Teaching Non-Functional Tonality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the past eight years, many theorists have been inspired by Richard Cohn’s groundbreaking work in Neo-Riemannian theory. While Cohn’s work has sparked an explosion of research, none of this research has been in the area of pedagogy. This paper will outline an approach to introducing concepts of parsimonious voice leading within the context of an undergraduate theory curriculum through part writing exercises, reviewing current pedagogical approaches to chromatic voice leading in the process. Many undergraduate theory textbooks address the problem of understanding harmonic progression in chromatic music, but few extend their studies into a systematic approach to part writing. Part-writing exercises where the student chooses the next harmony based on considerations of voice leading parsimony and not harmonic function are rare, and where they do occur, they are not used as building blocks for subsequent exercises that develop progressively more complex features of this kind of har
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-99
JournalJournal of Music Theory Pedagogy
StatePublished - Sep 2009


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