The Evolution of Harmony: A Treatise on the Material of Musical Composition, Its Gradual Growth and Elementary Use

The Evolution of Harmony: A Treatise on the Material of Musical Composition, Its Gradual Growth and Elementary Use

The Evolution of Harmony: A Treatise on the Material of Musical Composition, Its Gradual Growth and Elementary Use

The Evolution of Harmony: A Treatise on the Material of Musical Composition, Its Gradual Growth and Elementary Use

Excerpt

Many years' experience in the teaching of harmony both of an elementary and advanced type has convinced me that old methods of study are very unsatisfactory, both from a positive and a negative point of view. A careful review of all the important treatises that have been issued shows that later theorists have been alive to some of the most glaring defects of earlier systems, but they have not seen fit to depart in any appreciable degree from the traditional method of study. This is probably due to their view as to the bounds of the subject. If it be held that the harmony text-book does not pretend to do more than show the use of chords in an abstract fashion, there is nothing more to be said beyond the fact that such a limited study is of little musical and educational value, and there are no books to bridge over the gulf between this stage and that represented by the standard required at University examinations. There are some excellent books dealing with this later stage, but none lead up to it.Even in their own limited sphere the early treatises had two grave defects:

No attention was paid to ear-training. It is ridiculous to attempt to write by rule what one cannot hear mentally, and much of the crudity of students' work arises from the fact that they do not hear what they write. This condition of things is fostered by the figured bass, which can . . .

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