Introduction: European Perspectives on Recent Tonal Theories

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Christophe Guillotel-Nothmann


The articles collected here were part of a one-day thematic session held during the 7th European Music Analysis Conference (Leuven, Belgium, September 17–20, 2014). The session was dedicated to current understandings of tonality, particularly recent European perspectives and their connections to historical theory. Despite differences in methods and aims, the contributions here engage in dialogue by identifying specific research traditions and approaches—ranging from hermeneutical philosophy to neostructuralism—and by addressing characteristics of tonality. Three main threads run throughout: (1) the directional tendency of chord progressions; (2) centricity; and (3) hierarchical organization. Together, the perspectives adopted suggest that progress in the understanding of tonal language depends on a continuing dialectic between the theoretical discourse of the past and modern tools and models—including analysis of large corpora.

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