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Position of the chord? (Read 2295 times)

Offline christichen

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Position of the chord?
« on: July 20, 2010, 01:00:50 PM »
Hi everyone, I'm new to this site and my harmony 3 (Basic harmony) exam is in 2 weeks. I was working on this practice exam and I'm confused about this question for symbolizing the chords. In the picture below, in measure 2, there is a chord I (ACE) but it starts with a rest in the bass. In the soprano, there is a high E. Should it be classified as I second inversion or just I root position? Same question for the dominant 7th in the second line. Thanks!  :)

Offline sheena

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #1 on: July 20, 2010, 01:38:31 PM »
Both chords are in root position since the root is the lowest note. Simple as that  :). The E in the soprano doesn't have to be considered part of the chord since it is sounding (and stopping) before the A chord in the left hand.

Offline christichen

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #2 on: July 20, 2010, 01:55:35 PM »
Thanks so much!  :) But if the E was held, would it still be in root position?

Offline sheena

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #3 on: July 20, 2010, 01:58:54 PM »
Yes it would, it is always the lowest note that determines the position of the chord. In this case, if the E was held, the lowest note in the chord would still be A.

Offline christichen

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 09:12:29 PM »
Very clear! Thanks!   ;D

Offline quantum

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #5 on: July 21, 2010, 02:13:56 AM »
One trick is to simplify figurations like these into chords.  In the first system the RH notes are consistent with A maj, the bass is A so it is all root position harmony.

The second system is consistent with E7 or Amaj: V7.  Bass notes are E so the overall harmony is also in root position.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline venik

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #6 on: July 27, 2010, 12:08:28 PM »
I don't know anything about the propriety of Music theory really. But as a musician, I would consider that E part of the EAC in the measure right before. Looks like the composer/scorer might have only put it in the measure after to avoid complexity. If I'm wrong, can someone explain why?

This is why I haven't and don't plan on taking music theory.

Offline worov

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #7 on: July 28, 2010, 06:33:52 AM »
Beethoven sonata in A major ? Opus 2 no 2, third movement ?

Offline oxy60

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #8 on: July 28, 2010, 04:44:12 PM »
Roger Sessions wrote the text book when I learned harmony in the 50's. From the answers above it appears things have changed..
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."  John Muir  (We all need to get out more.)

Offline Bob

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #9 on: July 28, 2010, 05:02:52 PM »
How so?

I thought it was an interesting example.  Bad example for a student worksheet possibly. 
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline oxy60

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #10 on: July 29, 2010, 04:03:22 PM »
Roman numeral I, without any little numbers, indicates the that the lowest note is the first note of the scale of the key signature and that the notes above outline a major tonic chord. If a subscript 5 was attached to the I then the fifth note was the lowest note but still the same chord. Roman numeral V (alone) indicates a major tonic chord formed based on the fifth note of the scale of the key.

This old system survives today in popular music, especially jams, where someone suggests a song they would like to do in the key of (?). They then tell the rest of the band the sequence of the chords in numbers using the old system.

From that the bass player knows what to do: "root or fifth on one and three."
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."  John Muir  (We all need to get out more.)

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #11 on: July 30, 2010, 01:43:23 AM »
I am surprised that, although there are correct answers here, nobody commented on the obvious.  The note you circled is not a chord.  A chord is a combination of pitches, not a single pitch.  Why would you consider that note alone, to deserve a Roman numeral?  By your logic, each of the preceding four pitches should have one as well.

Walter Ramsey



Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #12 on: July 30, 2010, 01:47:54 AM »
I don't know anything about the propriety of Music theory really. But as a musician, I would consider that E part of the EAC in the measure right before. Looks like the composer/scorer might have only put it in the measure after to avoid complexity. If I'm wrong, can someone explain why?

This is why I haven't and don't plan on taking music theory.

I don't know if I understand what you are saying; are you saying that the quarter note E appears in a new bar to avoid complexity, and that complexity means keeping together things that belong?

I think a good reason for you not taking music theory, is that you seem to consider it separate from music.  The reason the E is in a new bar is because the four previous notes are a pick-up, and that expresses one thing; if those sixteenth notes started on a down-beat, that would express something else.

Walter Ramsey



Offline venik

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #13 on: July 31, 2010, 11:07:24 PM »
I don't know if I understand what you are saying; are you saying that the quarter note E appears in a new bar to avoid complexity, and that complexity means keeping together things that belong?

I think a good reason for you not taking music theory, is that you seem to consider it separate from music.  The reason the E is in a new bar is because the four previous notes are a pick-up, and that expresses one thing; if those sixteenth notes started on a down-beat, that would express something else.

Walter Ramsey
No, you didn't understand...Nor do I understand what you think I said. In one half your preaching to the choir, in the other I am apparently incompetent.

I believe the first circled E groups with the first "pick-up", that is E-A-C (E)
The above posters were saying the first circled E groups with the first base chord, being ACE (E). Which doesn't make any sense to me in this peice, or any peice I've ever seen, putting an octave of the 5th in.
I believe the reason the grouping is disconnected, is to avoid complexity. Such as down-beats, weird timing, accents, or any other way you could compensate if you wanted to group inversions for some strange reason. The fact is grouping inversions is not a priority when scoring music, so theory shouldn't be done strictly by bars and down beats.

