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Live Streamed Piano Recital with Murray McLachlan

A new piano recital series has been launched in Stockholm this fall. The first recital, with pianist Peter Jablonski took place on September 15 and today, you can hear British pianist Murray McLachlan play live from The Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Parallel fifths explanation.  (Read 6829 times)
japjisingh
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« on: August 31, 2011, 05:07:52 PM »

Please help me with the explanation of what exactly parallel fifths are.
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prometheus
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2011, 03:55:13 AM »

In music that focussus on indepentent voices, if there are two vertical intervals of a perfect fifth that are consecutive, then that is called a paralell fifth.
In this type of music the way the two voices relate to each other and what interval they make is what it is all about.
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japjisingh
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2011, 03:28:34 PM »

Okay... So what's the difference between direct fifths and parallel fifths?
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dcstudio
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2011, 02:09:48 PM »

parallel 5ths are not welcome in traditional partwriting.   Imagine the altos are singing C and the sopranos are singing a G--these two notes are a perfect 5th apart.  (CDEFG) If both voices moved a whole step at the same time up they would still be a 5th apart (D and A).  This is parallel 5ths--if you listen to Gregorian chant you will hear this continuously.  When chant went out of vogue--they through out the parallel 5ths too.  Now they are seen as something bad--when they are just parallel 5ths.

hope this helps you! Grin
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keypeg
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2011, 11:45:25 PM »

Okay... So what's the difference between direct fifths and parallel fifths?

http://www.odu.edu/al/wbartolo/mod25.html

Halfway down.  Does it make sense?
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keypeg
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« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2011, 12:39:47 AM »

I like the explanation in the theory book "Materials of Western Music" (Andrews, Sclater).  After showing parallel movement in an example from Medieval music they write:

"This parallel movement produced what is called parallel or consecutive 5ths and 8ves, which are a particular style feature belonging to medieval times.  Many people are under the impression that to write consecutive 5ths or 8ves is wrong.  This is a false impression created by many theorists; to write consecutive 5ths or 8ves is to write in the style of the medieval period.  Such interval combinations are not characteristic of the common practice period, and should be avoided when writing in this harmonic style." (Materials, p 64)
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japjisingh
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2011, 03:46:58 PM »

http://www.odu.edu/al/wbartolo/mod25.html

Halfway down.  Does it make sense?

This was a pretty good explanation though! Thanks a lot! Smiley
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pianoplayjl
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2012, 05:01:08 AM »

I like the explanation in the theory book "Materials of Western Music" (Andrews, Sclater).  After showing parallel movement in an example from Medieval music they write:

"This parallel movement produced what is called parallel or consecutive 5ths and 8ves, which are a particular style feature belonging to medieval times.  Many people are under the impression that to write consecutive 5ths or 8ves is wrong.  This is a false impression created by many theorists; to write consecutive 5ths or 8ves is to write in the style of the medieval period. 

And it was resurrected in the impressionistic period being used mostly by Debussy as he broke with tradition. Something I learnt recently.


Such interval combinations are not characteristic of the common practice period, and should be avoided when writing in this harmonic style.[/i]" (Materials, p 64)

Not unless if you want to write in an Impressionistic style modelled after Debussy.  Grin

JL
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nystul
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2012, 09:47:41 PM »

With fifths or octaves the harmonics are very closely related.  So with parallel movement at those intervals the two voices kind of act as a single unit.  That doesn't mean it's wrong, just that it isn't counterpoint.
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pianoplayjl
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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2012, 10:54:58 PM »

With fifths or octaves the harmonics are very closely related.  So with parallel movement at those intervals the two voices kind of act as a single unit.  That doesn't mean it's wrong, just that it isn't counterpoint.

