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Following is a summary of Syntactic Structures in Music.

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Preface

Chapter 1. The Basic Syntactic Structure

Introduction

Syntax in Language

Syntax in Music

Chapter 2. Static and Dynamic Harmony

Static Harmony

Dynamic Harmony

Chapter 3. Non-functional Chords

Introduction

Auxiliary Chords

Passing Chords

Appoggiatura Chords

Chapter 4. Linear Progressions

Chapter 5. Extensions within the Basic Structure

Introduction

The Dominant Prolongation

The Static Coda

The Dynamic Introduction


Chapter 6. Extensions to the Basic Structure

Chapter 7. Modulation

Basics

In Dynamic Harmony

Using Chromatic Chords

Tonic to Tonic

Chapter 8. Example Musical Analyses

General Introduction

Schumann - Kinderszenen No 1.

Brahms - St Antoni Chorale Variations

Others to follow in the book

Chapter 9. Example Harmonisation

Chapter 10. Historical Background

Appendices

A: Voice Leading Overview

B: 20th Century Popular Music

C: Glossary of Terms

D: Glossary of Symbols

Bibliography and Web Links

Index of Musical Examples

Ver. 2.6

CHAPTER 1
THE BASIC SYNTACTIC STRUCTURE

Introduction

Conventional theories of structure in tonal music concentrate either


totally on root progression patterns (Rameau. Schoenberg, etc) or
totally on voice leading. (Schenker etc) This book is the first to
explain how root progression patterns and voice leading work
together. This book is based on a systematic analysis of root
progression patterns in a large number of tonal (and tonally
influenced) pieces of music and shows how chord progressions
(once voice leading patterns have been addressed) create musical
phrase structures similar to sentence structures in natural language.

Whilst voice leading principles are fairly well understood, what is


new in this book is the explanation of how root progressions work in
tonal music and how they interact with voice leading. When viewed
from this perspective, it is possible to demonstrate that musical
phrases are constructed in ways that show similarities with the way
sentences are structured in natural languages. This makes it
possible to explain every chord in its context within the musical
phrase rather than just in terms of the chords surrounding it.

This book is about what is normally referred to as tonal music or


music which is based on tonality. By tonal music I mean music that
is composed in a recognisable system of scales and chord patterns
as exemplified by the European classical tradition of the 18th and
19th centuries and to some extent the 20th century. Most of the
music we listen to: classical, popular music, jazz, world music, etc. is
constructed to some extent along tonal lines. People are often
puzzled about why this system, which at first sight, is so simple -
just a scale of seven diatonic notes (plus 5 chromatic notes)
arranged in different patterns - actually produces such a wealth of
possibilities. What I hope to show is that what gives tonal music the
ability to form these varied structures is, the way voice leading and
root progression patterns work together and the way chord
progressions are organised into musical phrase structures similar to
language structures in natural languages.

Some writers such as Weber, Schoenberg, McHose and Piston have


described chord progressions but only in terms of tables of
probabilities. These tables tell us nothing about the relationships
between the chords themselves or between the chords and musical
phrases. Schenker proposed a theory of musical structure based
totally on voice leading but this does not adequately explain how
root progressions work or how musical phrases are structured.
Please refer to the Outline Thesis and the Q and A section of this
site for further information on the history of such theories. A more
complete history is being prepared for inclusions as chapter 10
(Historical Background).

In demonstrating the role that chord progressions have in creating


syntactic structures, the author does not intend to imply that other
components of music do not also play a role. Chapter 8: Full Musical
Analyses shows the link between voice leading and chord
progressions; the link between between voice leading and motivic
and melodic structures, and the link between chord progressions
and musical phrase structures. Chapter 6: Extended Musical
Structures will further explore this subject. The Outline Thesis
explains some of the evidence for the theory presented.

The Connection with Language

Language has evolved well organised structures because it gives


human beings an evolutionary advantage. It allows us to
communicate: - to pass information about our environment, about
the location of food and warnings of danger. It enables us to agree
plans and to pass traditions, ideas and techniques from person to
person and from generation to generation. Because this is so
important to our survival as a species it is an ability we have
evolved over tens of thousands of years. It communicates
messages, feelings and emotions and we enjoy the experience.

Based on the evidence collected about the patterns in chord


progressions, it seems likely that the mind's innate ability to
understand language structures has been transferred to the western
system of music we describe as tonal music. Analysis of modal
music and tonally related music shows that these musical systems
(at least when harmonised) also share some of the patterns that are
evidenet in tonal music.

As tonal music evolved over several centuries, it seems that


composers have subconsciously emulated the underlying
grammatical structures which exist in language. Because the
underlying structures are common to all languages, these musical
structures can be understood by anyone, anywhere in the world.
Hence tonal music is accessible to many cultures and the harmonic
structures in tonal music have influenced the popular music of many
other musical traditions. Composers have not planned things this
way or designed the tonal system. It has evolved through a series of
experiments and discoveries that have gradually built on each
other. This was necessary as western art music developed beyond
accompaniment to song or dance into a self-contained art form with
internal structures of its own.

Whilst Chord syntax and voice leading syntax are well documented
and understood. What is missing is chord progression syntax. This
theory is the first that attempts to accurately describe chord
progression syntax. By filling this gap we can more fully describe
the syntax of musical language.

In language, structures are formed in sentences made up of parts of


speech. The joining of these parts of speech into sentences is
governed by the rules of sentence syntax. For example, the basic
structure of a sentence in the English language can be represented
in a parsing diagram as follows:

This diagram indicates that a sentence is divided into two parts: the
subject and the predicate. The predicate is itself divided up into two
parts: the verb followed by the object. This represents the simplest
complete sentence structure and although more complex structures
are possible they all derive from this simple structure. One method
of adding complexity is by further division of the branches. For
example, the subject could be a noun or could be expanded into a
pronoun + noun or further expanded to include a noun phrase or
verb phrase.

These underlying principles also apply to musical structures, There


is one basic phrase structure in tonal music and all other phrase
structures are derived from this basic structure.

For more on syntax in language click here

For more on the role of syntax in music click here

The Basic Musical Phrase Structure

It might be assumed that the basic element of the syntactic


structure in music is the chord, but in order to make the connection
between the chord and the musical phrase an intermediate level is
required. This is the syntactic element which is identifiable as blocks
of harmony of one of two types: static harmony and dynamic
harmony. (This analysis of harmony is anticipated by Schoenberg
and others but they do not make the connection with the musical
phrase.) In the basic syntactic structure in music, harmony that is
static is made up of only the tonic chord (elaborated by voice
leading patterns) or an oscillation of the tonic chord with other
structural chords. Harmony that is dynamic is made up of chord
progressions. It is because chords can be formed into these two
basic types of grouping that music can be formed into structures
similar to language structures. The basic phrase structure in music
ends with the cadence which in tonal music is normally made up of
the dominant and tonic chords (chords V and I), which complete the
basic musical phrase structure.

In this way, the phrase in music is the equivalent of the sentence in


language. The basic syntactic structure for tonal music can be
represented as follows:

The basic musical phrase structure is very common and occurs at


important points in compositions. For short pieces, it is sometimes
the whole structure. In larger pieces, it is often the first phrase and
also the last phrase in the piece and occurs at other important
positions in a piece. It is so prevalent that we hear it subconsciously
as the base standard that modifications are measured against. Just
as there is one basic structure in language, that is modified in
various ways, the basic structure in tonal music is modified in
similar ways. Modified structures are not arbitrary variations, rather
they are used as ways of creating shorter or larger scale structures
just as subordinate clauses and phrases in language are used with
the basic language sentence structure to create larger scale
structures. They are important in creating form. More will be
covered on these variations in Chapters 5 and 6.

Abrreviations can be used if desired as follows


Where:

P = Phrase
Opening Section of the
O =
Phrase
C = Closing Section of the Phrase
S.H. = Static Harmony
D.H. = Dynamic Harmony
Cad = Cadence
V = Dominant Chord
I = Tonic Chord

The parsing diagram shows the sequence of the elements of the


basic structure but it also shows the logical relationship between the
static and dynamic elements and the cadence. For instance, whilst
the static harmony is independent of the other two elements, the
Dynamic Harmony and Cadence are shown under one heading. This
is because the Dynamic Harmony and Cadence combine to create a
larger dynamic harmony structure. So what is marked as Dynamic
Harmony is in reality "the dynamic harmony leading to the
Cadence". I only point this out to show the meaning of the
hierarchy. The Cadence is shown separately because it has an
important syntactic function in its own right. It determines the
boundary of the phrase, anchors the static and dynamic elements in
their place in the phrase and determines the key which is arrived at,
at the end of the phrase.

The static harmony establishes the tonic at the start of the phrase
and creates the context of the music by indicating the style and
introducing the main melodic elements. The dynamic harmony
develops these and makes the movement to the cadence. It either
supports the key established in the static harmony or it can
modulate. The dynamic harmony usually elaborates on melodic
elements from the static harmony. The Cadence confirms the key
arrived at and indicates the end of the phrase. The most common
and structurally important cadence in tonal music is the V to I
"perfect cadence" or "complete close" which is why the cadence is
broken down in this way. Other variations are possible but this is the
"reference standard" that other variations make reference to. For
more on cadences (including modal cadences) see cadence in the
glossary of terms.

As a short example, of this simple structure, let us examine the


following 8 bar phrase from the Scherzo of Haydn's Sonata in F
major, Hob XVI: 9:

We know that this is a complete musical phrase because it starts at


the beginning of the melody and ends with a perfect cadence, C
major to F major (chord V to chord I). From bar 17 to bar 21, the
phrase is composed of tonic harmony (F major) with just one
movement to a dominant chord (C major) at bar 19 and back to the
tonic at bar 20. As the harmony just oscillates around the tonic
there is no overall movement and consequently the harmony is
static harmony.