Why would a "pick-up" be in a different inversion than the following key? While you might have a case in a different piece, in this piece the note (E) falls nicely into the preceding EAC. Not the following ACE. Again, where have you seen ACE (E)? Who octaves a fifth like that? While it might happen in some cases I believe it is much more likely the composer was playing a pick-up in which the following key (E) is the next consecutive note from that inversion.

I don't like music theory, because of the way it's taught. There's 2 scenarios for this; either they are teaching it poorly and I am right about my above interpretation, or they are teaching it properly and it just isn't musical whatsoever. In either case I want nothing to do with it. I believe it's a mix of both, you need a 1on1 teacher for this kind of thing. And I don't believe when franz liszt wrote hungarian rhapsody that he was staring at chord charts, or looking for cool tricks he can do with theory. Or that when mozart wrote his first song at 6 (?) that he had studied 4 years of music theory or whatever equivilent it takes to "master" "Music theory" in modern schooling. However many composers did learn music theory, I just don't believe it was through the same curriculum and not even the same theory.

I believe writing and understanding music is an emotional venture, and that you cannot teach someone to feel emotions. It is scientific, I just don't believe it is empirical.


Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #14 on: August 01, 2010, 05:36:44 AM »
No, you didn't understand...Nor do I understand what you think I said. In one half your preaching to the choir, in the other I am apparently incompetent.

I believe the first circled E groups with the first "pick-up", that is E-A-C (E)
The above posters were saying the first circled E groups with the first base chord, being ACE (E). Which doesn't make any sense to me in this peice, or any peice I've ever seen, putting an octave of the 5th in.

I am more confused about your ideas than even before.  The "pick-up" is A, E, C#, A... what is E-A-C?  I don't see that order of notes, anywhere.  

Furthermore, if the pitches of the pickup, which by the way are definitely A,E,C#,A and not in any other order, identify with the pitches of the second beat of the first full bar (A-C#-E) it is pretty obvious that there is only one chord we are dealing with.  

What is the "octave of the 5th?"  Where should the real 5th be located, if the octave is so different?  And if the E groups with the "first base chord," whatever that is, but the pitches of the "first base chord" are exactly identical to that of the pickup, which to recap is A,E,C#,A in that order, how can one be different than the other?

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I believe the reason the grouping is disconnected, is to avoid complexity. Such as down-beats, weird timing, accents, or any other way you could compensate if you wanted to group inversions for some strange reason. The fact is grouping inversions is not a priority when scoring music, so theory shouldn't be done strictly by bars and down beats.

Huh?  You are the one arguing that the bar line and downbeats is making a harmonic interpretation.  There is nothing "disconnected."  A barline doesn't mean stop.  ?!  What is disconnected?  And where is the inversion?  The harmony in the bass is in root position.  A single note is not an inversion, because a single note is not a chord.  I really don't know what you are referring to in this.

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Why would a "pick-up" be in a different inversion than the following key? While you might have a case in a different piece, in this piece the note (E) falls nicely into the preceding EAC. Not the following ACE. Again, where have you seen ACE (E)? Who octaves a fifth like that? While it might happen in some cases I believe it is much more likely the composer was playing a pick-up in which the following key (E) is the next consecutive note from that inversion.

What inversion is the pick-up beat in?  How can a series of singles notes be in an inversion?  An inversion is a chord, spelled in a particular order.  There is no chord if there are a series of single pitches.  They might add up to a chord, which obviously they do, a I chord, or A major, but if you want to assign each pitch a Roman numeral, you are frankly handicapped.

Who "octaves a fifth"?  Uh... huh?!  And what is a "preceding EAC?"  The order of the preceding, or the very first pitches, is A,E,C#,A.  I don't know where "EAC" comes from.  Please look at the example, before you muddy the waters with your reply.

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I don't like music theory, because of the way it's taught. There's 2 scenarios for this; either they are teaching it poorly and I am right about my above interpretation, or they are teaching it properly and it just isn't musical whatsoever. In either case I want nothing to do with it. I believe it's a mix of both, you need a 1on1 teacher for this kind of thing. And I don't believe when franz liszt wrote hungarian rhapsody that he was staring at chord charts, or looking for cool tricks he can do with theory. Or that when mozart wrote his first song at 6 (?) that he had studied 4 years of music theory or whatever equivilent it takes to "master" "Music theory" in modern schooling. However many composers did learn music theory, I just don't believe it was through the same curriculum and not even the same theory.

Sorry to be mean, but I think you don't like music theory because you have no idea why it would be applied or what good it does.  I agree with you that Franz Liszt was not looking at chord charts, but I wish that you were.  Your replies don't make sense, with any chords at all!  To say that one beat has three pitches, the next beat has the same three pitches in a different order, and that the two beats are unrelated, is frankly bizarre and not rational.  I don't even really understand what you are arguing.

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I believe writing and understanding music is an emotional venture, and that you cannot teach someone to feel emotions. It is scientific, I just don't believe it is empirical.

Clearly not!

Walter Ramsey




[/quote]

Offline venik

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #15 on: August 01, 2010, 09:57:31 PM »
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I am more confused about your ideas than even before.  The "pick-up" is A, E, C#, A... what is E-A-C?  I don't see that order of notes, anywhere.  

