A framework for discussing tonality in electronic dance music

Wooller, Rene W. & Brown, Andrew R. (2008) A framework for discussing tonality in electronic dance music. In Wilkie, Sonia & Hood, Anthony (Eds.) Sound : Space - The Australasian Computer Music Conference, 13 July 2008, Sydney.


We present a framework for discussing tonality in Elec-tronic Dance Music (EDM) which highlights how tonal techniques are employed creatively throughout EDM. While most musicological analysis of EDM focuses on rhythm, we contend that composer/producers of EDM play with a sense of tonality that often defies traditional analytic techniques. The rich tonality of EDM tracks may be illuminated by using our framework, which is broader and more contextually relevant to EDM than standard western classical music approaches to analysis. The framework consists of four attributes that are used to describe the nature of tonality over the course of the mu-sic: rate of tonal change, tonal stability, pitch/noise ratio and number of independent pitch streams. We will define and illustrate these attributes using numerous audio examples. In a practical sense, our framework may be useful for generating more detailed discussions and analysis of tonality in EDM and may lay the basis for formal systems of tonal analysis of EDM in the future.

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ID Code: 14096
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: music, harmony, electronic, musicology, computer
ISSN: 1448-7780
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Musicology and Ethnomusicology (190409)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Australasian CRC for Interaction Design (ACID)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Rene Wooller and Andrew R. Brown
Deposited On: 17 Jul 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2011 05:45

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