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    Origin of the term "planing"

    Hi, folks.

    Does anyone out there know the origin of the term "planing" in music? I first came across the technique in my undergraduate jazz studies, but later learned that scholars also use the term to describe Western art music. When you stop and think about it, "planing" is a strange term—curiously accurate if we think of notes as points, and ongoing melodic voices or vertical 'stacks' of notes as lines (horizontal and vertical, respectively), and moving stacks of notes as two-dimensional planes.    

    Any help would be appreciated!

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    • I think of 'planing' as an a-functional harmonic technique (not anti-functional since 'tendencies'/'resolutions' still might be respected, but in odd (non-traditional') ways. Jazz practice certainly provides a playground for planing, but I also think of Debussy, Ravel & Co. as providing a wealth of examples. Right now I'm analyzing the Ravel Piano Trio (1st mvmnt) which doesn't make sense harmonically unless you have at least a vague concept of planing that accomodates it. I think I understand what you are trying to get at with melody as a progression of vertical stacks, but I have yet to come across an adequate definition of the term/idea and analytically I'm still working intuitively without an attempt to nail it down. But the term 'planing' works much better than, say, 'parallel harmony' – e.g., Ravel's planing in the Trio mixes up major, minor & quartal triads -- their succession has little to do with what we call 'voice leading' and more to do with 'chord leading', a triad being a 'voice' (which I think you were getting at?)