Category Archives: harmonic structures

They Do – Except When They Don’t

“The verse was nothing – but the Chorus was Art – And its Music was enough to tear you apart…” – Joseph Moncure March, The Wild Party (1926) In my very first post to this blog, I said “…the harmonic … Continue reading

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Posted in changes, chord progression, european pop songs, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Hollywood Scores, Latin Music, laws of physics, music theory, physics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Incredible and Amazing Diminished Seventh Chord

I have to give one of my former instructors credit for this one. Dr. Peter Gries, who until his recent retirement was the music department chairman at my old alma mater, spent quite a bit of time on this in … Continue reading

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Posted in cadence, central washington university, changes, chord progression, common tone diminished, common tones, diminished chords, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Improvisation, modulation, music theory, neighbor tones, Orchestration, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Tale of Two Ditties

Actually, it’s two versions of the same ditty – in this case, the Harry Warren example we’ve been working with so far. You’ll remember the first version in which we simply used the guide tone lines. Here’s what it looks … Continue reading

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Posted in chord progression, common tones, contrary motion, counterpoint, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, neighbor tones, Orchestration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Point and Counterpoint – and Being Contrary

Before we attempt to apply counterpoint to the second ending of the “A” section of our example,  I’m going to go through a brief refresher course (or introduction, for you newbies) as to what counterpoint actually is. After all, “counterpoint” … Continue reading

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Posted in baroque composers, baroque era, canon, contrary motion, counterpoint, fugue, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, js bach, pachelbel, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Guide Tone Lines In Action, Part 3 – Colors of the Winds

So – what’s wrong with the guide tone line in the second ending in terms of orchestration? Nothing, provided we drop the line an octave. In simplest terms, the second ending of the “A” section in the current example (Harry … Continue reading

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Posted in Big Bands, cadence, changes, chord progression, common tones, counterpoint, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Hollywood Scores, Improvisation, Orchestration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guide Tone Lines In Action, Part 2

It is said that the only thing two music theorists can agree on is how a third got his analysis wrong. I’ll start out with a disclaimer: this is not  a true Shenkerian analysis of the Harry Warren classic. I … Continue reading

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Posted in big band singers, Big Bands, changes, chord progression, common tones, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Hollywood Scores, Orchestration, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guide Tone Lines in Action, Part 1

Today, let’s start off with a short musical interlude: The song of which this is the definitive recording will be the example used for the next  couple of posts. But before going much further, I want to talk about someone … Continue reading

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Posted in Big Bands, changes, chord progression, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Hollywood Scores, Improvisation, neighbor tones, Orchestration, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hi, Neighbor!

  The first step in constructing a guide tone line for a specific voice is to identify the common tones – single pitch classes that are common to two adjacent harmonic structures (basically, two different chords that share a single … Continue reading

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Posted in cadence, chord progression, common tones, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, neighbor tones | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Common Tones

Finding a set of guide tone lines for a specific set of changes (chord progression) is not the exact science we music theory geeks would like it to be. It is possible – even probable – for one to discover … Continue reading

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Posted in cadence, changes, chord progression, common tones, guide tone lines, harmonic structures | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

IDIC

Fans of Star Trek will recognize that acronym as “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination” – the heart of Vulcan philosophy. It is in fact at the heart of our music here on Terra Firma as well. It is often said that … Continue reading

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Posted in changes, chord progression, guide tone lines, harmonic structures | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments