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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


The Tonal Centre

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 12, 2003 by Music
Overview: Elements of tonality are explored through the explanation and building of tonal
patterns in scales and chords. The flow of material leads to the explanation of
tonal cadences.
Learning Goals: To understand the basic principles of tonicization and apply existing knowledge
to further the understanding of extended tonal techniques. The relationship of
chord progressions is a
primary goal.
Target Student Population: High school and college theory students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Standard multi-media browser is required. Note literacy and basic scale and
chord construction is required to go very far
into the discussion. The elemental level is discussed very briefly.
Type of Material: This is reference material with ear training components.
Recommended Uses: This material is excellent for review for the lower division college student.
It is a very good launching point for students who are literate in scales and
chords but have not yet clarified the relationship to tonality.
Technical Requirements: Standard web browser with multimedia capability.
MIDI files are used to play the examples.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The presentation is clear and concise. It offers a strong review with
discussions that go into the more chromatic chords with references to jazz
cadential structures. Most of the discussions are accompanied by MIDI files
which are valuable for ear training. The use of scale degree numbers and Roman
numeral chords is consistent with compositional thought.
Concerns: There are no notational examples of the cadences to show voice leading. This
would be helpful to the students in the music major. For fixed Do or movable Do
students they must adopt the number system for this presentation.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Provides interesting summation presentation of tonal theory concepts. In the
author's words, this site is "a springboard for creativity and, even more
importantly, as a foundation for exploration. For this reason, I examine not
just the major and minor scales but also many aternative tonalities which are
capable of being tonally coherent and musically effective."
Concerns: The lack of notation.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Very easy to use. Frame construction with links to the MIDI file examples.
Concerns: At times, the frame on the left disappears leaving an arrow which brings back
the menu . Just a problem the first couple of times.

Other Issues and Comments: Site offers reinterpretation presentation of basic theory concepts. Students
should already possess a basic understanding of these concepts, as the site
offers only summaries and implications of these concepts. Not every teacher
will see the benefits to presenting a different "take" on theory material, but

those who welcome divergent thinking will enjoy this site.