described in TB theory.
Look at it this way: chordal theory had to be invented or evolve at
*sometime*. That time happens to be in the 1600-1750 period. Clearly
some form of chordal notation would be required to express that
theory. That notation just happens to be TB and the name given to the
theory that evolves in the TB period is "TB theory".
Don't get hung up on the term "thoroughbass". Some of the theory
doesn't involve TB notation at all. However, a lot of it does, and TB
notation helps musicians express themselves chordally.
<snip>
Ian
Ian, this whole thing is about your use of Figured Bass as Music
Theory. Yes, as I described and I am glad you finally are starting to
understand, Theory is NOT Figured bass. This is the best simple
definition of the terms that I have found recently.
I have said in just about every post that thorough-bass notation and
thorough-bass theory are different things (and that you're the person
who is hung up about the notation). From around 1600 to 1750
thorough-bass dominated the notation, performance, improvisation and
teaching. It was the thorough-bass period and the theory which comes
out of that period is thought of as "thorough bass theory". It's a
label for the theory of the period. Perhaps it will help you to think
of it as the "theory of the thorough bass period" in just the same way
that one might think of "renaissance theory" as the "theory of the
renaissance period".

<snip>
Post by LJS
figured bass
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | 2008 | The Columbia
Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press.
(Hide copyright information) Copyright
Yes, that's a reasonable definition of thorough bass notation and
usage. But it's not a definition of thorough bass theory.
Post by LJS
Other than that, you have had, as I have said, an understanding of the
theory of the time, but you did not learn this through the FB. You
learned it by theory and then that theory is used to explain how to
play in FB notation.
Again you are hardwiring the use of thorough bass practice to
historical term "thorough bass theory" which describes the theory
which evolved in the thorough bass period. Forget about the notation
for a moment and see it as a historical school of theoretical thought
which evolves in the period. That's exactly how the term is used in
the passage below (which I've cited before).
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
    Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
   divides reasonably into two main traditions: THOROUGH-BASS STYLES
--------------------
   OF MUSIC THEORY And harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
---------------
   thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
   respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
   structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
   the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
   particular aspects of their approach.
     Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
   two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
   formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
--------------------
   harmonic dualism as Prussian...   A third major tradition, the
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY emanating from Rameau, was more international
--------------------
in scope and influence....
     The THOROUGH-BASS TRADITION OF MUSIC THEORY has its institutional
---------------------------------------
   origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
   Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
   identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
   that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
   general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
   remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
   were important attempts to update the tradition...
     As an approach...THOROUGH-BASS THEORY might reasonably be
--------------------
   characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
   begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
     The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
   the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike THOROUGH-BASS
-------------
   THEORISTS, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
---------
   seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
   materialist and empiricist research project...
Ian
LJS
2009-05-13 11:02:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
Post by Danny Schorr
well, there's a lot that can be done dissonance wise on dominant
sonorities. Perhaps the most flexible of chord functions?
But we don't know that *theoretically* until we describe it. It's
first described in TB theory.
Look at it this way: chordal theory had to be invented or evolve at
*sometime*. That time happens to be in the 1600-1750 period. Clearly
some form of chordal notation would be required to express that
theory. That notation just happens to be TB and the name given to the
theory that evolves in the TB period is "TB theory".
Don't get hung up on the term "thoroughbass". Some of the theory
doesn't involve TB notation at all. However, a lot of it does, and TB
notation helps musicians express themselves chordally.
<snip>
Ian
Ian, this whole thing is about your use of Figured Bass as Music
Theory. Yes, as I described and I am glad you finally are starting to
understand, Theory is NOT Figured bass. This is the best simple
definition of the terms that I have found recently.
I have said in just about every post that thorough-bass notation and
thorough-bass theory are different things (and that you're the person
who is hung up about the notation). From around 1600 to 1750
thorough-bass dominated the notation, performance, improvisation and
teaching. It was the thorough-bass period and the theory which comes
out of that period is thought of as "thorough bass theory". It's a
label for the theory of the period. Perhaps it will help you to think
of it as the "theory of the thorough bass period" in just the same way
that one might think of "renaissance theory" as the "theory of the
renaissance period".
<snip>
Post by LJS
figured bass
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | 2008 | The Columbia
Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press.
(Hide copyright information) Copyright
Yes, that's a reasonable definition of thorough bass notation and
usage. But it's not a definition of thorough bass theory.
Post by LJS
Other than that, you have had, as I have said, an understanding of the
theory of the time, but you did not learn this through the FB. You
learned it by theory and then that theory is used to explain how to
play in FB notation.
Again you are hardwiring the use of thorough bass practice to
historical term "thorough bass theory" which describes the theory
which evolved in the thorough bass period. Forget about the notation
for a moment and see it as a historical school of theoretical thought
which evolves in the period. That's exactly how the term is used in
the passage below (which I've cited before).
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
    Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
   divides reasonably into two main traditions: THOROUGH-BASS STYLES
                                                --------------------  
   OF MUSIC THEORY And harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
   ---------------
   thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
   respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
   structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
   the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
   particular aspects of their approach.
     Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
   two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
   formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
   --------------------
   harmonic dualism as Prussian...   A third major tradition, the
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY emanating from Rameau, was more international
   --------------------
   in scope and influence....
     The THOROUGH-BASS TRADITION OF MUSIC THEORY has its institutional
         ---------------------------------------
   origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
   Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
   identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
   that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
   general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
   remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
   were important attempts to update the tradition...
     As an approach...THOROUGH-BASS THEORY might reasonably be
                      --------------------
   characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
   begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
     The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
   the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike THOROUGH-BASS
                                                      -------------  
   THEORISTS, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
   ---------
   seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
   materialist and empiricist research project...
Ian
No you have not. If you are changing your statement to agree that
Figured Bass is notation and not theory, fine. If you are still
contending that it is, I just don't care any more. Since we seem to be
speaking different languages, there is no use to continue.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-13 12:17:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
Post by Danny Schorr
well, there's a lot that can be done dissonance wise on dominant
sonorities. Perhaps the most flexible of chord functions?
But we don't know that *theoretically* until we describe it. It's
first described in TB theory.
Look at it this way: chordal theory had to be invented or evolve at
*sometime*. That time happens to be in the 1600-1750 period. Clearly
some form of chordal notation would be required to express that
theory. That notation just happens to be TB and the name given to the
theory that evolves in the TB period is "TB theory".
Don't get hung up on the term "thoroughbass". Some of the theory
doesn't involve TB notation at all. However, a lot of it does, and TB
notation helps musicians express themselves chordally.
<snip>
Ian
Ian, this whole thing is about your use of Figured Bass as Music
Theory. Yes, as I described and I am glad you finally are starting to
understand, Theory is NOT Figured bass. This is the best simple
definition of the terms that I have found recently.
I have said in just about every post that thorough-bass notation and
thorough-bass theory are different things (and that you're the person
who is hung up about the notation). From around 1600 to 1750
thorough-bass dominated the notation, performance, improvisation and
teaching. It was the thorough-bass period and the theory which comes
out of that period is thought of as "thorough bass theory". It's a
label for the theory of the period. Perhaps it will help you to think
of it as the "theory of the thorough bass period" in just the same way
that one might think of "renaissance theory" as the "theory of the
renaissance period".
<snip>
Post by LJS
figured bass
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | 2008 | The Columbia
Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press.
(Hide copyright information) Copyright
Yes, that's a reasonable definition of thorough bass notation and
usage. But it's not a definition of thorough bass theory.
Post by LJS
Other than that, you have had, as I have said, an understanding of the
theory of the time, but you did not learn this through the FB. You
learned it by theory and then that theory is used to explain how to
play in FB notation.
Again you are hardwiring the use of thorough bass practice to
historical term "thorough bass theory" which describes the theory
which evolved in the thorough bass period. Forget about the notation
for a moment and see it as a historical school of theoretical thought
which evolves in the period. That's exactly how the term is used in
the passage below (which I've cited before).
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
    Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
   divides reasonably into two main traditions: THOROUGH-BASS STYLES
                                                --------------------  
   OF MUSIC THEORY And harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
   ---------------
   thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
   respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
   structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
   the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
   particular aspects of their approach.
     Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
   two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
   formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
   --------------------
   harmonic dualism as Prussian...   A third major tradition, the
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY emanating from Rameau, was more international
   --------------------
   in scope and influence....
     The THOROUGH-BASS TRADITION OF MUSIC THEORY has its institutional
         ---------------------------------------
   origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
   Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
   identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
   that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
   general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
   remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
   were important attempts to update the tradition...
     As an approach...THOROUGH-BASS THEORY might reasonably be
                      --------------------
   characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
   begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
     The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
   the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike THOROUGH-BASS
                                                      -------------  
   THEORISTS, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
   ---------
   seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
   materialist and empiricist research project...
Ian
No you have not. If you are changing your statement to agree that
Figured Bass is notation and not theory, fine.
I made the distinction in my first response to you on the topic:

Functional harmony theory and Roman Number theory did not exist in
the 18th century. You seem to believe that figured bass was merely a
notational device and you seem to be oblivious to the central role
that figured bass occupied in 18th century music theory. See further
below.

I illustrated the distinction in my next post (to Joey) when I
described some of the CPE Bach content.

For example, CPE Bach takes over twenty pages to describe behaviors
associated with the 7th chord which he presents in terms of figured
bass progressions. For each he describes the motion of specific
notes/intervals. He's also concerned with voicing, doubling and
often comments on behaviors appropriate to "galant" or church music.

In my next post to you I restated the distinction:

Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures.

In the following post I repeated the paragraph above to stress the
distinction and I posted the link.
http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA457&dq=thoroughbass+theory+subject:music&lr=&as_brr=3&ei=RYMGSpW2IJWWkATwk-X9DQ#PPA456,M1
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF MUSIC THEORY, 456

And so on the remaining posts.

As I have said, I have used an accepted historical term to describe a
body of theory which arose in the period roughly between 1600-1750.
The term is used in just the same sense as I use it in the article
cited above. It's no big deal, just a part of the history of music
theory.
Post by LJS
If you are still contending that it is, I just don't care any more. Since
we seem to be speaking different languages, there is no use to continue.
You are free to stop responding whenever you want.

Ian
LJS
2009-05-13 13:56:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
Post by Danny Schorr
well, there's a lot that can be done dissonance wise on dominant
sonorities. Perhaps the most flexible of chord functions?
But we don't know that *theoretically* until we describe it. It's
first described in TB theory.
Look at it this way: chordal theory had to be invented or evolve at
*sometime*. That time happens to be in the 1600-1750 period. Clearly
some form of chordal notation would be required to express that
theory. That notation just happens to be TB and the name given to the
theory that evolves in the TB period is "TB theory".
Don't get hung up on the term "thoroughbass". Some of the theory
doesn't involve TB notation at all. However, a lot of it does, and TB
notation helps musicians express themselves chordally.
<snip>
Ian
Ian, this whole thing is about your use of Figured Bass as Music
Theory. Yes, as I described and I am glad you finally are starting to
understand, Theory is NOT Figured bass. This is the best simple
definition of the terms that I have found recently.
I have said in just about every post that thorough-bass notation and
thorough-bass theory are different things (and that you're the person
who is hung up about the notation). From around 1600 to 1750
thorough-bass dominated the notation, performance, improvisation and
teaching. It was the thorough-bass period and the theory which comes
out of that period is thought of as "thorough bass theory". It's a
label for the theory of the period. Perhaps it will help you to think
of it as the "theory of the thorough bass period" in just the same way
that one might think of "renaissance theory" as the "theory of the
renaissance period".
<snip>
Post by LJS
figured bass
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition | 2008 | The Columbia
Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press.
(Hide copyright information) Copyright
Yes, that's a reasonable definition of thorough bass notation and
usage. But it's not a definition of thorough bass theory.
Post by LJS
Other than that, you have had, as I have said, an understanding of the
theory of the time, but you did not learn this through the FB. You
learned it by theory and then that theory is used to explain how to
play in FB notation.
Again you are hardwiring the use of thorough bass practice to
historical term "thorough bass theory" which describes the theory
which evolved in the thorough bass period. Forget about the notation
for a moment and see it as a historical school of theoretical thought
which evolves in the period. That's exactly how the term is used in
the passage below (which I've cited before).
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
    Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
   divides reasonably into two main traditions: THOROUGH-BASS STYLES
                                                --------------------  
   OF MUSIC THEORY And harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
   ---------------
   thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
   respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
   structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
   the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
   particular aspects of their approach.
     Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
   two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
   formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
   --------------------
   harmonic dualism as Prussian...   A third major tradition, the
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY emanating from Rameau, was more international
   --------------------
   in scope and influence....
     The THOROUGH-BASS TRADITION OF MUSIC THEORY has its institutional
         ---------------------------------------
   origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
   Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
   identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
   that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
   general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
   remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
   were important attempts to update the tradition...
     As an approach...THOROUGH-BASS THEORY might reasonably be
                      --------------------
   characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
   begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
     The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
   the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike THOROUGH-BASS
                                                      -------------  
   THEORISTS, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
   ---------
   seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
   materialist and empiricist research project...
Ian
No you have not. If you are changing your statement to agree that
Figured Bass is notation and not theory, fine.
  Functional harmony theory and Roman Number theory did not exist in
  the 18th century. You seem to believe that figured bass was merely a
  notational device and you seem to be oblivious to the central role
  that figured bass occupied in 18th century music theory. See further
  below.
I illustrated the distinction in my next post (to Joey) when I
described some of the CPE Bach content.
  For example, CPE Bach takes over twenty pages to describe behaviors
  associated with the 7th chord which he presents in terms of figured
  bass progressions. For each he describes the motion of specific
  notes/intervals. He's also concerned with voicing, doubling and
  often comments on behaviors appropriate to "galant" or church music.
  Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
  But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
  music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
  thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
  explanation of each of the chord signatures.
In the following post I repeated the paragraph above to stress the
distinction and I posted the link.http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA457&dq=thoroughbas...
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF MUSIC THEORY, 456
And so on the remaining posts.
As I have said, I have used an accepted historical term to describe a
body of theory which arose in the period roughly between 1600-1750.
The term is used in just the same sense as I use it in the article
cited above. It's no big deal, just a part of the history of music
theory.
Post by LJS
If you are still contending that it is, I just don't care any more. Since
we seem to be speaking different languages, there is no use to continue.
You are free to stop responding whenever you want.
Ian
Like I said many times before. I don't know what language you use, but
it is one that doesn't seem to understand English as I understand it.
On that first post, I pointed out that it was merely a notational
devise and you challenged it as being music theory. You spoke of it as
if it was even more than a tool of theory and in spite of pointing out
to you that IT MAY HAVE BEEN USED like the actual score to look at and
do analysis in any manner that they did it that the FB itself was and
still is and will always be simply a notational system.

