Questions tagged [harmony]

For questions about the "vertical" aspects of music and how to build and study them.

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2
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3answers
755 views

Did Bach ever use melodic minor keys in chorales?

For example, E Melodic Minor would have C#, allowing for a ii7-V-I cadence.
12
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8answers
17k views

Theory behind the change from a major chord to the same in minor

In many songs I hear the change from a major chord to the same, but minor. For example F A Bb Bbm. It sounds really nice to me and I'm wondering if there is a theory behind it. Is there a genre ...
5
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9answers
3k views

Is the diminished chord not as relevant as the other diatonic chords?

If we look at the circle of fifths and pick a key (either major or minor) then its neighboring notes are its diatonic chords. For example, in E major the diatonic chords are: E major, f# minor, g# ...
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2answers
3k views

I wish you a merry Christmas: what is this chord progression called?

Is there a special term for this chain of secondary dominants V/IV, V/V, V/vi ? (or in C major: C,F,D,G,E,Am) It’s a frequent chord pattern in the era of Baroque and has also been used in the ...
7
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2answers
735 views

Why does the leading tone (G#) go to E rather than A in this example?

Why does the leading tone (G#) go to E rather than A in this example?
1
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3answers
41 views

Constraints for doubling upper voices in 4-part harmony

What are some guidelines for doubling the same tone in the upper voices (tenor, alto, soprano) on the same pitch, as well as in different octaves? I am specifically talking about doubling in upper ...
3
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2answers
123 views

Suspensions in 'The Long and Winding Road'?

Ian MacDonald (music critic/author) writes of the "heartbreaking suspensions" that characterize the harmony of "The Long and Winding Road". I was curious about this, so I printed the first page of ...
2
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3answers
342 views

Non-cadential use of 6/4 chord

I guess the 6-4 chord in common practice music is typically seen as a "cadential" 6-4, used to embellish the chords around it by means of bass arpeggiation. In rock music, however, a I chord in ...
3
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2answers
117 views

Rootless chords in Beethoven sonata?

Okay, I came across a bit of a wrinkle in the paper as I analyzed the third movement of Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique. It has to do with this passage in the C section(which is in Ab major): For those ...
5
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2answers
80 views

Ballades (Chopin) Harmony Question

I don't listen to much classical; however, I recently found this beautiful work by Chopin. I am wondering if you could help me explain a particularly amazing moment in the piece. Please refer to ...
4
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0answers
86 views

Arpeggio difficulty [closed]

The same arpeggio pattern (see scale degrees below staff) sounds worse accompanying the IV chord than the I chord in C major here. It is the same relative pattern (scale degrees are consistent) so ...
2
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1answer
281 views

Are there songs written using non-functional harmony

I have been trying to write music that does not resolve to a tonic. Would this be non-functional harmony? CMaj7 / Dbdim7 / BMaj7 / Eb7b5
2
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1answer
66 views

Dissonances with bass versus in upper voices. 4-part harmony

Working through "Guide to practical harmony" of Tchaikovsky in chapter 9 about the inversions of diminished and augmented triads, we read that the first inversion of the diminished triad is consonant ...
2
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2answers
61 views

Analyzed editions of classic piano sheet music? [closed]

I wonder if there exists such kind of editions: with the chords written down together with their function in roman numerals, the structure of the piece, the analysis, etc. More precisely, I'm looking ...
5
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2answers
455 views

How to realize a figured bass

I am arranging a Bach piece. I know, what the challenge it is to do it. But I have been able to successfully arrange Mozart and later, Beethoven, so I think I'm ready. But here is the challenge I am ...
6
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4answers
4k views

How to harmonize a melody for 4 voices

Recently I've started encountering a multitude of questions that ask for me to harmonize a melody. I've never really seen a question like that before, so I've been a bit lost as to where to start. I ...
2
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1answer
64 views

Applying harmonic voice leading rules to non-homophonic music

I would like to figure out how voice leading rules could be applied to non-vertical music (non-homophonic music), and when we are not using four-part harmony. I think that Chopin's study op. 25 #1 ...
4
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2answers
253 views

Isn't that (two voices leaping to C like this) a breaking of the rules of four-part harmony?

