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The Western reception of Sergei Taneyev

Desbruslais, Simon


Simon Desbruslais


Sergei Taneyev is not a common name in Western musicology. Short studies of his theoretical writings include Allen Forte’s critical review of New Grove (1982), Ellon Carpenter’s survey in Russian Theoretical Thought in Music (1983), and Catherine Nolan’s chapter ‘Music Theory and Mathematics’ from The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory (2002). However, an English-language monograph on Taneyev has yet to be published. This paper focuses on the missed opportunity of Taneyev’s contrapuntal theory within the theory of Western music. First published in 1909, his ‘Moveable Counterpoint’ treatise pioneered a rigorously theoretical approach to the study of an esoteric contrapuntal device, which substantially precedes parallel thought outside of Russia. I address the following questions: what is the value of this treatise today? And how might Taneyev’s work be developed to heighten our awareness of contrapuntal procedures?


Desbruslais, S. (2015). The Western reception of Sergei Taneyev. Zhurnal Obshchestva teorii muzyki, 9(1), 7-18

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 7, 2015
Publication Date 2015
Deposit Date Dec 8, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Журнал Общества теории музыки
Print ISSN 2308-1333
Publisher Obshchestvo teorii muzyki
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Pages 7-18
Keywords Convertible counterpoint, David Lewin, Generalized musical intervals and transformations, Music and mathematics, Polyphony, Transformation theory, William Byrd
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a copy of an article published in Journal of the Russian society for theory of music, 2015 v. 9 issue 1.


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© 2016, The Journal of Russian Society for Theory of Music

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