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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article aims to provide more sympathetic readings and accounts of harmonic dualism. It makes two claims in particular: first, that the traditional attacks on harmonic dualism that focus on putative structural contradictions in the system are entirely unjustified; and second, that harmonic dualism is a good, legitimate, and useful perspective which can generate enlightening accounts of tonal pieces of music. The argument in this article is part of a broader methodological challenge that questions the means of determining the “correctness” of a music theory. The defense of dualism presented in this article is highly conscious of the modalities of Anglo-American music-theoretical discourse and makes the renewed case for dualism in the context of current argumentative strategies; in the sense, by rehabilitating Riemann's dualism, the article is also holding up the mirror to contemporary music-theoretical practices. There are three parts in this article: the first section focuses on the characteristics of the dualist theory of harmony; the second section defends the first claim presented above (that the traditional attacks on harmonic dualism that focus on putative structural contradictions in the system are entirely unjustified); and the last section defend by way of analysis the second claim—that harmonic dualism is a good, legitimate, and useful perspective which can generate enlightening accounts of tonal pieces of music.

Keywords: harmonic dualism, music theory, dualism, Riemann's dualism, theory of harmony

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