Fundamental Structure

In Schenkerian analysis, the fundamental structure (German: Ursatz) is a specific musical pattern that occurs at the most remote (or "background") level of structure. A basic elaboration of the tonic triad, it consists of the fundamental line accompanied by the bass arpeggiation. Hence the fundamental structure, like the fundamental line itself, takes one of three forms, according to which tonic triad pitch is the primary tone. The following is an example in C major, with the fundamental line descending from scale degree :

The fundamental line presents the unfolding (Auswicklung) of a basic sonority, expressing tonality in the horizontal plane. The tonal system too, joins in expression of tonality. Its task is to bring a purposeful organization into the world of chords by selecting the scale degrees from among them. The liaison between the horizontal version of tonality through the fundamental line and the vertical through the scale degrees is voice leading. —Schenker. Der Tonwille II, p.4.

Read more about Fundamental Structure:  Fundamental Line, Upper-fifth Divider

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