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Audacious Euphony: Chromatic Harmony and the Triad's Second Nature [Anglais] [Relié]

Richard Cohn

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Revue de presse

This book is a major contribution to the field of music theory ... Cohn targets not only music theorists but also music historians, conductors, performers, and any interested music listener with a modest level of music-theory training. Avoiding excessive theoretical jargon ... he presents analyses ... that are illuminating regardless of one's theoretical background ... Highly recommended (T. E. Buehrer, CHOICE)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Music theorists have long believed that 19th-century triadic progressions idiomatically extend the diatonic syntax of 18th-century classical tonality, and have accordingly unified the two repertories under a single mode of representation. Post-structuralist musicologists have challenged this belief, advancing the view that many romantic triadic progressions exceed the reach of classical syntax and are mobilized as the result of a transgressive, anti-syntactic impulse. In Audacious Euphony, Richard Cohn takes both of these views to task, arguing that romantic harmony operates under syntactic principles distinct from those that underlie classical tonality, but no less susceptible to systematic definition. Charting this alternative triadic syntax, Cohn reconceives what consonant triads are, and how they relate to one another. In doing so, he shows that major and minor triads have two distinct natures: one based on their acoustic properties, and the other on their ability to voice-lead smoothly to each other in the chromatic universe. Whereas their acoustic nature underlies the diatonic tonality of the classical tradition, their voice-leading properties are optimized by the pan-triadic progressions characteristic of the 19th century. Audacious Euphony develops a set of inter-related maps that organize intuitions about triadic proximity as seen through the lens of voice-leading proximity, using various geometries related to the 19th-century Tonnetz. This model leads to cogent analyses both of particular compositions and of historical trends across the long nineteenth century. Essential reading for music theorists, Audacious Euphony is also a valuable resource for music historians, performers and composers.

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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  3 commentaires
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Cutting Edge Next Level Music Theory 4 juin 2012
Par Successguy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I got this book because I wanted to learn about the next level of music theory and had heard about Cohn from my professor at the time. When I completed my formal study of classical music theory, it left me wondering what else there was to learn, because there were so many different techniques and sounds that only got glossed over by classical harmony as either 'coloristic' chord progressions or endless tonicizations. I think this strictly tonal idea of music is probably influenced a lot by Schenker, and there are aspects of it that have become outdated. Jazz theory, on the other hand, is to a large degree about finding the right scale and chord tones to improvise over any chord and thus largely based on practice and practical application.

This book is totally different. It takes what you know about harmony and flips it on its head, in the greatest way possible. If you've never read anything by Cohn or don't know about the Tonnetz, then you are in for a wild ride! While the writing is extremely academic and at times I found myself looking up a word every couple of pages, the tone of the writing is pleasant and fun. There is no snobbery here; he is simply laying down every discovery that he has made about a different way that triads can relate to each other. Also, as he says, you only need to have a very basic understanding of theory to understand what he is explaining here. There are moments when the sentences get dense with information but once you take it in slowly for a second time you will probably understand it. I think that having a background in music theory sometimes slowed me down because he explains things in a new way.

Every anomaly that has ever tickled the edge of your awareness pertaining to music theory, 'borrowed' chords or scale degrees, and chord progressions that twinge the ear and drive curiosity (chromatic mediants, anyone?) are all opened wide and explained so thoroughly (with maps to navigate!) that you will become aware of a whole new system of thinking about consonance and dissonance; and, better yet, of controlling them to a much larger degree than the tonal (or jazz) system allows for. This theory of how triads relate is on another level, and completely explains many anomalies from classical theory when applied to popular music, or the music of the 19th century- Debussy, Wagner, etc.

I found myself reaching profound understandings that the Beatles used this mode of relation, it is what composers for film use, it is that 'surprising' sound that is becoming less and less foreign to us as time goes on. They used this subconsciously, but this explains how they got there- and explains a way to take it in any direction that you want. Just like tonally classical theory explains how classical composers composed to create their specific system of music, this explains how lots of composers who have veered away from classical rules and dogma have chosen to compose.

