• Towards a Unified Model of Chords in Western Harmony

    Johannes Hentschel, Fabian C. Moss, Andrew McLeod, Markus Neuwirth, Martin Rohrmeier
    Stefan Münnich (see profile) , David Rizo
    Music Encoding Initiative
    Digital humanities, Music
    Item Type:
    Conference proceeding
    Conf. Title:
    Music Encoding Conference 2021
    Conf. Org.:
    University of Alicante
    Conf. Loc.:
    On-Site & Online
    Conf. Date:
    19–22 July 2021
    Annotation, chord model, corpus research, graphs, harmonic analysis
    Permanent URL:
    Chord-based harmony is an important aspect of many types of Western music, across genres, regions, and historical eras. However, the consistent representation and comparison of harmony across a wide range of styles (e.g., classical music, Jazz, Rock, or Pop) is a challenging task. Moreover, even within a single musical style, multiple theories of harmony exist, each relying on its own (possibly implicit) assumptions and leading to harmonic analyses with a distinct focus (e.g., on the root of a chord vs. its bass note) or representation (e.g., spelled vs. enharmonic pitch classes). Cross-stylistic and cross-theory comparisons are therefore even more difficult, particularly in a large-scale computational setting that requires a common overarching representation. To address these problems, we propose a model which allows for the representation of chords at multiple levels of abstraction: from chord realizations on the score level (if available), to pitch-class collections (including a potential application of different equivalences, such as enharmonic or octave equivalence), to pitch- and chord-level functions and higher-order abstractions. Importantly, our proposed model is also well-defined for theories which do not specify information at each level of abstraction (e.g., some theories make no claims about harmonic function), representing only those harmonic properties that are explicitly included and inducing others where possible (e.g., deriving scale degrees from root and key information). Our model thus represents an important step towards a unified representation of harmony and its various applications.
    The MEC 2021 was hosted at Universidad de Alicante. It was sponsored by the Conselleria de Innovación, Universidades, Ciencia y Sociedad Digital de la Generalitat Valenciana (ref. AORG/2021/095), the Instituto de Investigación Informática de la Universidad de Alicante (IUII), co-sponsored with the Instituto Superior de Enseñanzas Artísticas de la Comunidad Valenciana (ISEA.CV), and generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of the Government of Canada (SSHRC).
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago


    Item Name: pdf mec2021_hentschel_et_al_chords-in-western-harmony.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 95