A Unified Model of Triadic Voice-Leading Space

Richard Cohn

in Audacious Euphony

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199772698
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932238 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Music Theory

A Unified Model of Triadic Voice-Leading Space

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Chapter 5 combines the two preliminary models into a single connected model of the triadic universe. Their points of intersections are theorized as eight voice leading zones. Motion within a zone involves contrary motion, and is neutral; motion between zones involves either upshifting or downshifting voice leading. Upshifting and downshifting are viewed in terms of a melodic dualism which supervenes on the physically apocryphal and metaphysically obsolete harmonic dualism of much nineteenth century theory. The zones are assigned numbers, whose differences modulo 12 are equivalent to the number of semitonal work required for their constituent triads. Progressions through the connected model are traced on two related geometric layouts, the Tonnetz and Douthett’s Cube Dance, each of which has distinct advantages. Analyses focused on chromatic sequences, some of them perturbed, in music of Chopin, Liszt, Brahms, Schubert, and Bruckner.

Keywords: voice leading zone; dualism; tonnetz; cube Dance; douthett; chopin; liszt; brahms; schubert; bruckner

Chapter.  9240 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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