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Roots of the ClassicalThe Popular Origins of Western Music$
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Peter Van der Merwe

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198166474

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198166474.001.0001

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The Discovery of Tonality

The Discovery of Tonality

(p.66) 6 The Discovery of Tonality
Roots of the Classical

Peter van der Merwe

Oxford University Press

Classical tonality was a product of the Italian Renaissance, beginning in the 15th century. There were three principal origins: first, late-medieval harmony, where the cadences more and more resembled embryonic modulations; secondly, the double tonic, discussed in the previous chapter; and finally, the double drone on a bare fifth, (i.e., the tonic and dominant notes), which was first changed from a solid chord to an alternating drone (e.g. c–g–c–g, etc.), then assimilated to the double tonic in the upper parts, thereby producing a rudimentary tonic-and-dominant harmony. All this can be studied in the lute dances of Joan Ambrosio Dalza (published in 1508), to which much of this chapter is devoted. The final stage, which took centuries to work out, was to combine tonic-and-dominant harmony with the primitive medieval key system.

Keywords:   Italian Renaissance, harmony, double drone, double tonic, alternating drone, tonic and dominant, Joan Ambrosio Dalza

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