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PART 1 - 1.1 - Genesis of the analytical model :: 1.2 - Description of the analytical model :: 1.3 - A practice of analysis in the tonal harmonic discourse from Bach to Wagner :: 1.4 - By way of a general conclusion

1.2 - Description of the analytical model || 1. The generative pair and a related issue: the Neapolitan sixth :: 2. The fundamental structure :: 3.The discrete grouping unit :: 4. The mechanism of substitution :: 5. The mechanism of interpolation :: 6.The mechanism of deviation :: 7. Some rules of the game concerning H.S.U. division :: 8. Application to two texts


From the outset, we must agree on a generative pair, specifically the couple V – I, which forms the essential gravitational force of the entire tonal system. This pair alone, due to the manner in which it has been employed by the tonal composers, is able to obtain for the listener a feeling of accomplishment, plenitude, finality, and absolute stability in an art of movement whose essence is defined in terms of tension and release. In fact, tonal listening itself searches for and finds its very meaning through this relationship. However, in what exactly does it consist and in what manner, concretely, is it realized?

Figure 4


From the figure above, we may observe:

- that the role of the dominant may be filled by at least seven distinct chordal structures, each of which can also appear with the 5th raised or lowered by a semitone (see the three augmented sixth* chords), and some of which omit the explicit root (tacit root for structures 3, 5, and 7). Here we must acknowledge that the prevalence of the dominant-tonic pairing results entirely from the attraction of the function V to the function I, an attraction caused by the inherent presence of a tritone (augmented fourth or diminished fifth) in the function V which provides a veritable explosive charge that will be absorbed into the function I:

Figure 5

We also acknowledge that the first of the seven structures capable of taking on the role of a dominant (the major chord), undeniably possesses reduced tension since it is deprived of the 7th and therefore, the presence of the tritone; what remains is the attraction of the leading tone (7th degree) to the tonic (1st degree).

- that only two chord structures are able to take on the role of a tonic: the major chord and the minor chord, either of which, on occasion (in the case of an inconclusive event), may include an added 7th.

- that a relationship of a descending perfect fifth exists between the (real) roots of the two functions involved

- that this summary excludes any chords resulting from ornamental notes such as:

Figure 6

- that for each chord it is important to distinguish its structure (i.e. the chord itself: for example, a dominant seventh structure) from its function (i.e.the chord situated in the harmonic discourse: for example, a chord could take the role of the function V or of a different harmonic function, or it could exist as a strictly ornamental function). From this perspective,

Thus, a diminished fifth chord structure (such as B - D - F) could take on various harmonic functions, depending on the context:

Figure 7

At this point, the reader may refer to the table titled nomenclature of the classification of chords in the tonal system and of their most frequent corresponding functions in the harmonic discourse from Bach to Wagner*

Finally, before continuing on to the next section, it is necessary to introduce the Neapolitan chord in order to explain the presence of the "N" symbol which has already appeared in the circle of fifths of functions:

Figure 8