#1
Hey there,

I just went to TrueFire's site and found they're releasing a new chord course, which looks pretty good : .

My question is about the last groove in the second introduction sample. It says in the caption 'Quartal Harmony'.
I've browsed the web in search of what that is.
I really like the sound of these chords (spacey), but can't make heads or tails.

Anybody out there have a good website that explains these chords? Maybe something about the theory behind it (something with 4th intervals...?)

Cheers and Thanks !

Jim
#4
Quote by Freepower
^ it's a chord system based on chords made of 4ths instead of chords made with 3rds. Really, the article should have explained that.


So they're sus4 chords?
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#5
No, in a sus chord the forth takes this place of the third in the chord, in quartal voicings you're stacking fourths on top of eachother. Or something similar. I'm not too knowledgeable in it.
#6
Quote by Punkismygod
So they're sus4 chords?


Well, you can look at it that way if it's a chord voiced like that in the middle of functional triadic harmonic, but what do you do if your whole piece if based on chords made of 4ths? Is this a different kind of harmony? If so, you call it quartal harmony.
#7
quartal harmony is when your chords are built with fourths instead of thirds.

The most famous example I can think of is the "so what chord", voiced like this on guitar:

-5
-6
-5
-5
-5
-

I don't have a great body of knowledge on quartal (or quintal) harmony: I chiefly use it as a voicing technique to get a certain sound. There is a huge field open for discovery with these though. Play around.
#8
Nick: About the so what chord, I heard aout that in a wiki, never really persued it much further.

Sure, its a D-7, Apart from the A there all P4's apart, the F - A could either be descrived as a Major 3rd (in that case, why is it Qurtal if theres a major third?)

Or Diminished 4th, and I was under the impression that you could only use Diminished 4th intervals in Qurtal Voicing when it was Diatonic to the scale, i.e in a Cmin?maj7.

C F B Eb

As its all been said, Qurtal Harmony is skatcking chords in 4th intervals, Perfect 4ths, Augmented 4ths, (sometimes Diminished 4ths whin Diatonic to the Key)

So, Qurtal Chords in the key of C Major

C F B E - Cmaj11
D F C F - D-11
E A D G - E-11
F B E A - Fmaj7#11
G C F B - G11
A D G C - A-11
B E A D - B-11

I dont really know about them, but it was a comping style developed by Pianists (theolonius mionk?)

As far as uses of them go, they can be changing tonal centers or chords, because the same qurtal voicing can function for many chords.

As nick mentioned there's 4 types of Chord Harmony

Tertian Harmony: Chords skacked in 3rds
Quartal Harmony: Chords Stacked in 4ths
Quintal Harmony: Chords stacked in 5ths
Secundal Harmony: Chords stacked in 2nds (but more often voiced in 7ths to give some harmonic space between voices)

Note: Secondal/Secundal Harmony are more commonly reffered to as Chord/Note Clusters than with conventional chord names.

EDIT: Im not sure if chords built in seconds are called Secondal or Secundal Harmony.

Ive seen links saying each.

Hope that was of some help.
Last edited by Galvanise69 at Oct 12, 2008,
#9
The problem is, a lot of the quartal sound doesn't really jive with traditional tertiary harmony: The chords are open and ambiguous.

The so what chord works as Dm without the la on top but that was part of the sound. Don't bother overthinking it.


Quartal voicing has mainly been used in pieces with static harmony (KoB and so much after it) where pieces are an exploration of the sounds achievable with a fixed set of notes: Keeping to one harmony (disproportionately often the D Dorian sound of so what ... ) ties the ambiguous fourth sound together.
#10
Hold up, let me deconstruct what your saying, so I may actually have a chance of getting it all.

"The problem is, a lot of the quartal sound doesn't really jive with traditional tertiary harmony."

What did you mean there

a) You cant really name Qurtal Chords with tertian names
b) Using Quartal Harmony over Traditional harmony doesnt really work

"The Chords are open and ambigous" - In sound, Im assuming?

"The so what chord works as Dm without the la on top but that was part of the sound. Don't bother overthinking it. "

la on top? as in Doe, Rae, Me, Fa, So, Lae, Ti, Do?

13th?

What exactally is static harmony?

"KoB" - What?
#11
Quote by Galvanise69

"The problem is, a lot of the quartal sound doesn't really jive with traditional tertiary harmony."

What did you mean there

a) You cant really name Qurtal Chords with tertian names
b) Using Quartal Harmony over Traditional harmony doesnt really work



Don't know if what I'm going to say is what he meant but, w/e.

You could name fourth chords with tertian names but, it's kind of ambiguous. So often you them simply C(ionian), C(phrygian) etc.

