Starting out with analysis, all invited

Posted by: PianoStudent88

Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 02:03 PM

Several people have commented at various times that they are interested in analysis, but the current Sonata Analysis thread is too hard for them. Also people have occasionally asked, "what is analysis for?", and I hope this thread can persuade some people to dip a toe in and find out.

To me, analysis is studying a piece with an eye to understanding how it is put together. For people with a practical bent, it also includes finding ways to improve learning, practicing, playing (and optionally memorizing) a piece, in particular by understanding the structure and subtleties of a piece.

I would like to start this thread to re-visit analysis from the most basic level. The idea is for a thread where everyone feels they can learn something, and no prior knowledge is required, and every question is acceptable. (We tried to start the other analysis thread that way too, but clearly we didn't quite succeed.)

OK, I'm making the opening post short and sweet to get you interested. Next post will propose some details.
Posted by: torquenale

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 02:19 PM

I'm interested, even if I don't know if I can really give a contribution.
I tried to catch up with the Sonata Analysis thread but it was... too much!
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 02:22 PM

I'm trying to start out with no (or almost no) assumptions, but I'm sure I and others will inadvertently make assumptions along the way. So please, if you're interested in this topic, please raise any questions that arise. For example "I don't know how to tell the key" or "what does that note that's just a plain circle mean again" or "how do you find the meolody in this welter of notes" or "how do you read the rhythm of this piece" or etc.

In a way this is applied music theory. We will be introducing a lot of the basics of music theory as they become necessary. I anticipate a possibly leisurely pace with lots of digressions to explore these areas.

I call it applied music theory because we will be looking at specific pieces to learn how to analyze them, and to learn music theory that applies to them as we go.

Some ideas of pieces to start with are Burgmüller's Opus 100, the Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook, and/or arrangements of existing songs specially composed for the thread (I'm not an expert composer, but I could come up with arrangements of anthems and folksongs to illustrate various points. First up, Happy Birthday...). I don't play a lot of non-classical music, but if people have ideas for popular or other pieces to look at, that's fair game too, and I may start doing some research among my rock books looking for pieces to illustrate certain ideas. Ideally we would look at pieces where the score is available for free on the internet.

Alfred's method book doesn't fit the category of "free on the internet", but we might occasionally do a piece from there if people are interested, if those without the book are willing to be patient during occasional Alfred interludes. Or some of the pieces in Alfred's can be found, perhaps in a slightly different arrangement, on the internet.

For me personally, it's not so important to be able to play the pieces we analyse, but that perhaps betrays two things: I have a strong purely theoretical streak, and I know enough at the piano to be able to pick out melody and bass lines enough to give me a flavour of what a piece is like. So I would be interested to know other people's wishes in this matter. There may be a piece you are working on that you would like us to look at, or you may find that your interest and learning will be improved by using pieces that you can learn at your level.

The next post will ask for introductions. I'm breaking this up into three posts to try to avoid TL:DR, but who knows if this will work smile .
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 02:25 PM

torquenale, welcome to the thread! Can you say anything about what was too much about the Sonata Analysis thread? Asking questions can be an excellent contribution; without questions we won't know on this thread when we're assuming too much and/or making things too hard.

For people who are interested, what do you think about the ideas in my previous post, of pieces to use? What interests you about this topic? If you have tried to follow the Sonata Analysis thread, can you say what made it too hard? What level would you say you are with piano (pieces you're playing, topics covered in lessons or on your own, affinity for reading or memorizing, whatever)? Feel free to PM me if you feel too shy to answer any of these questions in public.

(Or you can just lurk, but the more we know about people participating, the more we can shape the thread to meet people's needs.)
Posted by: torquenale

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 02:54 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Can you say anything about what was too much about the Sonata Analysis thread?


Hi PianoStudent, my problem with the Sonata Analysis Thread was that I started reading it when the discussion was already well developed. The first piece was, if I remember, one of Clementi's Sonatinas; I have the score and tried to read everything in one evening. I was a bit discouraged so I left the thread.
I'm sure that if I follow on a day by day basis it will be easier.

I agree that we can use mainly scores available for free on the net, and occasionally also some arrangements of existing song.

Thank you very much for your idea!
Posted by: Rocket Man

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 02:59 PM

Holy smokes...I am new here but that thread was displaying as "starting out with anal" Not sure why it cut off like that but I was nervous what I got myself into. Lol
Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 03:18 PM

Nice way to introduce yourself, Rocket Man ^^

I'm interested in learning to play and understand classical music and theory. I started taking lessons a little over half a year ago. The pieces discussed in the sonata analysis thread are way beyond me. I don't know many of the musical terms and cannot hope to play the pieces within years. Tried plucking along the melody of the Chopin Nocturne. It's sort of doable while ignoring the trills, until you run into the fast 32nd notes in bar 16, which I can barely even read. Something a little easier would be nice.

I've played one of the menuets from Anna Magdalena Bach's notebook, so something around or a little over that level would definitely work for me.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 03:54 PM

Excellent idea! I will join!
Is a question like this acceptable for this thread? I am still wondering if this piece is originally written for 4 hands. I can see in the bass clef almost the same melody than in the treble clef, just a little bit delayed: And a little bit shortened, it is not a canon in the end. Members in the forum explained me about "voices", and I now see this. Anyway, my "4 hand" question is still not answered. Actually, having voices, and each of them is even individually a nice one, would point even more towards a 4-hand idea, or? Each player stays with a similar melodie!
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 04:07 PM

The key (pun intended), will be picking pieces that people real love and want to learn. Best of luck, should be an interesting thread.
Posted by: neildradford

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 04:13 PM

I'm in.......and yet I have no clue what it is I'm 'In'

Neil.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 04:20 PM

Welcome, Rocket Man, Allard, Marco M., Mark..., neildradford.

Rocket Man, lol, I'm going to have to start counting letters carefully before making thread titles!

Marco M., lots of specific questions about pieces will still perhaps be best on their own thread. Among other things, they might get more attention that way, if more advanced players aren't following this thread. Let's see how it goes. I have an idea for your voices/4 hands question which I'll put over on the original thread, and make a note to think about taking up voices at some point in this thread, but not right away.

Mark... it's very interesting to me that for some people learning analysis is closely linked to wanting to learn a piece, while for other people an alternate approach might be to use any pieces to learn the basic principles. I'm of the latter mind myself, but I'm aware that many people are very practical minded and want a piece to be learning, so I'm trying to reign in my inner didactic theoretician here smile and find pieces that will be both learnable and interesting. I hope people will be willing to join in the analysis even if a particular piece isn't their favorite, or if it's a little too hard to learn completely (but can still be plinked out in part to get the ideas), or a little too easy to be much challenge. Having people nominate the kinds of pieces, or specific pieces, that will be of interest will help us try to meet everyone's wishes at least some of the time!
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 04:46 PM

Great thread, I'm in! I like music theory a lot but I don't know nothing about applying it to complex classical scores. I look for key signatures, chords, patterns, etc. in my Alfred's songs but that's it. I'll be happy to follow along!
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 05:06 PM

Welcome to the thread, sinophilia! I see from your .sig that you're in Alfred 2. Where are you up to?
Posted by: scorpio

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 05:46 PM

I'm in, too! Obviously I am starting out. I look forward to learning music theory. Thank you PianoStudent88 for this great idea.
Posted by: venice1

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 06:59 PM

Hi PS88,

Please include me in the group as it's obvious that I'll learn something here while hopefully increasing my focus and accelerating my learning curve. Also a beginner, I started taking lessons this past year. That being said, how does a beginner contribute to this project? Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge.
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 09:02 PM

Thanks so much for starting this thread, Pianostudent88! smile I'm happy to see that so many other people are also interested in this topic. I'll have a look at those links for the music for possible analysis. For me, it would be ok to start with some really easy/basic examples, even if the music is easier than what I would usually play.

One of the reasons I'm interested in music analysis is because I think it would make it easier to learn and memorize pieces. Sometimes when I'm trying to memorize pieces, I have to try to remember the notes in weird and not very effective ways because i don't understand the relationships between the note changes, or between the notes in a chord or arpeggio etc.
Posted by: malkin

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 09:11 PM

I'm interested too.

What do you think about starting a new thread with each new piece or group of pieces? It can be intimidating for people to jump in on a thread with 87 pages of history.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/14/13 10:39 PM

Welcome scorpio, venice1, Valencia, malkin.

malkin, I'm definitely taking your idea on-board for new threads per piece or set of pieces.

venice1, lots of room to contribute at any level. This is a discussion course, not a lecture course smile. Answering questions, asking questions, reporting on what you see/hear in a piece, proposing pieces or areas for further investigation; sharing what you're learning in your lessons. The list goes on!
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/15/13 02:07 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Welcome to the thread, sinophilia! I see from your .sig that you're in Alfred 2. Where are you up to?


I'm working on the last ten pages smile
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/15/13 04:16 AM

I'm certainly interested in learning more about theory and analysis, but starting from pretty much zero with very easy stuff -- to be sure to catch the gaps is my knowledge.

As a starting point, how about "Lili Marlene" -- it has a lot of the 1-2-5-1 and 1-4-1 stuff I've heard a little about. Then for examples that I think are deeper because I'm clueless at this point -- Cole Porter's "Night and Day", David Rose's "The Stripper".....

I've been using the free open source "MuseScore" notation program, could it be helpful in creating examples?
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/15/13 08:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Valencia
One of the reasons I'm interested in music analysis is because I think it would make it easier to learn and memorize pieces. Sometimes when I'm trying to memorize pieces, I have to try to remember the notes in weird and not very effective ways because i don't understand the relationships between the note changes, or between the notes in a chord or arpeggio etc.
Spot on, Valencia.

Aesthetic benefits
When music appeals to us it's interesting to find out why. When good music doesn't appeal an educated study can change your appreciation. Analysis helps understand why a piece works, why it might not appeal, and why or how the composer wrote it. It can change what we like and don't like.

Intellectual benefits
Theory and analysis go hand in hand. Music theory is not a set of rules we apply arbitrarily. It is a distillation of what has worked over the years and what hasn't. It is, in effect, good practise, codified. When you learn theory from studying a piece of music you learn not just the 'rule' in a glass case that we forget next week, but why it's there and how it works and that makes it not just easy to remember but understood and applied as part of our musical make-up.

Practical benefits
Analysis looks at music the way an artist looks at the figure. We examine the form and the structure, break it down into a skeleton, musculature and flesh, study the proportions, and in the realisation bring out the spirit, the personality, the expression and the emotion.

When learning a new piece of music it makes it easier understand as a piece, easier to interpret and make it our own. We get to know it intimately, like a close friend, and it helps us to see inside the mind of the composer.

It can speed up and simplify the learning process. It can suggest easier ways to go about learning a piece and makes it easier to memorise and become part of us. And memorised pieces are the best way to develop and maintain technical facility. With memorised pieces our technique can be maintained without practising at the piano and restored in very short order even after many years away from the piano.
Posted by: Jean-Luc

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/15/13 09:42 AM

This sounds very interesting and I will most certainly follow this thread.
I don't know if it's the right place to post this, but I have found a nice resource on youtube teaching the basis of counterpoint and harmony and I guess this is relevant to this thread since it might help people to get started on understanding what happens in a piece: http://www.youtube.com/user/artofcounterpoint
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/16/13 12:44 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: Valencia
One of the reasons I'm interested in music analysis is because I think it would make it easier to learn and memorize pieces. Sometimes when I'm trying to memorize pieces, I have to try to remember the notes in weird and not very effective ways because i don't understand the relationships between the note changes, or between the notes in a chord or arpeggio etc.
Spot on, Valencia.

Aesthetic benefits
When music appeals to us it's interesting to find out why. When good music doesn't appeal an educated study can change your appreciation. Analysis helps understand why a piece works, why it might not appeal, and why or how the composer wrote it. It can change what we like and don't like.

Intellectual benefits
Theory and analysis go hand in hand. Music theory is not a set of rules we apply arbitrarily. It is a distillation of what has worked over the years and what hasn't. It is, in effect, good practise, codified. When you learn theory from studying a piece of music you learn not just the 'rule' in a glass case that we forget next week, but why it's there and how it works and that makes it not just easy to remember but understood and applied as part of our musical make-up.

Practical benefits
Analysis looks at music the way an artist looks at the figure. We examine the form and the structure, break it down into a skeleton, musculature and flesh, study the proportions, and in the realisation bring out the spirit, the personality, the expression and the emotion.

When learning a new piece of music it makes it easier understand as a piece, easier to interpret and make it our own. We get to know it intimately, like a close friend, and it helps us to see inside the mind of the composer.

It can speed up and simplify the learning process. It can suggest easier ways to go about learning a piece and makes it easier to memorise and become part of us. And memorised pieces are the best way to develop and maintain technical facility. With memorised pieces our technique can be maintained without practising at the piano and restored in very short order even after many years away from the piano.



Great post! I'll simply add that with understanding comes appreciation - as touched on - which is why music theorists and more experienced musicians will appreciate and tend to enjoy Bach while those less knowledgeable will often find him hard to listen to or perhaps "overrated."
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/16/13 10:56 AM

Welcome, JohnSprung, zrtf90 (Richard), Bobpickle. Et bienvenu Jean-Luc.

sinophilia, congratualtions on your progress in Alfred 2.

JohnSprung, thank you for the non-classical suggestions.

I have MuseScore, and also the free version of Finale. Haven't quite decided which I like better, and am considering buying notation software, perhaps even as extravagant as full Finale. I might be able to get an educational discount, since I work at a college.

Jean-Luc, thank you for the counterpoint link. I hope people will watch it and share what they think or what they learn from it. (Or what is challenging about it, and why.)

I'll post up the first piece later today. For starters: I'm thinking we'll start with some arrangements of Happy Birthday, just to cover a few introductory points about analysis, and then move to Burgmüller Opus 100 for at least a few pieces, and look at the popular pieces suggested by JohnSprung.
Posted by: Forstergirl

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/16/13 06:50 PM

Cool. Very good idea

Forstergirl
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 07:08 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
For starters: I'm thinking we'll start with some arrangements of Happy Birthday, just to cover a few introductory points about analysis, and then move to Burgmüller Opus 100 for at least a few pieces, and look at the popular pieces suggested by JohnSprung.


Sounds good to me! smile
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 10:11 AM

Welcome, Forstergirl.

Here is the first arrangement of Happy Birthday: Happy Birthday 1

It is not a very good arrangement, but serviceable for the initial questions I want us to look at. Please feel free to ask if you're not sure about any of these, or if you're not even sure what the words mean! We're all starting at different levels, and we can all learn from each other.

For those just starting out, the leger lines (short horizontal lines supporting notes above or below the staff) may be new, or you may not have learned all the notes on the staff yet. Or other things may be new that I'm not even realizing! Ask about these, or other aspects of the score, and we can go over them.

Questions:

1. Overview: Are there any things in this score that you don't know what they are? Ask here!

2. Time signature: What is the time signature? What does that mean?

3. Key: What key is this in? How do you know?

4. Melody: What phrases (smaller groups) does the melody divide into? Where would you put slight pauses in playing it? Where is the climax? Would you play any parts of it louder or softer?

5. Harmony: What are the names of the chords in each measure? For this initial piece, just consider the notes in the bass clef. (Later on we'll ask about the notes in the treble clef too.) What is the first chord? What is the last chord?

6. Playing: Can you play or pick out parts or all of this, even if very slowly? If it seems daunting: try just the melody alone, with just one finger if you want. Try just the lowest notes in the bass clef. Try finding all the notes of each chord.

These are the kinds of questions we'll be asking for every piece. As we proceed, we will find more details to investigate in each area, and maybe add some areas.

I will tend to take the approach of asking questions first, and then using people's answers and questions to decide what to fill in and say more about.

I'd like us to have a recording of this. I can probably post a recording this evening, but if someone else wants to and can post one, please do.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 12:17 PM

Lets also talk about stems up vs down please.
Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 12:18 PM

I'd like to start by pointing out some issues:
- There is no tempo indication. Of course, everyone knows how this song should sound.
- The time signature is 3/4, or three quarter notes per measure. The first measure has only one beat. What is this called in English? Anyway, this means the last measure should have only two beats, so the two rests at the end are unnecessary.
- Chord progression is awkward when arranged for a beginner. It requires a lot of left hand movement. The high C major chord in measure 5 touches the same key (g) the right hand just played, which is physically possible but just feels awkward.
- Not an issue per se, but the score could use some fingering marks. This should be an early point to touch on when analysing a score you plan to play. In this case, you should probably start with 1 on g, so that the first right hand movement will be at the octave stretch in measure 5 (with 5 on the high g). I would then play the e with 4, c with 3, b with 2 and a with 1.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 12:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Allard
I'd like to start by pointing out some issues:

Good points all, Allard!

Quote:
- There is no tempo indication. Of course, everyone knows how this song should sound.

Yes, I was so completely mesmerized by "of course everyone knows how this goes" that a tempo indication never occurred to me.

Of course maybe everyone does not know this. Do they sing this "Happy Birthday" song in the Netherlands? Are there Dutch words for it?

OK, analysts: what tempo indication would you suggest?

Quote:
- The time signature is 3/4, or three quarter notes per measure. The first measure has only one beat. What is this called in English?

Pickup notes, and pickup measure.

Quote:
Anyway, this means the last measure should have only two beats, so the two rests at the end are unnecessary.

Yes, I would much rather have left those rests out, but I couldn't figure out how to do that in MuseScore. Anyone know how to do that?

This is one of the reasons I'm considering buying Finale.

Quote:
- Chord progression is awkward when arranged for a beginner. It requires a lot of left hand movement.

Yes, that's one of the crap things about this as an arrangement. For ease of analysis, I wanted almost all the chords to be in root position, so that trumped ease of playing.

Quote:
- The high C major chord in measure 5 touches the same key (g) the right hand just played, which is physically possible but just feels awkward.

Ack! (Now I have to confess: I actually haven't played this, and arranged it entirely by eye and by theory.)

Quote:
- Not an issue per se, but the score could use some fingering marks. This should be an early point to touch on when analysing a score you plan to play. In this case, you should probably start with 1 on g, so that the first right hand movement will be at the octave stretch in measure 5 (with 5 on the high g). I would then play the e with 4, c with 3, b with 2 and a with 1.

I had a fleeting thought about fingering somewhere along the way, and then I dismissed it for I don't know what reason. I'll put up a new version showing the fingering I use.

You're right, working out the fingering is one of the first things I do when learning a piece. Then I start doing the actual learning work in small sections, using the worked-out fingering.

Thank you for your comments! As an inexperienced arranger and notator, I find this very helpful.
Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 12:50 PM

You're welcome smile

In the Netherlands we just sing "happy birthday" in English, though I remember a Dutch version from elementary school that basically just repeated the Dutch word for congratulations.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 01:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark...
Lets also talk about stems up vs down please.

Good idea. For anyone reading, think for a moment: what do you know about stems up and stems down? Have you noticed stems pointing in different directions in your music?

.

.

.

OK, now that you've thought about this a bit, here's the basic rule:

  • Notes on the third line or below are written with stems down.
  • Notes above the third line are written with stems up.


Here's the first refinement of the basic rule:

  • If there is a chord with some notes on or below the third line, and some notes above, then the stem goes in a visually pleasing direction. Look at the chord in measure 8 of Happy Birthday 1 as an example. (I suspect engravers have some precise guidelines for this -- MuseScore must have rules programmed into it -- but I don't know what they are.)


There are other refinements for more complicated music with runs of connected notes, or multiple voices, or indications for hands playing in the opposite clef, and so on. If anyone wants to fill those in here, please do. If you can link to a score showing an example, that would be great. Or we can wait until we meet examples in the music we're analyzing. Even if we talk about them now, I'll try to remember to point it out again when we meet them in future pieces.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 01:18 PM

Stems are up when the notes are on the middle line of the staff or lower and down for notes on the middle line of the staff or higher.

The stems can also be used to distinguish voices if more than one voice is played on the one staff, stems up for upper voices, stem down for lower voices.

Tempo indications are not a requirement. The absence of tempo markings is not an issue. Even if the composer states the exact bpm or duration, in hh:mm:ss, of a piece it is only an indication. Always, always, the performer has precedence on tempo.

The notes before the first measure are the anacrusis, pickup, pick-up, upbeat or up-beat. The influence of the anacrusis on the length of the last measure is contentious. Traditionalists would prefer the length of the anacrusis to be removed from the last measure but modernists prefer the last measure to be a full one. You should be aware of both conventions but the older is dying in the face of modern scoring software.

I have no comment on the chords and inversions used.

I would prefer no fingering marks in any music not intended to teach fingering to the student. One of the first things I do when I start a new piece is remove any fingering marks that were clearly not geared for my hands and are going to interfere with my own choices.

If they're supplied by the composer and not the editor I will, of course, give them due respect. And then obliterate them. smile
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 01:19 PM

Re: stems when some notes are above and others below the line in a chord:

There are definite rules. Generally you go by which note is the farthest away from the middle line, and this determines stem direction. The chord in measure 8 illustrates this. The lowest note in the bass chord is C, in the space just below the middle line. The highest note is middle C, which is far above the middle line. Therefore the stem is pointing down.

For notes sitting directly on the middle line, the stem can point up or down, and it's a toss-up, but the default I learned is that in general the default is "down". You consider the line as a whole. If everything else is pointing up, then the solution suggests itself. A lot of the rules in music are common sense. smile
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 01:33 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I would prefer no fingering marks in any music not intended to teach fingering to the student. One of the first things I do when I start a new piece is remove any fingering marks that were clearly not geared for my hands and are going to interfere with my own choices.

I am always learning about fingering! I appreciate fingering in a score, and I always try it first. Even if it feels awkward I try to feel if it's better than the alternatives I come up with. That's because the fingering in the scores I get often has elegant solutions that I like better than what I come up with. On the other hand, I feel perfectly free to change the fingering if, after trying it, it really doesn't work for me, or if my choice seems about as good as what the score shows, but I like my choice better for whatever reason.

Here is Happy Birthday with fairly exhaustive right-hand fingering. When a fingering isn't shown, play the note with the same finger you used the last time. In measure 5, I have shown Allard's fingering as an alternate in parentheses. Actually I often play yet another fingering in measures 5 and 6: G E C B A as 5 3 2 1 2. I'll give Allard's fingering a try later when I can get to the piano. Try these out and see what you think, or if you like yet another way.

I would finger the chords as 531, except for the first chord in measure 7 which I would play as 521, and the final chord in measure 8 which I would play as either 5421 or 5321 (not sure which, until I can get to the piano and try them under my fingers. I think I have a standard way I do this, but I can't remember which it is).
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 02:08 PM

The chord inversion topic might be interesting here. We could talk about 1st and 2nd inversions and how to identify them from the position of the root note.

Then... I always wonder what is the reason behind using chords with more than 3 notes. I often see 4- or 5-notes chords and octaves in the final measure as you did here, I guess it sounds better and you can stress the fact that you're moving back to the "home pitch" (tonic)?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 02:19 PM

About Stems:

You are going to see two conventions going on, which might be confusing if you only know the set of rules that was just talked about. When you have one voice in the RH and one voice or chords in the LH, then the rules are what PianoStudent88 has set out: notes above the middle line will have stems going down, and vice versa.

However, sometimes music will have two or more voices in the RH or LH. Think of an alto and soprano singer both sharing the treble clef. There isn't always a singer - sometimes a composer simply wants to bring out different "voices". In that case, the "singer" (voice) that is higher will have stems pointing up, and the "singer" (voice) that is lower will have stems pointing down, regardless of where the note heads are.

To illustrate this stem convention, I've taken the liberty of adding an alto singer to P88's arrangement. Here the "soprano" line has up-stems, and the "alto" line has down-stems. If you see this kind of stemming in music, that's what's going on. The chords are the same, but I've done some inversions which makes it easier to fit in the lower notes. I have primitive software which won't let me do things either, so I'm afraid it's written by hand.


Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 02:46 PM

Here's a recording!

Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 03:27 PM

Allard, thanks for the recording.

keystring, thanks for the two-voice example.

sinophilia, we'll definitely talk about inversions later but I don't want to say much about them yet until we meet more of them in the scores we're looking at, and people feel comfortable with root position chords. Thanks for bringing them up as a good topic. What do others think? Inversions now, or can they wait?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 04:08 PM

My view is coloured by my own background. I did rudiments before ever doing analysis. To me, understanding chords, intervals etc. feels a bit like understanding the alphabet and phonics being part of reading a novel and discussing its meaning or structure. You have already used inverted chords. It seems essential to be able to recognize chords in order to identify them in music. I could possibly put something together similar to what we had in RCM rudiments.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 04:37 PM

CHORDS - Inversions - basic

The most basic chords we learn are major and minor chords, which are triads in "root position". Probably everyone here has learned them that way. In my diagram, the first two chords in the RH are in root position, and the chord in the bass clef is in root position. Every chord in that diagram is some version of a C major triad (chord).

In root position, when the notes are as close together as possible, the chord looks like a snowman. Either the notes are all on adjacent spaces, or on adjacent lines. Letter names skip: C(D)E(F)G = CEG. The lowest note is the "root" and we identify the chord by the root. This chord, CEG is a C chord. Because C to E is a major third, it is a C major chord.

If the middle note (E) is on the bottom as in the 3rd chord of the first measure, then this is known as "first inversion". In letter chord notation it's written as C/E which means "C major chord with E on the bottom".

If the middle note (G) is on the bottom as in the last chord of the first measure, then this is known as "second inversion". In letter chord notation it's written as C/G which means "C major chord with G on the bottom".

The important thing for what we are doing is to realize that any chord that has the notes C,E and G, and only those notes, is the C major chord. It doesn't matter what order the notes are in, or how many of each note you see - it's a C major chord.

The second measure shows some random arrangements of the C major chord. When I taught theory, the book introduced these "open chords" late, and it was disorienting, because people will associate chords with the shapes of the first measure. That's why I think it is important to know from the very beginning that the chord is what it is if it contains all the notes of that chord in any order.

Clear as mud? Questions?
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 08:18 PM

No nibbles on my Happy Birthday 1 questions? Even to say "huh?! I can't even begin to answer these questions!?!"

I am worried that I may have started with the wrong approach. I'll give it another 12 hours or so to see if the original approach is workable (by seeing if/what anyone posts). If not, I'll re-start from a different angle, starting with information instead of questions.
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 09:07 PM


2. Time signature: What is the time signature? What does that mean?

3/4 time--3 quarter beats per measure. (what is another name for a quarter beat...a crochet? or a quaver??)

3. Key: What key is this in? How do you know?

I would guess C major, because it has no sharps or flats, and I happen to remember that C major has no sharps or flats. is that the only key with no sharps or flats?

4. Melody: What phrases (smaller groups) does the melody divide into? Where would you put slight pauses in playing it? Where is the climax? Would you play any parts of it louder or softer?

If I didn't already know the sound of this piece, I'm not sure i would know how to determine this. Looking at the score, I might think that the half notes in the right hand indicate the end of a phrase just because it's a longer note than the notes before it. (but would i have said that if i didn't already know the song? I'm not sure...). I don't know how you would determine the climax of the piece just through the score....


5. Harmony: What are the names of the chords in each measure? For this initial piece, just consider the notes in the bass clef. (Later on we'll ask about the notes in the treble clef too.) What is the first chord? What is the last chord?

No idea about this question! Except that I see keystring's post relates to this so I'll will go back and study that. smile
Posted by: JF Playing

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/17/13 11:15 PM

Analysis! A great Idea to really get it! (Theory) Count me in. Reading what we have to far is quite enlightening. I will contribute as I can being quite inexperienced.
Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 01:45 AM

Key: C major. There are no sharps or flats. Chords are all major. The final note is a C and the final chord is C major with a closing C added.

Melody: there are lyrics, so naturally each sentence would be a phrase. You can also clearly make out the pattern of each phrase: two eighth notes, three quarter notes and one half note, which is oddly split up in the third phrase. Otherwise the piece is highly patterned.

Harmony: keystring explains how you can recognise the chords. In this piece: C, G, G, C, C, F, C, G, C. The C chord in measure 7 is an inversion, since the G is lowest. The final C chord has another C added and will sound quite pleasing when played arpeggio (low C first, then quickly adding each next note until all five notes sound).

Playing: Happy Birthday is not very fast and even with the left hand changes quite playable. Noteworthy (har har) points are the octave stretch between measure 4 and 5, the following descent from high G to middle A, the high C chord clashing with the right hand just having played the G, and the final chord switch in only one beat. Those with small hands might have trouble with the final C chord; just play CEG instead, or play the chord arpeggio.
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 02:24 AM

Thank you keystring! I have a little thing to add.

A useful method to see whether a chord is in 1st or 2nd inversion and identify the root (without having to remember or work out all three notes of each chord), is to check the intervals:
1) a chord in root position is made up of 2 equal intervals = 2 thirds (which can be major or minor but that's another matter), and the root note is the bottom one
2) an inverted chord is made up of 2 intervals of different length:
- 1st inversion: third + fourth = root note is the top one
- 2nd inversion: fourth + third = root note is the middle one
This makes it easy to visualize inversions when you see the notes on the staff. They look different, as in keystring's example (first measure). The pattern, from bottom to top, is short-short (root position), short-long (1st inversion), long-short (2nd inversion).

Of course I'm talking about 3-note chords (triads), haven't gone into larger chords yet...

(I apologize if my English is not clear enough)
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 02:29 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

Yes, I would much rather have left those rests out, but I couldn't figure out how to do that in MuseScore. Anyone know how to do that?


Yes: Left click on the undesired rest (or whatever other item), then right click. A menu appears from which you can choose "Set Invisible" or some such thing having to do with "Invisible".

On the screen, the offending item is grayed out to a light gray so you can find it again and make it visible if you need to later. But it doesn't print out on paper.

There's a MuseScore forum like this that's full of helpful answers, and people who know the kinks and tricks.
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 02:34 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

5. Harmony: What are the names of the chords in each measure? For this initial piece, just consider the notes in the bass clef. (Later on we'll ask about the notes in the treble clef too.) What is the first chord? What is the last chord?


Chords are:
C - G - G - C
C - F - C - G - C

According to position of the chords on the C scale (since the song is in C), the progression is:
I - V - V - I
I - IV - I - V - I

The first and last chords are both C as you're supposed to go back to the tonic (1st note of the scale) at the end. The final chord is actually the one that helps more with identifying the key signature, while the first one could have been a different one.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 02:37 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
-- MuseScore must have rules programmed into it -- but I don't know what they are.)


In addition to the ones you list, MuseScore puts the stems of different voices in opposite directions. And there must be a few more rules programmed into it. If you don't like the direction it puts a stem, click on the stem to select it, then hit the "x" key to flip it the other way. "x" also works on pretty much any other flippable item, like ties and slurs.

