Prof. Igor Kuznetsov

Prof. Igor Kuznetsov, D.A.

Music Theory Department of Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory


The Current State of, and Development Perspective for, Polyphony as an Educational Subject at the Moscow Conservatory



The article presents today’s state of Polyphony as an educational subject currently taught to musicologists at the Moscow Conservatory. Although the author stresses a positive role of this long-term tradition, first established by Sergey Taneyev and Herman Laroche and then continued by Vladimir Protopopov and his pupils, he comes to a conclusion that the amount of knowledge gathered and accumulated in the area of theory and history of polyphony from the 9th till the 20th centuries, has made this subject unmanageable and supersophisticated. As ways to solve this problem, the author suggests: (1) that the studying of the polyphony trends (especially those of the 20th century) be moved into the educational course The History of Music Theory and be highlighted as a set of its ongoing topics; (2) that a modular structure of the subject be introduced by way of dividing it into the basic obligatory one-year course and the modules that would group the topics in accordance with students’ particular specializations; (3) that the volume of the historical part of the polyphony course be varied in such a way that it might be transformed into some topical additions to the music history course. Besides, the author suggests that certain attention be paid to the studying of multi-linear texture types in non-European music, as well as to the studying of such topical phenomena as sonoristic, microtonal, spectral music and other kinds of contemporary composition.





contrapuntal systems,


modular organization,

the improvising of counterpoints,

Herman Laroche, Vladimir Protopopov, Sergey Taneyev.