Tonality In Music Definition Essay - Homework for you

Homework for you

Tonality In Music Definition Essay

Rating: 4.6/5.0 (7 Votes)

Category: Essay


Western Music Influence - Defining Tonality

Call Toll Free: 1.855.314.3368

Defining Tonality

Over the years there have been many ideas of tonality and how it shaped Western Music culture. According to an article over tonality by Danlee Mitchell and Jack Logan, tonality is a term used to describe the arrangement of the dominant and subdominant above and below the tonic. Another definition for tonality is that it refers to systematic arrangements of pitch phenomena and relations between them. With all the technical terms and confusions it is no wonder why many students have a hard time understanding the meaning of tonality.
What is Tonality?
There are many different aspects of tonality that one must know before they can fully start to comprehend the meaning. The first would be the relationship between the different pitches. Every pitch can be considered tonal when it is placed at the tonal center, otherwise known as the key of the music. For example, if you were playing a piece in the key of C you will most likely begin and end on the note C because it would be considered tonal. Now just because it ends on C doesn’t necessarily mean it is tonal, but when you fa.

. middle of paper.

. lows the same pattern of I-IV-V but there is one major difference in this piece than the one previously discussed. This piece takes the leading tone of the dominant and creates an unresolved motion that can only be solved by the dominant. Normally the minor II chord would be used in this situation but Vivaldi thought it would be more effective using a viio7/V to strengthen the relationship of the dominant. This gives listeners an idea of all the possibilities tonality can emerge from and how it is present in a wide variety of Western music.

[to view the full essay now, purchase below]

Benefits of Purchase

When you purchase a paper, these are just a few of the benefits you will appreciate.

Follow the instructions below to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper:

You may view this document now for only $19.95. This is the total cost - there are NO other charges. The document will be on your screen as soon as you pay with your credit card, debit card, or bank account. Your purchase is 100% secure.

Call Toll Free: 1.855.314.3368

Terms of Service
updated 12 August 2009

Welcome to (the "Web Site"), which is produced by the "Company". This page states the Terms of Service (the "Terms" or the "TOS") under which this Web Site is available for use. Please read this page carefully. By accessing and using this Web Site you accept and agree to be bound, without limitation or qualification, by these Terms and any other terms and conditions that may apply. The Company may, at its sole discretion, modify or revise these Terms at any time by updating this posting. You are bound by any such modification or revision and should therefore visit this page periodically to review the Terms. By using the Web Site after we have made any modification or revision, you agree to be bound by the revised terms. If you do not accept any of the Terms stated here, do not use the Web Site. The Company retains the right to deny access to anyone at its complete discretion for any reason, including but not limited to violation of these Terms. The Terms constitute the entire legal agreement between you and the Company.

1. Web Site Usage
In consideration of your use of the Web Site, you represent that you are 1) of legal age to form a binding contract and 2) are not a person prohibited from receiving services under the laws of the United States or other jurisdiction. You further agree to use the Web Site only for purposes that are permitted by 1) the Terms and 2) any applicable law, regulation or generally accepted practice or guideline in the relevant jurisdictions, which includes any laws regarding the export of data to and from the United States or other relevant countries.

As part of your use of the Web Site, you may be required to provide information about yourself, such as identification or contact details, as part of your continued use of the Services. You agree that any registration information you give to the Company will always be correct and current.

The contents of this Web Site, such as text, graphics, images, audio, video and all other material ("Material"), are protected by copyright under both United States and foreign laws, and are owned or controlled by third parties that have licensed their Material to the Company. Unauthorized use of the Material may violate copyright, trademark, and other laws. You must retain all copyright and other proprietary notices contained in the original Material on any copy you make of the Material. You may not sell or modify the Material or reproduce, display, publicly perform, distribute, or otherwise use the Material in any way for any commercial purpose. The use of the Material on any other Web Site, or in a networked computer environment for any purpose is prohibited, without the express written permission of the Company. The trademarks, logos, and service marks (the "Marks") displayed on the Web Site are owned by the Company. You are prohibited from use of those Marks without the express, written permission of the Company. If you would like information about obtaining permission from the company to use the Material on your Web site, please contact us via email. If you violate any of these Terms, your permission to use the Material will be automatically terminated and you must immediately destroy any copies you have made of the Material whether said copies are in your possession or in the possession of any third party.

You agree not to access or attempt to access any of the Material by any means other than through the interface that is provided by the Web Site, without specific written agreement with the Company. You specifically agree not to access or attempt to access any of the Material through any automated means, which includes the use of scripts or web crawlers.

Unless you have been given written consent of the Company by separate agreement, you agree that you will not reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, trade or resell any Material obtained from the Web Site, or usage or access to the Web Site, for any commercial purpose.

You agree that you are solely responsible for any breach of your legal and contractual obligations under the Terms and solely responsible for the consequences of any such breach, including any loss or damage which the Company, its agents, or third parties may suffer. You further agree that the Company has no responsibility to you or to any third party for your breach.

2. User-Submitted Material
You agree not to submit any unlawful, abusive, defamatory, harassing, obscene, or otherwise objectionable Material of any kind, including but not limited to Material that would constitute a criminal offense, violate the rights of others, or violate the laws or regulations of the United States or other jurisdiction. You agree not to submit any Material that infringes on any intellectual property rights of another, including but not limited to copyright and trademark. You agree not to submit any Material that you have reason to believe is false, misleading, or fraudulent, or contains private information about an identifiable person without that person.s written permission. You remain solely responsible for, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Company, its agents, affiliates, representatives, licensors, and licensees, against any claim arising from any Material you submit as well as Material submitted by a third party using your computer or IP address.

Any Material you submit to the Web Site is and will be treated as non-confidential and non-proprietary. The Company has no obligation of any kind with respect to submitted Material. The Company reserves the right, but has no obligation, to remove, edit, or reject any Material it deems inappropriate. You agree that modification of the Material by the Company or its agents does not transfer ownership of said Material.

