Questions tagged [tonal]

For questions related to music with a tonal center.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
28
votes
6answers
5k views

How to create Chord progressions that make sense

I've been reading over Walter Piston's Harmony book, and it has been an eye-opener to say the least. I understand concepts like tension and release, voice leading and so forth, but I still don't ...
15
votes
6answers
7k views

Theoretical Question about "Smoke On The Water"

This popular riff is often one of the first an aspiring guitarist learns, as it is easy to play and distinctive. But when I am trying to understand it in terms of music theory, it makes me wonder. ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

How to make C lydian not sound like G ionian?

What are some concrete melodic and harmonic tools to establish the correct tonic center in a lydian melody? The reason for asking about lydian specifically is that there is no minor seventh for the ...
12
votes
2answers
518 views

Why Orlando Gibbons is considered "the end of modality, the beginning of tonality"?

According to Glenn Gould (minute 28:20), Orlando Gibbons represents the end of modality, the beginning of tonality Can anyone deepen the meaning of this? Could you please point to a specific ...
12
votes
5answers
773 views

What are the benefits of determining form before composing?

I've heard time and time again of composers who say "It is better [for beginners] to know your form, and have a general idea of important chord progressions before you begin thinking seriously about ...
12
votes
1answer
404 views

What are the significant schools of 20th century music theory?

I'm reading the following paper, Lerdahl, F. (1988). Tonal pitch space. Music Perception, 315-349. I'm interested in comparing what is written here with other equivalent theories. Some of these ...
9
votes
2answers
841 views

Why is the hexatonic scale that can be derived via a chain of perfect fifths so little-known?

When learning about European classical music, it's heptatonic scales. The pentatonic scale is also very well known and widely used in folk music in different parts of the world. However, before I ...
8
votes
5answers
234 views

How to argue that it might be a good idea for a composition to follow music theory more closely? [closed]

So I'm a cabaret composer and have been studying music for quite some time. I have a band including myself, an accordionist, and a guitarist. I've been writing progressions and parts for everyone, ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

General procedure for determining the name of an interval given a major key / diatonic collection [duplicate]

I'm attempting to program a library that lets one make use of concepts from Peter Westergaard's tonal theory. The current problem I'm trying to solve is to determine the specific name of an interval ...
7
votes
1answer
904 views

What is a tonal plan?

What is a tonal plan? As I understand it, it's a set of notes around which the melody is formed. Or does it mean changes of tonality?
7
votes
4answers
164 views

Names of different definitions of key

If we read the Wikipedia page for musical key, or the question about the Definition of minor key, we might notice conflicting views regarding the definition of "key". On one hand, we have a ...
6
votes
6answers
890 views

How does the tonic establish itself in a melody?

Whenever I hear an explanation about what the tonic or root note is, it’s about how it creates some kind of gravitational pull in the music. How does it do that exactly? How does our brain piece ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

Tonal harmony: 18th century counterpoint vs. Accessible contemporary harmony and composition

I have a fair amount of knowledge when it comes to "rules" regarding music of the bygone days of the traditional prelude & fugue, the motet, and four voice harmony of the Baroque era. Specifically,...
5
votes
3answers
457 views

Why did the natural major scale and the minor scales come to dominate common practice music? [duplicate]

I suspect that it might have something to do with tonality and functional harmony. A diminished or augmented tonic chord, due to dissonance, would be less satisfying and conclusive as the final chord ...
5
votes
2answers
482 views

Under what circumstances, if any, would we hear enharmomics of the perfect fourth or fifth (e.g. augmented third) in a tonal composition?

The question says it all. I'm assuming 12-tone equal temperament. To give a more familiar example, we hear a minor third and an augmented second differently, for one is a consonance and the other is a ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

The sudden switch from C major to C minor in Wake me up when September ends and a Solo Acoustic version

I tried to learn Wake me up when September Ends as arranged for Solo guitar by Ulli Bögershausen, and played by Sungha Jung. When I looked up the tabs, I found two different version for a distinctive ...
5
votes
3answers
342 views

What is tonality when you're not playing with a diatonic scale?

