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Society for Music Theory

Review
Author(s): Raymond Haggh
Review by: Raymond Haggh
Source: Music Theory Spectrum, Vol. 6 (Spring, 1984), pp. 100-103
Published by: {oupl} on behalf of the Society for Music Theory
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/745806
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MusicTheorySpectrum

Wintle has contributeda discussionof recent translationsinto


English of several writings by Carl Dahlhaus: three books
(Richard Wagner'sMusic Dramas, BetweenRomanticismand
Modernism,these two translatedby MaryWhittall;and Esthetics of Music, translatedby WilliamAustin), four entries in the
New Grove ("Harmony," "Counterpoint," "Tonality," and
"Wagner"),and the lecture "Schoenbergand Schenker"(Proceedingsof the Royal MusicAssociation 100). One hardlyfeels
comfortablereviewinga review. Sufficeit to say thatWintlehas
done an admirablejob of discussinga formidableamount of
Dahlhaus in just a few pages. His commentsare both thoughtful and thought-provoking.
The second volume of MusicAnalysisseems so farto be continuingthe same line of high-qualityarticles.It includes,among
others, an important study by Carl Schachter on Brahms's
Symphony no. 2 and an excellent correctivereview article by
Roy Howat on Erno Lendvai'sBela Bart6k.
The success of the firstyear of this journalis complete, and
the editor, JonathanDunsby, the contributors,andthe Institute
of AdvancedMusicalStudiesat King'sCollege, London (which
helped with the expenses) are to be congratulated.

JohannPhilippKirnberger.TheArt of StrictMusicalComposition. Translatedby David W. Beach and JurgenThym. New


Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.
Reviewed by Raymond Haggh
In the last decade studiesof and referencesto the theoretical
works of Johann Kirnbergerhave appeared with greater frequency in articles, dissertations,and books. An early account
and critique can be found in Matthew Shirlaw'sclassic history
of the theory of harmony,and the articleson Kirnbergerin Die
Musik in Geschichteund Gegenwartand the New Grove pro-

vide furtherbibliographicalinformationon articlesand studies


before 1970. The bibliographyof the New Grove articleis not
entirelysatisfactorybecause of its omissionof importantrecent
contributionswhich are more concerned with Kirnbergerthe
theorist (fortunatelythey are cited by Beach in his annotations
to the translationhere reviewed). It may be added in passing
that of the two articles,Georg Dadelsen'sin MGG 7, cols. 95055, is the more informativeand richerin bibliographicaldetail
as of its publication(1958).
Given this recent attention to Kirnberger,it is certainlya
welcome addition to the swelling literatureof translationsof
importanttheoreticaltreatisesto have his Die Kunstdes reinen
Satzes-his most important theoretical work-now available
in an excellent English translationby ProfessorsDavid Beach
and Jurgen Thym. Their edition of The Art of StrictMusical
Compositionincludespart 1 and part2, section 1; the finaltwo
sections of part 2 (on double counterpoint) are not included
and rightlyso, for the others are the most importantinsofaras
Kirnberger'sharmonictheories are concerned.
David Beach, whose dissertationon the harmonictheories
of Kirnbergerwas completed at Yale University in 1974, collaboratedwith JurgenThym, a nativespeakerof Germanand a
musicologist, to produce this translationwhich is no. 4 in the
Yale University Press Music Theoryin TranslationSeries.The
book is handsome in appearanceand edited with care. The essential ingredients of good translationare present: fidelity to
the original, idiomaticrenderingof the originaltext in English,
and review of the translationby knowledgeablenativespeakers
in order to ensure the highest standardof accuracy.Professor
Beach has providedan informativeintroductionas well as helpful annotationsto aid the reader.
The publication date of Kirnberger's first theoretical
work-Der allezeit fertige Menuetten-und Polonoisen-Komponist-was 1757. Before that time he served as instrumentalist and as music directorin various localities until his final appointment in the service of PrincessAnna Amalia of Prussiain

