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Who does abrupt harmonic changes ?

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Who does abrupt harmonic changes ?

Postby Gone To Lunch » Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:34 am

Are there any relatively well-known composers in any genre whose style includes abrupt harmonic changes ?

By abrupt I mean sort of jagged, ie not using smooth voice leading in the parts.
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Re: Who does abrupt harmonic changes ?

Postby GilesAnt » Sat Nov 23, 2019 11:17 am

Just to start you off with a surprising one, try listening to the madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo. It may not be the genre you are looking for, but if you just concentrate on the sudden harmonic changes you will be in for quite a shock I think, and may give you some ideas that you can use in your chosen genre.
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Re: Who does abrupt harmonic changes ?

Postby Gone To Lunch » Sat Nov 23, 2019 6:04 pm

GilesAnt wrote:Just to start you off with a surprising one, try listening to the madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo. It may not be the genre you are looking for, but if you just concentrate on the sudden harmonic changes you will be in for quite a shock I think, and may give you some ideas that you can use in your chosen genre.

Thanks ! I will check it out
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Re: Who does abrupt harmonic changes ?

Postby GilesAnt » Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:34 pm

Check out his personal history as well. Even more shocking than his revolutionary harmonies.
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Re: Who does abrupt harmonic changes ?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:10 pm

GilesAnt wrote:Just to start you off with a surprising one, try listening to the madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo. It may not be the genre you are looking for, but if you just concentrate on the sudden harmonic changes you will be in for quite a shock I think, and may give you some ideas that you can use in your chosen genre.
Well that was much easier on the ear than I was expecting! :)

One of these days I shall have to properly try and understand what 'voice leading' is. :geek:
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Re: Who does abrupt harmonic changes ?

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:19 pm

And just to save others have to go off and do an Internet search, here's a handy link for you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEoOOYA31_E


And (again) like Drew I find it remarkably easy on the ear, despite the extensive academic discourse beneath that claims a dose of madness in the score ;)


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Re: Who does abrupt harmonic changes ?

Postby GilesAnt » Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:34 am

Thanks for posting the link Martin. I think it sounds easy on the ears to some extent because Gesualdo clearly does pay attention to voice leading as was common practice at the time.

And yet those harmonic changes - completely unlike his contemporaries, or indeed anyone else until the late Romantics and Impressionists at the end of the 19th century - 300 years later!

They don't punch you in the face repeatedly, and you definitely need to listen for more than a couple of minutes to get the full effect, but the music slides, almost oozes, over chords at times with little regard to any accepted relationships. Major chords become minor, and minor chords brighten to become major. Other chords seem juxtaposed for (at the time) shock value.

For those whose ears may not be tuned in to this sort of stuff, try comparing a Gesualdo madrigal with literally any choral music by Palestrina his contemporary.

Gesualdo was clearly using a technique called word painting, where the music almost instantly reflects the words or phrases being sung. His harmonies become part of this process in a way that is simply more extreme than anyone else.
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