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Elements of Music

30 31 tonalIty and ModulatIon theres no place like home Tonality, or the sense of being in a particular key, is most easily created by sounding the IIVVI pattern see pages 2021. The tonic chord has the same function as the tonic note of the scale. It is the place where things begin and end, and to which all things relate. In tonal music the leading tone is always used to point to the tonic, and, as with the circularity of the scale, all other stations of the scale and their chords serve either to strengthen or weaken the relative gravity of the tonic, departing or returning. The mighty tonic, however, can be destabilised. Chords other than the tonic can be strengthened by the introduction of their respective leading tones the third of any dominant chord, a half step below a root. Notes outside of the key can make an appearance to point to other roots as possible tonics. The sense of a second key can emerge. If this happens within the appropriate time, and with the repetition of the IIVVI chords of the new key, then a full modulation occurs, and a new tonic is formed. Without these affirmations, the movement is temporary, and only a tonicization has occurred. After a time, the ear may become accustomed to the new key, but tonal music often returns to the first by reinstating the changed note, creating the sense that we never really left. Before long, a relationship of keys emerges, reflecting the relationships of chords, which in turn reflect the relationships of the individual tones in the scale. Left The circle of fifths is not only a diagram of common tones, but also a diagram of common chords, which can be used to facilitate a modulation change of key. In the diagram the major keys are on the outside of the circle, while minor triads, the relative minors of the outermost major keys. occupy the interior. Any major chord will also belong to the two scales flanking it on either side. Example 1 The key of C major shares the chords of A minor and D minor with the key of F major, easily visible in the diagram. Example 2 The key of E minor shares the chord of C major with the key of D minor. Raising the 4th of a key acquires the scale of a fifth higher. Lowering the 7th reaches the scale of a fifth below. There are only two half step pairs in the major scale 34, 78, and they are therefore the most unstable, easily accommodating this kind of key change. Lower 7th W e a k e r S t r o n g e r Rai se 4th Right In this basic IIVVI progression, note how the tritone, or diminished fifth formed between the unstable leading tone B and upper F of G7, contracts inwards to the stable root and third, joined by the upward movement of the dominant in the bass. This maximises the finality and reality of the chord in the I position being the true home. Left Cadences endings. A cadence in music works much the same way as punctuation in language. The authentic cadence has a strong degree of finality due to its leading tone and its root resolving to the tonic. The plagal cadence is subtler, lacking the active drive of the dominant, the Amen in much European sacred music. A deceptive cadence resolves someplace other than the expected resolution, the tonic, often a surprise. The half cadence is open ended, ending on the dominant, sometimes with an intervening tonic chord in 2nd inversion to heighten the expectation of resolution. Authentic Plagal . Deceptive Half , V I IV I V vi IV I V 6 4 64
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