Hearing Harmony Toward a Tonal Theory for the Rock Era
Soft / Music Magazines 1-02-2018
Hearing Harmony Toward a Tonal Theory for the Rock Era
Hearing Harmony offers a listener-based, philosophical-psychological theory of harmonic effects for Anglophone popular music since the 1950s. It begins with chords, their functions and characteristic hierarchies, then identifies the most common and salient harmonic-progression classes, or harmonic schemas. The identification of these schemas, as well as the historical contextualization of many of them, allows for systematic exploration of the repertory’s typical harmonic transformations (such as chord substitution) and harmonic ambiguities. Doll provides readers with a novel explanation of the assorted aural qualities of chords, and how certain harmonic effects result from the interaction of various melodic, rhythmic, textural, timbral, and extra-musical contexts, and how these interactions can determine whether a chordal riff is tonally centered or tonally ambiguous, whether it sounds aggressive or playful or sad, whether it seems to evoke an earlier song using a similar series of chords, whether it sounds conventional or unfamiliar.

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