Then in subsequent posts you started to give out of context examples
to say that certain people considered it theory and I pointed out your
increasing number of changing contexts and evading the primary focus
of my reply. Now you say that even though I pointed out the difference
of tools of theory and the theory itself, and pointing out that it
probably led to RN notation but RN is NOT the same thing either and
itself is only a tool of analysis you now tell me that YOU decided
that I had no idea of the notion that "oblivious to the central role
that figured bass occupied in 18th century music theory" even in spite
of direct statements that explained the detail of what I was saying
and what FB was is either a sign of oblivion or dishonesty or just
plain having the context still wrong.

Your quotes from the Google Book said exactly what I stated that they
did. That composers used the sheet music from the keyboard part as a
guide to talk about the theory that they learned by other means.

So you continually sent out of context citations that showed that
what I said was exactly true and that you did not know what you were
posting. You just seem to put the terms into the search engine and if
something uses the same terms, then it must be in context! Well, that
is not the case.

So once again, if you now understand the difference, fine, if you
still are going to use "out of context" articles that is your problem.
I have wasted enough time trying to explain what applies and what
doesn't. If you don't see how what you have been saying is different
than what you think you have been saying, then there is no use to go
on.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-14 10:09:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Post by LJS
No you have not. If you are changing your statement to agree that
Figured Bass is notation and not theory, fine.
  Functional harmony theory and Roman Number theory did not exist in
  the 18th century. You seem to believe that figured bass was merely a
  notational device and you seem to be oblivious to the central role
  that figured bass occupied in 18th century music theory. See further
  below.
I illustrated the distinction in my next post (to Joey) when I
described some of the CPE Bach content.
  For example, CPE Bach takes over twenty pages to describe behaviors
  associated with the 7th chord which he presents in terms of figured
  bass progressions. For each he describes the motion of specific
  notes/intervals. He's also concerned with voicing, doubling and
  often comments on behaviors appropriate to "galant" or church music.
  Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
  But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
  music. If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
  thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
  explanation of each of the chord signatures.
In the following post I repeated the paragraph above to stress the
distinction and I posted the link.http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA457&dq=thoroughbas...
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF MUSIC THEORY, 456
And so on the remaining posts.
As I have said, I have used an accepted historical term to describe a
body of theory which arose in the period roughly between 1600-1750.
The term is used in just the same sense as I use it in the article
cited above. It's no big deal, just a part of the history of music
theory.
Post by LJS
If you are still contending that it is, I just don't care any more. Since
we seem to be speaking different languages, there is no use to continue.
You are free to stop responding whenever you want.
Ian
Like I said many times before. I don't know what language you use, but
it is one that doesn't seem to understand English as I understand it.
On that first post, I pointed out that it was merely a notational
devise and you challenged it as being music theory.
You have held the position that TB was used only as a notation.

I have held the position that TB was used as a notation but that there
is also a body of theory known as "thorough bass theory" which emerged
in the period (roughly) 1600-1750.
Post by LJS
You spoke of it as
if it was even more than a tool of theory and in spite of pointing out
to you that IT MAY HAVE BEEN USED like the actual score to look at and
do analysis in any manner that they did it that the FB itself was and
still is and will always be simply a notational system.
That's your missunderstanding of my position and of the history.
Post by LJS
Then in subsequent posts you started to give out of context examples
to say that certain people considered it theory and I pointed out your
increasing number of changing contexts and evading the primary focus
of my reply.
You clearly didn't believe what I was saying thus it seemed sensible
to me to find alternate sources of information that you might be more
willing to trust. This is an entirely normal and reasonable process.
Post by LJS
Now you say that even though I pointed out the difference
of tools of theory and the theory itself, and pointing out that it
probably led to RN notation but RN is NOT the same thing either and
itself is only a tool of analysis you now tell me that YOU decided
that I had no idea of the notion that "oblivious to the central role
that figured bass occupied in 18th century music theory" even in spite
of direct statements that explained the detail of what I was saying
and what FB was is either a sign of oblivion or dishonesty or just
plain having the context still wrong.
But you were talking about the central role of "TB notation" not the
central role of "TB theory." You still do not accept any role for "TB
theory."
Post by LJS
Your quotes from the Google Book said exactly what I stated that they
did. That composers used the sheet music from the keyboard part as a
guide to talk about the theory that they learned by other means.
That is not how I read the passages I cited at all. You are free to
interpret as you will, however I have challenged your interpretations.

For example, I think it is nonsense to believe that Schenker was
talking about a document that merely describes TB notation as a
profound document of a genius and the only document that actually
leads one to the music.

I don't accept your interpretation of the passages from THE CAMBRIDGE
HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC THEORY at all. The author describes TB theory
as one of the two main theoretical traditions of the period concerned,
that's just not something a mere description of notation would
support.

If you read carefully you'll note that the author even describes
Rameau's Fundamental Bass theory as a product of Thorough Bass theory.
That proposition only makes sense if you read the term "Thorough Bass
theory" as "the theory emanating out of the thorough bass period".
He's not alone in that opinion as the following citation makes clear.

As is apparent from Thomas Christensen's marvelous study of Rameau
as a theorist, Rameau's creativity was due in large part to his
skill at conceptual combination. "For such a revolutionary work, the
TRAITE DE L'HARMONIE contains surprisingly few individual components
that can be said to be original to Rameau". His creative
accomplishment lay rather in his synthesis of existing music-
theoretical concepts.
Rameau found in THOROUGH BASS THEORY a tradition of conceptualizing
a multipart texture as a series of discrete harmonic units, where
voice-leading considerations sometimes became secondary or were even
entirely absent...
UNPLAYED MELODIES, p186

http://books.google.com/books?id=7Rh52GzpvQQC&pg=PA186&dq="thorough+bass+theory"&lr=&as_brr=3&ei=oegLSoOmBJuskASX8cnEAg#PPA186,M1

One of the last books that Rameau wrote was supposedly a TB text and I
have read that Schenker's first attempt at FREE COMPOSITION, in the
early 1900s, was also a TB text. I haven't seen either of these texts,
but I think they illustrate the distinction between the notation and
the theory.

I do not see your problem. When we say an automobile has so-and-so
many "horsepower" we don't expect to actually measure with horses.
Post by LJS
So you continually sent out of context citations that showed that
what I said was exactly true and that you did not know what you were
posting. You just seem to put the terms into the search engine and if
something uses the same terms, then it must be in context! Well, that
is not the case.
I would prefer to have quoted from books I've been reading recently
but I thought it was fairer to cite from passages you could read in
full. I do not accept that the passage I cited confirmed your point of
view as I have explained above.
Post by LJS
So once again, if you now understand the difference, fine, if you
still are going to use "out of context" articles that is your problem.
I have wasted enough time trying to explain what applies and what
doesn't. If you don't see how what you have been saying is different
than what you think you have been saying, then there is no use to go
on.
That is entirely your choice.

Ian
Danny Schorr
2009-05-14 02:35:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
chord of the second
a stack of tones existing way before a theory codified it
And the theory was TB theory.
Is this true? they had a term for a chord with the seventh in the bass
before Rameau? I thought Rameau was responsible for equating/labelling all
inversions as being the same chord.So, who was the theorist that
firstdesignated them "chords of the second"?

also, the part about C minor being a point of rest....well, I had a hard
time with the usenet notation of an actual score. I inferred that was what
you meant by pointing out C minor in particular, an assumption on my part-
I really have a hard time telling what is going on with the C minor by the
notation you used.

Danny
paramucho
2009-05-14 10:49:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
chord of the second
a stack of tones existing way before a theory codified it
And the theory was TB theory.
Is this true? they had a term for a chord with the seventh in the bass
before Rameau? I thought Rameau was responsible for equating/labelling all
inversions as being the same chord.So, who was the theorist that
firstdesignated them "chords of the second"?
The seventh chord, as a chord rather than just being the result of
some passing motions, is historically given to Monteverdi around 1600
or so. There may be earlier instances. However, it didn't take the
world by storm at the time and was only slowly introduced as a
stylistic feature across the remainder of the century. I don't think
we see really stylised use up until around the time of Corelli and
it's not until the classical period that the dominant 7th becomes
totally in-your-face all the time.

CPE Bach's TB guide spends twenty pages or more describing many, many
different ways of using the seventh chord, resolutions and the like
with dozens of example progressions. That's what I meant by
"codifying" the use of the chord. And indeed, that's why TB texts were
about much more than just the isolated chords. They codified the use
of chords in progressions, which is what a harmony textbook does
today. However, TB gets the points for being first.
Post by Danny Schorr
also, the part about C minor being a point of rest....well, I had a hard
time with the usenet notation of an actual score. I inferred that was what
you meant by pointing out C minor in particular, an assumption on my part-
I really have a hard time telling what is going on with the C minor by the
notation you used.
The notation was TB. The figures above the bass line indicate the
intervals that make up the chord (with some defaults and conventions).
Here's the chords of the progression. I've corrected some errors in my
earlier version, but there may be more.

C Am C/E F C/G G7 C
(1)

C/Bb F#dim/A D7 G4 G C#dim/E A7 A
(2) (x)

Bb/Ab Eb/G Bb7/F Bb7/Ab G7 C7/Bb Fm/Ab
(3) (4)(5) (6)

F#dim7 G7/F Eb(6?) F F#dim7 C/G G C C7 F/C G7/C C
(1)




D Bm D/F# G D/A A7 D

D/C G#dim/B E7 A4 A D#dim/F# B7 B

C7/Bb F/A C7/G C7/Bb A7 D7/C Gm/Bb

G#dim7 A7/G F(6) G G#dim7 D/A A D D7 G/D A7/D D



Ian
LJS
2009-05-12 13:38:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
On Mon, 11 May 2009 14:28:31 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by paramucho
The point that should be taken from thorough-bass notation is not that
it serves to label chords but that it reflects how musicians were
beginning to think about music in terms of harmonic entities and
relationships, i.e. as progressions of independent, but connected
sonorities. That's the revolution which takes place at the time.
That's where the new theoretical approachs are needed, it's this
thinking, which develops as thorough-bass theory, that Rameau takes as
his point of departure.
Ian
Fine. It's obviously true that figured bass played a role in what can be
called the development of chord-based music.
But the figured bass itself is not part of the analysis above. The
analysis here is his discussion of the music and he's using abstract
terms like "tonic" etc. to describe how the chords are moving. As far as
I can see he only mentions figured bass once when referring to a 6/4
chord and that's only for the purpose of identifying it.
There's a difference between "Figured-bass notation" and "figured-bass
theory."
"Figured bass notation" is, of course, just a set of chord signatures
which describe chords. It's a notation which dominated performance of
many types of music the period 1600-1750 (roughly).
"Figured bass theory", is the musical theory which evolves in that
period. Perhaps a better expression would be "early chordal theory",
but the historical term I am familiar with is "thorough-bass theory".
The theory evolves out of a revolutionary new way of looking at music
and that is as harmonic progressions of vertical chord units.
When I look at the passage I come up with the following list which I'd
  Tonic harmony
  Modulation
  D minor
  chord of the second
  interchange of chordal tones
  bass being omitted
  seventh chord
  six-four chord
  chord of the second
  chord seems to point at C minor
  as if the plan were to move on to the F major chord
  dissonant relationships leading back to the principal tonality
  principal tonality
Aren't these concepts that you have learned by studying theory? Would
you have said the same things if you had not studied theory? You can
come to all of these same conclusions with the printed score with or
without a figured bass! you look at the bass part and you look at the
other notes and you decide which figures to put on the bass line! You
need theory to even construct a figured bass!
Post by paramucho
Regarding the initial term "tonic harmony", I'd need to see the German
original (which I have on order) for that particular term.
Finally, the idea of "analysis", as we understand it, is almost
non-existent in the period. Concepts form and "tonality", which
emerged in the early 1800s, were required before the kinds of
structural analysis that we now expect could be carried out. Theory
isn't just about analysis.
Post by Joey Goldstein
Your paste of "Figure 479" didn't work so well. It's unintelligible. I
think you need to use a mono-spaced font.
I used a mono-spaced font, but it probably line-wrapped. Here's the
example split up.
Post by Joey Goldstein
Figure 479
Allegro
                                                                                               7
                6 7       7             #        
            6   4 5   2 6 #        4 3 67        
<C       A   E F G G C B A D        G   EAA        
(1)                     (2)            (x)        
7
Post by Joey Goldstein
(continued)
 6n   7              b7   6        7 65    648
2n n 2n#  2  6         5 b 5 2 5 b  5 43 8b7423
A  GFA G  B  A         F     F E  F F G  C       >  Bass line
(3)    (4)(5)(6)                         (1)
Ian
LJS
2009-05-11 13:53:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
Ian, I don't know what to say. You are going on and on about
notational issues and have somehow missed the implications of what ou
have said....
And far from true as well. Maybe you are confusing the NOTATION with
the THEORY...
Figured bass is a notational system. Use it how you want, it is still
a notational system just as Roman Numeral Notation is not theory
either, it is also a notational system. And so is a Tone Row Matrix.
And so is Alpha Chord notation with and without /bass notation and/or
inversion notation thrown in with chord modifiers. They are all
notational systems and may be used in theory but they are in no way
what theory is about. They are about theory, theory is not about the
notation.
Of course thorough-bass is a notational system. That's a no-brainer.
But, thorough-bass notation reflects a particular way of viewing
music.
Not really. It is a shortcut for the composer. The only thing that it
reflects is that the harmony on the keyboard is not written out in
notes but in this short cut notation called Figured Bass. It does
allow each and every musician to view it in their own way. Just as in
Alpha notation today, it is unfortunate, but there are a lot of
musicians, lets use the guitarist as an example, that when reading
Alpha notation will simply take a grip for the chord type and slide it
from root to root. This is not the best method, in my opinion, but
unfortunately this is as far as lots of rhythm players understand
theory. Then again a good player will make beautiful connections and
part write it well and play much better than that. It is not the
Figured Bass that tells him HOW to play it or WHY to play it that
gives him any information that is under the auspices of music theory.
This has to be learned separately.

