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Playing Bach on an Elephant

In this interview Schiff explains and demonstates his ideas on this widely discussed topic on how to play J. S. Bach’s music, and more specifically, the “Well Tempered Clavier” (BWV 846-893) on a modern piano. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Passing Tones  (Read 1597 times)
stillofthenight
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« on: May 30, 2015, 10:24:12 PM »

My theory book talks about passing tones as melodic embellishments that introduce harmonic dissonances of 2,4, or 7. Say if you write a melody using the  C major scale (C, D, E) over a C major chord. Say now the D is part of the main melody and needs to be played. Theoretically D is considered a passing tone over the C chord( a melodic embellishment), but suppose it is to be part of the main melody. So how do I resolve this discrepancy? Is it a passing tone or not?

The definition of passing tones seems to imply that only intervals of either 1, 3, or 5 off of a bass note can be the main melody of a piece of music.

So for any piece of music, if one was to just strip away all the passing and neighbor tones...they would have the "main melody"?

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nystul
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2015, 10:01:36 PM »

Throw out this phrase "main melody" and replace with something like "underlying structure" and you will be getting closer to the right idea.  The point is that the D in this case isn't part of the harmony, not that it isn't important to the melody.
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xdjuicebox
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2016, 05:27:12 AM »

It could be a suspension/retardation (place the D on the strong beat and resolve it to a C or an E - it's called a suspension if it resolves down, retardation if it resolves up). If it's more modern music, sad to say, but traditional theory won't really explain modern music that well.

It may very well be a 9th chord - look at the rest of the chord, see what notes are being emphasized, etc.
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I am trying to become Franz Liszt. Trying. And failing.
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