I take my stems as they come most of the time, but do flip them if it looks better because of chord symbols, lyrics, or other items being overwritten or too close.
Posted by: Cassiesmom

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 02:56 AM

I'll definitely be following along and would be open to any level piece for analysis.-not sure I can add much yet though. The Chord Inversion explanation from Keystring was super helpful.

I like Malkin's suggestion to post a new thread for each new piece we begin.

Hey..I do have a question. Valencia noted that she only knew where the climax was because she knows the piece.. ditto for me (at least I'm assuming it starts 1/2 way through measure 6 till the end(ish)?)... can you elaborate on what is meant by the climax ?..how to find-especially in a longer song. (and why do I need to be concerned/aware of where it is?) is it one definitive moment in a piece or in a longer piece are their numerous climaxes, like for each section?. and is it subjective to each perfomer/listener or a universal accepted section?..

sorry.. I suspect I'm getting bogged down in the tiny details.

I'm back to the piano after a long time and some of the vocabulary is surprisingly unfamiliar when I think about what things really mean. When you learn as a child I think you can understand quickly without over thinking like we do as adults.

oh and I had no idea there was a rule about the stem direction. I can tell I'll learn a lot here. !

.
Thanks for the thread (and invite) PS88 smile
Regards,
c.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 03:15 AM

OK, I got "Lili Marlene" together for this thread, here's my first attempt at attaching files....


Nope, the file uploader is broken yet again.

Anyhow, I have it in .MSCZ, .XML, and .PDF, but none of them have URL's. (There's a picture attachment button, but it demands an URL.)

I'll post them as soon as someone tells me how to make it work.

Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 03:37 AM

The slash chord notation is used to specify inversions, but also to add any bottom note you want. For instance, Cm6/B would be a dissonant chord consisting of a plain old Cm6 in root position with the B below it added. Cm6/F would have F on the bottom, then G, A, C, and Eb. I believe that would be called a second inversion of the Cm6, with the F added below it. Of course, these super wierd dissonant chords are only used very rarely.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 05:26 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
The slash chord notation is used to specify inversions, but also to add any bottom note you want. For instance, Cm6/B would be a dissonant chord consisting of a plain old Cm6 in root position with the B below it added. Cm6/F would have F on the bottom, then G, A, C, and Eb. I believe that would be called a second inversion of the Cm6, with the F added below it. Of course, these super wierd dissonant chords are only used very rarely.



Cm6/F = F9, an everyday chord for many.


The Cm6/B might sound weird when you first play the Cm6 only adding the the B bass note afterwards but a lot depends on context. If you resolve it to Em (E note at top) it begins to make some sense. If further, before resolving, you drop the G note to a passing F# note it becomes quite familiar.

I think it's important to 'mess around' with chords. Experimentation leads to some of the most valuable insights, often a chain reaction of understanding.

Can anyone think of an experiment which flows from the Cm6/B observation above?
Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 07:04 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung

I'll post them as soon as someone tells me how to make it work.

Hi John, if you have a box account (box.com) or simalar (box is free to set up) you can upload it there and the share button will provide a link. Or, email it to me and I'll post it.
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
The slash chord notation is used to specify inversions, but also to add any bottom note you want. For instance, Cm6/B would be a dissonant chord consisting of a plain old Cm6 in root position with the B below it added. Cm6/F would have F on the bottom, then G, A, C, and Eb
...

Yes, kinda. But there is no B in a Cm6, so I would want to call this something else. Similarly Cm6/F ... there is no F in a Cm6, and I would want to account for it in the chord name. As Diretonic has mentioned, F9 would work better smile
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 08:43 AM

Originally Posted By: malkin
What do you think about starting a new thread with each new piece or group of pieces? It can be intimidating for people to jump in on a thread with 87 pages of history.
This issue is being discussed in the 'other' analysis thread.

The number of pages doesn't seem to have deterred the pepole on the Alfred's threads. And no-one is expected to have to trawl through so many pages before asking a question again. It's never been a problem on any of the ABF threads that I've read.

On the other hand, keeping the the discussions together makes it easier to trawl though many pages on one thread than many pages of thread topics looking for a particular piece.

It would be no great hardship for someone active on the thread to update an index whenever a new piece was started to append dates and pieces/topics covered. This way new arrivals would see an indexed post every other page or so detailing what has been covered and the dates where the salient topics begin.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 08:55 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
Nope, the file uploader is broken yet again.

Odd. It was working for me yesterday, several times.

When you do manage to upload them, if you link them just as links instead of inline images, that will keep the pagewidth from exploding horizontally, which can make the thread hard to read.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 09:16 AM

We might hold off on Lili Marlene until we've finished Happy Birthday and started on the Burgmüller.

I have something to say on Happy Birthday.

Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 09:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Cassiesmom
Hey..I do have a question. Valencia noted that she only knew where the climax was because she knows the piece.. ditto for me (at least I'm assuming it starts 1/2 way through measure 6 till the end(ish)?)... can you elaborate on what is meant by the climax ?..how to find-especially in a longer song. (and why do I need to be concerned/aware of where it is?) is it one definitive moment in a piece or in a longer piece are their numerous climaxes, like for each section?. and is it subjective to each perfomer/listener or a universal accepted section?..

sorry.. I suspect I'm getting bogged down in the tiny details.

Welcome, Cassiesmom. Glad you've joined us. No, I don't think these are tiny details at all. Excellent questions.

I don't have good rules I can articulate for finding the climax in any piece, but sometimes it might be at the highest note in a piece, or at the loudest point, or at the most discordant harmony. I learned to think about climax from Richard (zrtf90), so he might have some more ideas on this.

As we work with more pieces, we'll find out more about how to find the climax, I think.

In Happy Birthday, I think the climax is on "birth-" on the first note of m.5. I think that because of how I sing it. But once I've identified that from how I sing it, I notice that it is also the highest note of the piece. And other people might sing it differently, emphasizing something else as the climax.

By climax, I mean... hmmm, what do I mean? The most-emphasized part, the most dramatic part, the part the piece builds towards and then relaxes away from... something like that.

I think there can be multiple climaxes in a piece. Perhaps one would be bigger than the others. Rachmaninoff, AIUI, felt that there should be just one climax in a piece. At least, he follows this principle in his liturgical choral work, the Vespers. But he wouldn't have had to articulate that as a principle he followed unless others were putting in multiple climaxes smile . In the shorter pieces we'll probably mostly be working with, I expect we'll probably also find only one climax per piece, but I wouldn't put that down as a hard and fast rule.

I think where the climax is is open to interpretation, so different people might find the climax (or multiple climaxes) in different places. However since I think there are musical principles underlying how you determine the climax, it's something that can be discussed and perhaps swaying people to a different point of view.

There's an example in Bach's Prelude in C Major where Richard thinks the climax is one place (highest note in the second half of the piece), and I think it's a measure earlier (most discordant harmony). Richard probably thinks I'm wronger than a wrong thing is wrong, but I hold to my position. Our difference is rooted in that Richard analyses the Prelude mostly in melodic terms, and I analyse it mostly in harmonic terms.

Climax is important because it tells you where a piece is building towards, and where the piece is ebbing away from. Once you've identified the climax, you can look for ways to emphasize the climax, whether with dynamics, or accents, or articulation (staccato, legato, etc.), or pedaling, or tempo (perhaps slowing down, or speeding up), etc. Or it can go the other way: the composer might give you all those indications, and from them you realize musically why they're there: they're pointing out the climax. Then they become meaningful indications, and not just "oh the composer says slow down and get louder here, I wonder why".
Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 09:40 AM

In that light, I would argue for placing the climax on our birthday boy here. The first three phrases are ascending in pitch, with a higher "to" in the second phrase and a higher "birth-" in the third. This leads to the molto ritardando where you sing the person's name and hold for emphasis. The fourth phrase brings us down to the closing C.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 09:49 AM

Overview
From the answers so far it is apparent the much has been and can be taken for granted, overlooked, or misunderstood not just about music and the theory behind it but about the notation system as well. How useful it is to have a thread like this where we can catch up on details that need to be shelved while we start to learn this instrument.

Time signature
Explicitly, the 3/4 means there are three beats to the bar, each the length of a quarter note or crotchet. It is unfortunate that the American system names the notes on their proportion to a measure of common time and the English system on their proportion to the length of a breve, a note no longer used but is twice the length, hence the semibreve is a whole note.

Implicitly, 3/4 means that the first beat is stronger than the next two. When a crotchet is split in two the second quaver, in this song the second syllable of ‘Happy’, doesn’t fall on a beat and so is weaker still.

Key signature
Here there are no sharps or flats in the key signature. The key signature always points to one of two keys, one major and one minor. We use the harmony of the final notes as primary evidence and the initial harmony as a secondary guide to key and here we have C major in both last and first measures.

Melody
This is a well known song and its phrases are easily recognised. But how do we find the phrases in unfamiliar music? The last notes of a phrase form a cadence. We will cover cadences in more detail at some stage but they are frequently occurring progressions of melody or harmony that have the same effect as inflexion in speech and punctuation in text.
What is a climax and where is it? In normal speech every sentence has a climax to avoid us speaking in a monotone. Most words even have their own accentuation. ‘Musicology’ has its own climax on the antepenultimate syllable, musi-COL-ogy, in English but on the final syllable in French (actually it is said without accent in French but to the English ear that makes it sound like the accent occurs at the end). It is the high point in the emotion or emphasis of the sentence. In music every phrase has a climax, every section has a climax and the piece as a whole has a climax. Where it occurs is up to the performer. If it’s not there the performance sounds dull and flat. If it occurs in an unconventional place it gives the tune a ‘foreign’ accent. It is said that Chopin’s Mazurkas cannot be correctly played without being able to speak Polish.
The climax in each of the first two phrases of the song is likely to be on ‘Birth’, the first downbeat of the phrase. If I were playing this as a wordless piece of music I would seriously consider the penultimate note in each of these phrase.
The main climax of the song is most likely to be on the dedicatee’s name in the third phrase but, again, as a wordless piece of music I would consider the octave G at the start of the phrase the most beautiful sound of the song from which the last two phrases climb down.

Harmony
We have identified the chords of the song as being the tonic, C major, the dominant, G major and the subdominant, F major. The dominant gives us an unsettled feeling and longs to return to the tonic with drop of a fifth in the root and the leading note rising a semitone. The subdominant is a softer version. It is also a fifth away from the tonic, but it rises a fifth rather than falls a fifth and there is no leading note effect so it’s not simply an inverse version of the same thing.

Despite its apparent simplicity there's a lot going on in this song. Music depends very much on repetition, sequence and alteration of its core components, rhythm, melody and harmony. This song encapsulates what makes music work.

The first line sets up the home or tonic key of C and the basic rhythm of the piece, (di-di dum, dum, dum, dah) and lands on the dominant G. The melody lands on the leading note, B and wants to return to C. We would rather the melody had gone from B to C but this turn of events has created tension in the very first line. We need this tension released and so we have an expectation of more to come. The music is driving forward.

The second line repeats the rhythm and sets us up to expect a repeat of the first line but instead it jumps up to D and returns to C. This is very uplifting and releases the tension created in the first line. We're much happier now and are back home again on the tonic chord but the song is not over. The descent from D to C (2-1) on its own does not satisfy us. Had the fourth note, 'day', occurred on E instead of G, the descent 3-2-1 would have satisfied us but now we are left feeling a little empty. We still need more.

The start of the third line raises our expectation of yet another repeat but that would be too predictable and boring at this stage. We couldn't tolerate that and need a change. Then we unexpectedly jump up a whole octave here. Wow, what a pleasant surprise! The song reaches its climax, staying in tonic harmony but on the dominant note, G, and then descending gently though the tonic triad toward the end of the line and then...

Oh dear, we're thrown into disarray again as we land on a stunning appoggiatura, B, over the subdominant chord, F. An appoggiatura, apart from being a long grace note (as opposed to the short acciaccatura) is a non-chord note creating a dissonance that needs to be resolved. The chord notes in F major are F-A-C. The B in the melody is therefore a non-chord note that resolves to A on the next beat. Most appoggiaturas occur on the second, fourth or seventh tone.
As well as the harmonic carpet being pulled from under our feet we also have to contend with the change in rhythm on this line (di-di dum, dum, dum, dee, dum) and the melodic shape (consecutive descending notes). There is a natural pause here as the B falls to A and we catch our breath from the aftermath. We are crying out for relief!

And relief comes with the fourth line, harking back to the climactic G we just heard, with a leap to F and heralding a glorious stepwise sequence back from the dominant to the tonic C, here interrupted only by a breathing note C between the E and D (which could also have repeated the E). The rhythm and melodic shape has also been restored. No wonder this is one of the most recognisable songs in the English language!

This is essentially what music is all about; creating tension by a move away from tonic, usually to the dominant, and releasing that tension by a resolution back to tonic via either a stepwise descent, normally from the fifth, 5-4-3-2-1, or the third, 3-2-1, or via the leading note 7-8 or 5-6-7-8.

The form of this song we call AABA and it recurs frequently in Western music. It is simple, satisfying and logical. It is amenable to tremendous elaboration and forms the basic underlying form of such mighty works as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

Rhythm
Of the three elements rhythm is the most important. We can change or remove the melody and it can still be recognised as music. We can change or remove the harmony and it would still be recognised as music. But that rhythm makes music on its own:

di-di dum, dum, dum, dah
di-di dum, dum, dum, dah
di-di dum, dum, dum, dee, dum
di-di dum, dum, dum, dah


Don't learn to play and then try to count while you're playing. Learn to count, feel the rhythm and then learn to play while counting.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 09:51 AM

Valencia, thank you for your replies and your questions. This kind of reply helps the thread, because it points the way to what needs more explanation. I appreciate your willingness to ask questions and say "I don't know."

I'm going to take the questions one at a time per post, and take the occasion to add some information that you may already know, but that may be helpful to those just starting out.

Originally Posted By: Valencia

2. Time signature: What is the time signature? What does that mean?

3/4 time--3 quarter beats per measure. (what is another name for a quarter beat...a crochet? or a quaver??)


Time signature. Yes, the top number "3" tells us there are 3 of something in a measure. The bottom number "4" tells us that quarter notes are being counted. So, 3 quarter notes (or the equivalent, e.g. 1 dotted half note) per measure.

In Happy Birthday 1, each quarter note gets a beat. The downbeat (the first beat of each measure) is typically the strongest beat in 3/4 time. Sing Happy Birthday and feel how the strong downbeats match up with the words.

There is something interesting about the beats in Happy Birthday, at least the way I hear it, which is that "to" on beat 3 sounds about as emphasized as "you" on beat 1. So basic 3/4 time would sound like this:

hap-py BIRTH-day to YOU.
hap-py BIRTH-day to YOU.
hap-py BIRTH-day dear BACH.
hap-py BIRTH-day to YOU.

But I hear it more like this:

hap-py BIRTH-day TO YOU.
hap-py BIRTH-day TO YOU.
hap-py BIRTH-day dear BACH.
hap-py BIRTH-day TO YOU.

Note names. You asked about crotchets and quavers. The translation between American and English note names is:

double whole note = breve
whole note = semibreve
half note = minim
quarter note = crotchet
eighth note = quaver
sixteenth note = semiquaver

Wikipedia on Note value shows further subdivisions, and also shows what each type of note looks like. We shall see which language people here on this thread speak smile.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 10:13 AM

When a piece has lyrics, they affect the musical interpretation: we shape the musical interpretation to serve the lyrics. For example, although in the normal verse of Happy Birthday I hear the climax in line 3, when singing the alternate verse I hear the climax in line 4:

happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you
you look like a monkey
AND YOU SMELL LIKE ONE TOO.

Think about how you might play this differently if you're accompanying the normal verse or the other verse. Which notes might you make louder? Where might you play the notes in an emphasized "marcato" way, and where might you play them legato (or might you choose staccato)? Not, you know, that children singing this verse are in the setting of a piano player carefully matching their playing to the children's teasing, but just in case you find yourself in that situation...

(OK, raise your hand if you're fortunate enough never to have heard this verse smile .)
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 10:40 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
There is something interesting about the beats in Happy Birthday, at least the way I hear it, which is that "to" on beat 3 sounds about as emphasized as "you" on beat 1.
I alluded to this in my post immediately prior to yours. It's the melodic climax bringing out the cadence.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 11:17 AM

A closer look at time signature - particular hangups that occur

When teaching time signature and also helping troubleshoot problems, we became aware of sources of confusion with some concepts. I'd like to take a closer look at some of the things I teach. My fascination is usually with what lies underneath, which includes the rudiments. Call me the microscope zoom-in person. grin

As everyone has said, time signature consists of two numbers one on top of the other. Top number: how many beats in a measure - Bottom number: which note value (quarter, eighth = crotchet etc.) "gets the beat". Let's zoom in on each of these concepts (for those who are interested).

beat in a measure (top number):
This is our "meter" and gives a rhythm to the music. Richard has mentioned the waltz rhythm that we often have in 3/4 time, and of course in beer fest type waltzes there is a very strong /OOM Pah Pah /OOM Pah Pah/ = /1-2-3-/1-2-3-/ Each OOM (1) is the start of a measure, and there is a steady pulse from one OOM to the next OOM. The "beat" itself is each of these numbers. It's what musicians call out as "1-2-3-1-2-3" before starting to play. This gives all of them a common heartbeat to play along. The numbers themselves tell us what to count, while the OOM bit gives an underlying rhythm.

Other meters have other typical rhythms. 4/4 time generally goes: STRONG weak Middle weak. In advanced music, composers play with the rhythms we expect to hear by doing things with note values that throw it somewhere else, which gives some powerful overall effects. Closer to home - a lot of music is closely related to dances, and will emphasize a particular beat. If you get a piece like a Gavotte, do have fun and google period dancers to get a feel for what lies underneath this music originally.

The note getting the beat (bottom number) - and note value:
Unfortunately often beginner music sticks with 4 always being on the bottom. You see 4/4, 3/4, and maybe 2/4. So people associate "quarter note" with "beat". Then when they see 3/8 or 2/2 later on, it throws them for a loop. So from the onset, realize that the note that is counted for the "beat" can be any note value - whatever is on the bottom. If it's 4 as in 3/4 time, then each quarter note is one beat. If it's 8, then each eighth note is one beat. Etc. Do not allow yourself to create an association where the quarter note is the beat.

A related concept is "note value" which seems to get tangled up with beats. So here is a way of looking at note values. They are relative to each other in proportions like this:
1 quarter note = 2 eighth notes, so 1 eighth note = half the length of a quarter note. So in the time of 1 quarter note, you could play 2 eighth notes.
1 half note = 2 quarter notes, so in the time of a half note you could play 2 quarter notes, which also means 4 eighth notes would fit in.
You can find many note value trees showing you these relationships.

google results - note value tree

You can use this information to help you work out your music. If you have eighth notes and half notes and quarter notes in a measure in LH and RH, you can work out relationships by maybe using the smallest unit or whatever. This is separate from "beat". It is purely how one note value relates to the other note values.

We then go back to beat. You have your 3/4 time, you know that the quarter note gets the beat. Since two eighth notes fit in the time of one quarter note, you know that "hap-py" in the pickup bar fits into one beat. Just know how these relate separate from beat, so that you can use them at will when music gets more complicated. smile

A note about practising / preparing music

Our musicians stand on stage, one person says a cool, "ONE two three ONE two three". They've all got the beat, the pulse, and they play together as if they share a heartbeat. If they are professionals and have played this kind of music for a long time, they might even do their first rehearsals that way, and before that, get the music up to speed quickly in private practising. What we see on stage is the finished product, the "final illusion" as one teacher puts it.

When we practice and prepare a piece, we're taking it apart and putting it together. If you have some complicated notes coming together, you may see how one note value fits together with the other and not concern yourself with rhythm or beat. Then when you've worked that one out in your body and mind, you can add the beat at a slow tempo, and then speed it up over time. If you can hear a ONE two three waltz, but your body is not yet ready to produce that ONE, then build what you can build - just the timing - later the rest will come. Musicians learning pieces take the music apart and put it together again. The final illusion comes in rehearsal to some degree, and on stage.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 11:39 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
The slash chord notation is used to specify inversions, but also to add any bottom note you want. For instance, Cm6/B would be a dissonant chord consisting of a plain old Cm6 in root position with the B below it added. Cm6/F would have F on the bottom, then G, A, C, and Eb. I believe that would be called a second inversion of the Cm6, with the F added below it. Of course, these super wierd dissonant chords are only used very rarely.


This is an important point, and a few years ago I almost got caught out by this. Letter name chords have only been adopted recently for classical music since the traditional Roman Numerals are limited in what they can do.

I was trying to stay very simple. When we have a "first inversion" C major chord in the key of C, we can say "first inversion C major chord, "C major chord with E on the bottom" (which is expressed as "C/E"), or I6 or we can just stick a 6 underneath. But for people just starting out in theory, what I want to bring across is that a C chord is a C chord is a C chord regardless of how the notes belonging to that chord are arranged. 2. One of the notes of that chord sit on the bottom. The easiest way to express this is as C/E because that tells us "This is a C chord - E is on the bottom." The note on the bottom becomes important when we look at the movement of the bass line later on (if we do).

In actual fact, the note on the bottom of a "slash chord" tells us what note is on the bottom. Sometimes that note doesn't belong to the chord at all, or the note is part of a more complicated chord than our simple triads. Any chord Y/n tells us that "n is on the bottom". Should we go that far now, or just mention it in passing?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 11:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Allard
In that light, I would argue for placing the climax on our birthday boy here. The first three phrases are ascending in pitch, with a higher "to" in the second phrase and a higher "birth-" in the third. This leads to the molto ritardando where you sing the person's name and hold for emphasis. The fourth phrase brings us down to the closing C.

thumb
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 11:55 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
a C chord is a C chord is a C chord regardless of how the notes belonging to that chord are arranged.

This is the nugget of information I wanted to point to, briefly at this point, by including that non-snowman chord at the start of measure 7 in Happy Birthday 1.

One might ask, why put the notes in a different order? In measure 7, I did it so that both chords (C chord for a half note, then G chord for a quarter note) would have the same note at the bottom: G.

The "root" of the chord is the note that gives the chord its basic name. In a snowman chord, the root is at the bottom of the chord. But the notes can be arranged in different orders as keystring has illustrated, and then the root might not be at the bottom. For example in the C chord in Happy Birthday 1 at the start of measure 7, the note at the bottom is G but the root is C. Eventually we'll talk about how to find the root in non-snowman chords, but we don't need to know that for Happy Birthday 1.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 12:03 PM

Expanding on a couple of things that were mentioned.

Key signature - As Richard stated. No flats or sharps will give us either C major or its relative minor, A minor. Music will have lots of V and I chords, one often leading to the other. The V of C major is G, while the V of A minor is E. So if you see lots of C, F (IV of C major), G then it's probably in C major. The final chord will probably be C. If you see lots of Am, Dm, E (with G# accidentals) (iv and V of A minor), then you know it's in A minor.

You may also hear that the music seems to center around C and G, or A and Em. The minor music may also have a different, sad or blue sound to it.

Harmony - defining concepts/words that were mentioned
There are 7 triads formed from the bottom note of the key, if you use only the notes of that key. Each has a name and often has a function with a function name (per Richard's post).

In C major, going up the scale C,D,E,F,G,A,B

I (Tonic) = CEG = C (major)
The tonic note is the main note that the music settles on
ii (Supertonic) = DFA = Dm, not important for now.
iii (Mediant) = EGB = Em, not important for now.
IV (Subdominant) = FAC = F (major) - it matters
V GBD (Dominant) = GBD = G (major) mega important
vi ACE (Submediant) = Am, not important for now
viio BDF (leading note chord) = B diminished. not for now.

The chords that are mentioned the most often are I, IV, V. The names aren't important, but if they're mentioned, it's handy to know what that's about.

There is one more chord: G7 = V7. GBDF This is a very important chord, because the movement of V7 to I (G7=>C) is a very strong movement. Play it where it occurs on the music and hear it. Our G7 - GBDF also contains BDF (viio) which also gives a weaker version of that movement toward the Tonic.

The reason G7 is so strong is as follows:
F => E
D => C or E
B => C
G => G

F is only a semitone away from E so it wants very strongly to slide down to that E. B is a semitone from C, and is the "leading note" so it wants to reach to C. Our ear strains for that resolution and then it comes.

G7 also contains the "tritone". Play BF. It is an uneasy sound, and was actually banned at one time as being too unsettling. When it resolves, the music feels "settled".
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 12:16 PM

Last element: non-chord notes in Happy Birthday (melody).

At the most basic level of writing music, the notes you use for the melody will be the notes contained in the chord. So if you have a C chord, you use C,E or G. But those aren't the only notes you see.

One simple kind of non-chord note is the "passing tone". Say I have a C chord and I want my melody to rise C,E,G. I might want to have eighth notes and create a scale C,D,E,F,G. The D "passes" from C to E, and the F "passes from E to G. They're not on the beat so we barely even notice them. Our ear is fixed on the C,E,G. I did this in my illustration of stems for two voices.

Another device is used a lot in Happy Birthday. The first note of the first beat often is not part of the chord. It slides into the chord note on the second beat. You hear a tension which makes this beat stronger. I've heard it described as a "sigh". We have this in measures 2, 4, 6 beat 1 going into beat 2 each time. Richard has given us the name appoggiatura, which comes from an Italian word meaning "to lean".
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 12:57 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
About Stems:

You are going to see two conventions going on, which might be confusing if you only know the set of rules that was just talked about. When you have one voice in the RH and one voice or chords in the LH, then the rules are what PianoStudent88 has set out: notes above the middle line will have stems going down, and vice versa.

However, sometimes music will have two or more voices in the RH or LH. Think of an alto and soprano singer both sharing the treble clef. There isn't always a singer - sometimes a composer simply wants to bring out different "voices". In that case, the "singer" (voice) that is higher will have stems pointing up, and the "singer" (voice) that is lower will have stems pointing down, regardless of where the note heads are.

To illustrate this stem convention, I've taken the liberty of adding an alto singer to P88's arrangement. Here the "soprano" line has up-stems, and the "alto" line has down-stems. If you see this kind of stemming in music, that's what's going on. The chords are the same, but I've done some inversions which makes it easier to fit in the lower notes. I have primitive software which won't let me do things either, so I'm afraid it's written by hand.




Thanks for this info, the voicing was what my question was referring to specifically. My teacher just mentioned it in passing and this clarifies it. Any differences in how you play those notes on the piano?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 01:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark...
Any differences in how you play those notes on the piano?

(I wonder how this page can get resized).

Yes. I should add that while I know things that can be done at the piano, I am just getting the skills to do them. At the elementary level, you learn to play the melody more strongly than the accompaniment. I found it a coordination task just to do that in the beginning, in crude exaggerated manner. As you get better, you will bring out dynamics in the melody, and as the music gets more complicated, you'll be bringing out certain notes for emphasis. The melody might drift into the bass, or a middle line.

For my "stems" version, I might try to play the upper voice more strongly than the bottom, if I was capable of it. I'm actually hearing two singers (literally), and maybe there's a guitar or something doing nifty things with the chords. smile

Mark, your inbox is full. smile
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 02:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Valencia
3. Key: What key is this in? How do you know?

I would guess C major, because it has no sharps or flats, and I happen to remember that C major has no sharps or flats. is that the only key with no sharps or flats?


Key, and key signature:

Good for you for remembering about C major. The key signature is the set of sharps or flats that appear between the clef and the time signature; or in the case of C major and A minor, no sharps and flats at all. For each key signature, there is one major key and one minor key it might be. How do you tell which one? There are various things you can look at:
  • the final note of the melody
  • the final bass note (lowest note)
  • the name of the final chord
  • the pattern of which chords are used overall
  • the pattern of whether there's a consistent accidental or accidentals (that is, sharps or flats or natural signs used within the piece, apart from the key signature).
  • major or minor: whether the piece sounds "happy" or "sad" (some people can hear this easily, and other people don't hear it so much)
  • the note that the piece seems to hover around and/or return to (I can't hear this at all, but some people can)

All of these can have exceptions, but I mention them as general areas to think about. We'll look in more detail at each of them as we look at more pieces. For Happy Birthday 1, no sharps or flats in the key signature tells me C major or A minor. The last note of the melody is C, so that suggests C major for the key. Also the last chord is C major, so that suggests C major for the key. Also the chords used in the arrangment are C and G (both used a lot), and F (once), and that's a pattern that suggests C major for the key, for reasons that others have touched on and I'll also say something about when I talk about chords.

In the interests of full disclosure: it is also possible for the key of a piece to be different than what the key signature shows, by using accidentals. It is also possible for the piece to be in something called a "mode" instead of in a major or minor key. But we won't see any of these for a while, and I'll flag them up when we meet these situations.

A warmup exercise: look at any books of music you have. See if you can figure out the key of various pieces. In particular, check the key signature, the final melody note, and the final bass (lowest) note. Also the final chord, if you know enough about chords already to name it.

This is a warmup exercise to self-evaluate what you know already, or what you can find out with a little review from whatever resources you have if you want to do a little self-study. Your results may be "gee, I don't know any keys beyond C major yet!" and that's perfectly fine.

Later on in the thread we'll come back to this in more depth, after we start meeting more pieces in different keys. Then I'll talk more about keys, and what all the key signatures are, and how to remember the key signatures, and major and minor keys and their relationships, and so on, and we'll practice on more pieces.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 02:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Valencia

4. Melody: What phrases (smaller groups) does the melody divide into? Where would you put slight pauses in playing it? Where is the climax? Would you play any parts of it louder or softer?

If I didn't already know the sound of this piece, I'm not sure i would know how to determine this. Looking at the score, I might think that the half notes in the right hand indicate the end of a phrase just because it's a longer note than the notes before it. (but would i have said that if i didn't already know the song? I'm not sure...). I don't know how you would determine the climax of the piece just through the score....

I wasn't able to figure out phrase marks in MuseScore (those long arcs over groups of notes) which would have been helpful for this question. (JohnSprung, I am definitely going to look up the MuseScore discussion forums; thank you for that suggesion.) I was thinking that people would answer it using the knowledge of the lyrics to help: every two measures, after the half note.

But given that I couldn't find how to insert phrase marks, I think it's serendipitous because you raise an excellent question: how do you find phrases?

For this piece, your idea of using the longer notes as a suggestion of where to phrase is certainly a reasonable idea to try (and does indeed match up with the lyrics). I don't have a conscious set of principles that I can articulate for this (apart from "phrase at the cadences", and we'll find out more about cadences later), but as we return to this question in future pieces I hope we will as a group be able to come up with ideas for how to determine phrasing.
Posted by: torquenale

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 03:59 PM

What an instructive thread! I missed 2 says and I'm catching up (especially with chord theory).

