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Old 06-10-2005, 01:57 AM   #1
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Melody and harmony

Alright, after getting more than one PM about melodies, how they work, writing them, etc. I thought it would be a good idea to do an actual write up on the subject. For some reason we tend to focus more on harmony and harmonic interactions between notes than we actually spend on independant melodies, and that's probably how it should be. But the topic deserves some discussion. This will be stupendously long and in-depth, I promise

In order to get there though, we're going to start with four part harmony, and work into basic counterpoint; and then discover elongations (or diminutions), and the concept of tonal tonicization. Along the way we'll point out various aspects that deserve attention.

Four part harmony and voice leading:
Way back in the day, music was sung by the theloneous (sp?) monks, priests, and nuns. They had a lot of 'spare' time on their hands, and would spend most of the day singing to pass the time. Western theory largely derives from what they found to sound 'good' or 'bad' during their massive amounts of time spent chanting. Culture was heavily based on religion, and at the time religion was based heavily on music. During masses chants, or period hymns, were built on a call and reply system. The bishop, pontiff, or whoever was presiding over a ceremony, would sing a passage, and the congregation would repeat the passage while he was paused. This worked fairly well, with one huge problem: Not everyone could sing the original part, due to vocal limitations. Think about it, we can hardly see a modern soprano singing a bass part... the notion is kind of humerous; but that's how it was.

So, during the 1600ish period, some guy (I really don't know who) came up with the idea of writing music for individual voices. Thus was born the four part choral (literally: Being in chorus). We still see this today, often slightly modified, as SATB scores for choral music--even though our concept of chorus has changed significantly (from hymnal to operatic to jazz ensembles, for instance). And now we have harmony.

Bach... we like to blame things on Bach... spent a lot of time employed as a composer for the church, and actually had things pretty rough. People wonder how he could write so much music--it was because he was literally forced to. Bach would get up on Monday, grab a stack of paper, a ruler, and a pencil, and start scoring out staff paper; he'd start composing a new piece on Tuesday, finish it by Friday, present it on Saturday, and sing it with the congregation on Sunday. Monday he started over. When asked how he had gotten so good at what he did, he said "Anybody can do it, it just takes practice." Yeah.

During his time composing, and teaching, Bach developed a lot of the 'rules' for what can and can't occur in a choral part... most of these translate directly into every other type of music.

First, you can't have more than an octave seperating adjacent voices in the upper three parts, or more than 2 octaves between the bass and tenor--further seperation causes each voice to lose it's identity with the voice below it.

Second, the upper 3 voices can't move by an interval greater than a 3rd; the bass can move by any interval other than a 7th.

The 'direct octave and fifth' are prohibited--if two voices are seperated by a fifth, or compound fifth, those two voices should not 'resolve' the next step to the interval of an octave, or compound octave, and vice versa. For some reason that defies logic, the result is vary rarely 'in tune'.

For the same, you don't want to move from octave to unison, or unison to octave--this can only happen between the bass and tenor roles, and it's pretty easy to see when it does happen; if you follow the rule of the upper three voicings only moving by a third at most, the only time you need to be concerned is when the bass moves by 6th.

No parallel [perfect] 4ths, fifths, or octaves. The parallel fourths because they invert to the fifth, and you can't derive a tonic auraly (by ear) from parallel fifths or octaves.

No overlapping voices--this is probably the hardest to conceptualize without staff paper, but we'll try. Say you have your upper voices (soprano and alto) seperated by a third, in the next harmonic unit, both voices move up a third. We think this is okay, because they're moving in parallel thirds, but the alto has overlapped the soprano's voice. This is incredibly hard to keep pitched correctly when singing, and incredibly hard to hear (it sounds like one voice remaining constant, and the other making a huge leap across it).

Coupled with the last, no voice crossing. This oughta be obvious, if your bassists are singing higher than your tenors, you've got a problem.

No false relation. If there's an interval relation between two [sequential] harmonic units (chords), the bass movement must reflect that relationship. The simplifies down to IV6 can't move to V, for instance. Or more verbosely: The chord built on the fourth degree, in it's first inversion, can't move to the dominant chord in root position, because the bass moves contrary to the harmonic relationship: Down by step, instead of up by step.

The leading tone in an outer voice will always move up to the tonic. 7 always moves to 1 if it's in the soprano. The caveat to this is that the 7 only acts as the leading tone in V or vii.

Do not double the leading tone in either of those chords. If you're in the key of C, voicing your Gmaj as G-B-D-B is bad. By the same token, voicing your Bdim as B-D-F-B is bad (and you'll get parallel octaves in the last case).

Avoid all similar motion. Don't move all 4 voices in the same direction, at the same time. It's that simple, just don't do it.

And finally: It's ok to omit the 5th occaisionaly, when a chord is voiced in root position.

You should spend some time, and actually understand these rules, (if you have staff paper, become familiar with what they look like on paper).

On the bright side, they actually simplify down:
Your triads should double the root except in vii.
Pay attention to voice seperation. (When voices are greater than an octave apart, swap them!)
Don't move by more than a 3rd in upper voices, or by 7th or greater in the bass.
Keep common tones where possible. G (except in the root) will stay G when moving to C. You can keep almost any voicing of E and G when moving from C to Em. Etc.
If the bass moves by step, all other voices move in contrary motion to the next available chord tone, UNLESS the leading tone is in an outer voice.

If you follow those 5 guidelines, you shouldn't ever run into a case where you violate any voice leading rules... and it's really that easy.

If you're not already very comfortable with this, spend a few days working on it, and thinking about it. If you need help, ask (here or by PM); and if you want to work through some excersizes, I have--or can come up with--bass lines you can harmonize over for practice. Admittedly, music written like this has the tendency to sound rather boring, but understanding how voices interact is fundamental to moving forward.
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Old 06-10-2005, 01:58 AM   #2
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--------------------------------------
Counter point:
For the last 400+ years we've been teaching counterpoint exactly the same way, with exactly the same rules, and calling it species counterpoint. Bach was taught with this method, and university students are still taught with this method. Why? Because it works.

Now, I'm going to kind of glaze over this, if you want more help with anything in particular, again--ask! Remember that each species is presented today as a full term college course. Here I can only give the basics, and the general ideas.

It's commonly accepted that the rules that apply to voice leading apply to all tonal music... that holds true here. Further, SD's lesson on the types of contrapuntal motion can be found here and will save me a bit of typing.

