A generative grammar approach to diatonic harmonic structure

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


SMC Conference 2007 (2007)




This paper aims to give a hierarchical, generative account of diatonic harmony progressions and proposes a generative phrase-structure grammar. The formalism accounts for structural properties of key, functional, scale and surface level. Being related to linguistic approaches in generative syntax and to the hierarchical account of tonality in the generative theory of tonal music (GTTM) [1], cadence-based harmony contexts and its elaborations are formalised. This approach covers cases of modulation, tonicisation and some aspects of large-scale harmonic form, and may be applied to large sets of diatonic compositions. Potential applications may rise in computational harmonic and corpus analysis, as well as in the music psychological investigation of tonal cognition