At bars 22 to 24, in contrast, the harmony changes to a chord


progression as follows: I (F major) to II (G minor) to V (C major) to I
(F major). There is a clear root movement here. In chord
progressions, it is the root of the chord that is important rather than
the bass. The chord root rises a single step (a rising 2nd) from F to
G, then rises three steps, (a rising 4th) from G to C, then rises a
further rising 4th from C to F. This creates a sense of movement up
to and including the V - I cadence. This is dynamic harmony.

The full book will contain further example(s).

There are also further examples in demos 1 and 2.


This switching between static harmony and dynamic harmony
happens in all tonal music and the simple structure above is the
basis of all chord progression syntax in tonal music. In conventional
theory chords are classified in terms of their function in relation to
keys. This tends to disguise underlying progressions especially when
they go across key structures. This topic is further discussed
throughout the remainder of the book. For further examples of
simple harmonic structures then please refer to the animated
demonstrations. Longer phrases will have longer static elements
and/or longer dynamic harmony elements. More complex musical
phrases can be explained as expansions of this basic structure by
combining complete and incomplete structures in various ways and
by expanding some elements of the standard structure. These
extensions are summarised in Chapters 5 and 6.

The reader will at this point no doubt be asking the question: 'Well,
if this is so simple why has no one ever noticed it before?' One
reason for this is that most theories of musical structure concentrate
totally on voice leading or assume that root progressions can be
explained without any reference to voice leading.

In order to establish the true chord progressions, whether static or


dynamic, it is necessary to determine which chords are significant
(or functional) in the progression and which chords are passing in
nature (non-functional). These non-functional chords arise out of
voice leading patterns just as the surface detail of the music does.
Whilst in many examples (including the ones above) there are no
non-functional chords to muddy the waters, when they are present
they can disguise the underlying static and dynamic structures so
that the voice leading patterns need to be analysed clearly in order
to determine which chords are significant and which are not.

Some theorists argue that the analysis of root progressions is a


futile exercise; that it is not always easy to determine what the
correct root of a chord is, and that for some note combinations it is
not possible to determine roots at all. Schenker believed that all
chords arise from counterpoint and he gives particular importance
to the role of linear progressions in creating chord sequences. The
correct analysis of chord progressions depends on decisions about
which vertical note combinations are significant in the analysis and
which note combinations do not constitute structural chords. Given
this necessary selection process, the suspicion may be that in
finding patterns in chord progressions, the theorist has in some way
selected chords and progressions that fit the theory and has
rejected note combinations that do not fit the desired results. In
fact, this is one of the principle objections to Schenker's
Fundamental Structure - that the means of its derivation are not
independent of the results themselves. (1)
To overcome this problem, the selection of note combinations must
be applied in a consistent manner and in such a way that is
independent of the end result. In other words, the reduction of
music to an harmonic outline that lends itself to adequate root
progression analysis, must be carried out by a system of rules that
is as objective as possible. These are based, here, on the well
established principles of voice leading (or more correctly
"divisions"). This is explained more fully in Chapter 3. By working
this way, it will be shown that chord progressions show clear
patterns and that these patterns are similar to the grammatical
structures in language. For more on Voice Leading see the Voice
Leading Appendix.

Summary

This theory may be summarised as follows:

All phrases in tonal music are organised into syntactic structures,


similar to those in language. These are constructed in three levels:
The phrase, the syntactic elements (of the type static harmony or
dynamic harmony) and the chords. In tonal music, complete phrases
usually terminate in a perfect cadence (chord V to I) . Static
harmony in the basic structure is made up of a prolongation of the
tonic chord by voice leading only or by oscillations between the
tonic chord and other structural chords. Dynamic harmony is made
up of chord progressions constructed mainly from strong root
progressions (rising 4th, falling 3rd and rising 2nd). This selection of
progressions for dynamic harmony I will refer to as the polarisation
of chord progressions. In order to make visible the underlying chord
progression the surface voice leading must be first accounted for.
This means some chords might appear to be structural but in fact
arise purely out of voice leading. These are not significant in the
root progression analysis. This concept can be described as
functionality. Non-functional chords include passing chords and
chords which do not have clear roots such as the diminished
seventh chord.

The basic syntactic structure may be extended by the further


expansion of one of the syntactic elements in the basic structure.
For example, the cadential V chord may be extended by dominant
static harmony to form a dominant prolongation and the cadential I
chord may be extended by tonic static harmony to form a static
coda. See Chapter 5: Internal Extensions.

Complete and incomplete structures may also be "conjoined" to


form larger structures. In some situations incomplete structures can
be embedded within complete phrase structures. Variations on the
basic structure will be furhter expalined in Chapter 6: Extended
Phrase Structures.
(1). Narmour, Beyond Schenkerism

CHAPTER 2 (PART 1)

STATIC AND DYNAMIC HARMONY

Introduction

In the last chapter, I introduced the concept of static and dynamic


harmony and its importance in the construction of syntactic phrase
structures. In this chapter, I will further explore the nature of static
and dynamic harmony and explain how the form of these can vary
according to the style and period in which the music was written.

In order to retain interest throughout their execution, all temporal


art forms: music, the novel, theatre, cinema etc. Must vary their
degree of tension and relaxation. When you watch a play or a film,
observe how the tension varies, at one moment, static: scene
setting, mood establishing, character introducing and then at
another moment dynamic: something happens, tension is built up,
what will happen next? The mood constantly alternates between
these static and dynamic states. This is necessary to maintain the
interest. These states are easy to identify once you know about
them. They vary in length and in the degree of tension or relaxation
but they are always there.

In music, these static and dynamic episodes are created by the use
of different types of harmony. A prolongation of a single chord
creates a sense of being stationary. I will refer to this as static
harmony. Progressions of chords create a sense of moving forward. I
will refer to this type of harmony as dynamic harmony. As well as
varying the tension in music these episodes form the basic building
blocks or syntactic elements that are necessary to make syntactic
phrase structures similar to language sentence structures.
Static Harmony

The simplest form of static harmony is the sustained tonic chord


elaborated only by surface voice leading. In the following example,
the tonic F chord is sustained for two bars:

The horizontal square bracket is used to show the extent of the


tonic chord (F) and will be used to underline static harmony
patterns. The tonic chord is elaborated by arpeggios, passing notes
and auxiliary notes, but no new chords are introduced. The same
chord may be sustained over several bars. The Prelude to Wagner's
Rheingold is made up entirely of a sustained E-flat harmony which
lasts for 136 bars. However, the most common type of static
harmony is that made up of an oscillation between the tonic chord
and other chords. Two commonly used chords for this purpose are
the primary triads: chords IV and V, as follows:

I - [ IV ] - I

and

I-[V]-I

The square bracket will be used to indicate that a chord is used (in
this case in conjunction with the tonic) to form static harmony. This
type of chord will be referred to as an auxiliary chord by analogy
with the auxiliary note. An auxiliary note is a non-harmony note that
returns back to the harmony note. These are further discussed in
the Voice Leading Appendix and Chapter 3 (part 2). These auxiliary
chords do not create chord progressions since they return to the
chord which precedes them. The example in Chapter 1. included
chord V as an auxiliary chord.

The following example also uses chord V as an auxiliary chord:


In this example the dominant auxiliary chords are deployed in root
position and take on a role almost equal in importance to that of the
tonic chord. This type of tonic-dominant oscillation is very common
and is deployed in many well know melodies. The use of chord V,
especially V7, as an auxiliary chord is a characteristic of classical
secular music. The choice of auxiliary chord is thus an indicator of
the style of the music. The extent of the static harmony is indicated
by the horizontal square bracket and the auxiliary chords are show
in square brackets. The figured base notation "7" is shown where a
7th is added to the dominant chord.

The following example uses chord IV as an auxiliary chord:

In this example the subdominant chords are also in root position.


The 4th bar of the phrase is a brief prolongation of the dominant.
The horizontal square brackets indicate the extent of the
prolongations. Chord IV is frequently used in sacred music and is
thus an indicator of the style of the music. Chord IV as an auxiliary
chord is also common in popular music underlying one of its origins
in gospel music which inherits its harmony from choral church
music.

The purpose of auxiliary chords is to prolong the tonic (or


sometimes the dominant) harmony. They do not create a forward
moving chord progression. The static harmony normally occurs at
the start of the phrase, introduces the melodic ideas (motives) and
establishes the key at the start of the phrase. Chord V (especially V7
) is more generally associated with secular music and chord IV
(especially in root position) is more generally associated with sacred
music, as indicated in the examples above. The choice of auxiliary
chord thus contributes to the style of the music.

The following example demonstrates the use of both chord IV (not in


root position) and V as auxiliary chords:

The appearance of the tonic chord in root position whilst the chord
IV auxiliary chords are employed in second inversion emphasises
the subordinate nature of the chord IV auxiliary chords in this
example. In contrast, the two occurrences of the chord V are in root
position, indicating the arrival of the cadence. The horizontal square
bracket shows the extent of the static harmony. In this example, the
static harmony encompasses the V - I cadence, and so, this brief
phrase is made up of totally of static harmony. This topic will be
further discussed in Chapter 6.

In this example, the IV chords could be interpreted as simply the


result of auxiliary notes (shown in the examples by the letter "A")
and not functional chords in their own right: the G# and B of the
tonic chord ascending to form the A and C# of the subdominant
chords at bars 7, 8 and 9 and return immediately to the G# and B.

There are thus two types of auxiliary chord:


a) Non-functional chords that arise merely as a result of auxiliary
notes i.e. voice leading.

b) Functional chords ( in root position) These cannot be due purely


to voice leading because of the movement of the bass to a new
chord therefore they are structural in their own right.

In either case, theses chords create static harmony. The main


difference is that the second type can take on further levels of voice
leading elaboration.