The player was often the composer in the Baroque period or the regular
keyboardist of the band, so it generally was a non-issue. But as the
music's popularity spread, it seems that CPE decided that he would
offer some suggestions of how to incorporate theory into the
performance of the Figured Bass so that his music would sound better
when played by others. This is teaching playing technique and it is
related to theory as the teacher needs to know the conventions of
performance and this is a part of theory, but the teaching of these
theory techniques, is just that, teaching. It does not make Figured
Bass in any way "theory".

If thorough-bass were only a chord notation then all a
Post by paramucho
thorough-bass manual would have had to provide would have beeen an
explanation of each of the chord signatures.
Yes, that is all that is needed and that is all that was generally
given. Then CPE decided that the musicians could use a clarification
of what this meant.
Post by paramucho
However, the professional
musician of the period was expected to more than just play
disconnected chords, thus manuals like that of CPE Bach describe just
about every chord-to-chord context a musician might encounter, and in
doing so provide instruction in voice leading. Heinrich Schenker
  The first to fall victim to the new theory of Rameau was figured
  bass... The theory of figured bass, however, could have still
  remained as a theory of voice leading. It was therefore a fatal
  blunder to have exchanged the voice-leading theory of figured bass
  for Rameau's theory of harmony.
    DAS MEISTERWERK IN MUSIK in CONTEMPLATING MUSIC, p634
Does this really say what you claim that it does? As I read the
article it seems as though a new theory was emerging (good or bad) by
Rameau and this "Theory" that was the first casualty of Rameau's music
theory was the Figured Bass as defined by CPE as clearly referenced
with the "*" and the ensuing footnote (see below) that clears up the
use of the term "Theory" as being related to the concept of figured
bass rather than the concept of music theory. Its that old context
thing. You are taking the context of figured bass theory and assigning
it as the same as Music Theory. They are two different things. There
is also a theory of Alpha notation and it is misunderstood by many and
I think that Berkley has books that define the way that they consider
standard. That is exactly what the theory of performance of CPE
concerning Figured bass was addressing.

CONTEXT! It makes a difference!
Post by paramucho
http://books.google.com/books?id=KQGzpmGfgu0C&pg=PA634&dq=figured+bas...
  [In a footnote on the same page Schenker references:]
  CPE Bach's Generalbasslehre [The Theory Of Figured Bass], a
  profound work of German genius and the only work in musical
  literature which actually leads towards the music...
"leads toward the music?"

As I read the footnote, I see that it is talking about the THEORY of
the FIGURED BASS, it is not talking about MUSIC THEORY. It as stated
in the footnote is about the wan Figured Bass works, not the way the
music works! That is the problem of just putting in terms for the
search. Once again CONTEXT rears its ugly head and bites you on this
citation!.
Post by paramucho
In fact the literature is peppered with references to and descriptions
of thorough-bass theory. You'll find a summary of the origins in the
reference below. Other references can be found in the same docuent via
the SEARCH bar using "thorough-bass"http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA457&dq=thoroughbas...
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF MUSIC THEORY, 456
In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that expect that to deter you.
Ian
So, in shore, yes, my comments (if you read carefully, you will see
that I am not arguing, but commenting. If you addressed the correct
context and gave a valid reason for your comments, THEN it might be
possible for me to argue a point. I can't argue about this because you
have not given a clear, relevant account of how you think that Figured
Bass = Music Theory.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-12 03:57:14 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 11 May 2009 06:53:48 -0700 (PDT), LJS <***@gmail.com>
wrote:


<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
http://books.google.com/books?id=KQGzpmGfgu0C&pg=PA634&dq=figured+bas...
  [In a footnote on the same page Schenker references:]
  CPE Bach's Generalbasslehre [The Theory Of Figured Bass], a
  profound work of German genius and the only work in musical
  literature which actually leads towards the music...
"leads toward the music?"
As I read the footnote, I see that it is talking about the THEORY of
the FIGURED BASS, it is not talking about MUSIC THEORY. It as stated
in the footnote is about the wan Figured Bass works, not the way the
music works! That is the problem of just putting in terms for the
search. Once again CONTEXT rears its ugly head and bites you on this
citation!.
Schenker has just described the document concerned as a a "profound
work" and the "only work in musical literature which actually leads
toward the music" and you come to the conclusion, contextually, that
Schenker is talking about a document that describes the mechanics of
figured bass rather than "the way music works". LOL.

<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that expect that to deter you.
Ian
So, in shore, yes, my comments (if you read carefully, you will see
that I am not arguing, but commenting. If you addressed the correct
context and gave a valid reason for your comments, THEN it might be
possible for me to argue a point. I can't argue about this because you
have not given a clear, relevant account of how you think that Figured
Bass = Music Theory.
You're the person is hung up on the notion of thorough-bass as a
notation. I've made the distinction between the notation and the
historical tradition which is commonly called "thorough-bass theory"
and I've provided documents which confirm the historical concept. If
you want to continue to argue that there is no such historical concept
as "thorough-bass theory" then that's entirely your perogative.

In any case, to help you along, here are extracts from an article on
dualism which begins with a survey of the broader theoretical field,
including, most prominently, thorough-bass theory.

Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
divides reasonably into two main traditions: thorough-bass styles
of music theory and harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
particular aspects of their approach.
Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
thorough-bass theory as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
harmonic dualism as Prussian... A third major traditions, the
fundamental-bass theory emanating from Rameau, was more
international in scope and influence....
The thorough-bass tradition of music theory has its institutional
origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
were important attempts to update the tradition...
As an approach...thorough-bass theory might reasonably be
characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike thorough-bass
theorists, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
materialist and empiricist research project...

http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA456&dq=thorough+bass+theory&ei=LuoISpigFqSOkQS32ZymBA#PPA456,M1

THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC THEORY, p457

Contextualize away. Invent a new world of music theory in which there
is no thorough-bass theory. Imagine your best or your worst :-)

Ian
Danny Schorr
2009-05-12 04:56:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
http://books.google.com/books?id=KQGzpmGfgu0C&pg=PA634&dq=figured+bas...
  [In a footnote on the same page Schenker references:]
  CPE Bach's Generalbasslehre [The Theory Of Figured Bass], a
  profound work of German genius and the only work in musical
  literature which actually leads towards the music...
"leads toward the music?"
As I read the footnote, I see that it is talking about the THEORY of
the FIGURED BASS, it is not talking about MUSIC THEORY. It as stated
in the footnote is about the wan Figured Bass works, not the way the
music works! That is the problem of just putting in terms for the
search. Once again CONTEXT rears its ugly head and bites you on this
citation!.
Schenker has just described the document concerned as a a "profound
work" and the "only work in musical literature which actually leads
toward the music" and you come to the conclusion, contextually, that
Schenker is talking about a document that describes the mechanics of
figured bass rather than "the way music works". LOL.
<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that expect that to deter you.
Ian
So, in shore, yes, my comments (if you read carefully, you will see
that I am not arguing, but commenting. If you addressed the correct
context and gave a valid reason for your comments, THEN it might be
possible for me to argue a point. I can't argue about this because you
have not given a clear, relevant account of how you think that Figured
Bass = Music Theory.
You're the person is hung up on the notion of thorough-bass as a
notation. I've made the distinction between the notation and the
historical tradition which is commonly called "thorough-bass theory"
and I've provided documents which confirm the historical concept. If
you want to continue to argue that there is no such historical concept
as "thorough-bass theory" then that's entirely your perogative.
In any case, to help you along, here are extracts from an article on
dualism which begins with a survey of the broader theoretical field,
including, most prominently, thorough-bass theory.
Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
divides reasonably into two main traditions: thorough-bass styles
of music theory and harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
particular aspects of their approach.
Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
thorough-bass theory as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
harmonic dualism as Prussian... A third major traditions, the
fundamental-bass theory emanating from Rameau, was more
international in scope and influence....
The thorough-bass tradition of music theory has its institutional
origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
were important attempts to update the tradition...
As an approach...thorough-bass theory might reasonably be
characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike thorough-bass
theorists, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
materialist and empiricist research project...
http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA456&dq=thorough+bass+theory&ei=LuoISpigFqSOkQS32ZymBA#PPA456,M1
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC THEORY, p457
Contextualize away. Invent a new world of music theory in which there
is no thorough-bass theory. Imagine your best or your worst :-)
Ian
Since we can count Mozart as a ninetieenth century Viennesse composer, I
would like to see more concrete proof that TB theory was at the heart of
his compositional style , particularly concerning his later symphonies et
al. His practice seems to suggest quite the opposite. Maybe you should read
abit more Charles Rosen
http://books.google.com/books?id=vGdcINvz9n4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=charles+rosen+the+classical+style&ei=awEJSv0ylvLKBNDE6LAN#PPR8,M1
Danny Schorr
2009-05-12 05:05:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Danny Schorr
Since we can count Mozart as a ninetieenth century Viennesse composer, I
would like to see more concrete proof that TB theory was at the heart of
his compositional style , particularly concerning his later symphonies et
al. His practice seems to suggest quite the opposite. Maybe you should read
abit more Charles Rosen
http://books.google.com/books?id=vGdcINvz9n4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=charles+rosen+the+classical+style&ei=awEJSv0ylvLKBNDE6LAN#PPR8,M1
Also a thought...by the time orchestras were in full swing by mozarts time,
and even before - lets say Bachs later works - the continuo could not even
really be heard heard over the full orchestra...so really,the question
arises what purpose the figured bass conitinuo really served during 19th
century orchestral music. Seeems like an anochrosim to me.

Danny
paramucho
2009-05-12 14:32:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
http://books.google.com/books?id=KQGzpmGfgu0C&pg=PA634&dq=figured+bas...
  [In a footnote on the same page Schenker references:]
  CPE Bach's Generalbasslehre [The Theory Of Figured Bass], a
  profound work of German genius and the only work in musical
  literature which actually leads towards the music...
"leads toward the music?"
As I read the footnote, I see that it is talking about the THEORY of
the FIGURED BASS, it is not talking about MUSIC THEORY. It as stated
in the footnote is about the wan Figured Bass works, not the way the
music works! That is the problem of just putting in terms for the
search. Once again CONTEXT rears its ugly head and bites you on this
citation!.
Schenker has just described the document concerned as a a "profound
work" and the "only work in musical literature which actually leads
toward the music" and you come to the conclusion, contextually, that
Schenker is talking about a document that describes the mechanics of
figured bass rather than "the way music works". LOL.
<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that expect that to deter you.
Ian
So, in shore, yes, my comments (if you read carefully, you will see
that I am not arguing, but commenting. If you addressed the correct
context and gave a valid reason for your comments, THEN it might be
possible for me to argue a point. I can't argue about this because you
have not given a clear, relevant account of how you think that Figured
Bass = Music Theory.
You're the person is hung up on the notion of thorough-bass as a
notation. I've made the distinction between the notation and the
historical tradition which is commonly called "thorough-bass theory"
and I've provided documents which confirm the historical concept. If
you want to continue to argue that there is no such historical concept
as "thorough-bass theory" then that's entirely your perogative.
In any case, to help you along, here are extracts from an article on
dualism which begins with a survey of the broader theoretical field,
including, most prominently, thorough-bass theory.
Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
divides reasonably into two main traditions: thorough-bass styles
of music theory and harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
particular aspects of their approach.
Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
thorough-bass theory as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
harmonic dualism as Prussian... A third major traditions, the
fundamental-bass theory emanating from Rameau, was more
international in scope and influence....
The thorough-bass tradition of music theory has its institutional
origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
were important attempts to update the tradition...
As an approach...thorough-bass theory might reasonably be
characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike thorough-bass
theorists, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
materialist and empiricist research project...
http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA456&dq=thorough+bass+theory&ei=LuoISpigFqSOkQS32ZymBA#PPA456,M1
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC THEORY, p457
Contextualize away. Invent a new world of music theory in which there
is no thorough-bass theory. Imagine your best or your worst :-)
Ian
Since we can count Mozart as a ninetieenth century Viennesse composer, I
would like to see more concrete proof that TB theory was at the heart of
his compositional style , particularly concerning his later symphonies et
al. His practice seems to suggest quite the opposite. Maybe you should read
abit more Charles Rosen
http://books.google.com/books?id=vGdcINvz9n4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=charles+rosen+the+classical+style&ei=awEJSv0ylvLKBNDE6LAN#PPR8,M1
Mozart was an eighteenth century composer, but that just makes TB
theory more applicable. I have both the Rosen books on the period.
Which theory do you think was at "the heart" of Mozart's style?

Ian
Danny Schorr
2009-05-14 02:27:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by Danny Schorr
Since we can count Mozart as a ninetieenth century Viennesse composer, I
would like to see more concrete proof that TB theory was at the heart of
his compositional style , particularly concerning his later symphonies et
al. His practice seems to suggest quite the opposite. Maybe you should read
abit more Charles Rosen
http://books.google.com/books?id=vGdcINvz9n4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=charles+rosen+the+classical+style&ei=awEJSv0ylvLKBNDE6LAN#PPR8,M1
Mozart was an eighteenth century composer, but that just makes TB
theory more applicable. I have both the Rosen books on the period.
Which theory do you think was at "the heart" of Mozart's style?
Ian
Help me out here. I know you are a very knowledgable dude. I am just not
understanding how Mozart being an Nineteenth century composer would make
figured bass theory more applicable.The oppposite would seem the case to
me.

My understanding is that FB is most helpful to the continuo player. Now, by
mozarts time the orchestras were loud enough that the continuo wasnt even
heard by most of the audience, so how relevant is it really?.Correct me if
I am wrong, but the part scores are completely written out for all the
members of the orchestra except for the continuo player. So, how does
figured bass theory figure into this. ( I cant say I really even know what
you mean by figured bass "as a theory" as a opposed to a practice. Always
struck me as something akin to lead sheets for jazz performers, as others
alluded to already.)

What *I* got out of Rosen's book was the extent of how Mozart was able to
adapt the ideas of form he learned from Haydn and elsewhere to a very
scale large, where the scheme of the work was surprising but ultimately
extremely logical. Of course you could say that about Beethoven and others,
too.

But I will try to answer what I think was the theory at the heart of
Mozart's style, and I am sure I am leaving a few things out, but....

obviously-
voice leading
theme and variation
melodic theory elucidated by Percy Gothius ( too lazy to look up the
spelling of his name- I know I am close)

[By this I am talking about active scale tendencies - PG wrote it down, I
am sure the idea was around before him]

Consonance and dissonance

a reduction of the truly contrapuntal to more of a melody/accompony scheme.
the balance shifted back a bit during his later works.