A problem when using fourth voicings over traditional harmony is that you often need at least two voicings to establish the function of a single chord.
#12
A problem when using fourth voicings over traditional harmony is that you often need at least two voicings to establish the function of a single chord.

Not really...these chords are used extensively in jazz harmony...and you can solo over them with tradition diatonic chord intervals..with no problems

take the 7th chords in C diatonic Cma7 Dmi7 etc and play them in straight time

now play quartal chords ... this time syncopate them in eighth notes...play the progression as an exercise...I ii iii...ii iii IV ... iii IV V... etc...

you will hear that very familiar "backround guitar" that was a staple of "elevator music" and early TV and radio commercials...that were played by top studio musicians for many years...johnny smith, barney kessel, herb ellis, joe pass used that sound alot in their playing

that was the sound of the day...not used today in that manner...but i find that style in alot of fusion music..used in a different context and rhythms they sound new again...ahhh the magic of music

fans of the locrian mode love those chords...

play well

wolf
#13
"You could name fourth chords with tertian names but, it's kind of ambiguous. So often you them simply C(ionian), C(phrygian) etc."

Already a simple sentance like this is raising issues.

What about a vii chord voiced Qurtally, there is no fifth included, because of voicing it qurtally, so how would you differenciate between a ii, iii, vi, and vii chord?

Obviously by what root note the chord is based off in relation to your scale, but my point of view.

Is if you have a B-11 (voiced Qurtally)

It could be.

ii of A maj

vi of Dmaj

iii of Gmaj

vii of Cmaj

Is this what you mean by there (and their function?) is ambiguous.

But how can you classify a minor chord on Qurtal Names, considering it could be any of the minor modes..
#14
la = a ... sorry, I work theory mostly in french (I'm in montreal)

Quartal voicings don't seem to work well with the key based thinking of traditional harmony ... they work with a more "modal" (not really in the sense this forum likes to use the term) "note set" harmony: static, often over a pedal, exploring the melodic possibilities of harmony within 7 notes (or other systems). What I'm saying is that naming the quartal voicings with traditional names doesn't really express them well. Play them, study music that uses them, see where they fit in. You're overthinking them. They're ambiguous because played alone they don't mean much. They are "modernist" voicings: They reflect their context instead of dominating it.


I should note that I have myself only really brushed the surface of the possibilities within quartal harmony ... don't take my word as law (don't ever take anyone as an absolute, really) and I have as much to learn as you about it.
#15
Thanks for ending the confusion of that la.

Its funny, I get told abotu 3 or 4 times in the same day, Im overthinking things, and im underthinking things. Ill just keep on thinking I recon.

Im still not really sure on where (is there a defined spot?) to use them, I used a Qurtal Voicing playing Night and Day, the Bb7 before the Ebmaj7 - Cmaj7 bit.

I thought tht worked well, but there wasnt any particular reason I used it, apart from (I thought) it sounded good.

Also, from your award last year (most jazz educated wasnt it?) and from simply seeing your posts on the forum, I would say you have a lot less to learn about anything than I do!
#16
If something sounds good that's all the reason you need (and more!) to use it.

In the face of limitless possibility no matter how far we have come along we still have forever to travel.
#17
Definatley, I remeber an explanation of a mountain that didnt end, and were all climbing it, some faster than others, and we all know there's no end.

Can you give an explanation of Quintal Harmony?

Havent really found any applicable use for it.

What sort of Chrod Could you voice in Quintal? Without having a lot of notes/tensions.

C G D A E B

Pretty Much a whole damn scale, omitting the 11th which is common anyway.

Playing on a guitar would result in a very think chordal structure, and could probably be better represented as a Polychord. i.e Amin - Gmaj

Using non P 4ths (what aout Augmented 5ths, considering, inverting the interval would result in a Maj 3rd)

C G Eb Bb

Guess thats probably a more acceptable quintal voicing (?)

Can you give me some examples of Quintal Harmony?


C
#18
Sorry I can't help you more with these ... I feel very limited in this arena.

http://forums.allaboutjazz.com/showthread.php?t=26925

Check out this thread (and forum in general - lurk around and you can learn a lot from many players who know and have done and played far more than I) for some more reflection on quartal voicing.

unfortunately this is about all I can help you with: you're on your own from here.
#19
Thanks, Ill definatley check that out.

I saw a video lesson from Jack Zucker last night, talking about Eric Johnson/Allan Haldsworth style Qurtal Voicings.

Also inversions of Qurtal Voicings, I had thought about them before, but didnt try them (I think I may have though inversions would stuff up voicing them qurtally, stupid thought)

One thing, Qurtal Inversions are possibly the most annoying chords to voice on guitar, but they sound great.
#20
inversions as in fifths as in quintal? And if the purpose you're using them for is to avoid functional harmony (chord progression) and remain static within a set of pitches, then either (4 or 5) works the same, just different sounds (there's a caveat...).