Back to the climax of the melody: not always there are lyrics, but if you sing the melody instead of playing it you can figure it out better. My teacher gave me such advice, unfortunately I'm not able to sing well but it's enough to have an idea.
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 04:45 PM

Oh Lord, I hate time zones! There is so much to read now, and it's time for me to go to bed! Sigh frown
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 04:46 PM

FYI, my vote goes to a thread for each piece of music.

Might be a good idea to have a template of how to attack each piece like:

Title
Time Signature
Key
Dynamics
Chords
etc
Posted by: pianoslacker

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 05:05 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88


happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you
you look like a monkey
AND YOU SMELL LIKE ONE TOO.

(OK, raise your hand if you're fortunate enough never to have heard this verse smile .)


Are you using the Urtext? My copy has 'you were born in a zoo' for the second line. confused
Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 05:34 PM

Let's make sure the word "analysis" doesn't start at the 19th letter of any new threads. It's a bit awkward on the overview page laugh

Also, major vs minor:

a sad birthday to you
a sad birthday to you
a sad birthday you ba-ach
a sad birthday to you
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 07:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Allard

Also, major vs minor:

a sad birthday to you
a sad birthday to you
a sad birthday you ba-ach
a sad birthday to you


To whit:

This uses exactly the same chord progressions (I, IV, V) except that in a minor key we have a choice of Em or E. Measure 3 uses G#BD which is the vii chord, and it is also the top of EG#BD (the V7 chord of A minor). The music is the same but different simply by being put into a minor key.

If you leave out the sharps everywhere, you will get a more Medieaval sound.


The ending would be better like this, so that the bass ends on A for a strong finish, saying "this is in A minor".

P.S., would anyone like to analyze this for what is the same and different, in the same way as the original Happy Birthday?

(I made a recording but am leaving it out on second thought, to give people a chance to try it on their own).
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/18/13 11:58 PM

wow so much helpful information in this thread! thanks to everyone for all these contributions! I've read through today but will definitely need to spend more time on the posts tomorrow as there is a lot here to learn. I *will* have questions. smile
Posted by: neildradford

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 01:57 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark...
FYI, my vote goes to a thread for each piece of music.

Might be a good idea to have a template of how to attack each piece like:

Title
Time Signature
Key
Dynamics
Chords
etc


+1 to the above quote.

Excellent thread so far guys. I don't really have anything to contribute yet, but learning a great deal so far.
I find it interesting how music, no matter how solidly it is written (articulation, dynamics etc) can be interpreted in so many different ways, depending on the person. I guess this matches up to personalities in general.

I do have a quick question, may be a silly one, but, someone a few posts back mentioned playing the final chord as an arpeggio. Now I understand what an arpeggio is, but what is the difference between playing it arpeggio, as opposed to a broken chord?

Neil.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 02:02 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
Nope, the file uploader is broken yet again.

Odd. It was working for me yesterday, several times.

When you do manage to upload them, if you link them just as links instead of inline images, that will keep the pagewidth from exploding horizontally, which can make the thread hard to read.


Well, the PDF worked, but not the MSCZ or XML. It was just so very slow that I didn't see the e-mail until tonight. Just for test purposes, here's a link:

[url=http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_LS_Analysis1.pdf]

If that works, I'll try the others again. MSCZ would be nice to have since we both use MuseScore, and XML for other programs.

Edit: That worked, sort of. The URL is there, but not clickable. It works if you copy and paste it into a new tab. But the good news is that the file can be downloaded from there. So, if I can get the MSCZ and XML to work, you'll be able to modify -- OK, correct -- them.... ;-)

Edit2: Here's a test of just plain old pasting the URL into the message instead of using the link button:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_LS_Analysis1.pdf

I'll check that now.

Edit3: Wowie! That's even better. It hyperlinks like it spozed to and the file is downloadable. ;-)

Edit4: I tried the other file formats, and got an error message that they're not allowed.

Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 03:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Greener
Yes, kinda. But there is no B in a Cm6, so I would want to call this something else.


The reason for mentioning this is that in lead sheet notation you may encounter any note at all under the slash, not just ones from the chord above the slash. Writing Cm6/F instead of F9 means to play the F, G, and A adjacent to each other, rather than using the G an octave up.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 03:14 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
By climax, I mean... hmmm, what do I mean? The most-emphasized part, the most dramatic part, the part the piece builds towards and then relaxes away from... something like that.

I think there can be multiple climaxes in a piece.


Yes, particularly if the piece is long. I think it's sort of like taking a long road trip through the hills. Some hills are higher than others. You can probably tell which is the highest you can see from where you are. But if the trip is long enough, it may be difficult to decide which was the highest of them all.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 03:43 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
No wonder this is one of the most recognisable songs in the English language!


And it's not particularly old. It just went into public domain a year or two ago.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Don't learn to play and then try to count while you're playing. Learn to count, feel the rhythm and then learn to play while counting.


Aha -- That's something I got wrong. I learned to play a little, and tried to count. It didn't work. So I just gave up on the whole counting thing, and kept on playing. I go by my memory of what songs are supposed to sound like. I don't even try to play things I haven't heard before.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 04:13 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring

The note getting the beat (bottom number) - and note value:......

That's quite a thorough post. The one thing you didn't mention are tuplets -- triplets, quintuplets, etc. I sort of just play them without giving it much thought. Is there anything we should know about them? Are they more common in popular songs than elsewhere, perhaps because lyrics force the count?
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 04:39 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
In the interests of full disclosure: it is also possible for the key of a piece to be different than what the key signature shows, by using accidentals.


Yes, and it's also possible to change keys within a piece. If it goes to a different key for just a few bars, the composer or arranger may decide to use accidentals rather than taking up more space on the page with multiple key signatures.
Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 06:38 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung

...
Writing Cm6/F instead of F9 means to play the F, G, and A adjacent to each other, rather than using the G an octave up.


/ notation is used to indicate what note within the chord belongs on the bottom, if other than the root. It does not, however indicate where, or how you should play the rest of the chord.

Edit: You could write it as Cm6/F of course, if it helps you to interpret where you need to be and what notes you need to play. But, better notation of the notes that make up this chord (any order (and any where on the register smile ,) but knowing that the F belongs on the bottom) is:

F,A,C,Eb,G = F9

Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 08:26 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
Originally Posted By: Greener
Yes, kinda. But there is no B in a Cm6, so I would want to call this something else.


The reason for mentioning this is that in lead sheet notation you may encounter any note at all under the slash, not just ones from the chord above the slash. Writing Cm6/F instead of F9 means to play the F, G, and A adjacent to each other, rather than using the G an octave up.
I have a word for people that want to play the F, G and A adjacent to each other. You don't want to know that word!

I would play F7, F-A-C-Eb, and drop the G if I couldn't reach it.

Most scholars, especially classical, recommend the bass note be included in the chord name given to avoid confusion over possible mistakes in the reading or the writing. It is a notational convention that can be understood even by those shorthanders who put whatever they like after the slash.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 08:36 AM

Here's a suggestion for an analysis checklist/template.

Composer, title and date.
A brief outline of the composers life that can be gradually built up over a number of years. It's possible to learn a lot about a piece simply by 'knowing' the composer, his style, how he fits into our music history, et cetera.

The title can be significant to an understanding of the piece. Calling it a Prelude or a Sonata sets up known parameters within which we'll be working and how significant certain aspects of the composition are. Song titles will have an effect on the interpretation more than the musical content.

The date, too, can be significant to understanding the musical language and how it fits into its contemporary scene and its historical perspective.

Key and time signature, tempo indication.
The key is of great practical benefit in reading any piece but it is significant in tonal music. Knowing a piece by Mozart or Beethoven is in C minor gives us a wealth of knowledge and a much different expectation about the piece than if it was in, say, D major.

The tempo indication gives precisely that - an indication. All of us live to the beat of our own drum and slow to a dealer on the NYSE can be uncatchable for a painter of still life.

Genre, form, structure, scale (size), proportion, landmarks, key scheme

Texture, colour (chromaticism) and dynamic range

Rhythmic dependence, diversity and details

Melodic, thematic, figurative or motivic treatment

Phrase length, expansion, contraction, augmentation, diminution, inversion, reversal

Harmonic complexity, breadth and variety

Tension and release, symmetry, unity

Use of sequence, repetition and variation

Harmonic descent through the circle of fifths

Melodic appoggiaturas, enharmonic change, new or unprepared harmonies

Sudden dynamic, rhythmic, melodic or textural change

Repeated syncopation or rhythmic subversion

Rhythmic, harmonic or melodic acceleration to a cadence

Delayed final cadence
_____________________

Music is sound - the movement of air against our ear dums. Without air, or another atmosphere, it can't be heard. But it still exists and fills our heads. We can hold our breath and still hear it in our heads. For me, it is a paradox.

We have two ways of preserving it. Recording the sounds, e.g. tape, shellac, vinyl and now CD's and mp3's etc., so that we can hear it or recording the notation, sheet music, so that we can read it.

Academia puts a heavy reliance on the latter and teaches harmonic analysis. This is basically taking the sheet music notation, putting labels on it, naming the chords and cadences, and discussing the theory behind it.

And that's it. Effectively translating the dots on a stave into Roman numerals, letter chords and proper nouns. And, by and large, it stops there.

Tonal music is governed by conventions, not rules, and as we grow up with these conventions we develop expectations. Repetition, cliché and convention are not the bane of music, they are its life blood. It is our reliance on these expectations that composers are able to surprise us, delight us, emotionally grab us, twist us, release us and leave us drained, addicted and begging for more.

For me, analysis starts where the academic analysis stops.

Music tells a story. I don't want to read the words like a list of ingredients on the side of a packet. I want to make that story mine and tell it with passion. That demands an understanding of the music and knowing what makes it work, why and how. I don't need to write my own stories, I have stories by Bach, Beethoven and The Beatles. I want to put my creative energy into the narration.
______________________

If we put each piece in its own thread we need to cover the rudiments in every thread (theory, harmony, notation systems etc.) or keep them separate. If we keep them separate how do you, as a reader, know you've covered everything we're talking about (or do you get lost and overawed as in the Classical Sonata Analysis thread) and how do we as writers know how to pitch what we're writing - how much does our target audience know?

If we keep everything together we can keep the discussion at a level suitable for everyone and field questions from new participants as knowledge refreshment for thread veterans. It's easier to go back through a long thread to revisit a topic you're not sure of than it is to go back through a trail of individual threads. The process can be made easier by updating an index of pieces and topics covered every time we start a new topic/piece. You can also print the thread to a file and search on relevant keywords and be sure you've not missed anything. You can't do that with multiple threads.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 09:00 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

I have a word for people that want to play the F, G and A adjacent to each other. You don't want to know that word!

I have a word for musical fascists of any colour who tell me what is good/bad/acceptable/unacceptable – many of you will already know that word.


Quote:

I would play F7, F-A-C-Eb, and drop the G if I couldn't reach it.

Then you’ve nothing of any interest to say on the playing of F9


Quote:

Most scholars, especially classical, recommend the bass note be included in the chord name given to avoid confusion over possible mistakes in the reading or the writing. It is a notational convention that can be understood even by those shorthanders who put whatever they like after the slash.



Most scholars confine themselves to dusty cloisters remaining ignorant of the broader musical world evolving around them. Conventions surrounding slash chords spring from common sense and most of all for the benefit of easy reading/writing. Well worth developing the discussion further but I think it's somewhat off topic (or perhaps just premature).

Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 09:29 AM

Originally Posted By: sinophilia
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

5. Harmony: What are the names of the chords in each measure?

Chords are:
C - G - G - C
C - F - C - G - C

I like your chords sinophilia. For M7 I would write the first chord in this measure as C/G.

M1 - C
M2 - G
M3 - G
M4 - C
M5 - C
M6 - F
M7 - C/G, G
M8 - C


Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 09:38 AM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Then you’ve nothing of any interest to say on the playing of F9

I would respond differently to F9 but why not put that instead of Cm6/F?

I'd still prefer to restrict the notation for a 'Starting out..' thread but on the other points I concede, as always, to your broader knowledge and greater experience. smile
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 10:03 AM

In fact I’d prefer F9 but there is some potential utility in Cm6/F - that’s something for another time.


"... broader knowledge and greater experience."

Not at all. Different knowledge and experience with perhaps some commonality. Let’s just say it’s better to stick to what one knows.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 10:31 AM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Let’s just say it’s better to stick to what one knows.
I know what I know and I know there's a lot more of what I don't know, but I don't know if what I think is wrong is wrong because it's wrong or because it doesn't agree with what I have learned to be right or if I just haven't learned that far yet or if it's one of those things that are greater than is dreamt of in my philosophy.

I apologise in advance for an overly eager mouth and an all too eager foot. smile
Posted by: neildradford

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 10:31 AM

I'm starting to think this thread isn't going to be for me after all.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 10:41 AM

Originally Posted By: neildradford
I'm starting to think this thread isn't going to be for me after all.

Neil, if it's because of the daunting list of things to consider in analysis, or the complicated ideas on slash chords, consider them aberrations. Discussion threads will always wander off like that. This is for BEGINNING (starting out) analysis, starting with simple, basic things. I have a huge respect and love for simple basic things because everything complex is built on them. The simple basic things are also extremely profound, and it is a mistake when books and courses geared for adults skim through them.

I started as an adult student on another instrument, and went very fast through the first grades without discussing theory at all. When I finally caught up to it, this was a hugely important thing. The fact of meter made a tremendous difference to how I played a piece.
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 11:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Greener
For M7 I would write the first chord in this measure as C/G.


So, that would be a C chord with the G as bottom note, right? What my Alfred's books call a C in 2nd inversion. This slash thing looks interesting.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 01:23 PM

Originally Posted By: sinophilia
Originally Posted By: Greener
For M7 I would write the first chord in this measure as C/G.


So, that would be a C chord with the G as bottom note, right? What my Alfred's books call a C in 2nd inversion. This slash thing looks interesting.

Correct. It is another way of looking at chords where we assume CEG (C on the bottom is a default), and if another note is on the bottom, that note is named after the slash. In more complex music, there may even be a note on the bottom which doesn't belong to the chord. The musician can see instantly what's in the whole chord. For people who play by ear and improvise, this is important.
Posted by: neildradford

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 01:41 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: neildradford
I'm starting to think this thread isn't going to be for me after all.

Neil, if it's because of the daunting list of things to consider in analysis, or the complicated ideas on slash chords, consider them aberrations. Discussion threads will always wander off like that. This is for BEGINNING (starting out) analysis, starting with simple, basic things. I have a huge respect and love for simple basic things because everything complex is built on them. The simple basic things are also extremely profound, and it is a mistake when books and courses geared for adults skim through them.

I started as an adult student on another instrument, and went very fast through the first grades without discussing theory at all. When I finally caught up to it, this was a hugely important thing. The fact of meter made a tremendous difference to how I played a piece.


It seemed to be going in a direction that was going over my head. I have learnt a little about chords and chord inversions, from a study at home course I was using (Will Barrow's Learn and Master Piano) when I was self teaching for a couple of months, then I realised a teacher was a better option. We haven't really gone into chords yet, apart from practicing broken chords and arpeggios.

I'll try and keep up because it is all fascinating and obviously beneficial, I'd just hate to get lost and confused.

Neil.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 02:24 PM

Looking at this and the long list that follows:
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Here's a suggestion for an analysis checklist/template....


I see two different applications:

1) working on music (playing)
You will look at time signature and general structure, either on your own or under your teacher's guidance if you're not there yet. For composer, era, genre (Gavotte, Waltz, Sonata, Prelude) you may not yet have the knowledge. This is the situation I've been in. So for the piece I was working on I would get at least a rough idea what a Gavotte was about, how people thought in the 1700's or whatever. It's not solid knowledge, but a rough idea as a first practical step.

The other is for analysis - here.
If I were a beginner to analysis I'd find that list overwhelming. Even where I am now, it might be. I think what we have in that list is a grab bag of concepts that can be fleshed out as we work on music. And they do have to be fleshed out and explored, or else they become superficial concepts and largely meaningless. We are at the level of understanding what a time signature is. This is also not trivial.

I'm looking at some of the items at random. "sonata and prelude" for example. If you are an advanced musician, this will mean something. We are doing analysis of sonatas in the other thread, and so naming something as a sonata has some meaning. I've analyzed a series of Chopin preludes with my teacher along a few angles, so I have an idea about preludes only along that period with this composer. Otherwise that name would be meaningless too.

Date? You have to know something about what happened in music during various periods. Again, this is an area of study many of us don't have.

Quote:

Texture, colour (chromaticism) and dynamic range

Rhythmic dependence, diversity and details

Melodic, thematic, figurative or motivic treatment

At THIS level? ! I've got a couple of inherited university books on my shelf which I've browsed through. One is called "The Study of Form in Music." I figure that it would take me at least a year to go through the material in that book. Before doing so, I don't think I could discuss those things in this forum.

The rest of the things that follow in that list, likewise. Those kinds of headers in this thread, for beginner analysis - no way. And the names themselves are fancy and intimidating. Yet, some of these ideas are simple. "Dynamic range" for example. It means that this piece of music spans two octaves throughout. Another piece covers the whole length of the keyboard.

I suggest keeping these things in mind for advanced musicians who are helping out, but keep it simple. If using specialized terms, be prepared to explain it fully and simply. What do you think?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 02:30 PM

Originally Posted By: neildradford
I'm starting to think thiI'd just hate to get lost and confused.
Neil.

PianoStudent88 started this in a very good way. She gave us a simple familiar song - Happy Birthday - and asked questions about basic concepts to check what the group here knows and would have questions about. We then had Richard's "everything including the kitchen sink" brainstorming - and brainstorming is just that - it's when you throw everything on the table and then say "nah!" to most of them.

Slash chords got complicated too. When the specialists argue, I'd steer around it and wait for simplicity to return.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 02:42 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
Originally Posted By: keystring

The note getting the beat (bottom number) - and note value:......

That's quite a thorough post. The one thing you didn't mention are tuplets -- triplets, quintuplets, etc. I sort of just play them without giving it much thought. Is there anything we should know about them? Are they more common in popular songs than elsewhere, perhaps because lyrics force the count?


I kept to the simplest and most basic concepts in key signatures to make sure these are straight. Tuplets are special considerations for certain note groups.

There is a second group of key signature that goes in threes: 6/8, 9/8, 12/8. The eighth note is counted, but in 3's. 6/8 = 2 beats (3 + 3), 9/8 = 3 beats (3 + 3 + 3), 12/8 = (3 + 3 + 3 + 3). I think we shouldn't go into this until we have that kind of a piece. Happy birthday is in 3/4 time, and that's enough to start with.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 02:47 PM

neildradford, please stay with us. The thread has burgeoned with a lot of advanced information which is of interest to some on the thread, but is way more advanced than anyone needs to have yet for this thread. I am going to try to keep my posts focused on the basics that I envision us walking through slowly and progressively.

As a way of getting oriented and not getting bogged down in the too-advanced stuff, read through what I've posted so far and let me know where you have questions, or where you are familiar with the information already, or where the information is new but makes sense without further explanation. It's this kind of feedback from you and others similarly starting out which is very helpful to guide us on this thread, so that it can be useful for the beginners it's intended for.

Note that I haven't talked about chords yet, and I will be posting some information to help with answering the chord question I asked about Happy Birthday 1.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 03:19 PM

I think no matter what your level, you can learn and gain something. If it's over my head, I just leave it alone and move to the next nugget of wisdom.

PS: I'm enjoying the chord dialog by the way...I'm changing teachers and working towards some chord based playing.
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/19/13 09:57 PM

So the Happy Birthday chords in the bass clef then:

1-C
2-G
3-G
4-C
5-C
6-F
7-C then a G
8-C


Here are some questions. Sorry if this stuff was covered in the above posts. If so maybe just refer me back to the post. There is a LOT of stuff here and it will take awhile to understand it thoroughly. If for some of what I ask is better to wait and explain later, no problem.:

We’ve said this piece is in C major because there are no sharps or flats. But then it was also mentioned that A minor also has no sharps or flats. What is A minor scale? Why does it have the same key signature of C major?

Keystring mentioned: Because C to E is a major third, it is a C major chord. –a major third means what….? Is this four half steps or tones from the C to the E?

What are V and I and IV chords? For C major, keystring posted that I=C, IV=F, and V=G. So that is in reference to the 1, 4, and 5th notes of the C major scale, right? But how is it that we can turn them into chords and so they branch out into a different key? (Like into F major and G major…) As I thought the piece was in C major…..so it is an F major chord but we are still in the key of C major?

Are dominant and subdominant (notes? Chords? Both?) always the 4th and 5th notes of any scale?

Why is F significant in this piece as the fourth note of the scale(“subdominant”) when the piece is in C major and F isn’t part of the snowman (tonic?) chord? (CEG)

I’m not sure I understand the G7 thing right now, but maybe I’ll get it in time. I’m also not sure I would completely recognize or understand all the inversions, although the handdrawn examples of the C major chord in different formations make sense to me as do the chords in happy birthday with C in different forms.

I don’t understand the stuff about dissonant chords or notes?

Is a “chord” considered any grouping of notes played simultaneously, no matter the interval? (so even any two notes?)

What is the difference between melody and harmony? (because we are using those words a lot to distinguish what we are looking for in the analysis). When I think of melody, I think of what I might whistle to myself if I was whistling the music. The main, overarching “theme”. Is this basically what the melody is? And then from the posts, I take it harmony is just adding tones to the melody to make it more rich--or looking at the relationships between notes? But then in some pieces, like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata 3rd movement, or Appassionata 1st movement…..is there just no melody in these pieces? (I find these ones harder to whistle….).

Richard mentioned the key is significant in tonal music. What is tonal music?

Haven’t had a chance to look through the Sad birthday yet. I’m getting there!

Thanks everyone for all the help and explanations so far! smile
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 12:52 AM

Cool! Questions! smile
Originally Posted By: Valencia
We've said this piece is in C major because there are no sharps or flats. But then it was also mentioned that A minor also has no sharps or flats. What is A minor scale? Why does it have the same key signature of C major?


What I'm laying out is actually a summary of a whole chapter in my rudiments theory book. This is actually a lot shorter. blush Please do explore at the piano when that is suggested. Music is sound.

Keys first. The kind of music we're the most familiar since childhood will be in major and minor keys. Let's stick with simple things like Happy Birthday and Itsy Bitsy Spider (and for those who want to jump in) not "modulations" and such. So what does "major key" and "minor key" mean? What's "key"?

Our music has a main note that it hovers around and wants to finish on. This main note is called the "Tonic", and "tonal music" means music that has such a main note (which is probably everything you know.) Happy Birthday is in C major, and C is the tonic. The melody finishes on C. If you sing it, the second "to you" in the first half lands on C and it feels sort of finished, and the very last "to you" in the song lands on C, and it feels definitely finished. If you were to stop the song on "to" your brain would be itching to hear that last C. So if a piece is in the key of C major or C minor, its tonic is C, and that is where it wants to land.

Ok, so in the key of C major, C is the tonic. If you play every note in the key of C major, you get C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C. This is a major scale. A scale consists over every single note played or sung in a row, like that. We're staying with the common scales of major and minor.

Go to the piano and try this: Play the following scales, and listen to how they sound the same. All of them are major scales:

C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C (major scale in key of C major)
D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#,D (major scale in key of D major)
G,A,B,C,D,E,F#,G (major scale in key of G major)
F,G,A,Bb,C,D,E,F (major scale in key of F major)

If you can hear what a major scale sounds like, try playing the scale of D major with and without the sharps:
D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#,D (with sharps - correct)
D,E,F,G,A,B,C,D (without sharps - not scale of D major)

Can you hear how they are different? The second one sounds odd, and it no longer sounds like a D major scale. It's actually a scale in a "mode" called "Dorian" but we won't worry about that. We need those two sharps to give us the sound of the D major scale.

The key of C major is set up in such a way that if you play a scale from tonic to tonic (C to C) you will end up with the sound of a C major scale. We also end up with specific chords if we use only the notes in that key. The way those chords end up being major or minor influence how the music works. All of these things work together. It's like our bodies having systems for blood, oxygen, skeletons, muscles, all of them working together.

Now that you have listened to the sound of major scales, let's explore the major scale further. This time we're looking at the piano keys, and we're looking at intervals. An interval is a distance between two notes. The smallest interval is from one piano key to the next one touching it, and it is called a Half Step or Semitone. C touches a black key; C to C# or Db (it has both names) is a Half Step (H). C to D is a Whole step (W). The piano keys E,F are both white keys but touch each other. E to F is a half step. so is B to C.

Explore our 4 major scales at the piano, and find out where those half steps are. I'll give the answers but it's best if you wrote them out as above, and discovered this on your own. You should get the following.

C (W)D (W)E (H)F (W)G (W)A (W)B (H)C
D (W)E (W)F# (H)G (W)A (W)B (W)C# (H)D
G (W)A (W)B (H)C (W)D (W)E (W)F# (H)G
F (W)G (W)A (H)Bb (W)C (W)D (W)E (H)F

Notice two patterns:
1. We are using every single letter name without skipping or doubling any. For example, in D major, we don't write D,E,Gb,G. The notes line up neatly on the staff on lines and spaces.
2. The intervals between the notes always go WWHWWWH. That is what gives them all that same "major scale" sound.

So if music is a system that hangs together, and if the simplest form is music totally based on the notes of the major or minor key, then we want all the notes in a major key to have these intervals of a major key to form a major scale going from tonic to tonic. This means that:

- In the key of D major, every F must be an F#, and every C must be a C#.
- In the key of G major, every F must be an F#.
- In the key of F major, every B must be a Bb.

It would be tedious to write in # or b every single time. Therefore key signatures were invented. Therefore when music is in the key of D major, we see F# C# in the signature, telling us that every single F is raised to the black key to its right, making it F#, and ditto for C to C#. When the music is in the key of F major, we see Bb in the key signature, telling us that every single B is lowered to the black key to its left, making it Bb.

There are also patterns for remembering these key signatures along the "circle of fifths", but that is a separate topic.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 02:07 AM

Second half of this:
Originally Posted By: Valencia
... But then it was also mentioned that A minor also has no sharps or flats. What is A minor scale? Why does it have the same key signature of C major?


Minors are a bit trickier. Let's start with the first 5 notes of an A major and A minor scale, and let's take a chord out of that.

Start of A major scale: A,B,C#,D,E
Chord from notes 1,3,5 - AC#E (A major chord)

Start of A minor scale: A,B,C,D,E
Chord from notes 1,3,5 - ACE (A minor chord)

Listen to the two scales and chords, and hear what is the same and what is different. The major scale and chord should have a bright, happy quality, while the minor scale and chord should have a sad, more subdued mood. You will have your own reaction to these qualities.

Here are the intervals:
A (W)B (W) C# (H)D (W)E (start of a major scale)
A (W) B (H) C (W) D (W) E (start of a minor scale)

The 3rd note, C#, has been lowered by a half step.

I've stayed with the first 5 notes because as mentioned before, notes 6 & 7 tend to toggle. ONE of the three possibilities we're considering goes:

A,B,C,D,E,F,G,A (A natural minor)

Notice that it contains the same notes as a C major scale. Therefore it is very handy to borrow the key signature of C major. "No sharps or flats", because the A natural minor scale has no sharps or flats.

Let's take C minor, and compare it with Eb major.
C,D,Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb,C (C natural minor scale)
Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb,C,D,Eb (Eb major scale)

Both of these scales use exactly the same notes. So if we want to write music where the scale going from tonic to tonic is minor, and is going from C to C, we will use the key signature for Eb major, because it has the same notes.

That is how the key signatures relate, as per earlier explanations.

Now in real music it's not as neat as that. You'll have music that is in a major key, and the composer will create a cool effect by making it go minor for a while. He'll just raise and lower notes. So there is another way of looking at this:

C major:
C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C
C minor:
C,D,Eb,F,G .... lower note 3 (3rd degree note)

C natural minor:
C,D,Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb,C
from C major to C natural minor, lower degrees 3,6,7

If the music is primarily in C minor, the key signature takes care of that. The key of Eb major already lowers Eb,Ab,Bb.
Posted by: Cassiesmom

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 02:26 AM

What an easy to understand explanation of scales/ intervals.
Returning to the piano, it's amazing what I don't remember about how music is constucted.

I've been practicing scales, but the book has no explanations about any of this.. great refresher for me

Thank you !
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 02:51 AM

Valencia's questions about chords

Qualities of chords (major, minor).
CEG is a major chord
CEbG is a minor chord

Both are triads (3 note chords), skipping letters, and in root position, sit on adjacent lines or spaces. The interval between the outer notes is the same for both - a Perfect 5th (P5). definition - Perfect 5th
You could consider it like a CG sandwich, with E or Eb as the filling - sweet jam or salty cheese. You could also consider the middle note to be like a toggle switch turning major into minor. Play a few such chords back and forth, by toggling the middle.

CEG (major) CEbG (minor) - simply move your middle finger down.
DF#A (major) DFA (minor)
BbDF (major) BbDbF (minor)
=================================
There are 7 notes in a major or minor key, with the 8th being a repeat of the first, making an octave. They are numbered in degrees, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 = C,D,E,F,G,A,B in C major.

You can build chords (triads) from these degree notes, by stacking two more notes on top as follows:
These are the chords that you get if you use only the notes belonging to that key. They are designated through Roman numerals. I means the chord that is built on the 1st degree note C (1) = CEG.
Some of these notes will end up being major, and some minor. As we saw, DF#A is major, and DFA is minor. Therefore DFA is Dm. There are several conventions. Frequently capitals are used to denote major chords, and small letters denote minor chords. I = major, ii = minor 2nd degree chord etc. Another convention being adopted is I, IIm, IIIm, IV... which is closer to letter names C, Dm, Em, F....

In all major keys, the default chords end up having this sequence of qualities of major and minor.

Quote:
Are dominant and subdominant (notes? Chords? Both?) always the 4th and 5th notes of any scale?


In the way harmony works, the most significant chords are I, IV, V. The names "Tonic, Subdominant, Dominant" aren't that crucial, but since they are being used, you should know at least Tonic (I) and Dominant (V).

Quote:
As I thought the piece was in C major…..so it is an F major chord but we are still in the key of C major?

Good question because it highlights a problem with the word "major". It is used for too many different things. frown

- A major key has a scale going from Tonic to Tonic which is major along the sequence WWHWWWH that we explored. It ends up having the chord qualities going I ii iii IV V vi viio (major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished.

- A chord has a major quality if the middle note is a major third from the root as in CEG, and the outer notes in root position are a P5 apart. It has a minor quality if the middle note is a minor third from the root as in CEbG.

Seriously, they should have different names!!!

Any major or minor chord will be found in a number of different keys. Let's take the F major chord (let's call it the F triad which has a major quality) FAC. Here's where we'll find it:

key of F major - it's chord I (built on 1st degree note of that key).
key of C major - It's chord IV (built on 4th degree note)
key of Bb major - It's chord V (built on 5th degree note)
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 03:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Valencia

What is the difference between melody and harmony?

