Hearing Homophony

Hearing Homophony : Tonal Expectation at the Turn of the Seventeenth Century

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The question of tonality's origins in music's pitch content has long vexed many scholars of music theory. However, tonality is not ultimately defined by pitch alone, but rather by pitch's interaction with elements like rhythm, meter, phrase structure, and form. Hearing Homophony investigates the elusive early history of tonality by examining a constellation of late-Renaissance popular songs which flourished throughout Western Europe at the turn of the
seventeenth century. Megan Kaes Long argues that it is in these songs, rather than in more ambitious secular and sacred works, that the foundations of eighteenth century style are found. Arguing that tonality emerges from features of modal counterpoint - in particular, the rhythmic, phrase structural, and formal
processes that govern it - and drawing on the arguments of theorists such as Dahlhaus, Powers, and Barnett, she asserts that modality and tonality are different in kind and not mutually exclusive.

Using several hundred homophonic partsongs from Italy, Germany, England, and France, Long addresses a historical question of critical importance to music theory, musicology, and music performance. Hearing Homophony presents not only a new model of tonality's origins, but also a more comprehensive understanding of what tonality is, providing novel insight into the challenging world of seventeenth-century music.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 162 x 242 x 26mm | 552g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 72 music examples, 42 figures
  • 0190851902
  • 9780190851903
  • 2,324,146

Table of contents

About the Companion Website

Chapter 1: How We Got into Harmonic Tonality, and How to Get Out
Chapter 2: La questione della lingua: Transmission and Translation of Musical Style
Chapter 3: The Work of the Words
Chapter 4: Halves Requiring Completion
Chapter 5: From Phrase Structure to Form: The Balletto
Chapter 6: Tonal Orientation: New Tools for Navigating the Formal Landscape
Chapter 7: Humanism and the Invention of Homophony

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Review quote

Hearing Homophony is remarkable both for the accessibility of Prof. Long's prose, and for the originality of her ideas. Long has crafted an innovative theory of tonality's origins precisely by focusing on features that theorists of tonality often disregard: rhythm, texture, and text-setting. * Kyle Adams, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University * Hearing Homophony convinces me that European tonality's fundamental structures were shaped by vernacular poetry, and by the task of preserving its rhyme and meter in tuneful musical settings. Long's brilliantly insightful contribution to the theory of tonality is just as entertaining and accessible as the repertories she analyzes. * Ian Quinn, Professor of Music, Yale University *
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About Megan Kaes Long

Megan Kaes Long is Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. Her work explores sixteenth- and seventeenth-century secular song traditions, the theories that describe them, and the ways in which they inform the histories of modality and tonality.
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