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

There are four main types of motion that are possible between two voices as summarised in the table below. In most tonal styles, any succession of intervals can appear in oblique or contrary motion but there is only rarely parallel or similar motion to a perfect intervals - i.e. perfect fifths, fourths and octaves.

Much tonal music seems to follow - at least in outline - the rules and guidelines set out in species counterpoint, a method which dominated the teaching of composition for several centuries. Particularly important is the treatment of dissonant intervals, discussed on the resolution of tension page.

Parallel - the two voices move in the same direction by the same interval

Similar - the two voices move in the same direction but by different intervals

Oblique - one voice stays stationary while the other moves

Contrary - the two voices move in opposite directions

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