Yes, the melody is the part that you might whistle and sing, which is "how the song goes". In music, you see melody as going across the score from one note to the next, horizontally. When you listen or perform music, the horizontal movement travels across time, from one moment to the next. Goetschius called music "painting on a canvas of time". heart 3hearts

Harmony is what you hear when a number of notes are played together at the same time, such as when there is a chord, or melody and chord. In written music, these notes are stacked underneath each other, and it is the vertical part of music. When your stacked notes are CEbG it gives the C in your melody a minor or sad quality. If CEG then it gets a major happy quality. And if CDEFG you want to run away!

Chords also move from one chord to the next (chord progression). A common progression is I IV V I. (C F G C in the key of C major). This creates movement, and part of the meaning of a chord is how it fits into the whole, just like words get meaning by their place in a sentence. PianoStudent88's Happy birthday ends with G-C (V-I), and this says "the end". Harmony theory is the study of how chords work together. Theory is the study of all of it.

Earlier I wrote a minor version of Happy Birthday. It has the same I IV V chords but in a minor key it has a different mood:
Sad Happy Birthday played in a minor key - played
If you switch voices so that the bass plays the melody, and the RH plays the chords, you get another effect again, but still within this minor mode.
minor Birthday switching voices

Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 05:09 AM

Wow Keystring, that's an excellent explanation. Thank you so much for writing it all down. The Alfred books go over this theory, but it's scattered among the pages. Really nice to put it all together.

Liked the Sad Birthday song. Sounds impressive when you switch voices.
Posted by: mabraman

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 07:34 AM

I find this thread will be exhausting for you to write, Keystring.
Wouldn't it be better to link some good sites/books who have already explained all of this clear like water?
I beg your pardon in advance, but maybe this kind of site is enough for beginners:
http://www.teoria.com/index.php

There's an english mirror. It's free (currently, maybe in some future it will have some restringed areas, as usual, but it's just a thought) . It has rythm and mellody dictates you can customize (and mobile apps). And you have all the basic theory very well structured. IMO it's a must.
Hope it helps.
Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 08:14 AM

Originally Posted By: mabraman

Wouldn't it be better to link some good sites/books who have already explained all of this clear like water?

Perhaps, but where is the fun in that?

As Allard and Cassiesmom have just alluded to, hearing it explained here by Keystring, is a new perspective and like an enlightening experience.

I can also attest to this. Yes, there are other resources already written and available that may cover much of this material. But, did I ever use them? Nope. When I started out on the Classical Analysis thread, I can tell you that if I was just pointed to a bunch of links where the same material is covered, it would have ended very quickly for me. Instead though, I became thoroughly engaged and we have ventured in many directions with many related and not so related topics that would just not be possible otherwise.

I believe what the coaches are doing on this thread (and other similar threads) is fabulous stuff, and unique to us at PW. I am surprised it is free. But it is smile

EDIT: I will agree though that side links (for those inclined to further research) can also add tremendous value. Thanks for sharing this.





Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 10:17 AM

Further to Valencias questions not yet covered by keystring's excellent posts...

The steps or degrees in a scale have names and the triads built on each degree is named after that degree so dominant is both the note and the chord. Where appropriate it is a convention to distinguish them by numbering them in arabic numbers for the notes, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 and Roman nmerals for the chords I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viio. The convention of writing major chords in upper case and minor chords in lower case is not universal.

For some, III is major and IIIm is minor.

The names of the degrees are
1 tonic
2 supertonic
3 mediant
4 subdominant
5 dominant
6 submediant
7 leading note

The supertonic is the note above (super) the tonic.

The mediant is the midpoint between the the tonic and dominant

The subdominant and submediant are a dominant and mediant interval below the tonic (an octave higher) respectively.

The leading note really needs a one word name but it doesn't have one. It leads to the tonic, it 'wants' to go to tonic. When we hear it, we want it to go to tonic.
__________________________________

The dominant chord dominates the key. Many of the features of interest in the music will revolve around the dominant. Most of the cadences will feature it.

The subdominant has a similar role because, like the dominant, it is a fifth away from the tonic (but in the other direction) and doesn't have the strong leading note effect.

Because these chords, between them, cover all the steps of the major scale they can harmonise most simple songs adequately and many songs have been written around this three-chord-trick.

__________________________________

We will cover the dominant seventh, G7, when it occurs in a piece we are studying.

Chord inversions have little that we need to undertsand immediately. Until we get to an in-depth look at cadences I imagine that you can ignore the difference between the inversions for the time being.
__________________________________

Dissonance and consonance is a physical effect. When there is an integral relation between the frequencies of combined notes, and the relationship involve small numbers, the waves make a pattern on our ears.

The octave is a 2:1 relationship. It sound 'the same but different' to us. All civilisations recognise the octave as fundamental in music. Up the Renaissance the octave was divided into steps from the harmonic series. Our equal temperament system, known as Western Harmony, was the result of a mathematical intervention of dividing the octave into 12 equal semitones.

It has done away with the pure harmony you can still hear in Gregorian Chant but in return has given us the ability to change key and have cadences.

The dominant has a 3:2 relation with the tonic (exactly in pure harmony, very close in Western harmony). The subdominant has 4:3 relationship (the pattern of waves repeats every seven waves).

The leading note has a relation in the order of 20:11. The pattern won't repeat until over 30 waves and the pattern is easily recognised (many pianists struggle with 4 vs 3). This pattern not being easily recognised we call dissonance.

People exposing themselves to a wide range of musical styles will develop a greater appreciation of dissonance but it's a reaction not dissimilar to people liking or disliking chilli's.

_________________________________

Colloquially a combination of two notes or more but strictly two notes is an interval. C-G-C is a 'fifth' chord, tones 1 and 5. Three notes, two tones, one chord.

The chords we deal with in music can be very wide ranging but we start with the triads (three note chords built on root, third and fifth) from the major and minor scales.

As keystring has already pointed out ALL major scales provide us with
1 Tonic major
2 Supertonic minor
3 mediant minor
4 subdominant major
5 dominant major
6 submediant or relative minor
7 seventh or leading note diminished (not a seventh chord as G7, but a diminished chord on the seventh degree; B diminshed in C major)
______________________________

Tonal music is music written from the development of our diatonic scales out of the modal music of the Renaissance and earlier, and leading to equal temperament. It continued in classical music until the advent of atonality with Berg, Schoenberg and Webern.

All music based on major and minor scales is tonal music but the period from around 1600 to around 1900 the key or tonality played a very major role in the development of music.

It's significance is indicated by being part of the title, e.g. Nocturne in E flat, Prelude in C, Symphony in G minor, etc.
________________________

Links to other articles are excellent but here you can ask questions if you don't understand, clarify your understanding from multiple answers, and see what you might have overlooked from seeing other questions and answers you might not have considered.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 10:50 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Valencia

What is the difference between melody and harmony?

Yes, the melody is the part that you might whistle and sing, which is "how the song goes". In music, you see melody as going across the score from one note to the next, horizontally. When you listen or perform music, the horizontal movement travels across time, from one moment to the next.



I would add that in music that you whistle or sing, or play a single note instruments such as a sax, the melody is the very top note.

You can see this if you look at a hymnal, or a pop music piece that has vocals, and the melody (sung) notes are the top notes of what the piano or other instruments play.

Such music often has three staffs...a grand staff at the bottom which is for the piano/organ, and second treble staff above the grand staff that is for the vocalist. The vocal notes will be the same as the top notes of the grand staff.

This is because our brains are hard-wired to pick out the top note as the melody note. I often demonstrate this to my students by playing a simple piece, but burying the melody note below some other notes, and the original melody virtually disappears as the ear picks out the new top note as the melody.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 11:25 AM

Originally Posted By: rocket88

You can see this if you look at a hymnal, or a pop music piece that has vocals, and the melody (sung) notes are the top notes of what the piano or other instruments play....

I often demonstrate this to my students by playing a simple piece, but burying the melody note below some other notes, and the original melody virtually disappears as the ear picks out the new top note as the melody.

Ok, a couple of things bother me about this explanation. First, the melody is not always the top note. It often is. In fact, in the demo of Sad Birthday that I recorded yesterday, the second half has the melody in the bass. I didn't put much time into recording it, but I think the melody can still be heard. One of the things we learn to do as we advance in piano is to play in such a way as to bring out the melody wherever it occurs. We do that by playing the melody louder than the other notes, and emphasizing dynamics - making the melody especially expressive.

I have listened to Bach chorales being played in a way that the melody disappears even when it is in the top notes, because the person played them like a series of chords. I have also heard the various voices shift from place to place as Bach intended, when played by masters such as Horowitz or Gould. When anyone here gets into polyphony, this will be important.

I have just participated in a competition on another site that centered around a piece that switches voices in the middle. In fact, the piece has a melody and "countermelody" - imagine that a soprano is singing and a man, a bass, is singing a melody in harmony with hers, but a bit softer, while a choir is softly singing the middle notes. Since the votes of the competition are not yet in, I will link to a professional recording of the piece which brings this out.

Cubus playing Sweet Dreams (Tchaikovsky)
Listen at 0:46 where the left hand takes over the melody. Cubus brings this about two ways. He plays the LH very softly up to 0:45, so that he can really bring out the contrast when the LH takes over, and he makes the Rh ultra quiet for contrast.
----------------
Addendum: Early on when I was a student, I sometimes got simplified explanations which were intended to make things easier to understand. What happened, however, is that I then thought that this was how things were, and I based myself on it. Then later when it turned out to be a simplification, I had to readjust what I thought I knew. In the long run, at least for me, this was harder.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 11:36 AM

Originally Posted By: mabraman
I find this thread will be exhausting for you to write, Keystring.
Wouldn't it be better to link some good sites/books who have already explained all of this clear like water?
I beg your pardon in advance, but maybe this kind of site is enough for beginners:
http://www.teoria.com/index.php

Teoria.com is an excellent site, and I would recommend it. I have used it as a resource myself from time to time. However, in the few years I've been here I've seen the same questions over and over despite books and sites. Personally I am studying with a teacher now and that is a much different thing. Anything that you find in a book or on a site can be explored, expanded. Also, anything presented in a book or on a site has to be limited, and you can't have a dialogue like here. I commend PianoStudent88 for this initiative. smile Excellent idea.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 11:46 AM

Originally Posted By: Keystring
Ok, a couple of things bother me about this explanation. First, the melody is not always the top note. It often is.


I am confused. The thing is that this thread is supposed to be about basics, a new thread because the Sonata analysis thread was too hard for many.

The OP opened the thread with this:

Quote:
Several people have commented at various times that they are interested in analysis, but the current Sonata Analysis thread is too hard for them.


My post about the melody being the top note is what beginners need to understand before getting into more complicated things.

To illustrate the level of beginner understanding in this thread, my post was a response to Keystring's answer to the poster who wanted to know the difference between "melody" and "harmony".

Originally Posted By: Valencia


What is the difference between melody and harmony?


My view is: A student who does not understand the difference between melody and harmony is hardly ready for music such as Bach which has more than one melody voice, or a voice inside the music.

This is a problem I see with many transfer students...they have had "teachers" on the web or elsewhere who do not build a solid foundation of basics before introducing more advanced things, and thus the students get confused and lost. With many musical concepts, there are exceptions, and threads such as this often bring up the exceptions, which is fine unless it is a thread for basics, in which case, stick with the basics. Just MHO.

Bottom line, for beginners, the melody is the top note. The majority of music is like that, and the overwhelming majority, if not all, of beginner music is that. They need to understand and hear that first in the music.

But yes, once the student clearly understands where the melody is with "simple" music, then a good teacher will progress further to define the different voices in, say, Bach. But to teach advanced concepts to a beginner when they do not understand the basics is, IMHO, wrong.

For example, every time I have taught a basic concept to an adult student, and than tossed in a quick aside about the more complicated version of that concept, every one of my students has frantically waved their hands and said "No...stop...I am not ready for that!!! Don't confuse me!!!"

BTW, K's illustration of Tchaikovsky is listed in the link below as level #4, which is way above the level of "Happy Birthday". I do not consider that Tchaikovsky piece, or anything at level #4, to be beginner level.

http://www.pianostreet.com/tchaikovsky-s...-21-c-major.htm

Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 02:10 PM

rocket88, you are absolutely right that I want this thread to be a good place for beginners, so people who are interested can participate and learn and ask questions without having to feel like they have to give up because it's too advanced.  I think we're all trying to learn how to do that effectively in this medium, given that it's not one-on-one, it's not face-to-face, and it's not being taught by a single person.

Because it's not one-on-one, there are people with a variety of knowledge, so questions come at a variety of levels.  Also, some people here are more advanced in their playing than they are in their theory knowledge.  So a piece like the Tschaikovsky might well be within the range of what they are playing already.

Because it's not face-to-face, those of us offering explanations can't quickly judge when we're losing someone.  Everything is asynchronous: give an explanation that we think offers what someone or most people on the thread need to know, and then wait and hope that people will say "that was helpful" or -- and this is really important -- "no you lost me."  It's only by getting the latter responses that we can know what needs clarifying, or to reassure that they don't need to know it yet and it will come up again later, or to understand people's needs better for further explanations.

Because it's not being taught by just one person, each of us has our own ideas about what is useful at this level.  For example, between you, me, and keystring, we each have different philosophies and different experiences which guide those philosophies.

You described your experience with beginners saying "no, stop" or transfers having been confused by advanced topics without getting the basics solidly.  So you have a philosophy of presenting just the basic explanation at this level.

Keystring has the experience of having been confused by only having had the basic explanation when she got to more advanced music and topics, and wishing she had known from the beginning that the basic explanation is not the full story.  She also has the experience of working with a beginning theory student in this way, and making it work by presenting the additional things beyond the basics.  So she has a philosophy of mentioning not only the simplest basics, but also some information beyond the simplest basics.

I didn't have the same experience as keystring: I seem to have for the most part been able to absorb generalizations and refinements of the initial basic definitions without even noticing it was happening.  So my philosophy is that I'm more comfortable presenting what I think is basic information with perhaps only a small elaboration or indication that there are other refinements to the idea which we'll get to later.

Maybe as we go along we will find better ways to indicate with our posts "this is the basic initial information" or "this is a refinement, even if we haven't seen it in the pieces here yet.". Yours is a valuable voice to emphasize the part about "this is what I see, through my experience, as the essential foundational information", and I hope you will continue to participate.

I'm hoping we can value everyone's contribution and context on this thread, and simply neutrally point out where we think a different emphasis or set of information is more important.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 02:27 PM

Nice post, 88. Thank you.

You are correct...it is my basic philosophy that to teach properly, one must explain the basics in such a way that they are firmly established.

However, I surmise that at least some of people reading this thread do not have a teacher, or have one (or had one) that did not cover the basics. (Most of my transfer students have had little or no theory, for example)

That is why it is so important with threads for beginners (on the ABF!) to start at square one, which is what I tried to do with the melody on top explanation.

Yes, there are exceptions to just about everything in music, but I did not see posting about the exception(s) as helpful to a beginner thread. Instead, I saw it as an overload potentially leading to confusion.

But perhaps the thread will "self-focus", as you say, by (here, for example) explaining that the exception is not the usual and common, and perhaps file it away for later use, so as not to confuse; and perhaps my post is one such focus.

All the best...


Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 03:02 PM

Yes, stay with us, rocket88.

Starting out in Analysis is hardly the place for someone starting out in theory but here we are. We are all learning here whether our rôle is on the giving end or receiving end.

We are all 'dipping our toes in to test the water' though some of us, like myself, tend to splash in and muddy the water regardless. Let's all recognise these tendencies to try and accommodate the audience without trying to confuse the absolute beginner, mislead the intermediate, or frustrate the expert. We all have good intentions here even if we sometimes miss the mark.

If there's disagreement with the answers let's assume it's a simplification for didactic purposes and add clarification where it might be considered misleading.

I, too, have blinkered vision and can learn from the breadth of experience here.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 04:09 PM

Originally Posted By: rocket88

My post about the melody being the top note is what beginners need to understand before getting into more complicated things.

I understand this line of thinking, and I want to address it. Theory rudiments is something that I have taught, so for once I am writing from a place of experience, besides that of being a student in other areas.

Beginner things must be presented clearly, simply, and basically. Any concept that you present becomes the foundation for everything that is learned later on. You want to have concrete examples, something to play with etc. I think we're on the same page so far.

I believe strongly that presentations must also be true and accurate. Both as a student, and later in teaching, but especially as student, I have encountered explanations that turned out to be simplifications and not really what the thing was - and it has messed up understanding. What are the possible consequences from this kind of teaching:

- possibility: The student believes that melody is always the top note, and we only hear it that way. Later the teacher expands the explanation, and the student (hopefully) gets the full picture. This is easier if the student didn't try too hard to understand the first time round, and had restricted listening.
- possibility: The student believes that this is the nature of melody, and rejects anything else he hears, even blocking himself from hearing melody in the bass when it occurs, because it doesn't fit what he "knows".
- possibility: The student is open to the real explanation, but he has to recalibrate everything that he thought he understood so far. This is an enormous effort, which could be prevented.

I have experienced all three, and in various areas, not just in music, have had to pull students out of such things. Shortcuts are "easier" in one sense. Say that the "eighth note is half a beat" instead of mapping out relationships to notes, and worry about 3/8 time later when it occurs in music. Say this about melody now, and it will be easy to get the student to think "top line" --- beginner music is written that way. But what about the concepts being formed during the most critical time?

I also believe that beginners can hear or start hearing things which they cannot yet play. In the same way, even with the melody in the top line, a beginner may not yet be capable of bringing out that melody.

I had to work my way out of a number of such misconceptions which I'm sure were written in the books I worked on, or the explanations I was given, with the purest intent. And the hardest thing in teaching is get at a basic concept which is misperceived, and turn that around.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 04:50 PM

In theory we also have a more general meaning of "melodic" vs. "harmonic" which are two theory terms that have been used. In this case, "harmonic" (anything) refers to what we see vertically, as in stacked notes one beneath the other. These are the notes we hear all at the same time. "Melodic" (anything) refers to what we see going across the age vertically, and happens over a period of time from one beat to the next beat. You have "melodic intervals" which means when you play C, then D, then E, and you have "harmonic intervals" which means you are playing CEG or CE both at the same time. Since we are using these terms, I set up my explanation along those lines.
Posted by: torquenale

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 05:05 PM

First, thanks to all the excellent tutors that are making great this thread.

Different ways of teaching - different levels of explanation - are welcome. We are students, real or false beginners, but all of us adult and strongly motivated to face a not really basic presentations. Examples are really appreciated.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/20/13 06:58 PM

There were some problems with the minor Sad Birthday I wrote so it's gone back to the drawing board.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 12:12 AM

I want to say something about chords, directed towards learning how to name the chords in Happy Birthday 1, and then a little bit extra to explain why the chords in Happy Birthday are "major" chords.

First off, what is a chord?  Perhaps the most basic definition is "several notes played at the same time."

We'll actually be stretching this definition in several ways in the future: naming chords for sets of notes that are not played at the same time, or taking some of the notes and saying they're not part of the chord after all.  But to start with, I think it's safe to start with "several notes played at the same time."

A chord can be any set of notes.  Go ahead, sit at the piano and bring your fingers down anywhere.  That's a chord.  But western music has traditionally used certain combinations more than others.  I think it's useful to start from the simple traditional chords, and only build up later to the wider ranges of chords used more frequently in later eras.

Go to the piano again.  Using just the white keys, play three notes at a time alternating piano keys (that is, skipping one piano key between each piano key that you play).  For example CEG, or DFA, or EGB, etc.  Now pull out some staff paper (or draw a staff with five lines on blank paper) and notate your chords.  All three notes will fall either on three adjacent lines, or on three adjacent spaces.  These are called "triads in root position".  "Triads" because there are three notes.  "Root position" because in each case the "root" of the chord is at the bottom.  (Unfortunately, I can't quite define "root" without simply giving a circular definition, so I'm going to gloss over that.  Hopefully it will become clear by example, or maybe someone else will rescue me with a good definition.  Please note that I am deliberately avoiding talking about intervals yet.)

Pick one of these chords, say CEG.  This is a C major chord.  Now play combinations of C, E and G at the same time, but anywhere on the keyboard and in any order.  Use both hands and see how many Cs, Es and Gs you can cover at the same time.  Include at least one of each note, C, E, and G.  Ta-da!  These are all C major chords.  Notate them on your staff paper if you like.

Repeat with some of the other chords.

At this point you're actually ready to identify the chords in Happy Birthday 1.  All except one of them you can now recognize as "root position triads", and you can read the name from the bottom note of the chord: C, G, or F.  The one chord that isn't in root position, at the start of measure 7, what are its notes?  GCE which is just a scrambled form of CEG, our friend the C major chord.

Let's listen to and look at these chords a little more closely.  I called it a "C major" chord, not just a "C" chord.  What does that mean?

Play your white-key triads starting on C (notes: CEG), starting on F (notes: FAC), and starting on G (notes: GBD).  Now play white-key triads starting on D (notes: DFA), starting on E (notes: EGB), and starting on A (notes: ACE).  Can you hear that the chords in the first set sound similar to each other, and the chords in the second set sound similar to each other?  But the two sets sound different.  If you can hear this, what you're hearing is "major" chords in the first set and "minor" chords in the second set.  If you can't hear it, don't worry: I struggle with it too.  (Try playing CEG vs. CEbG and see if you hear the difference there -- using flats is the approach keystring took earlier; I'm covering similar material but from a different angle.)

Whether or not you could hear the difference, let's count half-steps in a chord from one note to the next.  For example, in CEG.  Start at C.  From C to C#, one half-step.  From C# to D, a 2nd half-step.  From D to D#, a 3rd half-step.  From D# to E, a 4th half-step.  So there are four half-steps from C to E.  Start at E now.  From E to F, one half-step.  From F to F#, a 2nd half-step.  From F# to G, a 3rd half-step.  So there are three half-steps from E to G.  This relation: four half-steps from the first note to the second, and then 3 half-steps from the second note to the third, defines a major triad in root position.  (OK, there's actually a bit of refinement which I'm ignoring having to do with note names, but I think the 4-3 half-steps is sufficient for now.  If we'd started this thread by a linear progression through rudiments, I would just define these chords as two intervals -- a major third and a minor third -- but I'm trying to avoid talking about intervals yet).

Check out the triad starting on F and the triad starting on G.  You should find the same pattern:  4 half-steps, then 3 half-steps.  These are all major triads.  Major chords can be named just with their letter name: we can call these chords C major, F major, and G major.  Or for short we can just say C, F, and G, and the "major" is implicit.

Now check the triads from the second set: starting on D, starting on E, and starting on A.  You should find a different pattern: first 3 half-steps, and then 4 half-steps.  For example in the triad DFA, there are 3 half-steps from D to F, and 4 half-steps from F to A.  This pattern gives a minor triad.  These triads are named D minor, E minor, and A minor.  For short, we can write Dm, Em, and Am.

Practice counting the half-steps, and check that you're coming out with the same answers that I do.  If you don't, please post so we can clarify the discrepancy.

I left the white-key triad starting on B out of our fun and games.  The notes are BDF.  What are the half-step counts from B to D, and from D to F?  Can you hear that this chord sounds different from both the major and the minor chords?  How would you describe the sound?  (Again, you may not be able to hear this difference.). This pattern of 3 half-steps and 3 half-steps gives a "diminished triad.". This chord is called "B diminished", and can be written Bdim for short.  (I should mention that AIUI in lead sheets a "dim" chord often is understood to include a fourth note added to the triad.  I don't want to get into that yet -- perhaps it will suffice to say that there are a lot of conventions about realizing lead sheets and interpreting chord symbols for a modern sound that are beyond this post's initial introduction to chords.)
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 12:13 AM

Thanks so much for everyone for addressing my questions. Your posts are all extremely informative and helpful! It's getting late so I'll be back to post more tomorrow, but I've already learned heaps from this thread and we've only just started! I'm putting music theory and analysis in my daytimer for tomorrow so, see you then...:)
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 01:32 AM

My post on chords may look long: it would be so much easier to show you this sitting at the piano with you. If you haven't yet, take the time to explore chords as I described. This material is the first building block for "harmonic analysis". Harmonic analysis means understanding the chords and progressions (sequences of chords) used in a piece, and what effects they create. This can help with deciding what to bring out in a piece, with understanding where the phrases end, with understanding the logic of a piece so it's easier to memorize, with understanding why a piece sounds the way it does, with appreciating a piece's standing (whether typical or revolutionary) in the history of music. And I think it's fun, quite apart from any practical benefits.

Once you've played and worked through that exercise, congratulations! You now know every root-position triad built out of only white keys. That means you know ALL the triads native to the key of C major. How many are there, and what are their names?
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 01:47 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: rocket88

My post about the melody being the top note is what beginners need to understand before getting into more complicated things.

I understand this line of thinking, and I want to address it. ....


Perhaps a way to handle this would be to replace the single word "always" with: "almost always, and you won't have to deal with the exceptions for quite a while".

As Al used to say, all things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 01:50 AM

Another benefit of harmonic analysis (or, more simply, identifying chords): it can guide you in where to (change) pedal in a piece.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 02:30 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I  (I should mention that AIUI in lead sheets a "dim" chord often is understood to include a fourth note added to the triad.  


Interesting -- I haven't seen that. "dim" so far as I've seen means a three note chord. "dim7" is used quite commonly, and "dim9" less so. I suppose you could also write "dim6", but "m6b5" gets you the same chord, and is used more often. If there's a fourth note included in "dim", which one is it?

As for three note chords, there's one more worth mention, Aug.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 03:49 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
As a way of getting oriented and not getting bogged down in the too-advanced stuff.....

It would be great if there were some way of maintaining and revising a core text, and updating it as questions are asked about it. Maybe it could be a PDF or text file that you could link to. After a while it would contain the refined polished results of these discussions, and it would be far more useful to beginners because it would be a lot less material to go through than the whole thread. Sort of like a wikipedia article.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 07:30 AM

A diminished chord is two stacked minor thirds. The diminished seventh is yet another minor third again.

In practise "dim" is often used to signify a dim7 chord or a dim7 chord is frequently played in it's stead. The difference in sound does not change the essential character of either chord.

A good reference work on harmony and theory can serve as summary. The bonus of this thread is that even advanced works that would be too much for self study are made understandable by the interaction here.

We can leave the augmented chord until we need it. Let's stick with the triads that are formed from the diatonc major scale first. Hmm?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 08:25 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung

It would be great if there were some way of maintaining and revising a core text, and updating it as questions are asked about it. Maybe it could be a PDF or text file that you could link to. After a while it would contain the refined polished results of these discussions, and it would be far more useful to beginners because it would be a lot less material to go through than the whole thread. Sort of like a wikipedia article.

What would have been awesome is if we had a section called "music theory", just like there is a section for composing. And then have a bunch of stickies evolving, one for each topic such as chords, key signatures, chord degrees, which we could refer back to as they evolve.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 08:46 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

First off, what is a chord?  Perhaps the most basic definition is "several notes played at the same time."

A chord can be any set of notes.  Go ahead, sit at the piano and bring your fingers down anywhere.  That's a chord.


I never teach that a chord is several notes played at the same time.

Play five or six notes in a row, all at once...C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, for example.

It sounds horrible, and, unless there is some odd exception somewhere on the planet, a group of random notes (half-steps here, for example) played together is NOT a chord.

It is a mess.

Alfred books teach the "Three notes played together is a chord" thing, so for beginner students, when we reach that in the book, I always clarify the phrase: "A chord is several notes played together that sound good."

I don't have to teach that to more advanced students because they already know that chords are a specific and precise group of notes, not just any.

And of course further (much further) ongoing discussion about chords continues throughout virtually every lesson from then on.

(ps...Yes, I am aware of Schoenberg's 12 tone approach.)
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 09:02 AM

I would teach triads first, which is a specific kind of chord consisting of three notes which in root position skips letters and visually is on adjacent lines or spaces. Triad kinds are: major, minor, diminished, augmented. Usually only majors and minors are taught first.

But a chord IS a group of notes played together and belonging together. As horrible as it sounds, C C# D D# E F F# IS a chord and it even has a name: "cluster chord". wink

When you get into more advanced analysis, you have to start deciding which notes that are played at the same time in music are part of the chord, and which are "non chord notes". Chords can get quite complex, and at that point it's your understanding of the music and it's context that lets you decide. I don't think that we'll be dealing with these complex chords in this thread.

PianoStudent88's definition is correct, with the caveat that in more complex music you need to decide which notes belong to the chord.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 09:46 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring


But a chord IS a group of notes played together and belonging together. As horrible as it sounds, C C# D D# E F F# IS a chord and it even has a name: "cluster chord". wink



Yes, there are cluster chords, and if you want to write a music encyclopedia, then cluster chords do belong.

However, if there ever was a rare item in music, cluster chords would be at the top of that list.

And if there ever was an unpleasant sound in music, its a cluster chord.

And if there ever was something that beginners would never encounter, its a cluster chord.

The only time I see cluster chords in any of my teaching work is when someone makes a mistake and plays the wrong notes. laugh

The focus of this chord discussion has been (appropriately) that chords are groups of notes in a specific pattern. That is true for 99.9 percent of the time.

But if this thread is to morph into a music encyclopedia, rather than a focused teaching for beginners, then yes, include the very rare .001% random notes groups as "chords".

But my students find it very helpful to know that just any old fist-pound of notes is not a chord except in the most esoteric definition.

Stick with triads, root and the inversions, diminished, augmented, sevenths, major and minor, etc. Thats enough for a few years of study and practice.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 10:03 AM

Rocket88, if you could bear with me (us) for a moment so that we're all working together. I think I see a couple of things going on. There are some differing teaching philosophies, which we may be getting caught in.

One philosophy gives a broad overview of a subject, and then starts mapping out the details. Another begins with a few select details which it presents in limited form (or not), and then expands those details over time. (What Alfred, which you quoted seems to do.) One might begin with rudiments like RCM does, and another may begin with analysis, and discover the rudiments via analysing pieces. What we have here is probably a hybrid via concerted effort.

Ok - Alfred's presentation:
Quote:
Alfred books teach the "Three notes played together is a chord" thing, so for beginner students, when we reach that in the book, I always clarify the phrase: "A chord is several notes played together that sound good."

Alfred is presenting triads, which are a kind of chord. So Alfred is doing the approach of presenting a detail in a limited manner, expecting to expand on it later. It is also utilitarian - the immediate need is for a student to be able to play the music which has chords and melody. So you give it a simple name, and a fast definition which will work with the kind of music the students will play.

I thought for a long time that triads and chords were the same thing. Then when "seven chords" were added, I expanded my definition to "major chord with a minor third plopped on top". But at some point I had to understand that triads are a type of chord, and that "chord" is to "triad" what "animals" is to "cattle". I'd prefer to know from the onset.

