Tonality: An Owner's Manual

A New Book
Crackpot Hymnal

I am at working on a new book which sketches a philosophically informed grammar of traditional Western music, both modal and functional. The main idea is to use recent-music theoretical tools, designed for the more radical experiments of the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries, on earlier music: Renaissance, baroque, classical, with additional consideration of contemporary rock. I make heavy use of the circular geometrical spaces that you can explore under "research."

I am not posting links but I am letting people read drafts. Let me know if you are interested.


CHAPTER 1. Implicit musical knowledge
1. Geometry
2. Philosophy
3. Statistics
4. Schema
5. Outline

Prelude: circular voice-leading space
CHAPTER 2. Analysis: rock logic
1. The melodic principle
2. The harmonic principle
3. A first song family
4. Two more families
5. Shepard-tone passacaglias
6. Minor triads and other trichords
7. A fourth song family
8. Other modalities
9. Function and retrofunction
10. Continuity or reinvention?

Prelude: repetition reconsidered
CHAPTER 3. Counterpoint: canon and configuration
1. The imperfect system
2. Canon and crossing
3. Other intervals
4. The Tinctoris Transform
5. Three voices and the circle of diatonic triads
6. A few moments from Chopin
7. Three voices, multiple chord types
8. Four-voice triadic counterpoint
9. Seventh chords
10. Envoi

Prelude: three varieties of analytical reduction
CHAPTER 4. Counterpoint: the nonharmonic system
1. The first practice and the SNAP system
2. Schoenberg’s critique
3. Monteverdi’s “Ohimè”
4. The standardized second practice
5. The end of the nonharmonic system
6. After nonharmonicity

Prelude: functional and scale-degree analysis
CHAPTER 5. Harmony: origins
1. The logical structure of simple functionality
2. Similarities and differences
3. Origin and meaning
4. Harmony and polyphony
5. The Pope Marcellus Kyrie
6. A broader perspective
7. Modal homogenization, briefly
8. “I Cannot Follow”

Prelude: could the Martians understand our music?
CHAPTER 6. Harmony: progressions
1. Harmonic cycles: preliminaries
2. A theory of harmonic cycles
3. Fauxbourdon
4. Transpositional sequences
5. Contrary sequences
6. Near and partial sequences
7. Melody and harmony
8. Bach the dualist

Prelude: hearing and hearing-as
CHAPTER 7. Harmony: hierarchy
1. Melodic structure
2. An expanded vocabulary of melodic templates
3. Prolongation, inversion, and cadential weight.
4. Simple harmonic recursion
5. Harmonic recursion at the phrasal level
6. Harmonic recursion at the level of the piece: major keys and scales
7. Harmonic recursion at the level of the piece: minor keys
8. Modulatory schemas
9. Phrase logic
10. Formenlehre

Prelude: why Beethoven?
CHAPTER 8. Analysis: Beethoven Theorist
1. Meet the Ludwig
2. From Schema to Flow
3. The Tempest
4. The Fifth
5. The Pastorale Sonata
6. Schubert’s Quartett-Satz
7. The prelude to Lohengrin

9. Conclusion

10. Appendix A: Fundamentals of voice-leading geometry

11. Appendix B: Music theory and corpus analysis