You warrant that the Material submitted is original, has not been previously licensed or submitted to another Web Site or entity, and that you own the proprietary rights to said Material, including copyright, trademark, and patent rights as applicable, or the express written authority of the owner(s) of said rights to use and license the Material. You retain all patent, trademark, and copyright to any Material submitted. You further warrant that you have all rights, power, and authority necessary to claim and grant the license conveyed herein to the submitted Material. By submitting Material to the Web Site, you agree to grant the Company, its agents, affiliates, representatives, licensors, and licensees, a worldwide, irrevocable, nonexclusive, perpetual, royalty-free right (including moral rights) and license to copy, modify, translate, publish, disclose, transfer, assign, sell, and distribute said Material in any form now known or hereafter developed, for any purpose without limitation, and without any obligation of notice, attribution, or compensation to you or another.

3. Company's Liability
The Material on the Web Site contains inaccuracies and typographical errors. The Company makes no representations or guarantees about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the Material or about the results obtained from using the Web Site or the Material. You expressly agree that any use of the Web Site, the Material, and the results obtained from using the Web Site or Material is entirely at your own risk. We reserve the right to make periodic changes to the Web Site, and these changes may be made at any time without notice. Most of the Material on the Web Site is provided and maintained by third parties. This third party Material may not be screened by the Company prior to its inclusion on the Web Site. You expressly agree that the Company is not liable or responsible for any defamatory, offensive, or illegal conduct of other subscribers or third parties.

The Company does not warrant that the Web Site will operate error-free or that the Web Site or its server is free of computer viruses or other harmful goods. If your use of the Web Site or its Material results in a need to repair or replace equipment or data, you are solely responsible for those costs.

The Web Site and its Material are provided on an as-is and as-available basis without warranty express or implied. The Company, its agents, affiliates, representatives, licensors, licensees, suppliers, and any third parties mentioned at this site, to the fullest extent permitted by law, disclaim all warranties, including the warranty of non-infringement of proprietary or third party rights, and the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. The Company and its suppliers make no warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the material, services, text, graphics and links.

No information, whether oral or written, provided by the Company or through the Web Site shall create any warranty not expressly stated in the Terms.

4. Disclaimer

5. Links to Other Web Sites
The Web Site contains links to third party Web sites maintained by others. These links are provided solely as a convenience to you and not as an endorsement by the Company of the contents on such third-party Web sites. The Company is not responsible for the content of linked third-party sites and does not make any representations on the content or accuracy of materials on such third-party Web sites. The Company has no control over such sites, and you agree that the Company is not responsible for the availability of such external sites. The Company does not endorse and is not responsible or liable for any Material on or available from external sites. You agree that the Company is not responsible or liable, whether directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of any external site. If you decide to access linked third-party Web sites, you do so at your own risk.

6. Limitation of Liability
Your use of the Web Site is at your own risk. If you are dissatisfied with any of the Materials or other contents of the Web Site or with these Terms and Conditions, your sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue use of the Web Site.

Under no circumstances shall the Company or its agents be liable to any user on account of that user's use of the Web Site. Such limitation of liability shall apply to prevent recovery of any and all damages, including, without limitation, direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special, punitive and exemplary damages arising from any use of the Web Site, including any damages that may be incurred by third parties.

7. Indemnity
You agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Company, its officers, directors, owners, members, employees, agents, affiliates, representatives, licensors, and licensees, from and against any claims, actions, or demands, including without limitation reasonable legal and accounting fees, alleging or resulting from your use of the Material or your breach of the TOS, from any claim arising from any Material that you submit, or your violation of any rights of another, including but not limited to intellectual property rights.

8. User Information
The Company may use the information it obtains relating to you, including your IP address, name, e-mail address, mailing address, and use of the Web Site, if required to do so by law or in a good faith belief that such retention, preservation and/or disclosure is reasonably necessary: (a) to respond to any legal process or third party claims; (b) to enforce these TOS; (c) to protect the rights, property or personal safety of the Company, its agents, its users and the public; or (d) for business and/or marketing purposes.

Your personal information will be treated in compliance with our Privacy Policy. You agree to the use of your data in accordance with the Company.s Privacy Policy. 9. Content
You agree that by using the Web Site, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, or objectionable. You use the Web Site at your own risk. You further agree that the Company is not responsible for any Material you transmit or display while using the Web Site.

10. Minors
This Web Site contains material that may not be appropriate for minors. If there is concern by parents that children may visit this site, the Company recommends using a parental control software package. While no parental software package replaces careful supervision of Internet use by children, these tools can be a useful addition to your suite of Internet applications.

11. Notification of Claimed Copyright Infringement
If you find Material on the Web Site which you believe to be an infringement of copyright or other intellectual property rights of you or any third party, you are requested to immediately notify us as described below in accordance with the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act. To report any alleged infringement, please email us with the following information:

1. your name, address, telephone number, and email address; and if you are representing the owner of the intellectual property, the name of the owner 2. a detailed description of the Material that you claim has been infringed; including the URL where said material is located on the Web Site, or a description of where you found such material on our Web Site; 3. if your claim is based on a registered work, the registration number and date of issuance of the registration; 4. a statement that you believe, in good faith, that the use of the Material on our Web Site has not been authorized by the true owner of the work, its agent, or as a matter of law; and 5. a signed statement, made under penalty of perjury, that all of the information you have provided is true, and that you are the owner of the intellectual property or are authorized to act on behalf of the owner

12. General
The Company makes no claims the Materials are appropriate for any particular purpose or audience, or that they may be downloaded outside of the United States. Access to the Materials may not be legal by certain persons or in certain countries. The Company is not responsible for any damages, claims or injuries that may result from unlawful or inappropriate access to the materials. If you access the Web Site from outside of the United States, you do so at your own risk and are responsible for compliance with the laws of any appropriate jurisdiction.

All legal issues arising from or related to the use of the Web Site shall be construed in accordance with and determined by the laws of the state of the Company applicable to contracts entered into and performed within the state of the Company. By using this Web Site, you agree that the exclusive forum for any claims or causes of action arising out of your use of this Web Site is the court governing the county in which the Company is registered. You hereby irrevocably waive any objection that you may have to the venue of any such proceeding brought in such a court and any claim that any such proceeding brought in such a court has been brought in an inconvenient forum.

If any provision of the TOS is found to be invalid by any court having competent jurisdiction, or invalid under the laws of the governing jurisdiction, the invalidity of such provision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of the TOS, which shall remain in full force and effect. No waiver of any term of the TOS shall be deemed a further or continuing waiver of such term or any other term. Failure to enforce any provision of the TOS does not constitute a waiver for future enforcement of said TOS.