Furthermore, if the pitches of the pickup, which by the way are definitely A,E,C#,A and not in any other order, identify with the pitches of the second beat of the first full bar (A-C#-E) it is pretty obvious that there is only one chord we are dealing with.

First of all, take the bundle of sticks and stones out of your panties.

You do that? OK.
Do you know what an inversion is?
This thread is about inversions.
The pick-up is in 2nd inversion A maj.
The circled E should be grouped with this 2nd inversion A maj.
The first chord in the left hand (is that easier for you to understand than first bass chord?) is in root position
The following pickup and high A should be grouped with this root A maj.


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What is the "octave of the 5th?"  Where should the real 5th be located, if the octave is so different?  And if the E groups with the "first base chord," whatever that is, but the pitches of the "first base chord" are exactly identical to that of the pickup, which to recap is A,E,C#,A in that order, how can one be different than the other?
I said the E DOESN'T group with the first bass chord. I can understand if you misread me or have dyslexia or some horrible such disease. It happens. But if you're going to attack someone for something you might want to double check these kinds of things. Or are you just trolling?

Once again, they are in different inversions, they are not identical.

The octave of the 5th means you are playing e6 and a5 c#5 e5. Which is what you are saying, once again I'll ask my simple question...where in music before have you seen an Ac#E with a voiced octave 5th. I'm eager to see if you'll answer, and understand the question this time.

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Huh?  You are the one arguing that the bar line and downbeats is making a harmonic interpretation.  There is nothing "disconnected."  A barline doesn't mean stop.  ?!  What is disconnected?  And where is the inversion?  The harmony in the bass is in root position.  A single note is not an inversion, because a single note is not a chord.  I really don't know what you are referring to in this.
No i'm not. What the? I'm saying barline doesn't mean stop. Kid you need to take your medication.

A single note is part of an inversion when they are played consecutively, you have never played any jazz or improv have you? That is obvious. I don't know why you are using that word "chord" as if that is the word I used.

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What inversion is the pick-up beat in?  How can a series of singles notes be in an inversion?  An inversion is a chord, spelled in a particular order.  There is no chord if there are a series of single pitches.  They might add up to a chord, which obviously they do, a I chord, or A major, but if you want to assign each pitch a Roman numeral, you are frankly handicapped.
Put your hand on your keyboard and put it in 2nd inversion A maj with an octave e. Now play the "A-E-C#-A-E". Note: You don't have to move your fingers! guess what all 5 notes are in the same key and inversion omg what bbq that is amazing. Yea I know you can thank me later! At first I thought you just didn't understand my first post, now I think it's something entirely different.

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Sorry to be mean, but I think you don't like music theory because you have no idea why it would be applied or what good it does.  I agree with you that Franz Liszt was not looking at chord charts, but I wish that you were.  Your replies don't make sense, with any chords at all!  To say that one beat has three pitches, the next beat has the same three pitches in a different order, and that the two beats are unrelated, is frankly bizarre and not rational.  I don't even really understand what you are arguing.
Exactly, you don't understand, and you are ridiculing and arguing back for what reason?

Your belief that my theory is incorrect is the exact reason I do not take any theory classes. For one, I prefer the way I look at it because it helps me write my own music. My experience over-rides any classroom teaching. Secondly, it appears to have given you the confidence that there is only one way of looking at each score. There is no right and wrong way to disect or create a score. You should just look at the score as if you wrote the piece yourself, and look for which way would be easiest and makes the smallest jumps in reasoning.

For example in this peice I think it's safe to say the composer started in 2nd inv A maj, then did the same pattern this time in root A maj, then moved both the right and left hand down and octave and did it in A maj root again, this time with an octave a.

I can't see after that but on the second line... still doing the same pattern this time with root E major with a minor 7th. Then moved it down an octave again this time changing the pick-up pattern a few notes.

Once again, if this isn't what they teach in "theory" I want nothing to do with it.

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #16 on: August 02, 2010, 02:28:35 AM »

First of all, take the bundle of sticks and stones out of your panties.

You do that? OK.
Do you know what an inversion is?
This thread is about inversions.
The pick-up is in 2nd inversion A maj.
The circled E should be grouped with this 2nd inversion A maj.
The first chord in the left hand (is that easier for you to understand than first bass chord?) is in root position
The following pickup and high A should be grouped with this root A maj.

Sticks and stones?  I am just now starting to enjoy this conversation.

Since you asked, I will have to tell you what an inversion is.  An inversion is when a chord is spelled in different ways.  It has nothing to do with a series of successively sounding, individual pitches.  The pickup is not "in" an inversion, because it isn't a chord.  The notes add up to the pitches of the A major chord, but they don't sound simultaneously, and so they are not a chord, and so they are not inverted anything.

There is only one Roman numeral possible for the first two bars and the pickup beat in the example given, and that is I.  The pickup is not "inverted" because it isn't a chord, and the downbeat is not "inverted" because it isn't a chord.  Single pitches cannot be inverted.

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I said the E DOESN'T group with the first bass chord. I can understand if you misread me or have dyslexia or some horrible such disease. It happens. But if you're going to attack someone for something you might want to double check these kinds of things. Or are you just trolling?

But the E does belong, because it is all part of the same harmony, which is A major.  The seven beats in the first staff are all one harmony.  If the high E doesn't "group" with the first bass chord, why on earth is there an E in that chord?

