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Bad sounding intervals (Read 1727 times)

Offline oullman7130

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Bad sounding intervals
« on: May 27, 2015, 02:10:25 AM »
I have been reading tonal harmony, the de facto textbook on first-year music theory, and I've been reading about direct fifths, direct motion into perfect intervals, and all that jazz. Today I played the several examples for these in the book on a piano, and they didn't sound bad, or any worse than the ones that followed the rules. Would I only hear it with the voice? I'm wondering why this is so rejected my counterpoint and pre 20th century harmony...

Offline michael_sayers

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Re: Bad sounding intervals
«Reply #1 on: May 27, 2015, 03:56:20 PM »
I have been reading tonal harmony, the de facto textbook on first-year music theory, and I've been reading about direct fifths, direct motion into perfect intervals, and all that jazz. Today I played the several examples for these in the book on a piano, and they didn't sound bad, or any worse than the ones that followed the rules. Would I only hear it with the voice? I'm wondering why this is so rejected my counterpoint and pre 20th century harmony...

Hi Oullman7130,

In 20th century music there aren't considered to be any bad sounding consecutive intervals, or bad sounding chord progressions.  It is good to still do composition exercises with the common practice period rules in mind as preparation for being able to efficiently solve issues of other kinds in other types of music when maybe something doesn't sound "nice", yet at least some of the compositional features nonetheless need to be preserved in an acceptable solution.


Mvh,
Michael

Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Bad sounding intervals
«Reply #2 on: May 27, 2015, 04:39:07 PM »
Hi Oullman,
I believe one of the main purposes of these 'guidelines' is to challenge the ear to hear more than one or two voices at the same time…. When voices are in parallel motion, they tend to sound like a single voice (albeit, with fx )…  So, if you can't hear the difference, I would say that you may benefit in working more with this idea..  to more excite your ear, if for nothing else…   Singing all the individual parts can be helpful…  Or,  even getting together w musician friends and passing out parts to sing…This really can be fun, even if voice is not your 'thing'..  
Parallel 5ths aren't inherently bad…But one should use them deliberately, as one does with every note they write..
Beethoven even wrote in one of his scores declaring that he was aware he was breaking the parallel 5ths law.
Cheers!
4'33"

Offline quantum

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Re: Bad sounding intervals
«Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 02:12:17 AM »
In order to better understand the "rules" for a given period of music composition, one needs to experience the music of that very period.  Listen to full musical works from the period, as opposed to trying to make sense out of the small fragments illustrated in textbooks.  When you listen to entire pieces you will begin to understand the context in which the rules take place. 

Sing the parts if it is vocal music you are studying.  There are certain elements of the music that illuminate themselves only when working out the music with the voice. 
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 oullman7130

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Re: Bad sounding intervals
«Reply #4 on: May 29, 2015, 05:51:18 PM »
I listen to classical music extremely often, and am well versed in even Minor works, I guess my question is it bad that and I wrote it into my music would it sound worse to a listener today? I'm referring to writing classical music not in the 20th century style, more in a romantic style.

Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Bad sounding intervals
«Reply #5 on: May 29, 2015, 06:39:43 PM »
I believe it would be better to compose by the rules, before breaking them…  ('not sounding bad' isn't the greatest endorsement  of your attempt at the exercise…   You may listen much to classical music, but Your writing it will have the benefit of Hearing parts more clearly…. If you are not following the 'rules', the lesson will be lost on you.
4'33"