chapter  14
15 Pages

Oddities and Ends

WithTimothy Cutler

Tonality has the ability to give meaning to the most puzzling of pitch combinations. Tonality and its inherent flexibility provide an inexhaustible fountainhead of “rule-bending” peculiarities, let conclude our analytical adventures with a look at one final oddity. Certain combinations of scale degrees produce 3-1 trichords more often than others. If a tonic pedal provides bedrock of stability, and a dominant pedal cultivates tension, J. Sibelius’s mediant pedal has an effect somewhere in the middle, a kind of unpersuasive stability, akin to napping on a turbulent airplane. Omnibus progressions are another facet of tonal music that deserves more attention. The term “harmonic progression” means just that—a series of chords that progresses somewhere. An “omnibus” refers to a group of disparate entities organized into a unified whole. An omnibus progression refers to an assortment of chordal successions that highlight one main characteristic—chromatic voice leading in contrary motion.