Modal harmony

Modal Harmony

In this article we will take a look at modal harmony. If you want to learn more about music analysis, we would recommend reading this article.

Characteristics Of Modal Music

Music which uses modal harmony is analyzed using roman numeral roman numeral analysis. Some of the characteristics of modal harmony are:

  • The music is often based on the church modes, which you can read about in this article.
  • The hierarchy between the chords is not as apparent as in functional harmony - it can often be hard to determine which chord functions as the tonic.
  • The music is built more around common notes. Where functional harmony tends to be built around descending fifths, modal harmony tends to feature more descending seconds and descending thirds between the root notes of the chords. There also tend to be more descending fourths, such as C - G - Dm - Am.
  • There is less focus on leading tones than in functional harmony.

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