Bridging Common Practice and the Twentieth Century- Cadences in Prokofiev's Piano Sonatas

Courtenay L. Harter

In the typical freshman-sophomore theory sequence, space is a precious commodity. This is especially true in degree plans where more advanced courses are available to students only on an elective basis. The desire of theory instructors to incorporate a broad range of musical styles into these two years must always be measured against the need to give students a strong grounding in tonal music of the common-practice era. A fundamental curricular dilemma is that the students, while steeped in the routines of classical tonality in theory classes, are at the same time studying and performing a much wider variety of music in applied lessons and ensembles. While we may not be able to make room for the independent coverage of many different styles, taking the opportunity to discuss elements of those styles within the context of traditional tonal practice can help students begin to develop an understanding of the connections, as well as the discontinuities, among different approaches to tonal composition.