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#2
minor: WHWWHWW

melodic minor: WHWWWWH

the 6th and 7th notes of natural minor get moved up half a step each to become the melodic minor scale. this way, you retain the minor third that gives the scale it's minor quality, but you will hear more major/happy sounds when you are playing around with the 7th and 6th. Melodic minor is usually used in context to bring strength and personality to the resolution of a chord progression, or to highlight a change between two sections. you can obviously use it for other purposes, too.

long story short: move your 6th and 7th scale degrees up 1/2 a step each, making them major.
Last edited by frigginjerk at Jan 2, 2009,
#4
Isn't melodic #6 #7 on the way up, then normal on the way down? I think harmonic is just #7...I always got those mixed up...
#5
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#6
Quote by mohsniper63
Isn't melodic #6 #7 on the way up, then normal on the way down? I think harmonic is just #7...I always got those mixed up...


ah, yes the forwards/backwards thing...

there's two schools of thought on that. in the classical school of thinking, you only use the modified (maj6, maj7) intervals when playing an ascending run, and when descending, you use the natural minor all the time. there is no rhyme or reason to this logic other than: most composers agreed that it sounded better at the time. they thought making your intervals major as you ascend the minor scale sounded more melodic, and made it easier to play over lots of chords, hence the name, melodic minor scale.

modern thinking is a bit more literal, and many people nowadays say that it doesn't matter if you're going up or down... call the scale by it's intervals. it's all about context, remember... they just named it based on what sounded "right."

that's why you need to look at HOW you'll be using the scale to determine how you will describe what you're playing.
#7
Melodic minor is a convention within minor based music in which the sixth and seventh scale degrees are altered to allow for smoother melodic lines. It's not really a scale in its own right, and it quite rare for it to be treated like one.

there is no rhyme or reason to this logic other than: most composers agreed that it sounded better at the time


This is not true. Melodic minor originated because the augmented second between the sixth and seventh degrees of the harmonic minor scale was considered melodically dissonant. In order to eliminate it, the convention was to maintain the major seventh and raise the sixth when ascending towards the tonic, as the leading tone has a natural pull towards said tonic, and flat both degrees when moving towards the fifth because the minor sixth leads smoothly into it.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
Last edited by Archeo Avis at Jan 2, 2009,
#8
Quote by Archeo Avis
Melodic minor is a convention within minor based music in which the sixth and seventh scale degrees are altered to allow for smoother melodic lines. It's not really a scale in its own right, and it quite rare for it to be treated like one.


This is not true. Melodic minor originated because the augmented second between the sixth and seventh degrees of the harmonic minor scale was considered melodically dissonant. In order to eliminate it, the convention was to maintain the major seventh and raise the sixth when ascending towards the tonic, as the leading tone has a natural pull towards said tonic, and flat both degrees when moving towards the fifth because the minor sixth leads smoothly into it.


exactly. it was CONSIDERED melodically dissonant. nowadays, that school of thought isn't as common, because tastes have changed. don't get me wrong... i know you're correct about the dissonance thing, and there is totally still use for the classical theory... but because it was a context-specific change to the scale, and because many composers play it differently, i'd say it was mostly a choice based on taste.
#9
Quote by liam177lewis
someone told me that natural and melodic minor are the same thing... im pretty sure theyre not...

could someone post the WWHWWWH thingy for melodic minor if it is different to natural? (natural being WHWWHWW)

cheers all.

Since the Major Scale is the central point of all Western Tonal Harmony, it's easier just to compare everything bak to the Major Scale.

Melodic Minor is: The Major Scale with a b3.

Natural Minor is: the Major Scale with a b3 b6 and b7.
Last edited by mdc at Jan 2, 2009,
#10
Quote by frigginjerk
exactly. it was CONSIDERED melodically dissonant. nowadays, that school of thought isn't as common, because tastes have changed. don't get me wrong... i know you're correct about the dissonance thing, and there is totally still use for the classical theory... but because it was a context-specific change to the scale, and because many composers play it differently, i'd say it was mostly a choice based on taste.


