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date: 19 October 2019

Dolzhansky, Aleksandr Naumovichlocked

  • Kira Yuzhak


(b Rostov-na-Donu, 31 Aug/Sept 12, 1908; d Leningrad, Sept 21, 1966). Russian musicologist, teacher and educationist. He studied composition at the Leningrad Conservatory with Kushnaryov, Tyulin and Ryazanov, graduating in 1936. He taught there from 1937 and, although dismissed in 1948 for maintaining his support for the renounced Shostakovich, he worked there again from 1954 to 1966; during these periods his pupils included Milka, Rafayel′ Zalmanovich Frid and Yuzhak. For many years he was chairman of the critics' section of the Leningrad Union of Composers.

A key innovator and systemizer of music theory, Dolzhansky classified harmonic systems into four types: ‘vertical’ or ‘gradational’ (church modes), ‘polar’ (major or minor), ‘neutral’ (interspersing major and minor) and closed, self-opposing ‘unitary’ systems (such as the whole-tone scale). He developed the theory of harmonically opposed harmonies and in polyphony introduced a distinction between tonally and contrapuntally developed types of fugue. He also demonstrated how compositional form could have a bearing on the artistic effect of the work. An interest in counterpoint and musical form drew him to the fugues of J.S. Bach and to Beethoven, in particular the tonal schemes of the symphonies and sonatas. He also published studies of various Russian composers from Tchaikovsky onwards, and wrote a series of pocket-books on composers issued to audiences at concerts of the Leningrad Philharmonic....

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Sovetskaya muzïka
Sovetskiye kompozitorï i muzïkovedï (Moscow, 1978-89)