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The ♯IV(♭V) Hypothesis: Testing the Limits of Schenker's Theory of Tonality

Matthew Brown, Douglas Dempster and Dave Headlam
Music Theory Spectrum
Vol. 19, No. 2 (Autumn, 1997), pp. 155-183
Published by: on behalf of the Society for Music Theory
DOI: 10.2307/745752
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/745752
Page Count: 29
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The ♯IV(♭V) Hypothesis: Testing the Limits of Schenker's Theory of Tonality
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Abstract

This paper answers suspicions that Schenkerian theory is powerful only because it is somehow riven with circular assumptions and ad hoc inferences by discovering and testing boundaries to the applicability of the theory. Our ♯IV/♭V Hypothesis is based on Schenkerian theory's predictions that if ♯IV/♭V sonorities appear in a tonal context, then they are always indirectly related to the tonic; thus, whenever ♯IV/♭V Stufen are interpreted as being directly related to the tonic or are not explainable in a convincing way as indirectly related, either the analysis is incorrect or the work must be deemed non-tonal. The direct analytical implications of the hypothesis provide us with a well-defined boundary to tonal practice under a Schenkerian interpretation.

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