Dissonances will always be dissonances no matter what 'school of thinking' you're from. An augmented 2nd is still considered an unsatisfactory interval; especially in 4 part writing and is avoided most of the time depending on the effect you want to create. Of course in jazz this might not be much of an issue and the melodic minor scale is used more as a cosmetic and practical alteration of the minor scale as opposed to being the slave of classical functional harmony. The 7th is raised to offer a satisfactory resolution of the leading tone to the tonic and the 6th is raised in order to avoid an augmented 2nd. In functional harmony that 'rule' will always persist and used at the composers discretion.
#11
Quote by MisquotedTeabag
Dissonances will always be dissonances no matter what 'school of thinking' you're from. An augmented 2nd is still considered an unsatisfactory interval; especially in 4 part writing and is avoided most of the time depending on the effect you want to create. Of course in jazz this might not be much of an issue and the melodic minor scale is used more as a cosmetic and practical alteration of the minor scale as opposed to being the slave of classical functional harmony. The 7th is raised to offer a satisfactory resolution of the leading tone to the tonic and the 6th is raised in order to avoid an augmented 2nd. In functional harmony that 'rule' will always persist and used at the composers discretion.



Any tone can be interpreted as "dissonant" if it's other then the same note (or it's octave).

What's considered dissonant in music is based on (popular) taste (at the time of it's naming of dissonance).

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 2, 2009,
#12
^^ I completely agree; which is why every time I slavishly recited this little trinket of an augmented 2nd I used the words " at the composers discretion".

However understand in 4 part writing an interval within a part that is an augmented 2nd is very unsatisfactory. I mean, very very. Yes, it's a rule that has been broken and yes it's a rule that will be broken and yes, I love breaking it.

And yes, I understand very well that dissonances are based on 'popular tastes'; however let me rephrase that and say dissonances are relative. To Wagner a half diminished is something to be used in literally every phrase through out a music drama yet to mozart it was a 'once in a movement' thing. Relative and also subject to the gradual progression of music and the consequent forming of our modern ears to listen to more dissonant music.

Darren, do you enjoy atonal music? You seem so hell bent breaking the rules of music why not venture into atonal grounds and play a serial jazz solo or maybe listen to some Pierrot Lunaire....No insult intended, I am actually curious as to how 'open' your ears are...


[EDIT]

Darn, editor of posts before I reply!!! =P
Last edited by MisquotedTeabag at Jan 2, 2009,
#13
Quote by MisquotedTeabag
^^ I completely agree; which is why every time I slavishly recited this little trinket of an augmented 2nd I used the words " at the composers discretion".

However understand in 4 part writing an interval within a part that is an augmented 2nd is very unsatisfactory. I mean, very very. Yes, it's a rule that has been broken and yes it's a rule that will be broken and yes, I love breaking it.

And yes, I understand very well that dissonances are based on 'popular tastes'; however let me rephrase that and say dissonances are relative. To Wagner a half diminished is something to be used in literally every phrase through out a music drama yet to mozart it was a 'once in a movement' thing. Relative and also subject to the gradual progression of music and the consequent forming of our modern ears to listen to more dissonant music.

Darren, do you enjoy atonal music? You seem so hell bent breaking the rules of music why not venture into atonal grounds and play a serial jazz solo or maybe listen to some Pierrot Lunaire....No insult intended, I am actually curious as to how 'open' your ears are...


[EDIT]

Darn, editor of posts before I reply!!! =P


Ye sorry I have to be less "Aggressive" in my posts so I edited.

I'm not sure what you mean by "How open" my ears are?

I have very good ears from audio perspective, as in; If you perform in a local pub here and make a mistake, but have a super good sound tech and very good guitar tone + a hit song and even pull a "VAI face, I will still hear it and give a

And I'm not hell bent on breaking the rules just for breaking them. It's more that when I write a piece in classical influenced style, and you come to me and say ur song is "wrong", cause it doesn't contain a 7 but a b7 which doesn't work good based on my lil book of theory, then I will say go )*^%$#)$#*^.

And no, I don't like atonal music, just not my thing.

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
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Who's Andy Timmons??
#14
Ah, not a lover of atonal music. Well, I actually understand where you're coming from. Break what you have to and want to break and stick with the rest, right. I guess our opinion of breaking the rules would be accepting the odd augmented 2nd but dear all Schoenberg here managed to go past all of that. Atleast give him the kudos for doing that. -shrug-


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpMjjzKznDo


If you do click on the link; bare through the German introduction.
#16
Quote by MisquotedTeabag
Ah, not a lover of atonal music. Well, I actually understand where you're coming from. Break what you have to and want to break and stick with the rest, right. I guess our opinion of breaking the rules would be accepting the odd augmented 2nd but dear all Schoenberg here managed to go past all of that. Atleast give him the kudos for doing that. -shrug-


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpMjjzKznDo


If you do click on the link; bare through the German introduction.


