November 22, 2006

Your new harmonic theory, David Yeagley?

David Yeagley
“has created a new system of harmonic organization, and presented it in a formal lecture in Israel, 1998.”

Says so, right on your web site. But when you tried posting that information on Wikipedia, that claim could not hold up under the weight of verifiable fact.

So which is it? Yes, you’ve created an earthshakingly new theory of harmonic organization? Or No, you created another small entry in a long succession of attempts to make a new theory that borrows from all the previous attempts? I suspect the latter.

Every major period of music in Western music has been identified with its own titled category. Why? Because significant musical changes occurred warranting those distinctions. So, in Western music, we have the Medieval period, the Renaissance, the Baroque, the Classical era, the Romantic period, 20th century composition, and even something that some are calling postmodern (whatever that truly means).

Every one of these eras was marked by composers who brought new systems of harmonic organization to the forefront, so much so, that it seemed a major shift occurred from one era to a newer one. One era led to another, which in turn led to another, and so on, each era contributing to its successor in kind. Each period is marked by outstanding harmonic achievements worthy of notoriety.

Even today breakthroughs sometimes occur in modern (or so-called postmodern) music theories, such as when Harry Partch started writing with microtones, and had to construct his own instruments able to play them. Partch is a renown figure for his systems of harmonic organization. But yours, Mr. Yeagley, what about yours?

How about it? Let’s see your “harmonic organization” breakthrough, Mr. Yeagley, a breakthrough so bold that it has unmistakable notoriety suitable for any biographical entry. I have had students who create new systems of harmony for every piece they write, yet they do not declare these harmonic arrangements as notable.

So why is yours notable? Let’s examine it, shall we? We can do this together, just send me your speech of 1998. Send me your formal treatise. If this system is noteworthy, you must have it written up someplace, yes?

But why is your grand theory not to be found anywhere? No references to it exist, except in your self-composed biography. With your theory in hand, I promise to review your new theory for all the world to see and truly appreciate. Send it to me, so that I might help usher in the new Yeagley era.

— Brent Michael Davids

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