The type of chord used for the auxiliary chord can also be an
indicator of the period of the music.

In the 19th century, harmonic possibilities are extended by the use


of chords ii and VI as tonic prolonging auxiliary chords. In the
following example, Schubert uses chord ii7 in the minor key:

Here, again, the static nature of the harmony is emphasised by the


retention of the tonic note in the base. This is usually referred to as
a tonic pedal. Note that since the ii7 chord arises as a result of the
auxiliary and passing notes in the accompanying harmony,
consequently the 7th of the chord is relieved of its normal obligation
to resolve downward. As this piece is in the minor key chord ii is in
fact a diminished chord (in this case with an added 7th) which is
why this is shown as ii°. The auxiliary and passing notes are shown
in the Harmonic Outline as "A" and "P". Pedal notes are frequently
used under static harmony to underline the static nature of the
chord succession. Pedal notes can be deployed under any auxiliary
chords regardless of whether the tonic note forms a normal part of
the auxiliary harmony. In the Harmonic outline, I've introduced
some of the symbols to be used throughout this book and the Full
Analysis Chapter to represent the underlying structure of the music.
The structural notes are represented as white note heads and the
voice leading as black note heads. The figured bass notation further
documents the voice leading patterns. The cadential Chord V is
elaborated by two appoggiaturas which create a cadential 6 4 chord
(which is chord I in inversion) However, this is shown in the
harmonic outline as black notes with tails (crotchets). This is to
highlight the fact that they do not alter the underlying chord
succession. Non-functional chords such as these will be explained in
Chapter 3.

It can be seen from these examples, the choice of auxiliary chord in


the static harmony contributes to the style and period of the piece
of music.

The full book will contain further examples of static harmony from
different periods of music.

The range of auxiliary chord possibilities can be further extended by


the use of chromatic chords. The type of chromatic chord is a
further indicator of style and period. Examples of these are given
later in chapter 3
CHAPTER 2 (PART 2)

STATIC AND DYNAMIC HARMONY

Dynamic Harmony

The function of dynamic harmony is to provide a sense of moving


forward, the change of status between static and dynamic harmony
is critical in creating variety, enabling the ear to follow the phrase
syntax and in creating musical form. Rather than an oscillation
between chords, dynamic harmony in tonal music is made up of a
succession of strong chord progressions. As roots of chords can
exist on seven possible scale steps: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII each
individual root has 6 possible roots to move to (ignoring octaves and
chromatic notes). Consequently, roots may rise or fall a 2nd, rise or
fall a 3rd, rise or fall a 4th.

Dynamic harmony in tonal music is made up almost exclusively of


three of the six possible types of root progression. These will be
referred to as the three strong chord progressions and will be
labeled: alpha, beta and gamma (α, β and γ) progressions, as
follows:

α - root progression by rising 4th (or falling 5th)


( e.g. V - I, I - IV etc.)

β - root progression by falling 3rd (or rising 6th)

( e.g. I - VI, VI - IV etc. )

γ - root progression by rising 2nd (or falling 7th)

(e.g. I - II, IV - V etc. )

The reversals of these progressions: α', β' and γ' are weak and are
generally (but not completely) avoided in dynamic harmony in
common practice tonal music.

It will be observed that this classification groups together root


progressions which do not involve exactly similar intervals. For
instance, the root progression β could involve a descent of a major
or minor third depending on which chords are involved and whether
the tonality is major or minor. In practice, both major and minor
descending third progressions are frequent whereas both major and
minor ascending third progressions are infrequent so that this
classification adequately describes the use of root progressions. This
is because the use of root progressions is primarily a diatonic and
not a chromatic phenomenon. Chromatic harmony serves primarily
to decorate rather than create structure. For further discussion on
root progressions please refer to the Thesis section on this site.

The α chord progression is by far the strongest and most frequently


used progression in dynamic harmony and when used to make the
move from V to I at the end of a phrase it forms the perfect
cadence. Of the other two progressions, the β progression is
generally more common than the γ progression, in most
compositions, but the relative frequency varies according to style
and period of the music.

Whilst the primary triads IV and V are the most common chords
used in forming static patterns, in one key, there is only one
dynamic pattern that can be formed (starting and ending in chord I)
with these chords, using only strong progressions, as follows:

Consequently, the secondary triads are used to extend the range of


possible dynamic patterns. Chords II and VI are most useful for this
purpose. Following are some common (non-modulating) patterns,
starting and ending on the tonic:
The following example clearly shows the use of α and γ chord
progressions. Even though the texture of the music is contrapuntal,
and the writing is in two parts, the dynamic harmony is nevertheless
clear. It should be noted that in the baroque and classical periods, α
and γ progressions are often used in preference to other
progressions.

Inversions weaken the feeling of moving forward. The chord


progressions which have the strongest sense of moving forward
tend to be those where the chords are all presented in root position
and composers use the strongest chord progressions at the position
in the structure where the strongest sense of movement is required.

This polarisation of chord progressions appears to have taken place


gradually from around 1600 to around 1700 and is easily seen in the
music of Bach and his contemporaries. Static and Dynamic harmony
patterns, however, can be seen in music before that period but not
with the same degree of polarisation.

Techniques for strengthening progressions can be seen in the


following example from Brahms:
This example deploys α and β progressions. The chords in bars 19,
21 and 22 are all dominant 7th chords since they all take on an
added 7th and, in case of bar 21, the minor third is raised to form a
major third. Clearly all of these dominant 7ths chords do not
indicate rapid modulations to new key centres. New key centres
have to be established by the presence of static harmony or a
cadence in the new key. The function here is just to strengthen the
harmonic movement and to add variety and interest to the
harmony. No modulation is intended or heard. Bars 107 to 114 of
Brandenburg Concerto No 2. could be examined at this point. Here a
whole series of seven dominant 7th chords (using six α and two β
progressions) are used to form a very strong chord progressions
prior to the final recapitulation of the main theme. They are
preceded by a tonic chord and end with a tonic chord and therefore
no modulation occurs in this example. This very strong sequence is
used to alert the user to the imminent end of the movement. This
Final Dynamic Episode thus has a formal or structural function as
well as its normal syntactic phrase function.
The harmonic outline uses the symbols to be used in the rest of this
book and in the Full Analysis Chapter. The white note heads
represent structural notes in structural chords and black note heads
are used to represent voice leading patterns. For instance, a 7th is
added to the tonic chord in bar 19 as a passing note between the Ab
of the tonic chord and the F of the subdominant chord in bar 20. The
passing movement is highlighted here by the notes being connected
by stems and a beam for clarity. Other 7ths additions to chords are
shown as black note heads.

The examples given above are both from pieces in major keys. In
the minor key, chords I and IV are minor, chord II is diminished and
chord VI is major. However, these chords are used in a similar way
to the way the same chords are used in the major key. I will include
more on this topic in the full book.

Whereas in the baroque and classical periods, alpha and gamma


progressions are often used in preference to other progressions, in
the 19th century, beta progressions are often used in preference to
gamma progressions.

In music prior to the tonal period and in 20th century modal music,
the degree of polarisation is less evident so that the weaker
progressions are used more frequently. Consequently, weak
progression create a modal effect or mood. The degree of
polarisation is thus a style indicator.

Even in one period of music the difference in frequency of use of


progressions can be observed in different types of music. For
instance, in the Bach Chorale harmonisations, the degree of
polarisation is less than in the Brandenburg Concertos. This is
because Bach is looking back to an earlier style in the chorales. This
is a fact overlooked in some studies of root progressions.

Thus the choice of root progressions is an indicator of the period,


style and mood of the music. For more on polarisation of
progressions see the thesis section on this website.

The reader is referred to Demo 2 which animates a succession of


seven α progressions starting and ending in the tonic chord.
CHAPTER 3 (PART 1)

NON-FUNCTIONAL CHORDS

Introduction

Many theorists from Rameau to Schoenberg and Piston have


attempted to analyse chord progressions by describing patterns in
their root movements. However, none of these fully describes the
syntax of chord progressions. Please refer to the Outline Thesis and
the Q and A sections of this site for further information on the
history of such theories. A more complete description is being
prepared for inclusion in Chapter 10: Historical Background.

Previous attempts have proven inadequate because, in order to


establish clear patterns, two factors have to be taken into account
in the analysis. Firstly, as explained in the last chapter, it is
necessary to make a distinction between two types of harmony:
static and dynamic harmony. Secondly, some vertical note
combinations, whilst appearing to be independent harmonies in
their own right, arise out of voice leading. These types of movement
are sometimes referred to as melodic to distinguish them from
movements which are genuinely harmonically based. When these
are discounted from the analysis, patterns in the root progressions
become clearer.

Static and dynamic harmony were described in Chapter 2. In this


chapter, I will deal with the second factor which I will refer to as
functionality.

All theories of harmony make an assumption about functionality


whether explicitly or implicitly. Most theorists would accept that
certain note combinations are not chords in their own right but arise
due to some type of melodic or voice leading movement in one or
more of the voices. They nevertheless differ in what they would
consider to be significant. I hope to present a clearer and more
objective way of defining what is functional and what is non-
functional. This should overcome any suspicions that chords are
being ignored simply because they do not fit the theory. The
justification for taking the position explained in this chapter is based
on research into patterns in chord progressions. For more
information on how these patterns have been established, please
refer to the outline thesis.
For a theory of functionality to be credible it is important that the
principles deployed to determine functionality are clear and simple
and independent of the results derived. It is important that there
should be some rational reason for excluding chords from the root
progression analysis. The method deployed must satisfy the
following conditions:

• It must be clear and unambiguous


• It must be based on concrete research data
• It must be applied in a consistent manner
• It must be applied in such a way that it is independent of the
end result

In other words, the reduction of music to an harmonic outline that


lends itself to adequate root analysis, must be carried out by a
system of rules that is as objective as possible. In other words, the
method should not be normative i.e. it should not lead to
predetermined results but should uncover what is in the music itself.

