#1
I'm reading Antony Hopkins' book Understanding Music.

He explains that when a note, say C, is played on the violin, the overtones (or partials) form a harmonic series which is effectively a major chord with the note being played at its root.

He said that if you played this C major chord a few times it would 'develop a strong desire to drift to the chord of F'.

He gives the reason for this as the presence of the 7th partial in the harmonic series, a slightly out of tune B flat, which irritates the ear into wanting this change.

As I understand it, he's saying that a C major chord in isolation, played repeatedly, will be interpreted as a dominant, not a tonic.

My first question is, if you then resolved to the chord of F major would that not have its own 7th partial and a desire to resolve (to a B flat chord) for the same reasons. In other words does this resolution bring its own tension (inherent in the major chord), so it isn't a resolution at all, more of a shifting through the circle of fourths?

My second question is why does F major in particular give this resolution. If cessation of the 7th partial brings resolution then surely any chord change will do this.
#3
I don't know if I buy this at all. I mean, the overtone series goes on for quite a while (I think infinitely, but don't quote me on that) so I don't know why this "out of tune" b7 would have anything to do with it, when it's muddied by every other note and notes between notes (quarter tones, eighth tones etc.). Also, I don't think you would perceive the Bb anywhere near enough to actually notice it, but I suppose in isolation over a long period of time, it's possible. I don't know if this has actually been proven or shown in any way, but it would also be relative, because while the overtone series is pretty well universal (unless you distort it in some way, like in a piano), a system of resolution is not.

To answer your questions, yes all notes have their own identical overtone series and thus all have the b7 and would lead around the circle of fifths.

The reason F has this resolution is that it's a V7-I resolution, with the 7-8 and 4-3 voiceleading.
#4
i don't buy it either.

it all falls under the question of "if someone plays a C major triad in other context 5 times, are you going to hear it as a tonic or a dominant?"

the answer, of course, being that it can go either way.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#7
overtone series...the twilight zone of music theory...so said ted greene
#8
Quote by AeolianWolf
i don't buy it either.

it all falls under the question of "if someone plays a C major triad in other context 5 times, are you going to hear it as a tonic or a dominant?"

the answer, of course, being that it can go either way.


I agree. I don't think Hopkins' theory works.

Otherwise, it's quite a good book.