#1
So I've been making the same thread a month ago, but didn't got a clear answer.
So basically my question is how do I build tension and how to resolve it.
I noticed really much people said cadences, but I know there is more to it.
Like sus4 wants to resolve back to it's natural chord if it's major, and sus2 wants to resolve to it's natural chord if it's minor.
But what other ways are there, I know if I'm in a phrygian progression that goes like iii IV it automatically wants to resolve especially if I play a slash chord because of the half step interval.
But can I also use them for chord tones?
Like in the key of G, A minor, which is A C and E then the C can resolve to the B so can I play any chord that has a chord tone of B or do I need to play B minor perse?
Not like I can go from A minor to A G chord, or can I invert them to go like B D G?
#2
So, the basic idea of tonality is that your tonic sounds resolved to. If you're in C, then your tonic triad, CEG sounds resolved. If you establish the key and then play a B (the seven) the B will want to move up to C. If you play an F (in the context of a dominant function chord) then it will want to fall to E (4-3). If you look, B-F is a diminished fifth, and if you let the F fall and the B rise, you get a b5 moving to a major third (or C-E). Also, F-B is an augmented fourth, and if you let the F fall to E and the B rise to C, then the augmented fourth moving to a minor sixth (or E-C, the same notes as the opposite).

If you look at the V7 of C, or G7, you get the notes GBDF. Notice that it has the two tendency tones I've already mentioned and that is what gives it such a strong resolution, along with the G falling or rising to a C (down a fifth or up a fourth is the strongest root motion).

So, any chords in C major that have those tendency tones working in that way, will sound tension and then resolution when you move back to C major (i.e. the diminished seven chord, BDF(Ab)).
#3
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
So, the basic idea of tonality is that your tonic sounds resolved to. If you're in C, then your tonic triad, CEG sounds resolved. If you establish the key and then play a B (the seven) the B will want to move up to C. If you play an F (in the context of a dominant function chord) then it will want to fall to E (4-3). If you look, B-F is a diminished fifth, and if you let the F fall and the B rise, you get a b5 moving to a major third (or C-E). Also, F-B is an augmented fourth, and if you let the F fall to E and the B rise to C, then the augmented fourth moving to a minor sixth (or E-C, the same notes as the opposite).

If you look at the V7 of C, or G7, you get the notes GBDF. Notice that it has the two tendency tones I've already mentioned and that is what gives it such a strong resolution, along with the G falling or rising to a C (down a fifth or up a fourth is the strongest root motion).

So, any chords in C major that have those tendency tones working in that way, will sound tension and then resolution when you move back to C major (i.e. the diminished seven chord, BDF(Ab)).

So basically it's just music moving in half steps to the tonal center?
#5
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Yes. You build harmonic tension by being close, but not on, the the tonal center and resolve that tension by moving back to the tonal center.

And could you please answer my question from the question of the chord tones.
Like I'm in C major, play an D min chord which is D F A, should I then resolve to an inverted E min chord or does a non inverted work as well?
And I guess that the further your chord tone is away from the chord root the less resolved it sound?
Like I'm in C major play an E minor then a C major then it wouldn't sound as resolved as Bdim Cmajor.
Am I right?
#6
There is no graded system of resolution. B resolves to C, F resolves to E, that's it. Done. E does not resolve to C or to G, or anything else. It is a totally binary concept. It either resolves or doesn't. Dmin, does not harmonically resolve to Emin. There is nothing there to create resolution. The first things you need are a rising half step to the root, and a strong root movement (up a fourth, down a fifth or a half step) those are number one priority. A descending step or half step TO THE THIRD, not just anywhere, it has to be 4-3, strengthens the resolution. DFA to EGB. None of those criteria are filled, so there isn't harmonic resolution. Emin, to Cmaj, same thing. None of the resolution is fulfilled. However, if we look at Bdim to C major, ALL of the resolution factors are there. The half step rising to the root (B-C) which also serves as the strong root motion in this case, as well as the half step DOWN towards the third of the chord (F-E) strengthening the resolution.
#7
Quote by liampje
And could you please answer my question from the question of the chord tones.
Like I'm in C major, play an D min chord which is D F A, should I then resolve to an inverted E min chord or does a non inverted work as well?
And I guess that the further your chord tone is away from the chord root the less resolved it sound?
Like I'm in C major play an E minor then a C major then it wouldn't sound as resolved as Bdim Cmajor.
Am I right?



