Presented at the Grieg Conference in Berlin May 13, 2009
Friedhelm Loesti, Germany
Dr. Philos., Bonn
In this paper I want to focus on two forms, two means, by which a composer may create the impression of tonal ambiguity. Firstly, he can use a chord which, according to its structure, is normally heard as a dominant or subdominant chord, but then avoid the corresponding tonic. We may get a sense of this key or even expect this tonic, but then our tonal feeling is drawn into another direction. Or, secondly, he can use a seventh chord which can be perceived as a combination of a minor and a major triad and emphasize this aspect by the way he introduces this chord, and so split our tonal feeling. To simplify matters, let me use the term ’suggestive harmony’ for these two means of creating tonal ambiguity.
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Friedhelm Loesti paper 2009