There are 5 stages to species counterpoint, the first species is note against note.

Here we're given a cantus firmus, which is a bass line consisting of only whole notes, and told to harmonize a single voice above this, consisting again of whole notes. We have two added strictures at this point: We can't move to perfect invterval by similar motion, in any case. (Yes, that's actually 2 restrictions, you can't move from an imperfect interval to a perfect interval, or a perfect interval to a perfect interval, using similar motion).

This doesn't seem difficult, and really it isn't.

The second species is two notes against the note. Again, we're given a CF consisting of whole notes, and this time instructed to build a single melodic voice above it, now using two half notes (generally). We gain some freedom here, but we're also a bit more restricted. Now we can introduce dissonances into the melody, but only for the second half, and only under fairly limiting restrictions.

In third species, we're granted another melodic division. Now we're told to write 4 notes agains the note. Here we're given a bit more freedom, in that we can introduce melodic dissonances on the second, third, or fourth beats. Parallel motion is still discouraged on the main beats, and we still have the same rules on leaping to/from dissonances.

Fourth species introduces syncopations. Most of the above rules apply, with a few further restrictions. Dissonances can occur on the syncopation, but only when the dissonance occurs on a downbeat, and all dissonances must resolve down by step. Generally this species is broken in half, between 2 notes to the note, and 4--some teachers will only give you two. The concept of this is easy enough, until you realize that you have to make it sound good also

Fifth species is a combination of every concept you've learned so far; syncopations are allowed, rhythmic specification is up to you (generally with the limit of 4 notes/measure, but you're no longer limited to specific rhythmic intervals), and yet the same restrictions apply as applied in species two, three and four, involving dissonances and resolution, and syncopation and dissonance.

Throughout the study of counterpoint we learn a lot about how notes work together, and lead into other notes, consonant and dissonant, against other harmonic notes. We develop an understanding of voice development, and an inherint understanding of patternistic repition. The rules we abide by force us to realize certain behaviors, which gives us an advantage in recognizing the potential for these behaviors when working in free comp. You learn a lot about note interaction by spending time on two voice counterpoint.
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Old 06-10-2005, 01:59 AM   #3
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Tonal tonicization, elongations, and the harmonic goal:

Tonal Tonicization is somewhat of a misnomer, but at the same time is a greatly descriptive phrase when fully understood. The definition, musically, of 'Tonicization' is 'Defining a tonal center'. This is the purpose of the cadence, for instance, the V-I movement (authentic cadence), to define I as the Tonic, be it the true tonic, or a passing tonic. 'Tonal Tonicization' describes an anomaly of sorts in tonal music: Every note strives to become the tonic.

That's a pretty big concept to wrap ourselves around. If we have a single line, say C-D-E, we CAN, and actually do (aurally) see the line as moving from C to D to E as the primary unit being heard--the tonic.

At some point, a concept commonly referred to as the "Artist Vs. Nature" syndrome takes over. If we allow this progression to go on indefinitely, we end up with a piece of 'music' that's purely atonal, never returning to the tonic. It's up to us, as the artist, to define where this progression ends, and when we return to the tonic. This is the creation of tonal music.

Here it helps to redefine some of our concepts. Now it's important to begin thinking about the harmony as the fundamental base of our music, and the melody as the music above the harmony.

That doesn't seem like a real big redefinition, but it's important, because now we can view the harmony slightly differently; a single note in the bass that we're building off of, or another melodic line we build our counterpoint from.

Now it's important to understand the basic goals of each voice in a part, in tonal music. No matter how complicated we want to make it, generally speaking, the harmony desires to move V-I; this is our basic progression, and the motion strived for by the most bass voicing. The melody, in contrast, has the desire to move 3-2-1, by degree, relative to I. This is the basis of complete melody, that it strives to realize this melodic progression.

It doesn't take a huge leap of thought to realize that if every melody moves 3-2-1, over a I-V-I bass, that music would get _really_ boring really quick... and so we can view our compositions as elongations of these movements, and other anamolies we can find.

So what is an elongation, sometimes called a diminution? In tonal music, as I've said, every note strives to become the tonic; a diminution is a series of notes that elongates the new tonic. For instance, moving back to our C-D-E line, if we instead make this (C-D-C)-(D-E-D)-(E-F-E), we've elongated each of these notes, but they're still retain their harmonic function in relation to each other as a group.

There are four types of elongations: Arpeggiations, Consonant skips, Neighbor Notes, and Linear Progressions.

Arpeggiations, under this definition, outline a complete chord in any inversion, in either direction; but not both. ie. E-G-C would be an arpeggiation of C maj, in it's first inversion. However, E-G-E-C would not, because the arpeggiation changes direction. Nor would E-C-G-C-E, as it skips notes.

A consonant skip is any two notes of the same harmonic unit played sequentially--in other words, an incomplete arpeggiation.

Neighbor notes fall into two categories, complete and incomplete. A complete neighbor note is a neighbor note that appears between a reptition of a consonance. For instance C-D-C over a Cmaj chord, the elongation is to C, and the dissonance, D, is between the repition. An incomplete neighbor note is a dissonant neighbor which appears either before or after the consonance it's elongating. For instance, D-C-E over Cmaj, the D is incomplete, as it falls outside the consonance C.

Linear runs are melodic progressions of sequential notes, where both the beginning and ending notes are consonant with the harmonic goal. Generally these break down into 3, 4, and 5 note progressions. For instance, C-B-A-G over C maj, elongating C and moving to the 5th. Or C-Bb-A-G-F, beginning on Cmag and ending over Fmaj; in the latter case elongating F as the harmonic goal, what we're moving to, is in accord with Fmaj.

Other elements--
The primary ascent: While basslines commonly start on I, or V, rarely does the melody being on 3; this poses a problem to tonal analysis, when do we tonicize 3? The phase of music building up to the tonicization of 3 is referred to as the primary ascent--the melody striving to acheive the initial goal. This section of music can, and often does, appear across a huge section of a score, the elongation of 1-3, or 1-2-3 can comprise most of a peice of music; delaying the 2-1 movement completely into the coda.

