Parsimonious Voice Leading and the Stimmfuhrungsmodelle

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Ariane Jessulat


This article confronts the dialectic between parsimonious voice leading, as represented by neo-Riemannian theory, and the diatonic Stimmführungsmodelle, or the traditional formulas and methods of thorough-bass pedagogy as they were preserved in the nineteenth century. The historical contexts are represented by Carl Friedrich Weitzmann’s essay on the augmented triad (1853) and Simon Sechter’s Generalbass-Schule (1835). The possibility of setting the diatonic and chromatic models into productive analytic practice is explored, even as it is acknowledged that they are grounded in different principles. Steven Rings’s “syntactical interaction” and Richard Cohn’s “double syntax” are invoked. A Brahms song and a Schubert symphony serve as extended analytical examples.

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