New answers tagged

2

Don't try to relate Eb major to C major in a functional way. Just accept that a sudden shift of tonal centre to just about ANYWHERE is an acceptable and common device in today's music. And don't try to explain the return to C from Eb as a dominant-tonic. It's just a return to where we started. That naturally will be 'satisfing'. There is a world of ...


3

Think of the piece as being in C minor for a second, rather than C major. E flat major just fits right in as a diatonic chord, as do A flat major and B flat major. "But wait, it's clearly not in C minor!". Well, in general, once we become accustomed to 'blue' thirds and sevenths, some of the distinction between major and minor tonality arguably falls away. ...


4

In music, we usually reserve the term "dominant" for the chord built on the fifth of the key, but there are a few exceptions to that, tritone substitutions being one of them. However, I've never heard an example where I felt that modally mixed/chromatic mediant chords were functioning as dominants, except for secondary dominants, which obviously doesn't ...


2

In addition to other more theoretical answers, my personal theory is that the chord is a reference to Duke Ellington's Take the A Train, a very well-known jazz standard that plays a C chord, then D7♯11, then Dm7, then the standard continues in C major. Since D7♯11 is the same as A♭7♯11, and honestly the two songs do sound similar in the beginning, it's ...


2

I might be out of the element here, but to me the easiest explanation would be that it's just a borrowed chord (bVI) from the parallel minor. However, usually borrowing a chord from other scales lasts just for a bar or two before the piece goes back to it's previous key or modulates. Here if I heard correctly it actually does modulate, so other ...


2

One reason the two-chord progression: C A♭ sounds nice is because you can do voice leading very smoothly from one chord to another. The root-form C major triad becomes the first inversion A♭ major triad, and the two voices that move change only by half a step: G → A♭ E → E♭ C → C When I say 'nice' I mean the progression doesn't jar. It's a ...


3

Laurence's answer was already accepted, and it basically contains the relevant things about this question. But I'd like to try saying it with different words. I assume that by "working" you mean that the chord sequence feels sensible and likable, and not random or chaotic. And the "why does it work" question means, you'd like to know some kind of a musical ...


3

German pianist and composer Victor Alcántara has studied the subject of the keyboard's mirror symmetry in depth; he has published a book ("Palindromorphy") on this.


0

To address your particular example, the Bruce Hornsby song (here's a YouTube link that works) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlRQjzltaMQ He's just messing around on the white notes. Or, to put it in theory-talk, he's exploring the diatonic possibilities of C major. Watch his hands in the piano solo from 2'20" (and anywhere else his hands are shown). I ...


1

Look at how the excerpt falls into sections/phrases. Harmony often isn’t static, each section in a single key: it moves, on various timescales, through phrases and sections of a piece. The first 8 bars of the excerpt, bars 57–64 (plus repeat), are most naturally read as starting in g minor, and ending in Bb major. Then the next 8 bars, 66–75, go from Bb ...


2

Consecutive chords of the same flavour - major triads, minor triads, 7♭5♯11 chords - 'work'. But not in a functional way. Not in a 'this is a tonic, a dominant, a subdominant' way. Not in a way that lets us predict the next chord and feel a resolution if the prediction is followed through, a pleasant surprise if it isn't. I think the real ...


7

Using the word "key" is too definite. The music progresses through lots of different tonal centers but most of them don't last long enough to be worth calling "keys". Both of you are wrong about the whole passage, but the "expert" is more wrong. The point which you both missed is the sequence in bars 66-70 with a V-I cadences in Bb major, C minor, and D ...


5

I suggest that it's ridiculous to analyse 57 as anything but i in G minor, but equally ridiculous to analyse the cadence at 64/65 as anything other than V-I in B♭ major. So have both. G minor at 57 with an immediate modulation to B♭ major. After that, at 64, it's a bit more up for grabs. We know we're in G minor by bar 72. What tonal ...


1

Robert Gjerdingen used to have a website called monuments of Solfeggi. While it seems that website is no longer maintained the Achieve-It service has a saved copy... https://wayback.archive-it.org/org-1018/20170928202641/http://faculty-web.at.northwestern.edu/music/gjerdingen/solfeggi/aboutSolfe/histOverview.htm If I follow the overview, solfeggi include ...


-3

A note wants to resolve to another note because they're dissonant and close enough to each other that your mind conjures there will be closure (consonance) if the next note is a resolution. It's kinda like a musical version of 'snap to grid' in a graphics app ... a natural 'magnetics of frequencies' occurrence. Another analogy, and this is real, is ...