You agree that irrespective of any statute or law to the contrary, any claim or cause of action stemming from or connected to use of the Web Site or the TOS shall be filed within one year after such claim or cause of action arose, or be forever barred.Your browser may not support display of this image.

Search Our Free Directory
Please enter the title keyword:

Other articles

Understanding Tonality in Music

Understanding Tonality in Music

Tonality is also taken as a synonym for the related concept of 'Key' in music.

We all remember the solfège song, "Doe, a deer, a female deer. " from Sound of Music. With such ease, on singing that song, can one remember the basic syllables of the theory of music. Beyond learning the solfège, we also get to know the different pitches or the variations, like a 'higher' pitch and a 'lower' pitch.

What appeals to the ear is melody and harmony. Any random set of notes or keys put together may not sound good. Why do we enjoy music as a beautiful, aesthetic, or entertaining art form? Just like percussion is not identified without rhythm, similarly, a tune played on a piano or a violin would not exist without a structural relation between the different notes played in the tune. 'To be in tune' best implies the functional aspect of tonality.

Tonality in Music

Definition: Tonality is a principle by which pitches and chords are arranged around a central note or tonic. Tonic refers to the first note or degree of the diatonic scale (major or minor).

It is primarily a system of relationships between notes, chords, and keys, or sets of notes and chords. This characterized Western music between the 1600s and 1910. Tonality can also be simplified as the organizing of notes, chords, and keys around a centrally or focally important tone.

Tonality is also used to refer to the major and minor scale types. These are both diatonic scales, which are based on the standard use of five tones and two semitones. Melodies and chords are built using the notes of these two scales.

A common example of tonality can be the major tonality, where the tones 'do', 're', 'mi', 'fa', 'so', 'la', and 'ti' are used, with 'do' being the tonal center or home-note. The sense of tonality tells us whether a piece of music sounds right or not. In this case, if the music ends on the note 'do', it sounds correct or in tune. Or even the order in which the notes are used, like 'do-ti-do' sounds right, as they appear in the melody.

Tonic, in music, is the focus of any musical composition. It is like the most significant degree of the scale. Be it melody or harmony, the tonic or keynote shows the most influence, as that note is revisited a maximum number of times as compared to any other notes. From that stems the adjective of tonal, and thus, the noun tonality.

The relationship within every key is a kind of hierarchy; the notes and chords have strong and weak relationships with the keynote or tonic note and to the tonic chord (chord built on that tonic note). Other keys are differently related to the tonic key too.

Tonality is also known to be an attribute of classical music. For example, Indian classical music is known to be tonal. There are several similarities in Indian and Western music. However, tones in Indian music are expressed through melody (raagas), unlike through harmony (use of chords) in Western music.

Tonality in Baroque Music

Before the period of Renaissance, music was based on modality. However, it changed to be based on harmony, and was directed towards tonality during the Baroque period (between 1600 and 1750). Thus, this period has witnessed the creation of tonality. Baroque music expanded the use of musical ornamentation, developed new techniques of playing instruments, and made changes to musical notations. It was during this time that the genres of opera, cantata, sonata, oratorio, and concerto were developed.

Importance of Tonality in Music

With understanding the aspect of tonality, one can easily see how a given piece of music is a blend of the chosen notes and chords. It helps us read how different pitches are organized around one central note - the tonal center. It is a task to develop a sense of tonality. But once you acquire this perspective, it becomes much easier to be in tune while singing, also while playing an instrument. Being able to recognize the tonal center, or follow it once known, serves as a great asset while learning new styles of music, especially across cultures. What binds many early forms of music includes many features, tonality being one of them. Children listening to good music from an early age can easily develop the sense of tonality as they learn, recognize, and sing various tonal patterns.

The character of the tones or harmonies in music are also recognized due to tonality. It gives us a feel of the kind of music we are listening to. What makes us distinguish between different types of music―like happy-mood, sad or dark, cheerful, or emotional―is this tonality.

Tonal music - definition of Tonal music by The Free Dictionary


References in periodicals archive ?

This is, perhaps, unsurprising since--on the one hand--chromaticism in tonal music. be it concert music, film music, or what have you, has remained an enduring topic of inquiry for analysis since at least the days of the Florentine Camerata at the end of the 16th century.

The Tonal Tools book and teaching approach is described as "a source of inspiration and a toolkit for anyone who feels the genuine need for creative practice with tonal music from the very start and at any level of proficiency.

We must therefore acknowledge that tonal music has something like a syntax--a rule-guided process linking each episode to its neighbors, which we grasp in the act of hearing, and the absence of which leads to a sense of discomfort or incongruity.

Lerdahl has written two books, A Generative Theory of Tonal Music (with linguist Ray Jackendoff) and Tonal Pitch Space, both of which model musical listening from the perspective of cognitive science.

In Chapter 2, Nussbaum presents a modified version of the Lerdahl and Jackendoff generative theory of tonal music. according to which mental representations of music are hierarchically structured contents that have their own Chomskyan-style grammatical deep structure.

Please ask yourself: how much tonal music have I heard compared to atonal music?

In terms of sound his music is highly individual and immediately identifiable, comprehensible on a first listen because of its iterative quality, rich in bizarre sounds with great evocative power, and characterised by microtonal deformations of the conventionalised elements of tonal music (it is old, so let it scrape away nostalgically).

The dancers execute extreme changes of tempo, from quick and energetic leaps to slow, gliding footfalls set to the surprisingly tonal music of John Cage's ``Six Melodies for Violin and Keyboard.

Passionate about art, he is happy to make space for it in a busy workplace whose surprisingly laid-back atmosphere is enhanced by the most subliminal of tonal music .

Whereas tonal music is hierarchical, twelve-tone music is egalitarian: all the tones in the twelve-tone row must be given equal emphasis, "thus depriving one single tone of the privilege of supremacy.

But equally, it would be wrong and bigoted for high-brow academics to dismiss all melodic and tonal music as irrelevant.

Diamond's brand of tonal music appeals to audiences, and once when he was talking with Arnold Schoenberg and about 12-note music, he suggested that he study it with him, but Schoenberg told him he was the "new Bruckner" and didn't need it.

