Modal inflection, especially Phrygian, is commonly related in the scholarly literature to the occurrence of the Neopolitan chord in addition to the augmented-sixth family of chords. Most of the discussion concerns the presence of these chords in explicitly tonal contexts including function, voice leading or enharmonic respelling. However, little attention has been given to the unique effect of their presence in non-tonal environments. I discuss the modification of the function of this group of chords from tonal contexts to non-tonal contexts. I begin with a historical survey of their appearance in tonal environments from 18th century music onwards to the point that such chords seem to reappear in 20th century music in non-tonal environments in which centricity is still evident. I argue that their non-diatonic, enharmonic qualities and striking sonority –qualities which serve as an impetus for chromaticizing tonal environments– retain their distinctiveness in non-tonal environments. Their distinctiveness in non-tonal environments functions as impetus for reinforcement of certain reminiscences of tonal qualities. The change in their function in bi-tonal context results in a weakened perception of the non-tonal effect, most strikingly when two separate keys are being superimposed a semitone apart. I conclude that when the non-tonal effect weakens, tonally-inclined analytic interpretation becomes possible. The distinctiveness of Geographic chords in non-tonal environments undermines the effectiveness of analytic tools designed for non-tonal environments.
10.G.2Séance précomposée - Ambiguity, Illusion & Timelessness in Late and Post-Tonal Harmony
Inbal Guter has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University. She is a musicologist and a concert pianist, specializing in 19th and 20th Century music. She teaches at the Buchman-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv University and at the University of haifa, in Israel. Her areas of research specialization include contemporary issues relating to the organization of pitch in varied environments (e.g, diatonic, octatonic, polytonal, bitonal etc.), theories of tonality and a-tonality and ordered and unordered pitch sets.
University of Haifa - Tel Aviv University Israelinbal.firstname.lastname@example.org