Whilst many non-functional chords are totally diatonic, it is


important to mention chromatic harmonies as these are frequently
deployed as non-structural filling-in chords which decorate the
underlying harmony. This is because chromatic stepwise
movements lend themselves easily to the production of chromatic
auxiliary notes, passing notes and appoggiaturas. These add variety
and interest without causing the ear to lose track of the underlying
harmony or tonality.

Chords that do not contain a perfect 4th or 5th do not enable the
ear to easily determine a root for the chord. Consequently, these
chords are normally used as non-functional chords. These include
the diminished 7th chord, the augmented 5th chord and the various
forms of the augmented 6th chord*. These chords are non-
functional due to their very nature. Other non-functional chords are
note combinations that in other circumstances would be heard as
functional chords. Simple triads and 7th chords can be used as non-
functional chords when they arise from voice leading movement
such as passing notes, auxiliary notes or appoggiaturas. The latter
types are ones that can lead to misinterpretation as they are easy to
mistake as functional harmony.

* One form of the augmented 6th chord (the German 6th chord)
does contain a perfect fifth, but due to the way the augmented 6th
interval resolves outwards, the chord behaves like a non-functional
chord except where it is reinterpreted and resolves like a dominant
7th chord in a new key. See Glossary: augmented 6th chord and
Chapter 7: Modulation via Chromatic Chords and also chromaticism
in the Voice Leading Appendix.
There are three types of non-functional chord that could be
confused with functional chords: The Auxiliary Chord, The
Passing Chord and The Appoggiatura Chord. The reason for
giving these chords special names is not because they have a
special significance but because they are capable of being confused
with functional chords. In reality, they arise out of voice leading just
as other surface voice leading patterns (passing notes, auxiliary
notes etc) do. The first type was introduced in the last chapter as it
is important in forming static harmony patterns. The second type
occurs frequently and in many forms. The third type is significant
mainly as a device for elaborating the cadence by extending the
dominant (and sometimes the tonic) harmony.

Before we explore each type in turn it may be useful to summarise


how we can distinguish between functional and non-functional
chords. By far the most important and defining factor is the first rule
i.e. That non-functional chords are made up from auxiliary notes,
passing notes or appoggiaturas (i.e. voice leading patterns) whereas
functional chords are not. However the additional guidelines may
also be helpful in correct identification.

FUNCTIONAL CHORDS:

The components of the chord do not arise as a result of auxiliary


notes, passing notes or appoggiaturas.

Other factors that may help in identification:

Almost always a major or minor triad (with or without an added 7th


9th etc.)

Usually on stronger beats than associated non-functional chords

Likely to be in a stronger inversion than associated non-functional


chords

Likely to be more consonant than non-functional chords

Except for alterations to the 3rd of the chord (and in cycles of 5ths),
are not usually chromatic.

NON-FUNCTIONAL CHORDS:

The components of the chord arise as a result of auxiliary notes,


passing notes or appoggiaturas.

Other factors that may help in identification:


Less likely to be a major or minor triad (with or without an added
7th 9th etc.)

Usually on weaker beats than associated functional chords

Likely to be in a weaker inversion than associated functional chords

Likely to be less consonant than functional chords

Are often chromatic.

CHAPTER 3 (PART 2)

NON-FUNCTIONAL CHORDS

Auxiliary Chords

Auxiliary chords are formed by the stepwise movement (up or down)


of one or more of the voices away from a harmony note in one
chord to form a new chord. The voice(s) then return to the originals
note(s) to re-form the original harmony. Normally the auxiliary chord
is made up solely of notes from the original chord plus notes
involved in the auxiliary movement. In this case they arise totally
out of voice leading. (But see note below on auxiliary chords in root
position). These auxiliary chords are non-functional whereas the
tonic chords surrounding them are functional. This is because the
auxiliary chord merely elaborates the main functional chord, its
purpose being to prolong the functional harmony. Auxiliary chords
are used extensively to prolong the tonic harmony in static harmony
as explained in Chapter 2. They can also be used to extend the
dominant to form a dominant prolongation. (See Chapter 5).
Sometimes auxiliary chords can be used to decorate individual
chords in dynamic harmony especially where this is slow moving but
this is not as common.

The auxiliary chord is named by analogy with the auxiliary note. The
following example contains auxiliary notes marked with an "A":
The short duration of the auxiliary note does not create a feeling of
a change in the harmony. An auxiliary chord, is an extension of the
auxiliary note such that the duration of the auxiliary note and the
way the note sounds in conjunction with the other notes of the
chord, creates a sense of a change in harmony. This type of chord
has its origins in 16th century polyphony. See Voice Leading
Appendix: Auxiliary Notes and Linear Progressions for more details.

Using the analytical symbols introduced earlier, the following


harmonic outlines indicate some of the possible auxiliary chords
within the diatonic major scale:
White headed notes are components of the functional chords and
the black headed notes are the result of voice leading. The letter
"A" indicates an auxiliary note.

The examples marked a) are not very common (at least in the
inversions shown) as they generate the secondary triads vi and iii.
I've shown these in lower case letters to hightlight the fact that they
are minor.

The examples marked b) are very common since they generate the
primary triads IV and V by the simultaneous auxiliary movement of
two voices.

The following example includes both chords of b) and also an


example of the second of c), the V7 chord.
In bar 2, the lower C rises to D and returns, the higher C falls to B
and returns, and the E rises to F and back. These three auxiliary
notes (shown as "A") create a dominant 7th auxiliary chord. In bar 3
the E rises to F and returns to the E whilst the G rises to A and
returns to G. The C major chord is thus transformed temporarily to
an F major auxiliary chord. In bar 4 the E and C descend to D and B
and return to E and C thus briefly creating an auxiliary dominant G
chord. The melodic line in bar 4 also contains an F which forms a 7th
to the dominant chord, but in this case as a descending passing
note which is further elaborated by a short auxiliary note E. For
simplicity this is shown an octave lower in the outline. The passing
note is shown as "P".

Similar auxiliary chords may be drawn up for the minor key, In this
case, the 7th degree of the scale is usually sharpened to form the
major chord V.

The following figure shows some of the common possibilities


involving chromatic harmonies:
.

The examples a) and b) involve movement in one direction only. a)


contains two auxiliary notes: one diatonic, E rises to F and returns to
E, and one chromatic: G rises to A-flat and returns to G. The
auxiliary chord formed is the minor subdominant chord which occurs
naturally in the minor key. In b) all three notes of the tonic triad rise
a semitone and then return to the original notes. This chord is
usually referred to as the Neapolitan 6th chord and is usually
deployed in first inversion to avoid the parallel 5ths that would
otherwise arise.

The next three auxiliary chords in c) (i), (ii), (iii) are the three
possible diminished 7th chords. I've shown all three for
completeness and to introduce the terminology to be used for each
of these. See below. (i) and (ii) are common auxiliary formations,
but (iii) is more usually deployed as a passing chord between I and II
as the C - B-flat movement has a tendency to continue downward to
A rather than to return to the C. (see next section - passing chords).
The example c) (ii) could be shown with a D# instead of the Eb.
Please see note below on naming of chromatic chords.
Example d) is an example of the "German" version of the
augmented 6th chord, created by three chromatic auxiliary notes all
moving a semitone and back. The Eb could also be shown as a D#
auxiliary note but is usually shown as Eb in this situation.

Auxiliary Chords in Root Position

Sometimes auxiliary chords are used in root position (could be any


triadic chord). In this situation, they are not composed entirely of
voice leading (notes of the main chord plus auxiliary notes) because
of the way the bass moves from one root to another and sometimes
because of other voice movements. These chords will nevertheless
be referred to as auxiliary chords, by analogy with the auxiliary
note, because of the way the chord returns to its preceding chord
and because these root position chords are also used to create
static harmony. In this situation, it is possible to have, in addition,
passing chords that fill in between the main chord and the auxiliary
chord. So there are really two types of auxiliary chord: those that
are in root position and are capable of further elaboration are really
functional chords and those that arise totally out of surface voice
leading which are non-functional. In either case, they can be used to
create static harmony. The distinction between these two types of
auxiliary chords does not normally create too much difficulty
because both types are used in similar ways. In different styles of
music, many different chords (diatonic and chromatic) have been
used as auxiliary chords to create static harmony and in this way,
the choice of auxiliary chords contributes significantly to the style
and mood of the music in particular as this occurs at the start of the
musical phrase. Please refer to Chapter 2 and the Full Analysis
Chapter for further examples.

Description of Chromatic Chords

This is an appropriate point to introduce the terminology to be used


in this book for chromatic harmonies, in particular the diminished
seventh chord. The following figure demonstrates some of the
possible diminished 7th chords in C major. Most books treat these as
borrowed from related or unrelated minor keys or as dominant
substitute chords. However as neither of these designations
accurately describes the true function of the chords, I will introduce
an alternative, simpler, terminology which acknowledges the voice
leading rather than harmonic function of the these chords. I will use
the terms: tonic leading, dominant leading and supertonic leading to
describe the three possibilities regardless of the particular spelling
of the chord. The tonic leading diminished seventh chord is named
in this way because it contains the leading note which leads to the
tonic, the dominant leading diminished seventh chord contains the
sharpened 4th degree of the scale which leads to the dominant and
the supertonic leading diminished seventh chord, because it
contains the sharpened tonic which leads to the supertonic note.
This terminology makes identification and discussion easier and
highlights the voice leading function of these chords.

In the following example, Tchaikovsky uses the tonic leading


diminished 7th chord as an auxiliary chord in the static harmony in
Valse Des Fleur. The static nature of the harmony is emphasised by
the use of a tonic pedal which is sustained below the diminished 7th
chord in spite of the dissonance between the D, C# and E.
This chord creates a colourful effect that represents the flowers in
the title and is therefore a further example that demonstrates that
the type of auxiliary chord used in static harmony is an indicator of
the style or mood of the music.

