Schoenberg Quote of the Day


There was a student who thought that he was writing something ‘modern’ when, in the fourth measure, he modulated from G major to Db major, then two or three measures later to B major. But within Db Major and B major he behaved just as tamely as in G major, where he used scarcely more than tonic and dominant. I showed him his error by transposing everything back to G major, uncovering for him the unimportance, the monotony, and the harmonic wretchedness of his melody in its true form. He caught on when I asked him if he considered it especially reckless to carry the same philistine behavior from G major to Db and B.

From Schoenberg’s Harmonielehre (1911)

“Harmonic wretchedness” is my new phrase.

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