What tones would you use if told to strike the common chord of C in four-part, close harmony, using the root for the highest tone?


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A C chord is composed of the tones C, E, and G. The root is C. In a four-part chord, the bass is typically also the root. So, we have a C in the bass and a C in the soprano. A closed chord indicates that the alto should be the closest harmonizing note (beneath the soprano) and the tenor should be the next closest harmonizing note coming down.

Because this is a four part harmony, the bass doesn't have to be the next lows harmonizing note. The interval between the tenor and the bass can be as large as we wish. In this case it is a tenth.

  • It's very strange to call C the fundamental, I think that term should be saved for the basis of an overtone series. Root is the better term for the C in a C-major chord. – Pat Muchmore Jan 22 '14 at 3:47
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    I would've thought the phrase "close harmony" implied this meaning, i.e. that the notes are within an octave of one another, rather than a "closed position chord" (which I think is what you're referring to). But I'll admit I'm not entirely sure. – shambulator Jan 22 '14 at 17:00
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    Yes, that is what a the close position is, but in a four part harmony, the bass is exempt from the closest harmonizing note rule. If there are three voices in closed position, they will always be within one octave. – American Luke Jan 22 '14 at 17:09

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