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Reviewed Work(s): Der Tristan-Akkord und die Krise der Modernen Harmonie-Lehre by
Martin Vogel
Review by: Dika Newlin
Source: Notes, Second Series, Vol. 21, No. 1/2 (Winter, 1963 - Spring, 1964), p. 134
Published by: Music Library Association
Stable URL:
Accessed: 21-05-2018 02:02 UTC

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Der Tristan-Akkord und die Krise bringing
bringing together
togethera agreat
many views
on on
der Modernen Harmonie-Lehre. Von a controversial topic. However, in its
Martin Vogel. Diisseldorf: Gesell- conclusions I found it unconvincing and
schaft zur Fbrderung der syste- in its presentation often confused.
matischen-Schriftenreihe zu Grund- DIKA NEWLIN
fragen der Musik), 1962. [163 p., The creative world of Mozart. Edited
music, bibl., 8vo; DM 22.30] by Paul Henry Lang. New York,
In 1857, Wagner composed the PreludeW. W. Norton [1963]. [149 p., illus.,
to Tristan und Isolde. Today, after morefacsims., music, 8vo;' $4.75]
than a hundred years, theorists have been It took only a very little elementary
unable to come to any agreement as to sleuthing in the stacks to confirm the
how the first chord of that work should feeling of dejd vu evoked by this produc-
be analyzed and how (if at all) it can tion: it was evidently put together from
be reconciled with traditional harmonic photographic reductions of pages from
rules. Martin Vogel's contribution hasThe Musical Quarterly. Six of the ar-
been to bring together the various views
ticles and the editor's introduction are
which have been expressed on this sub- reproduced from the April 1956 issue
ject and then to give his own. Consider- (v.42, no.2) of MQ-that is, the entire
ing the Prelude as in A minor, he then content of this issue, minus the book
interprets the first chord as an "Unter- reviews and other recurrent features.
septimenakkord" of the relative minor Mr. Hertzmann's article is similarly rc-
to the secondary dominant on II-in produced from v.43, no.2 (April 1957),
other words, a G sharp-B-D sharp chordand Mr. Blume's from v.47, no.2 (April
with added lower seventh E sharp (writ-1961). The remaining article (of an
ten F natural). Kurth, on the other older vintage from the pen of Mr. Broder)
hand, in his monumental Romantischeis from v.27, no.4 (October 1941); it
Harmonik und iltre Krise in Wagners was apparently reset so that the type
Tristan, interpreted it as an altered II would match that used for the other
(B-D sharp-F natural-A). Schoenberg, articles (MQ used a different font and
in Structural Functions of Harmony, also format back in 1941).
considered it as a II. To this writer, A statement on the verso of the title-
such an interpretation still seems more
page blandly remarks: "First published
convincing. Vogel's work, in spite inof1963 by arrangement with The Musi-
formidable charts, makes a primitivecal Quarterly, in which the chapters
impression in comparison with that originally
of appeared."
Kurth. There are several things wrong with
Vogel refuses to accept twelve-tonethis picture. Most of us, I think, do not
music as the logical consequence of the
like to see a series of periodical articles
Tristan style. Schoenberg's feeling that
masquerading as a book. In a given
the harmonic procedures in Tristan periodical issue, we rather expect a wide
presage the dissolution of tonality is disparity of level in the articles-we tend
rejected by Vogel-although he says to look at each article as a separate
kindly, "it would be unfair to blame entity, without reference to its com-
Schoenberg for his ignorance-in his panions. Also, the periodicity of the
time, nobody knew any better." He feels publication, the illusion of a seemingly
that the consequent development of the never-ending flow of words, tend to level
Tristan style would lead to a more out high and low spots. In the present
strongly integrated use of third-related instance, we get a rather narrow sample
tonalities and a stronger "enharmoniciza-from an eminent periodical, which sam-
tion" of the melodic line. Instruments ple, because of the disparity of levels in
can be constructed on which such rela- the articles of which it is made up, em-
tionships can be made to sound morephasizes all too clearly the contrast
clearly (here Vogel refers us to some between
of a book and a series of articles
his own writings on this subject). between covers. I cannot escape the feel-
This book does have the advantage of ing that this is a not very successful


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