Well, yes .. Bdim resolves to C

But it is not so simple as distance from the root of the key.

There are musical intervals that we hear as dissonant and other that we hear as consonant .

Example -- perfect 5th is a consonant interval, diminished 5th or tritone is a dissonant interval. But these are not the only examples and a LOT of this depends on what else is going on in a piece of music. In general we hear the perfect intervals (unison, 4th 5th, octave) as pleasing -- this is just physics -- they are part of the "harmonic series" of a vibrating string. We tend to find harmonies which are just off of perfect to be dissonant -- minor 2nd, sharp 4th or flatted 5th, flatted 9th. Chords that use these tones together (diminished, altered dominant, augmented) are considered dissonant. Resolution is the process of taking something dissonant and finding something more consonant that "fits" musically.

So the V7 to I cadence in C takes:

G B D F -> C E G

But, in particular it is the movement of B F to C E (a tritone to a major third) that gives resolution.

But any "dissonant" interval moving to a related consonant interval gives this effect .. and the ways that is done in Western harmony are called cadences.

A Dmin chord in C isn't really using any dissonant interval .. but it can be used to set up the G7 chord that then moves to the C -- a technique very common in jazz standards.

If you REALLY want to understand the contemporary use of dissonance and resolution you will eventually want to look at jazz harmonies.
#8
Quote by Zen Skin
Well, yes .. Bdim resolves to C

But it is not so simple as distance from the root of the key.

There are musical intervals that we hear as dissonant and other that we hear as consonant .

Example -- perfect 5th is a consonant interval, diminished 5th or tritone is a dissonant interval. But these are not the only examples and a LOT of this depends on what else is going on in a piece of music. In general we hear the perfect intervals (unison, 4th 5th, octave) as pleasing -- this is just physics -- they are part of the "harmonic series" of a vibrating string. We tend to find harmonies which are just off of perfect to be dissonant -- minor 2nd, sharp 4th or flatted 5th, flatted 9th. Chords that use these tones together (diminished, altered dominant, augmented) are considered dissonant. Resolution is the process of taking something dissonant and finding something more consonant that "fits" musically.

So the V7 to I cadence in C takes:

G B D F -> C E G

But, in particular it is the movement of B F to C E (a tritone to a major third) that gives resolution.

But any "dissonant" interval moving to a related consonant interval gives this effect .. and the ways that is done in Western harmony are called cadences.

A Dmin chord in C isn't really using any dissonant interval .. but it can be used to set up the G7 chord that then moves to the C -- a technique very common in jazz standards.

If you REALLY want to understand the contemporary use of dissonance and resolution you will eventually want to look at jazz harmonies.

So in instrumental rock building tension and resolving isn't really important?
#9
Tension and resolution is important in virtually all music, and the idea of functional harmonic tension and resolution (what I've described to you many times) is the vital and defining part of all tonal music. What he was saying is that you could look at jazz harmony to see these resolutions in action, but really you could look at any well composed music and it certainly applies to what you're trying to do.
#10
Quote by liampje
So in instrumental rock building tension and resolving isn't really important?

Any instrumental anything relies HEAVILY on tension building and resolution. Without it you'd have a car going 90 for eternity (or 10). It's nice at first, but gets boring eventually.
#12
Quote by Keth
Tension and resolution can be a lot more than the variant that is being discussed here. Think of tempo changes, dynamics, repetition/variation and so much more.