So, basically, CPP theory, I guess...which, if he did it, became part of
the common practice theory itself.

Sorry, I am tired, and if I didnt give a satisfactory answer, we'll keep
dialoging.


Aside: Are you Familiar with the anecdote of Mozart visiting the
Thomasschule after Bach died, Laying out one of Bachs scores and exclaiming
" Finally,someone I can learn something from!"?

Just curious, because in many of JS Bach's works that I have heard, the
continuo, which I imagine were laid down in figured bass form, strike me as
being quite insignificant, and it reminded me of that incident

Danny
paramucho
2009-05-14 10:47:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
Post by Danny Schorr
Since we can count Mozart as a ninetieenth century Viennesse composer, I
would like to see more concrete proof that TB theory was at the heart of
his compositional style , particularly concerning his later symphonies et
al. His practice seems to suggest quite the opposite. Maybe you should read
abit more Charles Rosen
http://books.google.com/books?id=vGdcINvz9n4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=charles+rosen+the+classical+style&ei=awEJSv0ylvLKBNDE6LAN#PPR8,M1
Mozart was an eighteenth century composer, but that just makes TB
theory more applicable. I have both the Rosen books on the period.
Which theory do you think was at "the heart" of Mozart's style?
Ian
Help me out here. I know you are a very knowledgable dude. I am just not
understanding how Mozart being an Nineteenth century composer would make
figured bass theory more applicable.The oppposite would seem the case to
me.
What I said was that Mozart was an *eighteenth* century composer (not
*nineteenth*) and that the earlier date made the theory more
applicable. I don't know much about Mozart's early life, but I did
find this passage. I'm not sure how reliable the information is.

Leopold gave Wolfgang a late Baroque upbringing, founded on
thorough-bass theory and Fuxian species counterpoint.
MOZART'S SYMPHONIES

http://books.google.com/books?id=O3ilcwA-isYC&pg=PA10&dq="thorough+bass+theory"&lr=&as_brr=3&ei=oegLSoOmBJuskASX8cnEAg

And TB doesn't die immediately following Rameau's TRAITE DE HARMONIE.
One of the last books that Rameau wrote was CODE DE MUSIQUE
PRACTIQUE.. which is said to have been a TB text. Schenker's first
shot at FREE COMPOSITION, written in the early 1900s, was apparently a
TB text. I say "apparently" for both books because I haven't seen them
and am relying on second-hand information.

(In fact I just found a facsimile of CODE DE MUSIQUE PRACTIQUE... at
http://www.scribd.com/doc/2187259/Code-de-Musique-Rameau, but with my
limited French I'll only be able to understand snippets of it.)
Post by Danny Schorr
My understanding is that FB is most helpful to the continuo player. Now, by
mozarts time the orchestras were loud enough that the continuo wasnt even
heard by most of the audience, so how relevant is it really?.Correct me if
I am wrong, but the part scores are completely written out for all the
members of the orchestra except for the continuo player. So, how does
figured bass theory figure into this. ( I cant say I really even know what
you mean by figured bass "as a theory" as a opposed to a practice. Always
struck me as something akin to lead sheets for jazz performers, as others
alluded to already.)
What I have tried to emphasize, apparently very unsuccessfully,
throughout this thread is that "TB THEORY DOES NOT NECESSARILY EQUATE
DIRECTLY TO TB PRACTICE or basso continuo. The theorist and theory of
the period are labeled "thorough bass" because it's the "thorough bass
period" in just the same way that we might label theory of the
renaissance as "renaissance theory". Which is not to deny the
essential role played by chordal thinking which is reflected in the
notation.

Indeed, I could have just as easily said "early chordal theory" or
whatever, but "thorough bass theory" is the term I've seen recently.
Post by Danny Schorr
What *I* got out of Rosen's book was the extent of how Mozart was able to
adapt the ideas of form he learned from Haydn and elsewhere to a very
scale large, where the scheme of the work was surprising but ultimately
extremely logical. Of course you could say that about Beethoven and others,
too.
Form is (usually) a different subject to the typical content of TB
which is concerned with harmony etc.
Post by Danny Schorr
But I will try to answer what I think was the theory at the heart of
Mozart's style, and I am sure I am leaving a few things out, but....
obviously-
voice leading
See Consonance/dissonance below.
Post by Danny Schorr
theme and variation
melodic theory elucidated by Percy Gothius ( too lazy to look up the
spelling of his name- I know I am close)
[By this I am talking about active scale tendencies - PG wrote it down, I
am sure the idea was around before him]
You'd need to do more than this to convince me that the theories of
Percy Goetschius, who died in 1943, were at the heart of Mozart's
style :-)
Post by Danny Schorr
Consonance and dissonance
Consonance and dissonance and voice leading are part of contrapuntal
and thorough bass approachs. The organisation of a TB manual might
look a lot like Piston with opening sections on scales, intervals,
basic voice leading including parallels, dissonance etc before moving
on to the descriptions of chord signatures and chord progressions. A
functional harmony text doesn't just describe the functions, it also
describes the same general environent as above.
Post by Danny Schorr
a reduction of the truly contrapuntal to more of a melody/accompony scheme.
the balance shifted back a bit during his later works.
This is the core area of the TB approach. Indeed, TB initially grows
out of the instrumental chordal accompaniment of the single voice.
Post by Danny Schorr
So, basically, CPP theory, I guess...which, if he did it, became part of
the common practice theory itself.
Sorry, I am tired, and if I didnt give a satisfactory answer, we'll keep
dialoging.
I understood what you were saying. The question is where did CPP
theory, as we know it, come from? A lot of it came from the
development which took place in the period 1600-1750. Linear thinking
is augmented with a new form of chordal thinking. The major/minor
system emerges along the traditional modes. P5 starts to play more of
an organising role. All these things are reflected in the thinking of
the period concerned.
Post by Danny Schorr
Aside: Are you Familiar with the anecdote of Mozart visiting the
Thomasschule after Bach died, Laying out one of Bachs scores and exclaiming
" Finally,someone I can learn something from!"?
Just curious, because in many of JS Bach's works that I have heard, the
continuo, which I imagine were laid down in figured bass form, strike me as
being quite insignificant, and it reminded me of that incident
Unfortunately it probably is just an anecdote!

There are some manuscript originals of Bach pieces where we can see
that someone has taken the time to analyse the music in terms of
chords using TB. In this case TB is being used as an analytic tool.
There is also a document where Mozart appears to have done some
analysis using Rameau's fundamental bass. He was obviously keeping up
with the latest developments.

Ian
LJS
2009-05-14 13:56:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Danny Schorr
Post by paramucho
Post by Danny Schorr
Since we can count Mozart as a ninetieenth century Viennesse composer, I
would like to see more concrete proof that TB theory was at the heart of
his compositional style , particularly concerning his later symphonies et
al. His practice seems to suggest quite the opposite. Maybe you should read
abit more Charles Rosen
http://books.google.com/books?id=vGdcINvz9n4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=...
Mozart was an eighteenth century composer, but that just makes TB
theory more applicable. I have both the Rosen books on the period.
Which theory do you think was at "the heart" of Mozart's style?
Ian
Help me out here. I know you are a very knowledgable dude. I am just not
understanding how Mozart being an Nineteenth century composer would make
figured bass theory more applicable.The oppposite would seem the case to
me.
My understanding is that FB is most helpful to the continuo player. Now, by
mozarts time the orchestras were loud enough that the continuo wasnt even
heard by most of the audience, so how relevant is it really?.Correct me if
I am wrong, but the part scores are completely written out for all the
members of the orchestra except for the continuo player. So, how does
figured bass theory figure into this. ( I cant say I really even know what
you mean by figured bass "as a theory" as a opposed to a practice. Always
struck me as something akin to lead sheets for jazz performers, as others
alluded to already.)
What *I* got out of Rosen's book was the extent of how Mozart was able to
adapt the ideas of form he learned from Haydn and elsewhere to a very
scale large, where the scheme of the work was surprising but ultimately
extremely logical. Of course you could say that about Beethoven and others,
too.
But I will try to answer what I think was the theory at the heart of
Mozart's style, and I am sure I am leaving a few things out, but....
obviously-
voice leading
theme and variation
melodic theory elucidated by Percy Gothius ( too lazy to look up the
spelling of his name- I know I am close)
[By this I am talking about active scale tendencies - PG wrote it down, I
am sure the idea was around before him]
Consonance and dissonance
a reduction of the truly contrapuntal to more of a melody/accompony scheme.
the balance shifted back a bit during his later works.
So, basically, CPP theory, I guess...which, if he did it, became part of
the common practice theory itself.
Sorry, I am tired, and if I didnt give a satisfactory answer, we'll keep
dialoging.
Aside: Are you Familiar with the anecdote of Mozart visiting the
Thomasschule after Bach died, Laying out one of Bachs scores and exclaiming
" Finally,someone I can learn something from!"?
Just curious, because in many of JS Bach's works that I have heard, the
continuo, which I imagine were laid down in figured bass form, strike me as
being quite insignificant, and it reminded me of that incident
Danny
Except that Mozart only made it to 1791 you are pretty much on target.
(I also am not a "date" person)

But the underlying facts are still correct. Bach 1685-1750 used this
notation in the first half of the 18th Century and of course Mozart
was born a few years after his death so Figured Bass was well
established as a notational device for his life.

I will use your post, however, as an opportunity to help clarify what
I have been saying (and repeating ) since the beginning of this part
of this thread. It is not directed towards your views or post, only
that you seem to have inherited the EverReady Bunny on this topic and
I just wanted to post a comment and not pull the EverReady Bunny back
on my thread.

As to the use of FB vs full score keyboard notation, one would have to
notice that up until the acceptance and use of the Functional Harmony,
it was not really possible to use this notation as it doesn't really
work for contrapuntal music and for contrapuntal music, chords were
not a framework for counterpoint as the harmony was a result of the
counterpoint so improvisation of the parts was not really a
consideration.

As the CPP (alias Functional Harmonic Period) took hold, the keyboard
part was independent of counterpoint in much of the new musical style.
It could be forced in some pieces, but not as a characteristic style.
I.e. You could do a Figured Bass on a Bach chorale, but it would be
forced and it would not account for an accurate rendition of the piece
in any a way that would allow an accurate performance. (and the fact
that there were no continuo in the chorales. One would think that if
FB was a theory, it would certainly have been used on the chorals as
they were using the same chords as in FB continuo parts! But later,
after the theory had evolved, the Figures (or inversions) of FB was
adapted to fit the analysis AFTER the theory called
"TBOTNMTINRTTPMWWBUCC" (see below ;-) was developed and put into
practice.

SO, as Figured Bass came into use, it was used for chordal based
compositions and full notation would have been used for contrapuntal
based music. You will not find an abundance of Fugues notated in
Figured Bass and I don't think that the Inventions were written in
this manner either.

Thus, when one referred to "Figured Bass Theory" or "Thorough Bass
Theory" they were referring to the music that was written in this
notation or in other words it referred to music that was based on the
chord progressions and where the voicing of the harmonic structure was
not of primary importance. The Figured Bass allowed the performer to
adapt the part to fit any of the continuo instruments and to match his
technique to the music.

As this evolution of chord based music began to be less related to the
older theories of counterpoint and more related to this new chordal
based principle. As theorist began to recognize this and try to
explain what was going on, the used the term "Thorough Bass Theory" as
the catch phrase to describe this new way of approaching music
analysis. I think it is a better term than "Theory Based On The New
Music That Is Not Related To The Previous Music Which Was Based Upon
Contrapuntal Considerations", or "TBOTNMTINRTTPMWWBUCC". This term was
simply too long to use in their Text messaging and was then dropped in
favor of TBT which was a lot cheaper with the text plans offered at
that time.

This is the only connection that TBT has to music theory. It was, and
still is, a notational system that is more efficient in some kinds of
music than working from the whole score. The early theorists used this
part instead of a score.

When the EB first insisted upon TB or FB being a theory, I carefully
explained that. FB is a notational system that was used instead of a
score in the same manner as if it was with the score to study and to
arrive at the concept of Functional Harmony that was already being
used in so many pieces. The really talented musicians understood the
theory without the symbols. The early theorists simply was looking for
a way to explain it to the normal musicians that could really only
play and were not composers. The FB continuo parts was the link. CPE
explained how to interpret these parts. The players were familiar with
this notation so it was used in the early attempts to define the
theory. Once they had acceptable methods, they proceeded to find the
best symbols to use to aid this analysis.

That's it. Simple and easy. I know that you understand Danny, and I
apologize for using your post as a vehicle. But it is so nice to have
a different beat playing than the EverReady Bunny plays.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-14 14:55:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
As the CPP (alias Functional Harmonic Period) took hold, the keyboard
part was independent of counterpoint in much of the new musical style.
It could be forced in some pieces, but not as a characteristic style.
I.e. You could do a Figured Bass on a Bach chorale, but it would be
forced and it would not account for an accurate rendition of the piece
in any a way that would allow an accurate performance. (and the fact
that there were no continuo in the chorales. One would think that if
FB was a theory, it would certainly have been used on the chorals as
they were using the same chords as in FB continuo parts!
The following passage comes from J.S. BACH'S PRECEPTS AND PRINCIPLES
FOR PLAYING THE THOROUGH-BASS... which contains a translation of J.S.
Bach's TB text that he used with his students. His text is based
heavily on that of Niedt (who in turn may have learned most of it from
his teacher, one of Bach's cousins).