How to Write a Tone Analysis Essay

How to Write a Tone Analysis Essay

Tone refers to the attitude of a writer toward the subject he is writing about. A writer can convey his attitude directly, by stating his opinion, or indirectly, through his choice of vocabulary and stylistic elements. As an essay writer, your job consists of investigating the purpose or significance of the author's tone.

Every Text Contains an Emotion

Relationships, love, politics, a person, the past or life in general can all serve as subjects a writer could maintain an attitude or opinion toward, conveyed through diction, punctuation, sentence structure or other technical or poetic elements. Key to determining the tone of a text is discerning the writer's emotion, which could include humor, seriousness, sarcasm, cheerfulness, anger and much more, whether in fiction or nonfiction. Even a business brochure conveys a formal, professional tone of voice; sincerity, solemnity and frankness count as emotions too. A sales flier might present product prices enthusiastically, with hyperbolic expressions such as "Can't be beat" or "Hurry in before it's too late," followed by multiple exclamation marks.

Every Emotion Has a Reason

Once you've determined the writer's attitude or approach to the theme or subject matter, you must also establish its significance. In other words, you need to convince your reader why the tone of this text is important to the rest of the text, or what point the writer is trying to convey, whether deliberately or inadvertently, through the tone. For example, in the Victorian comedy novel "Cranford," the narrator speaks of the village of Cranford in both a humorous and affectionate tone, noting that the people of Cranford have their own little quirky beliefs and "isms" -- such as "sour-grapeism "-- but also endearingly describing Cranford as leaving people feeling "peaceful and satisfied." Humor, which exposes the silly, artificial customs of class that Cranford clings to, and affection, which sees the benefits of these customs, work together to ironically demonstrate how superficial societal rules can build genuine, loving community. This argument about how tone -- in this case, humor and affection -- functions in a novel constitutes a sound, debatable thesis.

Every Solid Thesis Requires Proof

To prove such a thesis, an essay writer needs to carefully comb through the novel "Cranford" to find examples where seemingly artificial customs actually demonstrate or produce community. Precise definitions of terms, such as "community" and "custom," help strengthen an essay's persuasiveness by adding clarity, hindering any objections a reader may have. Each example from the text that illustrates themes, such as custom and community, must also include a discussion of their relation to the dominant tone or tones of the text, in this case humor and affection. Readers should be able to maintain a continuous understanding of the connection between the role of tone (as declared in the thesis) and the specific evidence presented subsequently.

Every Essay Follows a Structure

As with a typical essay, the evidence for the thesis should follow in the body paragraphs of the essay. The standard number of major proofs, or premises, of an essay is three, and each usually requires one paragraph or more. The thesis about tone belongs in the introductory paragraph, and definitions about relevant terms or any introductory discussion of the importance or definition of tone belong here as well. In the case of an essay about "Cranford," some observations about the surprising findings regarding the positive outcomes of societal customs might effect an interesting conclusion.

Tonality in music definition essay


Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page .

Tonality is a system of writing music according to certain hierarchical pitch relationships around a key "center" or tonic. thus establishing tonality as relational at its core. The term tonalité was borrowed from Castil-Blaze (1821, François Henri Joseph Blaze ) by François-Joseph Fétis in 1840 (Reti, 1958; Judd, 1998; Dahlhaus). The term is often used synonymously with major -minor tonality; however, in more recent theory, the term is used more broadly to encompass a number of systems of musical organization.

Contents [edit ] Uses of the term

What is now known as tonality originated through centuries of musical practice, during which it was not known by any name, and was defined, and its features compiled, by theorists such as Heinrich Schenker in reaction to music which broke with tradition (nontonal music). Arising from sometimes disparate practices over a large area and period of time, tonality may thus be defined in various ways:

  • By history and geography: The music of a specific time period and location, such as that of the common practice period of European music from after the Renaissance to before Modernism. In this context it generally means major-minor tonality plus the use of additional scales such as the chromatic. pentatonic. and octatonic scales.
  • By characteristics: By extension, the above music and all other music which shares the characteristics of the above music (and does not display characteristics counter to those of the above music). These characteristics may include the use of the major scale or minor scale. their triadic chords and diatonic functions. and the compositional techniques, procedures, and materials used. This would include theories of tonality which focus on the thoroughbass rather than on chords, and alternate systems of tuning such as monotonic.
  • By nature: As music which corresponds to or uses the characteristics of sound, organization or order, and/or perception. Thus tonality is a practice correctly based on physical or psychological constants such as the overtone series or human perception. The most current viewpoint showing tonality arises from overtones can be found at and also in the 2004 book: "On the Origin of Music" by Bob Fink (Greenwich Publ. Canada). The theory is called the "trio theory," claiming that influence from the most audible overtones of the three most nearly universal intervals (found across time & cultures, namely, a tone's octave, 4th and 5th), when their overtones are placed within the range of that octave, will evolve into the most widespread of scales: Pentatonic, major & minor (depending how many of the audible overtones are so placed). The unequal audibile strengths of the overtones determine the role & power of each note in a scale (tonic, dominant or subdominant) -- i.e. tonality. Based on the hierarchical structure of the overtone series, a definition of tonality can be given. Music is called tonal "if the majority of its adjacent tones, whether simultaneous or consecutive, form single-rooted sets." (Gustin, 1969)
  • By contrast: Tonal music may simply be contrasted with atonal music, music which does not feel as if it has a center. More subtly, it may be contrasted with earlier modal music. though this is disputed at length by William Thomson (1990).

One may clarify between "the principle of tonality", "the requirement that all the events in a musical group should be co-ordinated by, and experienced in relation to, a central point of reference," and "tonality" as "the specific language of 'classical tonality' - the major-minor key system of the Classical and Romantic periods." (Samson 1977)

Functional tonality. or sometimes narrative tonality, is the use of chords and other features according to their functions or relationship with the tonic (so that they "go somewhere"). "Nonfunctional" tonality such as is the use of tonal characteristics in nontonal successions or without regard to their role (so that they "go nowhere"). Examples include the pandiatonicism of Aaron Copland or Steve Reich which often consists of tonal or tonal added tone chords (trouves or "finds" as Aaron Copland described some of his own nonfunctional tonality).

