Charles-Simon Catel's Treatise on Harmony and the Disciplining of Harmony at the Early Paris Conservatory traces the formation of the discipline of harmony at the early Paris Conservatory, focusing on the 1801 treatise of Charles-Simon Catel. By examining the forces that shaped Catel's text, Michael J. Masci reconstitutes the contours of the dynamic “disciplinary network” that determined the content and scope of the study of harmony in Paris, expanding our understanding of practical harmony traditions.
Michael J. Masci is associate professor of Music Theory at SUNY Geneseo.
Note on Figured-Bass Symbols
Introduction: Harmony as Discipline
I. Institutional Power and Disciplinary Pretexts
Chapter 1. The Institutional Authorization of Catel’s Harmonic Theory and the Reconciliation of Fundamental Bass Theory with Figured Bass Practice
Chapter 2. The Institutional Sources of Catel’s (Contested) Authority
II. The Cours d’Harmonie as Coordination of Disciplinary Technologies
Chapter 3. Disciplinary Networks: Sources and Structures of the Cours d’Harmonie
Chapter 4. Reconstructing the Theory, Pedagogy, and Method of the Early Cours d’Harmonie
Chapter 5. Harmony’s Boundaries and the Internalization of Disciplinary Norms
III. The Transmission and Midcentury Revision of Disciplinary (and Generic) Structures
Chapter 6. Tonalité, Modulation, and Alteration: Catel Reception at Midcentury
Chapter 7. Tonal Redaction as Generic Convention in the Traité Complet Théorique et Pratique
Appendix A. Common Marches
Appendix B. Common Broderies
Appendix C. Common Cadences
About the Author
"Masci tells the captivating story of Catel’s harmony treatise and how it shaped the discipline of music theory at the Paris Conservatoire, the most admired institution in the nineteenth century. It’s a thrilling story of power, personal and institutional relations, and what it means to be a musician."
"The French Revolution brought us many of the ideas and institutions of the modern world. It gave us both the metric system and the Paris Conservatory. That state-sponsored music school needed to reconcile an inherited, Italian-influenced tradition of practical music making with a French tradition of speculation about harmony. The year 1801 saw not only a truce between Napoleon and the Catholic Church (the Concordat) but also the official approval of the Traité d’harmonie of Charles-Simon Catel. From that point on, 'harmony' became part of the discipline of formalized music training. It is a fascinating story of music, power, and institutions, well told by author Michael J. Masci."
"Masci investigates Catel's Traité, the official unified harmony textbook at the Paris Conservatoire, from an original perspective, exploring whether the work stands as a compilation of contemporary theory or as an entirely original work. Masci highlights the theoretical content in a comprehensive historical and critical investigation which sheds new light on Catel’s place in an institutional process of knowledge production."
"By focusing on Catel’s treatise as the foundation of a new ‘discipline’ of harmony, promoted by the Paris Conservatoire, Masci makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the origins of modern theories of tonal syntax. The book offers a fascinating addition to the growing body of work that asks how historical lessons and practices, such as partimento, might enhance the learning of music theory today."