A corollary of this seems to be that Harmonic analyses work fine when the notes do consistently line up according to their function, which happens all the time in pop music and possibly in Classical music although I'm not certain of this. Having said that, my biggest worry with Westergaardian theory is that it is almost too powerful. Whereas Harmonic theory constrains you to producing notes that do sound in some sense tonal

Note that when analyzing tonal music with Westergaardian analysis, it is generally the case that anticipation and delay tend to occur at relatively shallow levels in the piece's structure. The deeper you go, the more notes are going to be "aligned", just like they might be expected to be in a harmonic analysis. Moreover, the constraints of consonance and dissonance in aligned lines (as given by the rules of counterpoint; see Westergaard's chapters on species counterpoint) will also come into play, when it comes to these deeper levels. So it seems that Westergaardian analysis can do everything that you expect harmonic analysis to do, and of course even more. Instead of having "harmonic functions" and "chords", you have constraints that force you to have some kind of consonance in the background.

Bad Concepts Repository

by moridinamael 1 min read27th Jun 2013204 comments

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We recently established a successful Useful Concepts Repository.  It got me thinking about all the useless or actively harmful concepts I had carried around for in some cases most of my life before seeing them for what they were.  Then it occurred to me that I probably still have some poisonous concepts lurking in my mind, and I thought creating this thread might be one way to discover what they are.

I'll start us off with one simple example:  The Bohr model of the atom as it is taught in school is a dangerous thing to keep in your head for too long.  I graduated from high school believing that it was basically a correct physical representation of atoms.  (And I went to a *good* high school.)  Some may say that the Bohr model serves a useful role as a lie-to-children to bridge understanding to the true physics, but if so, why do so many adults still think atoms look like concentric circular orbits of electrons around a nucleus?  

There's one hallmark of truly bad concepts: they actively work against correct induction.  Thinking in terms of the Bohr model actively prevents you from understanding molecular bonding and, really, everything about how an atom can serve as a functional piece of a real thing like a protein or a diamond.

Bad concepts don't have to be scientific.  Religion is held to be a pretty harmful concept around here.  There are certain political theories which might qualify, except I expect that one man's harmful political concept is another man's core value system, so as usual we should probably stay away from politics.  But I welcome input as fuzzy as common folk advice you receive that turned out to be really costly.