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Once again, they are in different inversions, they are not identical.

Sorry but the pitch "E" is not an inversion, it's just a pitch.  A chord is more than one note that sounds simultaneously, and I am afraid a single pitch "E" doesn't meet that very basic criteria.

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The octave of the 5th means you are playing e6 and a5 c#5 e5. Which is what you are saying, once again I'll ask my simple question...where in music before have you seen an Ac#E with a voiced octave 5th. I'm eager to see if you'll answer, and understand the question this time.
No i'm not. What the? I'm saying barline doesn't mean stop. Kid you need to take your medication.

Now you're having a good time!  I have seen all kind of chords, with all kind of note spacings.  Look for instance at the opening chords to the Symphony of Psalms, or the strange "overtone" voicings of Messiaen in his Vingt Regards, or the paradoxically dense and transparent voicings of the Sunken Cathedral. 

Anyways, what is so weird about this?  There's a melody on top, and a chord in the bottom.  Who cares how far apart it is?  He's not writing a Baroque fugue.

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A single note is part of an inversion when they are played consecutively, you have never played any jazz or improv have you? That is obvious. I don't know why you are using that word "chord" as if that is the word I used.

Melodic lines can be inverted, but that's obviously not what you are talking about... I am using the word chord because you are talking about assigning Roman numerals, and you can't give a Roman numeral with an inversion to a single pitch, because those Roman numerals refer to spellings of chords.  The whole seven beats are one Roman numeral, and that's I... there's no inversion there, because the only chords are in root position.

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Put your hand on your keyboard and put it in 2nd inversion A maj with an octave e. Now play the "A-E-C#-A-E". Note: You don't have to move your fingers! guess what all 5 notes are in the same key and inversion omg what bbq that is amazing. Yea I know you can thank me later! At first I thought you just didn't understand my first post, now I think it's something entirely different.

I think once you get the basic point, you will regret having typed so many words!

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Your belief that my theory is incorrect is the exact reason I do not take any theory classes. For one, I prefer the way I look at it because it helps me write my own music. My experience over-rides any classroom teaching. Secondly, it appears to have given you the confidence that there is only one way of looking at each score. There is no right and wrong way to disect or create a score. You should just look at the score as if you wrote the piece yourself, and look for which way would be easiest and makes the smallest jumps in reasoning.

Actually, for these seven beats, there is only one way to look at it: it's an A major harmony.  There's a melody in the soprano, which is a broken arpeggio, and a couple of chords in root position in the bass.  The ironic thing is that it is you who is making it so complex, it seems impenetrable to everybody else.

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For example in this peice I think it's safe to say the composer started in 2nd inv A maj, then did the same pattern this time in root A maj, then moved both the right and left hand down and octave and did it in A maj root again, this time with an octave a.

There is so much information there, that frankly doesn't describe the music at all.  If you told me that's how it started, I would play those series of chords and not recognize the Beethoven sonata at all.  Here's what we have, from the example: seven beats of A major; the pickup in the melody is a broken arpeggio, and the offbeats in the bass are the chord in root position.  It really is that simple.


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Once again, if this isn't what they teach in "theory" I want nothing to do with it.

No, what they teach is much easier and more useful.

Walter Ramsey



Offline venik

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #17 on: August 02, 2010, 08:39:36 AM »
Sticks and stones?  I am just now starting to enjoy this conversation.
So indeed, you are trolling. I'll make this nice and short so you might learn something.

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Since you asked, I will have to tell you what an inversion is.  An inversion is when a chord is spelled in different ways.  It has nothing to do with a series of successively sounding, individual pitches.  The pickup is not "in" an inversion, because it isn't a chord.  The notes add up to the pitches of the A major chord, but they don't sound simultaneously, and so they are not a chord, and so they are not inverted anything.

There is only one Roman numeral possible for the first two bars and the pickup beat in the example given, and that is I.  The pickup is not "inverted" because it isn't a chord, and the downbeat is not "inverted" because it isn't a chord.  Single pitches cannot be inverted.
You can use any roman numeral you want, this is not math, this is not empirical, this is theory. You need to look up the definition of theory. And then you should look up the definition of law. You are treating theory as law.

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But the E does belong, because it is all part of the same harmony, which is A major.  The seven beats in the first staff are all one harmony.  If the high E doesn't "group" with the first bass chord, why on earth is there an E in that chord?
Just because an E is in the chord does not make any connection to the chord whatsoever, He could have played E major, minor, C major, C#/Db minor, G6, etc. Freudian slip?
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Sorry but the pitch "E" is not an inversion, it's just a pitch.  A chord is more than one note that sounds simultaneously, and I am afraid a single pitch "E" doesn't meet that very basic criteria.
E coupled with a lower EAC# is an inversion. It does not matter whether it's a chord or not. If you look at the rest of the piece you will find that high note matches the preceding bass chord. I tried to explain that to you.