Extended tonality is "the incorporation of complex harmonic phenomena within a single tonal region, as in much of the music of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." (Samson 1977)

General tonality is the near-universal human behaviour of focus on a single pitch by use of tonal frames (Thomson 1999).

[edit ] Vocabulary of tonal analysis

Many of the terms and symbols necessary to analyze tonal organization follow below.

[edit ] Scales

Since the mid-18th century, tonal music has been increasingly composed of a 12-note chromatic scale in a system of equal temperament. Tonal music makes reference to "scales" of notes selected as a series of steps from the chromatic scale. Most of these scales are of 5, 6 or 7 notes with the vast majority of tonal music pitches conforming to one of four specific seven-note scales. major. natural minor. melodic minor. and harmonic minor.

A natural minor scale:

Other scales or modes are often introduced for variety within the context of a major-minor tonal system without disturbing the diatonic nature of the work. The major scale predominates and the melodic minor contains nine pitches (seven with two alterable). The seven basic notes of a scale are notated in the key signature. and whether the piece is in the major or minor key is either stated in the title or implied in the piece (there is a major and minor key for each key signature). While other scales and modes are used in tonal music, particularly after 1890, these two scales are the reference point for most tonal music and its vocabulary.

Tonal music composed in other scale systems is referred to as microtonal. and while microtonal music draws from tonal theory, it is generally treated separately in text books and other works on music. However, within the tonal system, notes "between" the chromatic system are used in various contexts, including quarter tones and various effects such as portamento or glissando. where the instrumentalist moves between established notes of the chromatic scale. These are usually thought of as being for "colour" rather than harmonic function, and do not disturb the fundamental scale being used.

Chords are built from notes on a scale or on chromatic notes, which are supposed to be heard as variations of the basic scale. The identity of the scale is important in that the scale's steps number the system of chord relationships. At any given time one scale is heard as the most important, and the chord, almost always the major or minor triad. is heard as the most forceful closure.

[edit ] Roman numerals

In notation. each note or degree of the scale is often designated by a Roman numeral, or, less commonly, solfege.

[edit ] Chords

These numerals also may indicate chords which are built upon the indicated degree. This degree is then known as the root of that chord. Thus "I" describes the tonic chord, the chord built on the tonic note, at a given time. These chords are generally all triads (having three notes, built from thirds, and having a diatonic function).

The degree of a scale is both the pitch (frequency) of that note and that pitch's diatonic function (role), which is why chords are named by scale degree. Thus the notes of a chord do not have to be sounded simultaneously. and one to two notes may function as, or imply, a three (or more) note chord. Thus a chord described as "V" is based on the fifth note of the prevailing tonic scale (V-VII-II). In C Major, that would be a triad based on G, and would be the G Major triad (G-B-D). To describe a chord progression, the Roman numerals of the chords are listed. Thus IV-V-I describes a chord progression of a chord based on the fourth note of a scale, then one based on the fifth note of the scale, and then one on the first note of the scale.

Chords are then further named according to their quality or makeup, determined by the scale notes which lie a third and fifth (two thirds) above the degree a chord is built upon. Capital Roman numerals refer to the major chord, and lower-case Roman numerals refer to the minor chord. Quality is generally not as important as the chord's root.

This means that in the traditional major scale, the ii, iii and vi are minor chords, where as I, IV, V are major. The chord on the seventh note is a diminished triad and is written vii with a degree sign. Numbers attached to a chord indicate additional notes, and one of the most important chords in tonal harmony is the V7 chord, which is a four note chord that includes the fourth note of the tonic scale. The "7" refers to a note seven diatonic steps up from the fundamental note of the chord, not the seventh note of the tonic scale.

[edit ] Inversion

A chord's root is determined by which note establishes the chord's relationship to the tonic and not which is in the bass, or the lowest played note. Thus chords are said to be "inverted" when this root note is not sounded as the lowest. For example in C Major C-E-G is the tonic chord. If C is not the lowest note played, it is said to be in "inversion ". The first inversion would be E-G-C, and the second inversion would be G-C-E. Since inverted chords are also chords in their own right, in context a chord is sometimes thought to be inverted only when voice leading implies it.

[edit ] Form

The traditional form of tonal music begins and ends on the tonic of the piece, and many tonal works move to a closely related key, such as the dominant of the main tonality (for example sonata form ). Establishing a tonality is traditionally accomplished through a cadence which is two chords in succession which give a feeling of completion or rest - the most common being V7-I cadence. Other cadences are considered to be less powerful. The cadences determines the form of a tonal piece of music, and the placement of cadences, their preparation and establishment as cadences, as opposed to simply chord progressions, is central to the theory and practice of tonal music.

[edit ] Harmony

Most tonality uses "functional harmony", which is a term used to describe music where changes in the predominate scale or additional notes to chords are explainable by their place in stabilizing or destabilizing a tonality. This is a complex way of saying that it is possible to explain why a particular note was included, and what that note means in relation to the tonic chord. Harmony with a large number of notes which do not have clear structural function is called "nonfunctional" harmony, which is not to imply "dysfunctional", but merely that the additional notes are not to be played or heard as restricting or advancing the harmonic progression.

[edit ] Consonance and dissonance

In the context of tonal organization a chord or a note is said to be "consonant" when it implies stability, and "dissonant" when it implies instability. This is not the same as the ordinary use of the words consonant and dissonant. A dissonant chord is in tension against the tonic, and implies that the music is distant from that tonic chord. "Resolution" is the process by which the harmonic progression moves from dissonant chords to consonant chords and follows counterpoint or voice leading. Voice leading is a description of the "horizontal" movement of the music, as opposed to chords which are considered the "vertical".

[edit ] Summary

To summarize, traditional tonal music is described in terms of a scale of notes. On the notes of that scale are built chords. Chords in order form a progression. Progressions establish or deny a particular chord as being the tonic chord. The cadence is held to be the sequence of chords which establishes one chord as being the tonic chord; more powerful cadences create a greater sense of closure and a stronger sense of key. Chords have a function when it can be explained how they lead the music towards or away from a particular tonic chord. When the sense of which tonic chord is changed, the music is said to have "changed key" or "modulated". Roman numerals and numbers are used to describe the relationship of a particular chord to the tonic chord.

The techniques of accomplishing this process, are the subject of tonal music theory and compositional practice.

