Teaching Beyond Major-Minor

Disclaimer: if you live in the 19th century or earlier this post won’t have much relevance for you.  Working on the P Plate Piano series (back in 2008/9) I was struck by how insidious the two-tonality (major-minor) system is in educational piano publications for beginners. Method book after method book sticks resolutely to major and minor sounds only, with not the slightest acknowledgement that other tonalities are the everyday musical reality in the 21st century. This is true right from the accompaniments teachers are given to play with students in their earliest lessons, through to the five finger positions introduced later on, and then into the repertoire collections groaning with originals from the late 1700s. My suspicion is that the music tonality discourses of the twentieth century have created a false dichotomy in the minds of piano pedagogues: if we aren’t diatonic anymore then we must be atonal, and vice versa (if the music isn’t atonal then by default it

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