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  • Janna Saslaw


In tonal music, a firmly established change of key, as opposed to a passing reference to another key, known as a ‘tonicization’. The scale or pitch collection and characteristic harmonic progressions of the new key must be present, and there will usually be at least one cadence to the new tonic. Firm establishment also depends on these features having a certain duration; however, the exact amount of time required for a ‘firm’ modulation cannot be precisely specified, since the sensation of a change of key is a psychological phenomenon experienced differently by different listeners. A certain ambiguity may arise, therefore, as to whether a given passage is properly a modulation or a tonicization – an ambiguity compounded by differences among theoretical approaches....

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Journal of the American Musicological Society
Handwörterbuch der musikalischen Terminologie