There will be further examples in the full book.

There is also a description of the auxiliary note and auxiliary chords


in Chapter 2 and the Voice Leading Appendix.
CHAPTER 3 (PART 3)

NON-FUNCTIONAL CHORDS

Passing Chords

Passing chords are formed by the stepwise movement of one or


more voices from a harmony note in one chord to form an
intermediate chord or chords on the way to becoming a harmony
note in another chord. The stepwise movement may be a filling in
by one note or may be in multiple steps. If the filling in is by multiple
steps then I will refer to this as a linear progression. (See Chapter
4.) One or more voices may be involved in similar or contrary
motion. This type of chord has its origins in 16th century polyphony.
See the Voice Leading Appendix: Arpeggiation and Passing Notes for
more details. The reason for giving these chords a special name is
not because they have a special significance but because they are
capable of being confused with genuine functional chords. In reality,
they arise out of voice leading movements just as other surface
voice leading patterns do.

For a chord to be a passing chord it must normally be made up


solely of notes retained from the preceding chord plus linear moving
notes. The one exemption to this is that chromatic auxiliary notes
are sometimes used in addition to the passing notes. This is
because of the way that voice leading patterns can be combined.
See Voice Leading Patterns Combined.

The passing chords so formed are thus non-functional and the


surrounding chords on which the movement starts and ends are
functional chords. Passing chords are used in both static and
dynamic harmony.

The passing chord is named by analogy with the passing note. The
following example contains a passing note marked with a "P":
The passing note fills in the gap between notes of adjacent chords.
It sounds whilst at least one note of the proceeding chord is
retained. The short duration and nature of the passing note does not
create a feeling of a change of harmony. The passing note usually
forms a discord with other notes of the chord, as it does here. Note:
I've shown chord ii in lower case letters to highlight the fact that it is
a minor chord.

The passing chord is an extension of the passing note such that the
duration of the passing note(s) and the way the note(s) sound, in
conjunction with other notes of the chord, creates a sense of a
change in harmony. Using the analytical symbols introduced earlier,
the following harmonic outlines indicate some of the possibilities
within the diatonic major scale:
.

All the passing chords in the figure above are made up of two types
of notes:

1. notes which are retained from the preceding chord (shown here
as repeated white note heads) and

2. notes that take part in the stepwise movement (shown as black


note heads annotated as "P")

Normally, if other notes are involved, the chord is not a passing


chord. The one exemption to this is that chromatic auxiliary notes
are sometimes used. These are introduced below. The curved
brackets are used to indicate that the chords within them are
passing chords. The lower case letters indicate that the chord is
minor.
The examples moving from chord I to chord IV are common in both
static and dynamic harmony and the examples moving form chord I
to chord VI are common in dynamic harmony, in which case the
progression is a β (beta) chord progression.

All the examples above start with chord I. However, the patterns
may be transposed so that they start on other scale steps. For
example, I ( iii ) IV could be transposed to ii ( IV ) V etc. It is not
the actual scale steps involved that matter but the succession of
scale steps. Similar patterns may also be derived for the minor key.

The following is an example of a) (i):

The white note heads indicate notes from functional chords and the
black note heads indicate the passing notes involved in voice
leading. The note combination highlighted by an * appears at first
sight to be a chord iii in root position. However, the chord iii arises
as a result of a passing note in the melody between chord I and
chord IV. The F# is a stepwise filling in note between the G in chord
I and the E in chord IV. The bass note B arises as an arpeggiation of
the G major chord in the bass. As the chord iii is the result of a
passing note and an arpeggiation, it will be referred to as a passing
chord. The chord iii is thus the result of a voice leading movement
rather than an harmonic movement. As this is a passing chord I've
shown the iii in round brackets in this outline. I've shown the bass
arpeggiation with a slur to show the two notes belong to the same
structural chord. I've shown the descending passing note connected
to the notes it fills in between with stems and a beam to highlight
this passing motion because of its particular interest here. In this
example, I've also followed the convention that I will follow in the
full analysis chapter, that is that I have not shown the notes
repeated form the preceding chord as new white notes in the
passing chord. The assumption is that where these notes do not
move they are still in force whilst the bass arpeggiates and the
melody moves to the passing note. The ascending passing note
between E and G, I've just shown as "P". This descending passing
note pattern also occurs frequently with the passing note in the
bass.

In this example, it is fairly easy to see the voice leading nature of


the passing chord. However, it is not always so easy to establish
which chords in a progression arise from voice leading and which
are harmonic. Chords that at first sight appear to be functional may
arise as the result of arpeggios, auxiliary notes, passing notes or
appoggiaturas. For the harmony and syntactic structures to be
correctly understood it is necessary to correctly identify and
separate these non-functional chords from the underlying
progression.

The following is an example of b) (ii) This example has a slower


harmonic rhythm:

So far, we have only considered diatonic passing chords. However,


the number of possibilities for chromatic passing notes is much
greater. Any two notes separated by a tone in two successive
functional chords can be elaborated by a stepwise chromatic filling
in note. For example, C# can fill in the gap between C and D.
Chromatic passing notes are even possible between two notes a
minor third apart. For example, the space between the descending
C to A interval, in C major, can be filled in by a B-flat in place of the
diatonic B-natural.

When you consider that these chromatic notes can be combined in


many ways, the number of possibilities is enormous. The resulting
chromatic harmonies add variety and interest to the underlying
diatonic harmonies but do not usually imply a change in key. The
following table shows single voice only movements:

The following is an example of (ii). The augmented 5th chord arises


from the filling in of the interval between chord I and chord IV:
Note: There is a further description of the passing note and passing
chords in the Voice Leading Appendix.
CHAPTER 3 (PART 4)

NON-FUNCTIONAL CHORDS

Appoggiatura Chords

The appoggiatura chord is named by analogy with the appoggiatura


note. An appoggiatura is a note, not normally part of a chord, which
displaces a normal note of a chord. The appoggiatura resolves onto
the displaced note whilst the chord is still sounding. An
appoggiatura, usually (but not always) creates a dissonance with
the normal notes of the chord. More than one appoggiatura may be
deployed in a chord concurrently. The following example contains
appoggiaturas as indicated at *1 and at 2*:

At *1 in bar 10, the two appoggiaturas form discords with the


normal notes of the chord and then resolve onto consonant notes of
the chord. The C appoggiatura is a compound ninth discord against
the B-flat bass and resolves onto a B-flat. This is shown as 9 - 8 in
the figured bass under the harmonic outline. The E-flat appoggiatura
is a dissonant 7th above the F of the chord and a 4th above the
bass. This resolves onto the consonant D. This is shown as 4 -3 in
the figured bass.
An appoggiatura note does not create a sense of a change in
harmony. However, an appoggiatura chord is an extension of the
appoggiatura such that the the way the notes sound in conjunction
with the other notes of the chord create an impression of a change
in harmony. Appoggiatura chords are non-functional and the chords
onto which they resolve are functional. This is because appoggiatura
chords merely elaborate the functional harmony. Their purpose is to
prolong the functional chord. Appoggiatura chords are used most
commonly to decorate and extend the cadence. The reason for
giving these chords a special name is because they are capable of
being confused with genuine functional chords. In reality, they arise
out of voice leading movements just as other surface voice leading
patterns do.

At *2 in bar 9 (in the above example) the two appoggiaturas: B-flat


and D take over from the normal notes of the chord (A and C) and
here form a new chord - the tonic chord in second inversion. This
is normally referred to as the cadential 6 4 chord because the upper
notes are a (compound) 6th and 4th above the bass of the dominant
chord of the cadence. This is the most common type of
appoggiatura chord. The appoggiatura chord is shown here as black
note heads with a stem. I've shown them this way because cadential
6 4 chords are frequently elaborated by further levels of voice
leading and this will enable us to distinguish the levels. See Voice
Leading Patterns Combined in the Voice Leading Appendix for more
on this. Note that in the example above, the appoggiatura chord in
bar 9. is of shorter duration than the appoggiatura notes in bar 10.
Duration is not the main consideration for this type of voice leading
elaboration.

There are three main types of the appoggiatura chord as indicated


in the following harmonic outlines: These are all mostly associated
with the elaboration of cadential dominant and tonic chords (but not
exclusively). They are used extensively as means of emphasising
that the chords are part of the cadence.
The chord marked as *2 in the example above is an example of
Figure 7 a). Cadential 6 4 chords, with or without further elaboration
are very common and the reader will find further examples very
easily.

Examples of the appoggiatura chord b) are not as common as the


cadential 6 4. However, they are are sometimes used to decorate a
dominant seventh chord at the cadence or in a chord progression or
as a melodic device. In the following strong chord progression the A-
flat decorates the dominant 7th chord at bar 112 to form a
temporary diminished 7th appoggiatura chord:
This same chord progression can also be seen in Beethoven:
Pathetique Sonata: Grave, bars 7 to 9 and in the first prelude of
Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues.

It is important at this stage to emphasis the difference between a


passing chord and an appoggiatura chord. A passing chord is made
up of passing notes plus notes from the preceding chord. An
appoggiatura chord is made up of one or more appoggiaturas plus
notes from the following chord. In the last example, the A-flat is an
appoggiatura and the remaining notes are notes from the following
(G7) chord. The passing chord moves away from a chord and the
appoggiatura chord leads into and decorates the following chord.