Alfred seems to be introducing the primary and secondary chords that belong to the key signature in diatonic music. In C major, these are I, IV, V (C, F, G chords) for primary, and ii, iii, vi, viio (Dm, Em, Am, Bdim) for secondary - with the last usually skipped in favour of the V7 (G7 - GBDF).

All of these chords except Bdim "sound good" as you say. They are all major and minor chords, so there is no dissonance.

It is GOOD that you are presenting these solid chords this way. Personally I wanted to have a handle on some solid chords that are easily recognized, and where I can see a direct relationship to the music I am playing. If my piece is in C major, and I have an F major chord, I can recognize this triad and I can also see that all of its notes are the notes of the key of C major. That gives me a handle - a reference point.

That said, chords themselves are as broad as PianoStudent88 wrote. If I were starting out I would want to:
a) know that chords are a group of notes that belong together. They can be played at the same time or staggered as in arpeggios and "broken chords".
b) decide to work ONLY with the simple basic chords until I had solid footing.

The men and women here are not children, and are not in any single controlled music program, with varying backgrounds. In that scenario I prefer to give a full idea of what something is, but then suggest to start with simple things in their studies. I include myself in this btw.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 10:09 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring

The men and women here are not children,


For your information, the Alfreds book I referred to is the Adult version.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 10:12 AM

We are studying theory here, and in theory terms need to be defined correctly. A chord is not just triads. A chord is not just the notes belonging to diatonic music. If we give an incorrect definition of chords, it will mess up understanding of theory. The idea that chords only consist of pleasant sounding groups of notes as in major and minor triads is incorrect. It already falls apart for a V7 chord, which contains the dissonance of a major third, as well as a tritone.

These are all chords:
- major, minor, diminished, augmented triads (the latter not sounded that "pleasant" to the ear.
- all seven chords
- cluster chords
- polychords
- C9, C11, C13 etc.
- quartal

And then you also get the chords that have been touched on already which we're skirting because it's too advanced for this thread: you have a pedal tone with chords dancing over it. I'm analyzing a Mozart concerto right now which is "basic" in most things, but it has pedal.

In addition, if you stay with "pleasant sounds", you are avoiding an essential element of music - the movement of dissonance to consonance which is elementary to making music work.
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 10:23 AM

Quote:

The idea that chords only consist of pleasant sounding groups of notes as in major and minor triads is incorrect. It already falls apart for a V7 chord, which contains the dissonance of a major third, as well as a tritone...


In addition, if you stay with "pleasant sounds", you are avoiding an essential element of music - the movement of dissonance to consonance which is elementary to making music work.


Thank you for schooling me in such elementary topics, Keystring.

For your information, by "pleasant" I meant NOT a cluster-style assemblage of notes, which move way beyond "dissonance" into a sound that everyone I have ever demonstrated it to reacted with "unpleasant", like scratching one's nails on a chalkboard.

Of course dissonance is necessary. (except, of course, not in elevator music...at least some elevator music!)

Have a listen to my free song in my signature line...lots of dissonance, V7 chords, etc.

Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 10:46 AM

A chord is a couple notes played together, but sitting your butt on a random part of the keyboard does not make a chord.

Sounds like a fine definition to start with. No need to exhaustively list every possible combination until we get to the more complex ones. (Though I do wonder about these dim7 and add9 chords in my book...)
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 10:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Allard
A chord is a couple notes played together, but sitting your butt on a random part of the keyboard does not make a chord.


Not in real life, anyways. Good post.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 11:48 AM

This is an open forum, and a thread where a large number of people are trying to understand basic theory. When I explain something, it is not in order to "school" you, Rocket88. Earlier you corrected Piano88's presentation of what a chord is. You then gave this information:
Quote:
Alfred books teach the "Three notes played together is a chord" thing, so for beginner students, when we reach that in the book, I always clarify the phrase: "A chord is several notes played together that sound good."

This implies, to anyone reading it, that the definition of a chord is: "three notes played together", and also "several notes played together that sound good." This will give people starting out the impression that a chord is only a chord if it is a triad.

For this reason, I took the time to write out some of the possible chords that do exist, in order to correct that impression.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 12:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Allard
A chord is a couple notes played together, but sitting your butt on a random part of the keyboard does not make a chord.


1:20

Posted by: rocket88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 12:12 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
This is an open forum, and a thread where a large number of people are trying to understand basic theory. When I explain something, it is not in order to "school" you, Rocket88. Earlier you corrected Piano88's presentation of what a chord is. You then gave this information:
Quote:
Alfred books teach the "Three notes played together is a chord" thing, so for beginner students, when we reach that in the book, I always clarify the phrase: "A chord is several notes played together that sound good."

This implies, to anyone reading it, that the definition of a chord is: "three notes played together", and also "several notes played together that sound good." This will give people starting out the impression that a chord is only a chord if it is a triad.


My original post will only give that impression if the reader were to read just the fragment of the post as quoted by you.

The actual meaning of my post, if one reads it fully, is to show for beginners that a fist-pound selection of notes is not a chord, unless you get into esoterica.

My post was in direct response to this from PianoStudent88:

Quote:
First off, what is a chord? Perhaps the most basic definition is "several notes played at the same time.


To which you countered with "cluster chords", an odd and rare thing.

As with many threads for beginners, they often morph into people sharing encyclopedic amounts of knowledge.

IMHO, that can be good if the student is in the teaching studio, and the teacher can see whether or not the student is getting it, or is overwhelmed by the avalanche of minutae.

On the web, there are some who will get it, but others will be overwhelmed, and the poster of the avalanche most likely will never hear of their confusion.

But the teacher in me always looks out for the little guy, and always wants to make sure that no one is left behind by a blizzard of info.

Keystring, I have made two attempts in this thread to simplify concepts for beginners (Melody usually on top, Chords not a random mess of notes but a pattern).

In each, you have countered with an encyclopedic showing of your knowledge.

That is a very different approach from mine, an approach that I have never found helpful in teaching adults or children.

I will add that I do agree with you that a quick overview of the overall topic (which I do with some people who I can see are "getting it") is helpful to show that there is more to it than what we are teaching at the moment.

But most know that there is more to it because they are, after all, "beginners", and they know they are beginners, and the music they hear others play contains more that a root triad. laugh

But the operative word is "quick" because I have yet to have a beginner who is learning about chords understand any of the advanced chords. They usually have enough to deal with with inversions!

So if you are going to be the "thread police" and search for all the available exceptions however odd or rare to correct me, then carry on!

You have a lot of good information, just a very different style, and I do not have the time to constantly re-explain myself in an attempt to keep it understandable for the folks.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 12:49 PM

Rocket88, before responding to your post, I wrote posts of my own. A post which responds cannot be as clearly set out. I covered each topic in a clear and careful manner. It is meant to be studied and maybe kept somewhere. It is not "encyclopedic" - it gives the necessary information. My response to you was of a different order, and here I am also writing to an advanced musician.

This thread attempts to teach basic theory via examples of music, which began with Happy Birthday. The problem with that is that if you want to discuss chords, key signatures, cadences, Dominant etc., the students need to have basic knowledge OF chords, key signatures, cadences etc. For that reason I created reference material.

This is not how I teach when I teach rudiments. Some of the things that I covered in a single post encompass two or three separate chapters in the source book I use. We also don't launch straight into a concept's definition. We explore with concrete things, via experience, build the definition, make sure it's understood, and then work with it.

But the fact is that there is this disparate group of people with all kinds of backgrounds gathering in one place, considering examples drawn form music, and analyzing for chords, degrees, intervals, cadences and whatnot. Some kind of basic concepts have to be there. And we're all winging it.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 12:57 PM

Originally Posted By: rocket88


The actual meaning of my post, if one reads it fully, is to show for beginners that a fist-pound selection of notes is not a chord, unless you get into esoterica.

I usually suggest to anyone that the first step in responding to a post is to ask, "What did you mean by this?" or "Did you mean xxx, which is how I'm understanding your post?" So I'm getting that the impressions I got are not the message you were trying to convey.

Thank you for your explanations.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 01:00 PM

Originally Posted By: rocket88
I never teach that a chord is several notes played at the same time.

The Oxford Dictionary of Music, a very respectable publication, defines a chord as "Any simultaneous combination of notes, but usually not fewer than 3". (So now we can sit at the piano or on it to produce chords.)

We don't have to introduce or study more chords than is necessary but we do need to define our terms correctly whoever is the intended audience.
Posted by: joyoussong

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 03:13 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: Allard
A chord is a couple notes played together, but sitting your butt on a random part of the keyboard does not make a chord.


1:20





Jerry Lee Lewis does it, with assorted other body parts too.
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 06:45 PM

Exercise:
Once you've played and worked through that exercise, congratulations! You now know every root-position triad built out of only white keys. That means you know ALL the triads native to the key of C major. How many are there, and what are their names?


1.C major CEG
2. D minor DFA
3. E minor EGB
4. F major FAC
5. G major GBD
6. A minor ACE
7. B diminished BDF (so no major or minor..just diminished?)

To help with the major and minor, I tried to match the sounds with two songs: When the Saints Go marching in for the major, (between the first two notes of the triad), and O Canada for the first two notes of the minor chord triads. The major chords sound like Saints between notes 1 and 2 of the triad, and O Canada between notes 2 and 3. The minor chords sound like O Canada between notes 1 and 2 of the triad, and Saints between notes 2 and 3 of the triad. B diminished sounds like O Canada on both ends of the triad. (I am Canadian so this was helpful for me, but I'm not sure what would be helpful for those who don't know this anthem!).

hahaha.....love the rhapsody duet! smile

Thanks everyone...this is so helpful!
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 07:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Valencia
...
7. B diminished BDF (so no major or minor..just diminished?)

A triad is two stacked thirds; root, third and fifth.

A third can be either major (4 semitones) or minor (3 semitones)

A fifth can be diminished (6 semitones), perfect (7 semitones) or augmented (8 semitones).

A major third and a minor third together make a perfect fifth. If the fifth is perfect we name the chord by its first third, major or minor - that implies the fifth is perfect.

If the fifth is not perfect we name the chord by its fifth. Two minor thirds make a diminished fifth and two major thirds make an augmented fifth (we haven't got to augmented chords yet).

By naming the fifth, diminished or augmented, the third is known by implication. By naming the third, major or minor, the fifth is perfect by implication.

Min 3rd + min 3rd = diminished 5th, dim chord
Min 3rd + maj 3rd = perfect 5th, min chord
Maj 3rd + min 3rd = perfect 5th, maj chord
Maj 3rd + maj 3rd = augmented 5th, aug chord

I got this in less than twenty years smile
Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/21/13 09:03 PM

I can't help myself from jumping in when chords are being talked about.

Spot on with the chords Valencia. If you were to come across these in a score, they'd be written as;

C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim or B°

Correct it is just diminished (but made up by stacking two minor 3rds.) A dim chord by itself is not all that common. You are more likely to come across a dim7 before just a diminished. Although they do occur.

All of the chords above that you have correctly labeled, can be made in to a 7th chord by adding a minor 3rd (3 half steps) on top.

Example, C would become C7 with the addition of a minor 3rd on top; C,E,G,Bb = C7

Yes, oddly enough I am familiar with the Saints Go Marching in and O Canada. Good observation. I see exactly what you mean.
Posted by: sinophilia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 03:07 AM

Alfred's books never say chord = triad (at least I haven't understood it that way), but just that a triad is a basic kind of chord, plus it teaches 4-note seventh chords from the very beginning (adding that in these chords the third or the fifth is often omitted).

It's not really useful to quarrel about the meaning of every word. One needs to start with clear definitions and concepts, even if this means you have to simplify and water down some of them. Less is more.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 03:33 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
In practise "dim" is often used to signify a dim7 chord or a dim7 chord is frequently played in it's stead.


I sometimes go back and take a careful look at the lead sheet of something I've been playing for a while, and discover that I'm in the habit of playing dim7 where plain dim is written. I always thought that was just me screwing up, not the composer or arranger's intention. Sometimes it's m7 instead of m, too.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 03:44 AM

A little clarification on the sevenths (though we're not really there yet).

All this will be covered again when it comes up in context.

Adding a minor third to C creates C7 (C-E-G-Bb) but this is a non diatonic chord. Bb is not in the C major scale.

The primary triads are formed first layer of chords is formed using alternate notes, 1, 3 and 5 from each of the seven scale degrees. The next third layer adds sevenths.

In the C major scale the secondary seventh chords are:
C-E-G-B = C maj 7
D-F-A-C = D min 7
E-G-B-D = E min 7
F-A-C-E = F maj 7
G-B-D-F = G 7
A-C-E-G = A min 7
B-D-F-A = B min 7b5

The three minor chords Em, Dm and Am become minor sevenths (minor third + major third + minor third)

The tonic and subdominant major chords C and F become major sevenths (major third + minor third + major third)

The dominant major chord has a major third + minor third + minor third. Because this combination is unique to the dominant step we call this a dominant seventh but notate it simply by appending a 7 to the chord name.

The diminished chord becomes a half diminished chord or a minor 7 flat 5.

We'll come across all this later.

_______________________________

Edited to correct errors in nomenclature. Thank you, keystring. smile


The primary chords are the tonic, dominant and subdominant formed on the first, fourth and fifth steps of the scale. As I mentioned in an earlier post, they cover all the degrees of the scale between them. The dominant is a fifth away from tonic and the subdominant and fifth in the other direction. The move from tonic to subdominant is one of the most relaxed progressions but the dominant chord announces the imminent return to tonic.

The secondary chords are formed on the 2nd, 3rd and 6th step of the scale. They are the relative minors of the primary chords; D minor, relative minor of F, E minor, relative minor of G, and A minor, relative minor of C.

Tertiary chords are chords formed by thirds.

Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 03:55 AM

Also a little OT but...

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
Sometimes it's m7 instead of m, too.
This is most likely to happen when the seventh is carried in the melody line and a simple minor can be played underneath. The combination provides the minor 7th.

If the note C occurs in a melody (in C major) it can be harmonised by any of three triads, C (C-E-G), F (F-A-C) or A minor (A-C-E). By extending into sevenths it can also be harmonised with D min 7 (D-F-A-C). Because the C occurs in the melody line a simple D minor can be played underneath.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 04:18 AM

Originally Posted By: rocket88
Alfred books teach the "Three notes played together is a chord" thing, so for beginner students, when we reach that in the book, I always clarify the phrase: "A chord is several notes played together that sound good."


This is another place where it might be better to insert a few more words and say "...usually sound good" or "...almost always sound good".

There are chords that, isolated and examined by themselves, really massively suck. But they serve a purpose in context.

There's an example in a favorite song of mine, "I'll be Seeing You" (Sammy Fain, 1938). Bar 13, the melody note is A4, and the chord is Dm7/G. The way I play it is: G3, A3, C4, D4, F4, which is quite dissonant. It goes immediately to the melody note G4 and a G7 chord. When I was learning the song, that stuck out to me so much that I was wondering if it was a typo. When I was able to play it through at a reasonable tempo, it was obviously right. (BTW, I'm not sure if this chord is as originally written, the sheet is from Wikifonia.)

Concentrating on a single chord by itself is sort of like taking a freeze frame from a movie. Mostly you'll get good looking pictures, but sometimes you catch an actor in the middle of saying a word, and his mouth is frozen in some strange position.
Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 07:45 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

In the C major scale the secondary chords are:
C-E-G-B = C maj 7
D-F-A-C = D min 7
E-G-B-D = E min 7
F-A-C-E = F maj 7
G-B-D-F = G 7
A-C-E-G = A min 7
B-D-F-A = B min 7b5

...
The dominant major chord has a major third + minor third + minor third. Because this combination is unique to the dominant step we call this a dominant seventh but notate it simply by appending a 7 to the chord name.

A light just came on. This thread is filling in a lot of blanks for me. I knew about a dominant 7th., but had not put together how it differed from the others in the key (scale.) At least not in this way. Just that it was always in the 5th degree.
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung

There are chords that, isolated and examined by themselves, really massively suck. But they serve a purpose in context.

There's an example in a favorite song of mine ... The way I play it is ... quite dissonant ... stuck out to me so much that I was wondering if it was a typo. When I was able to play it through at a reasonable tempo, it was obviously right.

Concentrating on a single chord by itself is sort of like taking a freeze frame from a movie. Mostly you'll get good looking pictures, but sometimes you catch an actor in the middle of saying a word, and his mouth is frozen in some strange position.

Well put, John. Sometimes when I am working on a piece, I think "that can't be right" but when I can play it through and at a reasonable tempo, it often ends up being the greatest part of the arrangement.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 08:42 AM

Richard - problem with calling the seventh chords "secondary chord". In the theory books I studied, primary and secondary is reserved for the main diatonic chords used in harmony, vs. the ones that are not as crucial, as follows:

Primary: I, IV, V (C, F, G in key of C major)
Secondary: ii, iii, vi, vii dim (Dm, Em, Am, Bdim)

(The major and minor qualities being for a major key, which I'm using as default)
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 09:33 AM

Originally Posted By: Valencia
Exercise:
Once you've played and worked through that exercise, congratulations! You now know every root-position triad built out of only white keys. That means you know ALL the triads native to the key of C major. How many are there, and what are their names?


1.C major CEG
2. D minor DFA
3. E minor EGB
4. F major FAC
5. G major GBD
6. A minor ACE
7. B diminished BDF (so no major or minor..just diminished?)




I am in the process of switching teachers and working with more of a chord based system. First assignment was what you posted, with some other related exercises, particularly:

Play the I, ii, iii, I chords and add specific exercises off of these cords.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 09:58 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung

Concentrating on a single chord by itself is sort of like taking a freeze frame from a movie. Mostly you'll get good looking pictures, but sometimes you catch an actor in the middle of saying a word, and his mouth is frozen in some strange position.

This quote should be gilded and framed! THANK YOU!
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 10:14 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

If the note C occurs in a melody (in C major) it can be harmonised by any of three triads, C (C-E-G), F (F-A-C) or A minor (A-C-E). By extending into sevenths it can also be harmonised with D min 7 (D-F-A-C). Because the C occurs in the melody line a simple D minor can be played underneath.

The first time I encountered the term "be harmonized", I had no idea what that meant. I think this means how you can move one chord to another chord with smooth movement. So in your examples:
C and F, you could have
G=>A
E=>F
C=>C
where you are playing a C chord, then G moves up to A, E moves up to F, and C stays - voila - an F chord! And similar with other chords that share a note in the way that C and F share a note.

Is this what "to harmonize" means?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 10:20 AM

Originally Posted By: sinophilia
Alfred's books never say chord = triad (at least I haven't understood it that way), but just that a triad is a basic kind of chord, plus it teaches 4-note seventh chords from the very beginning (adding that in these chords the third or the fifth is often omitted).

Thank you for that explanation. It's hard to know without seeing the book, so it's good to have a clearer picture. (and it's easy to get the wrong one).

When we're doing theory, some terms are important, and others less so. The meaning of "chord" is important because it's a basic thing we work with in theory. When I did theory studies, for three levels the only chords we ever saw were the ones in thirds. I just assumed that "chord" means "something stacked in thirds". Then at the very last level they said "by the way, there is such a thing as a "dominant 7" and they only introduced V7's. They mentioned ultra briefly that there are other kinds of sevenths, and spent maybe a single page in a 350 page book on "other kinds of chords". So everything I thought I knew about chords was skewed until the end by dint of omission.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 10:48 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

If the note C occurs in a melody (in C major) it can be harmonised by any of three triads, C (C-E-G), F (F-A-C) or A minor (A-C-E). By extending into sevenths it can also be harmonised with D min 7 (D-F-A-C). Because the C occurs in the melody line a simple D minor can be played underneath.

The first time I encountered the term "be harmonized", I had no idea what that meant. I think this means how you can move one chord to another chord with smooth movement. So in your examples:
C and F, you could have
G=>A
E=>F
C=>C
where you are playing a C chord, then G moves up to A, E moves up to F, and C stays - voila - an F chord! And similar with other chords that share a note in the way that C and F share a note.

Is this what "to harmonize" means?

No, that's not what I meant.

Harmonisation is providing harmony below a melody - working out the cords to a song/tune.

The melody notes on the beats usually form part of a chord. As long as that note occurs in a chord that chord can be used to harmonise the melody at that point.

So, if C is a melody note in a tune any chord with a C in it can harmonise with the melody. C major is the most likely (root of the chord C-E-G), F next (fifth of the chord F-A-C), and A minor next (third of the chord A-C-E). The other possibilities are more remote.

Sorry if I've caused confusion or wandered off topic.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 11:03 AM

JohnSprung, did you have an arrangement of Lili Marlene you can link to? or a chord chart? If not, I've found a simple chord chart and can make a simple arrangement to illustrate our next set of concepts.

We're ready for a new piece, but we have several more concepts to fill in and practice with before starting on Burgmüller Opus 100. Concepts include: chord inversions, dominant seventh chords, and non-chord tones. These have all been mentioned before on this thread, but I propose that we work with them in some other pieces before getting to Burgmüller.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 11:15 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

No, that's not what I meant.

Harmonisation is providing harmony below a melody - working out the cords to a song/tune.

The melody notes on the beats usually form part of a chord. As long as that note occurs in a chord that chord can be used to harmonise the melody at that point.

So, if C is a melody note in a tune any chord with a C in it can harmonise with the melody. C major is the most likely (root of the chord C-E-G), F next (fifth of the chord F-A-C), and A minor next (third of the chord A-C-E). The other possibilities are more remote.

Sorry if I've caused confusion or wandered off topic.

To the contrary - this is a place for learning. Thank you. smile Concepts are more important than terms, but terms are important so that we know what's being talked about. Apparently I've been doing it, but didn't have a name for it.

So in our example we are actually getting into music theory, and how music is put together. In music we have a relationship between melody and harmony (chords). The chords in music usually have an underlying pattern of I IV V I with other chords in between. We have a feeling of beginning, middle, arriving, end. The chords bring that about. But even melody alone does that.

If you have a song in C major which has a D and a C in it. You have a choice of chords containing these notes:
G - GBD, CEG, EGB etc.
C - CEG, ACE, FAC etc.
But this is the end of your song, in C major, so you would want to end it with a V-I chord. So let's look at V: It's GBD. I: It's CEG. We also see that the G and C major chords both contain G. We probably will use G-C to "harmonize" the melody notes "D & C". We also probably ended up with the melody notes D & C because of these chords, because they fit hand in glove.

So now I know this is called "harmonizing", as in "harmonize this melody".
Posted by: joyoussong

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 11:40 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

If the note C occurs in a melody (in C major) it can be harmonised by any of three triads, C (C-E-G), F (F-A-C) or A minor (A-C-E). By extending into sevenths it can also be harmonised with D min 7 (D-F-A-C). Because the C occurs in the melody line a simple D minor can be played underneath.

The first time I encountered the term "be harmonized", I had no idea what that meant. I think this means how you can move one chord to another chord with smooth movement. So in your examples:
C and F, you could have
G=>A
E=>F
C=>C
where you are playing a C chord, then G moves up to A, E moves up to F, and C stays - voila - an F chord! And similar with other chords that share a note in the way that C and F share a note.

Is this what "to harmonize" means?

No, that's not what I meant.

Harmonisation is providing harmony below a melody - working out the cords to a song/tune.

The melody notes on the beats usually form part of a chord. As long as that note occurs in a chord that chord can be used to harmonise the melody at that point.

So, if C is a melody note in a tune any chord with a C in it can harmonise with the melody. C major is the most likely (root of the chord C-E-G), F next (fifth of the chord F-A-C), and A minor next (third of the chord A-C-E). The other possibilities are more remote.

Sorry if I've caused confusion or wandered off topic.



No, you haven't caused confusion at all! I've never quite understood what "harmonize" meant either, but your explanation makes it perfectly clear. And clarifies some of the mysteries of improvisation, too. Thanks!
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 11:48 AM

To take stock of where we are:

Participation

There are several people who expressed interest in the thread from whom we have not heard recently. I am hoping that they are all reading along and learning as we go. I am concerned though that some people may have felt overwhelmed already.

Please ask questions! Even to say "I'm so confused I don't even know how to say what I'm confused about." (I had a situation like that at work just the other day, so I sympathize.) We won't know what we need to slow down on, introduce, give more explanations, make simpler examples, etc. etc. etc., unless you ask questions. This is your thread!

Thank you to everyone who has participated by giving answers, asking questions, or even posting just to say "that was helpful."

Template

As a template for analysing pieces, I propose starting with the basic set that I proposed for Happy Birthday:

1. Overview
2. Time signature
3. Key
4. Form (this is new, and may not be relevant for a while)
5. Melody
6. Harmony
7. Playing

Features like rhythm, patterns, dynamics, articulation, phrasing, progressions, etc. can be touched on ad lib under Melody, Harmony, and/or Playing.

Richard has given us a comprehensive list of aspects we could look at. Feel free to dip into that list and grab a topic or two to talk about or ask about as we proceed, but don't feel that you must apply or learn all of those right away.

Topics

A lot of information has been touched on.

The core information that I hope people feel more comfortable with at this point are: time signature (at least for 3/4 time smile ); key of C major; some initial ideas about lyrics, phrasing, and climax; root position triads in C major.

Other topics that have been touched on which will come up again later, so it's OK if you passed them by on this first pass: chord inversions and other chord voicings, non-chord notes, minor keys and scales, roman numeral notation, chord names that include numbers and/or slashes, intervals (in particular, major and minor thirds and perfect and diminished fifths). When they come up again we may discuss them in full again, or link back to the discussion that's come up so far and then ask what more needs clarification.

Approach

rocket88 raised the issue of people being confused by seeing complex and advanced information before getting solid in the basics. We have seen some disagreement about what exactly constitutes "the basics". For the reader, there is an aspect of caveat emptor. This is an internet thread, and somewhat of a one-room schoolhouse, so you will read different ideas about how to introduce these topics and different levels of questions and answers based on the different levels of experience people bring. I hope that the advantages of the internet -- having a broad range of experience to draw from, being able to hear answers from different points of view, being able to ask questions at any time rather than waiting for a once a week lesson, being part of a learning community -- will outweigh any disadvantages.

The general consensus seems to be that we have a new thread for each piece we start on. But I would like us to stick with this thread at least until we have covered a set of basics (perhaps approximately when we have fleshed out the topics I listed above). That's so that we don't fragment too much this initial exploration of "the basics". I'm thinking that when we start Burgmüller will be the right time to start a new thread. (I think this information is really valuable, and some people are ready to absorb it already. I'm just trying to provide a guide for people for whom there's too much information overall to absorb yet.)

I'll maintain an index of all the threads in the set, and put it on each new thread. I'll also maintain an index to each of the pieces we cover in this thread. I'll also add some links to other relevant threads, for example the Music Theory 101 (or some such title) thread that we have here in ABF.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 11:49 AM

OK, your turn. What do you like so far about the thread? What might we do differently, to improve it?
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 12:10 PM

Happy Birthdays 1-4

While waiting underneath the lamplight, by the barracks gate, for Lili Marlene, some more arrangements of Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday 1: The original arrangement.

Happy Birthday 2: Broken chords.

Happy Birthday 2 is just like Happy Birthday 1 except that the chords in each measure have been broken up and the notes are played one at a time as quarter notes (2 at a time in m.7). Print this out, and in each measure, circle the left hand notes that correspond to the chords in the original arrangement. (So for example, one circle around all three bass notes in m.1, etc.). In harmonic analysis, we still name these as the same chords as we did in Happy Birthday 1 -- even though the notes aren't played at the same time. Name the chords that correspond to the circled notes (just like in Happy Birthday 1: one chord per measure, except two chords in m. 7.)

Happy Birthday 3: A different key

This arrangement is very similar to the Happy Birthday 1, except it's in a different major key. Can you see or hear how this is the same arrangement, except transposed into a different key? What key is it in? How do you know? What does the sharp in the key signature mean? Name the chords.

Happy Birthday 4: Another different key, and broken chords.

This arrangement is very similar to Happy Birthday 2, with the chords broken apart into quarter notes in the same way, except it's in a different major key. Can you see or hear how this is the same arrangement, except transposed into a different key? What key is it in? How do you know? What does the flat in the key signature mean? Name the chords. Print this out and in each measure circle the bass clef notes that correspond to the chords.

If anyone would like to upload playing these arrangements, please do. Otherwise I expect to be able to do so tonight.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 12:20 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
JohnSprung, did you have an arrangement of Lili Marlene you can link to? or a chord chart? If not, I've found a simple chord chart and can make a simple arrangement to illustrate our next set of concepts.

I read back through the thread and realized that you have the arrangement, but are having difficulties uploading it. The way I upload my scores is, I take a screenshot of them and save it as a jpeg file, and then upload the screenshot to Piano World. Then I just include that as a link in my post, (rather than embedding it as an image): this is so the page doesn't get too wide.

I can do that for you if you like; let me know.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 01:15 PM

I think showing the counting of a piece to be extremely important, as it is generally a weakness in many beginners and critically important. It is also my major weakness... smile
Posted by: Allard

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 01:27 PM

We've had very thorough explanations about some concepts from different standpoints. There is a lot to learn here, but... yeah, it can be overwhelming. Personally, I've just ignored most of the discussions between keystring and rocket88, and several of the more advanced chord explanations that don't occur in Happy Birthday. I think it's better to discuss those when we have an example to go with the theory (a next piece).
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 03:47 PM

Mark... (and others), can you say more about what you know about counting and where it gets weak? For example, on a single melody, do you know what to say (numbers/words/syllables) for counting it? Do you have tendencies like rushing or slowing down certain note values? Does it start to fall apart when there are different rhythms in the two hands (or multiple rhythms in one hand)? Tend to dive in and play before checking the counting? Find it hard to play and count at the same time? Other strengths and challenges?
Posted by: torquenale

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 04:54 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

Participation

There are several people who expressed interest in the thread from whom we have not heard recently. I am hoping that they are all reading along and learning as we go. I am concerned though that some people may have felt overwhelmed already.



PianoStudent, so far so good.
I'm following the thread with real pleasure, even if time zones hinder me. Usually I read only when here in Italy is evening, and I have almost a whole day of discussion to catch up with, and my questions have been already answered.
I'm amazed by the effort put here, thank you to all tutors!
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 05:43 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I read back through the thread and realized that you have the arrangement, but are having difficulties uploading it.


I was able to upload the PDF, which is here:


http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_LS_Analysis1.pdf

It's just that I wanted to give you the .MSCZ and .XML versions, which you could pull into MuseScore or another notation program, so you could modify them far more easily than a PDF.

One good thing about this piece is that it's in public domain, so you can use it as an example anywhere.

My first question is, What do you call the C#dim in the Roman numeral system?

