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Author Topic: Harmonisation with Diatonic Triads in minor mode  (Read 550 times)
wkmt
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« on: April 17, 2017, 06:04:36 PM »

Gisela Paterno, head of WKMT Kensington, has shared this article on piano harmonization. What do you think?


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When it comes to harmonising a melody in minor mode, the possibilities open up as we have two variations from the natural minor: The Harmonic minor scale, which has the seventh note raised a semitone, and the minor melodic, which has the sixth and seventh when ascending. This implies that these changes will have an impact on several chords of the scales.
 
On a previous article, I talked about the harmonisation on major scales, giving us always three possible triads for any given note, as all of them can be root, third and fifth of three different triads within the major scale. In the minor mode, first, we should see if the raising of the notes impacts on either the tonic family (stable), the sub-dominant family (semi-stable) or the dominant family (unstable).  The aim of this exercise is to clarify all the viable options to harmonise any given note within any minor scale, either natural, harmonic or melodic. Please mind the accidentals and what they represent, considering that the 6th degree is A and B the 7th, any chord that involves those notes will be affected if it belongs to the subdominant or dominant family.
Note: please bear in mind that the bars in this exercise are not to be considered, they are just descriptive.
 
1st degree: Tonic
Cm, Ab, Fm (natural)
F (melodic)
 
2nd degree: Supertonic
D diminished, Gm, Bb (natural)
Dm, G, B diminished (melodic)
 
3rd degree: Mediant
Cm, Eb, Ab (natural)
Note: If we raise the seventh degree on the Eb (either in harmonic or melodic) this will give us an Eb augmented triad. As this chord belongs to the tonic family (i, III, VI in minor mode) and this family is stable, we cannot have such an unstable chord. Consequently, we will keep the Eb as it is in the natural minor, not using the Eb augmented. Such chord will go against the nature of the family it belongs.
 
4th degree: Sub-dominant
Fm, Bb, D diminished (natural)
F, B diminished, Dm (melodic)
 
5th degree: Dominant
Gm, Eb, Cm (natural)
G (melodic and harmonic)
 
6th degree: Sub-Mediant
Ab, Fm, D diminished (natural)
F, Dm (Melodic)
 
7th degree: Leading tone
Bb, Eb, Gm (natural)
B diminished, G (melodic or harmonic)
 
This exercise should be taken as a kick-start to explore the possibilities into all keys.  A good way to practise is to play the chords and at the same time to catalogue them into the three different families:
Tonic family: i, III and VI
Sub-Dominant family: iv, IV, VII, v
Dominant family: V, vii diminished, ii diminished, G7

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We are open to critisism and discussion www.wkmt.co.uk
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keypeg
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2017, 10:47:41 PM »

.
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wkmt
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 06:40:58 PM »

That's certainly a short answer Smiley
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keypeg
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 05:26:36 PM »

Is this meant to teach students - they read word-based articles and study along them?  Most things of this kind would at least have notation.  The article itself is a series of facts, which a student could work out for themselves.  All you have to do is write out three C minor scales - as natural, harmonic and melodic minor, and see what kinds of triads you get for each degree if only using the diatonic notes.
Were I a student learning about harmony for the first time I would find this article overwhelming and confusing.  It's just a series of facts in words.
My first studies in harmony theory were in at least as old fashioned a way, using a book written in the 1940's.  It stayed in the same narrow parameters.  But at least it began with primary chords (which were defined), and the basic cadential movements, and built up from there (tonic to cadence with some in-between chords having roles).

What I don't understand is why you are using this approach at all in your school.  You are in Britain where there is the ABRSM, the theory exams, and resource material for preparing for those exams, which I am sure presents these things in an orderly manner.  Why reinvent the wheel, and in such an awkward, words-only manner?  Or is there a part I'm missing, that you haven't mentioned?

Btw, there is an excellent resource to point students to, which is interactive and allows students to also hear and see what is going on:
https://www.teoria.com/en/tutorials/
Have a look at chords, harmonic functions, and musical form. Smiley
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anamnesis
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 05:39:59 PM »

The problem with "harmony" is that it purports to be something more than it is. 

It's essentially the equivalent of taking a traveler's phrase book in a foreign language, and saying that phrasebook explains how that language works. 

There's nothing inherently wrong in learning a phrasebook, but let's not pretend that it is something more than it is in terms of explanatory power. 
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wkmt
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2017, 05:44:26 PM »

These articles are just meant to portray the approach each individual teacher has towards a specific subject. The intrinsic value lays on their authenticity.

