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harmonizations part II (under construction)


Just as the ‘Harmonizations’ platform focuses on Harmonic Tonality, the focus in this platform is on Melodic Tonality, or the combination of both. This brings us in the soundworld of composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartok and Messiaen, as well as modal uses in folkloristic music and music from regions within the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Musicologist Rudolph Reti (1885-1957) defines Melodic Tonality as a tonal concept traceable far back in history and which is entirely different from the classical type in Western Europe. It's the kind of tonality where melodic principles are the most defining factors, and harmonic functionalities can be altered in a broader sense.


Thus we realize that there are at least two types of tonality (tonicality) in music. One is based on the harmonic and rhythmical structure (...) We called this tonality harmonic tonality. It is the familiar tonality of classical music. 

But there is also the other type just described, that is manifested through melody only. We shall henceforth refer to this type as melodic tonality. (Reti, Rudolph. Tonality in Modern Music. New York, Collier Books, 1956 pp. 33-34)


In the 20th century, Melodic Tonality in Western European classical and jazz music is being used and combined with Harmonic Tonality. This gives possibilities of unlimited chord alteration and the creation of other tonal fields, like modes, etc.


As an example, Debussy's prelude Danseuses des Delphes (1909) starts with a classical tonic chord, but because of the melodic countervoices, the subsequent subdominant and dominant chords are altered in a way the whole tone scale comes to life:

Scherm­afbeelding 2023-01-28 om 12.22.39.png


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