That's because in my view atonal music doesn't mean "anything".

In theory perspective it is, but it's still music. You have music that's made out of noise and sounds of like coffee machines at stuff. That can be seen as non tonal, but it can still be a nice piece of music.

I do respect his idea, but in my view it's not something special. Especially because I listen to a lot of Indian raga and classical music where you have non-western tones (micro tonal notes or how you wanna call em)

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 2, 2009,
#17
^^ microtones hurt my ears, quite honestly. Keep wondering whether it's a G or a G sharp or a badly tuned guitar. Just a matter of taste and a bit of cultural prejudice, I guess. I do like atonality though. Motivic sequences and of course the many displays unbounded counterpoint that Schoenberg so amazingly implements. To me, Schoenberg is the atonal Beethoven. -shrug-

Understand though, Darren, atonal music isn't random like a 'coffee machine'; well it is; but not the form of atonal music that most composers implement; i.e. serialism. And believe me serial compositions are very very structured and is anything but random. Forgive me, by the way for assuming you aren't familiar seriliasm, because that's what most atonal music I listen to is about.

P.S. Do you have perfect pitch?


Oh and, I might get banned for going off topic and spamming on a different thread so...
Um melodic minor scales are nice and can be used on top of a matching harmony to great effect.
#18
Quote by MisquotedTeabag

Understand though, Darren, atonal music isn't random like a 'coffee machine'; well it is; but not the form of atonal music that most composers implement; i.e. serialism. And believe me serial compositions are very very structured and is anything but random. Forgive me, by the way for assuming you aren't familiar seriliasm, because that's what most atonal music I listen to is about.


True I didn't mean it like that. Still you could make something structured with random sounds.

Who knows, maybe I totally like his music in 2 years. At the moment I just like the music that I like, and i'm happy with what I listen to.

Quote by MisquotedTeabag

P.S. Do you have perfect pitch?


If I hear a note I can't always tell which note it is from memory(not consistent)
Strangely I can "hear"(transcribe) almost all chords.

Give me a tuned guitar or piano, and I can figure (probably) every song out (written with our 12 tones). I just need to play like 1 note and then I know by reference where the right note is.

I think it's called relative pitch or something, but not sure.

I just have sensitive ears, and if ur intonation is wrong, you will hear me bitching Unless I like the song enough that I can't be bothered, but I will still hear it.

Quote by MisquotedTeabag

Oh and, I might get banned for going off topic and spamming on a different thread so...
Um melodic minor scales are nice and can be used on top of a matching harmony to great effect.


lol

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Who's Andy Timmons??
Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 2, 2009,
#19
What's considered dissonant in music is based on (popular) taste (at the time of it's naming of dissonance).


You're confusing dissonant with "bad". Dissonance is a state of instability that resolves elsewhere, and is not nearly as subjective as you've stated.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#21
Quote by Archeo Avis
Melodic minor is a convention within minor based music in which the sixth and seventh scale degrees are altered to allow for smoother melodic lines. It's not really a scale in its own right, and it quite rare for it to be treated like one.


This is not true. Melodic minor originated because the augmented second between the sixth and seventh degrees of the harmonic minor scale was considered melodically dissonant. In order to eliminate it, the convention was to maintain the major seventh and raise the sixth when ascending towards the tonic, as the leading tone has a natural pull towards said tonic, and flat both degrees when moving towards the fifth because the minor sixth leads smoothly into it.
This but it's not that the augmented second was dissonant, it was that it was hard to sing. Actually, all melodic augmented intevals are banned in vocal music on the basis that very few people can sing them (Billy Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald probably could).

Most guys have been taught to write their melodic lines as if they were vocal lines, it makes these lines catchier and generally nicer. I'd guess this is where the melodic minor came from.

