Rock Tonality Amplified : A Theory of Modality, Harmonic Function, and Tonal Hierarchy book cover
1st Edition

Rock Tonality Amplified
A Theory of Modality, Harmonic Function, and Tonal Hierarchy

  • Available for pre-order on March 7, 2023. Item will ship after March 28, 2023
ISBN 9781032291444
March 28, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
198 Pages 97 B/W Illustrations

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USD $160.00

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Book Description

Rock Tonality Amplified presents an in-depth exploration of rock tonality. Building on several decades of research, this book develops a comprehensive music theory designed to make sense of several essential components of tonality. Within, readers learn to locate the chords they hear through various methods, to understand and predict harmonic resolution tendencies, and to identify the functions of chords as they appear in musical contexts. Further, the book offers a conceptual framework to describe tonal relations that are played out through entire songs, allowing readers to recognize the features that contribute to tonal unity in songs and the ones that are employed to create musical drama.

The book contributes to a wealth of methodologies in music theory, making it of broad interest to music scholars and students. Further, it balances speculative and practical approaches so that it has clear applications for analysis and pedagogy. It includes numerous musical figures and cites hundreds of songs from a wide variety of artists. Each chapter concludes with additional practice activities, allowing for easy adaptation to various pedagogical purposes.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Position Finding

Diatonic position finding

Chromatic position finding

The permanent Picardy third and related practices

Reference list

Chapter 2: Tonicization

Factors in tonicization

Diatonic tonicization

Ionian tonicization

Aeolian tonicization

Dorian tonicization

Mixolydian tonicization

Lydian and Phrygian tonicization

Extensions and inflections


Reference list

Chapter 3: Harmonic Function

The primary functions

Prolongation function

Cadence function

Transition and retransition functions

Departure function

Subsidiary functions

Functional transformations

Concluding analysis


Reference list

Chapter 4: Steady-Scale Systems

Steady-scale systems: conceptual background

Tonal patterns in steady-scale systems

Interactions between the Ionian and Aeolian tonics

Incorporating the Dorian tonic

Incorporating the Mixolydian tonic

Incorporating the Lydian tonic

Incorporating the Phrygian tonic

Conclusion: tonal endings


Reference list

Chapter 5: Steady-Tonic Systems

Harmonic sub-systems

Chromatic chords in context


Direct resolutions

Secondary tonicization

Stepwise linear patterns

Larger patterns

Trajectories by s1

Trajectories by f1

Concluding analysis


Reference list

Chapter 6: Other Approaches to Tonal Organization

Mixtures of steady-tonic and steady-scale systems

Other modulatory practices

Concluding Analyses

"Wichita Lineman"

"White Rabbit"

"The Ballad of Jenny Ledge"

"The Burning Down"

"Rikki Don’t Lose That Number"

"Best of All Possible Worlds"



Reference list

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Brett Clement is Associate Professor of Music Theory at Ball State University. His research focuses on repertoires that fuse elements of popular and classical music, including progressive rock and the music of Frank Zappa. His work has been published in Gamut, Music Theory Spectrum, Music Theory Online, Music Analysis, Perspectives of New Music, and Journal of Music Theory.