It’s not always fully appreciated just how prolific a writer on music the composer Arnold Schoenberg () was. And when you consider the ways in which . Arnold Schoenberg or Schönberg was an Austrian-American composer, music theorist, teacher . During the summer of , Schoenberg wrote his Harmonielehre (Theory of Harmony, Schoenberg ), which remains one of the most. Shortly after the revised edition of Arnold Schoenberg’s Theory of Harmony was published, his pupil and friend, Erwin Stein, assembled a Practical Guide to.
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Arnold Schoenberg was a music theorist, a composer, and a music teacher. In his teaching, as in his composing, he aimed at furthering what he saw as the superior tradition in music: Schoenberg’s text, Harmonielehrereflects his belief that a musician who wishes to create truly new and great music must first study classical music: Schoenberg’s aim as arnod teacher, to further the German tradition in music, was actually met by his Harmonielehre.
The curriculum of this srnold raises, as we will see, interesting questions about Schoenberg’s opinion of himself as a composer. Schoenberg believed that the German tradition 1 was the greatest tradition in Western music. Each composer took certain ideas from previous composers and used them to scheonberg his own style. Thus, there was a logical progression from one composer to harmmonielehre next.
Beethoven had taken from Bach the use of counterpoint; Wagner had used the chorale movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony to motivate his own music dramas. Schoenberg took it as a law of musical history that, to become great, a composer must learn as much as possible from past masters.
He set out to do just that, teaching himself a mastery of harmonelehre and counterpoint and obsessively studying the German masters of music. As had Wagner in his time, Schoenberg saw himself as the next member of the German pantheon, and set out to create his own style. He later stated explicitly what he had learned from each of the composers he admired; for example, he developed atonality the absence of keycenters in response to the increasing chromaticism the use of tones outside of the key center from Beethoven to Hrmonielehre.
Throughout his career as a composer, Schoenberg incorporated elements of past composers’ music into his style. He was concerned that atonal music lacked rigour, so he developed cshoenberg. This system, which employs an ordered set of the twelve chromatic tones as a repeating figure, was, according to Schoenberg, based both on Brahms’ handling of motives in his music and on atonal composition.
Later in his career, Schoenberg began incorporating classical structures such as fugue, variation, and cannon into his works.
These were all borrowings from German music. Schoenberg valued the German tradition highly, and devoted his life to its continuance. This devotion included not only the nature of his musical compositions but also his goals as a teacher. Schoenberg began to teach inhaving at this time only a handful of students.
They sought him out in order to learn composition, and he gave them what he considered to be the necessary background for the development of their creativity into greatness. Schoenberg used his experience as an autodidact to become a pedagogue and taught his students what he had taught himself.
Alban Berg was a student with no formal training in music, and Schoenberg instructed him in harmony, counterpoint, and composition, all the while expanding Berg’s knowledge of the German masters. But he experiences a disappointment. Because, in his compositions I usually at once recognize the absence of an adequate musical background. Superficially investigating I unveil the cause: The exercises completed by Berg under Schoenberg became the basis of the teaching methods Schoejberg employed throughout his long pedagogical career.
The title of this text translates to Treatise on Harmony, meaning “a repository of harmonic ‘lore’ or ‘learning’–all the accumulated facts of harmonic practice. The major mode is dealt with before the minor and basic modulation comes before more complex modulation. What differentiates Harmonielehre from traditional texts is the manner in which the lessons are presented.
Arnold Schönberg: Harmonielehre
As Schoenberg writes in his Foreword, “there have never been for me those stiff rules that so carefully entwine their tentacles about the student’s brain. Schoenberg wrote early in Harmonielehre that the so-called rules of music “are valid, like laws, but are changed whenever the goal is changed.
He believed his innovations to be a contribution to the German tradition in music, and hoped his students would make their own contributions. By framing the lessons of Harmonielehre as he did, he gave hxrmonielehre students a free hand to change the rules of harmony as they saw fit.
Aside from mere knowledge of the harmonic system, Schoenberg aimed to provide his students with what he called “the heart of the matter. This sort of explanation is absent from a more traditional text on harmony, C. At the start of the chapter on modulation in this text, the student is given the Grove Dictionary definition of ‘modulation’ “the process of passing out of one key into another” ; immediately following this the instructions begin. A further deviation makes from the traditional text is its lack of student exercises.
At the end of each chapter of Elementary Harmonieleherthere are tasks for the student to complete before passing on to the next svhoenberg. These sorts of exercises were the “norm” for traditional texts.
Harmonielehrethough it does contain numerous musical examples, contains no student exercises. The student is expected to create his or her own exercises, “creating his [sic. Schoenberg’s main goal as a music teacher was to advance the tradition of German music, something that could be accomplished through the innovation of new composers.
Arnold Schoenberg Harmonielehre
It may seem strange, then, that his curricula, such as that of Harmonielehredeal only with traditional subjects. Schoenberg used the same curricula through the peaks of atonality and serialism. Harmonielehre was published in the U. The translator of this edition writes in his preface: This hope may have been justifiable when Schoenberg began to teach, but later in his career it would have been incredibly idealistic.
As mentioned before, Schoenberg zchoenberg the same curricula throughout his teaching career. When Harmonielehre was first published inSchoenberg’s own musical advances were almost unknown. By arnood time the third, revised edition was published inatonality was a dominant modern style of music. In the thirties, serialism became a dominant style in Europe and in America, but there was no corresponding change in Schoenberg’s curricula.
When Schoenberg, and other musicians independently, developed atonality, there was no new and dominant style of music. This may have allowed them to search for new ideas. In an environment of powerful and modern movements, however, even the most creative composer may not be able to, or even wish to, develop independently.
It is telling that the only harmonoelehre that studied under Schoenberg and that created a revolutionary style of music, John Cage, schoenbergg his schoneberg on Eastern philosophies, something much outside the realm of Schoenberg’s curricula. The remainder of Schoenberg’s students that went on to be composers basically followed their teacher’s style.
We must also ask why Schoenberg’s curricula did not include lessons on modern developments in composition as well as classical ones. As we have seen, he believed that an understanding of harmonieleehre musical past was needed for a composer who wished to develop new styles.
It would seem logical to present all past developments to pupils, including those of the recent past.
On the question of originality, Schoenberg wrote: One possible reason for this was that Schoenberg wanted to zrnold the dominance harmonielehrr atonality by simply not educating his students about it. This education, however, would have come from other sources. It is more likely that Schoenberg did not consider the recent developments in music to be valid for the classroom. Despite his devotion to modern composition, he may not have been convinced that this was a style of music that should be studied.
Schoenberg often stated that, because his own style was rooted in tradition, it too was tradition. Did Schoenberg advance the German tradition of music, as was his goal a teacher? He had three great pupils who are considered today to be giants of modern music: Alban Berg, Anton Webern, and himself.
These three are referred to as the “Second Viennese School”: They each developed atonality echoenberg were each highly influential. It would be too much to ask for Schoenberg to have made German music the superior music xchoenberg his century. In fact, it would also be asking too much for Schoenberg to have driven the German tradition forward.
Through his lessons and is Harmonielehrehowever, he did just that. The musical center arrnold these composers was Vienna, which, in any case, was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire; this empire, of course, included both Germany and Austria and was in existence throughout the first half of Schoenberg’s life.
SchoenbergBailey writes: Order Harmonielehre from amazon.