TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
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Introduction to tonality More about the TonalityGUIDE analysis tool kit Clefs, note labels, intervals and transposition
chord identification understanding voice-leading style awareness

The ToolKIT, which is accessible from all pages of the site, outlines the three main analytical skills that aims to develop. It also links to a short introduction to the study of tonality as well as a reminder of some basics (note and interval labels, clefs and transpositions).

About the Tonal Analysis ToolKIT

There is a link to the ToolKIT on every page, ensuring that you can take any route through the material on this site whilst having constant access to the basic terms and concepts of tonal music. There are also extensive links to the DefinitionBANK, so you can get to grips with new material easily without having to wade through information with which you are already familiar. In addition, there is a link from the ToolKIT to the Introduction to Tonality, which it is advisable to read before browsing the rest of the site.

The ToolKIT fulfils two functions:

  • It provides a reference point. If you need to know what a chord label means or you have forgotten exactly what voice-leading is all about you can quickly find out.
  • It helps bind together the material on the rest of the site, explaining the rationale behind The three elements of the ToolKIT complement each other in an approach to understanding tonality from the outside (analysis) and the inside (style composition).

The main theory section explores tonal music starting from the detail of individual chords and works slowly towards building up an understanding of chord progressions, longer phrases and finally whole pieces. The tool kit reinforces the basic analytical considerations for this exploration of tonality: harmony, voice-leading and style.

Chord Identification
Chord Identification or harmonic analysis concerns the vertical units of tonal music. This component of the tool kit clarifies how chords are labelled, using a fairly standard combination of Roman numerals and figured bass. There is also a guide to identifying basic triads and their inversions. Chords and their functions are discussed in detail in the main part of the site.

Understanding Voice-leading
Voice-leading concerns the horizontal units of tonal music. Tonal music is not just a succession of chords - there are characteristic ways in which the individual voices in chords lead from one to the other. This component of the tool kit provides a basic introduction to voice-leading so that some knowledge of it can be presumed in the main body of the site.

Style Awareness
This component of the tool kit is slightly different to the other two in that it provides orientation more than reference. Style is something you need to keep in mind as you learn about how the tonal system works and this helps remind you how style impacts upon the concepts introduced in the rest of the site.

The following table always links to these pages:

The Tonality GUIDE tonal music analysis tool kit
information and orientation as you browse around
chord identification
understanding voice-leading
style awareness

© Copyright Thomas Pankhurst

TonalityGUIDE - Tonal Harmony and Voiceleading - Table of Contents