The obligitory octave: If we view all music as beginning on I in both the harmony and the melody, all music strives to finish on the exact I it begins and ends on, in both the harmony and the melody. There are some well founded exceptions to this, but as a whole, tonal music strives to establish I, and then return to I, with everything between being an elongation of I. The established tonic, or I, is the true tonic, and the octave (or pitch) at which it is established is considered the obligitory octave--tonal music strives to return to the obligatory, or home octave, from 3, or as a return from V in the harmony.

Layers: Usually when we look at the whole of a work, we only see the notes as they're presented. The entire whole of a peice as it's put together as a song/score is usually more complex (meaning it doesn't nicely fit into these 'rules' as I've presented them). Actually it does, because music breaks down neatly into layers. We begin with a background, build up the middle ground (depending on how long/complex a piece is, there may be multiple middle grounds) and building on the middle ground as a whole, establish the foreground: The music as it's actually written/heard.
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Old 06-10-2005, 02:00 AM   #4
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It helps to see how this works against an actual piece of music, so I'll break down a piece of music that's already been established and analyzed--the work I used for the formal phraseology stuff in the Name That thread. If you haven't read the higher analysis of that already, you can find it here.

For simplicity, I'll remove the middle voice.
First, notes can be freely duplicated in a melody, as well as entire [micro-]phrases. The first step in analyzing a piece is to remove any immediate duplication such as this, that includes entire measures that immediately repeat.
Code:
V Establishment of 1 V Establishment of 3 1 [--CS---] [CS] [---CS---] [-CS-] [-CS-][--------CS----------] e:----------8-------8-------|------8-------12------8---|--------------------------| B:--8-------------8-------8-|----------8-------8-------|------------------8-------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : C (I) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--0-----------------------| D:--------------------------|--2-----------------------|------------------2-------| A:--3-----------------------|------------------3-------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| [------CS-------] [------CS-------] ^ Establishment of I

What we can see happening here, is a series of consonant skips to 1 in C, interrupted in measure two by a skip to 3. While in this case the first occurance of 3 is it's establishment, that's not always the case. For instance, if we'd seen this in the middle of an arpeggiation, the 3 would act as an elongation of 1, and not establish itself. The section enumerating elements of I ends with an anticipation of the next harmonic unit (G), moving down to 5--this is a unique skip, not anticipating another movement similar to the ones we've already seen.
Code:
V -- Descension to 2 4 [CS] [-CS-] [--------ARP--------] [CS][--ARP--] e:--------7-------7-10--7---|------7--------------10---|----------8--12---8-------| B:----------8---------------|--8-----------------------|---------------------10---| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : G (V) A (vi) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--0-----------------------|--0-----------------------|------------------2-------| A:------------------2-------|----------2---------------|--0---2---3---------------| E:--------------------------|------------------3-------|--------------------------| [------CS-------] [------ARP------] [--LP--*] ^ Movement to V

Here we have a skip from B to G in the melody, followed by a repeat of B (we could remove this), and a consonant skip from D to B, followed by an arpeggio of G in the upper voice (refer to the original to see how the actual music differs). In the lower voice we have a skip from D to B, followed by an arpeggio to G, in contrary motion to the arpeggio in the melody. When we finally change to A we see our first linear progression, in the bass, moving from A to C. In the melody we skip up, then arpeggiate downwards.
Code:
7 [-CS][---ARP---] [-CS][---LP---] [---NN---] e:-------------10-----------|-------------15--13--12---|-14-----------------------| B:---------10------10-------|---------12---------------|-----15------15-----------| G:---------------------10---|--------------------------|---------14------14-------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : Dm (ii) Emb9 (iiib9/vb9) D (II/V (vb9-vi/V)) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|----------0---------------|----------2---------------| D:--0-------3-------0-------|--2---------------2-------|--0---------------4-------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| [---CS---][---CS---] [---CS---][---CS---] [---CS---][---CS---]

In the bass here, we see the repeating idea for the remainder of this section of a consonant skip up a third and back down again; this is similar to the idea of hitting these as neighbor notes--in their entirity, the measures are an elongation of the first note. The melody is pretty self explanitory, as it is the LP in the second measure actually contributes to how the overall harmony is acting... this is kind of a special case. In the third measure I've annotated only the neighbor notes for reasons we'll see when I go over it a second time.
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Old 06-10-2005, 02:01 AM   #5
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Code:
V -- Recapitulation of 3 10 * [cs] [-cs-] [-cs-] [--------CS----------] e:----------7---------------|------8------12---------7-|--------------------------| B:--8-----8---------------8-|----------8-------8-------|------------------8-------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|-----------------10-------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : G C/G (I6/4) G (V) C/E (I/6) G : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--0-----------------------|--------------------------|--2-----------------------| A:----------2---------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:------------------3-------|--3---------------3-------|------------------3-------| [------ARP------] ^ V ------ ^ I ----------- ^ V ------ ^ I ----------- ^ V * Left in for illustration: Downward motion by step from previous meas.

By now you should be seeing what's going on here, there are only two points that really merit any note here. The lesser of the two is the final consonant skip, it should be noted that the goal here is actually the G, not an elongation of D. The other is the note about the recapitulation of 3; does that mean that the tonicization of 2 earlier is an elongation of 3? Yes, it does.
Code:
13 [cs] [cs][----LP--][cs] [-CS-] (Up a step) [---ARP---] e:--------8-------8---------|----------------------7---|----------9--12---9-------| B:----------8-------8---6---|-----10-----------8-------|---------------------10---| G:--------------------------|--9-----------------------|--------------------------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : C (I) G (V) Am (vi) E7 (iii/V) A (I) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--------------------------|------------------2-------|------------------2-------| A:--3-----------------------|--0---2---3---------------|--0---2---4---------------| E:------------------3-------|--------------------------|--------------------------| [--LP---] * [---LP---] * ^ I ----------- ^ V

* Further tonicizing 3, by a rather unusual method
Code:
V Full tonicization of 3-- V 2 16 [-cs][---ARP---] [--ARP-][--NN--][-CS-] (4,ok)[cs] e:-------------10-----------|------7--10--12--10---7---|-13----------10-----------| B:---------10------10-------|--9-----------------------|-----12-------------------| G:---------------------11---|--------------------------|---------12---------------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : D (II/IV) E7/G# (III7/6 / V) G (V7) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|----------0---------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--1---------------1-------|--0-------2---4-----------| D:--4---0-------------------|--------------------------|------------------5-------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| [-CS] [----cs---][---cs---] [----LP------] ^ II (for II/V-I/V-I) ^ III, *IN* to II ^ V ^ V V 1 e:--8-------|| B:--8-------|| G:----------|| D:----------|| A:----------|| E:----------|| : C : e:--0-------|| B:----------|| G:--0-------|| D:----------|| A:--3-------|| E:----------|| ^ I
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Old 06-10-2005, 02:03 AM   #6
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Now the next step! Here we reduce all of the elongations we've seen so far to their respective 'tonics' and reduce it again, by removing duplicates (ready?)

