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Piece functions help needed

Postby rbarata » Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:28 pm

Hello, my friends

Need some explanation about what is happening functionally in this piece.

Image

Thank you
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby GilesAnt » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:36 pm

Are you looking for a harmonic analysis.

It looks and sounds like something that has been programmatically generated rather than by any human.

For starters the time signature really should be 4/2, and the last 2 bars form a very odd cadence. Voice leading is strange too, and the piece opens on a blatant parallel 5th - there are other parallels too.

Basically it ambles around C major and then does a half-hearted modulation to try and end in G but that's about it. So there isn't much functionally going on at all.

What an odd fragment.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby rbarata » Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:53 pm

Thanks for the reply.
In fact it seems to be circling around C maj, going everywhere and nowhere. :roll:
One more question...
What is the general practice when one is harmonizing a melody? Accept the chords that come from the available notes or try deliberately a certain function to each chord?
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby GilesAnt » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:28 pm

There is no right answer regarding 'the general practice' of harmonising a melody. It all depends on the musical style or genre you are working with, and of course the particular effect you are trying to create. So many things really.

The style of the musical example you have provided is homophonic, rather like a section of a church hymn - if you wish to develop that style you should look at the chorale harmonisations of JS Bach. But that is simply one approach.

rbarata wrote:Accept the chords that come from the available notes or try deliberately a certain function to each chord?

I don't understand what you mean here. A melody only consists of one note at a time, so there are no other 'available' notes.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:00 pm

rbarata wrote:What is the general practice when one is harmonizing a melody? Accept the chords that come from the available notes or try deliberately a certain function to each chord?

I'd suggest finding a copy of Melody And Harmony, by Stewart Macpherson if you want to really get into the formalities of this sort of thing.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby merlyn » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:31 pm

If you name the chords :

| I / ii V | I V vi iii | ii / V vi | V vi V viim (iii of G) | I / / II7 (V of G) | V / - - |

There is a ii V I, other than that it breaks all the rules or 'guidelines' :). The voices crossing each other make it more difficult to read than it could be. Some of the chords don't have thirds, so they're ambiguous. Because it's mostly in C the final chord sounds like a iisus4 that wants to resolve, even though it was set up as a resolution with the F#.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby rbarata » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:05 pm

Thank you all for your replies and book sugestions.

GilesAnt wrote:There is no right answer regarding 'the general practice' of harmonising a melody. It all depends on the musical style or genre you are working with, and of course the particular effect you are trying to create. So many things really.

The style of the musical example you have provided is homophonic, rather like a section of a church hymn - if you wish to develop that style you should look at the chorale harmonisations of JS Bach. But that is simply one approach.

In fact I am reading "The style of palestrina and the dissonance" by Knud Jeppeson so I believe that might be the reason why it sounds like that. If you disregard the last two measures and the top voice you'll notice that it is according the "rules". The rest of the work, the top voice and the last measures were just an attempt (frustrated) to add a third voice.

GilesAnt wrote:
rbarata wrote:Accept the chords that come from the available notes or try deliberately a certain function to each chord?

I don't understand what you mean here. A melody only consists of one note at a time, so there are no other 'available' notes.

I'm thinking in these terms: A melody note is just one note but together with two more notes it'll become part of a triad. Obviously there are infinite ways to approach this piece but I've used this one just to see what could come out of it (which triads would come out of it and how it would sound).
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby merlyn » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:21 pm

I made a more conventional harmonisation of this :

Image
Now it goes :

| I / IV / | I / / / | V / / I | ii / V / | I / II7 | V / - - |

I used two soprano clefs so the red note is out of her range. Of course the robot soprano can do it -- no sopranos were harmed in the making of this harmonisation. :lol:
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby GilesAnt » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:06 pm

Well done merlyn for having a crack at this rather unpromising piece. It certainly sounds more hymn-like now, especially with the classic modulation.

I'm guessing one of the 4 repeated Gs in the top part was mean to be an E. You might want to look at bar 4 again where the lower 2 parts both move in parallel from F to G.

@rbarata - was this an exercise of some kind?
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby rbarata » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:07 pm

GilesAnt wrote:@rbarata - was this an exercise of some kind?

As I wrote before I'm reading Knud Jeppeson's book about Palestrina style. I wrote a piece with two voices only and it seemed to be correct but, just for fun, I tried to add a third voice.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby paul_c » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:43 pm

rbarata wrote:
GilesAnt wrote:
As I wrote before I'm reading Knud Jeppeson's book about Palestrina style. I wrote a piece with two voices only and it seemed to be correct but, just for fun, I tried to add a third voice.

The one in the first post is, errrr, "unusual". Which were the first two voices and which is the third added one later?

If I were to analyse and harmonise the top voice, I think I'd naturally be drawn towards:

I...V...IV...V...I....I or something like that?
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby merlyn » Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:57 pm

GilesAnt wrote:I'm guessing one of the 4 repeated Gs in the top part was mean to be an E. You might want to look at bar 4 again where the lower 2 parts both move in parallel from F to G.

Yes, I didn't realise it was the second line that was being harmonised and I took the top note -- the highest pitch as the melody and I did make an error. I think the parallel motion was trying to stay within the soprano range, but there's no excuse. :)

The way this is taught in school is to start with root position I IV and V. If the melody is diatonic it can be harmonised with those three chords. Then inversions are brought in, then minors. As I'm sure you know functional harmony is :

I = iii = vi
IV = ii
V = viidim

This melody is more advanced because of the F# but as you said using it as part of a secondary dominant works.

rbarata wrote: If you disregard the last two measures and the top voice you'll notice that it is according the "rules".
It makes more sense with just the bassline and the melody. I did another version where I took your idea of a scalar bassline from bar 2 and kept that going.