[edit ] Characteristics

Carl Dahlhaus (1990) lists the characteristic schemata of tonal harmony, "typified in the compositional formulas of the 16th and early 17th centuries," as the "complete cadence" (vollstandige Kadenz), I-IV-V-I, I-IV-I-V-I, or even I-ii-V-I; the circle of fifths progression: I-IV-vii-iii-vi-ii-V-I, and the "major-minor parallelism", minor: v-i-VII-III = major: iii-vi-V-I or minor: III-VII-i-v = major: I-V-vi-iii.

David Cope (1997) considers key. consonance or relaxation and dissonance or tension, and hierarchical relationships to be the three most basic concepts in tonality.

[edit ] Theory of tonal music

Tonality allows for a great range of musical materials, structures, meanings, and understandings. It does this through establishing a tonic, or central chord based on a pitch which is the lowest degree of a scale, and a somewhat flexible network of relations between any pitch or chord and the tonic similar to perspective in painting. This is what is meant by tonality having a hierarchical relationship, one triad, the tonic triad, is the "center of gravity" to which other chords are supposed to lead. Changing which chord is felt to be the tonic triad is referred to as "modulation". As within a musical phrase, interest and tension may be created through the move from consonance to dissonance and back, a larger piece will also create interest by moving away from and back to the tonic and tension by destabilizing and re-establishing the key. Distantly related pitches and chords may be considered dissonant in and of themselves since their resolution to the tonic is implied. Further, temporary secondary tonal centers may be established by cadences or simply passed through in a process called modulation, or simultaneous tonal centers may be established through polytonality. Additionally, the structure of these features and processes may be linear, cyclical, or both. This allows for a huge variety of relations to be expressed through dissonance and consonance, distance or proximity to the tonic, the establishment of temporary or secondary tonal centers, and/or ambiguity as to tonal center. Music notation was created to accommodate tonality and facilitates interpretation.

The majority of tonal music assumes that notes spaced over several octaves are perceived the same way as if they were played in one octave or octave equivalency. Tonal music also assumes that scales have harmonic implication or diatonic functionality. This is generally held to imply that a note which has different places in a chord will be heard differently, and that therefore there is not enharmonic equivalency. In tonal music chords which are moved to different keys, or played with different root notes are not perceived as being the same, and thus transpositional equivalency and far less still inversional equivalency are not generally held to apply.

A successful tonal piece of music, or a successful performance of one, will give the listener a feeling that a particular chord — the tonic chord — is the most stable and final. It will then use musical materials to tell the musician and the listener how far the music is from that tonal center, most commonly, though not always, to heighten the sense of movement and drama as to how the music will resolve the tonic chord. The means for doing this are described by the rules of harmony and counterpoint, though some influential theorists prefer the term "thoroughbass" instead of harmony, the concept is the same. Counterpoint is the study of linear resolutions of music, while harmony encompasses the sequences of chords which form a chord progression.

Though modulation may occur instantaneously without indication or preparation, the least ambiguous way to establish a new tonal center is through a cadence. a succession of two or more chords which ends a section and/or gives a feeling of closure or finality, or series of cadences. Traditionally cadences act both harmonically to establish tonal centers and formally to articulate the end of sections, just as the tonic triad is harmonically central, a dominant-tonic cadence will be structurally central. The more powerful the cadence, the larger the section of music it can close. The strongest cadence is the perfect authentic cadence, which moves from the dominant to the tonic, most strongly establishes tonal center, and ends the most important sections of tonal pieces, including the final section. This is the basis of the "dominant-tonic" or "tonic-dominant" relationship. Common practice placed a great deal of emphasis on the correct use of cadences to structure music, and cadences were placed precisely to define the sections of a work. However, such strict use of cadences gradually gave way to more complex procedures where whole families of chords were used to imply particular distance from the tonal center. Composers, beginning in the late 18th Century began using chords (such as the Neapolitan, French or Italian Sixth) which temporarily suspended a sense of key, and by freely changing between the major and minor voicing for the tonic chord, thereby making the listener unsure whether the music was major or minor. There was also a gradual increase in the use of notes which were not part of the basic 7 notes, called chromaticism. culminating in post-Wagnerian music such as that by Mahler and Strauss and trends such as impressionism and dodecaphony.

One area of disagreement, going back to the origin of the term tonality, is whether, and to what degree, tonality is "natural" or inherent in music, and whether, and to what degree, it is constructed by the composer, performer and listener. The arguments involved are too complex to summarize, and it is difficult to draw clear lines. There is also a disagreement as to how "natural" the practice of Western tonal harmony is versus other forms of harmony, and what grounds would prove or disprove this hypothesis. See Musical acoustics. Since these arguments are often centered around what kind of music should be performed and taught, they often assume a vehemence or dogmatism which goes beyond the nominal issue of hearing and perception.

A current viewpoint among many laypersons and scholars indicates tonal scales and tonality arise from natural overtones. Most of the archaeological evidence regarding this has been found only in the last several decades, and most of it, if not all, supports many earlier claims of the universal or "natural" evolution of the scales most widely found in human music. The evidence for this now includes the recent "Neanderthal Flute," 50,000 years old; The world's oldest known song (Assyrian cuneiform artefacts) 4,000 years old; and the recent find of many 9,000 year-old flutes in China, one of them fully still playable with 8 notes, including the octave. The links below discuss these archaeological finds. The finds, by independent archaeologists, reveal similarlities to present day widespread musical scales. The diatonic scale can no longer be considered just a "Western" phenomenon.

[edit ] History of the term

Theories of tonal music are generally dated from Jean-Philippe Rameau 's Treatise on Harmony (1722), where he describes music written through chord progressions, cadences and structure. He claims that his work represents "the practice of the last 40 years [1682-1722]", however, this is probably not the case. Rameau's work, initially controversial, was adopted by Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg (1718-1795) in his explanation of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The vocabulary of describing notes in relationship to the tonic note, and the use of harmonic progressions and cadences becomes absorbed into the practice of Bach. Essential to this version of tonal theory are the chorales harmonizations of Bach, and the method by which a church melody is given a four part harmony by assigning cadences, and then creating a "natural", meaning in this case the most direct, thoroughbass and then filling in the middle voices.