The following is an example of c) in which the appoggiatura chord


decorates the cadential tonic chord. Note that the appoggiatura
chord appears in root position (if we take the lowest note of of the
arpeggiated bass line) suggesting its status as an independent
chord. It is, nevertheless made up of two appoggiaturas plus notes
from the following tonic chord and is consequently a non-functional
chord: The downward movement of one of the appoggiaturas is
further elaborated by a chromatic passing note as indicated in the
harmonic outline. This highlights the reason for showing the
appoggiatura chord notes with stems as explained above.
This progression is of particular interest to readers studying
harmony in popular music as it forms the basis of the standard
cadential pattern for the 12 bar blues progression. This normally has
the 7th added to each of the chords as follows but the chord
progression is the same:

V 7 - IV 7 - I 7

For more information on this then please refer to Appendix A: The


Blues Progression

Puccini's aria Nessun Dorma ends with the same cadential pattern,
showing the influence of the blues on this early 20th century piece.

Note: There is more information on the appoggiatura and


appoggiatura chords in the Voice Leading Appendix.
CHAPTER 4

LINEAR PROGRESSIONS

Where a chord progression arises out of a step by step movement in


one or more voices rather than by root progression, I will refer to
these progressions as 'linear progressions'.

Those readers who are familiar with Schenker's theory should note
that the use of the term 'linear progression' in this book is similar to,
but not exactly the same as that by Schenker. In this book, the term
is used more in line with 16th century polyphony and the traditional
rules of voice leading, rather than in the extended way used by
Schenker. By limiting its use in this way, the relationship between
root progressions and voice leading can be more clearly described
than in pure Schenkerian theory.

In the last chapter, the passing chords were created by passing


notes in one or more voices resulting in a single chord filling in
between two functional chords. An important extension of this
pattern is a series of chords created by a step by step movement in
one or more voices. I will refer to this as a linear progression. The
succession of filling in chords is neither recognisable as static
harmony nor as dynamic harmony. This does not mean, however,
that the linear progression is a third type of movement. This is
because linear progressions are always incorporated within static or
dynamic patterns. The chord succession results out of the linear
movement of one or more voices rather than a root movement. A
linear progression may be either diatonic or chromatic or a mixture
of both and may involve more than one voice in parallel motion or in
contrary motion. Where there are concurrent linear progressions
these may sometimes move at different rates. This type of
movement has its origins in 16th century polyphony. (See Auxiliary
Notes and Linear Progressions in the Voice Leading Appendix) The
reason for giving this type of movement a special name is not
because it has a special significance but because it is capable of
being confused with a genuine functional root progression. In
reality, it arises out of voice leading movement just as other surface
voice leading patterns do. The only real difference with other types
of voice leading patterns is that linear progressions can operate
over a longer duration.

The stepwise movement is always contiguous. If there is a break in


the step wise movement then the progression is not a linear
progression. In general, the same rules as for passing chords are
apparent: The passing chords in the linear progression are made up
mainly (if not completely) of notes retained from the starting chord
and linear moving notes. Occasionally, chromatic auxiliary notes are
also deployed. This is because of the way that voice leading
patterns can be combined. See Combined Species.

Linear Progressions in Static Harmony

Linear progressions in static harmony can link successive tonic


chords or link the tonic chord to an auxiliary chord involved in the
static harmony, in which case the auxiliary chord behaves as a
functional chord and is normally in root position.

The following example contains just about the simplest kind of linear
progression possible. It is totally diatonic, it is created by a linear
movement between two successive tonic chords and is not
extended by any further elaboration other than surface arpeggios
and passing notes.

It may seam at first sight that this is a I - V - IV - I progression but


on further examination it is clear that the succession is driven by a
linear descending bass pattern: D - C# - B - A, linking the D in the
tonic chord in the upbeat bar to the A in the tonic chord in bar 2. As
well as this linear movement there is a parallel downward stepwise
movement: F# - E - D and also: A - G - F#. Although, neither of
these linear movements stays in the same voice and both are
effectively just passing note patterns as there is only one note
between successive structural notes. Note that the common
properties normally observed in linear progressions are present: The
chords involved in the linear progression are made up of the notes
of the starting chord and notes which are moving (i.e. taking part in
the linear progressions). Hence, the A (first beat, bar 1) and the D
(first beat bar 2) are retained as starting chord harmonies against
the other notes that are involved in the movement. This is a voice
leading movement rather than a chord progression. The static
harmony then continues for several bars. The harmonic outline
shows the structural notes as white note heads and the voice
leading filling in notes as black note heads. The beam is used to
connect the notes involved in the linear movement. Slurs are used
to connect notes arpeggiated within the structural tonic chord. The
two passing chords created by the linear progression are shown in
brackets to highlight the fact that they are not structural chords.
See Voice Leading Appendix.

Chromatic linear progressions are more common than diatonic


linear progressions as there are more possibilities. Following is an
example of a chromatic linear progression within static harmony.
Like the previous example, the bass voice descends from the tonic
note to the dominant but this time by 5 semitone steps. A middle
voice follows the linear progression in parallel minor thirds, whilst a
further voice decorates with a chromatic auxiliary note. The minor
third, or the compound interval of the minor 10th or its inversion,
the major 6th, are the most common intervals for chromatic linear
progressions moving in parallel motion. The linear movement is
accompanied by notes sustained from the staring chord (A minor): E
and A, as is normal for linear progressions. In this instance, the
harmonic movement is from Chord I to chord V. Note: This piece is
in D minor (hence the D minor key signature) but this section is in A
minor.
At bar 26, in the same composition, Mozart employs a combination
of diatonic and chromatic linear progressions in contrary motion.
There are three linear progressions in all: two rising in parallel thirds
and one descending. In spite of this complexity the harmonies
produced make perfect sense. However, it is important to note that
the preparation and resolution of the discords are governed here by
the rules that apply to linear progressions rather than the rules that
would normally apply to structural chords. This fact underscores the
voice leading nature of this and other voice leading progressions.
The progression is again within static harmony and starts and ends
on the tonic chord.
The descending line is in semitones apart from one tone (from G to
F) and the ascending scales are diatonic apart from an augmented
2nd from F to G#.

Linear Progressions in Dynamic Harmony

The following example includes a linear progression moving


chromatically from the dominant chord to the tonic. The underlying
harmony is dynamic as the dominant is preceded by chord II and the
tonic followed by chord IV. The purpose of the linear progression is
to temporarily delay and extend the movement of the dynamic
harmony. Whilst diatonic linear progressions are deployed most
frequently in the bass and sometimes also in the melody, chromatic
linear progressions are sometimes used in a middle voice, as here.
The linear progression is driven by the the line which descends: B ,
Bb , A - Ab - G in the tenor voice . The G from the starting chord is
retained in bar 12 in the bass but then forms a passing note F which
descends to the E in the ending chord. It involves: two diminished
7th chords (one supertonic leading; one tonic leading) and one triad
(the supertonic). The normal rules about linear progressions are
followed. The chords in bars 13 and 14 retain the D form the
starting chord even though this is temporarily displaced in bar 12 by
the C# and E auxiliary notes.
Linear Progressions Elaborating Dominant Harmony

The third area where linear progressions are important is in the


prolongation of the dominant chord. This is similar to the use of
linear progressions in tonic static harmony. However, as we have
not yet examined the prolongation of the dominant harmony, I will
leave this subject until Chapter 5.

There is also a description of the linear progression in the Voice


Leading Appendix at: Auxiliary Notes and Linear Progressions and
Chromatic Linear Progressions.

CHAPTER 5 (PART 1)

EXTENSIONS WITHIN THE BASIC STRUCTURE


Introduction

All harmonic structures in tonal music derive from the basic phrase
structure as explained in Chapter 1. The basic syntactic structure
can be extended in various ways, just as sentence structures in
language can be. In this chapter we will consider extensions within
the basic phrase structure and in the next chapter extensions
outside of the basic structure.

There are three types of extension possible within the basic musical
phrase structure:

1. The dominant chord of the cadence can be prolonged by static


harmony in a similar way to the way the tonic chord is
prolonged in the static harmony in the opening section. This
has the effect of extending the cadence. I will refer to this as a
dominant prolongation. This extension is very common.
2. The tonic chord of the cadence can be prolonged by static
harmony. This has the effect of delaying the end of the
phrase. This I will refer to as a static coda. This is also a
common extension to the basic structure.
3. The opening section, can be subdivided into two sections. In
this case, the initial static harmony is preceded by a dynamic
element that I will refer to as a dynamic introduction. This is a
kind of extended upbeat or lead-in to the static harmony. This
occurs less frequently than the previous two types but is an
important way of extending the opening section harmony.

The following diagram shows all three types of extension in place in


the syntactic structure. They may be present individually or in any
combination.

This diagram shows the most complete form of the syntactic


structure without external extensions:
CHAPTER 5 (PART 2)

EXTENSIONS WITHIN THE BASIC STRUCTURE

The Dominant Prolongation

The dominant prolongation is the most common type of internal


extension to the basic syntactic structure. Here, the dominant chord
of the cadence is prolonged by the use of static harmony in a similar
way to the way the tonic chord is prolonged in the opening section
of the musical phrase. All the techniques explained in the previous
chapters for prolonging the tonic can be applied to the dominant
chord. These are:
• Combinations of voice leading elaborations.
• Static harmony deploying auxiliary chords that fill in between
dominant chords
• The use of a dominant pedal note underscoring the static
harmony.
• The use of passing chords filling in between the dominant and
auxiliary chords.
• The use of linear progressions filling in between the dominant
and auxiliary chords or successive dominants.

In addition the dominant cadential harmony may be extended in two


ways not usually deployed in opening section static harmony:

• The cadential 6 4 (see Chapter 3 (part 4)) with or without


further elaboration.
• Cadenzas which are long melodic elaborations used at the
ends of some movements

Dominant prolongations are very common and are used in some


form or other in most pieces of music. They vary from short
elaborations just deploying a cadential 6 4 chord to long
prolongations and cadenzas that extend over many bars. The more
structurally important the position in the music, the longer and more
elaborate the dominant prolongation may be. Dominant chords
involved in the dominant prolongations often contain added 7ths
and sometimes added 9ths. Even short cadential dominant chords
normally contain some kind of elaboration such as a cadential 6 4
elaboration or a suspension to highlight the fact that it is the
dominant chord of the cadence.