Is there any definition of tonality which generalizes beyond a diatonic scale? For instance, can you have resolution from a dominant to a tonic if you're only using a pentatonic scale? Clearly you ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

"Tonal Tones" and "Modal Tones" - what do they mean?

Robert Rawlins in his Jazzology: The Encyclopedia of Jazz Theory for All Musicians shows this chart, in his discussion about the modes of the major scale: Rawlins doesn't seem to offer a clear ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between tonality and key in music?

I've heard that tonality and key are not the same thing and I was wondering what the differences are? Would love it if somebody could clarify these terms, thanks!
5
votes
1answer
133 views

What are the newest innovations in generative theories of music?

I was just reading "A generative theory of tonal music" by Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff, and my impression was that it is a monumental work. However, I haven't found much that has been done by ...
4
votes
2answers
220 views

Break from conventionality in Mahler Symphony no. 1

In the Wikipedia article for Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1, in describing its structure, a paragraph ends with The usage of F minor for the last movement was a dramatic break from conventional ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How are keys in the circle of fifths related?

I know this seems like a basic question, and in the traditional sense, I actually know how they are related. Though, while reading a book titled 'Harmony for Computer Musicians', I've come across a ...
4
votes
2answers
964 views

Is I-V-vi-IV not tonal compared to passamezzo moderno/antico?

I'm asking this using tonal in the sense it was described in a highly voted best answer I found with search on topic of tonal vs modal. I interpret what is said in it that tonality implies common ...
4
votes
2answers
51 views

Is there a "rhythmic/groove center", just like there is a "tonal center"?

In tonal harmony, we found that listeners often have a clear senes of tonal center and want to go back to it. Does the same exist for rhythm? Can a composer mess around with rhythm (going off standard ...
3
votes
2answers
579 views

Do non-tonic ear training exercises hurt music students?

I've always had a problem with some of the songs that are used to remember what an interval sounds like. Particularly, the ones whose melodies don't start on the tonic. For example, Here Comes The ...
3
votes
2answers
424 views

Does everybody perceive the same tonic?

Lets say I play a big chromatic chord (Like a tone cluster) - After hearing that chord, I have a tonic (Fact). My question is - will everybody get the same tonic? If there are multiple tonal centers ...
3
votes
1answer
277 views

Transposition to kalimba

I have this instrument called a kalimba or mbira, it has 7 tines. Notes from left to right are: e', g, d''', e, c', a, a' but from low pitch to hight it seems to be arranged in this form: E G A C D E ...
3
votes
1answer
195 views

What does it mean for a mode to be "tonally effective"?

The web site http://www.tonalcentre.org states that there are only two "tonally effective" modes of the diatonic scale (viz., the Ionian and Aeolian modes) [http://www.tonalcentre.org/Scales.html] and ...
3
votes
2answers
123 views

Are there two leading tones?

I always took the leading tone to be the 7th degree (the "subtonic") scale degree. According to author David Neumeyer (The Music of Paul Hindemith), there is another? See the following ...
3
votes
4answers
151 views

Why do you think many people are drawn to a tonal center?

so im trying to answer this question for my music teacher and i'm trying to do research of it, but she hasn't been very specific with the question...any help?
3
votes
1answer
224 views

Two modes simultaneously?

In Yes' "Close to the Edge" (the song), there's a fast keyboard riff towards the end with the rest of the band playing accompaniment. But what I find odd is how keyboardist Rick Wakeman persistently ...
3
votes
4answers
175 views

What does it mean for a scale to be "complete in terms of tonality"?

The Wikipedia page for "Pentatonic scale" contains the following quote (here's a link). Anhemitonic pentatonic scales can be constructed in many ways. The major pentatonic scale may be thought of ...
2
votes
4answers
246 views

When can we say a given scale has a tonal center?

I have started studying music theory recently and I stumbled upon the concept of scales. The way I understand it (please correct me if I am wrong): It can be difficult sometimes to create a good ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What counts as tonal music?