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Now you're having a good time!  I have seen all kind of chords, with all kind of note spacings.  Look for instance at the opening chords to the Symphony of Psalms, or the strange "overtone" voicings of Messiaen in his Vingt Regards, or the paradoxically dense and transparent voicings of the Sunken Cathedral. 
Provide some sheet music, I'm not going to go on a treasure hunt. And it's more likely you just don't understand what I'm asking for, frankly.
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Anyways, what is so weird about this?  There's a melody on top, and a chord in the bottom.  Who cares how far apart it is?  He's not writing a Baroque fugue.
You know of many melodies that don't stray from the 3 key harmonic tones of the key? I don't. That's not a melody that's an arpeggio. I'll say this one more time in case you might get it this time, the E is part of an arpeggiated second inversion A major.

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Melodic lines can be inverted, but that's obviously not what you are talking about... I am using the word chord because you are talking about assigning Roman numerals, and you can't give a Roman numeral with an inversion to a single pitch, because those Roman numerals refer to spellings of chords.  The whole seven beats are one Roman numeral, and that's I... there's no inversion there, because the only chords are in root position.
You sound like one of those guys that doesnt believe in statistics because they are slightly random, or a religious fundamentalist that still believes the world is flat. You can come up with a million and one reasons why your opinion is skewed, it does not make your opinion right. What makes your opinion right is if it is what the composer had in mind while he was writing the piece. Theory is when we make educated guesses on that.

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I think once you get the basic point, you will regret having typed so many words!
Lol, if you think I'm ever going to change my mind about this then you are one step in the nuthouse. My decades of personal experience on understanding music theory is never going to be overtaken by words anyone writes on a computer forum. Especially in the manner you are arguing it. If you are so sure about your "theory", or should I say law, that you waltz about saying this is wrong and that is right, then it must be completely useless in writing good music. This is not the theory that the fathers of composition knew.
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Actually, for these seven beats, there is only one way to look at it: it's an A major harmony.  There's a melody in the soprano, which is a broken arpeggio, and a couple of chords in root position in the bass.  The ironic thing is that it is you who is making it so complex, it seems impenetrable to everybody else.
There are tons of ways of looking at it. And it sounds complex because it is a complex scoring, and maybe you lack the capacity to understand.

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There is so much information there, that frankly doesn't describe the music at all.  If you told me that's how it started, I would play those series of chords and not recognize the Beethoven sonata at all.  Here's what we have, from the example: seven beats of A major; the pickup in the melody is a broken arpeggio, and the offbeats in the bass are the chord in root position.  It really is that simple.
So you submit that the pick-up is a broken arpeggio, but for some strange reason the E is not part of that? When it fits nicely as the next consecutive note? Where as if it "fit" with the next bass chord it would be an octaved 5th?

Didn't you just say in your last post that music is not broken up by measures? And attack me for believing that it does? When I am the one saying it doesn't? And obviously you are the one saying that it does? Maybe you need some consistency in your life?

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No, what they teach is much easier and more useful.
Just...words. And I don't write music based on whats easier or more useful.


Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #18 on: August 02, 2010, 02:07:44 PM »
So indeed, you are trolling. I'll make this nice and short so you might learn something.
You can use any roman numeral you want, this is not math, this is not empirical, this is theory. You need to look up the definition of theory. And then you should look up the definition of law. You are treating theory as law.
Just because an E is in the chord does not make any connection to the chord whatsoever, He could have played E major, minor, C major, C#/Db minor, G6, etc. Freudian slip?E coupled with a lower EAC# is an inversion. It does not matter whether it's a chord or not. If you look at the rest of the piece you will find that high note matches the preceding bass chord. I tried to explain that to you.
Provide some sheet music, I'm not going to go on a treasure hunt. And it's more likely you just don't understand what I'm asking for, frankly.You know of many melodies that don't stray from the 3 key harmonic tones of the key? I don't. That's not a melody that's an arpeggio. I'll say this one more time in case you might get it this time, the E is part of an arpeggiated second inversion A major.
You sound like one of those guys that doesnt believe in statistics because they are slightly random, or a religious fundamentalist that still believes the world is flat. You can come up with a million and one reasons why your opinion is skewed, it does not make your opinion right. What makes your opinion right is if it is what the composer had in mind while he was writing the piece. Theory is when we make educated guesses on that.
Lol, if you think I'm ever going to change my mind about this then you are one step in the nuthouse. My decades of personal experience on understanding music theory is never going to be overtaken by words anyone writes on a computer forum. Especially in the manner you are arguing it. If you are so sure about your "theory", or should I say law, that you waltz about saying this is wrong and that is right, then it must be completely useless in writing good music. This is not the theory that the fathers of composition knew. There are tons of ways of looking at it. And it sounds complex because it is a complex scoring, and maybe you lack the capacity to understand.
So you submit that the pick-up is a broken arpeggio, but for some strange reason the E is not part of that? When it fits nicely as the next consecutive note? Where as if it "fit" with the next bass chord it would be an octaved 5th?

Didn't you just say in your last post that music is not broken up by measures? And attack me for believing that it does? When I am the one saying it doesn't? And obviously you are the one saying that it does? Maybe you need some consistency in your life?
Just...words. And I don't write music based on whats easier or more useful.



There's not really much to respond to in here, but your last two paragraphs show how little you understand what I wrote:  
a) I never denied the melody was an arpeggio, but you denied that the arpeggio was a melody;
b) I never said the "E" was not part of anything; in fact I said the whole seven beats are one harmony;
c) It is you who is looking at the music in a broken-up fashion, I said that all seven beats belong together harmonically, a point that should be obvious to anyone that can read notes;
d) Just to say it again, you can't invert a single pitch.

