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Contents

Music in the Nineteenth Century

STALEMATE AND SUBVERSION

Chapter:
CHAPTER 12 Cutting Things Down to Size
Source:
MUSIC IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

The most radically “realistic” harmonic effect of all is the one with which the scene opens, already quoted in Ex. 10-20 for comparison with Wagner's harmony. The stage direction specifies a “solemn peal of bells,” and that is what the lengthy orchestral prelude depicts. It consists of just two chords, both of them describable in common-practice terms as dominant-sevenths with their roots on A♭ and D respectively. The common practice description is quite misleading, however, since neither of them ever resolves to the implied tonic (respectively D♭ and G). Nor, once their oscillation really gets going, do we even expect them to do so; for the oscillation emphasizes another relationship, namely their shared tritone (C and F♯G♭). The two tritones, the one they share and the one their roots describe, arrest or neutralize their functional tendency.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012003.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size. In Oxford University Press, Music in the Nineteenth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 31 Oct. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012003.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 12 Cutting Things Down to Size." In Music in the Nineteenth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 31 Oct. 2014, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume3/actrade-9780195384833-div1-012003.xml
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