I find that with guitars being tuned in fourths and all, quartal voicings fall right into place. (although I really want a harp guitar so I can lay down a pedal for whatever key I'm in on my own) Mileage may vary etc.

also: it's quartal (two [a]s eh) similar to quart, quarter, quartet (but not quarrel) and other derivatives of a numerical 4 root.
#21
Quote by Nick_
quartal harmony is when your chords are built with fourths instead of thirds.

The most famous example I can think of is the "so what chord", voiced like this on guitar:

-5
-6
-5
-5
-5
-

I don't have a great body of knowledge on quartal (or quintal) harmony: I chiefly use it as a voicing technique to get a certain sound. There is a huge field open for discovery with these though. Play around.

dood im gonna try that chord and see how it sounds.
how would you name those chords?
just start at the D and try to figure it out?
or is there like a whole nother way to name them...
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#22
Inversions of Quartal Harmony as in:

C F B E - F B E C - B E C F - E C F B

So, now the 4th intervals, somewhere in the inversion, are interrupted by a minor 6th/Augmented 5th.

Trying to voice one of the inversions.



-8----------
-9----12----
---10-10----
-9-10-10----
-8-7--7-----
---7--------



I mean, you may not have any trouble voicing these, the last one is quite annoying (for me at least)

The question that pops into my mind though, is do you call F B E C a 1st Inversion of Cmaj7 Qurtal?

Quartal Voicings fall right into place definatley, but I was trying to voice some of the Quartal Inversions today, frustrating.

also: it's quartal (two [a]s eh) similar to quart, quarter, quartet (but not quarrel) and other derivatives of a numerical 4 root.

Sorry I've been writing it wrong all this time.

Mabey you can enlighten me as to the spelling of Chords Voiced in 7ths/Seconds..

Ive heard many say, Secundal, but also a few Secondal..

As for the So What chord naming..

-5
-6
-5
-5
-5
-

Im assuming on a chart it would just be written D-11.

To be more exact you could write D-11 Qurtal.

I looked at that thread you gave me nick, there was a massive naming argument there = headache.
Last edited by Galvanise69 at Oct 15, 2008,
#23
Quote by Galvanise69

C F B E - Cmaj11
D F C F - D-11
E A D G - E-11
F B E A - Fmaj7#11
G C F B - G11
A D G C - A-11
B E A D - B-11

thats crazy dude
im gonna try to work one of those chords into a song of mine.
=] you just taught me MORE music theory.
you pwn dude
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#24
Something I dont really understand, mabey somone here can help me out, Ill link you to the chords, and the youtube lesson, a Jack Zucker lesson on Quartal Harmony and Eric Johnson/Allan Haldsworth Chord Forms.

But I had (quite) a few issues.

http://www.sheetsofsound.net/lessons.html

Under the Fourth Voicings tab, I can link to the Tube link, cause Im at school, but that is there to.

All the examples are in G Major.

But his first chord consists of



-3-
-3-
-2-
---
---
---


A D G, a Gsus2.

Isnt this more of a Qurtal Voicing of A??

Than he continues to move the sus2

All shapes are typically sus2 shapes, apart from which consists of G - C - F#.

Are these really examples of Qurtal harmony?

Than in the second .pdf file, he has 2nd Inversion of these chords, the first one being



-2-
-1-
-4-
---
---
---



Which, in the context of being a I in Gmaj, is a rootless Gmaj11.

How is it 2nd Inversion, when the 3rd is in the bass?

Looks & sounds like a real great lesson, I just dont understand it..
#25
Quartal voicings are used because they don't sound like the functional harmony that we're used to: They don't have to move, resolve to a root. So what modal jazz did was take these voicings, that allowed that ambiguity, moved them around with diatonic notes over a pedal or a bass movement that defines a sound (typically D dorian, it seems). They float.

So I see trying to categorise them as pointless. They aren't triadic harmony and I don't care for profiling them by its nomenclature.


It's a quartal voicing if its used as one. Otherwise that can function in a triadic progression just fine.


Also note that Jack Zucker used to (no idea if he does anymore) post at The Gear Page; if you're really struggling you might consider asking.
#26
Quick question; my guitar teacher said that in Wes Montgomery (or was it John Coltranes?) version of "My Favorite Things," the chords are voiced in fourths. First, is this true? Second, would this be common?
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#27
Coltrane's version would be the one. (Although Wes toyed with some surprisingly edgy sounds, before going back to the commercial sound that made him the $$$)

It is common to a style of music that was developing at the time (modal jazz) that coltrane already pushing the limits of. He extended this to his own avantgarde:Even in the post-65 years (ascension and beyond, takes a bit of getting used to) there was a motif and mode that each piece/movement was based on that Tyner could develop with quartally voiced chords (Tyner sounded like ringing bells, what a powerful left hand he had)
#28
to Nick:

just noticed in your tag line...Jim Hall...