That's a good point. So in effect the voices are doubled.
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lidd
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« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2012, 03:03:11 AM »

Rather than post a new thread I thought I'd ask my question in this one:

Can non-chord notes create parallels? e.g. T is going d to c; S is going b to g but with an a passing note. Does the a going to g in the S make it parallel 5ths?
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Derek
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2012, 04:02:26 PM »

The thing that helps explain these harmonic rules best for me is trying to understand at the rootmost level what the goals were of the composers of the era. My impression is that they felt that the major or minor third and their inversions were the "sweetest" interval. Fifths and octaves are used only to enrich the third. All the harmonic rules of the common practice era revolve around treating the third with care. Some rules are to taste, such as doublings, but you'll find thirds doubled less often than fifths, and fifths less often than octaves. This is all because of emphasis of the third.

It made the most sense to me when I bought my clavichord and improvised with and without paying attention to these rules. On such a quiet instrument with a metallic timbre, dissonances are very harsh, and consonances are very thin indeed. However the imperfect consonance of thirds have this remarkably unique character on older keyboard instruments. They cause a greater immediate physicological response in the ear of pleasure. Thus I believe these instruments are the true father of western composition. Fifths in parallel actually sound fantastic as we all know today played by instruments of more complex timbre (piano, organ, electric guitar, etc. etc.). On the old keyboard instruments, they just sounded "flat."  Hard to describe in a couple of paragraphs.

Please note I'm an amateur, and these are my own findings and conclusions, not necessarily corroborated by musical academia.
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keyboardclass
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2012, 04:23:11 PM »

Rather than post a new thread I thought I'd ask my question in this one:

Can non-chord notes create parallels? e.g. T is going d to c; S is going b to g but with an a passing note. Does the a going to g in the S make it parallel 5ths?
Yes.
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lidd
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2012, 11:28:42 PM »

Thank you.
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brianvds
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2012, 05:09:43 AM »

It made the most sense to me when I bought my clavichord and improvised with and without paying attention to these rules.

Somewhat off topic: where did you get hold of a clavichord, and what did it cost? I have long desired one, but sort of assumed that one would have to have one custom-built at huge cost.

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keyboardclass
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2012, 05:17:13 AM »

In the US this is a good place http://www.harpsichord.com/  In the UK the ad section of the British Clavichord Society's journal.  Also there's the Yahoo Clavichord group.  The best place in the UK is pianoauctions.co.uk You can also google.
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brianvds
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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2012, 05:23:11 AM »

In the US this is a good place http://www.harpsichord.com/  In the UK the ad section of the British Clavichord Society's journal.  Also there's the Yahoo Clavichord group.  The best place in the UK is pianoauctions.co.uk You can also google.

Here in Dark Africa such companies likely do not exist. I'll Google around a bit, but if I want such an instrument I'll likely have to import it (due to an unfavourable exchange rate, that will cost more than I could ever afford) and then I'll have the further problem that there is likely no one in South Africa who could repair such an instrument, should it become necessary.

Looks like I am for the moment stuck with electronic instruments. They have many advantages. One of the reasons I like the idea of a clavichord is because it is so quiet that there is no danger of irritating the neighbours with it. With an electronic instrument you have the same advantages: you can turn the volume down or play with earphones. But it does mean you need electricity for it, and power outages are not unheard of here.

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keyboardclass
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2012, 05:30:26 AM »

One of the reasons I like the idea of a clavichord is because it is so quiet that there is no danger of irritating the neighbours with it.
That's a great advantage - there are others though.  It's quite a unique instrument.  What I suggest you do is buy a set of plans.  There are quite a few made from existing original instruments.  You'd have to bone up on your carpentry skills though.  Yahoo Clavichord group is the place - they''ll also be very helpful.
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brianvds
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2012, 05:57:30 AM »

That's a great advantage - there are others though.  It's quite a unique instrument.  What I suggest you do is buy a set of plans.  There are quite a few made from existing original instruments.  You'd have to bone up on your carpentry skills though.  Yahoo Clavichord group is the place - they''ll also be very helpful.

Hehe, I have no such skills to speak of. But it is indeed an interesting challenge, which I may take up in a year or two when I'll hopefully have more time than I do now.
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