Code:
V Establishment of 1 V Establishment of 3 1 [---------------CS-------------][--CS--][----------CS---------] e:----------8---------------|--------------12------8---|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|------------------8-------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : C (I) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--0-----------------------| D:--------------------------|--2-----------------------|--------------------------| A:--3-----------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| [--------------------------ARP------------------------] ^ Establishment of I

We can see now that things are getting pretty thin, what's interesting here is that the bass line, after removing diminutions, comes to form an arpeggio of C.
Code:
V -- Descension to 2 4 [----CS----][---CS---] (up by step) e:--------7---------10------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--8-----------------------|-----------------------10-| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : G (V) A (vi) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--0-----------------------|--------------------------|------------------2-------| A:--------------------------|----------2---------------|--0-------3---------------| E:--------------------------|------------------3-------|--------------------------| [--------------------ARP-------------------] [-------ARP-------] ^ Movement to V

Again, things getting pretty thin, and we can see the bass line arpeggios becoming more apparent.
Code:
7 [----------CS](2) (up by step) (3) [------ARP--------] e:-------------10-----------|---------------------12---|-14-----------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|-----15-------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|-----------------14-------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : Dm (ii) Emb9 (iiib9/vb9) D (II/V (vb9-vi/V)) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--0-----------------------|--2-----------------------|--0-----------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| [--------------------------------NN------------------------------]

Now we see something a little bit different, these three measures in the bass build up an extended series of neighbor notes-- the big difference being the raising to major of the overall harmony in the least measure. I'll skip ahead here, when the arpeggio in the melody is reduced, it'll become an incomplete neighbor note to the third degree next to it. Further reduction will remove it completely, and it'll become a consonant skip from 3 down to 7 in the next measure.
Code:
V -- Recapitulation of 3 10 (up by step) [---cs---] e:----------7---------------|------8------12-----------|--------------------------| B:------------------------8-|--------------------------|------------------8-------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|-----------------10-------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : G C/G (I6/4) G (V) C/E (I/6) G : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--2-----------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:------------------3-------|--3---------------3-------|------------------3-------| ^ V ------ ^ I ----------- ^ V ------ ^ I ----------- ^ V

Very thin, we begin to see a series of harmonic/melodic goals, and almost a call and reply set up.
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Old 06-10-2005, 02:03 AM   #7
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Code:
13 [---------------------------------NN-------------------------------] e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:----------8---------------|-----10-----------8-------|---------------------10---| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : C (I) G (V) Am (vi) E7 (iii/V) A (I) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| D:--------------------------|------------------2-------|------------------2-------| A:--3-----------------------|--0-----------------------|--0-------4---------------| E:------------------3-------|--------------------------|--------------------------| * [---------ARP--------] ^ I ----------- ^ V Not much need for my thoughts here, this is straightforward V Full tonicization of 3-- V 2 16 [---CS---] [-------INN-----] [CS] e:-------------10-----------|-------------12-----------|-13----------10-----------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--------------------------|---------12---------------| D:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| : D (II/IV) E7/G# (III7/6 / V) G (V7) : e:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| B:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| G:--------------------------|--1-----------------------|--0-----------------------| D:------0-------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| A:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| E:--------------------------|--------------------------|--------------------------| [----------IN---------] ^ II (for II/V-I/V-I) ^ III, *IN* to II ^ V ^ V V 1 e:--8-------|| B:--8-------|| G:----------|| D:----------|| A:----------|| E:----------|| : C : e:--0-------|| B:----------|| G:--0-------|| D:----------|| A:--3-------|| E:----------|| ^ I


At this point meter/rhythm pretty much don't matter anymore. The final simplification for this piece brings us to:
Melody: 3-2-3-2-1 (E-D-E-D-C, which can even reduce to E-D-C) over
Harmony: I-V-ii-V-I-V-ii-V-I, with a lot of what we see now getting stripped out.

This seems like a lot of trouble to go through, and a fairly complicated process all in all, and it is. But it demonstrates how melodies, and entire pieces, function in layers, and can be built in layers. We also see the establishment of the octave, and the return to it in both the bass and the melodic lines, what a primary ascent looks like, and how the various diminutions look. Most importantly, it helps us understand the concept of how each tone strives to become a tonic.

Some of you are probably thinking I'm on crack, and wondering "Was he really thinking like that when he wrote that?" Only partly, I promise. Most of the time, when we go back and analyze something we've already written this way, we see things that we did naturally and didn't realize at the time. Or we realize that we were actually writing something that varied greatly from what we thought it was.

A lot of the time, when comping something, we'll write a piece of music with these concepts in mind; I may have two measures, and a starting point for both of them, and need to bridge it--the idea of using elongations of various types to fill the gaps is a useful tool. At the same time, I may already have a simple melody that I want to embellish, in this case I can use diminutions, such as arpeggios off of each tone, to build up and emphasize certain aspects of a melody. I never, for instance, try and force a melody to tonicize on 3--it's something that naturally occurs of, and that I'm aware will happen. I do try and build them up for a 2-1 descent on the final cadence though, for the final sense of closure it adds. While it may not be how they end up working, under careful analysis, that's how they get written.

This seems like enough to start with... I'll add more as I have time (probably tomorrow).
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Old 06-10-2005, 09:24 PM   #8
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Melody over the harmony

Hopefully you guys are ready for some more....

Most of the time we start out with some harmonic line, which we'll be building a lead over, or writing a voice part for. The two concepts are similar enough that I won't be differentiating between them, though most of what I'll be showing applies to instrumental melody. For sung parts, you generally want to keep skips (disjunct motion) to a minimum, as it's difficult for the voice to be jumping all over the place. Instruments rarely have the range restrictions that a voice does, also.