Posted by: neildradford

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 05:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Allard
We've had very thorough explanations about some concepts from different standpoints. There is a lot to learn here, but... yeah, it can be overwhelming. Personally, I've just ignored most of the discussions between keystring and rocket88, and several of the more advanced chord explanations that don't occur in Happy Birthday. I think it's better to discuss those when we have an example to go with the theory (a next piece).


Allard has just written exactly the sentiments I have. I'm enjoying the thread but I skipped a lot of the convo about chords as it was all just going over my head.

Neil.

Edit: Timing is also one of my weaknesses, like Mark said.

Edit 2: I have no problem with the timing in 'Happy Birthday', my main issue is when the left hand notes are played out of sync with right hand notes, particularly when notes are of short duration, or tied. Hope I'm making sense
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 06:53 PM

Lili Marlene

Thanks for the Lili Marlene lead sheet (new improved version here: Lili Marlene Version 2), JohnSprung. Personally, when I'm using upper- and lower-case Roman numerals, I would call C#dim in this context vii°/ii. But that's for academic analysis more than lead-sheet playing.

In another convention used by a teacher here, everything would be in upper-case, and C#dim would be #Idim. In that system, C would be I, Dm7 would be IIm7, G7 would be V7, etc.

There are surely other systems of notation as well; these are just the two that I know. Anyone else have ideas on this?

This is a different rhythm than I'm used to for the song. Is this drawn from a recording? I'm wondering if this is a particular singer's interpretation, that I haven't had the pleasure of hearing yet.

It would be helpful for us to have a version with a blank bass clef added, where people could practice writing in a bass part, or at least the block chords that go with the chord symbols. Is that something you can easily create, JohnSprung? If not, I can do it.

Some topics coming up that go with this Lili Marlene lead sheet from JohnSprung: 7 chords, intervals, roman numerals, and realizing a lead sheet. (I am faaaaaaaaar from an expert, in fact I'm barely a neophyte, at lead sheet playing, but I'll share the little I know, and others please chime in).
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 06:55 PM

Now that we have multiple pieces, I recommend putting the title of the piece you're talking about at the beginning of each post in bold, as I've illustrated in the previous post. That will help orient us for each post.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 07:13 PM

Originally Posted By: neildradford
Edit 2: I have no problem with the timing in 'Happy Birthday', my main issue is when the left hand notes are played out of sync with right hand notes, particularly when notes are of short duration, or tied. Hope I'm making sense

I understand what you're saying. Any examples of pieces with this challenge? I'll keep my eyes, ears, and meagre arranging talents open for examples of this, also, to use on the thread.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 11:13 PM

Happy Birthdays 3 and 4

a.k.a. Keys, Scales, and Chords

keystring wrote a post about keys and major scales which would be worth reviewing or reading at this point.

Happy Birthday 3 is in the key of G major. G major is the major key with one sharp (F#), the melody ends on G, and the final chord is a G major chord (notes: GBD, in any order).

Happy Birthday 4 is in the key of F major. F major is the major key with one flat (Bb), the melody ends on F, and the final chord is an F major chord (notes: FAC, in any order).

Some basic things to do to get familiar with a key, its scale, and its chords:

Find the scale. For example, for G major, start on G and check that if you ascend following the WWHWWWH pattern of whole steps and half steps, that the only sharp you need is F#. Listen to the sound this scale makes, ascending and descending.

Find the root position triads. For example, for G major, start on G: GBD. Start on A: ACE. Start on B: BDF#. And so on. Remember to use F#, not F natural. The last triad will start on F#: F#AC. What are the names of these triads? Which are major? Which are minor? Which are diminished? (Do you remember how to tell which are which?). Play and listen to the triads.

Now do the same thing for F major: verify the scale and work out the root position triads. Remember to use Bb, not B natural. Play and listen to the scale and the triads.

Now you have in your arsenal the names of the chords you need to identify the chords in Happy Birthday 3 and Happy Birthday 4. (You also have several more chords that haven't been used yet.)
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/22/13 11:49 PM

The Pattern of Triads in a Major Key

Now that you've worked out the triads for C major (previously), G major, and F major, you may have started to notice some patterns. For example, each key has three major triads, three minor triads, and one diminished triad. The diminished triad always has for its root the seventh note of the major scale. And so on. What other patterns have you noticed?

Write the triads for each scale in order. Ideally, do this on staff paper and label them with their names.

key of C major: C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim
key of G major: G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, F#dim
key of F major: F, Gm, Am, Bb, C, Dm, Edim

Amazing! They all have the exact same pattern of major, minor and diminished triads in order:

Major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished.

If I use Roman numerals to say which note of the scale the triad is built on, this pattern is:

I, IIm, IIIm, IV, V, VIm, VIIdim

Just like with letter names for chords, an uppercase Roman numeral all by itself stands for a major chord. If it has an "m" after it, it stands for a minor chord. And if it has "dim" after it, it stands for a diminished chord.

This shorthand is useful because it allows me to talk in very compact ways about relationships between chords. For example, I could say:
  • In the key of C major, the Happy Birthday chords are C G G C; C F, C G, C.
  • In the key of G major, the Happy Birthday chords are G D D G; G C, G D, G.
  • In the key of F major, the Happy Birthday chords are F C C F; F Bb, F C, F.
  • And so on for each of the other 7 major keys in which a singer might ask you to play Happy Birthday.

Or I can just summarize all of that in one statement:
  • The Happy Birthday chords are I V V I; I IV, I V, I.

(I say "the" Happy Birthday chords, but of course this is just for the particular chords I chose for my arrangement.)
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 02:27 AM

I'd recommend looking for (or writing - not too difficult*) another arrangement of Lili Marlene - your current PDF version has a timing rupture at the transition between bars 7/8 where the F chord , which should be at the beginning of bar 8, has been pushed 1 beat later thus putting the rest of the tune and the chord accompaniment out of kilter. It sounds so unnatural I'd be surprised if it doesn't cause confusion.

*or just adapt the existing but check youtube versions for the correct - or at least, more natural - rhythm for the melody.
Posted by: Artur Gajewski

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 03:00 AM

This topic has a funny link on front page's summary: Re: Starting out with anal...

Anyway, one day I will master those Happy Birthday chords on my piano and will be able to play it for my daughters at their birthday smile
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 03:35 AM

Re: Lili Marlene
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
- your current PDF version has a timing rupture at the transition between bars 7/8 where the F chord , which should be at the beginning of bar 8, has been pushed 1 beat later thus putting the rest of the tune and the chord accompaniment out of kilter.


I have this in MuseScore as a MSCZ file, so I can work on it quite easily. I'll put in this correction and add the bass clef staff that PS88 requested during the day tomorrow (It's late at night here right now).

I have several versions in MP3, mostly I listened to the 1939 Lale Andersen recording. It's the one that Rommel had played every night at 9:55 PM from Radio Belgrade during the North Africa campaign. Our side listened too, which is how the song became so well known. I tried to upload it, but got the Piano World broken link error screen yet again. Here's the site that has them:

http://ingeb.org/garb/lmarleen.html

Despite the error screen, it did upload here:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/LiliM_1939_LAndersen.mp3
Posted by: landorrano

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 03:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Artur Gajewski
This topic has a funny link on front page's summary: Re: Starting out with anal...


That seems to hit the nail on the head!
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 08:43 AM

Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Artur Gajewski
This topic has a funny link on front page's summary: Re: Starting out with anal...


That seems to hit the nail on the head!

If you are saying that Artur's statement that we see "starting out with anal.." in the subject header, accurately reflects that we see "starting out with anal...." then you are correct that this is what we all see.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 08:59 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
Re: Lili Marlene
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
- your current PDF version has a timing rupture at the transition between bars 7/8 where the F chord , which should be at the beginning of bar 8, has been pushed 1 beat later thus putting the rest of the tune and the chord accompaniment out of kilter.


I have this in MuseScore as a MSCZ file, so I can work on it quite easily. I'll put in this correction and add the bass clef staff that PS88 requested during the day tomorrow (It's late at night here right now).

I have several versions in MP3, mostly I listened to the 1939 Lale Andersen recording. It's the one that Rommel had played every night at 9:55 PM from Radio Belgrade during the North Africa campaign. Our side listened too, which is how the song became so well known. I tried to upload it, but got the Piano World broken link error screen yet again. Here's the site that has them:

http://ingeb.org/garb/lmarleen.html

Despite the error screen, it did upload here:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/LiliM_1939_LAndersen.mp3



- the C 1/4 note at the beginning of bar 8 of your pdf should be the final 1/8 note at the end of bar 7. If you then advance everything from bar 8 forward by a 1/4 note you should be more or less there.

You're going to have to simplify this anyway because the recording you've linked to is verging on 12/8 time (a slight swing) while your PDF is a little bit confused on the meter (the dotted 1/8th+1/16 at the beginning of the melody can quite often imply 12/8 in modern piano copy ).

Since the melody and harmony are probably more important to you at this stage I would write the whole piece out using only 1/4 and 1/8 notes while allowing a slight swing feel to the discretion of the performer.


Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 09:12 AM

Lili Marlene

I've always seen Lili Marlene written in 4/4 time using dotted 1/8th + 1/16th.
Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 09:12 AM

Lili Marlene - Analysis
Also, as I believe PS88 pointed out earlier, the posted arrangement has some embellishments which are not part of the main melody. Example second half of M5 and a couple of extra notes in M15. This is fine, but it may be good if someone would volunteer to play our final arrangement (if being posted again) and upload it here.

I know I like to always listen to what I am about to learn before I try to tackle it on the bench. With a posted performance it would line up with the arrangement (our score) and be in the correct key. All of the performances I have come across so far, have been in a different key.

At any rate here is one performance for easy access of how the tune goes.

Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 09:20 AM

Lili Marlene

Greener, when you say the performances are in a different key, are they all in a different key from each other? Or are they all in the same key, but it's not C major?

There's a standard rhythm and tune for Lili Marlene AIUI, and then performances you hear may stretch or modify that for interpretive purposes. I think it would be useful for us to have a score with the standard tune, rather than something more rhythmically and melodically complex that tries to capture a single performance.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 09:21 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
I've always seen Lili Marlene written in 4/4 time using dotted 1/8th + 1/16th.


Yes, but it's an approximation. Dotted 1/8+1/16 sounds much more fierce than is ever reflected in a performance. The singer's first two notes here are much closer to a pair of 1/8 notes. Vera Lynn's are triplet 1/8ths. Take your pick.

In any case, the main problem here is the error from bar 8 on.
Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 09:37 AM

Lili Marlene
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

Greener, when you say the performances are in a different key, are they all in a different key from each other? Or are they all in the same key, but it's not C major?

There's a standard rhythm and tune for Lili Marlene AIUI, and then performances you hear may stretch or modify that for interpretive purposes. I think it would be useful for us to have a score with the standard tune, rather than something more rhythmically and melodically complex that tries to capture a single performance.

This one by Vera Lynn (recently posted,) I believe is in the key of G. Marlene Dietrich appears to like to do it in Eb (I think.) The key of C of course is fine, but agree that we may want to find a more straight up arrangement in terms of melody.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 10:07 AM

Lili Marlene

While waiting for a revision of the melody from JohnSprung, we can play with the chords. We know they'll include C, C7, Dm, Dm7, G7, and C#dim.

C7, Dm7, and G7 are four-note chords.

For Dm7 and G7, chords in C major, you can form them the same way you did the triads: start with the triad, skip another white piano key, and add the next white piano key. This is just a quick and dirty way to get to these particular chords. We'll get into intervals and the universal interval definitions for chords soon, which will explain more generally how to find 7 chords.

Note that in Dm7 and G7 the new fourth note is 3 half-steps above the third note of the original triads Dm and G. That tells you how to find C7: start with the C major triad CEG. Then go up three more half-steps. What note do you find?

Note that the note you need to complete C7 is not part of the C major scale -- but it is part of the F major scale. Hmmmmmmm. When we talk more generally about 7 chords, we'll find out why.

For C#dim, count half steps: three half steps, then three more half steps. Notice that the C# is outside of the key of C major.

What notes do you find for the new chords C7, Dm7, G7, and C#dim?

Find all 6 of these chords at the piano. Experiment with different voicings. Here, "voicing" means a choice of which notes of the chord to use in which order, and how far apart. Practice moving from one chord to the next, in the order they appear on the Lili Marlene lead sheet, or in other orders. Experiment with voicings where the hand has to move very little (the root of the chord might not be the lowest note any more, to achieve this). Experiment with omitting one of the notes of the chord. Listen to the various sounds. Do you like some voicings more than others?

Practice notating the chords and at least some of the voicings you find.

(Note: "voicing" has at least two meanings in music. One is the way I used it above: which notes of the chord are chosen, in which order, and how far apart they are.

Another way "voicing" is used means which notes of a chord or piece are being brought out and made louder than the others. For example "voicing the melody" means making the melody more prominent.)
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 10:12 AM

Chord voicings

To illustrate voicing meaning choosing which notes of the chord to play and where: keystring's post on Chord Inversions shows several voicings of the C major chord.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 10:47 AM

For chord voicings, inversions is a must of course, since that is what you do to do voicings -- have a choice of which note goes on the bottom. There is more to it than that, but this is a beginning.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 10:49 AM

I'm also thinking of voicings as things like your stretched out chords shown in your earlier post: for example instead of CEG all as close together as possible, play C (skip E) play G (skip C) play E (that one might take two hands). Or choosing to add the octave: instead of CEG, play CEGC. And so on.
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 11:34 AM

Exercise: Happy Birthday 3
(G major—since there is an F#--Fs are raised a half-step/tone)
1. GBD –Gmajor (tonic) I
2. DF#A-Dmajor (dominant) V
3. DF#A-Dmajor (dominant) V
4. GBD –Gmajor (tonic) I
5. GBD –Gmajor (tonic) I
6. CEG-Cmajor (subdominant) IV
7. DGB-Gmajor (2inversion? Tonic) I and DF#A-Dmajor (dominant) V
8. GBDG-Gmajor (tonic) I

And then the root position triads for G major:
Find the root position triads. For example, for G major, start on G: GBD. Start on A: ACE. Start on B: BDF#. And so on. Remember to use F#, not F natural. The last triad will start on F#: F#AC. What are the names of these triads? Which are major? Which are minor? Which are diminished? (Do you remember how to tell which are which?). Play and listen to the triads.

Root position triads for G major (remember F#):
1. GBD-Gmajor (tonic)I
2. ACE-Aminor
3. BDF# ???? When I write out the scale: BCDEF#GA I get HWWHWW for steps, so that doesn’t help because it doesn’t give me one of the patterns we went over above. So then I looked at the chord and counted semi-tones: B to D is 3 semitones. D to F# is 4 semitones. So, that is a minor chord….Bminor??
4. CEG-Cmajor (subdominant) IV
5. DF#A-Dmajor (dominant)V
6. EGB- Eminor
7. F#AC-?? This is three semitones on each side F# to A is 3 semitones, and A to C is three semitones, so is this a diminished chord? F#dim?
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 11:36 AM

Exercise: Happy Birthday 4
(F major—since there is an Bb--Bs are lowered a half-step/tone)
1. FAC –Fmajor (tonic) I
2. CEG-Cmajor (dominant) V
3. CEG-Cmajor (dominant) V
4. FAC –Fmajor (tonic) I
5. FAC –Fmajor (tonic) I
6. BbDF-Bbmajor (subdominant) IV
7. C FA-Fmajor (2inversion? Tonic) I and CEG-Cmajor (dominant) V
8. FACF-Fmajor (tonic) I


Now do the same thing for F major: verify the scale and work out the root position triads. Remember to use Bb, not B natural. What are the names of these triads? Which are major? Which are minor? Which are diminished? (Do you remember how to tell which are which?). Play and listen to the scale and the triads.
Root position triads for F major (remember Bb):

1. FAC-Fmajor (tonic)I
2. GBbD-Gminor
3. ACE-Aminor
4. BbDF (subdominant) IV
5. CEG- Cmajor (dominant) V
6. DFA-Dminor
7. EGBb-3 semitones for each third that makes up this triad. So this seems to be a diminished chord? Edim
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 12:47 PM

Happy Birthdays 3 and 4

Good work, Valencia. All your chords are correct.
Originally Posted By: Valencia
3. BDF# ???? When I write out the scale: BCDEF#GA I get HWWHWW for steps, so that doesn’t help because it doesn’t give me one of the patterns we went over above. So then I looked at the chord and counted semi-tones: B to D is 3 semitones. D to F# is 4 semitones. So, that is a minor chord….Bminor??

Yes, this chord is B minor. Writing out BCDEF#GA won't particularly tell it to you, since that sequence isn't a major scale, as you saw by looking at the Whole step and Half step pattern. It also isn't a minor scale. In our present context, it's just "G major scale starting on B." Checking the half steps from note to note in BDF# will tell you the chord type, as you found.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 01:07 PM

The BDEF#GAB.... is for scales, not chords. Don't mix them up. The intervals that every major scale shares goes from tonic to tonic. But you're not concerned with scales here, you're looking at chords. That's the source of confusion at that point. smile
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 02:45 PM

We have barely touched on chords themselves, which may have caused the confusion in part of the last exercise. I suggest that for now we first look only at two chords in root position - MAJOR and MINOR CHORDS.

CEG is a major chord, while CEbG is a minor chord.

The distance between notes is called an interval. One way of measuring that distance is by counting how many piano keys we go from one note to the other. One piano key to another piano key is a "half step", and two piano keys make a "whole step".

So from C to E we have 4 half steps. From C to G we have 7 half steps. That makes up our major chord.

From C to Eb we have 3 half steps. From C to G we still have 7 half steps. That makes up our minor chord.

Please explore both the intervals and the chords. Play CEb, and play CE, and listen. Then also play CEG (C major) and CEbG (C minor) and listen. Also play CG, the interval between the outer notes which both have in common.

The most basic chord we usually learn first is the major and minor chord. Both have a 7 steps for the outer notes. The steps from the bottom to middle note are different. You could think of it as a sandwich that has a different filling, or a light switch where the middle note toggles up and down to give us major or minor. Play with this to be familiar with them.

very simple exploration of majors and minors at piano

My teacher has an exercise for beginner students to help them get their ears and hands familiar with major and minor chords. It goes like this:

White key major chords (only the white piano keys are used):
CEG
FAC
GBD

When you're used to that, lower the middle note to get the minors:
CEbG, FAbC, GBbD - toggle back and forth, and don't forget to listen.

All black:
F#A#C# (same thing is GbBbDb)

Oreo cookie chords (black on the outside, white in the middle)

EbGBb
AbCEb
DbFAb

lower the middle note for these as well to get the minor, and toggle

Reverse Oreos (white on the outside, black in the middle)
DF#A
EG#B
AC#E

ditto for minors

The two "odd" ones
BD#F# (white black black)
BbDF (black white wite)

and ditto

This is an exercise that you do over weeks, adding chords as you get comfortable. It coordinates theory first as something you hear and relates to the piano, and then as the names and categories of major and minor. These things should become part of you, and going too fast with too much information is overwhelming. At least that's how it was for me.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 02:58 PM

A brief and incomplete note about intervals. In describing the interval from C to E, I wrote "4 half steps" instead of "major third". That is because we have what intervals are, and how they are named. In beginning theory this is simple, but later on it becomes important.

Let us look at our CE, which has an interval of 4 half steps. We call CE a "third" (as in 1st, 2nd, 3rd - not the fraction). E is the 3rd note over from the starting position of C. CEb is also a "third", because we are still counting letter names, and Eb is the 3rd letter name over from C. CE, with those notes on the staff, and those letter names, is called a "major 3rd". CEb, ditto, is called a "minor 3rd". The 4 half steps vs. 3 half steps is what gives them the quality of major or minor.

The outside of our sandwich, CG is a 5th because G is the 5th note over from C. It is called a "perfect 5th" or P5. Again, it's how many half steps which determine the kind of 5th. If it were CG#, CGb, C#G, then it would still be a 5th, but not a perfect 5th.

You will read "major 3rd" and "minor 3rd" so it's important to at least mention these names.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 03:13 PM

I love that chord exploration of white/oreo/reverse oreo/others and toggling major/minor, keystring. I can tend to get too much into a world of symbols, and not enough exploring at the keyboard.

Also, intervals had been started to be mentioned, and I couldn't think of a more elegant way to say it than you have.
Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 03:29 PM

Lili Marlene
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

...
Experiment with different voicings. Here, "voicing" means a choice of which notes of the chord to use in which order, and how far apart.

OK, here is an idea I have for a couple of chords in this arrangement:

M13
C
LH - C one octave below middle C
RH - E,G,C in the octave above middle C

C7
LH - C, E one octave below middle C
RH - Bb, G (melody) straddling middle C

M14
C#dim
LH - C# one octave below middle C
RH - G, E (melody) straddling middle C

Dm7
LH - D one octave below middle C
RH - A, C, G (melody) straddling middle C

G7
LH - G 1.5 octave below middle C
RH - B, F (melody) straddling middle C

M15
C
LH - C two octaves below middle C
RH - E,G,C (melody is middle C)

I Like the sound of these open chords (IE. spread out.) Just one (my) interpretation for this section.

Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 03:40 PM

Re: Lili Marlene Version 2
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
- your current PDF version has a timing rupture at the transition between bars 7/8 ....


I put this fix in, and added the bass staff as PS88 requested. If the uploader worked, it'll be here:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_LS_Analysis2.pdf

Something still doesn't feel quite right about the last three bars, but I can't put my finger on it.


Edit: I checked, the upload is there, despite another error message.

Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 03:50 PM

Yes, the uploader always gives an error page for some reason, but if you check your email it sends a working link showing it has succeeded.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 04:15 PM

Lili Marlene Version 2 - Analysis
Originally Posted By: Greener

This is fine, but it may be good if someone would volunteer to play our final arrangement (if being posted again) and upload it here.
... With a posted performance it would line up with the arrangement (our score) and be in the correct key.



The following link is *NOT* me playing -- it's the digital output from the MuseScore program saved as MP3:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_LS_Analysis2.mp3


Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 04:22 PM

PianoStudent88, I understand the concept of counting and can count basic pieces but when the rhythms get complicated and uneven I tend to internalize the timing do to the difficult counting while playing. It tends to make the music hackish.

I just thought it should be added to the template, especially for beginners and intermediate players like myself who still struggle with counting. And to mention metronome setting etc...

A great bonus who be for you or Keystring to do you tube demos of some of the projects.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 04:56 PM

Mark..., thanks for the explanation about counting. Do you have any examples of pieces with this issue?

By demos, do you mean something where you can see the hands too? Not just audio?
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 05:08 PM

After playing chords in the families in the order keystring presented, (starting from the all-white key chords, and proceeding to the odd ones), I like to explore them strung together so that the last note of one chord is the first note of the next. (This may be a personal quirk of mine: I like putting things in order.)

Chocolate layer cake (all black: just one of these)
GbBbDb

Oreo cookie chords (black on the outside, white in the middle)
DbFAb
AbCEb
EbGBb

An "odd" one
BbDF (black white white)

White key major chords (only the white piano keys are used):
FAC
CEG
GBD

Reverse Oreos (white on the outside, black in the middle)
DF#A
AC#E
EG#B

An "odd" one
BD#F# (white black black)

The last note of the last one, F#, is just a different name for the first note of the first one, Gb. So you can keep going in a circle with these.

Or do this in reverse, moving from each chord to the chord before it in the list, which is probably more useful for the order these are likely to show up in pieces. (Cue music for "Circle of Fifths"!)

Of course remember to play the minor chord versions as well, toggling the middle note down a half-step.

I love that it's possible to string the chords together like this without breaking up the white/oreo/reverse-oreo families.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 06:20 PM

Lili Marlene Version 2b - Correction

I fixed a typo in Measure 13: C7 written as a chord symbol was correct, but in the grand staff version, the flat for the B was missing, making it sound as CMaj7:

The following link is *NOT* me playing -- it's the digital output from the MuseScore program saved as MP3:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_GS_Analysis2b.mp3

And here's the corrected PDF:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_GS_Analysis2b.pdf


Edit: Changed the files from version 2a to version 2b. That change corrects the beginning of bar 13 from two dotted quarters to a half and a quarter. That plus the missing flat seems to be what was still bugging me..... ;-)



Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/23/13 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
After playing chords in the families in the order keystring presented....

Just to correct an impression, there is no real order to the chords, except as groups. You could start with Oreo cookies, all blacks, all whites, 'oddies" (the B's), anywhere - have fun and play with them.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/24/13 12:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark...
I understand the concept of counting and can count basic pieces but when the rhythms get complicated and uneven I tend to internalize the timing do to the difficult counting while playing. It tends to make the music hackish.

Depending on how you have learned to practice and approach new pieces, I suspect that there are a number of things that can help you beyond having counts written in.

The first is a concept which is huge if you don't have it yet. That is, while performed pieces are a seamless whole, they are not approached that way. Professionals already have the skills, so they'll have less steps, but they still use this process for new, harder music. 1. You take a piece apart, work on smaller sections, and put it back together. 2. You work on different aspects of the music, and then incorporate them into a whole. Or you do one aspect or layer, then another, then another. Timing is one aspect. Timing itself can be broken down further. It can be done by you, especially once you understand your theory more. That is a powerful thing.

Ok - so for timing in more complicated music. I think Richard suggested somewhere to count timing away from the actual music. You can take a troublesome section and tap, say "da da dada da", say "1 2 3and 4" whatever works for you.

Note values are relative to each other, and you can use any kind of counting to work it out mathematically (proportionally). If your time signature is 4/4 and you have a bunch of 16th notes, conventionally it's "1-e-and-a 2-e-and-a". But there is no reason why you can't take a small section and do something else if you know relative proportions.

I learned another trick in a recent piece. I was told to first play the LH with the RH leaving out the "in between notes" until I could get the two hands physically coordinate. Then gradually I brought in the missing notes. This part is pure coordination.

When I started out as a student the first time round I was struggling with various things, trying to "get the feel" of them. I realized one day that I had only a very fuzzy understanding of some basic concepts. Sixteenth notes? Well there were whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, fast notes, and really really fast notes. grin So I faked it. Take any other concept, and it was the same "strategy".

I seem to remember that you will be finding another teacher. You might want to tell the new teacher that you want to learn how to approach pieces, and get the underlying theory to go with it. Often the goals of lessons veer toward the product - pieces, exams, recitals - rather than the process, because that is what most students and their parents (if young) are seen to be interested in. If you do show such interest, you might find yourself an enthusiastic teacher.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/24/13 02:15 PM

If we had some examples of pieces that are a counting challenge, we could do some specific problem-solving.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/24/13 02:57 PM

Lili Marlene Version 2c

PS88 sent me a version with different durations for some of the notes, and the two embellishments removed. I conformed the version with all the chords in it to those durations, and called the result Version 2c. Here are the links:

The following link is *NOT* me playing -- it's the digital output from the MuseScore program saved as MP3:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_GS_Analysis2c.mp3

And here's the corresponding PDF:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_GS_Analysis2c.pdf

Edit -- I forgot to change the b to c on the title line of the PDF.


Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/24/13 05:48 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Mark...
I understand the concept of counting and can count basic pieces but when the rhythms get complicated and uneven I tend to internalize the timing do to the difficult counting while playing. It tends to make the music hackish.

Depending on how you have learned to practice and approach new pieces, I suspect that there are a number of things that can help you beyond having counts written in.

The first is a concept which is huge if you don't have it yet. That is, while performed pieces are a seamless whole, they are not approached that way. Professionals already have the skills, so they'll have less steps, but they still use this process for new, harder music. 1. You take a piece apart, work on smaller sections, and put it back together. 2. You work on different aspects of the music, and then incorporate them into a whole. Or you do one aspect or layer, then another, then another. Timing is one aspect. Timing itself can be broken down further. It can be done by you, especially once you understand your theory more. That is a powerful thing.

Ok - so for timing in more complicated music. I think Richard suggested somewhere to count timing away from the actual music. You can take a troublesome section and tap, say "da da dada da", say "1 2 3and 4" whatever works for you.

Note values are relative to each other, and you can use any kind of counting to work it out mathematically (proportionally). If your time signature is 4/4 and you have a bunch of 16th notes, conventionally it's "1-e-and-a 2-e-and-a". But there is no reason why you can't take a small section and do something else if you know relative proportions.

I learned another trick in a recent piece. I was told to first play the LH with the RH leaving out the "in between notes" until I could get the two hands physically coordinate. Then gradually I brought in the missing notes. This part is pure coordination.

When I started out as a student the first time round I was struggling with various things, trying to "get the feel" of them. I realized one day that I had only a very fuzzy understanding of some basic concepts. Sixteenth notes? Well there were whole notes, half notes, quarter notes, fast notes, and really really fast notes. grin So I faked it. Take any other concept, and it was the same "strategy".

I seem to remember that you will be finding another teacher. You might want to tell the new teacher that you want to learn how to approach pieces, and get the underlying theory to go with it. Often the goals of lessons veer toward the product - pieces, exams, recitals - rather than the process, because that is what most students and their parents (if young) are seen to be interested in. If you do show such interest, you might find yourself an enthusiastic teacher.


I just did a lesson/interview with a new teacher a couple of weeks ago and will start with him in March. He went over the 1 e and a 2 e and a in regard to 16th notes.

I understand the math of time signature and note values. My problem in the physical counting as I'm playing when notes go faster than 8ths and/or the piece is uneven.

I mentioned the counting as part of the template since it's probably a major issue with beginners and even intermediate players. I didn't want to side track the thread about my issues... smile

PianoStudent88 most the stuff I'm working on it copyrighted stuff, so I'm not sure how to bring it up.

My you tube channel you tube channel has my hackish attempts and you can see the timing issues as well as red dot recording issues too. lol. Where I have decent takes it's mostly from internalizing the sound and not so much as counting.

But please don't let my issues deflect from the thread, it was just a suggestion to aid others in the analysis department in future pieces we discuss,
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/24/13 08:14 PM

It doesn't deflect from the thread, because if you come down to it, this is what the thread is about - theory. Timing is theory.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/24/13 08:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark...
.... My problem in the physical counting as I'm playing when notes go faster than 8ths and/or the piece is uneven.

My you tube channel .... has my hackish attempts and you can see the timing issues .... Where I have decent takes it's mostly from internalizing the sound and not so much as counting.


I'm not familiar with the piece you were playing, so I don't know how it was supposed to be. But other than a few little hesitations, nothing stuck out to me as being unintended.

Personally, I don't even bother trying to do any counting at all. I probably do what you call "internalizing the sound" -- I just think of it as knowing how it's supposed to go.

I use the free MuseScore program for writing musical notation, and it has a playback feature built in. You can hear how it plays "Lili Marlene" in the links I posted.

It plays what you've written with absolute mathematical precision. What I've learned from transcribing stuff exactly as written into MuseScore is that the temporal aspect of musical notation is simply inadequate. If you could count with absolute precision, just like a computer, the results wouldn't sound quite right.

