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Tonal Pitch Space$
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Fred Lerdahl

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195178296

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178296.001.0001

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Tonal Tension and Attraction

Tonal Tension and Attraction

(p.142) 4 Tonal Tension and Attraction
Tonal Pitch Space

Fred Lerdahl

Oxford University Press

This chapter applies the pitch-space model to sequences and hierarchies of events to reveal patterns of tonal tension and attraction. Intuitions of tonal tension and relaxation correspond to distances in relation to a given reference point (the tonic). Computational methods for both sequential and hierarchical tension are developed and illustrated in a Mozart sonata. These considerations lead to a reformulation of the interaction principle. The factor of surface dissonance is incorporated into the model. Intuitions of melodic anchoring motivate the complementary theory of melodic (or voice-leading) attractions. The crucial factors in the melodic attraction rule are proximity and stability. Attractions between reciprocal pitches and chords are asymmetrical, and attractions are provisionally equated with expectancies. The melodic attraction model is extended to harmonic attraction. The relationship between tonal tension and attraction is discussed, as are connections to other theories.

Keywords:   pitch-space model, tonal tension, sequential, hierarchical, interaction principle, surface dissonance, anchoring, expectancy

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