Adam Neely, well known jazz composer in NYC, offers an interesting video, “Can I Pass an AP Music Theory Exam?”
I never knew there was such a thing, but I suppose conservatories give them.
The video plays some tunes and expects the applicant to score the theme in Avid Sibelius, so that is an ear training test. Then the applicant must note the appropriate chord symbols, according to late 18th Century rules. In the last exercises the applicant must fully harmonize a melody.
From my own years of piano, I don’t really know the chord symbols, but the ear portion I could do.
Neely notes that the accepted practice is different in jazz and wonders about putting everyone through the harmony rules of, say, Mozart’s Requiem.
There is a case for saying music education ought to present the structures, rhythmic and harmonic practices of other cultures. Is the “Germanic” version of western music “racist” or judgmental in specifying rules as to how dissonance should resolve (and which French impressionism broke before expressionism did).
Neely has previously discussed microtones, as well as the controversies over “equal temperament” vs. “just intonation”. Philip Clark has a 2013 Grammophone article on the controversy, “The tuning wars: ‘Equal temperament destroys everything”.. Some older organs in Europe have extra half-keys for other intonations (for “justice”) which will certainly preserve key personalities.
Earlier posts from Blogger about these matters are no longer available, but I’ll try to provide more coverage of artistic issues like this in due course (as well as “polarization” in our society and politics).
(Posted: Friday, May 27, 2022 at 2 PM EDT by John W Boushka)