Harmony

Questions and discussion on technical, teaching and performance matters
Arjuna
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Re: Harmony

Post by Arjuna » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:49 pm

Thanks.

Oberon Smith

Re: Harmony

Post by Oberon Smith » Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:46 pm

Dear ilu... I hope I am not jumping in here too late. If I may suggest a very good book for beginners in keyboard harmony. I believe it is still in print... "modern technic" for the piano student by Kenneth Aiken...now, be careful, this book is a wonderful technic book, as well as a great introduction to basic keyboard harmony. but, it is also from the American point of view. As you may have seen in my posts, the terms and system is different from terms used in other countries. And a flaw in the book, is that it does not stress the names if the chords, but, I still found it a great tool for the youthful students. Then if they really like it, try the old favorite of "Keyboard Harmony by Percy Goetschius", then they start getting into the rules of " no parallel octaves or parallel 5th" ... Papa Liszt never read this book..... LMAO.. Blessings Oberon

Timtin
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Re: Harmony

Post by Timtin » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:14 pm

A couple of general observations which I find slightly curious.

1. On the piano, if I very gently press down and hold the following notes,
middle C, the G below it, and F the just below that, then what notes
can be heard quietly when bottom C is struck loudly and briefly?
The answer is middle C, the G above it, and top C, respectively.
But why? Something to do with harmonics, I expect.

2. On the cello, when playing a downward major scale from middle C,
the B just below it sounds 'right' if played very slightly flat, whilst when
playing an upward major scale from bottom C, the B just below middle C
sounds 'right' if played very slightly sharp. Paul Tortelier's book also
mentions this, but it doesn't explain why.

Arjuna
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Re: Harmony

Post by Arjuna » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:24 pm

You're right about the piano one. All the notes of the harmonic series will vibrate in sympathy with a fundamental note whose harmonic series contains those notes (if that makes sense). It works best with the lower partials because they are the most prominent in the fundamental. You can also set up sympathetic vibrations by singing or playing another instrument loud enough or close enough to the strings. It works with other things as well. Occasionally I'll make a pen or a pair of scissors vibrate on my desk while practising, but it with only work one or two notes.
I don't know about the cello one, but it may be because equal temperament is an "unnatural" tuning system. It does make sense though, given how the melodic minor scale works.

Timtin
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Re: Harmony

Post by Timtin » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:56 am

Dear Arjuna,
Thank you for your very informative answers to my two queries!
I wonder if there are any piano works in existence which deliberately exploit this harmonic effect,
and what is the notation (if any) for depressing a piano key silently in order to produce it?
Regards, Tim.

HullandHellandHalifax
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Re: Harmony

Post by HullandHellandHalifax » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:36 am

Timtin wrote:Dear Arjuna,
Thank you for your very informative answers to my two queries!
I wonder if there are any piano works in existence which deliberately exploit this harmonic effect,
and what is the notation (if any) for depressing a piano key silently in order to produce it?
Regards, Tim.
Timtin, the noteheads are diamond shaped as any violinist will confirm as it is a well known device for playing harmonics. The pianists just took it over to imply a note silently depressed whilst other notes are played to create the effect.
regards
Brian

Timtin
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Re: Harmony

Post by Timtin » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:40 am

Dear HullandHellandHalifax,
Thank you for explaining it!
May your team survive in the Premiership for another season!
Bw, Tim.

HullandHellandHalifax
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Re: Harmony

Post by HullandHellandHalifax » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:54 am

Timtin wrote:Dear HullandHellandHalifax,
Thank you for explaining it!
May your team survive in the Premiership for another season!
Bw, Tim.
I hope so, at the expense of West Ham and Burnley by the look of the possibilities...exciting few weeks ahead.
cheers
Brian

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klavierelch
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Re: Harmony

Post by klavierelch » Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:24 pm

HullandHellandHalifax wrote:
Timtin wrote:Dear Arjuna,
Thank you for your very informative answers to my two queries!
I wonder if there are any piano works in existence which deliberately exploit this harmonic effect,
and what is the notation (if any) for depressing a piano key silently in order to produce it?
Regards, Tim.
Timtin, the noteheads are diamond shaped as any violinist will confirm as it is a well known device for playing harmonics. The pianists just took it over to imply a note silently depressed whilst other notes are played to create the effect.
regards
Brian
I may add that one of the first instances of this notation is Schönberg's op.11 No1.
Ars opus est hominis, non opus artis homo.

John Owen, Epigrammata (1615)

Timtin
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Re: Harmony

Post by Timtin » Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:19 pm

And thank you Klavierelch for the musical citation. I must admit that diamond-shaped
notes were something I've never understood (until now)!

Two final questions (which I hope aren't too daft!) :-

1. Schumann's Sphinxes in Carnaval Op9. What's that all about? If they are not to
be played, should the performer simply delay for a few moments before embarking
on the next piece in the set?

2. If instruments such as the cello deliberately slightly sharpen the leading note of
an ascending major scale and flatten it in a descending one to sound 'right', why is
there no apparent dissonance if a well-tempered klavier simultaneously plays the
same notes?

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