0

It appears to me that you are taking your pitch cue from whoever you are singing with. Try instead learning to read your choir parts from the written page. When you have learned to read the parts, then you can practice them in solitude or with others and become well enough versed in the part that it becomes more natural to sing. In addition, if you can play ...


2

One thing to clarify, the concept of harmonizing (to a melody), i.e. singing a different melody line, lower or higher than a given main melody, but still able to “fit well” with that given melody, is NOT the same as singing in a different key, whether higher or lower. It means both the main melody and and that different melody line you are singing (the ...


0

The piano typically anticipates by an 8th, rather than a quarter, however this isn't really a harmonic anticipation in the strictest sense. The chord progression is still viewed as (and functions as) starting on beat 1, but the bass and piano play it earlier due to their rhythmic constraints. For what it's worth, even though this bass rhythm (called ...


3

Valid point about the subdominant to m3, but the leading note argument isn't strong. It's mainly because the B♭ in C minor doesn't push too well that the 'raised leading note' is used in far more pieces in minor keys. It's probably not that the music 'wants to move in a certain direction' but more of what the listeners prefer to happen. Music theory ...


2

When you refer to the IV and ii chords of major key as subdominant, you are using a field of musical analysis called functional harmony (video reference). As for the reason why notes like the 4th and 7th in major want to resolve, the explanation that I have heard is that both sit a semitone away from the notes of the root major triad, the 1-3-5. Further, the ...


2

I think you need to change a few things in your summary of functions. I ,iii, vi -> Tonic Only I has the tonic function. I've seen some people say your substitute iii or vi for I, apparently because they all share the third scale degree, the mediant, or ^3. But while that is a harmonization options it shouldn't be confused with tonic function. Tonic ...


3

The history of hymn tunes is all about evolving musical styles and adapting old material. The Wikipedia page gives a summary for this particular tune. It's original form was... The German Wikipedia page shows that mensural notation in modern notation and then in metered form... The point is that we can't even begin talking about different forms of the ...


1

These are not two different versions of the same hymn. The only difference is that one note is held longer in places. People in different places hold that note longer, so to keep it in a standard 4/4 time signature, the first note is moved to beat two to make up for the extra beat in the half note (then rest.) I have heard it sung both ways. The pick-up to ...


5

Honestly you will find many explanations and I would say that you should not overthink it, otherwise it will block you more than anything else. I would like to give you just 2 simple pointers, but remember nothing is entirely scientific. Like a lot of people, I often go back to "if it sounds good to me, then it's good". Some people find sus2 chords dissonant ...


6

It sounds like you're trying to find some general musical rules, and make music according to those rules. That's an interesting exercise, but it's not generally how people write music, partly because such rules can be quite specific to the style of music you want to write. As an example - you've mentioned I, IV, V, and the V->I motion. But there are some ...


0

As I understand it, the exercise simply asks for a first inversion chord with a C sharp in the bass (and a G sharp in the soprano). That would be an A sharp half diminished seventh chord (we have four voices so let’s put the seventh in). The second degree also has subdominant function in case you’re worried about that, but to be annoyingly exact the exercise ...


3

It looks like root movements: down a P4, up a d5, up an A3. The pattern is elided where the ending F# chord of the first four chord group becomes the first chord of the next four chord set. Like this... C G Db F# F# C# G C In the second group the final root movement changes the A3 to the enharmonic equivalent P4. If you then elide the ending C ...


5

The subdominant of G♯ minor is C♯ minor. The C♯ minor chord is C♯-E-G♯. The first inversion of that chord is E-G♯-C♯. So that would mean that E should be the bass note. But the question is a bit badly worded in that it asks you to put the subdominant of G♯ minor in the bass which could make you think that C♯ should be in the bass. But then it would be root ...


1

In terms of the "math and physics" you ask about, in fact dissonance arises in one way and one only, namely two frequencies that are close to one another but not the same. The peaks of the waveforms are out of phase, creating a clashing effect. This occurs in the chromatic scale whenever two tones are a semitone apart, or their harmonics are (which explains ...


3

The reason that the fourth of the tonality you're working in feels unstable is because of the products of combination tones. Say I'm playing a C4 and an F4 at the same time in a song in C major. For further simplicity, assume that the C is at 240 Hz, making the F's frequency 320 Hz. Arbitrary numbers, but correct ratios, so it's fine. Now we find the ...


