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Provost's Imagine Fund for Arts and Humanities

Harmony in Verdi

Music theorists analyze how compositions are constructed. I have pursued that topic both from a “history of music theory” angle and from a “modern speculative theory” angle in several recent books issued by Cambridge University Press. With my proposed Harmony in Verdi I begin the expansion of the project into its post-1850 phase. With grounding in historical perspectives, I am reformulating the practice of harmonic analysis through detailed studies of various individual corpuses of music. In all, the twelve-volume project will cover the theory and analysis of music from the late eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries (Haydn and Mozart through Mahler and Debussy). My method involves both reductive analysis using music notation, extensive annotations with symbols (Roman and Arabic numerals), and a detailed explanatory text, extending beyond anything else currently being pursued in the field. I also assess alternative perspectives and consider how analytical insights impact music performance and listening. The proposed funding will be devoted to three essential components of my work: 1) to keep abreast of the full range of scholarship in music analysis through the purchase of key publications for my personal library; 2) to pursue the hundreds of leads I accumulate each year at visits to major research libraries; and 3) to assist in the setting of Harmony in Verdi’s numerous and often complicated music examples, which must be presented “camera-ready” to the publisher.

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Twin Cities