Defining Tonality Essay

1327 words - 5 pages

Tonality
Over the years there have been many ideas of tonality and how it shaped Western Music culture. According to an article over tonality by Danlee Mitchell and Jack Logan, tonality is a term used to describe the arrangement of the dominant and subdominant above and below the tonic. Another definition for tonality is that it refers to systematic arrangements of pitch phenomena and relations between them. With all the technical terms and confusions it is no wonder why many students have a hard time understanding the meaning of tonality.
What is Tonality?
There are many different aspects of tonality that one must know before they can fully start to comprehend the meaning. The first would be the relationship between the different pitches. Every pitch can be considered tonal when it is placed at the tonal center, otherwise known as the key of the music. For example, if you were playing a piece in the key of C you will most likely begin and end on the note C because it would be considered tonal. Now just because it ends on C doesn’t necessarily mean it is tonal, but when you factor in the relationships of the dominant and subdominant it gives tonality a better definition. The dominant is the fifth note of the scale which has the most pull back to the tonic or the base note such at G to C. This phenomenon is governed by the overtone series and can be found anywhere including nature. It has been discovered that male mosquitoes fly at a frequency higher than a female causing them to vibrate at a perfect fifth.
The overtone series is a complex measurement of pitches that helps musicians understand how they are related to each other.

Above you will see a picture of the overtone series and the relation of pitches.
All tonal references can be traced back to the series whether it ranges from a complex piece such as Bach or something simple as Mary Had a Little Lamb. As musicians we need remember what tones work better for it will help us in the end no matter what musical career you decide to take.
Bach French Suite #
A primary example of the common relationship between the fifth and tonic can be seen in many pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach but I would like to focus on his French Suite #5.

I IV

V/V V7 I
Above you will see a small excerpt from Bach’s French Suite #5 Allemande

As we analyze this piece it is easy to tell how the relationship of the notes revolved around the V-I tonality making it almost seem almost inevitable to our ears. The part I chose to outline begins at measure one and continues until measure four. Bach does a great job of outlining the piece and establishing a key early so the listeners have no doubt where he is going to take the music. If you take a closer look at the bass line you can see a constant pattern causing the harmonic pull back to the tonic. The piece starts off on tonic and quickly brings us to the subdominant which is the second strongest note in the...

Find Another Essay On Defining Tonality

The Oppressive Force in Marriage Essay

1380 words - 6 pages marriages is what worsens their illness. In Gilman’s short story, male dominancy is unmistakable. A primary example of this is through the narrator’s tonality that allows her to act submissive to her male counter-part. She comments on how she is treated by her husband and regularly uses his name. To note that “John says” (305) implies her willingness to comply with his instructions. For example, she quotes, “I get unreasonably angry with John

Digital Asset Strategy Demystified for CPG Companies

2160 words - 9 pages Defining Digital Assets for a CPG Company According to the latest IAMAI 2013 report on Internet usage in India, the number of internet users in India has reached 205 million by Oct, 2013 with a YoY growth of 40% over last year. Mobile internet users have more than doubled from 2012 and now stand at 130 million. The report also estimates that by June 2014, India will have 243 million internet users, at which point of time, it is expected to

Ethical Behavior, a Myth of the Past or a Necessity for Future Development

2384 words - 10 pages , organizational, contextual or environmental, they all play a significant role in shaping the behaviors of people and thus act as tremendous forces for building the societies we live within.I. Defining the term "ethics"II. Introducing the main factors influencing ethical behaviorsIII. Causes of nowadays' deterioration of ethical behaviorsIV. Examples of personal characteristics and their effects on ethical behaviorsA. Individual CompetitivenessB. AgeV

John Cage

4233 words - 17 pages John Cage Defined in the 1950s John Cage is considered by many to be the defining voice of avant-garde music throughout the 20th century. Fusing philosophy with composition, he reinvented the face of modern music, leading composer Arnold Schoenberg to declare, "Of course he's not a composer, but he's an inventor -- of genius" (Kostelanetz 6). For Cage, the 1950s brought a series of critical events that both refined his message as a composer

