TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
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Bass Lines
introduction ascending lines descending lines

One of the simplest types of tonal phrase begins on the tonic and ends with a perfect cadence in the tonic. It is obvious that all such phrases follow the same pattern:
I - (series of chords) - V - I

We tend to think of music - particularly the Bach chorales used in teaching - as a melody accompanied by a series of chords. The aim of this tutorial is to offer a complementary way of looking at musical phrases in terms of their bass line. This will be helpful both when you are asked to analyse and write tonal phrases.

The short phrase below follows the pattern referred to above - it starts on the tonic and ends with a perfect cadence in the tonic. From an analytical point of view, how does the music fill in this basic framework in terms of its bassline? From a practical one, what can you learn from this phrase that you can apply when writing your own?


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chord identification
understanding voice-leading
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© Copyright Thomas Pankhurst

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