Regarding David Neumeyer's The Music of Paul Hindemith:

As you will see in Example 3.12 (below), Neumeyer likes to show us the key without a key signature. While he indicates the key with a simple "Eb" (in this example) underneath the bass clef, the rest of the notes appear with the appropriate accidentals according to the key. Where can I learn more about this method? Not only is it busy to my untrained eyes, but I also cannot tell if repeat notes with no accidentals are assumed to have the same accidental as the note prior to it or if it is meant to be natural.

Neumeyer example 3.12

  • Im not sure what you mean by “method”. The Eb under the score is not a key signature, it indicates the context for the harmonic analysis that follows it under the music. Any music theory book is a resource to learn more about that type of harmonic analysis Apr 22 at 17:58
  • "It indicates the context for the harmonic analysis that follows it" . . . can you please explain this further? Does a key signature not serve that purpose as well?
    – 286642
    Apr 22 at 18:05
  • 1
    A key signature is part of the music itself. An analysis of the music (which is what the images linked show) is not the music itself. Is a discussion about the music and how the different notes and chords interact. If you haven’t studied enough music theory to understand harmonic analysis or functional analysis, then this text that you’re reading might be over your head. The music and symbols written in the images you linked are not meant to be played by a musician. They are only there for discussion and theory Apr 22 at 18:12
  • Note that a lot of modern music is written without key signatures. Film scores are a very common example of this. Some film scores have key signatures, but many don't. One big reason is that a lot of modern music is so often chromatic that it's not clearly in any one key, so a key signature would not serve its normal function in aiding the reading of the music. Apr 22 at 20:42
  • @toddwilcox, I’m only familiar with analyzing harmony with Roman numeral notation. If you have any reading recommendations so that I can learn some of the fundamentals, please advise. Thank you for your responses.
    – 286642
    Apr 22 at 20:42

The E♭ indication should be taken to mean "I'm performing the following analysis relative to the key of E♭". This is a standard notation for this kind of harmonic analysis.

Accidentals follow the convention that they last throughout the measure in which they appear and are cancelled by the bar line. To illustrate, consider the VII chord in the first bar. The VII chord (often notated ♭VII) is a borrowed chord from minor, meaning the root is D♭. The fifth of the chord is A♭.1 Now look at the VII chord in the final measure. There is no flat on the A. It's not needed, because there is an A♭ earlier in the same measure.

It appears that since Hindemith's music is so highly chromatic, Neumeyer felt it would be better to notate every accidental explicitly, taking this to be the most clear presentation.

1 E♭ is not properly part of that chord. It seems Neumeyer is treating that note as a suspension or pedal tone held over from the previous chord.

  • thank you for the response. my understanding was that Neumeyer was using the VII to mean something unrelated to the "bVII" one might find in roman numeral analysis. According to the key in his book, though, it does refer to (coincidentally or no?) to the #6 or b7 scale degree. I figured he was moving away from roman numeral analysis, but it looks like he does use roman numerals for the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 5th scale degrees.
    – 286642
    Apr 23 at 1:51
  • @286642 What sort of update are you looking for? Example 3.4 makes clear that VII refers to chords rooted on #6/b7 and that the up-arrow symbol is for leading-tone chords. Should that just be added to the answer?
    – Aaron
    Apr 23 at 1:59
  • I would appreciate a brief discussion on this. What specifically is a chord rooted on #6/b7? To Hindemith, a chord root is not the same as the lowest note in a chord. And is a leading tone chord any chord that has the leading tone as its bass note? Or is a chord based on the major triad of the leading tone?
    – 286642
    Apr 23 at 2:01
  • Though this question only concerns the key signature . . . im mixing my questions up. My apologies.
    – 286642
    Apr 23 at 2:04
  • 1
    @286642 No worries. It's interesting stuff ... but a lot of it! :-)
    – Aaron
    Apr 23 at 2:07

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