Writing about his father's teaching in answer to a letter from Bach
biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel, Philipp Emanuel relates,

In composition he started the pupils right in with what was
practical, and omitted all the dry species of counterpoint that are
given in Fux and others. His pupils had to begin their studies by
learning pure four-part thorough bass. From this he went to
chorales; first he added the basses to them himself, and they had to
invent the alto and tenor. Then he taught them to devise the basses
themselves. He particularly insisted on the writing out of the
thorough bass in [four real] parts [Aussetzen der Stimmen im
Generalbasse].
J.S. BACH'S PRECEPTS AND PRINCIPLES FOR PLAYING THE
THOROUGH-BASS..., pXII

This corresponds to the order of presentation in other manuals in the
period: first teach TB where chord progression theory etc can be
learned. After that teach counterpoint which the student will now view
harmonically using what had been learned via TB.
Post by LJS
But later,
after the theory had evolved, the Figures (or inversions) of FB was
adapted to fit the analysis AFTER the theory called
"TBOTNMTINRTTPMWWBUCC" (see below ;-) was developed and put into
practice.
SO, as Figured Bass came into use, it was used for chordal based
compositions and full notation would have been used for contrapuntal
based music. You will not find an abundance of Fugues notated in
Figured Bass and I don't think that the Inventions were written in
this manner either.
Partimento is a specialized TB genre which includes fugal treatment.
There's some discussion of Bach's possible involvement in the
Langloz MS here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=em5_UW0GohMC&pg=PA25&dq=niedt+subject:music&ei=WBsMSsb0IKHSkASGuKSLAg#PPA9,M1

Gjerdingen has a great Partimenti website:
http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/partimenti
Post by LJS
Thus, when one referred to "Figured Bass Theory" or "Thorough Bass
Theory" they were referring to the music that was written in this
notation or in other words it referred to music that was based on the
chord progressions and where the voicing of the harmonic structure was
not of primary importance. The Figured Bass allowed the performer to
adapt the part to fit any of the continuo instruments and to match his
technique to the music.
The "voicing" was not important, but "voice leading" certainly was.
Post by LJS
As this evolution of chord based music began to be less related to the
older theories of counterpoint and more related to this new chordal
based principle. As theorist began to recognize this and try to
explain what was going on, the used the term "Thorough Bass Theory" as
the catch phrase to describe this new way of approaching music
analysis. I think it is a better term than "Theory Based On The New
Music That Is Not Related To The Previous Music Which Was Based Upon
Contrapuntal Considerations", or "TBOTNMTINRTTPMWWBUCC". This term was
simply too long to use in their Text messaging and was then dropped in
favor of TBT which was a lot cheaper with the text plans offered at
that time.
This is the only connection that TBT has to music theory. It was, and
still is, a notational system that is more efficient in some kinds of
music than working from the whole score. The early theorists used this
part instead of a score.
You're getting closer, but still not quite there. The notation is not
as important as the chordal thinking that TB reflects, and chordal
thinking affects everything in the period, which is what your term
TBOTNMTINRTTPMWWBUCC also reflects. The evolution of the major/minor
system, keys, circle of fifths etc are also associated with TBT
because TB theorists, such as Heinichen, were associated with this new
thinking and public debates with the modalists, such as Fux, who
wanted to retain modes etc.
Post by LJS
When the EB first insisted upon TB or FB being a theory, I carefully
explained that. FB is a notational system that was used instead of a
score in the same manner as if it was with the score to study and to
arrive at the concept of Functional Harmony that was already being
used in so many pieces. The really talented musicians understood the
theory without the symbols. The early theorists simply was looking for
a way to explain it to the normal musicians that could really only
play and were not composers. The FB continuo parts was the link. CPE
explained how to interpret these parts. The players were familiar with
this notation so it was used in the early attempts to define the
theory. Once they had acceptable methods, they proceeded to find the
best symbols to use to aid this analysis.
As above...
Post by LJS
That's it. Simple and easy. I know that you understand Danny, and I
apologize for using your post as a vehicle. But it is so nice to have
a different beat playing than the EverReady Bunny plays.
I've been called a lot worse.

Ian
LJS
2009-05-14 17:27:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
Post by LJS
As the CPP (alias Functional Harmonic Period) took hold, the keyboard
part was independent of counterpoint in much of the new musical style.
It could be forced in some pieces, but not as a characteristic style.
I.e. You could do a Figured Bass on a Bach chorale, but it would be
forced and it would not account for an accurate rendition of the piece
in any a way that would allow an accurate performance. (and the fact
that there were no continuo in the chorales. One would think that if
FB was a theory, it would certainly have been used on the chorals as
they were using the same chords as in FB continuo parts!
The following passage comes from J.S. BACH'S PRECEPTS AND PRINCIPLES
FOR PLAYING THE THOROUGH-BASS... which contains a translation of J.S.
Bach's TB text that he used with his students. His text is based
heavily on that of Niedt (who in turn may have learned most of it from
his teacher, one of Bach's cousins).
Writing about his father's teaching in answer to a letter from Bach
biographer Johann Nikolaus Forkel, Philipp Emanuel relates,
In composition he started the pupils right in with what was
practical, and omitted all the dry species of counterpoint that are
given in Fux and others. His pupils had to begin their studies by
learning pure four-part thorough bass. From this he went to
chorales; first he added the basses to them himself, and they had to
invent the alto and tenor. Then he taught them to devise the basses
themselves. He particularly insisted on the writing out of the
thorough bass in [four real] parts [Aussetzen der Stimmen im
Generalbasse].
J.S. BACH'S PRECEPTS AND PRINCIPLES FOR PLAYING THE
THOROUGH-BASS..., pXII
This corresponds to the order of presentation in other manuals in the
period: first teach TB where chord progression theory etc can be
learned. After that teach counterpoint which the student will now view
harmonically using what had been learned via TB.
Post by LJS
But later,
after the theory had evolved, the Figures (or inversions) of FB was
adapted to fit the analysis AFTER the theory called
"TBOTNMTINRTTPMWWBUCC" (see below ;-) was developed and put into
practice.
SO, as Figured Bass came into use, it was used for chordal based
compositions and full notation would have been used for contrapuntal
based music. You will not find an abundance of Fugues notated in
Figured Bass and I don't think that the Inventions were written in
this manner either.
Partimento is a specialized TB genre which includes fugal treatment.
There's some discussion of Bach's possible involvement in the
Langloz MS here:http://books.google.com/books?id=em5_UW0GohMC&pg=PA25&dq=niedt+subjec...
Gjerdingen has a great Partimenti website:http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/partimenti
Post by LJS
Thus, when one referred to "Figured Bass Theory" or "Thorough Bass
Theory" they were referring to the music that was written in this
notation or in other words it referred to music that was based on the
chord progressions and where the voicing of the harmonic structure was
not of primary importance. The Figured Bass allowed the performer to
adapt the part to fit any of the continuo instruments and to match his
technique to the music.
The "voicing" was not important, but "voice leading" certainly was.
Post by LJS
As this evolution of chord based music began to be less related to the
older theories of counterpoint and more related to this new chordal
based principle. As theorist began to recognize this and try to
explain what was going on, the used the term "Thorough Bass Theory" as
the catch phrase to describe this new way of approaching music
analysis. I think it is a better term than "Theory Based On The New
Music That Is Not Related To The Previous Music Which Was Based Upon
Contrapuntal Considerations", or "TBOTNMTINRTTPMWWBUCC". This term was
simply too long to use in their Text messaging and was then dropped in
favor of TBT which was a lot cheaper with the text plans offered at
that time.
This is the only connection that TBT has to music theory. It was, and
still is, a notational system that is more efficient in some kinds of
music than working from the whole score. The early theorists used this
part instead of a score.
You're getting closer, but still not quite there. The notation is not
as important as the chordal thinking that TB reflects, and chordal
thinking affects everything in the period, which is what your term
TBOTNMTINRTTPMWWBUCC also reflects. The evolution of the major/minor
system, keys, circle of fifths etc are also associated with TBT
because TB theorists, such as Heinichen, were associated with this new
thinking and public debates with the modalists, such as Fux, who
wanted to retain modes etc.
Post by LJS
When the EB first insisted upon TB or FB being a theory, I carefully
explained that. FB is a notational system that was used instead of a
score in the same manner as if it was with the score to study and to
arrive at the concept of Functional Harmony that was already being
used in so many pieces. The really talented musicians understood the
theory without the symbols. The early theorists simply was looking for
a way to explain it to the normal musicians that could really only
play and were not composers. The FB continuo parts was the link. CPE
explained how to interpret these parts. The players were familiar with
this notation so it was used in the early attempts to define the
theory. Once they had acceptable methods, they proceeded to find the
best symbols to use to aid this analysis.
As above...
Post by LJS
That's it. Simple and easy. I know that you understand Danny, and I
apologize for using your post as a vehicle. But it is so nice to have
a different beat playing than the EverReady Bunny plays.
I've been called a lot worse.
Ian
I am sure you have! But although interesting, this really missed the
mark of my statements. Yes, you have researched and copied and pasted
a lot of instruction of how some used FB as a tool. That's fine.
Relevant to my statements about the connection or lack there of
concerning FB and music theory? No. Interesting? Somewhat.

And the beat goes on...


LJS
LJS
2009-05-12 13:47:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
http://books.google.com/books?id=KQGzpmGfgu0C&pg=PA634&dq=figured+bas...
  [In a footnote on the same page Schenker references:]
  CPE Bach's Generalbasslehre [The Theory Of Figured Bass], a
  profound work of German genius and the only work in musical
  literature which actually leads towards the music...
"leads toward the music?"
As I read the footnote, I see that it is talking about the THEORY of
the FIGURED BASS, it is not talking about MUSIC THEORY. It as stated
in the footnote is about the wan Figured Bass works, not the way the
music works! That is the problem of just putting in terms for the
search. Once again CONTEXT rears its ugly head and bites you on this
citation!.
Schenker has just described the document concerned as a a "profound
work" and the "only work in musical literature which actually leads
toward the music" and you come to the conclusion, contextually, that
Schenker is talking about a document that describes the mechanics of
figured bass rather than "the way music works". LOL.
<snip>
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
In short, your argument is not with me but with the current world of
music theory. Not that expect that to deter you.
Ian
So, in shore, yes, my comments (if you read carefully, you will see
that I am not arguing, but commenting. If you addressed the correct
context and gave a valid reason for your comments, THEN it might be
possible for me to argue a point. I can't argue about this because you
have not given a clear, relevant account of how you think that Figured
Bass = Music Theory.
You're the person is hung up on the notion of thorough-bass as a
notation. I've made the distinction between the notation and the
historical tradition which is commonly called "thorough-bass theory"
and I've provided documents which confirm the historical concept. If
you want to continue to argue that there is no such historical concept
as "thorough-bass theory" then that's entirely your perogative.
In any case, to help you along, here are extracts from an article on
dualism which begins with a survey of the broader theoretical field,
including, most prominently, thorough-bass theory.
    Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
   divides reasonably into two main traditions: thorough-bass styles
   of music theory and harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
   thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
   respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
   structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
   the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
   particular aspects of their approach.
     Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
   two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
   formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
   thorough-bass theory as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
   harmonic dualism as Prussian...   A third major traditions, the
   fundamental-bass theory emanating from Rameau, was more
   international in scope and influence....
     The thorough-bass tradition of music theory has its institutional
   origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
   Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
   identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
   that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
   general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
   remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
   were important attempts to update the tradition...
     As an approach...thorough-bass theory might reasonably be
   characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
   begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
     The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
   the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike thorough-bass
   theorists, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
   seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
   materialist and empiricist research project...
http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA456&dq=thorough+ba...
     THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC THEORY, p457
Contextualize away. Invent a new world of music theory in which there
is no thorough-bass theory. Imagine your best or your worst :-)
Ian
I don't know Ian. You still don't understand that there is the theory
of Fugured Bass. It is a valid thing, it does exist. Schenker does NOT
say that it is music theory. Are you sure that you think in English?
It still sounds like you are just not understanding what is being
written. He writes about the theory of a notational system and the
very good document that uses theory to explain how to follow this
notation. He does NOT say that the Figured Bass explains the theory.
If it did, CPE would not have had to write this paper at all!

Maybe it is as the Rock Man said to little Oleo, "You see what you
want to see and you hear what you want to hear."

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-12 14:34:56 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 12 May 2009 06:47:08 -0700 (PDT), LJS <***@gmail.com>
wrote:

<snip>
Post by LJS
I don't know Ian. You still don't understand that there is the theory
of Fugured Bass. It is a valid thing, it does exist. Schenker does NOT
say that it is music theory. Are you sure that you think in English?
It still sounds like you are just not understanding what is being
written. He writes about the theory of a notational system and the
very good document that uses theory to explain how to follow this
notation. He does NOT say that the Figured Bass explains the theory.
If it did, CPE would not have had to write this paper at all!
Maybe it is as the Rock Man said to little Oleo, "You see what you
want to see and you hear what you want to hear."
Well, as I explained, Schenker was hardly going to call a description
of the mechanics of figured bass a work of genius. But believe what
you want to believe.

Here's the passage you didn't address from my last post. To help you
out I've upper-cased and underlined all the references to
thorough-bass theory etc.
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
    Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
   divides reasonably into two main traditions: THOROUGH-BASS STYLES
--------------------
   OF MUSIC THEORY And harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
---------------
   thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
   respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
   structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
   the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
   particular aspects of their approach.
     Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
   two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
   formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
--------------------
   harmonic dualism as Prussian...   A third major tradition, the
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY emanating from Rameau, was more international
--------------------
in scope and influence....
     The THOROUGH-BASS TRADITION OF MUSIC THEORY has its institutional
---------------------------------------
   origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
   Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
   identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
   that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
   general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
   remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
   were important attempts to update the tradition...
     As an approach...THOROUGH-BASS THEORY might reasonably be
--------------------
   characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
   begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
     The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
   the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike THOROUGH-BASS
-------------
   THEORISTS, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
---------
   seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
   materialist and empiricist research project...
You can read the section in full here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA456&dq=thorough+bass+theory&ei=LuoISpigFqSOkQS32ZymBA#PPA456,M1
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC THEORY, p457