In 1821 Castil-Blaze used tonalité for what he called cordes tonales (today primary triads ), the tonic, fourth (subdominant), and fifth (dominant). All other chords were cordes melodiques. Hugo Riemann (n.d.) defined tonality as, "the special meaning [functions] that chords receive through their relationship to a fundamental sonority, the tonic triad."

Fétis (1844) defined tonality, specifically tonalité moderne as the, "set of relationships, simultaneous or successive, among the tones of the scale," allowing for other types de tonalités among different cultures. Further he considered tonalité moderne as "trans-tonic order" and tonalité ancienne "uni-tonic order", trans-tonic meaning simply that the dominant seventh both establishes the key and allows for modulation to other keys. He described his earliest example of tonalité moderne. "In the passage quoted here from Monteverdi's madrigal [Cruda amarilli. mm.9-19 and 24-30], one sees a tonality determined by the accord parfait [root position major chord] on the tonic, by the sixth chord assigned to the third and seventh degrees, by the optional choice of the accord parfait or the sixth chord on the sixth degree, and finally, by the accord parfait and, above all, by the unprepared seventh chord (with major third) on the dominant." (p.171)

Fétis believed that tonality, tonalite moderne. was entirely cultural, "For the elements of music, nature provides nothing but a multitude of tones differing in pitch, duration, and intensity by the greater or least degree. The conception of the relationships that exist among them is awakened in the intellect, and, by the action of sensitivity on the one hand, and will on the other, the mind coordinates the tones into different series, each of which corresponds to a particular class of emotions, sentiments, and ideas. Hence these series become various types of tonalities." (p.11f) "But one will say, 'What is the principle behind these scales, and what, if not acoustic phenomena and the laws of mathematics, has set the order of their tones?' I respond that this principle is purely metaphysical [anthropological]. We conceive this order and the melodic and harmonic phenomena that spring from it out of our conformation and education." (p.249) In contrast, Hugo Riemann believed tonality, "affinites between tones" or tonverwandtshaften. was entirely natural and, following Moritz Hauptmann (1853), that the major third and perfect fifth where the only "directly intelligible" intervals, and that I, IV, and V, the tonic, subdominant, and dominant where related by the perfect fifths between their roots. (Dahlhaus 1990, p.101-2)

By the 1840s the practice of harmony had expanded to include more chromatic notes, a wider chord vocabulary, particularly the more frequent used of the diminished seventh chord - a four note chord of all minor triads which could lead to any other chord. It is in this era that the word "tonality" becomes more commonly used. At the same time the elaboration of both the fugue and the sonata form in terms of key relationships becomes more rigorous, and the study of harmonic progressions, voice leading and ambiguity of key becomes more precise.

Theorists such as Edward Lowinsky. Hugo Riemann, and others pushed the date at which modern tonality began, and the cadence began to be seen as the definitive way that a tonality is established in a work of music (Judd, 1998).

In response Bernhard Meier instead used a "tonality" and "modality", modern vs ancient, dichotomy, with Renaissance music being modal. The term modality has been criticized by Harold Powers. among others. However, it is widely used to describe music whose harmonic function centers on notes rather than on chords, including some of the music of Bartók. Stravinsky. Vaughan Williams. Charles Ives and composers of minimalist music. This and other modal music is, broadly, often considered tonal.

In the early 20th century the vocabulary of tonal theory is decisively influenced by two theorists: composer Arnold Schoenberg whose Harmonielehre (Theory of Harmony) describes in detail chords, chord progressions, vagrant chords, creation of tonal areas, voice leading in terms of harmony. To Schoenberg, every note has "structural function" to assert or deny a tonality, based on its tendency to establish or undermine a single tonic triad as central. At the same time Heinrich Schenker was evolving a theory based on expansion of horizontal relationships. To Schenker the background of every successful tonal piece is based on a simple cadence, which is then elaborated and elongated in the middleground and the background. Though adherents of the two theorists argued back and forth, in the mid-century a synthesis of their ideas was widely taught as "tonal theory", most particularly Schenker's use of graphical analysis, and Schoenberg's emphasis on tonal distance.

The practice of jazz developed its own theory of tonality, stating that while the cadence is not central to establishing a tonality—the presence of the I and V chords and either the IV or ii chord in progression is. This theory emphasized the play of modal elements against tonal elements, in an effort to allow improvisation, and inflection of standard melodies. Among theorists influenced by this view are Meier, Schillinger and the be-bop school of Jazz.

While many regard the works of Schoenberg post 1911 as "atonal", see atonality. one influential school of thought, to which Schoenberg himself belonged, argued that chromatic composition led to a "new tonality", this view is argued by George Perle in his works on "post diatonic tonality". [verification needed ] The central idea of this theory is that music is always perceived as having a center, and even in a fully chromatic work, composers establish and disintegrate centers in a manner analogous to traditional harmony. This view is highly controversial, and remains a topic of intense debate.

However, tonality may be considered generally with no restrictions as to the date or place at which the music was produced, or (very little) restriction as to the materials and methods used. This definition includes much non-western music and western music before 17th century. In fact, many people, including Anton Webern. [verification needed ] consider all music to be tonal in that music is always perceived as having a center. Centric is sometimes used to describe music which is not traditionally tonal but which nevertheless has a relatively strong tonal center. Other terms which have been used in an attempt to clarify are tonical and tonicality. as in "possessing a tonic," and Igor Stravinsky used the term polar. [verification needed ] See: pitch center.

In the early 20th century, the definition of tonality which was held to have prevailed since the 1600s was felt to reach a crisis or break down point. The belief was that tonality had "snapped" because of expansion of vocabulary, decreased functionality, increased use of leading tones. alterations. modulations. tonicization. the increased importance of subsidiary key areas, use of non-diatonic hierarchical methods, and/or symmetry in interval cycles. This "crisis" led to a series of responses, many of which were considered irreconcilable with tonal theory or tonality at all. At the same time, other composers and theorists maintained that tonality had been stretched but not broken. This led to more technical vocabularies to describe tonality, including pitch classes, pitch sets, graphical analysis, and describing works in terms, not of their notes, but of their dominant intervals.

