Schenkarian Analysis

Been a while huh? well, i've been rather un-busy and busy all at the same time. The problem has been, my friends, that the writing of the opera has gone quite poorly. My ideas on it continuously change. Even as i write down one way i'd like to do it, and go about setting it as such, the text leads me down another road. I have decided irrevocably, that i will let the text lead me from now on. Simple yet elegent is the hope.

Ah, but that is not the focus of this post. Schenkarian Analysis is. Hm, i like the fact that blogger recognizes the word Schenkarian. its defininately one of the few. i know when i type it on my yahoo e-mail, or on myspace, livejournal, or any of those other places i've placed ideas, it pops up as red death. Anyway, i digress. For those unfamiliar, Schenkarian analysis is basically a form of analysis based upon counterpoint and form. It boils down to figuring out the melodic line and the function of all the notes not the melodic line through counterpoint and form. Now, seems like a nice idea, does it not?

Well, tonight, in my boredom and wishing to escape at failing to write an opera, i picked up Allen Forte and Steven Gilbert's book "Introduction to Schenkarian Analysis." being a good student, i even began from the beginning (huh?). I was doing my damnedest at keeping an open mind. With all Truthyness i must say that i've never been a big fan of Schenkarian. I believe it was aptly described as "Taking what you need to make your point and throwing out the rest..." (Nick, outside Whitman Hall).

So, i opened this book with a free mind and musical being in the spirit of learning. And after 20 pages i had to stop...

The second example was case and point to me. The analysis said certain tones were nothing but neighbor tones and passing tones...however, when i saw them, they eluded instead to other harmonic structures within the music. Yes, passing harmonies, but harmonies non the less. And these harmonies at times created certain tensions in the music beyond what two passing tones unrelated harmonically (we are talking Tonal music here) would create in a piece. It was then, i had to close the book.

Now, the aforementioned Nick and I get in a huge argument about authorial intent. I believe intent must be taken into account, if for no other reasn than that it can lead to certain truths in the music (which thankfully, we both agree is the point of theoretical analysis). If an analysis does not reveal anything about the music, what was the point of the analysis. it becomes trivial. And, an analysis that disregards certain facts (in this case, implied or explicit harmonies) loses some ground, does it not?

For me that is the failling of Schenkarian Analysis. Implied harmonies are removed. And, well, i'm just not ok with that...at all...

Well, my word mill has run dry. Sorry, it seems as though my argument is only half made, but without me going and getting pictures to post to make my point, or going into long pages describing it, the argument ends here. Thanks for listening to a bored man rant.