This is a harmonic realm where consonance and dissonance is temporarily suspended, allowing more subtle control between the two and it really is a beautiful realm of huge possibilities. If you are a composer or a musician of any kind, I highly recommend this book to you, as a tool to write more beautiful and "new" sounding songs. This is another system to use as a tool, like classical or jazz theory.

I myself am not a huge proponent of strictly following any theory, but learning tonal theory has led me to some of my most satisfying songs, and I anticipate that mastering the ideas of this type of music theory will lead to me create even more beautiful music which is expressive of life on a deep level. Already, learning this has allowed me to "spin" out of tonally-controlled compositions, into harmonic realms of an almost alien beauty, like a controlled but seemingly chaotic orbit on the edge of perfection and complete wreckage, and then without missing a beat, drop into a completely new tonality. It's freaking mind-blowing, and for that experience alone, I highly recommend it!

As the book points out, very intuitively, in one of the earlier chapters, there are basically 3 different ways of organizing music: Tonal, Not strictly tonal- using tonal ideas like triads and such to skip around to different tonics and tonalities (jazz probably falls somewhere in this second category as as well), and Atonal. While tonal music is great I think there may be too many rules to still be entirely relevant. While atonal music can be beautiful in its own way, the "structure" of that can literally be determined by rolling dice, so that's just not good enough for me yet. The cutting edge type of theory here straddles the boundaries between these two PERFECTLY.

Using this system allows composers a way to flirt with or have a lengthy affair with dissonance- while using concepts that are familiar to them (like triads) and being in TOTAL CONTROL. That, to me, is the biggest part of this book. It gives me a way to be in total control of where I am going and to understand what I am going to do next. If you want to spice up your compositions- get this! If you want to have a system for understanding non-traditional harmonies, then GET THIS!! I can't recommend this enough, it is an amazing book, and if you don't have it already then you are missing out on tons of possibilities which you probably aren't even aware of right now.
7 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great book 8 mars 2012
Par Hastie Studio - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Great book, but as a lay person (not a music major or scholar) I wouldn't have been able to get through it without reading Tymozcko's book "Geometry of Music" first. Having said that, this book picks up where that one left off.

The writer sprinkles in some hilarious metaphors once in a while to make the subject less dry and overall he has a great writing style which makes the content of this book far more accessible to "the rest of us."

I especially appreciate how he breaks the triadic cycles down to 6 primary movements which singularly and in combinations allow a performer, improviser or composer to cycle through all of the 24 consonant triads using his explanation of the augmented triad as the bridge between the four hexatonic groups. It's a fascinating subject, I will be studying the "Cube Dance" for a very long time, I think it is one of the missing pieces of the puzzle for me as a musician.

Would have given it 5 stars had it been a little more down to earth for less scholarly folks such as myself, like I say it required (at least for me) prior experience with the study of Harmony and the perspective gained from reading Tymoczko's book.

Highly recommended
2 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Accessible and clear presentation of Cohn's eye-opening theory 14 décembre 2012
Par qwerty - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I read several chapters of this book for a course in chromatic harmony. Having had zero exposure to Neo-Riemannian theories, I found Cohn's writing lucid and engaging. Because his style is so accessible, I was able to appreciate his well-thought-out and illuminating new theory of triadic space, especially in nineteenth-century music. As a music student, I think it's important that basic theory courses at least broach this very important subject! After finishing the basic sequence, I could basically analyze Haydn, Mozart, and most Beethoven - but the Romantic repertoire was totally out of reach. Cohn's work is helpful not only for theorists but for musicians beginning at the undergraduate level. I would recommend this text to anyone who loves Romantic music and has a background in basic music theory (Roman numeral analyses, basic chromatic chords). Cohn's book really changed the way I understood Romantic-era music as well as the historical transition from tonality to atonality.
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