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Ear Training for Twentieth-Century Music

Ear Training for Twentieth-Century Music

Copyright Date: 1990
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 238
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  • Book Info
    Ear Training for Twentieth-Century Music
    Book Description:

    How can the musician's ear penetrate the complexities and theoretical abstractions of the twentieth-century music? This book offers a solution: it enables the student to perceive essential musical connections at the core of modern music by identifying and drilling the distinctive structures and processes of the twentieth century's greatest composers.

    Michael L. Friedmann has developed and successfully tested a method that combines theory and exercises to give students a deeper understanding of modern music. Using musical examples from the works of Debussy, Bartók, Choenberg, and Stravinsky, Friedmann begins with extensive work in sight-singing and dictation. The chapters that follow develop clear, multifaceted approaches to intervals and dyads, transposition and inversion, melodic contour, and three-and four-element set classes. In these chapters Friedmann offers students opportunities not just to identify the twelve trichord and twenty-nine tetrachord types, but to explore their structural possibilities. He also demonstrates the relation of these set classes to the diatonic, whole-tone, and octatonic scales. Finally, Friedmann introduces set classes of more than four elements, as well as twentieth-century modes. The book provides a wealth of musical excerpts including melodies composed by the author himself-to test analytic listening ability and to make the student with each set class.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15762-8
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Exercises
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. xvii-2)

    The community of musicians has never before been confronted with the level of fragmentation that exists today. Analytic method is divorced from musical reflex, composers from performers, and conventional repertoire from new repertoire; In this century these polarities have developed because of the momentum of compartmentalization—a trend that has played an important role in many aspects of culture, education, and technology. Countertrends in specific areas of human endeavor and in the work of extraordinary, multifaceted people have asserted themselves sporadically, but not with the same, sustained persistence as the overriding tendency toward specialization.

    A lack of mutual understanding is...

  8. 1 Calisthenics
    (pp. 3-7)

    The danger of applying a highly structured approach to ear training is that the naming process necessary for intellectualizing will block immediacy of apprehension, and that the structuring process will be a handicap rather than an aid. While absorbing the intellectual concepts and practicing the abstract exercises scattered throughout later chapters, the student must therefore work simultaneously on the more “calisthenic” exercises presented in this chapter.

    Because all musicians bring considerable musical intuition to a study like this one, it seems appropriate to use that equipment rather than disregard it. This chapter consequently presumes the ability to repeat melodies vocally...

  9. 2 Dyads: Melodic Motion and Harmonic Structure
    (pp. 8-22)

    A solid understanding of the relations between two tones provides a logical beginning for a structured approach to ear training. Both the radicalism and the complexity of twentieth-century musical languages find their origin in these modest relations. Whereas in earlier music diatonic tonality imposes a powerful interpretation on the vertical presentation as well as the horizontal motion of pitches and harmonies, many twentieth-century treatments of the relations between two tones proceed from the bare facts of pitch and pitch class. In Mozart’s Sonata in C Major (ill. int. 1) the second pitch, by virtue of being a major third from...

  10. 3 Processes: Pitch, Pitch Class, and Contour Relations
    (pp. 23-37)

    In grappling with twentieth-century music we cannot confine ourselves to the definition of musicalstructures,such as interval types or set classes. It is equally important to perceive a range ofrelations,or transformations, that can connect different structures. Relations of this sort can be conceptualized as operations or processes, three of which are retrogression, transposition, and inversion. These processes treat musical elements as combinations either of pitches or of pitch classes.

    DEFINITION 3.1:RetrogradeThe retrograde of a succession of pitches or pitch classes is its temporal order reversal. The retrograde of the pitches <+6,–5> is <–5,+6>;...

  11. 4 Trichords: Sets of Three Elements
    (pp. 38-71)

    To describe, understand, and reproduce the music of the tonal period, musicians must be able to manipulate the major and minor scales as the basis of melodic lines, and the triad as the archetypical harmonic unit. In perceiving the interaction of simultaneous lines, the polarity of consonance and dissonance is a critical structuring concept. Although these structures and concepts are relevant to a broad range of twentieth-century literature, many radical changes have displaced them to less absolute roles in musical perception.

    These changes include the integration of vertical and horizontal space and the contextualization of the polarity between consonance and...

  12. 5 Tetrachords: Sets of Four Elements
    (pp. 72-102)

    The aural identification and manipulation of the twenty-nine tetrachordal pc set types is a difficult but achievable goal for performing musicians as well as for theorists and composers. As a first step toward aural identification of each set type we classify them into groups and families based on their interval and subset content, and on their membership in superset groups.

    Interval content is expressed in the interval vector of tetrachords in the same way as it is for trichords. For [0,1,2,3]-4-1, if we use the pitch classes {0,1,2,3} the dyads comprise the pitch classes {0,1} (= i(1)); {0,2} (= i(2));...

  13. 6 Sets of More Than Four Elements
    (pp. 103-120)

    Aural identification of pc sets of more than four elements is extremely problematic because of their sheer number (for example, there are thirty-seven five-note set classes, fifty six-note sets, and thirty-seven seven-note sets) and because of the subtlety of the differentiations between them in intervallic makeup. Particular difficulties accompany the proliferation of Z-related pairs of set classes, which have the same unordered pitch class interval (dyad) content, but have neither the same normal order name nor the same “Forte number.” There is only one such pair of tetrachords, but there are three pairs of Z-related pentads (and septads), and fifteen...

  14. Appendix I: Musical Examples
    (pp. 121-183)
  15. Appendix II: Additional Exercises
    (pp. 184-193)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 194-195)
  17. Glossary
    (pp. 196-201)
  18. Music Acknowledgments
    (pp. 202-206)
  19. Index
    (pp. 207-211)