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For those in the NYC area

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Ed Fuqua, Jul 8, 2004.


  1. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    This is from a singer, Judith Berkson, that works with Jacob Garchik (who's the bone player on the Jeff Silverbush stuff at the TBDB Johnson Chronicles site) among others. If anybody is interested, shoot me an e-mail and I'll forward her contact info.


    dear friends,

    I've been getting some interest and requests to teach the Schoenberg harmony and counterpoint courses and I thought I'd put it out there that I'm available and enthusiastic about teaching these to anyone interested.

    Some background information: Schoenberg's Theory of Harmony was published in 1911. During the years leading up to the book's completion Schoenberg's own music had been showing more and more signs of loosening the bonds to tonality. Because of this tendency he went back, studied and wrote this book which reviews harmony's development through history and sheds light on how he was coming to write music without key signatures (otherwise known as atonality - a word he never liked).

    An experienced teacher, Schoenberg's approach is to have students write a lot - always keeping the study a creative process. Through the simplest chord progressions at the beginning of the book to the complex later chapters, you write the harmony lines, play them on piano and sing the parts, developing a taste and a sense of your own in putting harmonies together. By the end you get a deep understanding of voice-leading and are able to write progressions that freely modulate through many tonalities by a rich variety of chords. You will be able to listen to or follow the scores to such pieces as Schoenberg's Veklarte Nacht or Wagner's Tristan and Isolde and really understand what's happening harmonically.

    This is not like your typical music conservatory harmony course. Perhaps like the class where the teacher gave you some rules to follow and had you analyze an eight measure phrase from a Mozart string quartet with some I IV V action which you aced, of course, but don't remember why. (apologies to those who had a better experience..?)

    The counterpoint course is pretty amazing too. It starts out with modal species counterpoint where eventually you write 3 and 4 part motets in the style of Palestrina. Then move on to Bach counterpoint. Again, not like college where they try to teach Bach counterpoint in half a semester. This course is mostly modeled after Fux's Gradus ad Parnassum and includes Schoenberg's philosophy of developing wisdom and individuality by exhausting all possibilities. From all of the species and fugue writing, you really get a technique in writing and hearing independent lines working cohesively - a skill that can definitely improve your compositions and improvisations.

    These are the same rigorous studies that most of the Western composers went through: Beethoven, Scriabin, Mahler, Stravinsky. Schoenberg's book goes on to describe the freer modulations of the late, late romantic period as can be heard in the music of Strauss, Mahler and early Berg and Webern.

    Harmony typically takes 1 and a half years to complete, counterpoint takes about the same and typically composition comes after that which takes another 2 years. I'm currently working through the second half of the counterpoint course with Joe Maneri. Joe studied with Josef Schmid who studied directly with Alban Berg and Schoenberg. Joe is an amazing teacher/composer who lives in Boston but wants to slow down teaching and isn't taking new students so I'm doing this to pass on that lineage and because I believe that the material is amazing and profound. Studying these subjects changed how I hear and think about music.

    If you're interested or know of friends that are into this, email or call. I live in Park Slope Brooklyn. Ideally the lessons are weekly and last between 1-2 hours and we can discuss fee, times etc. While I'm at it, if anyone out there is looking to study voice that's my specialtee... i can help you with most styles and specialize in 12-tone vocal technique, microtones and post-bop fusion licks. ok you can laugh now.

    Sincerely,

    judith