<< Chapter < Page
  Sound reasoning   Page 1 / 1
Chapter >> Page >
Please note that you must have the most recent copy of Macromedia's Flash plugin installed to play the musical examples.

Common practice tonality

From about 1600 to 1900, Western music embraced a harmonic language that has come to be called “ Common Practice tonality .” Around the turn of the 20th century, progressive composers such as Claude Debussy , Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky moved away from traditional tonality ; the result was a breakdown in Common Practice that continues to this day. In most of “ Sound Reasoning ,” we have studied music as an abstract artform, with generalized principles that apply to any style or era. Harmony, however, is rooted in style: The way harmony behaves in a classical work—what it can say and how it says it-- is different from how it does so in an avant-garde twentieth century work. Because Common Practice tonality underlies the Western classical tradition and has proven to be so influential, our study of harmony begins here.

The major-minor contrast

The contrast between the Major and minor modes is the harmonic foundation of Western classical music.



To composers of the Common Practice era, everything about human experience --love and loss, triumph and calamity, private reflection and public proclamations, the material and the spiritual, the civilized and the wild—could be expressed either in Major or minor . In the twentieth century, avant-garde composers went beyond this duality. But, throughout the classical era, the entire musical universe consisted almost exclusively of music in Major or minor . For this reason, recognizing the difference between music in Major and minor is vital to hearing Common Practice harmony .

Musical meaning should always be considered provisional and flexible. That said, through a combination of acoustic and cultural factors, the Major mode is generally associated with positive feelings of joy , hopefulness , calm and celebration , whereas the minor mode has a negative “affect” and is generally associated with sadness , anger , despair and fear . In mainstream Western music, you are unlikely to hear a funeral march in Major or celebrate a marriage in minor.

This excerpt from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17 in G-Major illustrates the drama of the Major-minor contrast . The winds begin in Major . After a pause, the piano shifts abruptly to minor with a striking change of musical character .

The musicologist David Huron has demonstrated that there is nothing inherently “sad” or “angry” about minor . In fact, there are cultures in which the minor scale in the “normative” one and is used for joyous occasions. Even in the Western tradition, the Major-minor contrast evolved over many centuries. However, in the classical repertoire, music in Major is almost invariably more upbeat than music in minor . Such is the strength of cultural exposure, it is almost impossible for a musically literate Westerner to hear otherwise.

The slow movement of J.S. Bach’s Concerto in g-minor begins with a progression in block chords in Major.

Later, the same progression is played in minor.

Does the change in mode register as a change in mood or emotional affect ?

Here are two excerpts from Bedrich Smetana’s Die Moldau : The first time, the melody is presented in minor , the second time in Major . Similarly, do you feel, as well as hear a difference between these two excerpts?

The distinction between Major and minor is a primary foundation of our study of Common Practice harmony .

Questions & Answers

find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
Jerwin Reply
The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
virgelyn Reply
hmm well what is the answer
how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
is it a question of log
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
im all ears I need to learn
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
QuizOver.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Sound reasoning. OpenStax CNX. May 31, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10214/1.21
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Sound reasoning' conversation and receive update notifications?