Hall incorporates this sound in many pieces he plays...using altered dominate chord voicings as 11b5's as passing chords (they could be named several other types of chords depending on the thinking of the player and actual function of the chord)

the sound created by these chords is what captures the ear...because it is a bit "mysterious" and you don't have the anticipated sound of traditional diatonic harmony to rely on to establish "key center and harmonic resolution". It's almost free form harmony using traditional diatonic functions. This quality is what attracted Coltrane, Monk etc to explore the "outer reaches" of this style.

As with most sound innovations, like altered dominate chords, using it sparingly usually produces the best results.

your insight is very useful on this board

play well

wolf
#29
Well, over the last few days, I've been trying to do a bit of reading about Qurtal Harmony.

Most of what Im going to say, will probably be old hat to you all, mabey I might teach somone something, but mostly to get some stuff out of my head and onto paper.

Qurtal Harmony, involves straying from the normal tertian harmony (building chords in stacked thirds) and building chords in diatonic fourths.

In C Major, this would be like this

C F B E

D G C F

E A D G

F B E A

G C F B

A D G C

B E A D

The Main difference between Quartal Harmony and Tertian harmony is the concept of functions.

One chord in Quartal Harmony can function for any other chord

One of the best uses for Quartal chords is over a Dorian vamp.

Looking at all chords from a perspective of D, we have

D G C F - A 1, 4/11, b7, and b3

E A D G - A 9th, 5th, 1st, and 11th

F B E A - A b3rd, 6th, 9th, and 5th

G C F B - A 11/4th, b7th, b3rd, and 13/6th

A D G C - A 5th, Root, 11th, and b7th

B E A D - A nat 6th, 9th, 5th, and 1st

C F B E - A b7, b3, 6th, and 9th

If you look at all those chords in relation to D, all of those chords have at least two tones from the original D-7 chord, 1 b3 5 b7

Conclusion: Any one of the seven structures created from harmonizing a scale in 4ths, can funtion as some sort of D Min chord, or an inversion of D-7

Doing the same thing with C Major Qurtal Harmony.

If we take a C Quartal Structure, E Quartal Structure, G Quartal Structure, and B Quartal Structure, they can be all used as C Major (and get a C Major sound) with an added C bass note.

Qurtal chords based from the 1st and 3rd will however give the strongest Qurtal Sound.

e.g.

C F B E - Cmaj7(11) - A 1st degree structure
C E A D G - C6/9 - A 3rd degree structure
C - G C F B - Cmaj7(11) - A 5th degree structure
C B E A D - Cmaj13 - A 7th degree structure


5 Note Qurtal Structures

To expand on the original 4 note structure of a Qurtal Voicing, any note from the harmonized scale that we are getting our Quartal chords from, may be added, so to a D- Quartal Structure, D, E, F, G, A, B, or C may be added.

The most famous example of this is the "So What" chord, which is a E-11 chord, voiced

E - A - D - G - B

The B being our added tone, from a the scale which we are working in (is it D Dorian?)

With these added tones you can also create melody lines along with the Qurtal Structures.

Ill be back to write more on this later.
#30
If you work it out you should find that every 4-note quartal voicing has 2 notes from any diatonic 4-note (tertian) chord. So by simply placing a pedal (or harmonically clear bass line, like in So What) you can use all of the quartal voicings to imply any of the diatonic harmonies. Dorian is just a popular one.

You seem to have gotten the idea. Except for that missing a in quartal.
#31
I know, I was reading it last night, and thought, "goddam, need to correct it", never did..
#32
If you work it out you should find that every 4-note quartal voicing has 2 notes from any diatonic 4-note (tertian) chord. So by simply placing a pedal (or harmonically clear bass line, like in So What) you can use all of the quartal voicings to imply any of the diatonic harmonies. Dorian is just a popular one.

So, any 4 note (Quartal) voicing, has two notes, from ANY diatonic 4 note tertian chord?

So, if I just build a 1st degree structure: C F B E

It will have two notes, from ANY Diatonic tertian structure?

C E G B - Yep
D F A C - Yep
E G B D - Yep
F A C E - Yep Three notes
G B D F - Yep three
A C E G - Yep
B D F A - Yep

And this will be the same if I build a 2nd degree structure, 3rd degree structure, 4th degree structure, ect?

Thanks man