This book is about how music "in a key" is composed. Further, it is about how such music was composed when it was no longer compulsory to do so, starting a few years before the First World War. In an eclectic journey through the history of compositional technique, Daniel Harrison contends that the tonal system did not simply die out with the dawn of twentieth century, but continued to supplement newer techniques as a compelling means of musical organization, even into current times. Well-known art music composers such as Bartok, Hindemith, Prokofiev, and Messiaen are represented alongside composers whose work moves outside the standard boundaries of art music: Leonard Bernstein, Murice Duruflé, Frank Martin, Xiaoyong Chen. Along the way, the book attends to military bugle calls, a trailer before a movie feature, a recomposition of a famous piece by Arnold Schoenberg, and the music of Neil Diamond, David Shire, and Brian Wilson. A celebration of the awesome variety of musical expressions encompassed in what is called tonal music, Pieces of Tradition is a book for composers seeking ideas and effects, music theorists interested in its innovations, and all those who practice the analysis of composition in all its modern and traditional variations.
About The Author
Daniel Harrison is music theorist interested in general principles of music making and structure across a wide variety of classical and popular repertories. Previous studies of harmony at historical margins of the common-practice era have included Harmonic Function in Chromatic Music (Chicago, 1994), and several articles, including "Nonconformist Notions of Nineteenth-Century Enharmonicism" (Music Analysis, 2002). One of a few experts on the music of the Beach Boys, Harrison's work on popular music has been featured in Understanding Rock (Oxford University Press, 1997, ed. Covach and Boone) and Don Was' documentary on Brian Wilson, I Just Wasn't Made for These Times (1995). He is currently Allen Forte Professor of Music Theory at Yale University.