The Doom of the Flattened Supertonic
MA thesis Sarha Moore
I'd like to introduce my research topic to you, in the hope that you will contribute to my ongoing PhD research.
Jaws -watch out for the jaws.
- The flattened supertonic note a semitone above the tonic creates, in the mind of anyone brought up with Western music and sensibilities, a sense of anxiety, restlessness or foreboding.
- Yet within the classical music of India, Arabia and Turkey this sound is an integral structural element particularly expressive at cadence points, due to its tension that is released by falling to the tonic.
- The expressive capacity for the flattened supertonic in non-Western music conveys a myriad of emotional interpretations, mostly of a loving or pathetic nature.
- The miss-off between the Western and non-Western connotations of the flattened supertonic produces compositions and genres that address the interface between East and West.
- My MA dissertation looks at the flattened supertonic in 4 genres: North Indian classical music, Turkish classical music, Jewish klezmer and Heavy Metal.
So why the interest?
- I can't grasp why this note is not already given a grand seat in the annals of music theory. It has an expressive potential akin to the leading note.
- Is it just too subversive in its downward pulling release? As a katabasis, leading to hell?
- Or is it that there aren't enough books/papers written that analyse non-Western music?
Check these out:
- My last.fm station, mostly populated with flamenco and metal at the moment.
- Someone else writing about it! Anna Ternheim rips Stina off?
- Here's a taster of youtube examples of the flattened supertonic:
Pizetta klezmer featuring reagadelica