Simply put, tonality is a system of musical organization using the same set of notes and chords in which there are perceived relationships with the pitches or chords from within the same group of notes – stabilities, attractions and directionality. The individual note or chord with the greater stability and pull towards it is called the tonic, which can be established or inferred through reiteration, chord progression or harmonic cadences – see functional harmony.
Some of the most common devices used to confirm or establish a tonal center are the use of diatonic pitch material (set of notes that belong to that specific tonality); commonly used chords are built in thirds and are originated from the tonal pitch material; dominant to tonic harmonic progressions – harmonic cadences; bass lines outlining the dominant to tonic movement; the resolution of leading tones to tonic; the resolution of dissonances to consonance; or use of pedal points that confirm that tonic.
Do you like what you read?
Subscribe to the newsletter and get a free sample of the Beyond Music Theory eBook!