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Re: Harmony

Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:48 pm
by HullandHellandHalifax
Timtin wrote: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?
Good questions Timtin with no easy answers, according to Joan Chissell who wrote the BBC music guide to Schumann they are "presumably meant to be seen but not heard" so even she wasn't sure, though in light of this discussion maybe you should play the notes, silently depressing the keys and hope that no sound is made. Honestly unless someone knows from some letters etc. of Schumann exactly what his intentions are then you will get divided opinion.
The answer to the 2nd question is more complex because in fact on the piano you do create a dissonance. My own thoughts are that the offending note would react sympathetically to the other notes being played around it and thus tune itself ever so slightly by losing or gaining harmonics and so you do not notice the dissonance. Of course if a cellist is playing with the piano then it is more than likely to adjust microscopically to the tuning of the piano without actually being aware that they were doing so.
Hope this helps

Re: Harmony

Posted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:31 pm
by Timtin
Thanks again Brian for these explanations. Life is one big learning curve!

Re: Harmony

Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:23 pm
by klavierelch
Concerning Schumann, it is made clear by the annotation in the score that the Sphinxes are not to be played. They are a hint for the performer to the main musical motives on which the music is built and a hint to the hidden program of Carnaval (which BTW was the main reason why Clara Schumann never played the Carnaval in concert). It is a typically romantic game to allude to something without revealing it completely. The main target group for this game certainly was not the public but his circle of Davidsbündler.

The second question is indeed difficult. Like Brian I think that there in fact is a dissonance created between piano and cello. But we modern Europeans are not used to distinguish microtones and so our ears (or rather our brains) do not interpret this slight dissonance as such, but instead 'correct' what there really is played into a consonance. If this is right, it is more a cultural habit. Maybe people from cultures where microtones are/were important part of the musical tradition (e.g. traditional music from India) would recognize the difference which we Europeans 'ignore'.

Re: Harmony

Posted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:38 pm
by Oberon Smith
Hope this is the right place to place a posting request. I am looking for a copy of "Lessons in Harmony " (second forty) by Arthur Andersen. I hope someone may have a copy. Thank you Oberon

Re: Harmony

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:38 am
by ilu
I am looking for a course about the principles and technique of the whole tone scale, especially according to the Russian school ( i.e. Rebikov )

Any hint, article or e-book will be much appreciated


Re: Harmony

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:43 am
by klaviersonic
Not a complete course on whole-tones, but JSTOR is a terrific resource for theoretical insights.

Schumann does in fact use the technique of harmonics at the piano in Carnaval at the end of Paganini, at the repeated fortissimo chords, followed by the chord in pianissimo that "catches" the harmonics!
Pentatonic Organization in Two Piano Pieces of Debussy.pdf
Debussy- The Origins of a Method.pdf
Chernomor to Kashchei- Harmonic Sorcery; Or, Stravinsky's %22Angle%22.pdf
Scale Networks and Debussy.pdf
Ravel's %22Russian%22 Period- Octatonicism in His Early Works, 1893-1908.pdf
The Whole-Tone Scale in Russian Music.pdf

Re: Harmony

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:02 pm
by ilu
Dear Klaviersonic:

Thank you so much for the articles, the explanation and the scores; it is like a course, so I will read and analyze all of them very carefully.


Re: Harmony

Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:29 am
by worov
Does anyone have "Understanding Harmony - An Unconventional Textbook' by Robert L Jacobs (Oxford University Press 1958) ?

Thank you very much.