Tonal System




This book on the major-minor tonal system arose as a textbook for use in theory courses at the Zurich Musikhochschule. It is designed to provide a more or less systematic introduction to harmonic theory and especially to develop an accurate and reliable system of analytical notation based on scalar degrees.

Roughly speaking, it does this in three stages. First, proceeding from the diatonic scale, the main area of a home key is mapped out with dimensional and chromatic expansions. Then the reader is given chapters on enharmonic and mediant relationships, especially for use in modulations. Finally the subject rounded off with summary chord charts and a complete overview of chordal types.

Strewn throughout the text are spotlights on jazz harmonic theory, with the aim of opening the readers’ eyes to this field and giving them thought-provoking ideas, but without any pretense to completeness.

I have deliberately avoided presenting examples from the existing literature and instead focused on “casebook examples.” This seemed to me the clearest and fastest way to cover the subject. And since the entire book is aimed at analysis anyway, it should obviously be read in conjunction with the existing works of music.

The harmony textbook can be bought from the secretarial office of the music department at the Zurich University of the Arts.