Fundamental Bass and Real Bass in Dialogue: Tonal Aspects of the Structural Modes

Main Article Content

Karst De Jong


This article focuses on the interpretation of the fundamental bass in terms of structural modes. The aim is to develop an analytical interpretation that relates tonality and tonal form to the fundamental bass. The approach is anchored in the Ramellian tradition by considering the fundamental bass as an autonomous level of analysis. A contiguity principle is governed by the modes of the musical tetractys, or structural modes: P4–M2–P4 (first mode), M2–P4–P4 (second mode), and P4–P4–M2 (third mode). These modes consist of three-scale degrees, which are labeled tonic, subdominant, or dominant, respectively, thus creating a conceptual bridge between scale theory and functional harmony. The dialogue between fundamental bass and real bass reflects a broader dialogue between a structural approach to fundamental bass and elements from thoroughbass and partimento traditions.

Article Details

Submission Type