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Reviews

1758, a post he held until his death. Accordingto several contemporary witnesses such as Ernst Gerber and J. N. Forkel,
Kirnbergerstudied with J. S. Bach from 1739 to 1741, and for
the remainderof his life he served his mentor'sart, not only in
setting down the principles of Bach's music as K. understood
them, but also in assemblingmanuscriptsof Bach's music for
PrincessAnna's library,and by his long andpersistenteffortsto
publishan edition of Bach's chorales, effortscrownedwith success only after Kirnberger'sdeath when C. P. E. Bach brought
the project to a successfulclose.
Die Kunstdes reinenSatzeswas publishedas follows: part 1
in 1771 and again, with a new title page, in 1774;part2, section
1 in 1776 and the remainingtwo parts in 1777 and 1779. Both
volumes were subsequently reprinted in 1793. Die wahren
Grundsatzezum Gebrauchder Harmonieby K.'s pupilJ. A. P.
Schulz was published in 1773 under K.'s directionand with his
name, and is a summary of the harmonic principles of Die
Kunst. This valuable short treatiseis availablein translationby
Beach and Thym in the Journal of Music Theory23 (1979):
163-225. Kirnberger's Grundsdtzedes Generalbasses(1781)
was published as a preparatorywork for Die Kunstdes reinen
Satzes, and Kirnbergeralso wrote importanttheoreticalarticles (to the letter M) for J. G. Sulzer'sencyclopedicAllgemeine
Theorieder schonen Kunste.
Kirnberger'stalents as a writer and as an organizerof his
thoughts were, accordingto his own admission,deficient. In a
letter to Princess Anna (quoted by Dadelsen in MGG 7, col.
455) K. confesses that his writing"lackedorder, style and God
knows what else ... I would put my thoughts down on only
one side of a sheet of paper, and afterwardhe [Sulzer]would
cut them all up into pieces and paste them togetheragainin systematic order. In this way the firstpart of Die Kunstdes reinen
Satzes and all the articlesI wrote for the firstpartof his Theorie
der sch6nen Kunstecame into being." In spite of this cumbersome procedure, Kirnberger'sGermanprose is generallyclear
and logically ordered, presumably a testimonial to his

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assistants-and there are few traces of the pedantryof which


K. is accused by some writers.
TheArt of StrictMusical Compositionis, above all, written
for practitionersas an introductionto the principlesof harmony
and counterpoint as exemplified by Bach's teachings and his
music. There are also digressionsinto "free"composition.For
example, chapter5, of greatinterestin spite of its brevity,deals
with the free treatment of dissonance in the "free or lighter"
style. K. did not regardhimself as a discipleof Rameaubut often stated his opposition to Rameau's theories; yet he did not
hesitate to use whatever of Rameau's ideas he found usefulsuch as the fundamental bass and the theory of chord
inversion-but in such a way that also incorporatesthe spirit
and ideas of German figured-basstheory. The introductionto
scales and to intervalsand their calculationis fairlystandardin
eighteenth-centurytreatises except for Kirnberger'sadvocacy
of unequal temperamentto maintainthe diversityof key characters (p. 19), expounded upon in detail in chapter2 of the second part (see pp. 321-25 and 336-46).
In chapters3 and 4 of the firstpartK. gives his definitionsof
consonant and dissonantchords. Consonantchordsare major,
minor, and diminishedtriadsand theirinversions,includingthe
consonant six-four form. The diminished triad is consonant
when in major or minor it progressesupwardby four steps, as
depicted in the fundamentalbass, to the mediantor the dominant chords, respectively. Subsequentlyit is describedas an inversion of the dominantseventh chordwith the dominantroot
omitted. When the six-fourchorddisplacesthe five-threechord
it is classifieda suspensionor, more specifically,a nonessential
dissonance. Dissonant chords are essential or nonessential:an
essential dissonantchord is a seventh chordin whichthe dissonance is resolved when a change of chordoccurs(whichcan be
charted in the fundamentalbass); a nonessentialchord is one
produced by a suspension which resolves into the prevailing
chord without a change in the fundamentalbass. The seventh
chordbuilt on the seventh scale degree in majorand in minoris

