Harmonic Conventions in a Conventional Context: A South African Case Study
In my teaching experience of the past number of years, it has become noticeable that students are showing an apparent increasing lack of perception of the 'traditional' use of triads in second inversion as being unstable structures requiring some form of resolution, typically within the 6/4 - 5/3 cadential context, or within the so-called 'passing 6/4' context. Often students prefer to harmonise using a succession of triads in second inversion - anathema in the accepted, diatonic, common practice style.
Within the context of Black South African choral music, however, such a style of harmonisation is not only acceptable but also desirable and widespread. It is a style of harmonisation that challenges the validity and relevance of promoting 'traditional' harmonic theory and practice within a contemporary South African framework. The underlying question that this paper aims to address is: How does music theory reflect performance practice in the context of Black South African choral music?
Keywords: Music Theory, Harmony and Counterpoint, Choral Music, South Africa
Lecturer, S A College of Music, University of Cape Town