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Thread: who was the most influential musical theorist of the 20th century

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    Default who was the most influential musical theorist of the 20th century

    in your opinion, encompassing any and all genres

    who was the most influential theorist?

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    Who was the most influential music theorist of the 20th century? It's gotta be Alan Forte.

    He was musical, too.

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    Bernstein for populism and the Darmstadt school for smartass exclusivism.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    what about Sun Ra?

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    Well, he said he was from Saturn so I'm not sure if he counts.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    Schenker? maybe

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    what about greatest music theorist of all time

    who would you put down for that?

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    was most theory that really advanced music more so within jazz or classical?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MusicFree View Post
    was most theory that really advanced music more so within jazz or classical?
    I think that jazz theory really advanced tonal music. This affected tin-pan alley songs, TV theme music, all sorts of stuff.

    I think for breaking new ground, and being truly new, classical theory has always been on top. But that veers away from popular forms and normal tonality.

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    Walter Piston. He wrote a book a basic music theory that was very common in college, Harmony. He also wrote textbooks on Counterpoint and Orchestration.

    Kent Kennan wrote books on Orchestration and Counterpoint. We used his Orchestration book when I went to college in the 1960's.

    Vincent Persichetti wrote a classic book: Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice

    I am familiar with Hindemith's Craft of Musical Composition

    Although I have never read any of them, there are also Schoenberg's books: Theory of Harmony, Structural Functions of Harmony and Fundamentals of Musical Composition.

    These textbook were very prominent in American Universities in the 1960's. I really have no idea what is in vogue today.
    Last edited by arpeggio; Aug-11-2015 at 21:16.
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpeggio View Post
    Walter Piston. He wrote a book a basic music theory that was very common in college, Harmony. He also wrote textbooks on Counterpoint and Orchestration.

    Kent Kennan wrote books on Orchestration and Counterpoint. We used his Orchestration book when I went to college in the 1960's.

    Vincent Persichetti wrote a classic book: Twentieth-Century Harmony: Creative Aspects and Practice

    I am familiar with Hindemith's Craft of Musical Composition

    Although I have never read any of them, there are also Schoenberg's books: Theory of Harmony, Structural Functions of Harmony and Fundamentals of Musical Composition.

    These textbook were very prominent in American Universities in the 1960's. I really have no idea what is in vogue today.
    Yes, I would put Piston, Hindemith, Schoenberg, and Persichetti on the list as in the top ten. Persichetti's ideas veer more toward the modernist way of thinking; and Hindemith, too;

    Hindemith tried to create a general set of principles to apply to advanced ideas of tonality, which is very commendable.

    Schoenberg's Harmony book is interesting for the asides and footnotes, where he goes off on tangents and starts surmising. It's a great read.

    Kent Kennan taught at UT, didn't he? I have a CD of his piano music on Centaur that I like very much.

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    I vote for Stalin and Hitler. Because of their theories of music and their Political Power, they influenced the course of music profoundly during the last century

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    Quote Originally Posted by Triplets View Post
    I vote for Stalin and Hitler. Because of their theories of music and their Political Power, they influenced the course of music profoundly during the last century
    Tikhon Khrennikov was head of the Union of Soviet Composers during the era of the Zhdanov decree. He was never apologetic about any of it. In an interview given after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he said, "Stalin, in my opinion, knew music better than any of us."


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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Tikhon Khrennikov was head of the Union of Soviet Composers during the era of the Zhdanov decree. He was never apologetic about any of it. In an interview given after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he said, "Stalin, in my opinion, knew music better than any of us."
    That's why, on top of my piano, I have a bust of Beethoven, as well as one of Stalin.

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    For 20th Century: Heinrich Schenker, Hugo Riemann, Arnold Schoenberg, Pierre Schaeffer, Allan Forte, David Lewin

    For ever: Pythagoras, Aristoxenus, Ptolemy, Beothius, Guido d'Arrezzo, Gioseffo Zarlino, Marin Mersenne, JJ Fux, JP Rameau, CPE Bach, Johann Kirnberger, Gottfried Weber, AB Marx, Moritz Hauptmann, Hermann von Helmholtz, Heinrich Schenker, Hugo Riemann, Arnold Shcoenberg, Pierre Schaeffer, David Lewin

    I couldn't whittle it down any more, there are so many I could have added!

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