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MusicTheorySpectrum

not an authenticseventh chordbut actuallya ninthchordwith a


missing root, an idea that derives from Rameau's "chordsby
supposition." The fundamental bass would actually show a
dominantscale degree for such chords, the ninthchordbeing a
seventh chord with the ninth above the root as a nonessential
dissonance.
Kirnbergerapplies his harmonicprinciplesto the construction of "harmonicperiods and cadences" and modulation,the
latter describednot only in its largerrelationshipto the compositional structurebut also in details such as those we call tonicizations and applied or secondary dominants. The study of
counterpoint, K. believes, is best begun with four voices in
note-against-notestyle, then movingto "embellishedor florid"
style and fewer numbersof voices, but alwaysusing harmonic
principlesas a guidinginfluence.
Part 1 of the second volume enters into questionsof composition such as the harmonizationof melodies, an elaboratediscussion of the charactersof scales, keys, and modes, and the
influence of tempo, meter, and rhythm in shaping musical
units. All of this, even from Kirnberger'sconservativeviewpoint, offers an extraordinarily revealing exposition of
eighteenth-centurypedagogy of composition.
Some inaccuraciesor differences of opinion on translation
are noted here: p. 9, 6., Bewegungshould be, as it is elsewhere
in this translation, "tempo" and not "meter";p. 16, n. 6, last
paragraph,line 1, "bey gebundenenSayten"is not includedin
the sentence and it would make K.'s meaningmore specific:"It
is worth noting here in passingthatforfrettedstrings[the reference is to the fretted clavichord]keyboardmakers. ."; p. 30,
Table 2.2 under F Major, IV, B should be flat and not sharp;p.
36, 4., line 4, "Diesen Verhaltnissen[that is, K's proportions
for the augmented second] kommt in unserm System das
Verhaltnis 27/32 am nachsten, und wird dafiir gebraucht"
should read "These proportionsare most closely approximated
in our system by 27/32, which is used in their stead" and not
"This proportion is approximated in our system by 27/32."

Page 36, 8., line 5, C shouldbe lowercase:c (1/2);[23]shouldbe


moved down to 10.; p. 38, line 4, I would prefer to translate
"die wahrenTone der Natursind" as "arethe genuinetones of
Nature" ratherthan "real naturalpitches" since the reference
here is to the overtone series. For the same reason (line 9) "den
reinen Klang ausmachen"as "constitute"ratherthan "determine" the pure sound; p. 44, last line of text, the term modulieren also has its earlier meaning of "progressionof tones" or
the "leading" of a melody, in this case within the C-major
diatonicscale. Page 56, last paragraph,"zufalligvorkommende
grosse Terz" could be more directly translated as "altered"
ratherthan as "incidentalmajorthird";p. 69, in 1., substituting
"notes" for "intervals"and in 2., "A note" for "An interval"is
clearer as well as what K. means; p. 99, line 2, requiresa freer
translation."SchwerenGang" is translatedas "seriouscharacter," also quite a free rendering.I believe that K. is referringto
the kind of composition requiring a "heavy" execution (see
"Vortrag"in Sulzer's Allgemeine Theorie4, pp. 708-9) that
calls for every note to be sustainedfor its full duration.The paragraphfollowing appears to confirmthis interpretation.Page
113, a rewording of the sentence below Example 6.8 corresponding to the German word order will lead the readermore
effectively to Example 6.9: "If a principalsection is to be concluded in the middle of a composition, a cadence can occur in
just this form, etc."; p. 124, in Table 7.1 "C" majorshould be
above "A" minor;p. 130, a definitionof bass, descantandtenor
cadence would be helpful here; p. 207, could the word "tread"
have been used as a more grateful counterpart of
"Niedertritt"?"Downstep"is not in the Englishdictionaryand
reads awkwardlyalthoughits meaningis admittedlyclear. Page
234, n. f, makes reference to the rarityof melodic reductions
(melodies stripped of embellishmentsbelow their elaborated
counterparts).Actually there are many such examplesin treatises on performance, such as those by Quantz, Leopold Mozart, Hiller and Turk. A remarkableexample is an appended
table in Mozart's Violinschulein which to illustratea varietyof