In this arrangement of O God, our help in ages past I have found what looks like a breaking of the rule of harmony. In bar 1 we have I/3-vi. The tenor leaps up to C and the Soprano does the same. Isn'...
5
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1answer
127 views

Hidden fifths between tenor and soprano in Tchaikovsky's “Guide to harmony”

I have been working through Tchaikovsky's "Guide to practical harmony" and found the following example quite early in the book: I am talking about the first measure. To me it seems that soprano and ...
4
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4answers
2k views

Why does the circle of fifths have to be symmetric

I have studied music theory ever since I studied piano playing. So I know about things like accidentals and how white key accidentals like Cb or E# make sense. But one thing I don't know about is ...
1
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2answers
707 views

Effective Verse-Chorus Pairs in Rock Songwriting [closed]

Ken Stephenson, in What to Listen for in Rock, holds that harmonic contrasts help delineate form in rock music. "In rock, where repetition of harmonic patterns is so common," he explains, "any break ...
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3answers
85 views

Would this note from Consolation No. 3 be considered a nonchord tone?

I was playing through Consolation No. 3 by Liszt yesterday, and I had a theory question about something. In the second measure of this picture, the harmony is an E major triad. This section is in A ...
4
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2answers
815 views

Sometimes I hear a top note that isn't there. Is this related to Harmonics?

When I try to copy a tune or watch other people play the piano, I sometimes hear a note that isn't there. Especially top note is the case. My teacher said that it is related to harmonics, told me that ...
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2answers
167 views

How to fill the harmonic gap?

So I have thought of almost the entire progression for my trio that goes from D minor to D major. Here is what I have of it so far: D minor -> C major -> B minor -> ??? -> A major -> D major And ...
4
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3answers
153 views

Compelling Use of Non-diatonic Chords in Rolling Stones

"Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones is in C major, but makes forays into E-flat major (based on the preview of the sheet music at least!). My guess is that the inclusion of these chords can be ...
2
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2answers
169 views

Composition software for checking harmony mistakes [closed]

I am not very experienced in the music theory. I constantly get lots of ideas on composing choral (SATB) music and I write them, but I am unsure about their correctness. Until I will finish to learn ...
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2answers
135 views

Analysis of blues chords

I have doubts about some chords in this sequence: ||: Eb7 | Ab7 | Eb7 | Eb7 | | Ab7 | Ab7/A6 | Eb7 | C7 | | F7 | Bb7 | Eb7/C7 | F7/Bb7 ...
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3answers
4k views

Harmony analysis program

Is there any computer program that automatically analyzes harmony given the score? I refer specifically to roman numeral analysis and functional harmony.
6
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5answers
570 views

Thomas Tank Engine theme tune chord sequence - why does it work?

I'm trying to gain some understanding of non-diatonic chord sequences and why they work. I've been listening to the Thomas the Tank Engine theme tune which I believe is in the key of C Major and the ...
2
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0answers
60 views

How to figure out a tone center in an ambiguous/chromatic situations?

This question bugs me since I started writing music. I'm asking in general, but I'll show an example so it would be more clear. Keep in mind the notation is arbitrary, as I don't quite know what I'm ...
6
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3answers
197 views

Are any keyboard methods or music theory concepts based on keyboard mirror symmetry?

About a year ago I noticed there is a kind of mirror symmetry on the piano keyboard regarding the shape/distance of the black and white keys when starting at C major and then chromatically descending ...
8
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4answers
1k views

How to understand 20th-century pop music as evolution of classical harmony

With sufficient training, a student of harmony may build forwards from Bach through Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, etc... understanding music of a period in terms of what has gone before. But it's going ...
7
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3answers
378 views

Is this really better analyzed in G minor than in Bb?

So I have been analysing Rondo a Capriccio by Beethoven and I reached a point where a so called "expert's" opinion and mine differ drastically. It starts at bar 57 and continues to bar 68. After the ...
6
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1answer
141 views

In the partimento tradition, what strategies were used to harmonize non-bass melodies?

In my readings on partimento theory (mainly the books by Sanguinetti and IJzerman) I have so far only encountered rules for harmonizing a bass melody. This is to be expected of course, because ...
6
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3answers
556 views

Resolution in Major and Minor Scales

It is my understanding that subdominant chords, IV and ii, contain the fourth scale degree. The fourth scale degree wants to resolve down to the third scale degree. In the scale of C major (C, D, E, F,...
2
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4answers
293 views

How do I train my musical ear. (Not sure how to phrase this question.)

I'm singing in a church for fun (I've only had a few lessons). I can sing great when i'm singing along to someone else who is on key and sounds great such as listening to like Beyonce or Sam Smith on ...
11
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2answers
1k views

History of “jazz minor/melodic minor” harmony

I'm curious about the development of modern (post-bop-ish) jazz harmony. In Mark Levine's Jazz Theory Book, he shows how modes of the melodic minor scale can be used to form and improvise over chords ...
4
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4answers
2k views

Latin jazz: anticipated chord change on last beat

I'm in the process of using a midi sequencer to provide me with simple background (drums, bass line, bare minimum piano harmony) to practice improvising on Spain (Chick Corea). From listening to a ...
5
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3answers
741 views

Guidelines for writing a chord progression

I am trying to understand how does notes relate to each other when writing a chord progression. I understand that when composing on a Major scale chords acquire a function depending on the degree of ...
2
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2answers
105 views

Why are these two versions of the hymn different?

This is "A mighty fortress is our God". Two versions: The one with lyrics is taken from the 1939 Church of Sweden chorale book, the other from a book on how to play the organ. In the first phrase "...
6
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1answer
310 views

Exercise from second chapter of Harmony by Walter Piston

Exercise 7, j. : With G sharp as the soprano note, write in four parts a triad in first inversion, with the subdominant of G sharp minor in the bass. It seemed to me that such a chord does not exist. ...
6
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8answers
2k views

Why are subdominants unstable?

In music theory, the subdominant is unstable and need to be resolved to the mediant. Similar resolution happens to the leading note and other notes that are not in the tonic triad. (Of course, I am ...
1
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1answer
104 views

Personal Taste or Something Else (9th and minor 7th chords) [closed]

Probably this is a matter of personal taste, but I thought I might ask to be sure that there isn't a more in-depth explanation out there. To my ear, 9th chords and minor 7th chords are oddly ...
2
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3answers
173 views

Why did they modulate to C? [closed]

It (212) starts and ends in Dm. The second phrase beginns with F-Bdim/D-C. This is a modulation into the key of C...but the melody doesn't sound like it is in the key of C at all. I don't see how the ...
3
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4answers
2k views

Are fretless stringed instruments used mainly for melody?

Just wondering if fretless stringed instruments like a violin or oud, by fretless does it imply that they are used mainly for melody? In contrast to an instrument like a guitar, that has frets, does ...
1
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2answers
346 views

How to end a song on a chord that isn't the I chord?

I've been trying to finish a song with the following chord progression: C G7/D Am F. I know I'm supposed to end it on a C, but it just doesn't sound right. I tried the other chords in the progression ...
5
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4answers
1k views

How do we explain the E major chord in this progression?

This is from A mighty fortress is our God. How do we explain the E major chord in this progression? The tune is in C major. The melody in this part of tune sounds a bit minor rather than major to me.
2
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3answers
68 views

How do you see it (Gm7/Bb?) and what functions would this chord have?

The four last chord in this hymn ( Hela världen fröjdes Herran) is a 6-2-5-1 progression. I have written that we have Dm-Gm/Bb-C-F. This is wrong. I now see it as Gm7/Bb. How do you see it and what ...
3
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1answer
120 views

Functional Purpose of Flattened 7th Chord

I am wondering how to use the "flattened seventh" chord when used in a major key (i.e. B-flat Major chord in key C Major). I believe this would put a piece in the mixolydian mode. For example . . . ...
2
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1answer
243 views

Transposing the melody in negative harmony

All talk of negative harmony, such as What is the correct process for deriving the 'mirror' or 'negative' harmony of a progression? deals with transposing the chords according to the ...

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