1st Edition

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

By Brett Clement Copyright 2023
    198 Pages 97 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.


    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


    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.