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).

Understanding Voice-leading
introduction general characteristics interval succession resolution of tension embellishing progressions

introduction | parallel fifths | parallel octaves | similar motion

Parallel Octaves and Doubling
Parallel octaves are also avoided in both Palestrina and Bach's choral writing. A common feature of many instrumental styles, however, for voices to be doubled at the octave. The following two examples demonstrates the difference between doubling and parallel octaves.

The first example is from Mozart's famous G minor symphony. The top part is doubled at the octave in the flute and oboe from the second bar onwards, with the upper octave adding colour to the texture.

In the second example, the Mozart is rewritten so that the top part, instead of being doubled, is in parallel octaves with the bass (highlighted in red). This is not a feature usually found in Mozart's style. Whereas the doubling in the first example is decorating underlying voice-leading that does not involve octaves, the octaves in the re-written version are between the soprano and bass parts. As in a chorale, they stand out from the texture, and this is an effect that later composer's exploit (for example Prokoviev or Stravinsky). More on voice-leading in relation to style can be found in the style section of tool kit and in the main body of the site.

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