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Related to Tonal music: Modal music, Functional tonality
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Such small-scale proposals were quickly displaced by the far more ambitious theory presented by Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff in their ground-breaking book, A Generative Theory of Tonal Music. (8) Their argument is bold, ambitious, and detailed.
I think tonal music is a kind of an accident in the history of music.
In the above-mentioned investigations, we can observe a tendency to study grouping perception in listeners and in the ambit of tonal music. This work represents an approach to the behavior of performers (students and professionals) in the construction of groupings with a tonal work, although with a harmonic development that is not based on the more traditional tonality (Morgan, 1991).
Put simply, one of the main tenets of Schenker's theory of tonal music is that all melodic lines eventually descend to the tonic note (or the first note of the scale), which Schenker claimed was the origin of tonality.
That Copland returned to the sweet and messy world of tonal music, whether evidence for a "gay sensibility" or not, seems to me evidence of a humanity that he couldn't put aside.
As Hoffman observed, traditional tonal music is insistent with meaning.
Listening to tonal music in this way will free it from the constraints of duality.
Thus the relationships between outward appearance and an unwavering core of subjective interiority--relationships that also preoccupied philosophers and literary figures at the time--find lucid articulation in tonal music. (67-68) McClary is quick to point out that even though most eighteenth-century compositions adhere to this conventional framework, individual pieces obviously deploy tonal strategies in different ways to different effect.
"Tonality," the longest of them, is a masterly disquisition on the nature and varieties of tonal music, and the inevitability of the emergence of tonal ordering and tonal hearing in any music, atonal and twelve-tone included, that employs the basic pitch materials of the chromatic scale.
The Schenkerian Ursatz is called 'the ultimate compositional ideal to which all aspire' (it is the necessary structural basis of all tonal music; aspiration does not enter into it).
It is a textbook for the specialist reader and amounts to the equivalent of all those rather heavy-duty treatises on harmony and counterpoint in relation to traditional, tonal music now applied to atonal contexts.
Scruton's essay, "The Eclipse of Listening," blames the death of serious music on the refusal of composers to write tonal music. Scruton's villain, unsurprisingly, is Arnold Schoenberg, certainly the most controversial composer of the twentieth century, who Scruton thinks is responsible for almost every distressing contemporary musical development.