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Tutorial letter 201/3/2013

Composition Models: Tonal Music I

Semesters 1 & 2
Department of Art History, Visual Arts and Musicology
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This tutorial letter contains important information about your module.

Thank you for your 1st Assignment submissions. Congratulations to the two students who received distinctions, and to those of you who passed. To those who didnt, dont despair, this is the very start of your music studies, and theres time to improve. To discuss your assignment in more depth, or for information on how you should proceed with Assignment 2, you can get hold of me using my contact details at the end of this letter. In the rest of the letter youll find my own solutions to Question 1.1 and Question 1.4, along with pointers on the correct answering of all the questions.

Question 1.1

The example above makes use of one abbreviation not listed in the assignment question: I use AP to refer to accented passing-note, when a passing note occurs on the crotchet beat rather than between two crotchet beats. This is not to be confused with App for appoggiatura, nor with A for anticipation, which is not used in the example above but does occur in the harmonization in Question 1.4. You are encouraged to adopt the use of these abbreviations as well.

Roman numeral analysis is efficient and comprehensive for this style of music because it provides a model which can account completely for all notes. It is not without occasional ambiguity, however. Sometimes it is debatable as to which are non-harmonic and which harmonic notes. This allows for multiple correct readings in some situations. You might therefore find that Ive marked your interpretation correct (or rather not marked it incorrect if its not marked, you can assume its correct) even though it differs from my own interpretation above. The last beat of bar 11 going into the first beat of bar 12, and the last beat of bar 15, are two such places where multiple readings are possible. There are some conventions to be followed regarding bar numbering. Anacrusis bars do not count as complete bars. Bar 1 is therefore not the single crotchet-beat bar containing a tonic G major at the very beginning, but the first complete bar containing four beats, which starts with the subdominant chord. By the same token, the double bar with repeats three beats into bar 4 does not affect the bar numbering: the tonic G major chord that directly follows the double bar is the last beat of bar 4, not a new bar. In short, only number complete bars. Beware of lower-case versus upper-case Roman numerals. Upper-case Roman numerals signify a major chord. Lower-case Roman numerals signify a minor chord. If the wrong case is used, the Roman numeral analysis for that chord is considered incorrect. Diminished triads are written as lower case, and augmented triads as upper case. Regarding the use of pedal notes: a series of identical, harmonic (as opposed to non-harmonic) pitches repeated in consecutive chords does not constitute a pedal note. The repeated gs in the alto of bar 3, and the repeated es in the soprano of bars 10-11, for instance, are simply the result of the same pitches being present in each chord, arranged through voice-leading so that they stay in the same voice. Real pedal notes are most often (though not exclusively) found in the bass voice, and their defining feature is that they function as non-harmonic notes to at least one of the chords they are found under, which is why they are discussed in that category. They are often the tonic or dominant of the key, and are maintained on the same pitch while the harmony changes above them. The use of triads in 2nd inversion is reserved for special situations. 2nd inversion chords can occur as passing 6/4s, cadential 6/4s, pedal 6/4s or auxiliary 6/4s. For now, they should not be used in any other situation. See Gauldin Chapter 16 for discussion of the use of 2nd inversion triads. Quartads in 2nd inversion can be treated somewhat more freely.

Question 1.2
Suspensions are named according to the intervals between the bass note and the notes forming the suspension. Look at bar 5, beat 4 in Question 1.1 above. The bass note is f. The note suspended from the previous chord is e. The note the e is resolving to is d. The interval from f to e is a (minor) 7th. The interval from f to d is a (minor) 6th. The suspension is therefore a 7-6 suspension. There a

total of six 4-3 suspensions in this chorale. You can find them in bars 2, 4, 6, 12, 14 and 17. Youll notice that all of these 4-3 suspensions occur at cadence points.

Question 1.3
You will find information regarding musical texture in Chapter 5 of your prescribed textbook (Gauldin), from pages 67 to 81. Page 29 of your study guide explains the approach you should take when answering questions on texture. When talking about texture, do not include questions of structure, such as harmony, cadences etc. Blow-by-blow accounts of the movement of individual voices (in bar 10 the soprano part rises for two beats, then falls... etc.) are definitely not desirable. Discussion of the motion between voices, however, such as oblique, contrary etc. should be included, although keep this down to a focus on areas where you find the texture to be fairly noteworthy rather than a complete description of the interaction between every voice throughout. Although the texture looks superficially polyphonic or contrapuntal because of the frequent use of nonharmonic notes, it is in fact homophonic, and more particularly homorhythmic. A good question to ask when youre unsure in examples like these is what is the controlling structural principle of the piece harmony or melody? In this example, its clearly harmony, since every crotchet-beat melody note is assigned a harmony, and its the constant steady rate of harmonic change that drives the piece along. Contrast this piece with a truly contrapuntal piece by Bach, such as one of his fugues or two-part inventions, and youll find that melody plays a much more important role in those works. In the fugues and inventions, harmony sometimes takes a back-seat to melody-writing, in that Bach might bend the normal conventions of harmonic progression in order to create a good melody line or contrapuntal relationship between voices. The harmonic progression in such works is much less likely to be as steady and constant as it is in this chorale.

Question 1.4
Many of you werent very adventurous with your non-harmonic notes. Most simply harmonized the melody using standard four-part harmony, without including any of your own, or very few, non-harmonic notes. Id like to see increased inclusion of non-harmonic notes in future. Note how in Question 1.1 and in my own harmonization below, within the body of each phrase the quaver motion created through the use of non-harmonic tones remains constant. Only at the beginnings of phrases and at the cadence points does the quaver motion occasionally cease. Be sure to answer all parts of the question. Marks were often lost because the basic harmonization had been done but no ii7 pre-dominant chord, examples of voice exchange, or modulation had been included, or because the non-harmonic notes and cadences had not been marked.


Kind regards Chris Jeffery Lecturer: Dept of Art History, Visual Arts and Musicology Room G38, Building 12C, Sunnyside Campus, Unisa, Pretoria (012) 429 6318 073 3258 542