You're confusing dissonant with "bad". Dissonance is a state of instability that resolves elsewhere, and is not nearly as subjective as you've stated.
Agreed. You need to use a balance of dissonance and consonance. Too much consonance and your songs gooing to sound flat, too much dissonance and it's going to sound unstable


BTW, not sure about you guys but the only one that wrote good serialism was Schoenberg. I think the point of serialism was to get free from "tonality," problem was this meant more rules and restrictions than "tonal music."
I don't like atonalism.
        ,
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[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#22
Quote by Archeo Avis
You're confusing dissonant with "bad". Dissonance is a state of instability that resolves elsewhere, and is not nearly as subjective as you've stated.


The resolution itself is subjective however. In our ears the dominant "pulls" to the tonic however in older music, or non-western music this cadence was quite different.
Notice, for example, the differences between a 14th century cadence (i believe III to I, although at the present time I don't have the resources to check that) and the most common cadence form the 18th century onwards, the V7 - I (or, more correctly speaking, the dominant to the tonic).
Quote by metal4all
Just, no. Locrian should be treated like that gay cousin. Just avoid him cuz he's weird, unstable, and is attracted to the wrong thing.


Quote by steven seagull
Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
#23
Quote by Archeo Avis
You're confusing dissonant with "bad". Dissonance is a state of instability that resolves elsewhere, and is not nearly as subjective as you've stated.


No I don't necessarily.

It's still decided because of taste. Some people totally hate b5's other people get orgasms when hearing 1. It's really based on taste.

Eventually this comes down to an older discussion here;

Is a cadence naturally normal for us to sound "nice"(it's within us from the day we're born), or is it because we heard western music all our life, which mostly is written in those conventions.

If the former is true, then I can see ur point.

If the latter it's true, it's based on taste.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Jan 3, 2009,
#24
Based on historical evidence (eg the cadence I quoted above that very likely wasn't actually how I wrote it) and also examples from Eastern Music there can be no doubt that the second option is true.
Quote by metal4all
Just, no. Locrian should be treated like that gay cousin. Just avoid him cuz he's weird, unstable, and is attracted to the wrong thing.


Quote by steven seagull
Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
#25
Quote by yM.Samurai
The resolution itself is subjective however. In our ears the dominant "pulls" to the tonic however in older music, or non-western music this cadence was quite different.
Notice, for example, the differences between a 14th century cadence (i believe III to I, although at the present time I don't have the resources to check that) and the most common cadence form the 18th century onwards, the V7 - I (or, more correctly speaking, the dominant to the tonic).
In 14th century music they didn't really have a conception of "chords" and which chords will pull where. The closest thing they had to a "cadence" is the fact that most voices (especially the outer voices) will move stepwise to the tonic or a perfect consonance of the tonic. This usually meant v-i or V-I or IV-I or iv-i cadences anyway
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#26
My apologies Demon, you're right. When I get back home (24 hours?) I'll find the relevant passage and put it up here..(was typinig from memory >_<.
Quote by metal4all
Just, no. Locrian should be treated like that gay cousin. Just avoid him cuz he's weird, unstable, and is attracted to the wrong thing.


Quote by steven seagull
Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
#27
guys, the real thing to remember about this issue is what came first.... the sound or the theory? of course, it was the sound. people made music, then developed theory to describe it. At the time of inception, people decided that a key with no sharps or flats was the most pleasant, and so they made C major the standard key, and based most instruments around that key.

why C? just preference. at the time, it sounded the least dissonant to them, and the people preferred the sound of that key resolving. there was a very acceptable balance between dissonance and consonance in that key.

but times change. there are musical elements of rock music nowadays that would make 14th to 19th century composers run for the hills. instruments didn't even play chords very often back then. now you can't really be a guitarist WITHOUT chord knowledge. lots of post-hardcore music makes use of the b2, a very dissonant interval by conventional terms. but nowadays, enough bands use that interval that the listeners have come to appreciate and even expect that interval in the music. same goes for heavy metal and the tritone... the church once BANNED people from playing a tritone interval, because it SOUNDS so dark and, in their opinion, unpleasant and evil. look at indian music - people in India love it, and it sounds normal to them... but to western ears, all their extra quarter-tones sound out of key and weird.