Dominant prolongations are prolongations of the cadential dominant


chord and form a syntactic function in the phrase. Non-cadential
dominant chords are not normally prolonged in this way.

The following figure shows the form of a complete phrase extended


by a dominant prolongation:

a) The dominant Prolongation


When considering the structure of the musical phrase (static
harmony, dynamic harmony, cadence) bear in mind that it is
important to distinguish between tonic static harmony and dominant
static harmony. The first starts off the phrase and establishes the
key. The dominant static harmony, if it exists in the phrase, is part
of the cadence and delays the end of the phrase and so each is
anchored in the phrase in different positions in relation to the
cadence. Dominant prolongations can be distinguished from tonic
prolongations by a combination of context (position in relation to the
cadence) and the fact that dominant prolongations are likely to have
7ths in the main structural chords (i.e. dominant 7th chords)
whereas in tonic prolongations, the 7ths (if present) are more likely
to be on the auxiliary chords. (However, sometimes the tonic takes
on a minor 7th when moving to an auxiliary chord IV. See also
section on the blues).

The following eight bar dominant prolongation from the Bach: First
Prelude (see below) is based on a simple oscillation between
dominant and tonic. The dominant and tonic chords here exchange
roles in comparison with their roles in an opening section static
harmony. That is to say, in this dominant prolongation the tonic
chord acts as an auxiliary chord to the repeated occurrences of the
dominant chord which is being prolonged. The tonic auxiliary chords
are shown in square brackets in the harmonic outline.

At bar 27 to 29 the movement from chord V to auxiliary chord I is


further elaborated by chromatic passing notes in parallel 10ths. (D
moves to E-flat and then E-natural in the tenor voice and F moves to
F# and then G in the soprano voice). The chromatic passing notes,
along with two auxiliary notes, result in a dominant leading
diminished 7th chord in bar 28. At bars 26 and 30 the harmony is
further elaborated by suspensions. These suspensions are shown as
black notes with stems in the harmonic outline. The whole
prolongation is underscored and delimited by a dominant pedal.
The dominant prolongation shown above is preceded by 23 bars of
dynamic harmony and followed by a 4 bar static coda (see later).
This means that the whole prelude is syntactically in the form of a
closing section only.

The following example from Elgar: Enigma Variations shows a


dominant prolongation in context. It is preceded by I - II - dynamic
harmony and followed by the tonic chord. As in the previous
example, the dominant prolongation uses chord I as the auxiliary
chord and the prolongation is underpinned by a dominant pedal. As
can be seen from the harmonic outline, the dominant is prolonged
by a combination of:
• an auxiliary chord I in bar 10, in second inversion (auxiliary 6
4)
• arpeggiation of the dominant chord along with passing notes
in bars 9 and 10, shown by slurs and black note heads
• a passing 7th, in the tenor voice in bar 9 and in the top voice
in bar 10, each highlighted with stems and beams.
• a passing 9th in the last beat of bar 9, in parallel 10ths with
the 7th in the tenor.

These are shown in the harmonic outline. The horizontal square


bracket indicates the extent of the dominant prolongation.

The dominant cadential harmony may be extended in two ways not


usually deployed in opening section static harmony. These are the
cadential 6 4 appoggiatura chord (discussed in chapter 3 (part 4))
and the cadenza. The cadenza can be anything from a simple short
elaboration of the dominant chord to many bars of improvisational
music. When these are used in combination, the elaboration starts
during the 6 4 harmony and continues into the dominant harmony.
Whatever the nature and length of the cadenza, the function is to
prolong the dominant cadential harmony, thus delaying the
completion of the cadence whilst at the same time highlighting the
end of the phrase, section or movement. The following example
illustrates a brief cadenza that elaborates the underlying cadential 6
4 and dominant harmony:

For a full phrase example containing a dominant prolongation which


extends over 7 whole bars see Appendix B of the Thesis section of
this site which includes further explanation of how to delimit the
phrase boundaries. You can see the full explanation at: details of the
analysis.
CHAPTER 5 (PART 3)

EXTENSIONS WITHIN THE BASIC STRUCTURE

The Static Coda

The tonic chord of the cadence can also be prolonged by the use of
static harmony. This has the effect of extending the end of the
musical phrase. This I will refer to this as a static coda.

All the techniques explained in the previous chapters for prolonging


the tonic in the opening section static harmony can be applied to
the prolongation of the tonic chord in the cadence. These are:

• Any combination of voice leading elaborations.


• Static harmony deploying a variety of auxiliary chords,
interspersed between tonic chords.
• The use of a tonic pedal note underscoring the static
harmony.
• The use of passing chords filling in between the tonic and
auxiliary chords.
• The use of linear progressions filling in between the tonic and
auxiliary chords or successive tonic chords.

Whilst similar to the static harmony in the opening section of the


syntactic structure, in practice, static codas are often simple
oscillations such as I [ V ] I or I [ IV ] I. Static Codas are very
common but occur most frequently at the ends of main sections in a
piece of music.

The following figure shows the form of a complete phrase extended


by a static coda:

b) The Static Coda


The static coda is similar to the static harmony of the opening
section of the standard phrase structure but is part of the cadence
and therefore performs a different function. It often reprises melodic
ideas from opening section static harmony. As for opening section
static harmony, in the static coda the tonic sometimes takes on a
minor 7th when moving to an auxiliary chord IV.

In the following example from the Mozart: Sonata K545, the final
chord I is prolonged by a simple I [ V ] I chord oscillation. This is a
common type of static coda, especially in the classical period.

Following is a full description of this phrase:


The figure above shows the syntactic structure for this phrase. It
forms the repeat of the second subject in the recapitulation from the
first movement of the Sonata.

1. Bars 59. To 63: Opening Section static harmony: I [ V ] I,


repeated. The extent of the static harmony is indicated by the
horizontal bracket.
2. Bars 63 to 68: Closing Section dynamic harmony. This
completes a full cycle of 7 α progressions followed by I - II - V
(one γ and one α progression) The II to V ( D minor to G
dominant) (α) progression is elaborated by a diminished 7th
chromatic passing chord as indicated in the analysis. The
chromatic movement is F - F # - G in parallel with D - E-flat -
E-natural.
3. Bars 69 and 70: The dominant chord is prolonged by a full bar
cadential 6 4 appoggiatura chord. We could indicate this as a
(short) dominant prolongation in the chart, in this example,
the cadential 6 4 chord is indicated by a horizontal line
preceding the dominant chord onto which it resolves..
4. Bars 71 to 73: Cadential chord I is prolonged by a three bar
static coda made up of I [ V ] I static harmony repeated. The
extent of the Static Coda is indicated by the horizontal
bracket.

See the thesis for how to determine the phrase boundaries.

Static codas based on I [ IV ] I static harmony are also very


common, especially in church music. As for the opening section
static harmony, auxiliary chord V suggests secular music and IV
suggests sacred music. A good example of this is the last few bars
of Handel: Hallelujah Chorus. This example contains a brief
dominant prolongation of one bar duration followed by a static coda
of 7 bars involving 8 repeats of the I [ IV ] I pattern.
The IV to I chord succession (repeated 8 times in this example) is
sometimes referred to as a plagal or amen cadence. However, this
is not in reality a cadence, merely the result of the I [IV] I static
harmony prolonging the cadential tonic chord. The true cadence in
this example is the movement from the last chord of the brief
dominant prolongation in bar 87 to the first chord of the static coda
starting in bar 88. A true plagal cadence only occurs when the
syntactic V - I is replaced by IV - I.

To avoid any confusion it should be made clear that there is no


relationship between a static coda and a formal coda. A static coda
is a syntactic element and performs a syntactic function in a musical
phrase. The only purpose of the expression static coda is to explain
the syntax of the musical phrase. A formal coda may contain a
whole syntactic phrase or more.

CHAPTER 5 (PART 4)

EXTENSIONS WITHIN THE BASIC STRUCTURE

The Dynamic Introduction

Sometimes the opening section of the musical phrase is subdivided


into two syntactic elements. The initial static harmony is then
preceded by a dynamic chord progression that I will refer to as a
dynamic introduction. This is a kind of extended upbeat or lead-in to
the static harmony. It can be present in the first phrase of a piece of
music or any subsequent phrase. This type of phrase extension is
less common than the previous two types explained above.

All the techniques explained in chapter 2 for creating dynamic


harmony can be applied. These are:

• The use of strong α, β, and γ chord progressions,


• The addition of essential sevenths and sharpening of minor
3rds to strengthen the harmonic movement.
• The use of passing notes and passing chords filling in between
functional chords.
• The use of linear progressions filling in between functional
chords.

Dynamic introductions end with a dominant chord that moves to the


initial tonic chord of the static harmony. The final dominant chord
can be extended into a dominant prolongation. Thus the form of
dynamic introduction is similar to a structure of a complete closing
section but with the final tonic chord overlapping with the first tonic
chord of the static harmony.

For dynamic harmony at the start of a phrase to be a Dynamic


Introduction it must be fully integrated or internal to the phrase.
Dynamic harmony may also exist as independent lead-ins to
phrases either as introductions or as linking passages. In the latter
case the dynamic introduction is an incomplete phrase and is
external to the complete phrase. (See Chapter 6.)

The following figure shows the form of a complete phrase extended


by a dynamic introduction:
The first subject of the Beethoven Piano Sonata, Opus 31 No. 3.
starts with a dynamic introduction:

This dynamic introduction is based on a simple II - V - I progression.