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Reviews

bowings he provides nineteen melodic elaborationson a ninenote figure:C D E F G FE D C. Page 235, the composerof the
upper example is Handel, not Graun(see translator'snn. j and
d); p. 236, Ex. 11.49, the chorale title "Du dessen Augen flossen, so bald sie Zion sahn" is missing;p. 266, the translationof
"Satze" as "structures"is not as clear as it mightbe. "Settings"
although itself ambiguous more nearly implies the motion of
chords in succession interwoven with dissonances, to which I
believe K. refers here; p. 322, line 3, the word "Geprage"is
translatedas "character,"but the sentence refers to the disposition of whole steps and half steps that "stamp"the individual
modes; "individualarrangementof each mode" is more appropriate.
In closing, it remainsonly to say that studyof this important
treatise is essential for all students of eighteenth-centurymusical styles and of the theory of harmony.Not only are the major
premises of this work significantbut also its many details and
observationswhich enrichour understandingof this centuryof
musicalmonuments.

Peter Kivy. The Corded Shell: Reflectionson Musical Expression. Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPress, 1979.
Reviewed by Anne C. Hall
The CordedShell:Reflectionson MusicalExpression,by Peter Kivy, philosopherat RutgersUniversity,is an argumentfor
describingmusic in emotive terms. The book deals with a major activity of music theorists, but it has received more published discussionfrom philosophers. Kivy'sthesis is that music
1The book was reviewed
by KingsleyPrice in the Journalof Aestheticsand
Art Criticism39 (1981): 460-62; by MalcolmBudd in the TimesLiterarySup-

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is expressive of emotion and, therefore, that emotive description of musicis reasonable. His purpose,then, is to explainhow
some emotive terms can intelligiblyand properlybe appliedto
music-to explain, for example, why we might reasonablydescribe a particularmusical passage as cheerful or melancholy.
His point of departureis the dilemmathat scholarlydescription
of music is incomprehensibleto the layman, while description
in more human terms is unacceptableto the scholar.
Having announced his intention to justify emotive description of music, Kivygives a historyof theories aboutconnections
between music and emotions. He untanglesthree theories:that
music arouses emotions in the listener (true, but not what the
book is about), that music expresses the emotions of the composer (perhapssometimes true, but irrelevantto the rest of us),
and that musicis expressiveof emotion. He assertsthat musicis
expressive of emotion in the way that the face of a St. Bernard
dog is expressive of sadness: it is like human expressions of
emotion. Further,Kivy notes that it is a humantraitto perceive
expressiveness where we can; it is not just resemblance between music and expressivebehaviorthat makes us hear music
as expressive, but our tendency "to animate our perceptions"
(p. 62).2
Kivy devotes a large part of the book to explaininghow it is
that music can be expressiveof emotion in such a way that people will often agree on at least a general emotive characterization of a musicalpassage. He presentstwo complementarytheories: contour and convention. The contour theory posits
resemblance between "the features of the music and the features of human behaviorthat characteristicallyaccompanyhuplement, 3 July 1981, p. 762; by ChristopherHatch in Notes 38 (1981): 311-12;
and by Richard Taruskin in The Musical Quarterly 68 (1982): 287-93.
Taruskin'sreview, which I found after I had writtenmine, argues differently,
but arrivesat a similarconclusion.
2Quotations from Peter Kivy are from The CordedShell, except the one in
n. 11.

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