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Introduction to Verbal Association

Watch the video lesson below. The salient text follows. 

Once we can successfully echo patterns at the Aural/Oral level, it’s time to label tonality and harmonic functions with a Verbal Association. The most effective system for labeling tonality is Movable-DO with a LA-Based Minor. In this system, the name of the resting tone changes with each tonality

Tonality Defined

A tonality is defined by its resting tone, its tonal center. Each tonality has a resting tone, a place where the music comes to a logical conclusion through a musical gravitational force. The tonalities are classified and organized in relation to their resting tone using movable-DO solfege. 

It is called “movable-DO” because, as you’ll find out once we begin to read musical notation, you can put DO anywhere, and the relationship between pitches will stay the same. In this system, the name of the resting tone changes with each tonality.  Movable-do solfege is very effective because the half step relationship between MI and FA and TI and DO always remains consistent amongst tonalities. 

Tonal Sequence

Dr. Gordon created a tonal sequence that includes all of the pitches of each tonality. The scale degree numbers for the sequence are 56543271. It always ends on the resting tone. In major tonality, the sequence is SO LA SO FA MI RE TI DO. In major tonality, the resting tone is DO. Therefore, the tonal sequence ends on DO. You will eventually learn the tonal sequence for every tonality!

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