Let's say we've got a harmony that goes C-Am-Dm-G-C (this I-vi-ii-V is fairly common, we get a circle type progression, and hitting the V below I let's us move in either direction to I for various types of movements to follow). If this movement ends a piece, ie. the last C is the final harmonic unit, then our last two notes for the attached melody are written for us: At whatever point it gets played, D will be the last note over G, and C will be played on the down beat over C, for final closure. As it is, we'll view this for now as beginning a piece, which leaves our options open.

Firstly, let's look at our candidate notes for consonance with the harmonic structure:
C: C, E, or G
Am: A, C, or E
Dm: D, F, or A
G: G, B, D

Classicaly, we're limited in our starting points for melody--it should begin on either 1 or 5. To make things interesting, let's start on G. To outline the harmonic structure, we can follow the melody G-A-A-B-C. This is a pretty fluid line, moving sequentially in an upwards motion, and in tab might look something like:

Code:
e:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|| B:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|| G:--------------|-------------|-------------|--4-----------|--5----------|| D:--5-----------|--7----------|--7----------|--------------|-------------|| A:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|| E:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------||


Now this is pretty dull, and we'd like to add some motion to it. Some basic ideas we can use are arpeggiating off the basic tone, jumping around chord tones, running up (or down) to other notes, short trills/legato phrases (hammer ons/hammer offs), introducing dissonances, and ideas like that. Here, I think it'll be a cool idea to jump across each note, and descend back into the next measure:


Code:
e:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|| B:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|| G:------------4-|-----------4-|-----------5-|--4---------7-|--5----------|| D:--5-----------|--7----------|--7----------|--------------|-------------|| A:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|| E:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------||


Now we've added just a little bit of texture, repeating through each measure. And even though in measures 1 and 2 these additions are dissonant, they resolve pretty quickly beginning the next measure.

Adding to this idea, instead of just jumping up, we can ramp up to these notes:
Code:
e:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|| B:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|| G:------------4-|---------3-4-|---------4-5-|--4-------5-7-|--5----------|| D:--5-------7---|--7----------|--7----------|--------------|-------------|| A:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------|| E:--------------|-------------|-------------|--------------|-------------||

Notice the addition of an out of key (chromatic) passing tone in the second measure--this is ok, the idea here is a 3 note linear progression moving up, in each measure. One of the concepts that comes up here, involving dissonances like this, is making them very short, instead of hearing them as notes matching the harmony, you want to hear them in passing (hey, the idea of passing tones). While they may resolve onto a dissonance, the note being elongated (in this case the final note) is the note we hear, not the notes elongating it, which just add flavor.

Our next addition? Well, the way it's looking right now, things are pretty bland for the first part of the measure, so we'd like to focus on expanding this note some. We might start by adding neighbor notes, in this case complete neighbor notes, above the note, and coming back:
Code:
e:---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------|-------------|| B:---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------|-------------|| G:-------------4-|-----4-----3-4-|-----4-----4-5-|--4--5--4--5-7-|--5----------|| D:--5--7--5--7---|--7-----7------|--7-----7------|---------------|-------------|| A:---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------|-------------|| E:---------------|---------------|---------------|---------------|-------------||

If we actually listen to what we're hearing at this point, there's a lot of drive to the upward motion in the melody now. This is probably because we're giving the ear the upward motion that it expects from previous measures, and then taking it away--adding tension to the movement.

Notice how we got here, starting with a couple of fairly simple ideas-- overall a ramp up to C, and in each measure jumping over the next note so we resolve against it. Keeping with the initial idea of a ramp up, we add passing tones to make the jump in each measure more fluid. To get rid of the monotony of a single note for most of a measure, all we do is break it up with another passing tone, a neighbor note, just plunked down in the middle.

At this point we've actually got a fairly complete, cohesive melody; nothing incredibly complex, but it flows well, and gets from a to b (well, G to C, but who's counting?) nicely. But let's say we're working in the middle of a solo, and we want some more energy. Two ideas quickly come to mind. First, we can make the work a little more chromatic, and add passing tones in between each of those neighbor notes. This won't add a whole lot of texture to the piece, but it will add some movement to it. TBH, I don't like that a whole lot, it works and it sounds ok, but it's just kind of 'blah.' Instead, I think I want to arpeggiate off of the base tone, to start the measure:
Code:
[-3-] [-3-] [-3-] e:-----------------|------------------|-----------------| B:-----------------|-----5------------|-----------------| G:---------------4-|---5---5-4----3-4-|-------4-----4-5-| D:-----5-7--5--7---|-7---------7------|---3-7----7------| A:-3-5-------------|------------------|-5---------------| E:-----------------|------------------|-----------------| [-3-] e:-----------------|-------------|| B:-----------------|-------------|| G:-----4-5--4--5-7-|--5----------|| D:---5-------------|-------------|| A:-5---------------|-------------|| E:-----------------|-------------||

TBH, this didn't just happen... I had the idea, but when I actually went to write it up, it began sounding simply cluttered. It took some work to make it sound ok; that's usually an indicator that you're finished. You'll notice that for the most part, I arpeggiate up TO the note, originally I had wanted to arpeggiate up FROM the note, this was a sacrifice that had to be made, but keeps the added texture. I did manage to do it the way I wanted, in the second measure, with a little adjustment--the added C before the original B passing tone. This keeps the jump down from sounding out too much, or making itself too aparent (dissonant). A quick 'look' would show us that the B in this measure no longer functions how it was originally intended (referring to the line a few posts back where reanalysis shows that what we ended up writing isn't what we thought it was). But that's ok, we built off of it, and expanded our ideas, and it still serves a purpose in the whole.

Another thing about the second measure, you'll notice that the melody starts 'underneath' the destination, and moves 'above' it, before jumping back down... we refer to this as "reaching over." The inverse, appropriately enough, as "reaching under."

While this, admittedly, isn't an awesome lead line, it does serve to show how we can build up our melodies by starting with a few simple ideas, and adding to them. These ideas can span entire sections (the entire line moving from G to C), or even longer, or they can by as short as a few notes. These shorter ideas can be repeated throughout a section, to build up very short motifs (the idea of arpeggiating the first note). We'll talk more about motifs at some point in the future.
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Old 06-11-2005, 06:58 AM   #9
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Harmonizing a melody

Occaisionally we have a melody, most often in these cases a vocal melody, to which we need to harmonize. This is usually pretty straight forward, and for the most part we simply work in reverse from what we did above. Instead of taking candidate notes from the harmony, we'll isolate key (important) changes in the melody, and use those as notes for building candidate chords.