I did another experiment, using the free (notice a pattern here?) Audacity sound editing program. I checked the exact timings in some good performances, and found that the duration of a beat could vary quite a bit.

So, my conclusion is that the old counting thing can be used to get you in the ballpark, but once you're close, you have to put it aside and do what feels and sounds right to you.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/24/13 09:00 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung


So, my conclusion is that the old counting thing can be used to get you in the ballpark, but once you're close, you have to put it aside and do what feels and sounds right to you.


Thanks for the reply John. I know what you mean, but I have noticed when I can actually count out an area of music, it does sound better and more accurate.

I'm working on a piece LIMBO and the middle area was sloppy at first. since it had even 8th notes, I started counting and it cleaned it right up. I know if I could count everything, it would be a marked improvement.

I agree once this part is down then you can your own dynamics.
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/24/13 10:49 PM

The nice thing about rhythm, Mark..., is that it never changes despite it being sped up or slowed down. Slow the practicing way down, with a metronome if necessary, and you'll likely find you can keep track of beat subdivisions easily with practice this way. Then, slowly increase the tempo.
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/25/13 09:58 PM

Lili Marlene:

1. Overview: Are there any things in this score that you don't know what they are? Ask here!

The seventh chords are new. I understand now how they are formed by adding a minor third to the primary chord, but I’m not sure if I would recognize these chords yet if I came across them in music where they weren’t labeled as such.

2. Time signature: What is the time signature? What does that mean?

I don’t understand what the “C” means for timing. I see though that there is the equivalent four quarter notes in every measure. Why isn’t the time signature listed as 4/4 time?

3. Key: What key is this in? How do you know?
There are no sharps or flats in the key signature. The piece starts with a C chord in the LH and ends the same way. The final note of the piece in the melody is C. There are also F chords, and G (though they are G7) chords. So I might guess it is C major.

4. Melody: What phrases (smaller groups) does the melody divide into? Where would you put slight pauses in playing it? Where is the climax? Would you play any parts of it louder or softer?

Oh my, well without listening to one of the recordings, I don’t know what I would say about this from just looking at the music.

5. Harmony: What are the names of the chords in each measure? For this initial piece, just consider the notes in the bass clef. (Later on we'll ask about the notes in the treble clef too.) What is the first chord? What is the last chord?

The chords are written in this one, and I’m not sure yet how well I would do recognizing these new 7th chords. The C#dim is also new in measure 13.

6. Playing: Can you play or pick out parts or all of this, even if very slowly? If it seems daunting: try just the melody alone, with just one finger if you want. Try just the lowest notes in the bass clef. Try finding all the notes of each chord.

I played this through, and then tried what Greener did with the suggestion of voicing. But Greener is way ahead of me on that one because I didn’t have any ideas about what I would do differently for the voicing!
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/25/13 10:50 PM

Lilli Marlene: I printed out the score and started to go through it. Something doesn't seem to be right about it. Measure 15 should end on the C chord, and the G7 shouldn't drag into it. You would have the strongest ending chord come after the beat. The same in m.10 going into 11. While looking for something to compare it with, I found this very delightful set of variations, which also makes the chords quite audible.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 05:56 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Lilli Marlene: I printed out the score and started to go through it. Something doesn't seem to be right about it. Measure 15 should end on the C chord, and the G7 shouldn't drag into it. You would have the strongest ending chord come after the beat. The same in m.10 going into 11.


Which version are your looking at? I think perhaps the bar 15 fix is in version 2c, the latest one. On bar 10 to 11, do you mean to delete the ties and go to a quarter rest instead? Or make the change on the first beat, even though it's dissonant?

I think I've confused things by posting a new version for every fix, so perhaps it's better that I wait until I'm back on the fast computer in the office on Monday, and address all the weekend's corrections then.

The YouTube link you posted includes some Russian versions after the variations, and one of them has a chart on screen with completely different durations.... There's even a Russian lyrics version of Horst Wessel, you find the strangest stuff on YouTube.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 06:38 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
On bar 10 to 11, do you mean to delete the ties and go to a quarter rest instead? Or make the change on the first beat, even though it's dissonant?



A dissonance might arise depending on whether this was to be treated as a solo piano piece (I guess that’s the idea) or as an accompaniment to a vocalist.

For the latter, a very basic piano accompaniment might be a simple oom-pah kind of thing; a single LH root note for beats 1 and 3 and a RH chord for beats 2 and 4. You’d then have no problem in bar 11 where you would play just the note C (LH) on beat 1 and the RH chord on beat 2.

As a solo piano piece the C chord falling on beat 2 without anything playing on beat 1 is awkward to say the least. A better way would be to find a chord for beat 1. This could be the G7 played again. Or you could try another chord there. This could be a useful ear-experiment. Perhaps first try out some roots before trying to add the upper notes (of course, you know the melody F is one of them!).

To give it a bit of extra balance I'd probably put a chord on beat 3 as well.

-just a suggestion....
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 09:57 AM

Here's the part that bothers me the most. [edit: of the previous version before it was edited.]

Lille Marlene has a very strong marching beat. 1-2-3-4 It is about a young soldier caught in the he-ll of war dreaming of Lille, lighthearted dance and love. So the melody itself is jaunty and gay, while the accompaniment is a military march. It begins with a bugle call. So for the G7 starting beat 3 of m. 10 to be carried into the first beat of m. 11, this breaks up the rhythm. I think whoever wrote this wanted to harmonize the F in m. 11 and so extended the G7. But that F is a typical appoggiatura.

Similarly, the last measure should start the C on beat 1. This is extremely important because we have the final cadence** and we want the cadence to conclude on a strong beat - not half way through beat 1. What is really happening here is that the last three notes include an embellishment. You could shorten the two notes into sixteenths (or some other rhythm) and then C would start on beat 1.


** Cadence: V-I or V7-I is used to end a piece or a section of a piece. Think of fanfare: Ta-DAAA!
Posted by: Greener

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 10:00 AM

Lili Marlene:
Originally Posted By: Valencia

2. Time signature: What is the time signature? What does that mean?

I don’t understand what the “C” means for timing. I see though that there is the equivalent four quarter notes in every measure. Why isn’t the time signature listed as 4/4 time?

3. Key: What key is this in? How do you know?
There are no sharps or flats in the key signature. The piece starts with a C chord in the LH and ends the same way. The final note of the piece in the melody is C. There are also F chords, and G (though they are G7) chords. So I might guess it is C major.

4. Melody: What phrases (smaller groups) does the melody divide into? Where would you put slight pauses in playing it? Where is the climax? Would you play any parts of it louder or softer?

Oh my, well without listening to one of the recordings, I don’t know what I would say about this from just looking at the music.

6. Playing: Can you play or pick out parts or all of this, even if very slowly? If it seems daunting: try just the melody alone, with just one finger if you want. Try just the lowest notes in the bass clef. Try finding all the notes of each chord.

I played this through, and then tried what Greener did with the suggestion of voicing. But Greener is way ahead of me on that one because I didn’t have any ideas about what I would do differently for the voicing!

I will try to help with some of this Valencia. But, only the parts I feel confident with. I'll leave the rest for the experts. I've just learned most of this stuff myself, on the Sonata Analysis thread.

2. Time Signature: The C is for Common Time. 4/4 is the most common. So, correct this is in 4/4 common time.

3. Key: Your analysis is dead on. Yes, this is in the key of C for the reasons you have explained.

4. Melody: For help with determining what KS has asked us to look for, I would absolutely suggest listening to recordings. It isn't cheating. Try and become very familiar with it through this type of review, before even playing your first note. Personally, if I tried to do much of this from just the score, I would be in trouble. Use, whatever is available to you is my advice.

6. Voicing: How are you playing the chords now? If you are playing the chords as a block in your LH, you could try splitting up the block between L and RH for these few chords, to see the difference and see if you like it.

The new Video KS has posted shows several variations of playing the same tune and some give an entirely different mood. This is partly voicing and partly style and expression.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 10:03 AM

keystring and dire tonic,

this was fixed, at PS88's suggestion, in post #2020432, just a few of posts ago.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 10:03 AM

Saw this later
Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
On bar 10 to 11, do you mean to delete the ties and go to a quarter rest instead? Or make the change on the first beat, even though it's dissonant?

The second. We discussed appoggiatura in Happy Birthday. The "Bir-" of Birthday is dissonant and then it resolves into "Day". It is often used in measure 1 of waltzes, because that dissonance resolving in beat 2 creates a strong rhythm through the way it rubs and then doesn't rub.

I wish we had a separate section for theory and analysis, along with stickies for information on concepts such as appoggiatura, key signatures etc.

Quote:

The YouTube link you posted includes some Russian versions after the variations, and one of them has a chart on screen with completely different durations.... There's even a Russian lyrics version of Horst Wessel, you find the strangest stuff on YouTube.


I didn't watch it to the end and should. It sounds interesting. I was hoping that someone who is used to taking music that is heard, and deriving the chords from it, might be able to jump in. I can hear melody, but am still quite weak in hearing and recognizing chords. It's something that I'm working on, at my end.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 10:07 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
keystring and dire tonic,

this was fixed, at PS88's suggestion, in post #2020432, just a few of posts ago.


I see it was edited since last night. Thanks. smile

Do you think the corrections might be good for learning, because it shows some aspects of rhythm, timing, and harmony and how they work together? Or is it confusing to people? I've learned the most from my mistakes, and there have been some doozies. laugh
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 10:10 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Do you think the corrections might be good for learning...
I'd encourage others to compare the two and field questions on their findings rather than dissect them myself.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 10:11 AM

Curious: Is anyone into military lore and know whether the bugle call at the beginning is a particular bugle call, and if so, what it signals?
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 10:52 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
keystring and dire tonic,

this was fixed, at PS88's suggestion, in post #2020432, just a few of posts ago.



- I don't see any fix. In that post I still see the C chord on beat 2 of 11 with a tie from bar 10.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 10:56 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Lille Marlene has a very strong marching beat. 1-2-3-4 It is about a young soldier caught in the he-ll of war dreaming of Lille, lighthearted dance and love. So the melody itself is jaunty and gay, while the accompaniment is a military march.



For the military feel you'll need something like the oom-pah accompaniment I suggested above. A good example starting at 1.00 in the 'variations' youtube clip you posted.

It also circumvents the 10/11 problem
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 11:04 AM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
keystring and dire tonic,

this was fixed, at PS88's suggestion, in post #2020432, just a few of posts ago.



- I don't see any fix. In that post I still see the C chord on beat 2 of 11 with a tie from bar 10.

Ah, I see it now. Measures 14 - 15 (end) have been fixed, but m. 10 - 11 still have the problem.
Posted by: piano_deb

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 01:42 PM

Having just discovered this thread, I have a few comments/requests.

First of all, a big "Thank you!" to PianoStudent88 and all contributing their knowledge to this discussion. It will be good to have a thread, or series of threads, that focus on elementary/intermediate theory and analysis.

Second, thanks everyone for the useful additional materials — hand-written scoring, performance videos, etc. Of course, any thread that includes a video clip of Victor Borge's brilliant piano comedy gets a thumbs up from me. smile

Third, a recommendation: For anyone providing a score for analysis/discussion, please provide quality pdfs or high-res images — and don't be afraid to use larger staves and notes! Some of us have aging eyes, and low-res screen-shots/jpgs just don't print large enough or cleanly enough to be easily legible.

Finally, a question: Is there any way to limit how far discussions go before we get to move on to another piece? I'm still working through most of the earlier pages but the discussion obviously has gone rather deep into chord theory, far beyond the ken of a number of people here. At what point (Is there an identifiable point?) does the thread lose its intended usefulness for beginner/intermediate players? It would be nice to figure out now how we can keep this thread/topic manageable.

- Should select person(s) be responsible for calling a halt on discussions and asking for the next score to be introduced?

- Should we simply introduce a new piece every "X" pages?

- Several people have recommended that posters just change the title/subject line to reflect the piece under discussion, but people won't always know/think to do that at the time, plus quoted posts may bring in their own title (? not sure), and that's all a headache, IMO.

- I recommend that we simply create separate threads for each piece under discussion, using a standard thread subject line. "Music Analysis 101: Happy Birthday", "Music Analysis: Lili Marlene", etc. should work. Each of these threads can be as long and involved as the posters want, and no one has to worry about changing the subject line, and people don't have to scroll through page after page to figure out where/if a different piece has been introduced yet or not, etc.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 02:21 PM

Welcome, piano_deb. I would ask people to please not change the subject line on an existing thread, because it doesn't change in all the displays, and is confusing. Adding a heading in bold to a post is recommended.

OK, new threads per piece. Do we want to start a new thread for Lili Marlene, or start a new thread with the next piece?

Would people like to see different threads for various areas of music theory? For example, major keys, minor keys, chords, intervals? Or a general music theory thread separate from the pieces threads? I'm not sure how well this idea can work because I think all the topics bleed into each other, and discussion of areas of music theory also bleeds into the analysis of any particular piece. And it's the nature of discussion on all of these threads that more advanced topics get asked about even as some people are still working through the basic topics. But I'm willing to try it if people think it would be helpful.
Posted by: torquenale

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 03:48 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88

OK, new threads per piece. Do we want to start a new thread for Lili Marlene, or start a new thread with the next piece?

Would people like to see different threads for various areas of music theory? For example, major keys, minor keys, chords, intervals? Or a general music theory thread separate from the pieces threads?


I would start with a new thread for the next piece. And why don't we use a code giving the order, something like:
Analysis 02_Title of piece after Lili Marlene
Analysis 03_Title of the next piece
and so on.
So it's possible start from the beginning and follow the path, or if I don't understand something I go back to the previous threads looking for topics already covered.
Posted by: piano_deb

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/26/13 05:15 PM


Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
OK, new threads per piece. Do we want to start a new thread for Lili Marlene, or start a new thread with the next piece?

Would people like to see different threads for various areas of music theory? For example, major keys, minor keys, chords, intervals? Or a general music theory thread separate from the pieces threads? I'm not sure how well this idea can work because I think all the topics bleed into each other, and discussion of areas of music theory also bleeds into the analysis of any particular piece. And it's the nature of discussion on all of these threads that more advanced topics get asked about even as some people are still working through the basic topics. But I'm willing to try it if people think it would be helpful.

The Lili Marlene discussion is already pretty well underway, so I say start a new thread with the next piece.

I also prefer individual threads to focus on specific pieces rather than concepts for all the reasons you mention. Doing so will provide enough of a framework for people at all levels to meet and have something discuss, but still allow for chasing rabbits, as my teacher calls it. Lots of rabbits to be chased in any discussion involving music theory/analysis ...

Originally Posted By: torquenale
I would start with a new thread for the next piece. And why don't we use a code giving the order, something like:
Analysis 02_Title of piece after Lili Marlene
Analysis 03_Title of the next piece
and so on.
So it's possible start from the beginning and follow the path, or if I don't understand something I go back to the previous threads looking for topics already covered.
If the threads are intended to "build" from one to another (perhaps posing more difficult pieces of music as we go along?), then, yes, numbering would be very useful. And it can't hurt, even if people don't chose to read them "in order." I suspect there's going to be lots of repetition of the basics in each thread, and people are certainly free to focus on the pieces that interest them.

I do recommend that the first numbered thread be 01 not 02, and that the first post include a big bold statement that the conversation started in this thread (linked, of course). That way, people can read this conversatin, know why we're creating numbered individual threads, and all that ... and we're not constantly responding to posters who write, "I can't find Analysis_01. Is there an 01? Where's 01?!" laugh
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/27/13 08:13 AM

We discussed having separate threads before this was set up, and we discussed it again at the beginning. Various people were against it, which is why we have this format. Over in the Sonata thread we have successfully used the bold feature to highlight the name of the piece being discussed. I'm behind about 3 pieces over there, so I'll be using the feature liberally.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/27/13 11:16 AM

The suggestion for separate threads keeps coming up from participants, and the preference for one thread seems to only come from a few of the thread organizers, so that is why I have changed my mind and think we should switch to separate threads.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/27/13 02:25 PM

I think if you use separate threads, more people will get involved. When you see a mile long thread, I think people shy away.

Some pieces people will pass on and when a popular piece shows up people will dive in...

my 2 cents...
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/27/13 04:59 PM

To the newcomers - welcome - and are there any questions about what has been discussed so far? smile
Posted by: piano_deb

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/27/13 05:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark...
I think if you use separate threads, more people will get involved. When you see a mile long thread, I think people shy away.

Some pieces people will pass on and when a popular piece shows up people will dive in...

my 2 cents...

That's my feeling, too. Some find it daunting to dive into a long thread just as a reader. Posting is another challenge, especially if one wants to respond to statements that were made many pages earlier. Not everyone is comfortable posting several topics behind the discussion, or is willing to wade through numerous posts about more recent topics in the hope of finding possible responses to their late post on the earlier topic. (Darn, that was a crazy sentence, huh? I hope it makes sense.)

PianoStudent88: You mentioned thread "organizers." Besides you and keystring, I gather, smile who's going to be running this show? Can general participants, particularly beginners who can't necessarily lead the discussion, recommend/provide musical selections for analysis?
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/27/13 07:47 PM

"Organizers" is probably a poor and misleading choice of words. Before I kicked this off, I checked in with keystring, Richard (zrtf90) and Greener, as the most active people on the other analysis thread. The shape of the OP was entirely at my own instigation.

Everyone is welcome to join in both asking questions and giving answers, and also suggesting pieces to look at. I have a general idea in mind of topics that approximately build on each other which I would like to work into some progression of pieces.
Posted by: piano_deb

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/27/13 09:16 PM

It's wonderful how much thought and care you're putting into this PianoStudent88 ... or may I call you 88? smile

I'm more excited about this thread than anything else on PW. Although I arrived late and didn't post anything about "Happy Birthday," I had a lot of fun analyzing it -- and was ridiculously proud of sorting out all the various bits correctly. That may sound like a small victory, but it means that my teacher's very patient and repetitious explanations of time signatures, key signatures, inversions, what turns a G maj. chord into a G7 chord, etc. is starting to percolate through my apparently rock-hard brain. Halleluiah!
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/27/13 09:38 PM

Lili Marlene

Originally Posted By: Greener

I will try to help with some of this Valencia. But, only the parts I feel confident with. I'll leave the rest for the experts. I've just learned most of this stuff myself, on the Sonata Analysis thread.

2. Time Signature: The C is for Common Time. 4/4 is the most common. So, correct this is in 4/4 common time.

3. Key: Your analysis is dead on. Yes, this is in the key of C for the reasons you have explained.

4. Melody: For help with determining what KS has asked us to look for, I would absolutely suggest listening to recordings. It isn't cheating. Try and become very familiar with it through this type of review, before even playing your first note. Personally, if I tried to do much of this from just the score, I would be in trouble. Use, whatever is available to you is my advice.

6. Voicing: How are you playing the chords now? If you are playing the chords as a block in your LH, you could try splitting up the block between L and RH for these few chords, to see the difference and see if you like it.

The new Video KS has posted shows several variations of playing the same tune and some give an entirely different mood. This is partly voicing and partly style and expression.


Thanks for your help Greener. smile I was playing the chords exactly as they were written on the score. but today tried to play them in broken chord form just for fun (since I'm doing song without words 85/1 for the recital which has lots of broken chords in it). I see now how I can move the notes in the chord around slightly and it still sounds ok with the melody (as in change their position octavewise on the keyboard). I'll give the video a listen to all the variations.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/28/13 02:23 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring

Ah, I see it now. Measures 14 - 15 (end) have been fixed, but m. 10 - 11 still have the problem.


That's right. I'll do the bar 10 - 11 fix tomorrow. That appears to be the last of the fixes.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/28/13 02:37 AM

Originally Posted By: piano_deb
Can general participants, particularly beginners who can't necessarily lead the discussion, recommend/provide musical selections for analysis?


Yes, it's already happened. Lili Marlene was all my fault. ;-)
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/28/13 03:42 PM

Lili Marlene, final (I hope?) corrected version


Here it is, very possibly the final corrected version of Lili Marlene

The following link is *NOT* me playing -- it's the digital output from the MuseScore program saved as MP3:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_GS_Analysis2d.mp3

And here's the corresponding PDF:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_GS_Analysis2d.pdf
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/28/13 05:04 PM

Lili Marlene

thanks for uploading this recent version john. smile

I noticed when playing it at the piano that in many places, the chords that are "7" chords could also be played just as regular chords without it sounding wrong. Are the 7th chords mostly to add richness to the sound? The one in the LH at the end of bar 7 sounds like it shifts the sound, but for example, in bar 5, when I play that Dm chord without the 7, it sounds ok to me too.

Also, in measure 6, the second chord is listed as being a D minor chord. Could it also still be played as a G major chord? (I know the first chord in that bar is a G7, but I was just playing it as a G major and it sounded alright to me...).
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/28/13 05:33 PM

JohnSprung, I notice that on the C#dim chord, it's labeled as ii/vii°. That should be vii°/ii. (I wonder if I typed it wrong when I answered your original question about it.)

I would add the "7" notation to the Roman numeral notation for all the 7 chords e.g. ii7, V7. Without the 7 it implies a triad.

Valencia, I think sometimes the 7 is there for colour, and sometimes it's there for a specific effect of leading to the next chord.

For an example of the specific effect of leading to the next chord, look at the C7 in m.7 followed by F in m.8. The C7 includes the notes E and Bb. The interval between these notes is known as a "diminished fifth" and Western harmony of a certain era treats it as an unstable interval, that wants to change, or "resolve", to some pair of notes forming a different, more settled, interval. (Even earlier Western music didn't permit that interval at all.) In this case, the Bb in the C7 chord moves down a half-step to A in the F chord, and the E in the C7 chord moves up a half-step to F in the F chord. This creates a very stable sense of arriving at the F chord.

For another example, look at G7 in m.14 followed by C in m. 15. The diminished fifth this time is between the notes B and F. The F in the G7 chord moves down a half-step to the E in the C chord, and the B in the G7 chord moves up a half-step to the C in the C chord. This creates a very stable sense of conclusion.

Series of chords that end a phrase are called a cadence, and this is a "V7-I" cadence. It is very very common. You probably recognize the sound, even if you haven't studied the details of it before.

Diminished fifths: play the notes B and F. Play them together and separately. Can you hear that this sounds different from the sound of B followed by F#, or B together with F#? If you've been working with the major triads that keystring described (all-white, oreos, reverse oreos, etc.) you may recognize B-F# as the outside of the B major triad BD#F#. This is a "perfect fifth": F# is the fifth letter over from B, and there are 7 half-steps from B to F#. Now look at B-F. F also counts as "the fifth letter over from B", but there are only 6 half-steps from B to F. This is a "diminished fifth", and it's always one half-step smaller than a perfect fifth.

In the same way, explore the diminished fifth E-Bb, compared to the perfect fifth E-B (which is the outside of the E major triad EG#B).

What other perfect fifths and diminished fifths can you find at the keyboard? Listen to them. (One way to find perfect fifths is as the outside notes of any major or minor triad in root position.)
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/28/13 09:56 PM

Hi All,
I'd like to join this discussion, but it will take me a while to catch up
(I just finished page 1 of 9). Is there a way to "bookmark" my place in the forum?

I don't know whether y'all covered this yet,
but my pet peeve with sheet music is that it doesn't match the "poetry" of the music;
instead, it's printed like "prose".

For example, most songs use 4-bar phrases,
but most publishers just put as many bars on a line as will fit,
regardless of where the music phrases break.

So when I "analyze" a piece, one of the first things I do is break it up into phrases,
and if I'm really motivated, I'll put it in an editor
and reprint it with line breaks matching the phrase breaks.

BTW, as for songs, I've been thinking of creating a list of "10 songs everyone should know."
Happy Birthday was #1 on my list, along with your national anthem, your school song,
maybe some songs for popular holidays, etc.
In other words, if you were the only piano player at a social gathering,
what songs would you most likely be asked to play?
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/29/13 03:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Valencia
Lili Marlene
I noticed when playing it at the piano that in many places, the chords that are "7" chords could also be played just as regular chords without it sounding wrong. Are the 7th chords mostly to add richness to the sound? The one in the LH at the end of bar 7 sounds like it shifts the sound, but for example, in bar 5, when I play that Dm chord without the 7, it sounds ok to me too.

Also, in measure 6, the second chord is listed as being a D minor chord. Could it also still be played as a G major chord? (I know the first chord in that bar is a G7, but I was just playing it as a G major and it sounded alright to me...).


Are 7th's really absolutely necessary? Sometimes. But sometimes you can get away with dropping back to a simple triad, and as you observed, it's not so bad.

Consider Irving Berlin's "White Christmas", bars 9 and 10, the lyrics "tree tops glisten". The first three notes have E for the melody line, and the chords go C, CMaj7, C7. The only change is that the second time you have a B, and the third time a B flat, added to what you started with. Just plain C all three times wouldn't be nearly as good.

The same thing happens the other way. I sometimes catch myself adding a 7th where only a triad is written. That happens a lot with the ii chord, playing ii7 (Dm7 in this case) instead.

In addition to 7ths, there are some less frequently added notes, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths, that you can also get away with dropping in some cases. The higher the number, the less it seems to matter.

Staying on G7 instead of going to the Dm kinda works in bar 6. The main reason to go to Dm is that there's also G7 ahead of this in bar 5 and after it in bar 7, which gets to be monotonous, like a bagpipe drone. If you hold down all the keys for G7 and Dm above it, you'll notice that it's just every other white key from G up past the octave to an A, which is a G9 chord. So, what you have are two subsets of that bigger G9. It's sort of a bigger version of the "Oom Pah" trick of playing the root, then going to the third and fifth, and back to the root.


(Edit: I'm just assuming here that everybody knows Irving Berlin's music. But am I wrong about that?)
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/29/13 03:50 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
JohnSprung, I notice that on the C#dim chord, it's labeled as ii/vii°. That should be vii°/ii. .... I would add the "7" notation to the Roman numeral notation for all the 7 chords e.g. ii7, V7.

Diminished fifths:


I'll put those fixes into the files.

Perhaps it's worth noting that the diminished fifth works out to be the same as an augmented fourth. A fifth plus a fourth adds up to an octave, as does a fourth plus a fifth. This weird diminished fifth/augmented fourth is exactly in the middle of the octave. It's also sometimes called a Tritone.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/29/13 03:45 PM

Lili Marlene, final (I hope?) corrected version


Here it is again, with PS88's corrections to the Roman numerals.

The following link is *NOT* me playing -- it's the digital output from the MuseScore program saved as MP3:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_GS_Analysis2e.mp3

And here's the corresponding PDF:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Norbert_Schultze_Lili_Marlene_C_GS_Analysis2e.pdf
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/31/13 01:49 PM

Lili Marlene 2e
RE: the C#dim chord in M13.
I thought someone earlier called it #Idim7 or #io7 rather than viio.
The sharp i makes more sense to me since the bass is ascending from C to D,
rather than descending to B. Besides, wouldn't the other alternative have to be a flat seven, since the chord tone is Bb, but the seventh note of C major is B natural.
I may be confused about Roman Letter chord names,
especially in an example like this, where essentially all four notes are modified (vs. the C triad):
raised root, minor 3rd, dim fifth, and dom 7th.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/31/13 02:07 PM

A partial answer to Tinman

We have movement going on. The primary movement is V7-I, which is G7 to C at the end of the piece. Going backward, you have Dm7 to G7. In the circle of fifths, D is the dominant chord of G major or minor, and even if it is Dm here because it is staying diatonic (keeping the notes of the key signature) it is giving that sense of movement. Then going back further, you have this C#dim. C#dim is the viio chord of D major or minor which is also a movement. C#dim also constitutes the top notes of A7 (AC#EG) which is the V7 of D major or minor. So the viio/ii reflects that. You almost have a V/V/V (A7 is V/D, D is V/G, G is V/C) all of which creates a movement leading to resolution.

Meanwhile - in regards to the C#dim - It's breaking the rule or advice to avoid having diminished chords (viio) in root position. Does it sound odd or ok here?
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/31/13 02:25 PM

RE: Next Piece
What is the attraction of Burgmueller for analysis?
I had the impression that this was just "finger exercises",
not serious music, although I'm sure it illustrates many technical points.

I do think one of the problems of "analysis" of beginner music
is that the music has often been so modified in timing or harmony or voicing
to make it "easy to play" that some really interesting musical aspects
of the original composition have been lost or obscured.

I'd like to see a mix of popular and classical selections.
For classical, I'm fond of The Anna Magdalena Notebook,
but I think it might be more useful to cover a variety of composers and periods.
I have a book called Great Piano Music Vol 1 by Ada Richter (Theo. Presser, 1981)
with a variety of graded 1-2 page "easy" solos from 20 different composers from Bach to Bartok.

In the popular vein, I'd like to see some analysis of jazz.
(My teacher has been pushing me into it!)
I understand it uses different scales and more complex harmonies
(a lot of 7 9 11 and 13 chords)
but on the other hand is the basis for contemporary pop/rock and gospel/praise music.
But maybe that's a subject worthy of it's own "analysis" forum!
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/31/13 03:17 PM

tinman1943, that was me who mentioned #Idim. I also mentioned vii°. But I didn't call it just vii°, I called it vii°/ii. The "/ii" is an important part of that chord name. These two names -- #Idim7 and vii°/ii -- are coming from two different systems of naming chords.

#Idim means it's the diminished triad built on the sharped tonic of the key: that is, C#dim. This comes from a system that always relates the roman numeral for the chord to the notes of the major scale for the piece. This is the system I will use on this thread.

vii°/ii comes from a different system which I will not normally use on this thread. The notations means: first look at the number after the slash, ii. That means find the minor key built on the second degree (that is, note) of the piece's scale. The piece is in C major, the second degree is D, and in particular the triad built on D out of notes in C major is D minor: DFA. So D minor is our temporary key for the purposes of interpreting this chord symbol. Next look at the number before the slash, vii°. That means consider the (temporary) key of D minor and find the diminished triad built on the raised seventh note of the D minor scale (or the seventh note of the harmonic D minor scale). This is C#dim.

So exactly the same chord is meant by both symbols, #Idim and vii°/ii.

Just to make things more complex, the slash notation with Roman numerals on both sides of the slash that I described in this post is different from the slash notation that we will normally use on this thread, e.g. C/G to mean a C chord with G as the lowest note.

You're right that a plain vii° in C major would have meant Bdim.

(I started this a while ago, so now it's cross-posted. I like keystring's reply to tinman above, because it talks about musically the progression of chords and how they're leading one to the next. My post here is a purely technical post focused on the mechanics of naming chords.)
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/31/13 03:34 PM

tinman1943, good suggestions about pieces. Burgmüller's studies include some good pieces such as Ballade and Arabesque. It depends on your musical tastes as to whether you find most of the other studies interesing or not. I'm quite fond of orderly and straightforward music, so I like the studies, but I know I have some odd tastes.

