Neo-Riemannian Perspectives on the <i>Harmonieschritte</i>, with a Translation of Riemann's <i>Systematik der Harmonieschritte</i>

Nora Engebretsen

in The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Riemannian Music Theories

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195321333
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

  Neo-Riemannian Perspectives on the Harmonieschritte, with a Translation of Riemann's Systematik der Harmonieschritte

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This article examines Riemann's discussion of the Harmonieschritte within the Skizze, locating that discussion within a nineteenth-century combinatorial tradition shaped by Riemann's conception of key. In this article, Riemann's Harmonieschritte is examined from three neo-Riemann standpoints. The first section offers a short introduction to the Harmonieschritte and examines neo-Riemann theory's embrace of these relationships, emphasizing the conflation of functional relations and root-interval transformations that this embrace has entailed. The second section discusses the development of Riemann's system of Harmonieschritte despite of neo-Riemannian theorists's acknowledgement of the system's susceptibility to interpretation as a group of transformations on the consonant triads. The third section focuses on tonal coherence, with particular interest on Riemann's recognition that Harmonieschritte might portend the sort of harmonic practice embraced by neo-Riemannians if left unchecked. The article concludes with a translation of Riemann's Systematik der Harmonieschritte, the summary of the complete “chromatic” family of triadic relations from the Skizze.

Keywords: Harmonieschritte; Skizze; conception of key; neo-Riemann theory; functional relations; root-interval transformations; tonal coherence

Article.  12056 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Music Theory and Analysis

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