98 research outputs found

    Il Gradus as Parnassum di Fedele Fenaroli

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    Illustrates the structure and goals of the treatise Regole e partimenti by Fedele Fenarol

    The Puccini Code

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    Written in the style of novelist Dan Brown and using actual quotations from Puccini’s letters and other documents, the author creates the characters Prof. Segugio and her assistant Christie Hunter who explore Puccini’s compositional practices in the unfinished opera Turandot. They work toward solving the riddles of Puccini’s technique – parallel constructions, abrupt changes in texture and style, a sense of tonal coherence in polytonal or atonal settings – by reading contemporary and modern critics and by closely examining the scores. Prof. Segugio ultimately sorts Puccini’s unusual techniques into two compositional types: direct and indirect conflation, two forms of layering that combine to create a score with a diatonic basis be- neath modernistic elements. Documentary evidence supporting these conclusions is found in an unpublished note by the composer, at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book Library, and in a rare sketch for Turandot’s finale with written indications by the composer

    Going Old School: Using Eighteenth Century Pedagogy Models to Foster Musical Skills and Creativity in Today\u27s Students

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    Recent research has illuminated a pedagogical approach to keyboard improvisation of the Italian conservatories of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, namely that of partimenti: single-stave, multiple clef exercises in which students were trained to improvise (Gjerdingen 2007, Sanguinetti 2012, van Tour 2015). This approach was passed down through oral instruction until the mid-twentieth century, when pedagogical priorities shifted away from improvisation and compositional creativity towards virtuosity, technique and adherence to the printed page. Simultaneously, the tradition of decade-long musical apprenticeship was replaced with semester-long courses in music theory and harmony. The existing research on partimenti presents a compelling historical narrative of its tradition, but fails to provide a comprehensive method for modern day application and study. In his Music in the Galant Style, Robert Gjerdingen guides readers in the process of understanding partimenti as a concatenation of his schemata; memorable musical patterns idiomatic to and ubiquitous throughout music of the Galant period (approximately 1720–1770). Giorgio Sanguinetti, in his The Art of Partimento: History, Theory and Practice, explains that these partimenti were first introduced through the study of regole or “rules:” musical events such as cadences and suspensions. By practicing the rules, students of the Galant period internalized the very patterns on which partimenti were based, thereby building their musical vocabulary and fluency within the galant language. While manuscripts of these exercises, primarily from student notebooks, or zibaldone, have been resurrected from the archives of European libraries and catalogued, there remains very little regarding the oral tradition of how rules and the improvisational realization of partimenti were taught. Gjerdingen’s website, Monuments of Partimenti (http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/partimenti), boasts a catalogue of known regole and partimenti. Like the manuscripts on which they are based, there is little to no verbal instruction on how to approach these exercises. Without the assistance of a trained teacher (a current rarity), the interested student would be overwhelmed and lost, not knowing where to begin. Therefore, there is a need for a comprehensive pedagogical method that aids modern-day students with independent rule study towards the goal of partimenti realization. Utilizing the rules of Francesco Durante (1684–1755), a leading Italian conservatory maestro of his day, this paper presents a step-by-step approach towards working through this historical method of teaching keyboard improvisation and composition. I discuss activities that may help the modern-day student in working through the rules and combining them into a complete partimento, including figured bass realization, study and performance of scores in trio-sonata texture, as well as “play-and-sing” activities. Additionally, it addresses voicing, invertible counterpoint, transposition, texture, and issues of ambiguity such as deciphering the figured bass and errors within the manuscripts. In addition to a comprehensive approach to Durante’s rules and their historical context, this paper presents a review of present literature on both historical and modern-day keyboard improvisation teaching methods, as well as suggestions for their applications. Through the rediscovery of the teaching method that trained some of history’s most remembered composers for several hundred years, students, with the tools provided in this paper, can single-handedly reconnect to a rich lineage of pedagogy traditions, developing musicianship skills seldom synthesized today and discovering what can be learned from the past. In addition to partimenti study, I introduce schemata analysis (Gjerdingen, 2007) as a springboard for compositional creativity. By stripping a piece down to its schemata, one is left with a skeleton of the piece or “lead sheet” on which to improvise. I demonstrate the prevalence of schemata in music throughout the eighteenth century by presenting analyses of varying solo keyboard works of the period and demonstrate a written-out improvisation from such an analysis

    Work in Progress. Haydn’s Schemata and Hexachords: Two Analytical Case Studies

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    Two analytical case studies, from Haydn’s minuet al roverso (from the Symphony Hob. I: 47) and the opening movement of the String Quartet Op. 50, no. 6, show the interaction of galant schemata (Gjerdingen 2007) and the hexachordal solmization of the solfeggio tradition (Baragwanath 2020). Haydn plays upon conventional galant schemata—presumably elements of style shared by listeners who are closely familiar with the idiom (even if they do not have explicit schema labels); he also plays upon a more esoteric element of his own training and that of many other musicians in the period: hexachordal solmization. By considering both schemata and hexachords, I argue that Haydn’s conceits work on multiple levels, communicating with both stylistic insiders familiar with schemata, as well as with a narrower group of insiders trained in hexachordal solmization

    Creativity of continuo players and investment lawyers : a comparative sketch

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    The Creative Problem Solving theory analyzes the main steps of a creative process: problem identification and delineation, information gathering, idea generation, its evaluation, refinement, implementation, and verification. Based on the findings of this theory, the present study aims at highlighting that not only artists and composers perform their tasks in a creative way, but also professionals doing jobs which are considered as not particularly creative. This study focuses in particular on continuo players and investment lawyers, stressing the often-overlooked creative elements of these jobs. The paper’s conclusions highlight the individual and social returns of promoting creativit

    The Partimento Tradition in the Shadow of Enlightenment Thought

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    This presentation investigates the relationship between partimento pedagogy and Rameau’s music theories as influenced by Enlightenment thought. Current research on partimento has revealed its importance in Neapolitan music schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Along with counterpoint, partimento was a core subject in the study of composition in the Neapolitan schools; however, as pedagogy and theory began to be influenced by Enlightenment ideals such as the scientific method or a preference for clear systemization, the partimento tradition began to wane. In this presentation, I examine Rameau’s music theory as an example of Enlightenment thought in music, juxtaposing the central ideals of Rameau’s music theory with the ideals of partimento pedagogy and suggesting that Enlightenment thought hastened the decline of partimento study. Both the method of partimento pedagogy and Rameau’s theory of the fundamental bass stemmed in part from the practice of thoroughbass, and both were viewed as effective ways to teach musicians composition and improvisation. However, Rameau’s theory sought to improve on existing pedagogies by condensing eclectic rules and extended study into a few fundamental principles—an example of Enlightenment thought applied to music theory. In the light of Rameau’s understandable, widely applicable theory of harmony based on Enlightenment assumptions, the long years of practice-based partimento study under a maestro gradually became obsolete. The research methodology of this presentation consists of historical research from primary and secondary sources

    The Obscured Pedagogical Influence of the Roman Partimento Manuscripts

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    The partimento was a hand-written leaflet that taught eighteenth-century Italian musicians how to compose. It is assumed that Italian influence on musical composition, although strong in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, ceased in the 18th century. Musical treatises like Rameau’s Traité de l’harmonie and Kirnberger’s Die Kunst des Reinen Satzes in der Musik were more widely disseminated. These treatises emphasized a new approach: one that focused on the chords in the music. The Partimento’s influence mostly stayed in Italy, being passed down from teacher to student. This resulted in a distinctive Italian style of composition in the 18th century
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