MODALITY IN POLYPHONY AND THE TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE SOUND TECHNIQUE IN THE MUSIC OF THE MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE IN THE LIGHT OF 'HISTORIA HARMONII I KONTRAPUNKTU' BY JÓZEF M. CHOMINSKI
Languages of publication
The article examines the views of Professor Józef M. Chominski, expounded in the first two volumes of his monumental 'Historia harmonii i kontrapunktu' (A History of Harmony and Counterpoint), written over fifty years ago. The purpose of the article is to define the relationship between Chominski's methodological assumptions and views on the development of sound technique (tonality), and the German musicological tradition (represented by, among others, G. Adler and H. Riemann). Particular attention is paid to the issues of (1) Chominski's understanding of the categories of 'tonality' and 'modality' in polyphony from the ninth to the fourteenth century, (2) his interpretation of features of modality and its role in the shaping of polyphony, and (3) the transformations in the language of sound in the music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Since Chominski's interpretation of the term 'tonality' approximates to the meaning of 'sound technique', he relates this category to resources of pitch and scale, and clearly associates it with the vertical dimension of polyphony; in a particular sense, he identifies it with functional tonality. By regarding modal scales as the substratum of the ordering of sounds in a composition, Chominski recognizes 'modality' as a kind of tonality; at the same time, by describing 'modality' as a (purely diatonic) system, he contrasts it with the system of functional tonality. He ascribes to modality the status of a factor which orders the horizontal and vertical dimensions of polyphony from the ninth to the sixteenth century, comparable to the role played by the major-minor harmonic tonality in the shaping of homophonic music of the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Chominski presents the process of change in the sound technique in polyphonic music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as a long-term, complicated and multithreaded process, close in a general sense to the universal interpretation of the development of harmonic tonality proposed by C.Dahlhaus.
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier