1. Introduction: Who is Heinrich Schenker?
I’ve been asked by a few people to say something about Phillip Ewell’s article which is roiling the field of Music Theory-nominally my field, something I’ll say something more about later.
Of course, the overwhelming majority who read this blog will have no idea about any of this or have even heard of the major figure in the field against whom Ewell is directing his attacks, Heinrich Schenker. To give you an idea, the folllowing passage Ewell cites in his text should be taken as extreme but by no means unrepresentative of Schenker’s views.
“Hitler’s historical service, of having got rid of Marxism, is something that posterity (including the French, English, and all those who have profited from transgressing against Germany) will celebrate with no less gratitude than the great deeds of the greatest Germans! If only the man were born to music who would similarly get rid of the musical Marxists; that would require that the masses were more in touch with our intrinsically eccentric art, which is something that, however, is and must remain a contradiction in terms. ‘Art’ and ‘the masses’ have never belonged together and never will belong together. And where would one find the huge numbers of musical ‘brownshirts’ that would be needed to hunt down the musical Marxists?”