Ian
LJS
2009-05-12 17:29:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
<snip>
Post by LJS
I don't know Ian. You still don't understand that there is the theory
of Fugured Bass. It is a valid thing, it does exist. Schenker does NOT
say that it is music theory. Are you sure that you think in English?
It still sounds like you are just not understanding what is being
written. He writes about the theory of a notational system and the
very good document that uses theory to explain how to follow this
notation. He does NOT say that the Figured Bass explains the theory.
If it did, CPE would not have had to write this paper at all!
Maybe it is as the Rock Man said to little Oleo, "You see what you
want to see and you hear what you want to hear."
Well, as I explained, Schenker was hardly going to call a description
of the mechanics of figured bass a work of genius. But believe what
you want to believe.
Here's the passage you didn't address from my last post. To help you
out I've upper-cased and underlined all the references to
thorough-bass theory etc.
Post by LJS
Post by paramucho
    Nineteenth-century music theory in German-speaking countries
   divides reasonably into two main traditions: THOROUGH-BASS STYLES
                                                --------------------  
   OF MUSIC THEORY And harmonic dualism. The approachs are usually
   ---------------
   thought of nowadays as scale-degree theory and functionalism,
   respectively; since the emphasis in the account here is on chord
   structure and chordal relations a expressions of such structure,
   the traditions are characterized so as to foreground these
   particular aspects of their approach.
     Interestingly, by the last half of the nineteenth century, the
   two traditions had become connected to different geo-political
   formations in Central Europe, such that we may properly speak of
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY as Viennese (or more generally Austrian) and
   --------------------
   harmonic dualism as Prussian...   A third major tradition, the
   THOROUGH-BASS THEORY emanating from Rameau, was more international
   --------------------
   in scope and influence....
     The THOROUGH-BASS TRADITION OF MUSIC THEORY has its institutional
         ---------------------------------------
   origins in the late feudal/early modern institution of the
   Kapellmeister system of central Europe and extends as an
   identifiable theoretical movement from the work of Heinichen to
   that of Sechter and late nineteenth-century Viennese theory in
   general, including Schenker's. The basic tenets of the approach
   remained generally stable throughout this period, although there
   were important attempts to update the tradition...
     As an approach...THOROUGH-BASS THEORY might reasonably be
                      --------------------
   characterized as principally scale-based, in the sense that it
   begins by taking as a donnee the concept of scale...
     The second musical-theoretical tradition, harmonic dualism, is
   the starting point for the present chapter. Unlike THOROUGH-BASS
                                                      -------------  
   THEORISTS, almost all those belonging to this tradition took
   ---------
   seriously the Prussian physicist Hermann von Helmholtz's
   materialist and empiricist research project...
http://books.google.com/books?id=ioa9uW2t7AQC&pg=PA456&dq=thorough+ba...
THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN MUSIC THEORY, p457
Ian
I read it, and my statements still hold as they did before. They may,
when switching the terminology from figured bass to through bass they
talk more about theory. Then they say that it should (or does) evolve
into applying the figures to the key rather than to the bass in
isolation, they are saying exactly what I did about how it can be used
as a tool. I wonder how you can miss all of that. Call it what you
want. Use the correct words or use what ever ones you want to use. It
certainly doesn't matter to me if you choose the wrong words. I have
pointed it out to you, you are dead set on using the wrong words and
context of the term, that is all I can do. Have you noticed that I am
not the only one that has agreed with its not being theory? This is
not a vote, but there are many that have correctly pointed out why it
is not music theory as well as myself even to include people that
would love to prove me wrong. But you can call it what you want and
the listener can either accept your definitions or not. This is too
much time being spent on such a simple question of literacy. There is
the definition, in the last post. Believe it or don't.

LJS
paramucho
2009-05-13 08:03:45 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 12 May 2009 10:29:13 -0700 (PDT), LJS <***@gmail.com>
wrote:


<snip>
There is the definition, in the last post. Believe it or don't.
See my response to that post.


Ian
v***@online.de
2009-05-06 11:12:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Rameau's idea of the Fundamental Bass is one of the only ideas found
in the world of "musical theory" that is actually really theoretical.
The main thing is that idea and theory must be based on the facts. The
only fact was discovery overtone series by Mersenne and this fact is
directly related to actual music instruments only. In other respects
his theory was based on accidental circumstances as dispositions of
major and minor triads in diatonic scale. If naturalness has source in
overtone series then why main triad isn’t one with ratios 1:2:3.
Post by Joey Goldstein
The vast bulk of what is taught as musical theory (counterpoint, voice
leading, etc.) is really just technique.
Hell, Tonality itself is really just technique.
I think that it might long ago to be common opinion.

Best Regards
Yuri Vilenkin
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-06 16:38:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
Rameau's idea of the Fundamental Bass is one of the only ideas found
in the world of "musical theory" that is actually really theoretical.
The main thing is that idea and theory must be based on the facts.
Well there certainly are facts involved in Rameau's theories.
But what he's describing, namely the root of an interval or of a group
of intervals, is a feeling. His theories make accurate predictions about
when and how and why that feeling of root comes about.
No theory of music will be purely scientific because music is not a science.
Post by v***@online.de
The
only fact was discovery overtone series by Mersenne and this fact is
directly related to actual music instruments only.
I know nothing of Mersenne, but I've heard that Pythagoras and his
people were dividing strings into various lengths eons before Mersenne's
time. Whether they used the term "harmonic overtone series" or not is
really beside the point.
Post by v***@online.de
In other respects
his theory was based on accidental circumstances as dispositions of
major and minor triads in diatonic scale.
From what I've read of Rameau he probably did take the ramifications of
his central idea much too far and attempted to apply it in a much more
far reaching manner than it deserved.
Still, he appears to be the first guy to talk about intervals and chords
having roots as well as why it is that the feeling of root is retained
upon inversion of many of those chords.
Post by v***@online.de
If naturalness has source in
overtone series then why main triad isn’t one with ratios 1:2:3.
It's not a triad because every definition of "triad" specifies that
there need to be 3 distinct pitches that are not octave doubles of one
another.

Or do you not believe in the *sensation* octave equivalence either. And
yes, it's just a human sensation. Two notes an "octave" apart are not
really the "same" note, but we humans seem to feel that there is
something very similar about them. There are "facts" involved in why
this is so, but they are facts that support how it is that a feeling
seems to comes about.

But the chord formed with that ratio *is* the most stable/rooted chord
of all. Just ask any heavy metal guitar player.
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
The vast bulk of what is taught as musical theory (counterpoint, voice
leading, etc.) is really just technique.
Hell, Tonality itself is really just technique.
I think that it might long ago to be common opinion.
I don't understand your last sentence.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
tom_k
2009-05-06 17:41:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@online.de
If naturalness has source in
overtone series then why main triad isn’t one with ratios 1:2:3.
It's not a triad because every definition of "triad" specifies that there
need to be 3 distinct pitches that are not octave doubles of one another.
But the chord formed with that ratio *is* the most stable/rooted chord of
all. Just ask any heavy metal guitar player.
Or any jazz organist using Jimmy Smith's basic registration (drawbars 1,2,3
pulled out to the max yielding "stops" of 16', 8', & 5 1/3'). But like Matt
said, we perceive this more as a complex timbre than individual pitches - so
a "power chord" isn't really a chord after all - simply a sound with a root.
Tom
Jack Campin - bogus address
2009-05-06 19:24:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
The only fact was discovery overtone series by Mersenne and this fact
is directly related to actual music instruments only.
I know nothing of Mersenne, but I've heard that Pythagoras and his
people were dividing strings into various lengths eons before Mersenne's
time. Whether they used the term "harmonic overtone series" or not is
really beside the point.
Mersenne went an essential step further. The Pythagoreans looked at
the sonic properties of vibrating strings of different lengths, and
may have thought about the harmonic relationships between them, but
Mersenne invented the concept of an overtone - a *single* string
vibrating at *more than one pitch*, with mathematical laws saying
what the possible overtone pitches are. Rameau's allusion to Mersenne
(p.24 of the Dover edition) suggests he didn't get the point - he
thinks this was equivalent to stopping the string at appropriately
placed frets. He didn't come anywhere near the conception that sounds
might be a complex mixture of different basic tones.

==== j a c k at c a m p i n . m e . u k === <http://www.campin.me.uk> ====
Jack Campin, 11 Third St, Newtongrange EH22 4PU, Scotland == mob 07800 739 557
CD-ROMs and free stuff: Scottish music, food intolerance, and Mac logic fonts
****** I killfile Google posts - email me if you want to be whitelisted ******
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-06 19:31:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jack Campin - bogus address
Post by Joey Goldstein
The only fact was discovery overtone series by Mersenne and this fact
is directly related to actual music instruments only.
I know nothing of Mersenne, but I've heard that Pythagoras and his
people were dividing strings into various lengths eons before Mersenne's
time. Whether they used the term "harmonic overtone series" or not is
really beside the point.
Mersenne went an essential step further. The Pythagoreans looked at
the sonic properties of vibrating strings of different lengths, and
may have thought about the harmonic relationships between them,
Of course they thought about the harmonic relationships between them.
They may have not gone any further than 3:2, but they certainly used the
simplest ratios of what we now call the harmonic series to create harmonies.
Because they stopped at 3:2 their harmonies were not very complex. But
they're still harmonies.
Pythagorean 3rds aren't very pleasant sounding.
Post by Jack Campin - bogus address
but
Mersenne invented the concept of an overtone - a *single* string
vibrating at *more than one pitch*, with mathematical laws saying
what the possible overtone pitches are.
Rameau's allusion to Mersenne
(p.24 of the Dover edition) suggests he didn't get the point - he
thinks this was equivalent to stopping the string at appropriately
placed frets. He didn't come anywhere near the conception that sounds
might be a complex mixture of different basic tones.
Sounds to me like you're saying that Mersenne discovered the role that
the series plays in timbre. But the role that the series plays in
harmony was already well-known by then.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
Alain Naigeon
2009-05-06 19:46:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Pythagorean 3rds aren't very pleasant sounding.
That's not their purpose ; they usually went to a fifth
(and the minor third, too small, went to a unison)
--
Français *==> "Musique renaissance" <==* English
midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensuration
http://anaigeon.free.fr | http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
Alain Naigeon - ***@free.fr - Oberhoffen/Moder, France
http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-06 21:11:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alain Naigeon
Post by Joey Goldstein
Pythagorean 3rds aren't very pleasant sounding.
That's not their purpose ; they usually went to a fifth
(and the minor third, too small, went to a unison)
Oy.
Maybe if they'd found the 5th partial harmonically pleasing back then it
would have "been their purpose".
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
LJS
2009-05-07 04:15:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alain Naigeon
That's not their purpose ; they usually went to a fifth
(and the minor third, too small, went to a unison)
--
Français     *==>     "Musique renaissance"     <==*     English
               midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensurationhttp://anaigeon.free.fr|http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
                 http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
In college, we had tis little keyboard *back in the early 60s, before
the better synths came to be, that had 12 little tuning knobs on it.
One of the things I did with it was to tune to what seamed to be the
Harmonic. Series. (I say it that way because there was no calculation,
just tuning by ear according to some info that I got from the piano
tuner aobut pure tuning.

I of course expected to have a beat free perfect octave and I knew
that the 5th would be just a bout as pure when tuned to the least
nummber of beats or undulations. But when I got to the thirds. I was
amazed to hear that they just disappeared just as as perfect
intervals did. When tuned just by listening to the harmonic series,
the major 3rd when tuned in this manner, it is a very pure sound that
has a lot of characteristics of a perfect interval. When looked at
from this perspective there was littl choice but to call it a pure and
perfect type of interval.

The major 3rd is the 5th element of the HS and only the third
different tone to appear in the HS. In the Pythagoras 5ths, however,
the major third is only the 3rd different note in the series. If you
build a scale by tuning the tones to a perfect 5th above the starting
note the maj 3rd is also the 5th element but it is also the 5th
different tone in the series. This scale completes the cycle going up
in 5ths and produces a pretty good sounding Do pentatonic scale on the
starting note. You get the CDE GA pentaton and this works pretty good.
With only these 5 tones, everything is still pure and simple and very
pleasant sounding. from a melodic perspective. If you add the other
two notes the B and then the oops! the F# instead of the F nat, and
you are getting into the Lydian Concept as defined by Russell. His
theories seem to be based upon this backward approach to the cycle of
5ths. But even so, the pentatonic scale has a beautiful sound like
that and with an alteration of the Fa being just slightly higher (done
by ear by choirs all the time) and the leading tone B slightly lower
than the E and C respectively, we then have a really nice sounding
"pure/tempered scale for a cappela singing.It is a bit "bright" but
still, I thought it was a pretty pure sound.

Since the natural tendency of the Harmonic series is to move DOWN a
fifth. The cycle to get to the same point by tuning DOWN a P5th we get
to the minor third in the same manner with the following pentaton. C
F Bb Eb Ab or the Ab Bb C Eb Ab pentaton. which is a major third below
the starting note. With this approach, the other tones can be humored
in the same manner to produce the Db Fa and the Gb (oops, should be a
G, so this would have to be humored in the same way as the 5th going
up.

OK, almost done.

Then there was another way to tune on this keyboard. and that was as I
started this little tirade, with tuning to the consonance of the
harmonic series. We already did the C E G. THe nest tone that I tuned
in this manner was the Bb/A and there did seem to be a point where it
sounded with fewer beats than the others. this did give us a tone in
between the Bb and the A but it did certainly have a Dominant sound
although slightly softer than the one that we use with the 12-tet.
Then you got to the D or the 9th element and we coud hear that D fit
into the harmonic scheme and you had a good sounding C9 chord.

This is when I first started to think about the harmonic series and
how it fit into the theory through out the ages.

I then reasoned that since the Harmonic series went DOWN to the next
series, that I would tune the F a perfect 5th down from the C and then
a major 3rd above that for that A, and I then had the same start on F
( with a true perfect 5th above that and a true "perfect sounding"
major 3rd above that) with the exact same ratios for the harmony built
on the the F as was on the.C. Put them together and you had an F G A
Bb C D E F scale, all tuned by ear and listening to the beats and it
sounded pretty good to me at the time.

This is the simplest and easiest way that involves tuning a scale that
I have ever come across. It can all be done by ear and the results
when played melodically, it seemed to work rather well as it should as
there was a perfect 5th interval from the tonic to both the dominant
and the sub dominand as their names imply in the key of C. But then
there is the two different A notes and that Bb instead of the B nat as
required for the leading tone and the dominant on G.

Thus the thought of the scale being composed of the the HS to the 9th
element on the Dominant and the 5th element on the Tonic tone of Fas
being the most logical way to produce a pure scale. The Bb is a bit
weak as the IV root, but if the scale is played on the harmonies of V
and I, it sounded very good and only a very minor adjustment or
strangeness of tuning tolerance had to be endured.

Why do I share this with you and the NG?

Well, I have not had success with installing La Scala on my computer
so I have not heard these sounds since the 60s and if someone was
interested to see how this worked out with sound and what system of
tuning it most resembles, I would find that very interesting. I think
I am clear enough to be followed with my description of how the tuning
would be constructed. I would also like to know how far off the Bb D F
chord fits or doesn't fit in the scheme of other standard tunings.


And the other reason is that in order for the answers like "
Pythagorean 3rds aren't very pleasant sounding." to have any meaning,
the context needs to be established. (maybe I missed the context in a
previous post). Or in other words. Do they sound strange when building
a chord? if so major or minor? or when used melodically without
harmony? or in what context do they sound strange?

As a premise for this proposed experiment, the obvious one would be
that the Pythagorean 5th tuning should sound good for unaccompanied
monophonic singing and the harmonic series should sound best for
harmonic structures as in Pythagoras' world, I believe that the music
was monophonic and that is what he was looking for with his tuning and
the Harmonic series of course is the HARMONIC series, so one would
think that it produced its best sound with harmony.

