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Articulation in music - Perfect and imperfect consonances (Read 279 times)

Offline abhishekchanda

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Articulation in music - Perfect and imperfect consonances
« on: July 23, 2020, 12:24:27 PM »
Hi All,

This is a excerpt from a music theory book:

In a two part textures(music containing two melodic lines), composers prefer the more stable perfect consonances for important points of articulation - beginnings and endings of phrases, sections or pieces. Because of their less stable , more fluid character, the imperfect consonances normally predominate in places where the music moves from one point of articulation to another.

I want to understand the phrase "one point of articulation to another" in the context of above para. Does it refer to musical markings like staccato, legato, tenuto and all within a phrase?

Can someone please give an example, if my understanding is not correct!!

Thank you

Offline keypeg

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Re: Articulation in music - Perfect and imperfect consonances
«Reply #1 on: July 23, 2020, 03:11:21 PM »
Is this book originally in English, or did it get translated from another language.  I am a translator, and I've seen terminology glitches in translations, esp. when an expert isn't hired.  I have the same meaning of "articulation" in mind that you have, so the sentence doesn't make sense.  But perhaps there is another meaning of "articulation" that I don't know.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Articulation in music - Perfect and imperfect consonances
«Reply #2 on: July 23, 2020, 04:49:15 PM »
Not an expert in music theory, but...
In a two part textures(music containing two melodic lines), composers prefer the more stable perfect consonances for important points of articulation - beginnings and endings of phrases, sections or pieces.

It looks like this is what the author is taking as a definition of "important points of articulation" -- beginnings and endings of phrases, sections or pieces.

Which would then mean that the points where the music "moves from one point of articulation to another" would be the portions of music which are contained in between the beginnings and endings of phrases, etc.

I would assume the more stable consonances refer to fourths, fifths, and octaves. Then, the less stable consonances would be thirds and sixths. I believe seconds and sevenths are considered dissonances.

That leaves us with the following:
In music consisting of two part textures, composers prefer using fourths/fifths/octaves at the beginnings and endings of phrases, etc., and thirds/sixths in between.

If you look at, for example, a Bach invention, you can see why this interpretation would make sense.

Keep in mind that I am inferring the meaning of "points of articulation" from the text.  Perhaps it is a translation of a term in another language, as keypeg suggested.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Articulation in music - Perfect and imperfect consonances
«Reply #3 on: July 23, 2020, 05:09:06 PM »
I understood "articulation" to mean - you play staccato, legato, slur, blur.  This "articulation" seems to mean something else.  I can understand the text if I replace the word "articulation" with "blabla".  However, if the word has other meanings in music I'd like to know them.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Articulation in music - Perfect and imperfect consonances
«Reply #4 on: July 23, 2020, 06:23:19 PM »
Just found this.
https://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/grovemusic/view/10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.001.0001/omo-9781561592630-e-0000040952
Quoting from the extract:

...but articulation in a broader sense is sometimes taken to mean the ways in which sections of a work of whatever dimensions are divided from (or, from another point of view, joined to) one another

Offline abhishekchanda

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Re: Articulation in music - Perfect and imperfect consonances
«Reply #5 on: July 24, 2020, 11:29:25 AM »
This is from Aldwell And Schachter - Harmony And Voice Leading, chapter 2.
The perfect consonances are unison, fifth and octaves.
Imperfect consonances are thirds and sixths.

Perfect fourth can be consonant or dissonant.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Articulation in music - Perfect and imperfect consonances
«Reply #6 on: July 25, 2020, 02:19:38 PM »
A PDF version of the book can be found on-line. The writers appear to be American, and so we know it's not a translation.  The word "articulation" does not appear in the reference section.  But it is defined in the text:

Quote
In a two part textures(music containing two melodic lines), composers prefer the more stable perfect consonances for important points of articulation - beginnings and endings of phrases, sections or pieces. Because of their less stable , more fluid character, the imperfect consonances normally predominate in places where the music moves from one point of articulation to another.

So "point of articulation" seems to mean "beginning and ending of phrases, sections, pieces.

Turning that into simple logic.  When you start a piece of music or phrase etc., you typically want to establish where you are.  For example, "We're in C major".  So there has to be a bit of "C majorness" for a while. The the music can start moving around a bit, then you get restless about getting home again, so we again want to establish where we are.  Maybe we're still in C major.  Maybe we modulated to G major so that's where we are now.  The "point of articulation" seems to establish where we are.  They're saying that consonant intervals are best for doing this, in two-part writing.  It also says that this will be gotten into in chapter 5.   That chapter is about counterpoint.