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Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question. (Read 4530 times)

Offline Petter

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Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
« on: December 03, 2008, 10:13:15 PM »
Is this okay? The 2 first bars with repeated C and G in alto and bass. If its the same notes...doesnt really make them parallel or does it? The task was to follow the chords and melody already given and this was what I ended up with. Im not used writing for choir.
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Offline db05

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #1 on: December 03, 2008, 10:30:48 PM »
Is this okay? The 2 first bars with repeated C and G in alto and bass. If its the same notes...doesnt really make them parallel or does it? The task was to follow the chords and melody already given and this was what I ended up with. Im not used writing for choir.

You mean tenor and bass. Just turn the same half notes into whole notes. Problem solved.

Edit:
No, wait, then everyone would be having to sing whole notes sooner or later. Is this allowed? I don't know. But it's kinda boring if the soprano (melody) isn't moving.

Edit:
No, wait, that melody was a given? My goodness. Wouldn't want to sing that. Then I see no problem.
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Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 02:11:17 PM »
Fifths can't be parallel, if they are stationary!

Walter Ramsey



Offline healdie

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #3 on: January 05, 2009, 12:48:06 AM »
they are consecutive if they are stationary
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Offline Barbosa-piano

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #4 on: January 05, 2009, 09:06:26 PM »
    I believe that in this situation it is acceptable to have stationary fiths. Your decision to repeat the bass and tenor notes consecutively does not create an undesired sonic effect, and I would say it does not violate any common rules of smooth part-writing.
    I would be a little more careful in the use of the sixths in the following measure. Even though it may be academically correct in this case, I would avoid the constant use of sixths in order to create diversity in the texture of the chorale.
     Have fun!

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Offline Bob

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #5 on: January 14, 2009, 02:34:52 AM »
I don't see anything wrong with it.  No parallel fifths or direct octaves or anything.  The chord didn't change. 

Now I'm wondering whether it matters if the chord did change though. 

The point of the parallel and direct rules is to keep the number of voices the same.  Independent voices instead of suddenly having one blend into the other.  Or having things stand out too much and call attention to themselves.  I think repeated fifths are probably fine, esp if the chord doesn't chagne.  But that might start to make that fifth sound like one voice. 

And of course it depends on how it actually sounds with real instruments.  That can change things. 

We need a theory expert.


I'm guessing you were very careful following the rules when you made that.  Why?  Because the topline melody looks a little dull.  When I was doing more voice part writing I remember deciding to either follow the rules and let that be the guide of the melody or to create the melody first, but then I ended up with trickier situations.


Hmm.... It must be something about moving.  Two perfect fifths moving somewhere... bad.  Two perfect ... and I'm blanking...  Are direct fifths any perfect interval that leaps in similar motion to a perfect octave?
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Offline Petter

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #6 on: January 16, 2009, 12:34:51 AM »
Normally no one would think of something that dull. It was an example for a university course and it was 10 years before I did anything like it. Im a bit curious why youd avoid sixths though. Boring for the singers? If you have a task for 4 part writing, would you normally start from the end and go backwards? I found that easier and faster.
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Offline Bob

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #7 on: January 17, 2009, 03:09:36 AM »
I have done it for a long time.  (Bob darns that innuendo thread.)  The rules are good, but can make a boring melody I found.  Having the cadences work out correctly I think is more important, so it makes sense to work on the ends.  And the beginning.  Then fill in the middle and if you need to cheat something, cheat the middle I guess.

I vaguely recall something about parallel thirds and sixths.  About not having a lot in a row... I think.

Then again, if it's correct it's correct.  By boring, I meant boring to listen to.  Do-do-re-ti-do... Not so interesting.  Then again, if it's just the skeleton and it's dressed up somehow (but those are still the important counterpoint notes), then I could see it being more interesting and being technically correct. 

I'm not a counterpoint, voice-leading expert in any way though.  Just took the classes. 
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline rhpatten

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #8 on: January 17, 2009, 04:59:55 PM »
Hello there,
The first bar of your harmony excercise does NOT contain parallel fifths, for the simple reason that the notes concerned are simply repeated, rather than moving from one fifith to another fifth on succession.

However, the first chord contains a 'mistake' in terms of good practice for this type of exercise.   It is always better, where possible, to double the root of the chord, rather than the fifth.   So, tenor should be on middle C on the first chord.  This will solve your problem since you will no longer have the repeated fifth!

It looks as though the next stage of your development in terms of learning harmony should be to start using 1st-inversion chords as well as root position chords.

Well done for taking the study of harmony seriously.   4-part harmony is the most glorious invention in the whole of western classical music.  It applies not only to choirs, but also to string quartets, piano writing, orchestras...  etc etc.   Good luck!

Offline theory_guy

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #9 on: January 27, 2009, 09:49:47 AM »
The hidden octaves between the bass and soprano when moving from vi-ii (a minor to d minor) create a rather abrupt harmonic accent. They are forbidden by many texts on traditional harmony, but it is more important to understand why. When two voices converge in octaves (as in the above example), it creates a sense of arrival. The d minor sonority, however, is a predominant chord, and should not be articulated as an arrival point. To fix this, you could place the chord in first inversion (ii6 - V- I), which would give you the most standard cadence of the classical era.

I hope this helps.

Offline Petter

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #10 on: January 28, 2009, 04:41:52 PM »
I see (or hear) the awkwardness of the d minor chord. To me it sounds more like it should be avoided cause it comes on a strong beat. The task was to use a D minor chord though. No alternative bass notes, I dont even think the G7 in bar 2 was allowed but should have been a straight G chord.
 What do you mean by "hidden octave"? Not a parallel octave?
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Offline theory_guy

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #11 on: January 30, 2009, 12:59:13 AM »
Both of the outer voices move in the same direction to an octave. It's not that bad in this case because the soprano moves by step (i.e. the conjunct motion doesn't draw much attention to itself); in fact, Bach does this all the time.

Offline jgallag

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #12 on: March 14, 2009, 12:13:21 PM »
Just a tip from my professor to make it easier: In each chord, find the fifth and the octave, and then look to the previous chord to find its source. This is much less of a pain than checking soprano against alto, soprano against tenor, soprano against bass, alto against tenor, etc.

Offline schartmanovich

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #13 on: November 19, 2009, 06:53:10 PM »
There is no problem with your fifths. The first responder had it right - it's just as if you're adding rhythmic interest to a whole note. A problem with consecutive fifths only occurs when there is MOTION to a perfect fifth.

Offline alysosha

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #14 on: December 04, 2009, 01:49:22 AM »
Every teacher i've had has told me 4-part harmony is just something you do to get through your degree then you never use it again.

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Parallel 5ths in 4 voices question.
«Reply #15 on: December 05, 2009, 04:13:46 PM »
Every teacher i've had has told me 4-part harmony is just something you do to get through your degree then you never use it again.

One of my favorite quotes from composer Steve Reich:

"Another thing you learn at a conservatory is to study the music of the past, and to imitate it yourself. And that is a worthwhile activity. To come up with an original style while you are still a student may occasionally happen, but generally speaking, what happens when you're a student is that you are imitating older styles.

Also, you may be doing exercises in formal disciplines like four-part harmony or species counterpoint, and you may wonder to yourself, what possible use will this have for me? Well, I would like to say that I remember being about 35 years old and writing Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ, thinking to myself, "My gosh! I'm 35 years old and I'm writing four-part harmony."...



Walter Ramsey