The following melody needs harmonization, and is an excerpt from something I'm working on... the timing is a little odd, with a bit of syncopation, but I'll try and keep things organized; it's intended to be played at about 86bpm

Code:
e:---------------------|------------------------|----------------------| B:---------------------|------------------------|----------------------| G:---------------------|------------------------|----------------------| D:---------------------|-------------------0----|----------------------| A:--0--0--3---3--------|--0--0--3--3-3-3------3-|-(3)-----0------------| E:---------------------|------------------------|----------------------| e:----------|---------------------|------------------------|------------------| B:----------|---------------------|------------------------|------------------| G:----------|---------------------|------------------------|------------------| D:----------|---------------------|-------------------0----|------------------| A:----------|--0----3----3--------|--0--0--3---3--3------3-|-(3)-----0--------| E:----------|---------------------|------------------------|------------------| (2/4) (4/4) e:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| B:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| G:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| D:------|-----------2----0-------|----------------------|-------------| A:------|--3-3-3--------------3--|-(3)-----2----2----3--|-(3)---------| E:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| (continues)

What are the first things we notice? Key, it's either in Am or Cmajor. There's not a whole lot of movement, or a wide range of notes being used; in fact it's limited to 5. Almost no disjunct motion, with the exception of the third to last measure, there's no movement that's not stepwise. If you could see sheet music, you'd see note durations and timings--there are a lot of sustained notes, and a lot of notes that start off of the beat by an 8th, or 16th. If we were to listen to it (which, I am), we'll also notice that it has a fairly melancholy sound (something we can attribute to the minor key, the 'long' sustains, and the lack of motion); this is important, because we don't want to break the mood with our harmonizations... at least in this case. Finally, we'll notice the empty measure and half measure--these are free measures, we can harmonize anything here as long as it fits with the rest of the harmony. They're also primary candidates for lead fills, or extensions into solos.

Breaking this down measure by measure, our candidate notes are:
1: A, C
2: A, C, D
3: C, A
4: --
5: A, C
6: A, C, D
7: C, A
8: --
9: C, E, D
10: C, B, C
11: C

Something that stands out here, is that even though the melody varies, the candidates for measures 1-3, and 5-7 are the same; a likely choice for repeating the same harmonic sequence.

I won't go through chord construction, hopefully you understood that before you started reading this. So our (basic) candidate chords for each note are as follows:
A: Am, Dm, F, Bm7b5
B: Bm7b5, G7, Em
C: C, Am, F, Dm7
D: Dm(7), Em7 or E7, G7, Bm7b5
E: Em7 or E7, C, Am

A couple of notes here. Generally in the minor keys we won't use ii(half dim), except for ramping up to an exposition in the relative major. We usually won't harmonize to VI, though we can, except as preperation for VII7. And generally, unless we're preparing for a cadence to the relative major (again, normally for an exposition in major), VII will be played as VII7, resolving up by step to i. These are guidelines, not hard rules, and they're violated often enough--but it's good to keep them in mind, obeying the natural tendencies of a minor key to sound minor.

Building up a harmony for this, measure by measure:
1: Since we're starting on 1 in the melody, it's usually a good idea to start on I. Since A and C both harmonize to Am, we might as well keep Am for the entire measure.
2: We have the option of keeping Am for this measure, tonally it's a repetition of the first measure. While this is completely viable, we won't. Our options to start here are Dm, F, and Bm7b5. Looking at the following measure, we're not moving to a major phrase--in face we're ending the current phrase on 1 again, so we can pretty quickly discard Bm7b5. F, moving i-VI might be viable, if we have somewhere to go after this. And Dm, moving i-iv, is a prime choice. When the D plays, we can either move to Dm, or accept it as a probably dissonance with whatever we're playing instead.
3: We have the choice of C, moving to Dm (when A sounds), which is acceptable if we we playing F before; moving back to Am, or moving straight to Dm. F probably isn't a good choice here, we're too close to the beginning of a new phrase for this to play out well, probably.
4: Free measure!
5-7: Our options are the same as 1-3.
8: Another free measure!
9: Good ears will notice that there IS a change in the tonality here. In fact we've moved into the relative major; even though this is the end of our example, that's ok because the actual piece continues. This means we'll probably want to be playing C to begin this section. Good ears, however, will also notice that the bloody D is a key note in this measure, not a simple passing tone. Our possible changes here are limited to G7, and Dm--C won't move backwards to Bm7b5, and Em7 locks us into a specific path, and for demonstrative purposes we don't want that.
10: Here we have a movement back to C in the melody, followed by B. Our candidates for the first half are C, Am, F, and Dm7; over B we can either accept the maj7th (we won't), or move to G. Here, Em won't work at all (nowhere to go to at the next change).
11: We can either resolve this phrase back to major (C), or to Am. Depending on what happens next, the choice is up to us.
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Old 06-11-2005, 06:59 AM   #10
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Here's how I'm choosing to write this up:
Code:
Am Dm7 G7 Am Dm e:---------------------|------------------------|----------------------| B:---------------------|------------------------|----------------------| G:---------------------|------------------------|----------------------| D:---------------------|-------------------0----|----------------------| A:--0--0--3---3--------|--0--0--3--3-3-3------3-|-(3)-----0------------| E:---------------------|------------------------|----------------------| E7 Am Dm Am Dm Am Dm e:----------|---------------------|------------------------|------------------| B:----------|---------------------|------------------------|------------------| G:----------|---------------------|------------------------|------------------| D:----------|---------------------|-------------------0----|------------------| A:----------|--0----3----3--------|--0--0--3---3--3------3-|-(3)-----0--------| E:----------|---------------------|------------------------|------------------| (2/4) (4/4) G7 C G C G7 Am e:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| B:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| G:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| D:------|-----------2----0-------|----------------------|-------------| A:------|--3-3-3--------------3--|-(3)-----2----2----3--|-(3)---------| E:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| (continues)

We start on Am, moving to Dm to begin the second measure. I decided that the change to G7 would work well here, in this case the C becomes an anticipation, it just can't wait for the resolution! The Dm-G7 works well, as we're setting up an internal V-I cadence, in this case working as a iv-VII7 movement. The natural resolution for the G7 here is to Am, and that's where it goes. We follow this with a movement to Dm, this isn't really necessary, but it does add some color, and to the ear is unexpected but not discordant. In the free measure I move to E7, completing the i-iv-v movement I've set up with the Dm, and promoting to a dom7 with a re-harmonization from harmonic minor (this is _always_ acceptable for V). The E7 drives back into the Am, and for the next 3 measures I vamp the iv-i plagal cadence with the intention of building up tension waiting for either the V chord to return, or... the circle of fifths movement to G, which happens. Hopefully, if I built this up right, when the G chord comes into play, it feels like somebody's cut a rope holding a sack of bricks up in the air--the iv-i vamp is watching them cut it, the G is the rope finally snapping. But we keep some of the tension, with the G7 *collective gasp* what's going to happen? Major sounds! The guy standing under it for the entire scene got out of the way ok. We finish with the major phrase, which I kept simple, half-cadence--authentic cadence--half-cadence--deceptive cadence(!!) with the resolution back to Am, and the continuation, probably remaining in minor.