But I will grant that maybe I just don't understand your grasp of musical theory.  With that in mind, would you be so kind as to provide Roman numerals for the attached passages?  That way I can understand you better.

In order: Scarlatti Sonata K24;
Beethoven Concerto op.37;
Schubert Impromptu op.142 no.4;
Brahms Variations op.24, Variation no.6

I would be most curious.


Walter Ramsey




Offline oxy60

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #19 on: August 02, 2010, 02:31:38 PM »
Excellent examples, Walter. I too await the answer.
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."  John Muir  (We all need to get out more.)

Offline venik

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #20 on: August 04, 2010, 12:37:33 AM »
There's not really much to respond to in here, but your last two paragraphs show how little you understand what I wrote:  
a) I never denied the melody was an arpeggio, but you denied that the arpeggio was a melody;
b) I never said the "E" was not part of anything; in fact I said the whole seven beats are one harmony;c) It is you who is looking at the music in a broken-up fashion, I said that all seven beats belong together harmonically, a point that should be obvious to anyone that can read notes;
I agree it is, where have I said that it is not? This the the whole reason you are arguing with me, and you actually agree with me? Trolling?
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d) Just to say it again, you can't invert a single pitch.
The E isn't a single pitch it is, as you submit, an arpeggiated chord.
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But I will grant that maybe I just don't understand your grasp of musical theory.  With that in mind, would you be so kind as to provide Roman numerals for the attached passages?  That way I can understand you better.

In order: Scarlatti Sonata K24;
VI 1st inv adding a G# and b for dissonant effect, then there's a scale down, and the VI 1st inv again ion the LH. And the RH seems to be a melody but it is circled around F# A A, key harmonies in the VI, surprise surprise. I almost predicted that didn't I?

This is the most complicated one, I could probably find more if I had the time.
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Beethoven Concerto op.37;
VI (c) minor (but not as IV's (Ab) relative minor)
I got this by looking at the accidentals, but then when you look at the music all scales start on C, and end on C. Also the 2nd bar plays a CEbG and then back down again, this time playing the notes inbetween. And the 3rd measure plays a simple C G C G C, possibly a fragment of a 1st inversion which has been played before in the piece? Note: key harmonies in C minor. Each inversion has it's own feel to it, playing the higher G instead of lower would sound different obv. Which is why it should be noted.
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Schubert Impromptu op.142 no.4;
I (Ab), once again from just looking at 1 bar...
Starts off with I root arpeggiated chord then plays down and up the Ab scale, first he stops the scale and turns around at the VII (Gb) (then goes up to Ab again) then stops and turns around at the VI (F) (and goes back down to A again). I'm going to guess that next in the piece comes a V or IV. Or maybe he's just leading us on to surprise us.
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Brahms Variations op.24, Variation no.6
I could see this as either a Db major 7th 3rd inv add 13, or Db major 7th 3rd inv with an accidental Bb.

This might sound complex, but that's because emotions are complex. And once again I study theory for my own use, not so that I can communicate it. In fact I believe that if you only look at what is easily communicable, your theory will suffer.

As with any science, empiricism can only bring you so far. Eventually you reach a point where empiricism is useless. I.e. the existence or should I say nonexistence of particles in quantum mechanics, what was here before the big bang, why do we have any mass at all, etc. When you reach that point you have to leave the realm of what can I prove and not prove, and enter the realm of faith...if you want to gain any understanding. This applies even more so to music because the science of music is ineffable, it's emotion-based by definition. There is literally no empiricism, to me, in music. You can't even prove to me that E is E, is it E or is it Fb or D##? It could even be a little of all 3, and we only pick up on it on a subconscious level. My point is that I cannot prove to you what a dead composer was thinking as he wrote a piece, but I can and will make my own guesses as to that with the greatest bit of detail I can. Getting that detail requires more than empiricism, it requires faith.

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #21 on: August 08, 2010, 05:38:59 AM »
You know, in a way I have to apologize, because I was too obstinate and not coherent enough in my responses.  I argued fundamentally that the way you analyze harmonies, particularly inversions, does not depend on a single pitch, but simultaneous-sounding pitches.

Obviously that is wrong.  Think of any Chopin waltz; we analyze harmony based on the position of the bass note, even if it is a single pitch.  Clearly the two harmonic beats that follow determine the Roman numeral - not the inversion, which is in fact determined by a single pitch.

However I was right in the sense of how harmony and inversions are perceived.  It's fundamental to understand that the first seven beats of this example, are all one harmony.  The only pitches heard are A, C#, and E.  There is not a single non-chord tone in those seven beats.

Because what we have here is one melodic sequence over seven beats expressing a single harmony, we don't hear it as separate inversions.  We don't hear, for instance, the initial pick-up and initial downbeat as an inversion of A major, because it is followed by an A major chord in the root position, and then continues in the same vein.  

If the initial pickup and initial downbeat were in the left hand, and something else was in the right hand, I might have to revise this viewpoint.  And so that forces me to confess, that I was being too fundamentalist, and not truly correct in my expression.  But the basic theory is sound: harmony is felt not as separate, fragmented units, but over larger structures.

