This week while fussing with CV and other job application materials, I decided on a title for the article I’m distilling out of my dissertation: Functional Analysis in the Classroom. I really like it, but now I’m afraid I’ll have to go back through and change large chunks of example explanations to fit the title/intro I’ve written. It’ll be a better paper, and more likely that people will want to read it, so I hope it’s worth it. (If you want to read it sooner/help with edits, please let me know!)
I also went through and edited all the .tiff files for examples; there are only 39 instead of 70 some from the dissertation, and I still had the Sibelius file, so it was only mildly tedious.
Here’s the re-done intro. Still needs more work, but it has already put me in a better position to do more edits.
Functional Analysis in the Classroom
Functional Analysis is a method of harmonic analysis for music that follows common-practice era tonality. This paper aims to detail its benefits as a teaching tool. To that end, I start with an explanation of Functional Analysis while highlighting its pedagogically oriented construction, then provide competing examples of similar systems used in other classrooms, and finally close with impressions from a quarter-long classroom trial.
My system is based in part on Hugo Riemann’s Funktionstheorie, borrowing many of his functional ideas but focusing very little on the transformational ideas associated with the newer Neo-Riemannian theory. In this way, my system of Functional Analysis (FA) resembles the type of analysis currently in use in Germany, but I have translated and adjusted it for English speakers to maximize easy implementation. Additionally, I have adapted Functional Analysis to flow smoothly into Schenkerian-type reductive ideas.
I have designed Functional Analysis to provide new insights into common-practice tonality more quickly than current methods, principally by encouraging a combination of short- and long-term thinking to more quickly identify interesting harmonic occurrences. I am not necessarily trying to arrive at new analytical outcomes; instead, I aim to show that we can achieve current analytical outcomes more quickly and simply if we focus on function by using labeling that clarifies the analysis process, thereby allowing students a faster and less frustrating access to more interesting music-theoretical territory.
 I will use “Funktionstheorie” when referring to the German/historical practice and “Functional Analysis” when referring to my own adaptation.
 The focus of Functional Analysis is common-practice era music and tonality, but extensions to other genres are also possible.
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