A couple of things to mention... this could have come out a lot different. In either the second or 6th measures, I could have moved to F, then to Dm, and held Dm waiting for E, or G, to happen. The i-vi-iv movement, in preperation for V, or in minor a potential promotion of iv to V, awaiting I/VII (as we see in the second measure anyway) is perfectly acceptable. Generally forms of the vi/VI chord want to move to either III/iii (respectively), or up to VII/vii(dim)--in either case, if the melody can accept it, don't immediately discard this is as a possible movement (though, IMO it usually sounds unnecessarily bright in minor keys). And it's important to remember there were options, there are probably about a hundred ways we could end up harmonizing this, in whole, without ever getting into extensions or alterations. Some will sound stronger than others, some will sound brighter, some will sound more discordant, and some will portray your intentions better; here you have an example of how to look at this as a whole, and how to possibly harmonize with it in entirety.

A final note: I said in the original notes about possible harmonizations that in measure 9 we could move to Em7 over the D. Here's how this would work:
Code:
(2/4) (4/4) G7 C Em7/D F G7 C e:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| B:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| G:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| D:------|-----------2----0-------|----------------------|-------------| A:------|--3-3-3--------------3--|-(3)-----2----2----3--|-(3)---------| E:------|------------------------|----------------------|-------------| ^ In anticipation again

We don't necessarily need G7 instead of simply G here, but it will sound stronger. I-iii is considered a weak movement, but it would work here. More importantly is what it forces us into. The candidate harmonic motions (I won't go into that in this thread) for iii are pretty limited, we can't move back to I, we can't move back to ii, and in the middle of this line, Am isn't going to cut mustard for us. That forces the movement to IV. The possible movements for IV here are even more limited--we can only go up a step. We get back to G7, which is perfectly acceptable. Normally the IV-V movement CAN move to vi, in what we call a 'deceptive cadence'. V wants to move back to I, and instead moving up to the minor leaves us with this feeling of "Come on, get on with it." The deceptive cadence doesn't move to minor, unlike the VII-i movement however, even though they're the same chords. Again, that vi wants to move somewhere, it won't work as a standing chord. Even worse in this case, because we've already seen iii, in this movement, the strength of iii-IV-V forces the resolution to I. The option of even moving to vi is closed to us, based on the strength of the Em7 movement to F (try it if you don't believe me, the Am will sound incredibly weak). Knowing this ahead of time, I discarded it as an option here and went with G in my line.

Now that we have our basic harmony, we can substitute, alter, extend, invert, and otherwise obfuscate the basic underlying chords to our hearts content! Depending on what type of music you're playing, you'd now use different ideas for changing these chords out. Jazz? Extend to the 7th, promotions, and tritone substitution. Country/rock? Probably won't change a thing. Blues? Promotion to the 7th. Me? I'll invert the hell out of everything to get rid off the bassline jumps, it IS minor after all, and I don't want a whole lot of movement. Point is, now we have the basic harmonic structure to accompany the line.

More to come, probably tomorrow (again), or some point in the near future.
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Old 06-15-2005, 06:37 PM   #11
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If you mean separated parts (Choir) then the attachment should be of service... If you mean combined, like for piano/keyboard, then the four parts are combined on the Grand Staff (Bass Clef Staff combined with Treble Clef Staff, though I imagine you're aware of this since you seem to be quite knowledgeable about theory and such!), where the four parts are arranged respectively from lowest to highest as followed: Bass Tenor Alto Soprano.
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Old 06-15-2005, 06:58 PM   #12
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For piano/keyboard/compositional, here's an example of a "Grand Staff style" (misnomer?)...
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Old 06-15-2005, 07:05 PM   #13
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Re: Melody and harmony

Quote:
Originally posted by Corwinoid
No false relation. If there's an interval relation between two [sequential] harmonic units (chords), the bass movement must reflect that relationship. The simplifies down to IV6 can't move to V, for instance. Or more verbosely: The chord built on the fourth degree, in it's first inversion, can't move to the dominant chord in root position, because the bass moves contrary to the harmonic relationship: Down by step, instead of up by step.


Would a Phrygian Half Cadence (iv6-V in a minor key) be false relation? If not, how does it differ from IV6-V, which was prohibited according to part writing rules that you specified? Thanks a lot for your help (great thread by the way!!!)!
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Old 06-15-2005, 07:53 PM   #14
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Good question, deserves a good answer:

My definition of false relation is wrong. This is what I get for writing something like this at 2 in the morning, working from bad notes.

The actual definition is confusing (trust me), but that doesn't excuse flat out wrong information coming from me. I've always simplified the rule on false relation in major scales to be the movement of consecutive thirds between the fourth and fifth degrees.

That should have been what I presented, but it wasn't.

False relation can occur in the phrygian half cadence if there's a consecutive doubling of the root in V, or if the third in V appears above the root IV/iv. I don't know if this applies to compound octaves--and I've sent an email off to someone with a masters in comp to clarify this for me.
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Old 06-16-2005, 12:20 AM   #15
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Seeing as apparently corwinoid isn't coming back for a while, maybe it is time to weed out irrelevant posts in between corwinoid's posts?


I'll be finishing this thread, it's a good way to organize my thoughts.

Quote:
Originally posted by renato
cor, you don't have a .pdf version of this lesson by any chance? (ever thought of publishing? would be easy money for you)


No, I'm doing it in text right now. And yes.

