TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
  Startcentre  |  Reference Guide  

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

Composers avoided parallel fifths and octaves because these intervals stand out in such chord progressions. The same effect is created by progressions that move towards fifths or octaves in similar motion. As with parallel progressions, this is simply a matter of taste. There is nothing wrong with similar motion of this sort other than that the aesthetic of their times lead composers such as Palestrina, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven to avoid the sonority created most of the time.

A similar effect to the parallel fifths in the tenor and bass voices in the first example is created by the voice-leading in the second, in which the two voices move towards a fifth in similar motion. The third example follows the same basic chord progression with neither parallel fifths nor similar motion towards a fifth. The difference between these should be clearly audible - the fifth sonorities do not stand out in the final example.

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