This is elaborated by a cadential 6 4 appoggiatura chord and a
passing dominant leading diminished seventh chord. After an
ascending scale passage, the dynamic introduction repeats and the
static harmony starts at bar 17 and continues to bar 27 where the
dynamic harmony of the closing section starts. The dynamic
introduction belongs to the same phrase as the static harmony in
bars 17 to 27 as both syntactic elements contain the similar motivic
material (the descending 5th dotted figure) and are both part of the
first subject. In this example, the dynamic introduction is an integral
part of the syntactic phrase.

To avoid any confusion it should be made clear that there is no


relationship between a dynamic introduction and a formal
introduction. A dynamic introduction is a syntactic element and
performs a syntactic function in a musical phrase. The only purpose
of the expression dynamic introduction is to explain how the
harmony functions in relation to the musical phrase. It can exist at
the start of any phrase in a piece of music not necessarily the first
phrase. A formal introduction may contain whole syntactic phrases.

Sometimes a dynamic introduction may precede a phrase without


being integrated within the phrase. This type of external phrase
extension will be dealt with in Chapter 6.

Demo 3 is an example of a full phrase containing a dynamic


introduction although the dynamic introduction here consists of only
a single dominant chord extended over two bars.

The full book will contain further examples of the dynamic


introduction.
CHAPTER 7 (PART 1)

MODULATION

In this chapter we will consider how modulation works in the context


of a theory of chord progressions and syntactic structures.

For a description of some basics on modulation, click here.

Modulation by Dynamic Harmony

As modulation is a process of moving from one tonal center to


another and dynamic harmony is a movement of chord progressions
linking one static element to another, dynamic harmony and
modulation often go hand in hand.
In the first example, we'll consider an instance where a common
chord is in evidence and in the second example where the
modulation is carried out by a direct movement to the dominant of
the new key. Please refer to the basics of modulation section for
more details of these methods.

The following theme from Haydn's Sonata in D major contains two


phrases. The first contains dynamic harmony which modulates from
the tonic key to the dominant key and the second phrase contains
dynamic harmony which modulates back to the tonic key:
.

The first phrase is a complete phrase ending in the dominant key


(bars 1 to 8). The modulation to the dominant takes place in the
dynamic harmony of the closing section where the progression
moves the tonality from the tonic D to the cadence in the dominant
key of A major. We can describe the modulation from D major to A
major by saying that the B minor chord in bar 6 acts as a common
chord (or pivot chord) between the two keys. It would thus function
as chord VI in D major and simultaneously as chord II in A major. An
alternative interpretation is to say that the modulation is carried out
by the dynamic harmony which moves the tonality forward from D
major to the A major cadence via the chord progression made up of
one β progression and one α progression. The third of the E chord is
made major so that it can function correctly as the dominant chord
in the cadence.

The second phrase is a complete phrase returning to the home


tonality. It starts with a dynamic introduction which is responsible
for the modulation back to the home key. For this key change, it is
not possible to identify a common chord, because, rather than use
the B minor chord as a common chord to smooth the movement,
Haydn heightens the chromatic effect by using the B7 chord which is
not a diatonic chord in either key. A more satisfactory explanation is
that the modulation is facilitated by a chord progression constructed
by dynamic harmony made up of one γ and two α progressions, as
indicated in the example. The third of the B chord is made major
just as any diatonic minor chord can be made major to strengthen
the sense of dynamic movement. It creates a 'transient cadence' in
E minor but this key is not established as a new tonal base by any
static harmony in E minor.

In the following example from the development section of the first


movement of the Mozart K545 sonata, two static elements are
connected by a short dynamic element made up of one γ and one α
progression. The G minor static harmony of bars 29 to 31 is thus
smoothly joined to the D minor static harmony of bars 33 to 35:

The dynamic harmony is constructed just as it would be if it were


non-modulating. The third of the A chord in bar 32 is sharpened just
as it might be in non-modulating dynamic harmony but in this case
the A chord is the dominant chord in the new key. Again, no diatonic
common chord is used. In this instance the movement is direct to
the new key's dominant chord.

As can be seen from the examples above it is not an individual


chord that defines the key but the arrival of the dynamic harmony
at a stable tonal position as defined by static harmony or a perfect
cadence. Thus, the B7 chord in Example 7.1., at bar 9, does not
signify a modulation to E minor since the E minor tonality is not
confirmed by static harmony and it is not the end of a phrase. It
merely functions as part of the dynamic harmony that carries the
movement forward. The A7 chord at bar 11, in contrast, does signify
a modulation to D major since the home key is confirmed by 6 ½
bars of static harmony.

A modulation 'direct to the new dominant' is possible for a


modulation to any key. This is carried out either by a secondary
dominant (a minor or diminished chord converted to a dominant
7th) or via a German augmented 6th chord which is reinterpreted as
the dominant 7th chord of the new key. Either method normally
takes place within an episode of dynamic harmony.

One important example of 'direct to dominant' modulation is the


modulation from a minor key to its relative major. In this instance,
the chord progression used is a falling second progression. i.e. a γ'
progression. This is a frequent key change in the classical and
romantic periods and accounts almost exclusively for the use of this
progression in dynamic harmony.

This use of this (otherwise uncommon) progression supports the


view that modulation functions as a conscious process whereas
syntax is largely subconscious. Please refer to the thesis section for
further discussion of this.

The book will give more details about 'direct to dominant'


modulations. Here we will concentrate on the more common types
of modulation.
CHAPTER 7 (PART 2)

MODULATION

Modulation via Chromatic Chords

German 6th chords can be created on all chromatic and diatonic


notes within the scale. As these are the same, enharmonically, as
dominant seventh chords, they can be reinterpretation as dominant
7th chords in all keys. However, this is really just a form of "direct to
dominant" modulation. A more common method of modulation is for
a chromatic chord to move onto the new dominant rather than
becoming the dominant itself. The diminished 7th and augmented
6th chords are the chords most commonly used for this purpose.
These progressions normally take place within an episode of
dynamic harmony. The movement to a new key is thus made by the
use of a musical 'pun'. The chord progressions used can be
summarised in the following table:

The chromatic chord is moved to as a passing chord from the tonic


of the old key and is immediately reinterpreted as dominant leading
in the new key. It then moves on as a passing chord to the new
dominant chord with or without an intervening cadential 6 4
appoggiatura chord. The diminished seventh chord and augmented
6th chords are the most useful and common ways of making this
type of modulation. They act as chromatic pivot chords. Here, the
composer is using a 'trick of the trade' by reinterpreting the
meaning of a chromatic chord. Consequently, the normal strong root
progression between functional chords is broken and the two
functional chords may be related by a weak chord progression. The
composer is using a consciously learned process which is overriding
the normal subconscious use of strong chord progressions. These
progressions are normally used, nevertheless as part of a dynamic
harmony episode.

Following are two examples:

In this example, bar 51 ends in C minor. The C minor chord is


immediately followed by a passing diminished 7th chord which is
dominant leading in C minor. This is reinterpreted as dominant
leading in the new key of E-flat major. The diminished 7th chord is
followed by the B-flat dominant chord of E-flat. This brief dynamic
harmony acts as link passage from the first subject in C minor to the
second subject in E-flat. The progression from the C minor chord to
the B-flat chord would normally be too weak a progression to use in
dynamic harmony but the modulation makes the chord progression
acceptable. The modulation and harmony support the background
syntactic structure.
In this example, the closing section of the phrase has arrived at a
perfect cadence in C major. The C major chord moves onto the
augmented 6th chord by linear movement. This is immediately
reinterpreted as a dominant leading chord in the new key of A
minor. The augmented 6th chord is followed by a cadential 6 4
chord and then the E major dominant harmony. This starts off a
dominant prolongation that extends for a further 9 bars. The
dynamic harmony thus includes a progression from a functional C
chord to a functional E chord. This rising third progression would
normally be too weak a progression to use in dynamic harmony but
the needs of the modulation override the expected strong chord
progression. However, the syntactic structures remain clear.
CHAPTER 7 (PART 3)

MODULATION

Tonic to Tonic Modulation

By far the most common type of modulation is modulation during


dynamic harmony as indicated in the last two sections. However,
composers occasionally modulate by juxtaposing two keys directly
next to each other. This can be by two static harmony elements in
different keys joined to form one static harmony element or can be
one phrase following another directly in a different key without any
dynamic harmony to facilitate the modulation.. The first has its
origins in the contrapuntal writing of fugue. In the following fugal
example, the need to bring the second voice in at the dominant
pitch requires that the initial C minor static harmony be repeated
one fifth higher with no intervening dynamic harmony. Thus two
static elements are immediately juxtaposed in different keys
forming a single static syntactic element. The falling 4th progression
from the C minor chord to the G major chord is too weak to be
interpreted as dynamic harmony.

When analysing examples of contrapuntal writing, as here, some


interpretation is required to determine what harmony is implied by
the single or two part writing. The interpretation can often be tested
by making a comparison with a similar passage elsewhere in the
piece with fuller part writing. For instance, the interpretation of the
third beat as chord IV is supported by the fuller harmonisation later
in bar 7. However, whether this beat should be interpreted as
auxiliary chord IV or some other auxiliary chord or just plain
auxiliary notes does not make any difference. Whatever the implied
harmony is, bars 1 - 2 are a static prolongation of the C minor tonic
chord.

Since the second voice enters with the answer to the fugal subject
one fifth higher, static harmony on G starts immediately. At bar 5,
the first fugal 'episode' starts. This is a rising sequence based on
dynamic harmony using α and β progressions.

Following is an example of modulation, 'tonic to tonic' in a non-


contrapuntal context:

Here the end of one phrase in C major is immediately followed by a


new phrase in the unrelated key of A-flat with no intervening
dynamic harmony. The only connection is the common note C.
The full book will contain a further example from Brahms of
modulation within static harmony in a non-contrapuntal context.