Article

Harmonic Dualism as Historical and Structural Imperative

Henry Klumpenhouwer

in The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Riemannian Music Theories

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195321333
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195321333.013.0006

Series: Oxford Handbooks

  Harmonic Dualism as Historical and Structural Imperative

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This article aims to provide more sympathetic readings and accounts of harmonic dualism. It makes two claims in particular: first, that the traditional attacks on harmonic dualism that focus on putative structural contradictions in the system are entirely unjustified; and second, that harmonic dualism is a good, legitimate, and useful perspective which can generate enlightening accounts of tonal pieces of music. The argument in this article is part of a broader methodological challenge that questions the means of determining the “correctness” of a music theory. The defense of dualism presented in this article is highly conscious of the modalities of Anglo-American music-theoretical discourse and makes the renewed case for dualism in the context of current argumentative strategies; in the sense, by rehabilitating Riemann's dualism, the article is also holding up the mirror to contemporary music-theoretical practices. There are three parts in this article: the first section focuses on the characteristics of the dualist theory of harmony; the second section defends the first claim presented above (that the traditional attacks on harmonic dualism that focus on putative structural contradictions in the system are entirely unjustified); and the last section defend by way of analysis the second claim—that harmonic dualism is a good, legitimate, and useful perspective which can generate enlightening accounts of tonal pieces of music.

Keywords: harmonic dualism; music theory; dualism; Riemann's dualism; theory of harmony

Article.  11096 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Music Theory and Analysis

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