I am hoping that someone with talents in that area could quickly put
this tuning in and help produce the results of this experiment to see
if there is anything there of value.

Other than that, it is always a pleasure to say hello to you Alain.
How are things?

LJS
Alain Naigeon
2009-05-12 22:33:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alain Naigeon
That's not their purpose ; they usually went to a fifth
(and the minor third, too small, went to a unison)
<LJS>
In college, we had tis little keyboard *back in the early 60s, before
the better synths came to be, that had 12 little tuning knobs on it.
One of the things I did with it was to tune to what seamed to be the
Harmonic. Series. (I say it that way because there was no calculation,
just tuning by ear according to some info that I got from the piano
tuner aobut pure tuning.
[...]
</LJS>

That was an interesting workshop about "building a scale" !

I haven't been able to use Scala either. Not because of this soft,
but rather because of my basic keyboard (and I can't find where
I've put its doc) :-(

<LJS>
And the other reason is that in order for the answers like "
Pythagorean 3rds aren't very pleasant sounding." to have any meaning,
the context needs to be established. (maybe I missed the context in a
previous post). Or in other words. Do they sound strange when building
a chord? if so major or minor? or when used melodically without
harmony? or in what context do they sound strange?
</LJS>

You're opening a world of questions here, my remark about "going to
unison or octave" was just one example of context.

<LJS>
I am hoping that someone with talents in that area could quickly put
this tuning in and help produce the results of this experiment to see
if there is anything there of value.
</LJS>

Indeed that would be interesting !
<LJS>
Other than that, it is always a pleasure to say hello to you Alain.
How are things?
</LJS>

Well... in the recent weeks I've been more playing music than
writing some. Sometimes this kind of moments of rest may
produce later fruits - I hope so, at least :-)
One funny thing, though : in a draft development, I've suddendly
realized I was writing an augmented sixth - the first one in my life :-)
However it will probably end its life in the trash, since this development
is stylistically quite disconnected from the generating theme. This sort of
situation happens to me rather often.

The garden is asking for much time this month - having been
a city guy for such a long time, after 2 hours working in the
garden I'm so tired that I'm only able to surf or to sleep :-o
--
Français *==> "Musique renaissance" <==* English
midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensuration
http://anaigeon.free.fr | http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
Alain Naigeon - ***@free.fr - Oberhoffen/Moder, France
http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
LJS
2009-05-12 23:09:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Post by Alain Naigeon
That's not their purpose ; they usually went to a fifth
(and the minor third, too small, went to a unison)
<LJS>
In college, we had tis little keyboard *back in the early 60s, before
the better synths came to be, that had 12 little tuning knobs on it.
One of the things I did with it was to tune to what seamed to be the
Harmonic. Series. (I say it that way because there was no calculation,
just tuning by ear according to some info that I got from the piano
tuner aobut pure tuning.
[...]
</LJS>
That was an interesting workshop about "building a scale" !
I haven't been able to use Scala either. Not because of this soft,
but rather because of my basic keyboard (and I can't find where
I've put its doc) :-(
<LJS>
And the other reason is that in order for the answers like  "
Pythagorean 3rds aren't very pleasant sounding." to have any meaning,
the context needs to be established. (maybe I missed the context in a
previous post). Or in other words. Do they sound strange when building
a chord? if so major or minor? or when used melodically without
harmony?  or in what context do they sound strange?
</LJS>
You're opening a world of questions here, my remark about "going to
unison or octave" was just one example of context.
Well I realize that it was just an example. But it sometimes seems as
though some are just lurking for a context that they can use to pivot
the discussion to a tangential position. But I don't know how to make
some of them any clearer.

To many, if you can use the same word to talk about two things then
they must be the same.
Post by LJS
<LJS>
I am hoping that someone with talents in that area could quickly put
this tuning in and help produce the results of this experiment to see
if there is anything there of value.
</LJS>
Indeed that would be interesting !
<LJS>
Other than that, it is always a pleasure to say hello to you Alain.
How are things?
</LJS>
Well... in the recent weeks I've been more playing music than
writing some. Sometimes this kind of moments of rest may
produce later fruits - I hope so, at least :-)
One funny thing, though : in a draft development, I've suddendly
realized I was writing an augmented sixth - the first one in my life :-)
Congratulations!
Post by LJS
However it will probably end its life in the trash, since this development
is stylistically quite disconnected from the generating theme. This sort of
situation happens to me rather often.
I would suggest that you put it someplace so that you may run across
it when you need to! This is a good sign that you can hear the
progression now and your SC is trying to find a way to use it. This
is, as I have found, a side benefit of taking a break in one
discipline and focusing on another especially when they are related
like composing and playing. It gives your inner thoughts a time to
process and make itself known.
Post by LJS
The garden is asking for much time this month - having been
a city guy for such a long time, after 2 hours working in the
garden I'm so tired that  I'm only able to surf or to sleep :-o
--
Is that the Med that you surf in? Where about? I was the guest of the
city of Cannes for 10 days (or 20+ gourmet meals as I usually refer to
the trip) for a 'Semain d'ambiance' (please excuse my French ;-). It
was a promotion sponsored by the hotels on the Croissette and
organized by the Palis d'congris (ouch on the spellings! They are
possibly worse than my French) It celebrated the 10 days from our 4th
of July and Bastille Day. It was a very pleasant week! The fish soup
there is like no other place in the world. And they are all a bit
different. Even at the same place! Reminds me of home.

I don't think we will be stopping in France this summer for our
European trip, we are concentrating on Eastern Europe this time.
Good to hear from you.

LJS
Post by LJS
Français     *==>     "Musique renaissance"     <==*     English
               midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensurationhttp://anaigeon.free.fr|http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
                 http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
Alain Naigeon
2009-05-14 18:26:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by LJS
Is that the Med that you surf in? Where about? I was the guest of the
city of Cannes for 10 days (or 20+ gourmet meals as I usually refer to
the trip) for a 'Semain d'ambiance' (please excuse my French ;-)
[...]

Thanks for these souvenirs from the "Côte d'azur" :-)
I'm fond of (good) fish soup too.
BTW, by "surfing" I meant visiting sites on the net :-)
(that's a word we often use in French with this meaning)
--
Français *==> "Musique renaissance" <==* English
midi - facsimiles - ligatures - mensuration
http://anaigeon.free.fr | http://www.medieval.org/emfaq/anaigeon/
Alain Naigeon - ***@free.fr - Oberhoffen/Moder, France
http://fr.youtube.com/user/AlainNaigeon
v***@online.de
2009-05-07 10:11:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
From what I've read of Rameau he probably did take the ramifications of
his central idea much too far and attempted to apply it in a much more
far reaching manner than it deserved.
Still, he appears to be the first guy to talk about intervals and chords
having roots as well as why it is that the feeling of root is retained
upon inversion of many of those chords
The fact ist that inversions of the chord have some relationship as
they have numerous common frequency components. I like to think that
this relationship corresponds „having roots“. Common frequency
components is basis of octave equivalence (better relationship) too.
As J a c k C a m p i n wrote in this discussion Rameau didn’t
completely understand discovery of overtone series. Because of that
his theory is pure mystic. However his technique is somewhat efficient
thank to features of real notes.
Post by Joey Goldstein
If naturalness has source in
overtone series then why main triad isn’t one with ratios 1:2:3.
It's not a triad because every definition of "triad" specifies that
there need to be 3 distinct pitches that are not octave doubles of one
another.
Possibly, it were better if I used in the reasoning example with
ratios 3:4:5.

. > I think that it might long ago to be common opinion.
Post by Joey Goldstein
I don't understand your last sentence
It means, at least, my consent with Your opinion, that “The vast bulk
of what is taught as musical theory (counterpoint, voice leading,
etc.) is really just technique.“

Best Regards
Yuri Vilenkin
LJS
2009-05-07 11:08:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
his central idea much too far and attempted to apply it in a much more
far reaching manner than it deserved.
Still, he appears to be the first guy to talk about intervals and chords
having roots as well as why it is that the feeling of root is retained
upon inversion of many of those chords
The fact ist that inversions of the chord have some relationship as
they have numerous common frequency components. I like to think  that
this relationship corresponds „having roots“. Common frequency
components is basis of octave equivalence (better relationship) too.
As J a c k    C a m p i n wrote in this discussion Rameau didn’t
completely understand discovery of overtone series. Because of that
his theory is pure mystic. However his technique is somewhat efficient
thank to features of real notes.
Post by Joey Goldstein
If naturalness has source in
overtone series then why main triad isn’t one with ratios 1:2:3.
It's not a triad because every definition of "triad" specifies that
there need to be 3 distinct pitches that are not octave doubles of one
another.
Possibly, it were better if I used in the reasoning example with
ratios 3:4:5.
. > I think that it might long ago to be common opinion.
Post by Joey Goldstein
I don't understand your last sentence
It means, at least,  my consent with Your opinion, that “The vast bulk
of what is taught as musical theory (counterpoint, voice  leading,
etc.) is really just technique.“
Best Regards
Yuri Vilenkin
Fine Yuri, but exactly what technique are you talking about? I hear
your statements. I don't agree with your interpretation, but I see
that you have something that you are basing it on. I think the reason
that I can't make any connections to what you are saying is that I
don't understand what your definition of technique is in these
contexts. What is the technique that you all are talking about? It
seems to me that if there is a technique that seems to be a
fundamental part of counterpoint, voice leading etc, that this
"technique" did not just appear one day and solve all the problems
with counterpoint and voice leading.

Please, what is this technique that you are agreeing with?

LJS
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-07 16:47:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
From what I've read of Rameau he probably did take the ramifications of
his central idea much too far and attempted to apply it in a much more
far reaching manner than it deserved.
Still, he appears to be the first guy to talk about intervals and chords
having roots as well as why it is that the feeling of root is retained
upon inversion of many of those chords
The fact ist that inversions of the chord have some relationship as
they have numerous common frequency components. I like to think that
this relationship corresponds „having roots“. Common frequency
components is basis of octave equivalence (better relationship) too.
As J a c k C a m p i n wrote in this discussion Rameau didn’t
completely understand discovery of overtone series. Because of that
his theory is pure mystic. However his technique is somewhat efficient
thank to features of real notes.
I'm unaware of anyone before Rameau who even talked about intervals and
chords as having roots. If there was someone like this I hope that
someone here will fill me in.

Rameau's ideas *explain* why it is, for example, that C E G feels like
it always has a root on C no matter what inversion the notes are
arranged in (although certain permutations involving extreme ranges
might feel differently... a very low E for example) and why C E G A or C
D E or lots of other possible chords do not always retain the same root
feeling upon inversion.
The rest of his ideas about compositional methods appear to me to be
quite flawed, with the extremely limited understanding I have of them.
But the concept of the fundamental bass is a gem.

His ideas have spawned a few centuries now of what is sometimes referred
to as "chord-based-music". Now, if you don't like the sound of
chord-based-music it might be understandable that you'd be a little bit
ticked off with Rameau. But as a jazz musician I think we should cut him
a little slack. That's all I'm trying to say.
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
If naturalness has source in
overtone series then why main triad isn’t one with ratios 1:2:3.
It's not a triad because every definition of "triad" specifies that
there need to be 3 distinct pitches that are not octave doubles of one
another.
Possibly, it were better if I used in the reasoning example with
ratios 3:4:5.
But 3:4:5 *is* the "main" triad.
It's "root" just happens to be 1, not 3.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
paramucho
2009-05-08 03:07:24 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 07 May 2009 12:47:54 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
From what I've read of Rameau he probably did take the ramifications of
his central idea much too far and attempted to apply it in a much more
far reaching manner than it deserved.
Still, he appears to be the first guy to talk about intervals and chords
having roots as well as why it is that the feeling of root is retained
upon inversion of many of those chords
The fact ist that inversions of the chord have some relationship as
they have numerous common frequency components. I like to think that
this relationship corresponds „having roots“. Common frequency
components is basis of octave equivalence (better relationship) too.
As J a c k C a m p i n wrote in this discussion Rameau didn’t
completely understand discovery of overtone series. Because of that
his theory is pure mystic. However his technique is somewhat efficient
thank to features of real notes.
I'm unaware of anyone before Rameau who even talked about intervals and
chords as having roots. If there was someone like this I hope that
someone here will fill me in.
The two best books on the evolution of musical thought in the CPP
period are Joel Lester's BETWEEN MODES AND KEYS and COMPOSITIONAL
THEORY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, although a lot of the material is
summarised in the one-stop-shop THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN
MUSICAL THEORY.

According to Lester (in Lester's Rameau article in THE CAMBRIDGE
HISTORY...) "This chapted traces many of these concepts and their
attendent pedagogical traditions as inherited in the early eighteenth
century and then considers Rameau's brilliant accomplishment of
consolidating them into a unified (if not completely stablized)
harmonic theory."

Lester's next topic is "Chordal theory" which begins with Zarlino's
(15xx) recognition of the harmonic triad, and "other" theorists who
recognised the primacy of the chord over intervals:

...Avianus recognised in 1581 that even single intervals were best
understood as a part of a chord. ...Burmeister and Magirus recognised
in 1599 and 1611... that 5/3 and 6/3 chords were the sole consonant
harmonies.

Contemporaneous Iberian guitarists found the same chords to be the
basis of the new rasguedo (strummed) style of guitar playing, and
gave these sonorities formal status by including them in abbreviated
alfabeto notation.

...In 1608 Harnisch recognised that 6/3 and 6/4 chords were
essentially rearrangments of the basic 5/3 sonority...

...By the end of the seventeenth century, it had become
commonplace for musicians to recognise at least 5/3 and 6/3 triads
as permutations of the same harmony....

Lester goes on to explain the role of Thorough-Bass Practice and show
that:

...although the concept of the thorough bass was was fundamentally
at odds with theoretical notions of chord inversions (since in
thorough bass, chords are conceptualized from the bass note, not
from a root), in practice it promoted such notions, since
keyboardists inevitably became aware that the same right-hand chord
could be played over differing signatures...
By the end of the seventeenth century, thoroughbass manuals
frequently suggested such mnemonics to simplify the realization of
of chord signatures.
Likewise, performers of strummed instruments such as the guitar,
lute, and theorbo (all popular instruments in seventeenth century
continuo bands) learned to realize chordal signatures without regard
to the actual acoustical bass note sounded.