This question was sparked by comments in Sources of harmonic ambiguity in tonal music: By the user lightning: EDIT: I would consider anything which is based on a pitch-class hierarchy to be tonal, ...
2
votes
3answers
264 views

In C-major when hearing a b "resolve" to an f and not a c when singing the b

Currently I am doing some ear training, using a program that first plays a cadence, and then you have to identify a tone up to octave equivalence. Most often when I hear the leading-tone, I anticipate ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How do you construct a musical motive?

I was wondering if I could get a second opinion on methods for constructing a musical motive. I have been creating melodies for quite some time, mainly without taking harmonic progression into ...
2
votes
2answers
707 views

"Romantic Harmony" example; Why does it work?

I was reading some of Ted Greene's work and came across this PDF http://www.tedgreene.com/images/lessons/chords/RomanticHarmony.pdf In it, he goes from a vi6 chord (this 6 doesn't mean first ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What makes a chord have predominant function?

I saw someone make the vague claim that in Debussy you can often identify passages with predominant function, even if they don't represent chords that are typically considered predominant chords. I ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

In which key are cadence of major chords: G D F C?

I like a lot Pink Floyd's "Fat Old Sun" song from Atom Hearth Mother album. Its end is constructed around a quite usual cadence of major chords: "G, D, F, C". I wonder if this cadence is on the key of ...
2
votes
1answer
224 views

Help understanding tendency tones

What should I be listening for when trying to understand tendency tones? From what I understand, unstable tones ‘resolve’ into a specific stable tone, but I’m having trouble hearing these resolutions ...
2
votes
3answers
98 views

Does tonality require consonance?

It seems like tonality and consonance go hand in hand, but I’m still unsure if consonance is necessary to establish a tonal center, or if consonance is just the preferred sound against a tonal center. ...
2
votes
3answers
436 views

Under what circumstances can a V be followed by a vi6?

My music theory textbook says: A good rule to remember is that V in root position should not be followed by vi6...The V-vi sounds fine—a good example of a deceptive progression—but the ...
2
votes
2answers
207 views

Is there such a thing as a stable or unstable tone in scales?

I'm writing a song in 4/4 in A major, and my melody ends first on the 7th degree leading tone (G#) and then the second time on the 6th degree (F#). These are supposed to be unstable tones, yet if I ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

Tonal hierarchy in non-diatonic music

There are two motivations for this question: I'm trying to distill the essence of what tonality in common-practice music really means, and I'd like as a compositional resource to port some aspects of ...
2
votes
0answers
395 views

analysis of The Man Who Sold the World [closed]

So because I looked at the sheet music I assume the home key is either F or D minor. I understand the basics of using Roman numerals I'm just not sure if D minor should be i or F should be I. It seems ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

Tonal Serialism

Do any of you know of any examples of tonal serialism? That is, pieces that sound tonal, appear at first glance to be tonal, yet obey the rules of 12-tone serial composition as laid down by the ...
1
vote
2answers
77 views

What characteristics of a piece contribute to defining its tonal centre?

I have been wondering since a long time that what exactly in a piece defines the scale and the tonal center. Even if we are given a chord progression that is followed through the entirety of the song, ...
1
vote
2answers
171 views

Looking for some harmonic justification of chord progression: F G Bbm --> F?

I have found this pretty melancholic cadence ( F-G-Bbm--> F) in many songs. For example in the beautiful Alan Parsons's "Since the last Goodbye", (in the form Db-Eb-Gbm--> Db). In this song the ...
1
vote
2answers
203 views

Melodic Criticism - Exercise 3.16G, Laitz The Complete Musician 2nd Edition

The question asks to find the weaknesses or problems (based on the general guidelines for melody writing presented in the preceding section) in the following melodic contour (tunes without rhythm or ...
0
votes
2answers
98 views

How does tonality work with chords?

By tonality, I don't necessarily mean 'tonal music' but rather the actual functionality of tonality in music. If you were to play a chord progression with no melody notes, is a tonal center ...