Voice-Leading Prototypes and Harmonic Function in Two Chorale Corpora

  • Ian Quinn
  • Panayotis Mavromatis
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-21590-2_18

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6726)
Cite this paper as:
Quinn I., Mavromatis P. (2011) Voice-Leading Prototypes and Harmonic Function in Two Chorale Corpora. In: Agon C., Andreatta M., Assayag G., Amiot E., Bresson J., Mandereau J. (eds) Mathematics and Computation in Music. MCM 2011. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 6726. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg


We describe a data representation for voice leading between two sonorities in a chorale texture, and a similarity measure for these voice leadings. These tools are used in an empirical study of the relationship between voice leading and harmonic function in a corpus of Bach chorales and a corpus of Lutheran chorales from a hundred years earlier. Common voice-leading types in the corpora are subjected to a cluster analysis that is readily interpreted in terms of harmonic functional syntax. We are thus able not only to read a theory of harmony directly out of a corpus, but to do so without building in a priori notions of chord structure, rootedness, or even key. The cluster analysis also clarifies important syntactic differences between the pre-tonal (modal) corpus and the Bach (tonal) corpus.


Corpus Analysis Voice Leading Tonality Modality Harmonic Function Clustering 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Quinn
    • 1
  • Panayotis Mavromatis
    • 2
  1. 1.Yale UniversityUSA
  2. 2.New York UniversityUSA

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