Quote:
Originally posted by uberfag
thanks a lot!! If you scanned your notes, that would be awesome too, but thats a lot of work and great imposition at your expense (as a high school student, I'm curious to see what kind of neat stuff you learn in college theory)


Most of this is half learned in college, and half through use and discourse with other composers/musicians/professors, etc. I didn't major in music, and I didn't take the theory sequence very far (too slow )... college isn't the only way to learn; you just need to deal with people who know, and are willing to share.

Quote:
Originally posted by Corwinoid
Good question, deserves a good answer:

My definition of false relation is wrong. This is what I get for writing something like this at 2 in the morning, working from bad notes.

The actual definition is confusing (trust me), but that doesn't excuse flat out wrong information coming from me. I've always simplified the rule on false relation in major scales to be the movement of consecutive thirds between the fourth and fifth degrees.

That should have been what I presented, but it wasn't.

False relation can occur in the phrygian half cadence if there's a consecutive doubling of the root in V, or if the third in V appears above the root IV/iv. I don't know if this applies to compound octaves--and I've sent an email off to someone with a masters in comp to clarify this for me.


Alright... I just spent 3 hours looking into this; talking on the phone with Professor John; digging through various references, looking at examples in composition from all over CPP... and finally we have a winner: A subject nobody really knows much about.

I managed to get this wrong not once, but a whopping TWICE!

Here's the [very abridged] definition we came up with: False relation occurs under two conditions. First, when a voice enumerates any part of a tritone, and an outer voice receives the other part of a tritone in the next movement. For instance, this can occur in the phrygian half cadence, in A minor, when F moves to E, and B sounds in the soprano over E. This is more of an issue in two part counterpoint; in four or more voices, the other voices lessen the dissonance. Examples of this are given in one of Bach's works, in Fantasia #3 by Mozart, and a host of other places. Common practicioners were late classical era composers, and romantic composers--I have an analysis, which I'm about to read, that goes in depth in this; but basically it can be used to imply a cadence or key change, without the change actually occuring. This is a deviation from standard practice, and acceptable composition in most realms, but it is seen in actual music.

Second, false relation can occur when a pitch sounds in one octave, and is sounded with a chromatic alteration in another octave--meaning if you're playing F in a bass voicing, and responding with F# in a much higher voicing, false relation of a chromatically altered octave occurs. This almost never happens, however, it is seen in one specific period of music, quite commonly. Generally when this is seen, it's almost always a mistake, either by the composer or the transcriber. Outside of common practice, you can find this very rarely in jazz; and extensively in exactly one piece by Charles Ives.

And that's abridged... lesson learned.
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Old 07-21-2005, 05:05 AM   #16
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I'm sorry to say I haven't read this before - you must've been doing this when I was away from UG.

Haven't read much of it yet, but loving it so far (thelonius monks ) you really do have a gift for communication. I'm learning a lot.
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Old 07-31-2005, 01:53 PM   #17
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wow...ive looked through these articles on harmony and melody and dont understand them at all!

wots elongation? and wots consonant?
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Old 07-31-2005, 02:14 PM   #18
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^ Consonant and dissonant are terms used to describe how 'nice' something sounds. They're fairly subjective. Consonant chords/intervals sound good. Dissonant chords/intervals sound 'bad'.

A major chord, for instance, is consonant, a dominant 7th is dissonant. We use dissonance as one method of increasing tension, so that following consonances sound better than if they'd just been played alone.

Elongation is the act of taking a single note and making it 'longer' through the addition of other notes. Say you have a descending arpeggio, in 8th notes: G-E-C. You could elongate the G by adding to it: F-G-A-G-E-C, again, in all 8th notes. Now the 'G' becomes longer, as the additional notes surrounding it add to the primary note. This can cover entire sections of music, and there can be elongations inside elongations to the nth degree (and usually are). They don't necessarily have to extend the duration of a 'note' metrically, if the F-G-A-G were all 32nd notes, the total metric period would still be an 8th note, but the G is still melodically elongated by other notes surrounding it.

It's a bit more complex than that really... see, in tonal music, every note strives to become the tonic, and the most natural series of notes is a sequential series of notes.

For instance, A-B-C-D-E-F-G... or even more granular, A-A#-B-C-C#-D-D#... etc.

Now we have the problem that EACH NOTE BECOMES THE TONIC.

In other words, for the first example, you're literally changing keys from the key of A to the key of B, to the key of C, to the key of D, etc.

In tonal music, conceptually, it's the task of the composer to _limit_ this natural occurance in music--this is what gives music it's 'tonality.' What that means is that for any series of notes, fundamentally, you have to return to the underlying note being built on.

So if we take (and this is pretty contrived), A-B-C-D-E-D-C-B-A and a series of notes, ascending to E then descending back to A, we could look at it like this: A moves to B, the key becomes B; B moves to C, the key becomes C; C moves to D, the key becomes D; D moves to E then back to D, the natural series of key changes, or 'tonicizations' is limited by the composers decision here. The E _extends_ the key of D by an extra note, elongating the D melodically.

Now the D moves back to C, a return to a 'previous' tonic. The entire series of the tonicization of D and it's elongation has now elongated C: C-D-E-D-C is all an elongation of the primary C. When we return to B, the same is true. The C is the fundamental elongation, and the smaller elongations above it just contribute to its effect. Now B-C-D-E-D-C is all in the 'key' of B. Finally we return to A, the actual tonic, and everything that was played above it becomes an elongation of that single melodic note.
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Old 07-31-2005, 03:20 PM   #19
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thanx for that, thats helpful.

but wot i dont get is this bit:

'So if we take (and this is pretty contrived), A-B-C-D-E-D-C-B-A and a series of notes, ascending to E then descending back to A, we could look at it like this: A moves to B, the key becomes B; B moves to C, the key becomes C; C moves to D, the key becomes D; D moves to E then back to D, the natural series of key changes, or 'tonicizations' is limited by the composers decision here. The E _extends_ the key of D by an extra note, elongating the D melodically.'


why does the key change just because the note changes? those notes u mentioned could all just be in the key of cmaj or A minor. i dont see why the key changes just because the notes change.
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Old 07-31-2005, 09:46 PM   #20
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^ IT doesn't from the perspective of music, I didn't write in accidentals, but yeah, it would all be in the key of A something when you write it.

But from a theoretical point of view every note strives to becmoe the new root of a scale... that's tonicization of tonal music. It's something that just happens. In tonal music, each note tries to become a new key, as composers we don't let that happen.
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