Definition of functional harmony
: a theory of tonal music that regards all harmonies as functioning as essentially tonic, dominant, or subdominant harmony In Riemann's interpretation Berlioz sought to destroy the fundamental unit of functional harmony, the cadence, by substituting ‘false’ functions.— Alexander Rehding, Hugo Riemann and the Birth of Modern Musical Thought, 2003 broadly : harmony as it functions within tonality Modal harmony can operate as a signifier of the historical period before the development of tonal functional harmony in the seventeenth century. — Annette Davison, Hollywood Theory, Non-Hollywood Practice, 2004
Keep scrolling for more
Love words? Need even more definitions?Merriam-Webster unabridged
Words at Play
Ask the Editors
- Why is there a 'd' in 'fridge' but not in 'refrigerator'?
- 'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'?
- Is Singular 'They' a Better Choice?
- Name that Thing: Dog Breeds Take the quiz
- Words You Should Know Quiz, Vol. 1 Take the quiz
- True or False? Take the quiz
- SCRABBLE® Sprint Play the game