what i'm getting at is that dissonace is relative. dissonance doesn't translate to bad sound - but misuse of dissonance and dissonant notes can make for a very poor composition if one doesn't understand how to resolve to something more consonant. dissonant notes will sound better if the listener has something consonant to contrast them with

so it's not really accurate to say that the melodic minor scale and it's ascending/descending rule was born out of a need for things to sound "right." the composers of the day simply preferred the sound of the notes ascending with major intervals and descending with minor ones. as time goes on, many people still find that practice to be useful, but it's a mistake to think that you MUST follow this rule. it will all depend on context and on the individual who writes the piece.
Last edited by frigginjerk at Jan 3, 2009,
#28
C Major is no different from D major, E Major, Ab Major or G# major except that they have different notes. The intervals themselves and thus the corresponding feels/moods are identical. C Major isn't any more pleasant, it's just easier for beginners to understand.

Also AFAIK there's no actual evidence that the church banned the use of the #4 or b5 intervals.

Finally, microtonal music isn't always considered to be dissonant or harsh...look at the intro to Octavarium, by Dream theater - the lap slide is consitently making use of micro tones, as is Rudess's continuum, yet it's not considered dissonant at all.

Other than tha, I think you hit the nail on the head.
Quote by metal4all
Just, no. Locrian should be treated like that gay cousin. Just avoid him cuz he's weird, unstable, and is attracted to the wrong thing.


Quote by steven seagull
Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
#29
Quote by yM.Samurai
C Major is no different from D major, E Major, Ab Major or G# major except that they have different notes. The intervals themselves and thus the corresponding feels/moods are identical. C Major isn't any more pleasant, it's just easier for beginners to understand.

Also AFAIK there's no actual evidence that the church banned the use of the #4 or b5 intervals.

Finally, microtonal music isn't always considered to be dissonant or harsh...look at the intro to Octavarium, by Dream theater - the lap slide is consitently making use of micro tones, as is Rudess's continuum, yet it's not considered dissonant at all.

Other than tha, I think you hit the nail on the head.


i may have come across as generalizing...

but i know major scales have the same patterns in all keys. but C major became the standard for a reason... pianos have middle C as the central note, and a whole hell of a lot of music gets written in C and Am. if most beginners learn C major first, it stands to reason that they will be most comfortable writing in it, and so more music will get written in C major or A minor.

i have just heard that church thing many many times, but i think it just means they banned their own composers from writing with it... they probably didn't persecute private composers who used the tritone. check out wikipedia's article on Tritones, and they'll mention that the interval was widely considered unstable and unusable, and many prominent music theorists back in the day would teach students not to use it.

and i was generalizing about microtonal music. when the average person who only knows western 12-tone music hears 1/4 tones, they definitely sound different, and often they sound "wrong" at first. once you get used to it and hear that there is still a system of intervals, you'd get used to it, but i was trying to illustrate that dissonance is all in context, be it cultural, genre, or what century we're in.
Last edited by frigginjerk at Jan 3, 2009,
#30
Yeah, like I said, C Major is easiest to write in because it's easier to understand, but it doen'st SOUND any different, while you said that a key with no sharps or flats sounded most pleasant.
I think Archeo's wrong (there, I said it...*gasp!*) and that dissonance and resolution are subjective. Like you've been saying all along.
Quote by metal4all
Just, no. Locrian should be treated like that gay cousin. Just avoid him cuz he's weird, unstable, and is attracted to the wrong thing.


Quote by steven seagull
Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
#31
Quote by yM.Samurai
Yeah, like I said, C Major is easiest to write in because it's easier to understand, but it doen'st SOUND any different, while you said that a key with no sharps or flats sounded most pleasant.
I think Archeo's wrong (there, I said it...*gasp!*) and that dissonance and resolution are subjective. Like you've been saying all along.


word.

#32
Dissonance is not subjective, possibly relative, but not subjective.

Pleasant sounding consonances and cadences are not "born in us" so to speak but it is based in physics and sound ratios.

As Archeo said dissonance is not about whether or not you like a particular sound. That is a matter of taste. It has to do with stability. A minor 2nd is not a stable interval even if you like the sound a whole lot. It's an unstable sound because the frequencies of the waves are not very compatible.

You can see dissonance and consonance as being rooted wavelength ratios in just intonation.

For example the most consonant intervals is the unison with a ratio of 1:1 Then of course the octave with a ratio of 2:1 the perfect fifth with a ratio of 3:2 the perfect fourth with a ratio of 3:4 etc.

