Prolongations: extended tonicizations, Linear Intervallic Patterns (week 7)

Building on last week’s applied dominants is the concept of extended tonicizations. An applied dominant is essentially imagining the music in a different key for two chords. We call this tonicization – tonic-izing the second chord. When we have multiple chords that can be better explained in a different key, but not quite enough chords to call it a modulation (usually we need a cadence to have a modulation) then we say it is an extended tonicization. Different people hear key changes/modulations at different times, so this is often quite subjective. (I’m not here to tell you where you personally hear the difference between tonicization and modulation, let me know if you’d like more info on this topic.)

Once you’ve decided you’d like to label a tonicization, it’s very simple: as with putting a D in parentheses for applied dominants, here we just put more chords inside the parentheses. The following example from Schubert’s “Mit dem grünen Lautenbande” in Die Schöne Müllerin shows a phrygian half cadence-type motion with the p3 and D being applied to Tr. (The overall key is Bb.)schubertThis also provides an example of backwards referential applied dominants: sometimes the (D) doesn’t resolve where we hear it going, but instead comes from there. This D major chord is pretty clearly heard as (D)Tr, but the Tr it is referencing comes before it instead of after.

This next example from the expositional closing theme of Beethoven op 31 #3 mvt 1 shows multiple applied dominants, and two possible readings of measure 70 (in the circle). One reading, below the staff, is to have an applied dominant of the double dominant. As seen in the middle of the staff, we could also explain it as an extended tonicization – both the dominant and the double dominant of the dominant!


An example of our next topic, Linear Intervallic Patterns (LIPs) is also shown in this example. A LIP is a recurring pattern of intervals between two voices, generally the highest and lowest. This excerpt has a pattern of alternating 10ths and 5ths (Bb up to D, F3 up to c, etc). This LIP helps drive the music forwards and prolongs the tonic area from the beginning of the pattern to end. LIPs are often seen with harmonic sequences (aka root progressions) and/or melodic sequences, but do not necessarily have to have either.

This following example from the third movement of Bach’s a minor sonata for unaccompanied violin shows a different LIP, this one alternating 7ths and 3rds (what would be 10ths in a different octave). This LIP doesn’t only prolong tonic but also helps move the phrase thru the different functional areas: T – P – D – T.


This excerpt from BWV 808 Gavotte I shows alternating 10ths and 6ths. This example shows an LIP that also drives the phrase from tonic thru predominant to dominant, but the chromatic nature of music makes it more difficult to explain only with functional symbols. If you look at the functional labels below the staff, you can see that there is a set of nested parentheses in the second system. This took me personally several tries to figure out, and is more complex than the music actually seems to be. LIP are a linear horizontal phenomenon; harmony is vertical. Sometimes when music moves linearly it is hard to explain vertically. I think a thorough analysis of this passage would be t 10-6-p 10-6 – slashD etc. We can learn quite a bit of detail without having to go to great lengths to explain something voice-leading driven and linear as vertical.


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