Lester then reviews other common concepts and (The Rule Of The Octave,
cadential progressions, major/minor systems and the generative
fundamental) which lead to Rameau.
Post by Joey Goldstein
Rameau's ideas *explain* why it is, for example, that C E G feels like
it always has a root on C no matter what inversion the notes are
arranged in (although certain permutations involving extreme ranges
might feel differently... a very low E for example) and why C E G A or C
D E or lots of other possible chords do not always retain the same root
feeling upon inversion.
The rest of his ideas about compositional methods appear to me to be
quite flawed, with the extremely limited understanding I have of them.
But the concept of the fundamental bass is a gem.
His ideas have spawned a few centuries now of what is sometimes referred
to as "chord-based-music". Now, if you don't like the sound of
chord-based-music it might be understandable that you'd be a little bit
ticked off with Rameau. But as a jazz musician I think we should cut him
a little slack. That's all I'm trying to say.
I think "chord based music" goes back to the 1500s/1600s. The
relationship between chord theory/practice and the guitar/alfabeto is
best dealt with in the James Tyler/Paul Sparks book THE GUITAR AND ITS
MUSIC (From The Renaissance To The Classical Era).

Popular music from the period was rarely notated but we sometimes get
to peek through the curtains. Monterverdi's "Zefira Torna" is based on
the common Renaissance/Baroque chord progression which is repeated
under the main part of the piece as a riff/ostinato. There are two
readings:

{C C G |AmEm F G } Bass/Chords

or:

{C C G |AmC F G } Chords
<C C G |A E F G > Bass

It's what happens in the free-flowing melodic improvisation above the
ground bass which is interesting. The relationship between the upper
vocal duet and the accompanying chord progression can't be wholly
explained in terms of part writing. There's a score here:

http://www.acadiau.ca/~gcallon/www/archive/ftp.htm

There are some YouTube performances, but mostly pretty flacid as is
often the case with this performance style. I think you have to
imagine them as played by a Mariachi band or Cuban dance band in order
to get a real idea of the rhythmic interplay. This performance is
probably the best of them, and it comes with notation:



This performance attempts a sort-of jazz fusion:



To me the distance between "Zefira Torna" and "Peanut Vendor" is
basically zero. Indeed, one could easily map the "Peanut Vendor" riff
to the chords of "Zefira Torna". It's a culture which seems to have
run in parallel with the more-usually-reported European music stream.
<snip>

Ian
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-08 17:56:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by paramucho
On Thu, 07 May 2009 12:47:54 -0400, Joey Goldstein
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
From what I've read of Rameau he probably did take the ramifications of
his central idea much too far and attempted to apply it in a much more
far reaching manner than it deserved.
Still, he appears to be the first guy to talk about intervals and chords
having roots as well as why it is that the feeling of root is retained
upon inversion of many of those chords
The fact ist that inversions of the chord have some relationship as
they have numerous common frequency components. I like to think that
this relationship corresponds „having roots“. Common frequency
components is basis of octave equivalence (better relationship) too.
As J a c k C a m p i n wrote in this discussion Rameau didn’t
completely understand discovery of overtone series. Because of that
his theory is pure mystic. However his technique is somewhat efficient
thank to features of real notes.
I'm unaware of anyone before Rameau who even talked about intervals and
chords as having roots. If there was someone like this I hope that
someone here will fill me in.
The two best books on the evolution of musical thought in the CPP
period are Joel Lester's BETWEEN MODES AND KEYS and COMPOSITIONAL
THEORY IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY, although a lot of the material is
summarised in the one-stop-shop THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF WESTERN
MUSICAL THEORY.
According to Lester (in Lester's Rameau article in THE CAMBRIDGE
HISTORY...) "This chapted traces many of these concepts and their
attendent pedagogical traditions as inherited in the early eighteenth
century and then considers Rameau's brilliant accomplishment of
consolidating them into a unified (if not completely stablized)
harmonic theory."
Lester's next topic is "Chordal theory" which begins with Zarlino's
(15xx) recognition of the harmonic triad, and "other" theorists who
...Avianus recognised in 1581 that even single intervals were best
understood as a part of a chord. ...Burmeister and Magirus recognised
in 1599 and 1611... that 5/3 and 6/3 chords were the sole consonant
harmonies.
Contemporaneous Iberian guitarists found the same chords to be the
basis of the new rasguedo (strummed) style of guitar playing, and
gave these sonorities formal status by including them in abbreviated
alfabeto notation.
...In 1608 Harnisch recognised that 6/3 and 6/4 chords were
essentially rearrangments of the basic 5/3 sonority...
...By the end of the seventeenth century, it had become
commonplace for musicians to recognise at least 5/3 and 6/3 triads
as permutations of the same harmony....
Lester goes on to explain the role of Thorough-Bass Practice and show
...although the concept of the thorough bass was was fundamentally
at odds with theoretical notions of chord inversions (since in
thorough bass, chords are conceptualized from the bass note, not
from a root), in practice it promoted such notions, since
keyboardists inevitably became aware that the same right-hand chord
could be played over differing signatures...
By the end of the seventeenth century, thoroughbass manuals
frequently suggested such mnemonics to simplify the realization of
of chord signatures.
Likewise, performers of strummed instruments such as the guitar,
lute, and theorbo (all popular instruments in seventeenth century
continuo bands) learned to realize chordal signatures without regard
to the actual acoustical bass note sounded.
Lester then reviews other common concepts and (The Rule Of The Octave,
cadential progressions, major/minor systems and the generative
fundamental) which lead to Rameau.
Post by Joey Goldstein
Rameau's ideas *explain* why it is, for example, that C E G feels like
it always has a root on C no matter what inversion the notes are
arranged in (although certain permutations involving extreme ranges
might feel differently... a very low E for example) and why C E G A or C
D E or lots of other possible chords do not always retain the same root
feeling upon inversion.
The rest of his ideas about compositional methods appear to me to be
quite flawed, with the extremely limited understanding I have of them.
But the concept of the fundamental bass is a gem.
His ideas have spawned a few centuries now of what is sometimes referred
to as "chord-based-music". Now, if you don't like the sound of
chord-based-music it might be understandable that you'd be a little bit
ticked off with Rameau. But as a jazz musician I think we should cut him
a little slack. That's all I'm trying to say.
I think "chord based music" goes back to the 1500s/1600s. The
relationship between chord theory/practice and the guitar/alfabeto is
best dealt with in the James Tyler/Paul Sparks book THE GUITAR AND ITS
MUSIC (From The Renaissance To The Classical Era).
Popular music from the period was rarely notated but we sometimes get
to peek through the curtains. Monterverdi's "Zefira Torna" is based on
the common Renaissance/Baroque chord progression which is repeated
under the main part of the piece as a riff/ostinato. There are two
{C C G |AmEm F G } Bass/Chords
{C C G |AmC F G } Chords
<C C G |A E F G > Bass
It's what happens in the free-flowing melodic improvisation above the
ground bass which is interesting. The relationship between the upper
vocal duet and the accompanying chord progression can't be wholly
http://www.acadiau.ca/~gcallon/www/archive/ftp.htm
There are some YouTube performances, but mostly pretty flacid as is
often the case with this performance style. I think you have to
imagine them as played by a Mariachi band or Cuban dance band in order
to get a real idea of the rhythmic interplay. This performance is
http://youtu.be/85tCzdRt6UE
http://youtu.be/e6tJWY2Vaz4
To me the distance between "Zefira Torna" and "Peanut Vendor" is
basically zero. Indeed, one could easily map the "Peanut Vendor" riff
to the chords of "Zefira Torna". It's a culture which seems to have
run in parallel with the more-usually-reported European music stream.
<snip>
Ian
Thanks Ian. That's interesting and very thorough.
Far too thorough for my own limited interests in this topic.
Essentially you're saying that the concept of a chord having a root, and
the commonalities between inversions of certain chords with regards to
the concept of root, was reasonably well-known prior to Rameau's time.
Correct?

So what Rameau did was to consolidate many earlier ideas into what
eventually became the model for major/minor harmonic analysis. Is that
close?
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
v***@online.de
2009-05-08 12:18:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by v***@online.de
Post by v***@online.de
If naturalness has source in
overtone series then why main triad isn’t one with ratios 1:2:3.
It's not a triad because every definition of "triad" specifies that
there need to be 3 distinct pitches that are not octave doubles of one
another.
Possibly, it were better if I used in the reasoning example with
ratios 3:4:5.
But 3:4:5 *is* the "main" triad.
It's "root" just happens to be 1, not 3.
As physical phenomena triad isn’t equals its inversions. If one
considers triads' inversions as interchangeable it is just
technique.
Famous French philosopher and music critic Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote
about similar technique ( I cite from the address
http://www.schillerinstitute.org/fid_97-01/002-3_bach_kep.html):
“The study of composition, which used to require about twenty years,
now can be completed in a couple of months; musicians are devouring
the theories of Rameau, and the number of students has multiplied. ...
France has been inundated by bad music and bad musicians; everybody
thinks he has understood the finesses of art before having learned as
much as the rudiments; and everybody tries to invent new
harmonies ...”.

Best Regards
Ýuri Vilenkin
Joey Goldstein
2009-05-08 18:11:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by v***@online.de
Post by v***@online.de
If naturalness has source in
overtone series then why main triad isn’t one with ratios 1:2:3.
It's not a triad because every definition of "triad" specifies that
there need to be 3 distinct pitches that are not octave doubles of one
another.
Possibly, it were better if I used in the reasoning example with
ratios 3:4:5.
But 3:4:5 *is* the "main" triad.
It's "root" just happens to be 1, not 3.
As physical phenomena triad isn’t equals its inversions.
I never said that inversions were "equal" to their root position chord.
But with certain chords they do have certain common features and they do
have a feeling of sameness about them.
Post by v***@online.de
If one
considers triads' inversions as interchangeable it is just
technique.
It's technique based on theory, a theory that can make predictions about
the probabilities that one chord voicing will function or not function
similarly to another.
Post by v***@online.de
about similar technique ( I cite from the address
“The study of composition, which used to require about twenty years,
now can be completed in a couple of months; musicians are devouring
the theories of Rameau, and the number of students has multiplied. ...
France has been inundated by bad music and bad musicians; everybody
thinks he has understood the finesses of art before having learned as
much as the rudiments; and everybody tries to invent new
harmonies ...”.
Yeah. I've seen that before, and Rousseau was wrong.
The study of composition can never be completed in a couple of months.
The people of that time who thought so were deluded, obviously.
If that delusion was Rameau's fault then we can certainly fault him for
that.
But that does not mean that his central idea of the fundamental bass was
bad for music as a whole.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
LJS
2009-05-08 14:51:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joey Goldstein
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
From what I've read of Rameau he probably did take the ramifications of
his central idea much too far and attempted to apply it in a much more
far reaching manner than it deserved.
Still, he appears to be the first guy to talk about intervals and chords
having roots as well as why it is that the feeling of root is retained
upon inversion of many of those chords
The fact ist that inversions of the chord have some relationship as
they have numerous common frequency components. I like to think  that
this relationship corresponds „having roots“. Common frequency
components is basis of octave equivalence (better relationship) too.
As J a c k    C a m p i n wrote in this discussion Rameau didn’t
completely understand discovery of overtone series. Because of that
his theory is pure mystic. However his technique is somewhat efficient
thank to features of real notes.
I'm unaware of anyone before Rameau who even talked about intervals and
chords as having roots. If there was someone like this I hope that
someone here will fill me in.
Rameau's ideas *explain* why it is, for example, that C E G feels like
it always has a root on C no matter what inversion the notes are
arranged in (although certain permutations involving extreme ranges
might feel differently... a very low E for example) and why C E G A or C
D E or lots of other possible chords do not always retain the same root
feeling upon inversion.
The rest of his ideas about compositional methods appear to me to be
quite flawed, with the extremely limited understanding I have of them.
But the concept of the fundamental bass is a gem.
His ideas have spawned a few centuries now of what is sometimes referred
to as "chord-based-music". Now, if you don't like the sound of
chord-based-music it might be understandable that you'd be a little bit
ticked off with Rameau. But as a jazz musician I think we should cut him
a little slack. That's all I'm trying to say.
Post by v***@online.de
Post by Joey Goldstein
If naturalness has source in
overtone series then why main triad isn’t one with ratios 1:2:3.
It's not a triad because every definition of "triad" specifies that
there need to be 3 distinct pitches that are not octave doubles of one
another.
Possibly, it were better if I used in the reasoning example with
ratios 3:4:5.
But 3:4:5 *is* the "main" triad.
It's "root" just happens to be 1, not 3.
--
Joey Goldstein
<http://www.joeygoldstein.com>
<http://homepage.mac.com/josephgoldstein/AudioClips/audio.htm>
joegold AT primus DOT ca
It would be rather surprising if there were any before Rameau he lived
at the time when our music system was only beginning to use chords!
Even if he did not start writing until 1700 (he would have been 17 I
think) there was not a whole lot of music written in a chordal style
and it was the very early stages of functional harmony.

Prior to this time, music had evolved with a different concept of
"harmony" than the chordal system. If one remembers, the consonance
and dissonance was the prevailing conventions of he day. These
concepts led to the chordal system as the music was channeled in that
direction as the composers wrote and began to modify the modes and
group the modal variations into two main classes, major and minor. As
this occurred, the unity of the dominant chord and the tonic chords
led to the thinking of these resulting unification of chord types
throughout the modes to be looked upon in a different manner than the
older concepts of consonance and dissonance.

Joey is quite correct here to ask that question. In short, there was
little or anything written about chords and roots as they were not a
part of the music of that time. It is hard to think of chords and
roots if the premise of the theory is that there is a melodic line
(Cantus Firmis) and the consonant intervals of P5 above and below,
Major and minor thirds and sixths are evaluated by their relation to
the CF and NOT to each other. It was not until the music began to move
in the direction of using specific tones, in this case the ones that
happen to be tertian over the Dominant note of the mode, that tertian
chords were considered to be THE correct ones for use. (remember,
prior to that step, resulting vertical structures did not have to be
tertian in order to be consonant. A G note and an A note could be a
result of the CF being a C note and then both the G and A are
consonant to that note, then an F below the CF could also result in a
consonant chord giving a vertical structure of F C G A to be consonant
by the conventions of the older school.

Only as the CF began to be thought of as the Bass line in practice is
there any connection to chords and roots. The concept of harmony
before that time is simply an entirely different concept at work. This
is one of the primary reasons that this move from Counterpoint to
Harmony is so revolutionary in the history of music.

LJS
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