Marina Chernaya

Structural Principles of Harmony According to Yuri Kholopov

Music theory of the 20th century has had a hard time catching up with the accelerated innovations in compositional techniques. It often failed to provide convincing concepts, let alone to mark the new directions of development. Musical pedagogy has, subsequently, suffered since the old methods ceased to work properly. One problem stood out among the rest: the problem of the structural principles of harmony. The millennial concept required constant renovation throughout the 20th century. Yuri Nikolayevich Kholopov (1937-2003), the leading professor of music theory of the Moscow Conservatory, suggested a viable new concept of harmony that connected the classical ideas of functionality with the concepts appropriate for the music of the 20th and 21st centuries. From his early publications on the harmonic language of Prokofiev until his latest books Harmony: Theoretical course: Text-book (2003) and Harmony: Practical Course (2005) Kholopov designed a formidable comprehensive system based on the so-called central element (a rough equivalent of dissonant tonic) that explains new harmony and connects it with the past three centuries in concept and practice.