Impact of Traditional music

9138 words - 37 pages African music.Munyaradzi (2012) has in this article the following definitions and expressions Aiello et al (1994) defined Music as "The art for that expresses feelings and meanings through the qualities of sound and the relationship between sounds". In this view the expression of feelings and meanings is realized through the quality of sound production. A combination of musical elements such as rhythm, tonality, dynamics and so forth are also involved

When the Bubble Burst

1539 words - 6 pages By the time I arrived state side from my second tour in the Middle East the housing bubble had already burst. I noticed a drastic change in the way that many of my friends and family were living. Several of my friends that worked in real estate had sold their boats and seconds houses. My own stock portfolio had lost a third of its value. My sister and her husband had defaulted on their home mortgage leaving them scrambling for a place to live. I

phase diagram

4456 words - 18 pages Introduction: Chemical equilibrium is a crucial topic in Chemistry. To represent and model equilibrium, the thermodynamic concept of Free energy is usually used. For a multi-component system the Gibbs free energy is a function of Pressure, Temperature and quantity (mass, moles) of each component. If one of these parameters is changed, a state change to a more energetically favorable state will occur. This state has the lowest free energy

Revolutionary Work of Art

1890 words - 8 pages Walter Benjamin emphasizes in his essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” that technology used to make an artwork has changed the way it was received, and its “aura”. Aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art that has not been reproduced. The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is an example of a work that has been and truly a beacon of art. It has brought a benefit and enlightenment to the art

Enlightenment Thought in New Zealand Schools

1594 words - 6 pages In this essay I will be looking at how the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment have shaped New Zealand Education. I will also be discussing the perennial tension of local control versus central control of education, and how this has been affected by the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment. The enlightenment was an intellectual movement, which beginnings of were marked by the Glorious Revolution in Britain

Psychological Egoism Theory

2240 words - 9 pages The theory of psychological egoism is indeed plausible. The meaning of plausible in the context of this paper refers to the validity or the conceivability of the theory in question, to explain the nature and motivation of human behavior (Hinman, 2007). Human actions are motivated by the satisfaction obtained after completing a task that they are involved in. For example, Mother Teresa was satisfied by her benevolent actions and

How Celtic Folkore has Influenced My Family

1587 words - 6 pages Every family has a unique background that influences the way they live and interact with other people. My parents, who emigrated from Ireland to the States with my three brothers in 1989, brought over their own Celtic folklore and traditions that have helped shaped the way our family operates and lives. One aspect of folklore that has helped shape my family dynamic is the Celtic cross—both its background and what role it has played in our lives

Similar Essays

A Sense Of Humor Essay

1603 words - 6 pages their tonality and description of the scenes. In King’s narrative, the child narrator reflects a general depiction of a child’s frustration of having to deal with his mother’s ‘protest’. For example, he states that, “It would have been easier if my mother had just said “Canadian” and been done with it, but I could see she wasn’t going to do that” (King 4). We have all been in a situation in which we are stuck with our parents who are discussing

Beethoven Middle Period Essay

1845 words - 7 pages works of this period often do not completely establish the tonic. In 'Eroica', a symphony that begins with two tonality-defining E flat major chords, the first movements introductory cello theme arpeggiates the major triad before descending and falling down to the leading note and then an unstable C#. Thusly challenging the normal perception of tonality. All these elements I have stated create more tension than any other symphony of the era. This

Art Through The Ages Introductory Chapter Notes

1103 words - 4 pages determine the characteristics of the artwork. (e.g. In the relief of Hesire's tomb on page 9, the artist chiseled away the piece from a block of wood)LineLines are represented in art in many different forms and thicknessesContour lines- lines that surround the borders of an object, thus defining its boundaries, and thus giving it shape(e.g. In 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,' the boundaries of every subject is defined through contour lines

Romantic Period Classical Music Essay

1964 words - 8 pages classiness of style. Romantic music revered emotion, defining it as the epitome of the work in question. Sonata form, once cherished as a great innovation, was now considered to be a possible hindrance to a composer’s creative abilities. This promoted the development of new musical forms such as the mazurka, waltz, polonaise, fantasy, nocturne, impromptu, and rhapsody, as well as preludes and overtures after which nothing follows. Melodic themes had