Doctoral Colloquium (Music): Samuel Howes, PhD candidate in Music Theory



The Doctoral Colloquium is open to all.

Music Research Colloquium presents:

"Tonality and Transposition in the Seventeenth-Century Trio Sonata"

Samuel Howes (PhD candidate, music theory)

Friday, 19 Feb. at 16:30


Abstract: The end of the seventeenth century marks a turning point in the history of Western music. In particular, the works of Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713) are often cited as one of the first clear examples of common-practice harmony. The most apparent characteristics of common-practice harmony are (1) the use of major and minor keys, as opposed to earlier pitch collections such as modes and church keys, and (2) a well defined syntactical relationship between chords, relative to a single tonal centre. Using custom-built music-analysis software, I conduct an empirical study of keys and chords in a large corpus of instrumental music, comparing Corelli’s harmonic vocabulary with that of two earlier northern Italian composers: Giovanni Legrenzi (1626–1690) and Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583–1643). I observe changes in the prevalence of certain chords and chord progressions over the course of the seventeenth century and show how these changes are tied to the concept of transposition between keys.


Back to top