While tonality is the most common form of organizing Western Music. it is not universal, nor is the seven note scale universal, much folk music and the art music of many cultures focus on a pentatonic, or five note scale, including Beijing Opera, the folk music of Hungary, and the musical traditions of Japan. (But see another perspective on this: The 7-Note Solution -- Why so many 5 and 7 scales are consistently unearthed from the ancient world). Pre-classical concert music was largely modal. as is much folk and some popular music. In the early 20th century many techniques were developed and applied to tonal music, such as non-tertian secundal or quartal music. Some, such as Benjamin Boretz. [verification needed ] consider tonal theory a specific part of atonal theory or musical set theory. which is in turn part of a more general theory of music. Many composers such as Darius Milhaud and Philip Glass have been interested in bitonality. While at one point in the middle of the 20th century classical composers interested in the twelve tone technique and serialism declared tonality dead, many composers have since returned to tonality, including many minimalists and older composers such as George Rochberg. Other composers never abandoned tonality entirely such as Lou Harrison who says he has "always composed both modally and chromatically" (Harrison, 1992). Much music today that is described as tonal is nonfunctional tonality such as in that of Claude Debussy, Steve Reich, Aaron Copland and many others.

[edit ] Effect of tonality

Rudolph Réti differentiates between harmonic tonality, of the traditional homophonic kind, and melodic tonality, as in monophonic. He argues that in the progression I-x-V-I (and all progressions), V-I is the only step "which as such produces the effect of tonality," and that all other chord successions, diatonic or not, though being closer or farther from the tonic-dominant, are "the composer's free invention." He describes melodic tonality as being "entirely different from the classical type," wherein, "the whole line is to be understood as a musical unit mainly through its relationship to this basic note [the tonic] ," this note not always being the tonic that would be interpreted according to harmonic tonality. His examples are ancient Jewish and Gregorian chant and other Eastern music, and he points out how these melodies often may be interrupted at any point and returned to the tonic, yet harmonically tonal melodies, such as that from Mozart's The Magic Flute below, are actually "strict harmonic-rhythmic pattern[s]," and include many points "from which it is impossible, that is, illogical, unless we want to destroy the innermost sense of the whole line." (Reti, 1958)

x = return to tonic near inevitable circled x = possible but not inevitable circle = impossible (Reti, 1958)

Audio example Which may be compared with Media:MOZART1.mp3 in which the melody returns to the tonic after the first circle, and Media:MOZART2.mp3 which returns after the second.

Consequently, he argues, melodically tonal melodies resist harmonization and only reemerge in western music after, "harmonic tonality was abandoned," as in the music of Claude Debussy. "melodic tonality plus modulation is [Debussy's] modern tonality." (page 23)

[edit ] External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

[edit ] References
  • Beswick, Delbert M. The Problem of Tonality in Seventeenth Century Music. p.1-29. ASIN B0006RD33I.
  • Perle, George (1978, reprint 1992). Twelve-Tone Tonality. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-20142-6.
  • Schenker, Heinrich. 1954. Harmony. edited and annotated by Oswald Jonas, translated by Elisabeth Mann Borgese. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Translation of Neue musikalische Theorien und Phantasien. 1. Bd. Harmonielehre. (Reprinted Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press, 1973, ISBN 0-262-69044-6 )
  • Schenker, Heinrich. 1987. Counterpoint. translated by John Rothgeb and Jürgen Thym; edited by John Rothgeb. 2 vols. New York: Schirmer Books; London: Collier Macmillan. Translation of Neue musikalische Theorien und Phantasien. 2. Bd. Kontrapunkt. ISBN 0-028-73220-0
  • Schenker, Heinrich. 1979. Free composition. translated and edited by Ernst Oster. New York: Longman, 1979. Translation of Neue musikalische Theorien und Phantasien. 3. Bd. Der freie Satz. ISBN 0-582-28073-7
  • Schoenberg, Arnold. 1978. Theory of Harmony. translated by Roy E. Carter. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03464-3. Reprint ed. 1983, ISBN 0-520-04945-4. Pbk ed. 1983, ISBN 0-520-04944-6.

Jim Samson (1977) suggests the following discussions of tonality as defined by Fétis, Helmhotz, Riemann, D'Indy, Adler, Yasser, and others:

[edit ] Sources
  • Cope, David (1997). Techniques of the Contemporary Composer. p.12. New York, New York: Schirmer Books. ISBN 0-02-864737-8.
  • Dahlhaus, Carl. Gjerdingen, Robert O. trans. (1990). Studies in the Origin of Harmonic Tonality. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-09135-8.
    • Castile-Blaze, (1821). Dictionnaire de musique moderne. Paris: Au magazin de musique de la Lyre moderne.
    • Fétis, Joseph (1722). Traité complet de la théorie et de la pratique de l'harmonie contenant la doctrine de la science et de l'art. 2d ed. p.166. Brussels and Paris.
    • Hauptmann, Moritz (1853). Die Natur der Harmonik und der Metrik. p.21. Leipzig.
    • Rameau, Jean-Philippe (1737). Génération harmonique, ou Traité de musique théorique et pratique. Paris.
    • Riemann, Hugo; cited in Gurlitt, W. (1950). "Hugo Riemann (1849-1919)".
  • Fink, Bob On the Origin of Music -- Essays & Readings ISBN 0912424141.
    • The Natural Forces Bringing the "Do, Re, Mi, Scale" Into Existence from On the Origin of Music ISBN 0912424141 by Robert Fink
    • Role of the drone in the evolution of harmony and tonality from On the Origin of Music ISBN 0912424141 by Robert Fink
  • Gustin, Molly (1969). Tonality. Philosophical Library, LCC#68-18735. ASIN B0006BUXNC.
  • Harrison, Lou (1992). Entune. Contemporary Music Review 6 (2), 9-10
  • Judd, Cristle Collins (1998). "Introduction:Analyzing Early Music", Tonal Structures of Early Music (ed. Judd). New York: Garland Publishing. ISBN 0-8153-2388-3.
  • Rameau Phillipe (1722). Treatise on Harmony.
  • Reti, Rudolph (1958). Tonality, Atonality, Pantonality: A study of some trends in twentieth century music. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-20478-0.
  • Samson, Jim (1977). Music in Transition: A Study of Tonal Expansion and Atonality, 1900-1920. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-02193-9.
  • Thomson, William (1999). Tonality in music: a general theory. Everett Books. ISBN 0-940459-19-1 .cs:Tonalita