Friday, May 20, 2005

History of Music Theory, Part One

This will be my third and final time through Hugo Riemann's "History of Music Theory" (Da Capo 1974, ISBN 0-306-70637-7 - If I find a book that I mention here for sale via Google, I'll link to it. I found no copies of this book on the market, but any decent University Music Library ought to have this one. If you find a copy of it for sale, feel free to provide the link in comments). To prepare, I did all the "pre-reading" of the Preface to the Second Printing, Translator's Preface, Acknowledgments, Indicies, Appendicies, Bibliography, and Commentary yesterday. I was again reminded that there are more than a few problems with Riemann and that modern scholarship has moved on, making significant progress since this seminal work first appeared. Not surprising, considering that the original German edition of this book is now nearly a century old. Since I am not a musicologist and my aim is to extract the most significant threads from music history to answer the questions, "How did we get to where we are in music today?", "What is and what isn't music?" and the like, this will do fine as a survey. Besides, many problems with Riemann's original edition are noted and corrected in the Commentary and in updated footnotes.

I am not interested in the details of the hurly-burley of any particular era, but rather want to understand what is the essence of western art music's compositional heritage: I want to understand the gist of the tradition since I am ostensibly a part of it. Having already done study in this area on and off for over fifteen years, I already have a very good idea of the points I want to get across, so I won't be taking too much time with Riemann, but I will point out interesting tidbits as they come up and as they support the broader points I will be making.

Back to my study.


Blogger Flavio said...

Hucbald, may I suggest? Could you change the blog's background color? - it's really hard to read the contents with black background (I noticed there are other color/layout "templates" you could use instead). Regards.

10:45 AM  

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