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).

Style Awareness
Introduction Case Study One Case Study Two

Style manifests itself in characteristic usages of form, texture, harmony, melody, rhythm and ethos; and it is presented by creative personalities, conditioned by historical, social and geographical factors, performing resources and conventions - 'Style' in Sadie, S. (Ed.). (2001). The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition London: Macmillan

A proper discussion of style is beyond the scope of a web site on the basics of tonality, as the breadth of the definition above indicates. Stylistic awareness is the most ambitious skill in the tool kit, and the emphasis is on developing a good sense of the necessity of some stylistic context for the exploration of tonal language. The mere presence of tonal or non-tonal chords or scales can tell us much about the style of a given piece of music. An extract written in one of the church modes, for example, might have been written some time before 1600, or alternatively it might be more recent and deliberately hark back to an archaic language. In the same way, the use of a tonal idiom has a different meaning for Arvo Part than for J. S. Bach. does not much concern itself with these 'big picture' issues, concentrating on how an awareness of style can improve your understanding of (and ability to reproduce) tonal writing characteristic of various composers. Style is not just about an era or even a composer, there might be harmony or voice-leading that the same composer would use in an instrumental piece but avoid in choral writing, for example.

Just as you need to bring your chord identification and voice-leading skills to the material in the main part of the site, an awareness of style must inform (and be informed by) your understanding of tonality. The next page looks in detail at a particular aspect of voice-leading with regards to style, and wherever a harmonic or voice-leading feature is introduced, some mention is made of the stylistic context.

More about style can be found in the second semester musical techniques tutorials for my Liverpool Hope students.

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