Ultimately, any music theory has to be able to describe the music.  It has to say, what is really happening, on the most basic and complete level.  If we start taking it apart beat by beat (when it is not composed that way), we lose sight of what is really happening.   We lost sight of a true description of the music, and a true understanding of how it was composed, and see only fragmented, incomplete details.

Walter Ramsey



Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #22 on: August 08, 2010, 05:55:10 AM »
I agree it is, where have I said that it is not? This the the whole reason you are arguing with me, and you actually agree with me? Trolling?The E isn't a single pitch it is, as you submit, an arpeggiated chord.VI 1st inv adding a G# and b for dissonant effect, then there's a scale down, and the VI 1st inv again ion the LH. And the RH seems to be a melody but it is circled around F# A A, key harmonies in the VI, surprise surprise. I almost predicted that didn't I?

This is the most complicated one, I could probably find more if I had the time.VI (c) minor (but not as IV's (Ab) relative minor)
I got this by looking at the accidentals, but then when you look at the music all scales start on C, and end on C. Also the 2nd bar plays a CEbG and then back down again, this time playing the notes inbetween. And the 3rd measure plays a simple C G C G C, possibly a fragment of a 1st inversion which has been played before in the piece? Note: key harmonies in C minor. Each inversion has it's own feel to it, playing the higher G instead of lower would sound different obv. Which is why it should be noted.I (Ab), once again from just looking at 1 bar...
Starts off with I root arpeggiated chord then plays down and up the Ab scale, first he stops the scale and turns around at the VII (Gb) (then goes up to Ab again) then stops and turns around at the VI (F) (and goes back down to A again). I'm going to guess that next in the piece comes a V or IV. Or maybe he's just leading us on to surprise us. I could see this as either a Db major 7th 3rd inv add 13, or Db major 7th 3rd inv with an accidental Bb.

This might sound complex, but that's because emotions are complex. And once again I study theory for my own use, not so that I can communicate it. In fact I believe that if you only look at what is easily communicable, your theory will suffer.

As with any science, empiricism can only bring you so far. Eventually you reach a point where empiricism is useless. I.e. the existence or should I say nonexistence of particles in quantum mechanics, what was here before the big bang, why do we have any mass at all, etc. When you reach that point you have to leave the realm of what can I prove and not prove, and enter the realm of faith...if you want to gain any understanding. This applies even more so to music because the science of music is ineffable, it's emotion-based by definition. There is literally no empiricism, to me, in music. You can't even prove to me that E is E, is it E or is it Fb or D##? It could even be a little of all 3, and we only pick up on it on a subconscious level. My point is that I cannot prove to you what a dead composer was thinking as he wrote a piece, but I can and will make my own guesses as to that with the greatest bit of detail I can. Getting that detail requires more than empiricism, it requires faith.

Well if you hadn't guessed, those examples were all essentially trick questions, because they all dealt with simple melodies and simple harmonies that by your method, would be ambiguous.

The Beethoven concerto, for example.  The way you analyzed the Beethoven sonata (the original graphic above) was based on the lowest note of the melody, separating it from the pitches that followed it (you took the initial pickup and initial downbeat, and considered it as a separate inversion).  I thought in the example of the concerto (my example), you would be forced to call it c minor in a second inversion, because  after the scales, the lowest pitch is a G.

The Scarlatti: it is easily perceived as a quick but subtle oscillation between tonic and dominant, though because there is no real "bass line" I wanted to see how you analyzed it based on the lowest pitches of the melody.  The fact is, nobody really experiences hearing this as a series of inversions, as I was hoping you would say, though we must confess that nothing is technically in root position.

The Schubert: all the harmony is implied by where the pitches fall in the bar, and again nothing is technically in root position.

I am not sure still how you are applying Roman numerals, for instance you say the Beethoven is in c minor, which is obviously right, but then you describe it as "VI," making me think you are using some movable "Do", but I cannot figure out why your movable "Do" would start on E-flat.

Also in the Scarlatti... I am not sure where VI comes from; are you using VI just to describe a minor-key tonic?  It's usually customary to use small-case Roman numerals when referring to minor keys.

About your last paragraph: in many ways actually I agree with you.  nobody can ever prove conclusively what a dead person was thinking about the things they wrote down.  But still, there are elements which are empirical, objective, and not dependent on feelings to observe.  Are those things the last word?  Never.  But what is theory, but a way to try and get at why music makes us feel the way we do?  

I think those who are anti-theory, are always coming at it from the wrong perspective.  They seem to think the theory is just there to justify a piece, or to make it inaccessible, when in fact theory is so much simpler.  It always comes from someone, who hears something amazing, a sound or combination of sounds they can't forget, and who wants to understand why they felt that way, and how that sound or combination of sounds was made.  True theory comes from the desire to get closer, to see the gears behind the machine; not to impose physics where none exist, but to see what makes gravity.

To that end, it should be simple, clear and direct, not taking into account just the visual aspect of the music (which I admit a lot of theorists do) but the way it affects us as sound.  Why does this or that sound special, and what makes it so?  It's ultimately the desire to know and understand that stimulates theoretical thinking.

Walter Ramsey



Offline venik

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Re: Position of the chord?
«Reply #23 on: August 09, 2010, 05:14:12 AM »
You know, in a way I have to apologize, because I was too obstinate and not coherent enough in my responses.  I argued fundamentally that the way you analyze harmonies, particularly inversions, does not depend on a single pitch, but simultaneous-sounding pitches.

