3

enter image description here

I have not yet learned the iii chord so my only options for harmonizing the repeated ^3 in the shown exercise is to use I, I6, vi or V64 (because the soprano does not descend to ^2 I am only really left with vi or I). The exercise says that both 8th notes should have one quarter note bass so I decided to harmonize this with a vi as shown here enter image description here

If my choice of chords is correct for the following measure then why do I need the extra eighth note? Unless I am revoicing the chord before the change into the new bar or changing to a different chord with the same bass then I could understand but I cant see this necessary as the vi goes easily into the I6 in the following bar so I cant understand what the point is of having two 8th notes here with a repeated ^3. I doubt just repeating the same chord exactly as is for the second 8th noted is what I am supposed to do.

EDIT: There must be some harmonic change for each note in the soprano in this exercise. One cannot simply repeat the same chord twice even if the soprano and bass stay the same. There seems to be confusion regarding this.

10
  • Wait, my Royal Conservatory of Music Harmony lessons specifically forbade me from using vi - I, including vi - I6, in chord progressions.
    – Dekkadeci
    Dec 8, 2021 at 15:27
  • 1
    Why did whoever constructed the melody decide to repeat the C# when the chord doesn't change? Well, the quarter, eighth, eighth rhythm is an established feature of the melody. That's enough reason. Dec 8, 2021 at 15:31
  • Dekkadeci, my harmony book says I vi/iv6 I6 is very idiomatic.
    – armani
    Dec 8, 2021 at 17:46
  • @Dekkadeci it isn't too hard to find exceptions to that in the wild: Pachelbel's Canon, Bach's Cantata 140 and E major prelude from WTC I (where it appears in a deceptive cadence that to be fair could reasonably be identified as a common allowable exception), and Handel's Birthday Ode for Queen Anne (the chorus at the end of the fifth movement opens with the progression I-V6-vi-I6-IV-V(4/2)...).
    – phoog
    Dec 13, 2021 at 11:12
  • "There must be some harmonic change for each note in the soprano in this exercise": except when the bass moves by octave and the soprano repeats the same note? For that is what you have here. If that's allowable, can you keep the same chord and have the bass move back down to the lower octave?
    – phoog
    Dec 13, 2021 at 11:14

1 Answer 1

5

...I cant understand what the point is of having two 8th notes here with a repeated ^3.

Just to be clear the repeated note is this one circled in green, the second C#5 in m.5, second beat...

enter image description here

I'm not sure if it's part of the exercise, but just looking at what is given, and considering this particular part of the question, I would say the repeated eighth note is there, because it's an important rhythmic figure for the line: two eight notes on the second beat.

But, given the instruction to make the bass a half note then two quarter notes, that means those two eight notes will be harmonize with a quarter note in the bass, so there is no harmonic importance in the repeated eight note figure.

...Unless I am revoicing the chord before the change into the new bar or changing to a different chord with the same bass...

I think I understand your meaning, and we see a treatment of repeated notes with the C#5 from m.4 to m.5. At that point there is a revoicing given the instructions to harmonize I, but have the bass "octave leap up."

I think the difference between that and the repeating of C#5 in eight notes in m.5, beat 2, is the former is happening at the beat level, at the harmonic rhythm level, while the later is at the sub-beat level. That sub-beat level is a diminution figure, something decorative that doesn't have implication for harmonic change.

This area...

enter image description here

...seems to be just an elaboration of the tonic chord, so it seems that arpeggiating the bass would be the simplest thing to do...

enter image description here

...with a harmonic rhythm of one chord per beat, or per half note, that gives us harmonic change to establish/confirm the harmonic rhythm, not through new chords, but through revoicing.

...I have not yet learned the iii chord so my only options for harmonizing the repeated ^3 in the shown exercise is to use I, I6, vi or V64

I wouldn't think iii is the chord to use. That chord is more likely to come up in some movement through the modal chords, like iii vi, and often in some kind of harmonic sequence.

Are you not allowed to use 6/4 chords?


EDIT

If you can't use a I6/4, the textual notes "disjunct bass", "octave leap up, etc.", and "expand V" all lead me to believe the textbook explains the methods to employ in those sections.

If mm. 4-6 are not all supposed to be an elaboration of a tonic chord, what does that "octave leap up, etc." refer to in the book?

You could avoid the I6/4 and still move the bass to get revoicing like this...

enter image description here

...perhaps a little monotonous, but no more monotonous that the given treble part.

6
  • Thanks Michael. Never before in any exercise in this book have there been 8th notes with just the same harmony on both. There has always been some reason for 2 x 8th notes per 1 bass notes usually to give an opportunity to revoice so to make the subsequent chord change smoother. This is why I think there must be a reason for it. The progression I vi I6 is discussed in this chapter which is why I thought it might be the place to use it. To answer your question, I only have I64 available to me at this stage and only in its cadential function.
    – armani
    Dec 8, 2021 at 17:45
  • 2
    It's hard to answer when the questions keep going back to the book rather than to music generally. If the book forbids this and that, and requires such and such, in the assignments, the reason for those restrictions should be to get you to do specific things. If it's a well designed book, the text preceding the assignments should explain things. Dec 8, 2021 at 20:38
  • I vi I6 works. Personally I don't see the point of that versus I I6/4 I6, but either one works. So, what then is the issue? The assignment notes are clear enough that you are supposed to play a 2:1 rhythm there, two eighths in treble against one quarter in the bass. Dec 8, 2021 at 20:45
  • The issue is that they want you to use two different chords ot chord voicings when you see repeat soprano tones. This is a great way to force students to not simplify and use just one chord. If there are repeat melody notes, there is a reason for it. You cant just use the same thing exactly. I mean you can in real music but the point of the exercise is to force you to create chord progressions.
    – armani
    Dec 9, 2021 at 10:14
  • @armani - This contradicts your statement in the question that "The exercise says that both 8th notes should have one quarter note bass". Something's gotta give here: your comment implies both (soprano) 8th notes should get separate 8th-note bass notes.
    – Dekkadeci
    Dec 9, 2021 at 12:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.