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RE: Chords (was Adrenalinn)

At 3:47 PM -0400 4/9/02, Liebig, Steuart A. wrote:

>** funny thing is that with wagner onward (through debussy, etc.), 
>harmony starts to be much more coloristic and loses its 
>*functionality* . . .

One story has it that Debussy was greatly inspired by hearing gamelan 
music at the Exposition of 1885 and tried to emulate those timbres 

With Wagner especially, sonic "objects" started to attain symbolic 

My favorite example of a composer moving beyond functional harmony is 

>** yeah, i was thinking abou the fact that most of us (coming from 
>music that has been dominant since the baroque era) tend to think 
>"chordally" first.

In my early songwriting days I typically started by strumming a chord 
progression and then roamed around vocally in search of a suitable 
melody. Later on I started composing away from an instrument and 
would occasionally create entire songs before harmonizing the tunes.

>jean phillipe rameau, who theorized that melody was driven by 
>harmony, not the other way around.

Yeah, blame it on Rameau!

That's been pretty much the pattern in art and scholarship: first the 
intuitive artists put it together and then the analysts take it 
apart. Finally, the poor students have to emulate the masters by 
rule-based exercises, and most of them get throttled in the process.


Richard Zvonar, PhD
(818) 788-2202