I'm afraid this forum doesn't support notation upload, ergo the lack of it on our post. Apologies.

What do you think about the approach itself?
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keypeg
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2017, 09:57:57 PM »

I don't actually see any approach as such.  The teacher has gone from degree 1 to degree 7 and listed the kinds of chords one can derive from the three main kinds of minor scales.
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musiclessonsanywhere
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2017, 07:40:27 AM »

Quick reply! I agree with Keypeg and in my HO don't you think a more practical approach for your piano students would be more fun? How to compose and improvise using the given chords, a youtube video? This is basic harmony and can be found anywhere on the web, is it not posting for postings sake?
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wkmt
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2017, 11:09:41 AM »

This is not the only way we approach teaching. It is only a sample. Our posts require certain common sense for their evaluation... We should up our game a bit team Smiley
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keypeg
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2017, 03:20:29 PM »

This is basic harmony and can be found anywhere on the web...
mla - it is not basic harmony.  It is less than that.  Basic harmony teaches primary and secondary chords, and it usually introduces the tonic and cadences as a first thing, so that the chords have some kind of sense and role.
Quote
How to compose and improvise using the given chords, a youtube video?
How to compose and improvise using all possible diatonic chords you can derive from the three main minor scales (natural, melodic, harmonic) that were presented?  That would be quite a kettle of fish.  Maybe if they stuck with primary chords - but they haven't.
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keypeg
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 03:23:42 PM »

Our posts require certain common sense for their evaluation.
That is a double entendre: the posts themselves require common sense - but in the meantime, an evaluation has been given - suggestions were made - of which there has not been much consideration.
I gave a link to a resource.  Has it been looked at?
I asked about the context of the ABRSM in your country, and its material.
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wkmt
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2017, 05:58:50 PM »

Remark noted...

mla - it is not basic harmony.  It is less than that.  Basic harmony teaches primary and secondary chords, and it usually introduces the tonic and cadences as a first thing, so that the chords have some kind of sense and role.How to compose and improvise using all possible diatonic chords you can derive from the three main minor scales (natural, melodic, harmonic) that were presented?  That would be quite a kettle of fish.  Maybe if they stuck with primary chords - but they haven't.

In Buenos Aires musical education works in a fairly odd way. We only train the super talented, it is quite a pity though. I'm sure very spectacular musicians are left unattended in this way. On the other hand, the hard discipline applied to the few admitted at the beautiful palatial national conservatoire - UNA, Palacio Rocca - brings them to very high standards. We can mention amongst them Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, the Lechners, Bruno Gelber, etc. Either studying privately with superlative teachers and backed up by the state or attending lessons at the elitist conservatoire, they've managed their way to success.

In terms of content and subjects delivered in the lessons. Well, Grade 8 theory equivalent or more is required to 15-year-olds.

Answering the questions, all the contents we are familiar with in Grade 8 are imparted and requested to students 14 years old.

www.wkmt.co.uk
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keypeg
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2017, 11:42:02 PM »

I'm deleting my response because the answer  doesn't seem to match my question.
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wkmt
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2017, 12:55:48 PM »

I will try again, later today. Sorry for the inaccuracy keypeg. Have a nice day

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keypeg
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2017, 09:30:26 PM »

The problem was more in understanding the post you were responding to.

In regards to ABRSM, it was not about the end result - whether things get taught by a certain age, grade or date - it was about RESOURCES.  There is adequate teaching material out there already.  I know in the least that the ABRSM would provide such resources which are reasonably well planned and designed, in order, with notation etc.  In comparison, a list in the form of words is so primitive and awkward as to be almost amateurish.  In teacher training, we begin with unit plans, then individual plans, and part of that is purpose, aim, methodology, and resources.  I see none of it here.  I'm looking at resources.

I linked to Teoria.  Have you looked at it - what do you think of that as a resource?

When you tell me about super talented students being trained in Buenos Aires, that doesn't have much to do with the teaching of music theory.  It is interesting, but beside the point.  Smiley
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wkmt
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2017, 06:52:27 PM »

keypeg thank you for the link to "teoria", we will definately take a look to this software it seems very useful.

Thank you for the tip, it is always good to incorporate new teaching materials. Even more, when they come already done!

Thank you keypeg.

www.wkmt.co.uk
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