"To have a sense for harmony is to have a sense for tonality." - Érik Satie
(Written by Ornella Volta, Champ libre ed., 1977)
Updated: May 19, 2016
Welcome, dear reader, to this internet site,
which offers a theoretical model as well as tools for analysing
the tonal harmonic discourse from Bach to Wagner.
- In general, the text on this site was written by Luce Beaudet. She is
the principal author, the one who has developed the analytical model
and continues to elaborate it.
However, I (Sylvie-Anne Ménard) allow myself
to make some small interventions, either in the form of comics (to
cheer you, dear reader!..) or to render certain passages more accessible and familiar. You will
know it is me speaking when you see text in a yellow frame - as you see here.
- You can always navigate using
the menu at the top of the page (on a brown background) and the sub-menu
of the chapter in which you find yourself (on a white background). At the end
of each page, you can access the following page by clicking on this
- Furthermore, each word marked in bold and followed by an asterisk (like this*)
provides a link to the glossary. Clicking on the word opens a new page
in your browser and takes you to the definition of the word.
The musical examples are all available in audio format; to hear the
excerpt all you have to do is click on the following icon above the
on the little green arrow and the audio file will begin to play. You
can then easily follow along with the score below the icon.
It is essential to:
- know how to read music
- understand what "tonal music" is
- easily recognize chords and their inversions in a musical text
- be in love with music
It is not essential, but rather useful to:
- possess a few notions of basic harmony
- be familiar with the concept of a secondary dominant
- be familiar with certain types of special chords (Neapolitan sixth, German
sixth, etc.); these terms can be found in the glossary
- have a reasonably fast internet connection (this site contains many images and audio examples)