My tombstone is going to read:
Remember to raise the
seventh scale degree in
so that whenever my students drop by with flowers they’ll get an extra reminder. I wanted to also include the rules for acceptable resolutions of the six-four chord, but I’m afraid the engraving costs would be a hardship on my heirs.
Why is it that some students cannot be persuaded to write a triad without adding a seventh on it? I assume these kids had a jazz teacher in high school who was very, very successful in drilling into them that every chord, every friggin’ chord, contains a seventh. And since it’s often nice in classical harmony to spice up the occasional chord with a seventh, you can’t flat out forbid them, and it’s really not possible to get across the inexpressible nuances of why sevenths sound nice in some contexts and not in others. And if you’re teaching four-part writing, the presence of a seventh in every chord wreaks havoc with voice-leading. And what is it with ending tonal compositions on six-four chords? If I never mentioned six-four chords, would their natural instincts lead them to close in root position? Is it because I so emphatically bring six-four chords to their attention, as something to avoid, that they subconsciously or passive/aggressively end up writing epic strings of parallel six-four chords in their final compositions? What is so freakin’ attractive about having the fifth in the bass on every beat? Did I miss a meeting?
And what is it with the students who are allergic to initiative, and have to have everything done for them? I call them my DLDS Syndrome students: day late and a dollar short. They never have the textbook with them. They’ve never extracted the parts for their compositions, and when they do, they’re never transposed. Their printers, of course, haven’t been operational since seventh grade. They are incapable of looking up e-mail addresses of the performers they need to engage. The posters with which they advertise their concerts remain in the back seats of their cars until hours before the event. Many of them are charming, intelligent, funny, delightful people, some of my favorite students ever. One of my best came to my house to print his orchestral parts with only an hour to spare before deadline – and, as we were finishing, spilled a glass of orange juice over all the parts we had just printed. I slowly looked at him and said, “You really wanted to make this a memorable occasion, didn’t you?”
Why these DLDS students exist isn’t what’s interesting. The curious thing is that THEY ARE ALL MALE. I have never had a female student who fit this pattern. The young women, when they have something important to do, take care of it themselves. Explain, anyone?
That’s off my chest. I’m done. Let the new year begin.