Roots of the Classical: The Popular Origins of Western Music

By Peter Van Der Merwe | Go to book overview

Glossary

Of the words and phrases defined below, some are my own coinages, others the invention of earlier scholars (to whom I have tried to give due credit), and yet others standard musical terms with a change of meaning.

In addition to elucidating what would otherwise be puzzling in the text, this glossary may serve as a tentative contribution to the much-needed reform of our ramshackle musical vocabulary. Many of the terms listed below are, quite frankly, makeshifts, but they are at least makeshifts into which a great deal of thought has gone. If anyone can improve on them, please do so.

acoustic mode. The mode c–d–e–f♯–g–a–b\,, so named, apparently by east European scholars, from a resemblance to the fourth octave of the natural harmonic series. It is based on the HEPTATONIA SECUNDA SCALE.

alphabetical notation. A notation employing the letters a–g or A-G, used to describe music in which the position of the TONIC (if present at all) is of secondary importance. Cf NUMERICAL NOTATION.

ambiguity. The multiplicity or vagueness of PATTERN present in all music.

ambit. The range between the focal notes bounding a melody; usually comprises an octave (from the Latin ambitus, used by medieval theorists). See also OCTAVE PATTERN.

apical seventh. A prominent 7 at the apex of a melodic phrase. It differs from the conventional LEADING NOTE precisely because it does not 'lead'. Instead, it bears the same relation to 5 as 3 does to /. Cf. BLUE SEVENTH.

attractor. In complexity theory, a simple pattern to which an evolving system recurs between episodes of greater complexity.

Bar form. A melodic form consisting of three strains in an AAB pattern (mistakenly adopted by German scholars from sixteenth-century Meistersinger usage). It is one of the ancestors of the TWELVE-BAR BLUES. Cf. GEGENBAR FORM.

bass, Bass. (1) With a small 'b': the deepest melodic line of a polyphonic passage. (2) With a capital 'B': the melodic line supporting the harmony. In the latter sense, it often (but not invariably) coincides with the FUNDAMENTAL BASS, and is in TONAL COUNTERPOINT with the MELODY.

bass filler. A bass figure filling the gap between the end of the Melody and the end of the strain. Cf. BASS RUN.

bass run. A showy BASS FILLER found especially in Sousa-type marches, ragtime, and jazz.

-485-

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Roots of the Classical: The Popular Origins of Western Music
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures xi
  • A Note on Terminology and Notation xii
  • A Note on the Musical Examples xvi
  • Abbreviations xviii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - The Melodic Foundations 5
  • 1: The Subtle Mathematics of Music 7
  • 2: The Ramellian Paradigm 19
  • 3: The Children's Chant 27
  • 4: The Pentatonic Scale 38
  • Part Two - The Harmonic Revolution 51
  • 5: Primitive Harmony 53
  • 6: The Discovery of Tonality 66
  • 7: Rivals to Tonality 86
  • 8: Dissonance and Discord 106
  • 9: The Evolution of Tonality 116
  • Part Three - The Melodic Counter-Revolution 129
  • 10: The Rude, the Vulgar, and the Polite 131
  • 11: The Debt to the East 144
  • 12: The Dances of Central Europe 231
  • 13: The Nineteenth–century Vernacular 271
  • 14: Romanticism 339
  • 15: Modernism 376
  • 16: The Popular Style 426
  • Epilogue 461
  • List of Musical Examples 467
  • Glossary 485
  • Bibliography 502
  • Index 515
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