Chromatic Linear Progressions in Popular Music

Authored by: Neil Newton

The Routledge Companion to Popular Music Analysis

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138683112
eBook ISBN: 9781315544700
Adobe ISBN:


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Popular music often makes use of swift, sometimes seemingly unprepared modulations, scalar shifts, or alterations to the macroharmony (the collection of pitches from which harmonies are sourced). In response to these modulatory practices, Guy Capuzzo has hypothesised a sectional tonality, or sectional centricity, where different sections of songs can be conceived as having different or multiple tonalities or pitch centres. 1 In situations where the pitch centre does not change, David Temperley has explored the role of scalar shifts and has noted that, while common, shifts in scale collection have been given relatively little attention. 2 Furthermore, these swift changes to background structures of a song’s harmonic/melodic organisation can often be terminal. This brings into question traditional notions of tonality when applied to popular music. 3

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