4

Context is really important with the subdominant role. By subdominant, I just mean the IV note, NOT a chord. I understand what you mean, but melody and harmony are inextricably linked. You can't really separate them. Importantly in tonal music, even if the music is entire a single melodic line, the tonic is a reference point and harmonic relationships ...


1

the simple answer is -- because people always resolve it. After a while, you get used to the fact that other composers always resolve it. When you hear a subdominant chord, you expect it to resolve, hence you perceive is as "unstable". This is simply a conventional thing.


1

We are very accustomed to hearing the 4th as part of a 4-7 tritone in the dominant 7th chord. This learned behaviour may have a lot to do with the assumption it will resolve downward to the 3rd rather than up to the 5th. (Which it actually often does, particularly when it's the bass note.) I wouldn't get too tied up with analysing dissonance as beating ...


3

In terms of tendency note for the diatonic system, the fourth or subdominant is considered to be less stable, therefore it’s needed to resolve to the mediant. The tendency note is considered by its natural sound (Harmonic partials) in terms of the tonic chord e.g C E G and this can be noted as: C is the strongest G is the second strongest E is the third ...


0

because it is only a single note! No it's by definition not a single note. The concept of a subdominant is referred to as a "function", which is the what we call the relation between a chord (usually) and its key. You can't talk about subdominants without being in a key, because there can't be a subdominant. Without it, the chord could have any function. ...


10

The only really 'stable' thing in triadic tonal music is the tonic triad, which consists of the tonic, mediant, and dominant notes. The subdominant isn't one of these, therefore according to the common expectations around this kind of music, it's seen as 'wanting' to move somewhere at some point. In terms of common notions of measured/calculated dissonance, ...


1

I think you mean these two chords... ...B diminished in the orange box and C major in the blue box. You could simply label that Am: iio6 III or I prefer Am: viio6/III III to show the secondary dominant function of the diminished chord. That isn't a modulation, it's a temporary tonicization of C. I posted an answer mainly to get the image label to show ...


0

It doesn't sound like a modulation to C major because it isn't one. After the imperfect cadence ending on the A major chord, every note in the passage up to the next (perfect) cadence belongs to the A melodic minor scale. There is no restriction in common-practice harmony to using only notes from the harmonic minor scale, except in textbook harmony ...


4

I think it's important that you specified... ...built on the same root ...and that you acknowledge... ...This goes entirely against my intuition, especially because of their respective major and minor thirds. ...because they don't sound interchangeable to me. But, what similarity could we find? First, let's take your specific voicings. The can both ...


1

The common feature of fretless stringed instruments is that the player controls the intonation. It is possible to "bend" a note without bending a string--very expressive for melody, or play in a non-Western tuning. For example, ouds often play in the 17-note-per-octave Arabic tuning. However, fretless instruments differ from one another in other ...


4

GThis choral is in d minor. Your explanation is absolutely correct. Mind that F and d minor are related chords. This substitution enables the modulation (transition) to C and a minor, while the whole chorale stays in d. That‘s all. Edit: there might be added that the tune probably has been before the reformation and originally in the dorian mode, but in ...


2

Just because they play one note at a time does not imply they cannot give harmonic structure to a passage. In Pachelbel's canon in D you have a string quartet were you have the viola, first and second violins, taking turns to play the melody and the cellos providing the harmony. This coming from an ensemble with only fret-less stringed instruments.


13

It is more difficult to play chords on fretless stringed instruments, largely because it is difficult to get accurate intonation when fingering more than two pitches on a fretless fingerboard. Bassists, violinists, and other strings players usually restrict their chordal offerings to double-stops. But just because single note lines are easier to play than ...


5

It is not an inflexible rule; for instance, the instruments viol family, which has frets, were used mainly for melody, while Bach wrote some (notoriously challenging to tune) pieces for solo violin with a lot of harmony. However, this correlation is worthy of note. The lack of frets on the violin and oud cries out for a melodic style with expressive ...


2

The problem here seems to be that it is the G7/D chord that would resolve well to C, but following it with Am and F takes the progression in another direction, and just ending on G7/D, Am, F, C indeed doesn't sound all that final unless you carefully choose the voicing. And also, if the previous part had a repetition of those four chords, there's nothing ...


1

I think I've figured it out. I tried to use C/G and it now sounds about right. I also tried using the C chord with a C added in the octave lower, and it worked too, but less so. And it still is kind of a resolution on the I chord, but it works.


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