Obviously that is wrong.  Think of any Chopin waltz; we analyze harmony based on the position of the bass note, even if it is a single pitch.  Clearly the two harmonic beats that follow determine the Roman numeral - not the inversion, which is in fact determined by a single pitch.

However I was right in the sense of how harmony and inversions are perceived.  It's fundamental to understand that the first seven beats of this example, are all one harmony.  The only pitches heard are A, C#, and E.  There is not a single non-chord tone in those seven beats.
Apology accepted, gracefully.

But something is confusing me, you need to clear this up...Why do you say here that we don't hear the arpeggio as an inversion:
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Because what we have here is one melodic sequence over seven beats expressing a single harmony, we don't hear it as separate inversions.  We don't hear, for instance, the initial pick-up and initial downbeat as an inversion of A major, because it is followed by an A major chord in the root position, and then continues in the same vein.  
But you say here...that we must look at the music as a whole:

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If the initial pickup and initial downbeat were in the left hand, and something else was in the right hand, I might have to revise this viewpoint.  And so that forces me to confess, that I was being too fundamentalist, and not truly correct in my expression.  But the basic theory is sound: harmony is felt not as separate, fragmented units, but over larger structures.

To my ear, I do hear the pick-up as an inversion. Music as I hear it is not just what is playing at the moment, but relative to what was just played and what I subconsciously or consciously expect to be played next.

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Ultimately, any music theory has to be able to describe the music.  It has to say, what is really happening, on the most basic and complete level.  If we start taking it apart beat by beat (when it is not composed that way), we lose sight of what is really happening.   We lost sight of a true description of the music, and a true understanding of how it was composed, and see only fragmented, incomplete details.

Walter Ramsey
I agree whole-heartedly.
Well if you hadn't guessed, those examples were all essentially trick questions, because they all dealt with simple melodies and simple harmonies that by your method, would be ambiguous.

The Beethoven concerto, for example.  The way you analyzed the Beethoven sonata (the original graphic above) was based on the lowest note of the melody, separating it from the pitches that followed it (you took the initial pickup and initial downbeat, and considered it as a separate inversion).  I thought in the example of the concerto (my example), you would be forced to call it c minor in a second inversion, because  after the scales, the lowest pitch is a G.
It was based on the key that the notes are in, and the scales starts/stops are more of a reinforcement of that. There are all white keys and an Eb, that matches C minor. If he didn't play all 8 notes in his key then it would be much harder to say what key it was. I only consider those last 4 chords as a second inversion.
 
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The Scarlatti: it is easily perceived as a quick but subtle oscillation between tonic and dominant, though because there is no real "bass line" I wanted to see how you analyzed it based on the lowest pitches of the melody.  The fact is, nobody really experiences hearing this as a series of inversions, as I was hoping you would say, though we must confess that nothing is technically in root position.
This is all true (except I don't believe no one hears it as an inversion) except that the medium of which the piece oscillates between tonic and dominant, is through a 1st inversion IV (F# minor)

As for the inversion, the way I would play this piece would be largely dependent on which keys fall into the inversion and which are dissonant to the inversion. So to my ear, and hopefully to my listeners, they are hearing the inversion whether they believe they are or not.

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The Schubert: all the harmony is implied by where the pitches fall in the bar, and again nothing is technically in root position.
I think that's a matter of opinion.

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I am not sure still how you are applying Roman numerals, for instance you say the Beethoven is in c minor, which is obviously right, but then you describe it as "VI," making me think you are using some movable "Do", but I cannot figure out why your movable "Do" would start on E-flat.
This is why I emphasized I was looking at one bar. I assumed the key signature fit the tonic, which is true in most pieces I've dealt with. When a composer changes modes he may or may not move away from the tonic's key signature, in this case from what i've seen I believe that's exactly what he did.

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Also in the Scarlatti... I am not sure where VI comes from; are you using VI just to describe a minor-key tonic?  It's usually customary to use small-case Roman numerals when referring to minor keys.
I knew that, but my theory is and has been, for the most part, for my mind only so I don't know the accepted lingo very well.

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About your last paragraph: in many ways actually I agree with you.  nobody can ever prove conclusively what a dead person was thinking about the things they wrote down.  But still, there are elements which are empirical, objective, and not dependent on feelings to observe.  Are those things the last word?  Never.  But what is theory, but a way to try and get at why music makes us feel the way we do?  

I think those who are anti-theory, are always coming at it from the wrong perspective.  They seem to think the theory is just there to justify a piece, or to make it inaccessible, when in fact theory is so much simpler.  It always comes from someone, who hears something amazing, a sound or combination of sounds they can't forget, and who wants to understand why they felt that way, and how that sound or combination of sounds was made.  True theory comes from the desire to get closer, to see the gears behind the machine; not to impose physics where none exist, but to see what makes gravity.

To that end, it should be simple, clear and direct, not taking into account just the visual aspect of the music (which I admit a lot of theorists do) but the way it affects us as sound.  Why does this or that sound special, and what makes it so?  It's ultimately the desire to know and understand that stimulates theoretical thinking.

Walter Ramsey
well said.

Keep in mind, I'm not anti-theory I'm anti-classroom-theory.