Structure and Meaning in Tonal Music: Festschrift for Carl Schachter

Structure and Meaning in Tonal Music: Festschrift for Carl Schachter

Structure and Meaning in Tonal Music: Festschrift for Carl Schachter

Structure and Meaning in Tonal Music: Festschrift for Carl Schachter


Carl Schachter is widely acknowledged to be one of the leading music
theorists of his generation. His influence, both as a teacher and
through his writings, is incalculable. Yet as known to his colleagues,
students, and friends, Carl Schachter the man is equally remarkable.
The essays in this book reflect both aspects of his influence

During his salad days, Carl Schachter—like many other youthful keyboard players—worked as an accompanist to anyone who would hire him. Among the many people he worked with in this regard was a lady who was particularly lacking in musical talent. This woman took up singing as therapy, on the advice of a psychiatrist who evidently thought that her moaning and complaining might as well be done to piano accompaniment.

At the practice sessions, the singer would occasionally take breaks from her vocalizing in order to give young Carl some meddling advice. Although he could have done without her counsel, his ears always welcomed the brief respite from her singing. “Why does your mother allow you to be a musician?” the woman whined. “You're smart; couldn't you find a more lucrative career?” She then noted that her own son had once wanted to become a musician—but she put a stop to that! “One day, I threw out his violin! He's hated me ever since, but if I didn't do it, he would not be the successful surgeon that he is today!”

To our great fortune, Carl Schachter ignored her advice and continued in a field that—while perhaps not as lucrative as some others—has nonetheless brought him and his field much success. He is one of the most admired music theorists and analysts of our time. His path breaking essays, books, lectures, and teachings—which take the theories of Heinrich Schenker as their starting point—have brilliantly demonstrated the interaction of harmony, rhythm, form, and performance in contributing to the dramatic expression in the masterworks of the tonal concert repertoire. While his command of pure theory is exceptional, what makes Schachter's contribution particularly notable is his almost unparalleled ability to use music theoretic concepts to enlighten the masterworks of the Western tonal repertoire.

Schachter's influence, particularly strong among American theorists and performers, has an international reach as well. He is frequently invited to teach and lecture in Europe and Asia, and musicians and scholars heavily and directly indebted to Schachter may be found in Canada, England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Spain, Finland, Estonia, Israel, China, Korea, Japan, Columbia, Mexico, and elsewhere. Indeed, one might well speak of a “Schachter school of music analysis.”

The present volume is a collection of essays from some of the members of this school, including a number of Schachter's long-time colleagues and . . .

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