The more dissonant intervals minor 2nd 16:15 major 2nd is 9:8

The smaller the integers the more consonant the interval.

In equal temperament tuning system the ratios are not the same because they are approximations of these ratios but the idea is basically the same.

Where is the line between consonance and dissonance?

It's a sliding scale. On the one end you have most consonant and on the other most dissonant and everything in between is gradual.
Si
#33
Righto. Found the relevant passage here:

"At this point, it should be emphasized that the force of the dominant, that is, our sense that it requires resolution, or movement towards a tonic, is arbitrary. It rests on no law of acoustics, but is an aquired meaning. It is the single most important fact in what we shall call the syntax of music. Our aers have accepted this meaning and this necessity for some hundreds of years. But other periods, and other cultures, have used other formulas. A cadence of the 14th century, for example (and we must assume that for 14th century ears it had the same meaning of finality as V-I does for us), was this:

(Dmin - Cmaj7 - D5 cadence in written notation).

Musch modern music also relies on other conventions of force, direction, cnnection and finality." - Harmony in Western Music, Chapter Two, Tonic and Dominant by Richard Franko Goldman.

We've acknowledged that dissonance is different to liking a particular sound, however dissonance itsself is based on what our ears are accustomed to.
Quote by metal4all
Just, no. Locrian should be treated like that gay cousin. Just avoid him cuz he's weird, unstable, and is attracted to the wrong thing.


Quote by steven seagull
Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
#35
The V7-I (which is the most common by far in functional harmonies) cadence is based entirely on the resolution of dissonance by replacing it with consonance.
Quote by metal4all
Just, no. Locrian should be treated like that gay cousin. Just avoid him cuz he's weird, unstable, and is attracted to the wrong thing.


Quote by steven seagull
Big deal, I bought a hamster once and they put that in a box...doesn't make it a scale.
Last edited by yM.Samurai at Jan 3, 2009,
#36
Quote by 20Tigers
A cadence is different than dissonance/consonance.


but cadences are known as such because they are a way to play music that makes good use of dissonance and consonance. if you play the wrong chord in a cadence, you are introducing extreme dissonance into the sound.

and yeah, the guy who posted that quote about dissonance being learned: plus a million!
#37
Quote by yM.Samurai
The V7-I (which is the most common by far in functional harmonies) cadence is based entirely on the resolution of dissonance by replacing it with consonance.
This is just wrong. The cadence V7-I is not based entirely on the resolution of dissonance by replacing it with consonance. Dissonance and consonance plays a part but it is not the whole picture - only a part of the picture.

Also I think it is silly to take that quote out of context and imply it to mean something it isn't actually saying. Cadences and root movements are not equivalent to dissonance/consonance. The quote is discussing the pull of the dominant to the tonic the root movement of the fifth to the root. 5-1 is arbitrary is the argument. It is not arguing consonance and dissonance is arbitrary but the dominant tonic relationship is arbitrary.

If we look at the example he uses from the 14th century we can see that even in that instance the cadence makes use of the same ideas of dissonance and consonance we understand today. The Cmaj7 uses B and C which played together are dissonant in quality. The final chord D5 is a very powerfully consonant diad - the only more consonant intervals are the octave and unison.

As for the quote itself it argues that cadences are subjective. Then provides an example of a cadence that was used in the 14th century and argues that we must assume the cadence had the same power and sense of finality that the V7-I cadence has for us today.

This type of argument is flawed since it provides a demonstrative example to illustrate it's point but requires us to assume the point to be true in order for the example to demonstrate it's truth.
Si
#38
I shouldn't have used the word entirely, however the dissonance and resolution plays a LARGE part in cadences. Like you said, it's only a part of the picture, but it clearly is a LARGE part of the picture.

I didn't quote the 14th century cadence exactly - it's spread out (some of the notes are played separately, some together), but my point still stands. The Cmaj7 uses B and C which played together are dissonant in quality and to our ears pull quite strongly towards a C major chord, however in the example it's being resolved by a D5 chord. If you play a Cmaj 7 then a D5, Major OR Minor it doesn't sound resolved at all. Indeed, it even spreads the dissonance.

Also, we don't really have to assume that the cadence had the same sense of finality that the V7 - I has now because it clearly did to be popular enough to be mentioned 6 centuries later in a 20th century theory book as a COMMON example.

