COMPOSER | PIANIST | ORGANIST | CHOIR DIRECTOR | MUSIC THEORIST
Ph.D. Musicology/Music Theory, M.A. Musicology, B.Mus. Organ Performance
For sheet music of my compositions and arrangements, visit Sheet Music Plus. Many of my compositions celebrate the beauty of mathematics.
Konrad Harley (1986-) received his ARCT diploma in Piano Performance at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in 2007, his B.Mus. degree in Organ Performance at the University of Toronto in 2008, and his Ph.D. in Music Theory at the University of Toronto in 2014 ("Harmonic Function in the Music of Sergei Prokofiev"). While studying at university, Konrad Harley was the organist and choir director at Christ Church Woodbridge (2006-2013) and the piano accompanist of the Queensmen Male Chorus (2006-2012). In 2016, he presented a paper on Prokofiev's harmonic language at the Symposium on Prokofiev and the Russian Tradition in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. An essay by Konrad Harley on the analysis of Prokofiev's music is included in the book Rethinking Prokofiev (Oxford University Press, 2020). Since 2015, he has been the organist and choir director at St. Barnabas Church in Toronto.
Title: Harmonic Function in the Music of Sergei Prokofiev
Author: Konrad Harley
Advisor: Ryan McClelland
Institution: University of Toronto, Faculty of Music
Keywords: Harmony; Music theory; Prokofiev; Russian music; Soviet music
Issue Date: June 2014
Abstract: This dissertation examines aspects of harmonic function in the music of Sergei Prokofiev. Chapter 1 provides a survey of music theory literature on Prokofiev's music--including many Russian studies--and discusses the theoretical underpinnings of my analytical approach. Chapter 2 deals with Prokofiev's uses of symmetry and inversion in tonal plans and harmonic progressions, emphasizing the importance of perfect-fifth-related harmonic alternatives and long series of perfect fifths in works in what Prokofiev called his "classical line." The central topic of Chapter 3 is sequential harmony. This subdivides into discussions of Prokofiev's characteristic use of brief linking chords that clearly express dominant function; long, structural, but "obscure" dominants; plagal sequential trajectories in which a written-out ritardando seems to compensate for the lack of a culminating D-T relation; and directional changes ("volte-faces") signalling the end of sequential passages. Chapter 4 considers questions of harmonic function in light of ladovaia peremennost' (modal variability) and tonal pairing, which for Prokofiev is typically major-third-based; the discussion extends to a variety of harmonic techniques involving reinterpretation, substitution, or redirection by major third. In Chapter 5, the focus shifts to the semitone. Investigating the harmonic-functional implications of events commonly referred to as chromatic displacements, I suggest that the concept of chromatic substitution is often of limited value and explore some of the ways in which harmonic-functional balance and tonal closure arise in spite of (or in some sense due to) these events. Chapter 6 offers a conclusion and suggestions for future research, emphasizing the value of studying Prokofiev's harmonic practice in relation to nineteenth-century precedents (rather than to the Classical style), highlighting some of the harmonic techniques and tonal strategies that cut across the conventional boundaries of Prokofiev's About and oeuvre, and re-evaluating the ways in which certain traditional tonal principles are relevant even to Prokofiev's idiosyncratic "modern line."