Abstract

Music scholars have been studying tonal harmony intensively for centuries, yielding numerous theories and models. Unfortunately, a large number of these theories are formulated in a rather informal fashion and lack mathematical precision. In this article we present HarmTrace, a functional model of Western tonal harmony that builds on well-known theories of tonal harmony. In contrast to other approaches that remain purely theoretical, we present an implemented system that is evaluated empirically. Given a sequence of symbolic chord labels, HarmTrace automatically derives the harmonic relations between chords. For this, we use advanced functional programming techniques that are uniquely available in the Haskell programming language. We show that our system is fast, easy to modify and maintain, robust against noisy data, and that its harmonic analyses comply with Western tonal harmony theory.

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