Do you have a link to a list of them?
#15
Yes, there is plenty of tension and resolution in that. Do you hear how some chords have more of a "settled" feeling than others?
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#16
There is no graded system of resolution. B resolves to C, F resolves to E, that's it. Done. E does not resolve to C or to G, or anything else. It is a totally binary concept.


Since B resolves to C, if I was in the key of say, C#, would C resolve to C# due to the intervals being the same, albeit different tonalities? Likewise in that key, would F# resolve to F?

Although The key of C# is most likely inappropriate for this question, I assumed the natural key of these chords was C. The idea is, if I were to move all chords up one half step, would all the resolves still work? I am guessing yes, as the intervals are the same.

So would it be wrong to assume that it is the intervals between the chords that resolve it?
#17
Quote by food1010
Yes, there is plenty of tension and resolution in that. Do you hear how some chords have more of a "settled" feeling than others?

You mean that the E/B E/A wants to resolve to E yes.
Where do you find more?
I think I've made it in the point where I switched to non slash chords and at the key switches.
Am I right?
I only know I wrote out alot of hallelujah cadences.
But I wrote the songs before I knew of cadences.
#18
i'm sorry but everything this kid says makes me want to face palm myself into unconsciousness... buy a theory book, read it, understand it and don't post again until you do that. please...
#19
Quote by Life Is Brutal
Since B resolves to C, if I was in the key of say, C#, would C resolve to C# due to the intervals being the same, albeit different tonalities? Likewise in that key, would F# resolve to F?

Although The key of C# is most likely inappropriate for this question, I assumed the natural key of these chords was C. The idea is, if I were to move all chords up one half step, would all the resolves still work? I am guessing yes, as the intervals are the same.

So would it be wrong to assume that it is the intervals between the chords that resolve it?


That's correct, except it wouldn't be a C but a B#.
#20
I was going to say B#, although C and B# have the same tonality. For ease of sight reading on concert instruments I would much sooner use C Natural than B#, although Using B# in this case makes more sense pertaining to the key.

I personally like the resolve that C, E and F create as single notes. Or really any Major 3rd - minor 2nd resolve. If you do it too quick though, it loses it's resolve.

Would you count C min, C# Dim, and D major as resolved?
Last edited by Life Is Brutal at Apr 25, 2011,
#21
Quote by Life Is Brutal
I was going to say B#, although C and B# have the same tonality. For ease of sight reading on concert instruments I would much sooner use C Natural than B#, although Using B# in this case makes more sense pertaining to the key.

I personally like the resolve that C, E and F create as single notes. Or really any Major 3rd - minor 2nd resolve. If you do it too quick though, it loses it's resolve.

Would you count C min, C# Dim, and D major as resolved?

Very much so. It's basically a bvii - viio - I in D Major. VERY common.

And the C - E - F is a V - I in F Major. The most common resolution in all of Western music. Play CM - FM and you'll hear it. C7 - F would be even better to hear it.

As far as the first paragraph... Yes, C to C# would be easier to read, but it's not "correct" when talking about keys. Going from a diminished tonic to a tonic has a bit of a different function than a leading tone to a tonic.
#22
Quote by Life Is Brutal
Since B resolves to C, if I was in the key of say, C#, would C resolve to C# due to the intervals being the same, albeit different tonalities? Likewise in that key, would F# resolve to F?

Although The key of C# is most likely inappropriate for this question, I assumed the natural key of these chords was C. The idea is, if I were to move all chords up one half step, would all the resolves still work? I am guessing yes, as the intervals are the same.

So would it be wrong to assume that it is the intervals between the chords that resolve it?


Yeah, the proper thing to say is 7-8 and 4-3. 7 and 4 are your leading tones and they lead to 8(1) and 3 respectively, but the last time I explained that to the TS, he got confused and so I just used note names instead (all in C) for simplicity's sake.