Image

If we take bar 2 as an example the melody is a C major arpeggio. That's a strong C sound, so you don't want a V in this bar. What i did was -- first beat C major with E in the melody so the middle is G. Second beat B and G. That's E minor -- leave the G. Third beat A and C -- A minor so add E. Fourth beat G and E -- add C.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby GilesAnt » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:47 pm

GilesAnt wrote:As I wrote before I'm reading Knud Jeppeson's book about Palestrina style. I wrote a piece with two voices only and it seemed to be correct but, just for fun, I tried to add a third voice.

You will probably know from your book that Palestrina is best known for a polyphonic style whereas your example is essentially homophonic. Taking your original middle part as the melody you have some large upward leaps in bar 2 which is uncharacteristic of Palestrina, hence my assumption that this was more like a hymn tune. Palestrina's melodic phrases are typically flowing in small scalic steps with occasional leaps, and never 4 upward leaps in succession (as far as I know).

Also if Palestrina is your model you will need to think differently about harmony. At this time (late 1500s) functional harmony was only gradually evolving from the earlier modal styles.

@merlyn
Your second attempt is much improved. Obviously you aren't attempting Palestrina (that would be impossible here as I said above), but as a diatonic harmonisation it is effective. In the spirit of constructive criticism I would suggest the bass in bars 2/3 where the G is repeated is weak. I would revoice the last beat of bar 2 to avoid this. Also you have parallel octaves from last beat of bar 3 to first beat of bar 4. The scalar/stepwise bassline is definitely stronger though and makes a much more satisfying harmonisation.

As an exercise why not try a 4-part harmonisation. I'll have a go myself as soon as I can work out how to cut and paste from my scoring software into this forum post.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby merlyn » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:23 pm

GilesAnt wrote:In the spirit of constructive criticism I would suggest the bass in bars 2/3 where the G is repeated is weak. I would revoice the last beat of bar 2 to avoid this. Also you have parallel octaves from last beat of bar 3 to first beat of bar 4.

Thanks. I'm using MuseScore and I'm still learning it e.g. the red notes and screenshotting the wrong version :). I've edited the previous post with a version without parallel octaves. Bar 2 is the given from the original post. I think I went to F in bar 3 to avoid repeating the G. It's tricky to put a different note on every beat -- respect to J.S. Bach -- the guvnor :)

Getting a lot of mileage out these six bars -- I'll do a four part version.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby GilesAnt » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:50 pm

Strange how such an unpromising 6 bars can yield a lot when you put your mind to it. I've got a version too, but will probably post it tomorrow. I'm using Cubase, but I'm not all that familiar with the score features yet.

Yes, Bach is the master for this kind of stuff, although even he made mistakes now and then with consecutive 5ths and 8ves. When you consider how much he was churning out though it is hardly surprising.
N.B I am only taking exception to consecutives within the spirit of chorale or hymn tune harmonisation. I do realise that in other contexts these can be acceptable (Debussy etc).

@rbarata - fancy having another go at this. Suggest you use your middle line as a melody though. or just take what merlyn has done as your starting point.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby rbarata » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:18 pm

Here it is the original score. The melody (top voice) was written by me. After, I added the bass. Changed the time sig and the the score accordingly.

Image

GilesAnt wrote:You will probably know from your book that Palestrina is best known for a polyphonic style whereas your example is essentially homophonic. Taking your original middle part as the melody you have some large upward leaps in bar 2 which is uncharacteristic of Palestrina, hence my assumption that this was more like a hymn tune. Palestrina's melodic phrases are typically flowing in small scalic steps with occasional leaps, and never 4 upward leaps in succession (as far as I know).

In fact, according Jeppeson certain consecutive leaps are permitted. He mentions 4 different cases, being one of them the outlining of major or minor triads, usually in root position or second inversion. In bars 2 and 3 there's a C maj triad in with a doubled E but we can look at it in two different ways: a 1st inversion of a CMaj triad if we start on the E or a 2nd inversion of the same triad if starting on the G. Not sure if this way of thinking is valid or not.

GilesAnt wrote:Also if Palestrina is your model you will need to think differently about harmony. At this time (late 1500s) functional harmony was only gradually evolving from the earlier modal styles.

Yes, Jeppeson's book has an exhaustive first chapter about it.

GilesAnt wrote:@rbarata - fancy having another go at this. Suggest you use your middle line as a melody though. or just take what merlyn has done as your starting point.

Yes, why not? ;)
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby merlyn » Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:15 am

I did a four part harmonisation :

Image

I have found MuseScore good. There's some spurious rests in the screenshot above which will be due to my unfamiliarity with it. A good feature is that there is a screenshot functionality built in. If I was doing this on paper I would use a piano stave, rather than four separate staffs -- who wants to use an alto clef if they can avoid it? :) MuseScore allows four separate voices (could be more) on one stave -- that's how I got the stems of the notes to face different ways making the four voices easier to distinguish.

@rbarata thanks for your melody, it's been fun harmonising it.
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby merlyn » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:41 pm

I had a listen to the version in the post above today and the tenor part was too low at points. This is better -- Version 0.9 :

Image
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby GilesAnt » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:52 pm

After much fiddling I have managed to save a score from Cubase to a bmp file. How do I actually insert that into a post on here though?
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Re: Piece functions help needed

Postby merlyn » Thu Dec 05, 2019 2:55 pm

I used https://imgbb.com/. If you go there and upload your image, then choose 'BBcode full linked' it gives you the code to paste into a post.
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