Transformational Theory in the Undergraduate Curriculum - A Case for Teaching the Neo-Riemannian Approach

Author(s): 
Nora Engebretsen & Per F. Broman
Volume: 
21
Year: 
2007
Material: 
Abstract: 

In recent years, neo-Riemannian or tonal transformational theory has generated considerable interest within the academic music theory community, primarily due to insights it offers into the organization of passages that are triadic but not functionally coherent. With the 2003 publication of Miguel Roig-Francolí's Harmony in Context, neo-Riemannian theory made its début in an undergraduate harmony textbook, appearing as part of a chapter devoted to nonfunctional pitch centricity in late-nineteenthand early-twentieth-century music. As brief as Roig-Francolí's presentation is, any inclusion of neo-Riemannian theory in an already crowded undergraduate curriculum raises the question: what can our students gain through study of the neo-Riemannian approach?