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PART 1 - 1.1 - Genesis of the analytical model :: 1.2 - Description of the analytical model :: 1.3 - A practice of analysis in the tonal harmonic discourse from Bach to Wagner :: 1.4 - By way of a general conclusion

1.1 - Genesis of the analytical model|| 1. Origin :: 2.Sources


As director of aural skills courses, I soon became aware of the importance of the harmonic dimension to the study of tonal music. The tonal system is, in fact, defined specifically and primarily by the harmonic dimension, but it is this very aspect has always proved to be the most disheartening for students because it is the most difficult to circumscribe. The constraints imposed by this type of formation, which is rooted in reading and listening, made it necessary for me to maintain a constant preoccupation with the relationship between what we hear and what we see. With this in mind, I had to search beyond (or beneath!) the procedures of musical analysis such as, for example, Schenkerian or semiological systems. We know very well that, it is only at the end of a long and meticulous re-writing process that we can attain the Schenkerian objective, and in the same way, the semiological perspective demands, when analysing a text, a process of microscopic dismantling that is incompatible with our goal of maintaining a strong reference to the auditive data.

Thus, the challenge for me was this: to find or create tools that can help students who are faced with the complexities of harmonic listening (tonal harmony in this case). Was there a way to extract the basic principles of an harmonic practice common to composers from Bach to Wagner by identifying their preferred habits and thus constants that could be defined with enough precision that they could serve as the foundation for both an aural and visual formation in this language? Such a perspective, however, led me to exclude all historical contexts or circumstances, as well as all stylistic considerations concerning each and every one of these tonal works which contribute to a single, immense corpus.