Methods of Measuring Musical Tension: Commentary on Teo (2020)

Caitlyn Trevor


This commentary discusses the motivation, methods, and results of Teo's (2020) article on using Aggregate Voice-Leading (AVL) motion to predict perceived harmonic tension within post-tonal, neoclassical repertoire. The successes of the study as well as possible improvements are furthermore discussed. The final section contemplates some of Teo's results in light of BaileyShea and Monahan's (2018) embodied theory of analyzing and describing musical energetics such as tension. This embodied theory does not rely on tonality to operate and is therefore applicable to many genres of music. It could be an especially useful theory for analyzing genres of music for which past models of harmonic tension are insufficient, such as post-tonal or electroacoustic music.


musical tension; post-tonal; voice-leading; embodiment

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Caitlyn Trevor

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Beginning with Volume 7, No 3-4 (2012), Empirical Musicology Review is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license

Empirical Musicology Review is published by The Ohio State University Libraries.

If you encounter problems with the site or have comments to offer, including any access difficulty due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, please contact

ISSN: 1559-5749