Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 25 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

What harmonic features are involved when a musical passage, or a work, is in a particular key? How is balance achieved between modulations that reinforce the home key and those that supplant it altogether? The chapter starts by analyzing “Im wunderschönen Monat Mai,” the opening song in Robert Schumann’s song-cycle Dichterliebe. It considers the criteria for identifying keys and provides a brief history of the role of closure in the definition of key before discussing how composers move between keys and what kinds of key relations they choose. It then explores new theoretical insights on common-tone modulation, along with the issue of content versus cadence in determining degrees of certainty about the establishment of new internal keys. It also compares definitions of tonicization and modulation and concludes with an assessment of how key relations have been shaped into tonal spaces. An important observation—one that highlights the tension between contents and cadences—is that the presence or absence of a final cadence is commonly used to ascertain whether or not a key has been fully articulated. The chapter describes a range of scenarios of such tension as well as the views of various theorists and analysts regarding the relative importance of content versus cadence.

Keywords: key, modulation, Im wunderschönen Monat Mai, Dichterliebe, key relations, content, cadence, tonicization, tonal spaces, closure

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.