I think that you're right, I did use the quote wrongly, however I still feel that dissonance and consonance are subjective and based entirely upon what we're used to.
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Last edited by yM.Samurai at Jan 4, 2009,
#39
Quote by 20Tigers
Dissonance is not subjective, possibly relative, but not subjective.

Pleasant sounding consonances and cadences are not "born in us" so to speak but it is based in physics and sound ratios.

As Archeo said dissonance is not about whether or not you like a particular sound. That is a matter of taste. It has to do with stability. A minor 2nd is not a stable interval even if you like the sound a whole lot. It's an unstable sound because the frequencies of the waves are not very compatible.

You can see dissonance and consonance as being rooted wavelength ratios in just intonation.

For example the most consonant intervals is the unison with a ratio of 1:1 Then of course the octave with a ratio of 2:1 the perfect fifth with a ratio of 3:2 the perfect fourth with a ratio of 3:4 etc.

The more dissonant intervals minor 2nd 16:15 major 2nd is 9:8

The smaller the integers the more consonant the interval.

In equal temperament tuning system the ratios are not the same because they are approximations of these ratios but the idea is basically the same.

Where is the line between consonance and dissonance?

It's a sliding scale. On the one end you have most consonant and on the other most dissonant and everything in between is gradual.


But that means it's still subjective.

By your theory (Which is also mine btw), every note outside of it's own note (and maybe the octave) is "unstable" ie. not the same note. which are more consonant or dissonant IS based on popular taste (of that time is was defined in western (Classical) theory)

This is just bla-ing about words, and has no actual musical use. (unless you only want to make music with 1 note).

I know the word itself means that. But this is a MUSIC forum, not a Semantics forum.

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#40
@Y.M.Samurai: Then the difference is this:

I see dissonance as the relationship between the physical characteristics between two pitches which our ear picks up and interprets. Any ear is capable of doing so and will generally always confirm the idea by identifying unisons octaves P5ths and P4ths as consonant while the M2
M7 and m2 intervals as dissonant.

You see consonance and dissonance as a matter of taste. Whether one sound is preferrable and pleasant to the ear compared to another is how consonance and dissonance is determined.

For you the concept is rooted entirely on culture, fashion and taste. For me it is rooted in the physical properties of the sound.

I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here. It's two valid ways of looking at the same thing from different angles.

I would like to point out though that even in the example given the idea of dissonance and consonance is not the issue. Both the Cmaj7 and V7 cords contain dissonant intervals within them that require resolution. In the case of the Cmaj7 it is a maj7 interval. This is resolved by a step in either direction (C to D and B to A) to create a perfect fifth interval, a strongly consonant interval (even back then).

What Mr Goldman seems to be referring to is that the ROOT MOVEMENT we tend to prefer for our final cadences of down a fifth is arbitrary. As he demonstrates in the 14th century a root movement up a 2nd was the preferred method of providing a sense of finality. But by today's standards we see a movement up a second or down a min7th as a weak movement.

It is the preferred root movement that has changed with the fashion over the years. The concept of dissonance resolving to consonance can be seen in both time periods. I believe the example to be more in favour of consonance and dissonance NOT being subjective than the other way around.

@Darren:

No. It's based on the harmonic series ratios.

A perfect fifth vibrates 3 full cylces everytime the fundamental does 2 full cycles. They are pretty close. The m2 on the other hand vibrates 12 full cycles everytime the fundamental does 11 full cycles. Get it?

As the fundamental has done one full cycle the perfect fifth will do exactly one and a half cycles while the m2 would do 1.0909 cycles. The m2 is far more "out of synch" with the fundamental than the perfect 5th.

It is how far "out of synch" that a note is with another that determines it's consonance. It is relative - for example one interval can be consonant compared to a more dissonant interval. It's a sliding scale -not black and white but shades of grey.

So it is based on the physical properties of the sounds as opposed to taste and fashion.

However I agree some sounds become so common in a culture that they become widely accepted and recognized. It is my argument that they do not become more consonant as a result they simply become a more "preferred" or "liked" dissonance than other intervals.

By some definitions this makes them consonance - not by mine. Therein lies the difference in the positions of the present argument.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jan 4, 2009,
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