Anyway, the reason for proposing to tackle Burgmüller before the Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook was that I think that the harmony is easier to analyze in Burgmüller than in AMBN. Also I think that for people who may be coming out of mostly chord playing, Burgmüller's style is easier than the counterpoint of the AMBN.

I think there's value in looking at simpler pieces to get the basics of analysis out of the way before tackling pieces that are more complex, in particular that are more complex in being able to identify the harmonies.

That said, I'm not attached to any exact piece. If pieces from your Great Piano Music Vol I are available on imslp, we can work on them too.

I know almost nothing about jazz, but maybe there are others on the thread who know more and could guide us in jazz analysis. Do you have any pieces in mind?

I do have a piece I want to do next, which is America (a.k.a. God Save The Queen for our Commonwealth pianists). The reason is to give us some more practice in identifying a wider variety of chords, and to continue looking at chord progressions.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 01/31/13 04:02 PM

And one more post: tinman1943, is this the book you have?
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/01/13 04:16 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
That said, I'm not attached to any exact piece.


Indeed, why even be attached to the notion of doing complete pieces one at a time? To cover topics and make points, why not present them using little snippet examples, perhaps just a bar or two -- like the example from "White Christmas" above.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/01/13 04:56 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
To cover topics and make points, why not present them using little snippet examples, perhaps just a bar or two -- like the example from "White Christmas" above.
The problem with isolating fragments is that this thread becomes more like a course of instruction that could skip real world features and they can get swept under the carpet.

By looking at complete pieces every event comes under scrutiny and the learning is more homogenous with no stone unturned.

We move from learning the theory as an interesting by-product that aids understanding into learning theory, with a real world example or two, but scant idea of its effect within the larger context of a piece and thus devoid of interest, meaning or purpose.

Here we are looking at all the theory necessary to understand a particular piece and learning it by understanding its function rather than learning a dull checklist of how it can be used. The learning is motivated by the desire to understand a piece of music and its effects.

A course of instruction might look at a particular type of cadence and show its basic function. Then you come across real world examples that aren't so basic and you feel betrayed.

Here we look at all the cadences in a piece and build a catalogue of functions from real examples. No cadences get overlooked. The knowledge is empirical and more complete but also with doorways to other avenues, not a closed book.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/01/13 02:57 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90


A course of instruction might look at a particular type of cadence and show its basic function. Then you come across real world examples that aren't so basic and you feel betrayed.


On this general idea: When I began harmony theory the traditional way, each book that I got had something missing. All of them restricted themselves to common patterns while real music is not that narrow. Even for the "traditional in Bach's time", when they finally showed Bach, they warned us not to break the rules that Bach broke! One of the books has a tiny note for teachers saying that it is all simplified, and if they want to expand with their students, please go ahead.

Meanwhile, what we did was exercises. You learned about primary (I, IV, V) and secondary (ii,iii, vi, viio) chords, and how each was used, and then you wrote exercises. You never actually saw this applied in music. Well, then I found a book that did try to do what JohnSprung suggested - use small excerpts. Now this was still from the point of view of the theory being taught, rather than figuring things out from a piece. So this book taught the same chord-thing as Sarnecki, but it added pieces. For every item of theory, there were around 40 (!) excerpts from music. If it taught about I64 V7 I (which they name V64 V7 I) then you found it in those 40 pieces and saw how it was applied. If the tritone that you find in any V7 (BF) moves to a give place in a V7 I progression, then you drew arrows in these excerpts, to catch the movement.

There was a huge weakness! They had to search far and wide, and the excerpts were out of context. As a student I wasn't familiar with the pieces, but my teacher spotted it. He would say that excerpt X was near the end of some section in that movement, where there was a modulation and other things going on, and musically the example was wrong. If a student were learning to hear and understand music, this killed that kind of hearing and understanding. It was great for passing tests (my opinion) but not for being a musician.

Therefore I do tend to endorse the wholeness idea. There are weaknesses in doing theory in this form, and some real study of each item should probably be done as well.
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/01/13 09:09 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
A partial answer to Tinman

C#dim is the viio chord of D major or minor which is also a movement. C#dim also constitutes the top notes of A7 (AC#EG) which is the V7 of D major or minor. So the viio/ii reflects that. You almost have a V/V/V (A7 is V/D, D is V/G, G is V/C) all of which creates a movement leading to resolution.


Wow! I never thought of it that way. So if you create a sequence of Dom7 around the circle of fifths, then the 3-7 (alternately inverted) of those chords forms a chromatic sequence of aug4/dim5/tritones! So is that why the circle of fifths (or a dim progression) "works"?

Example: bold are the Dom7 roots; cols 2 and 4 are the dim5, "=" means natural
E= G# B= D=
__ G= A= C# E= G=
D= F# A= C=
__ F= G= B= D= F=
C= E= G= Bb
__ Eb F= A= C= Eb
Bb D= F= Ab

etc.
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/01/13 09:27 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
RE tinman1943 C#dim
.... These two names -- #Idim7 and vii°/ii -- are coming from two different systems of naming chords....
Just to make things more complex, the (above) is different from the slash notation that we will normally use on this thread, e.g. C/G to mean a C chord with G as the lowest note.


Good explanation.
I don't recall ever seeing the roman/roman notation before;
I had it confused with the "normal" one.

But it relates to an interesting point: why does the 'leading tone" lead?

I'm thinking that trying to do analysis in terms of chord name of whatever system just leads to a lot of seemingly arbitrary rules.

But doing the analysis in terms of actual intervals (concurrent and sequential)
expressed as "just" frequency ratios (such as 2:3 for a "fifth") might lead to an actual understanding of why the music works.

In the end, we'll have the same rules, but we might have a better understanding of why they are the rules.
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/01/13 11:15 PM

Next Piece?
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
RE tinman1943, is this the book you have?


That's it: Great Piano Music, ed. Ada Richter
JCF Bach: Country Dance
JS Bach: Minuet
Bartok: Copy Cat; Indian Dance
Beethoven: Rondo a Capriccio
Diabelli, Moderato
Gretchaninoff, Sailing
Gurlitt: Landler; Micchievous Child
Haydn: Minuet
Krieger: Bourree
Loeschhorn: Song without words
Mozart: aria; Minuet in F major
Mueller: Andantino
Neefe: Canzonet
Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach: Chorale 8
Ornstein: Listen to the Drums
Rameau: Menuet
Schumann: Canzonetta
Schytte: Cantibile; Polka
Wanhal: Theme from a Sonatina
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/02/13 03:25 AM

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
But doing the analysis in terms of actual intervals (concurrent and sequential)
expressed as "just" frequency ratios (such as 2:3 for a "fifth") might lead to an actual understanding of why the music works.


Integer frequency ratios are a natural consequence of the physics of vibrating strings, air columns, metal bars on a glockenspiel, etc. The physics and math may make an interesting appendix to the book for those who can follow that stuff. But it doesn't do much to illuminate why we like ii - V - I chords in that order.

At this point, I'll refrain from a very long tangent on overtones, equal and other temperaments, the circle of fifths, and all that.... (Except maybe to remark that only the first two overtones really matter, 2:1 for the octave, and 3:1 which is an octave and a fifth. Going up and down octaves and fifths you can put the whole circle together from that.)
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/02/13 10:42 AM

Originally Posted By: John Sprung
At this point, I'll refrain from a very long tangent on overtones, equal and other temperaments, the circle of fifths, and all that....(Except maybe to remark that only the first two overtones really matter, 2:1 for the octave, and 3:1 which is an octave and a fifth. Going up and down octaves and fifths you can put the whole circle together from that.)

No, you can't - and it's not my style to refrain from long tangents... smile

Using the 3:2 ratio on A = 110Hz you get to A = 14272.1 hz approx.
(E=165, B=247.5, F# = 371.25 etc.)

Going up the octaves you get (via 220, 440, 880, 1760, 3520, 7040) to 14080 - not 14272.1

That's why we had to develop mean, well, and equal temperaments. Most pianos are now tuned to a stretched equal temperament to compensate for the way our ears work but that's a subject for another time.

The octave was divided into twelve equal tones with each frequency being a multiple of the twelfth root of 2 (1.059463)

We lost the pure fifths, though they are very close (off by 0.11%) and we created a very dissonant interval at the seventh (off by almost 3%, nearly 30 time worse).

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
But it relates to an interesting point: why does the 'leading tone" lead?
Because it's so dissonant! It wants to resolve to consonance. The nearest point of resolution is the semitone above.

If you watch a pair of flashing blue lights on an ambulance, for example, they go in and out of synch. You can see that one just needs to increase a little or decrease a little to get back in synch. The ear does this with sound waves.

Play a major scale and observe the tension that develops as it almost propels you to get to the tonic. It establishes the tonic centre. Try not singing the final note of Lili Marleen, a classic 7-8 resolution.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/02/13 10:49 AM

7-8 resolution: using the 7th note of the scale going to the 8th note of the scale. E.g. B to C in the key of C major, or F# to G in the key of G major, etc.
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/02/13 04:43 PM

Hi Everyone, It's been a busy week wrt to other realms of life and so I'm only now getting to some of the latest in this thread.

Thanks keystring for the suggestion of going through the chords for major and minor on all the keys, and pianostudent88 for the notes about the perfect and diminished fifths. I went through and found the chords. One thing i'm wondering is how do you know when to describe the chord in terms of sharps or flats? I think this will become clearer once I learn to recognize all the key signatures.

i went through and tried to go from the diminished fifth to the tonic chords. so the diminished fifth is always part of a 7th chord...and the root of that chord is always the fifth note of the key that the tonic is in? i made sense of it at the piano, but now sitting away from the piano, i can't quite remember what i did. anyway while I was at the piano, i realized how they fit together. But again i wasn't sure how to name some of the chords I found because I wasn't sure whether to describe them in terms of flats or sharps.


and thanks johnsprung for explaining the 7ths in white christmas, that makes sense!!
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/03/13 05:41 AM

I haven't quite understand the question about describing chords in terms of sharps or flats. When you are considering whether a cord is major or minor, you are simply going by the intervals. Example: in root position, a major chord has a major 3rd (4 semitones) from root to third, and a perfect 5th (7 semitones) from root to 5th. This is the same regardless of how a chord is notated.

Example (try on piano and observe your intervals):

CEG - count all your piano keys, both white and black
DF#A - as you scoot over 4 piano keys, you'll land on F#.
FAC
F# A# C# - three black keys, remembering that the # brings the notes to the right (F to F#, A to A#, C to C#).

Gb Bb Db - the same black keys, but this time you've moved from G to Gb to the left; from B to Bb, from D to Db, to find those three notes.
-------------------
Your major chord will always have the 3rd being 4 semitones over. So for example from C to E, you move from C to C#, C# to D, D to D#, D# to E - those are 4 piano keys.

How about finding some on your own, starting with piano keys.

Find these major chords on your own:

Example:
Ab C__ E___
If you go 4 piano keys from Ab what kind of a C do you land on? It should be C. If you go 7 piano keys from Ab what kind of E do you land on? You should land on the black key to the left of E, which makes it Eb.
So the answer is: Ab C Eb is the Ab major chord.

E G__ B___
A C__ E___
Db F__ A___

Can you get this one:
B D__ F__

I just invented this exercise following your question, so please let me know if it works or if it's confusing.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/03/13 08:54 AM

Velencia, you might be interested in a little chart Greener has put together. It's a ribbon of fifths, based upon an opened out circle of fifths.

Major chords are formed from the letter on the top row; the fifth is the box to its right and the third is the box below the fifth.

Minor chords are formed from the letter in the middle row; the fifth is again the box to its right but the third is the box above the tonic rather than below the dominant.

Major chords:
| 1 | 5 |
|---|---|
| - | 3 |

Minor chords:
| 3 |
|---|---|
| 1 | 5 |

The minor seventh (note) is two squares to the left. That makes a minor seventh chord with a letter from the middle row and a dominant seventh chord, or plain seventh, with a letter from the top row. The note for a major seventh is a knight's move away, down 2, left 1.

There are other uses for the grid. You might become familiar with the middle of it from usage but I still refer to the extremities while analysing pieces in remote keys.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/03/13 04:32 PM

That chart helps people find at a glance the functional chords in each key so that they can instantly get answers to analysis questions. They don't have to understand what a IV chord is, or how to find one. Valencia's question was on a very basic level, involving major chords and how they relate to accidentals and key signatures. I don't know if the exercise I suggested will work, but if it does I think it will give this understanding. Will using a chart give that understanding?

Actually, I studied that chart. Maybe it is handy for some people to quickly see what the Dominant (V) and Subdominant (IV) chord is by looking left and right, but is it meant to aid understanding of basic theory? Can you get the nature of a major chord, and why the A major chord has a sharped note in the middle, through this chart?
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/03/13 05:26 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Valencia's question was on a very basic level, involving major chords and how they relate to accidentals and key signatures...Can you get the nature of a major chord, and why the A major chord has a sharped note in the middle, through this chart?
No, that's not why I posted it.

Originally Posted By: Valencia
But again i wasn't sure how to name some of the chords I found because I wasn't sure whether to describe them in terms of flats or sharps.
Having found the chord I thought the chart might help clarify whether the notes in it are sharps or flats.

It won't build understanding on its own but it might help by seeing the patterns and relationships that lead to it and that it leads to. When I first saw this chart, or a subset of it, it led to an 'aha' moment when so many things fell into place.

I was no longer searching in the dark for lots of little things not knowing where I was headed. Seeing this made everything finite and achievable. There are many paths to understanding. Few of us all tread the same one.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/03/13 06:06 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
No, that's not why I posted it.

As I thought. That gives an idea of usage.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/03/13 06:08 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
When I first saw this chart, or a subset of it, it led to an 'aha' moment when so many things fell into place.

I was no longer searching in the dark for lots of little things not knowing where I was headed. Seeing this made everything finite and achievable. There are many paths to understanding. Few of us all tread the same one.

At this stage, charts or the circle of fifths serve as a summary or picture of things I've discovered in stages. It's like after a journey you look at a map and get the big picture. I see what you're saying.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/04/13 04:06 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: John Sprung
At this point, I'll refrain from a very long tangent on overtones, equal and other temperaments, the circle of fifths, and all that....(Except maybe to remark that only the first two overtones really matter, 2:1 for the octave, and 3:1 which is an octave and a fifth. Going up and down octaves and fifths you can put the whole circle together from that.)

No, you can't - and it's not my style to refrain from long tangents... smile

Using the 3:2 ratio on A = 110Hz you get to A = 14272.1 hz approx.
(E=165, B=247.5, F# = 371.25 etc.)

Going up the octaves you get (via 220, 440, 880, 1760, 3520, 7040) to 14080 - not 14272.1

That's why we had to develop mean, well, and equal temperaments. Most pianos are now tuned to a stretched equal temperament to compensate for the way our ears work but that's a subject for another time.

The octave was divided into twelve equal tones with each frequency being a multiple of the twelfth root of 2 (1.059463)

We lost the pure fifths, though they are very close (off by 0.11%) and we created a very dissonant interval at the seventh (off by almost 3%, nearly 30 time worse).


Well, OK. I didn't go off on a long enough tangent. But still, trying to keep it short:

The octave is divided into twelve equal tones, and also into 1200 cents, each being the 1200th root of two. The JND for successive (not simultaneous, that gives you beats) tones for human hearing is about 6 cents. The tweak from pure 4ths and 5ths to equally tempered is about 2 cents. So, we accept that. Higher order overtones that aren't multiples of powers of 2 and 3 turn out never to land within 6 cents of a note of the equally tempered scale.

Looking at the first few overtones:

2:1 and 3:1 are the foundation of our scale. 4:1 is two octaves. 6:1 is an octave above 3:1 8:1 is three octaves. 9:1 is (3x3):1, etc.

We need to look at 5:1, 7:1, (10:1 is 2x5:1) 11:1, etc. I did the math for all of them once, out to about 25:1. It turns out that none of them land within a JND.

Piano tuners -- those who do it by ear -- set up a temperament by going around the circle of 5ths and 4ths, narrowing the 5ths and widening the 4ths by about 2 cents, by counting beats. It's all based on the pure first overtone (octave) and the slightly modified second overtone.

The point I was trying to make is that none of the higher order overtones have anything to do with why we have the twelve tone octave.

The other point is that while the math may be interesting, it really doesn't much help us understand which chords to use, or what leading tones are....
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/04/13 04:35 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung


The other point is that while the math may be interesting, it really doesn't much help us understand which chords to use, or what leading tones are....


Quite. The name 'leading note' (or tone, or whatever) is no more than a name given to the 7th note in the diatonic major scale because it leads, in the most obvious and scale-orientated way, to the tonic which is pre-eminent. But it has no magical leading or inclining properties of its own other than those which arise out of its context within, and membership of, the scale.

IOW, if we are played the first 7 notes of the scale we are very likely to expect the 8th note out of sheer habituation but the leading note doesn't lead there irresistibly in the broader world of non-scalar music.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/04/13 09:53 AM

I'm still thinking about Valencia's question about the names to give chords (and perhaps the notes in the chords as well). Some answers have been given already. I want to try an answer as well. To set the stage, I want to talk about intervals first.

I want to talk about intervals because I want to be able to say: a major triad is a major third and a perfect fifth above the root. A dominant 7 chord (e.g. C7: CEGBb) adds a minor seventh, while a major 7 chord (e.g. Cmaj7: CEGB) adds a major seventh. A dominant 7 chord resolves to the chord whose root is a fifth below. E.g C7 resolves to F. That information implicitly contains all (or almost all) the needed information about when to choose sharps or flats.

The key about intervals is that there is sound, and there is the names (or notation on the staff) that we use for that sound. Naming intervals has to do not only with sound, but also with the names, or staff notation, that we use for that sound.

Major thirds

Play a note, and the note 4 half-steps higher. Play them together, and also one after the other. That sound (the same as the first two notes of "Oh When the Saints") is the same sound whatever we call the notes. For example, start on C. The sound is the same whether we call the two notes CE or CFb or B#E or B#Fb or B#D## (to think of successively more unlikely things that we might call it!). For another example, start on F#. The sound is the same whether we call the two notes F#A# or F#Bb or GbA# or GbBb or GbCbb or E##A#, etc. (I'm having fun running through all the crazy names we could give a note...)

But when we give that sound of "four half steps" an interval name and call it a major third, that implies a particular way of notating it. In particular, a major third is notated on two neighbouring line notes, or two neighbouring space notes. For ilustrations of thirds, see p. 9 of Jason Sifford's guide to intervals Interval, Schminterval.

So in our first example starting on C, the note a major third up is called and notated E -- not D##, not Fb. If we were to call the first note B#, then the note a major third up would be called some type of D: D## to be exact. Take out a piece of staff paper (or draw five lines to be a staff) and draw these, to see what's going on.

Notice that this matches up with what keystring said earlier in the thread: an interval of a third means the third letter over, starting from the first letter. For example, C, D, E. Or B#, some type of C, some type of D (D## to be exact).

Look at the second example, from the first of the group of three black keys to the last of that group. Suppose we call the first note F#. Draw this on your staff paper. Let's say we're doing this on the first space of the treble clef. The note a third higher needs to be notated on the next space of the treble clef: the second space. So it's a type of A. We can see on the keyboard that it's the black key to the right of A natural, hence A#.

Suppose instead we call that first note Gb. Draw this on your staff paper. Let's say we're doing this on the second line of the treble clef. The note a third higher needs to be notated on the next line of the treble clef: the third line. So it's a type of B. We can see on the keyboard that it's the black key to the left of B natural, hence Bb.

Minor thirds

The same thing is true of minor thirds: they are notated on two neigbouring lines, or two neighbouring spaces. This matches up with the rule for thirds (of any type), that they be the third letter. Also they are three half-steps. For example, counting off letters C 1, D 2, Eb 3 gives that CEb is a third. What kind of third? Check the number of three half-steps from C to Eb: C to Db, 1. Db to D, 2. D to Eb, 3. So CEb is a minor third.

So by just a quick glance at the staff you can detect thirds: two neighbouring lines, or two neighbouring spaces. Then you have to either check the sound, or count the half-steps, or use other remembering devices, to know what kind of third it is.

Perfect fifths

Similarly, there is a pattern on the staff for fifths (of any type, perfect or otherwise). They are either two lines with a line in between, or two spaces with a space in between. See p. 3 of the aforementioned Interval, Schminterval. To be a perfect fifth, there must be 7 half-steps from the first note to the second note.

Suppose we start on B, on the middle line of the treble clef. That means the note a perfect fifth higher must be on the top line of the treble clef, hence a type of F. Checking half-steps, we find that it must be F#. Notice that this matches up counting letters: the letter for a fifth must be the fifth letter over from the starting letter. E.g. B, a type of C, a type of D, a type of E, F#. So a perfect fifth starting on B is notated as BF# -- not BGb.

Diminished fifths

Diminished fifths are also a type of fifth. They are 6 half-steps: one half-step smaller than a perfect fifth. Being a type of fifth, they are also notated on two lines with a line in between, or two spaces with a space in between. For example the interval BF is a diminished fifth.

Major and minor sevenths

A seventh is notated... well, ugh, I can't eyeball sevenths easily. It's notated on the line or space below where the octave would be notated. (Thinks about it a bit). This turns out that sevenths are notated either on two lines with two lines in between, or on two spaces with two spaces in between.

A major seventh is 11 half-steps; a minor seventh is 10 half-steps. But double-ugh, I hate counting half-steps, so I remember that a major seventh is a half-step down from an octave, and a minor seventh is a whole-step down from an octave.

So a major seventh above C is B, and a minor seventh above C is Bb. Note that the letter for a seventh is the seventh letter over (for example C D E F G A B, B is the seventh letter from C). So, for example, the note a major seventh above G is called F#, not Gb.

Remember what I said about sound? The sound is exactly the same whether we call it GF# or GGb. But when we start naming it as a major seventh, we are implying a particular choice of note name (and notation): GF#.

See p.7 of Interval, Schminterval.

I hate counting

Now for a secret: I hate counting half-steps. My limit for patience with counting half-steps is about 2 half-steps. I've just described for sevenths how I avoid counting 10 or 11 half-steps, and just back down 2 half-steps or 1 half-step from the octave instead.

Here are some other tricks that I use to avoid counting half-steps.

For major thirds, I remember the major triads, and a major third is always the first two notes of a major triad in root position.

For minor thirds, I remember the major thirds, and a minor third is a half-step smaller than that. I could remember the minor triads instead: a minor third is always the first two notes of a minor triad in root position. I don't happen to do it that way, but you might find that helpful.

For perfect fifths, I could remember them as the outside of either a major or minor triad, but actually I just have these memorized. (For a long time I used a mnemonic BEADGCF (pronounced beed-guh-cuf), which gives descending fifths, or ascending fifths when read backwards. This is a mental quirk of mine that this works for me: easily reading a mnemonic backwards in my head. This may not work for everyone.) If I'd known about the "two lines with a line in between, or two spaces with a space in between" when I was learning these, I could have visualized them on the staff instead of using the mnemonic.

For diminished fifths, I remember the perfect fifths, and a diminished fifth is always a half-step smaller than that. For example GDb. I remember "GD is a perfect fifth, so GDb must be a diminished fifth."

For major and minor sevenths, as mentioned, I count them back one or two half-steps back from the octave.

I have some other ways of finding intervals also, involving keys and inverted intervals, but I'll talk about those later, since it involves more material than we need yet and I don't want to overload the information (as if this post isn't perhaps too much information already).

Other intervals

There are other intervals smaller than an octave: seconds, fourths, and sixths. You can read about them in Interval, Schminterval. I'll post about them at some other time; we don't need them yet.

When we start to talk about extended chords (chords bigger than a sevenths), we get into extended intervals like ninths, elevenths, thirteenths (and there are tenths, twelfths, etc.) I'll talk about those at some later time, when we start to really need those chords.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/04/13 09:02 PM

OK, here's something that some of you may find helpful, particularly beginners reading lead sheets.

Instead of doing all that dreary counting of half steps, I've borrowed the old idea of the slide rule to make a handy way of finding which keys to press. What you do is print out all these PDF's, then cut or fold the keyboard picture as indicated. Put it on top of any of the others with the tick mark for the root you want lined up with the "R", and the other tick marks are the tones of the chord you want. Since it's just a stack of paper, it's fairly easy to use at the piano, along with the paper sheet music.

Granted, this isn't too convenient for analysis, since you have to then go from the keyboard image to the letter names. But I had it handy....



http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Chords-1.pdf

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Chords-2.pdf

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Chords-3.pdf

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Chords-4.pdf

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Chords-5.pdf

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/Keyboard.pdf

Edit: Here's an explanation on how to use it:

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/KeyChord.pdf
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 12:06 AM

Is this going to work where you have two adjacent white keys that are a semitone apart (BC, EF)?
Posted by: btb

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 02:24 AM

Beginners Forum
Just a bit of advice from the sidelines ...
the “analysis” approach would suggest the poster hopes to “gain a march”
(with the help of others) in understanding the bewildering jumble of keyboard notes which confront the befuddled beginner.

However the OP shoots himself in the foot by saying
“it's not so important to be able to play the pieces we analyse” ...
The truth is that hands on the keyboard is the critical catalyst to understanding the music.

Slow progress starting with the basics should be the watchword ... playing a favourite piece (however elementary) and then memorizing same to afford a pleasant rendition, is the way to go.

Here’s a picture of of the keyboard score to “Happy Birthday” to get you under way ...
What can we learn from the image?
Feeling = with enthusiasm
f = loud (as against soft)
3/4 = waltz time (or three-quarter time)
There are two staves ... upper “treble” and lower “bass”
There are 8 measures with words relating to the notes sounded
Notes with a dot are extended in length by a half
The black notes are called quarter notes (in this case)
The open notes are called ‘half” notes (twice the length of 1/4 notes)
Two notes joined vertically form chords (played simultaneously)
and all this info in a single image.

Now to play ... it is sometimes easier to play the two hands separately at first ...
So D ...D.E ...D...G....F........
....Happy Birthday To You
Once the treble can be played by the RH ... try the bass with the LH ...
Now the tricky bit ... BOTH HANDS ... and singing the words.

Hoping the suggestions are of help ... what’s next? Skies the limit!
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/happybirthday.jpg
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 02:27 AM

I don't get it.

e.g. Rm shows the middle note skewed to the left. That's ok for Cm but what about Am?

Maybe I'm missing something?
Posted by: btb

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 02:37 AM

Patty Hill and her sister Mildred wrote the song Good Morning to All, which they sang to children every morning (Mildred wrote the tune; Patty wrote the original lyrics). The lyrics were as follows:

Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all.

The words were later changed to the world-famous
Happy Birthday to You,
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 02:43 AM

Originally Posted By: btb
The truth is that hands on the keyboard is the critical catalyst to understanding the music.


What about those who can play well by ear?


Come to that, what is meant by the term 'understand' in music?



Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 03:17 AM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I don't get it.

e.g. Rm shows the middle note skewed to the left. That's ok for Cm but what about Am?

Maybe I'm missing something?


If it were measured out on a string (instrument), it would work, played as broken chords up the string. The piano has two places with adjacent white keys and no black key in the middle. In those areas the interval distances are not the same. The "number of piano keys" stays constant.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 03:25 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
If it were measured out on a string (instrument), it would work, played as broken chords up the string. The piano has two places with adjacent white keys and no black key in the middle. In those areas the interval distances are not the same. The "number of piano keys" stays constant.


The time for a piano octave with 6 white keys and 6 black is long overdue.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 10:39 AM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic

The time for a piano octave with 6 white keys and 6 black is long overdue.

It's already been done. Maybe somebody can find the picture. laugh
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 10:57 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring

It's already been done. Maybe somebody can find the picture. laugh


I'd also like to see the pictures of a pianist trying to cope.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 11:16 AM

There are factors such as orienting at the keyboard and the fact that the present shape is well suited to the shape of the human hand. The important fact at present is that the physical distance in inches or centimeters for intervals is not equal throughout the keyboard because twice we have adjacent white keys spelling out a half step / semitone. The distance in terms of number of piano keys is constant, however.
Posted by: btb

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 12:43 PM

What a cockeyed idea from dire tonic ...
“The time for a piano octave with 6 white keys and 6 black is long overdue.”

.The alternate black notes in twos and threes provides a tactile feel to allow the pianist to keep eyes on the score

The chappie sipping gin is obviously an amateur ...
only those who have mastered the tactile feel to guide the hands ... progress favourably.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 01:53 PM

Recognition of irony is often a lost art, btb.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 06:43 PM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I don't get it.

e.g. Rm shows the middle note skewed to the left. That's ok for Cm but what about Am?

Maybe I'm missing something?



I've added an explanation PDF to the original post #2027127.

The idea is that the tick marks above the keyboard image (the fallboard edge of it) are equally spaced, and indicate all the keys on the keyboard. The tick marks on the chord diagrams are supposed to line up with the ones on the keyboard picture, when you put the keyboard picture on top of them. Of course, they all have to be printed out at the same scale.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/05/13 10:32 PM

The distance between intervals on the PIANO are not equally spaced, John. DE and BC are the same distance apart as FG, GA, and CD, but the latter comprise a whole tone while the former comprise a semitone, because of the black key between them.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 02:14 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
The distance between intervals on the PIANO are not equally spaced, John. DE and BC are the same distance apart as FG, GA, and CD, but the latter comprise a whole tone while the former comprise a semitone, because of the black key between them.


Yes, that's right.

But looking at the keys where they meet the fallboard, the blacks and the narrow part of the whites are reasonably close in width, and each step there is a semitone. So, equally spaced tick marks near there indicate the keys on my keyboard picture, each step from one tick mark to the next is a semitone.

Lining those tick marks up with the ones on the chord diagrams shows which piano keys are used in the chord. You just have to follow by eye to the wide end of the whites.

The idea is that all this gets printed out on paper, then the keyboard picture with its tick marks gets laid on top of the chord diagrams, and lined up with the root you want.

Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 02:17 AM

Have you found that this leads to having a sense of intervals and chords eventually, as well as what the notes are?
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 02:30 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Have you found that this leads to having a sense of intervals and chords eventually, as well as what the notes are?


It does, but sort of indirectly. I actually don't use it much any more, but it was very helpful in the beginning. It's a quick and accurate way to get from letters on a lead sheet to fingers on the keys. It gets you playing the chords a little quicker, and then the playing is what leads to understanding how the chords work.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 03:36 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I don't get it.

e.g. Rm shows the middle note skewed to the left. That's ok for Cm but what about Am?

Maybe I'm missing something?



I've added an explanation PDF to the original post #2027127.

The idea is that the tick marks above the keyboard image (the fallboard edge of it) are equally spaced, and indicate all the keys on the keyboard. The tick marks on the chord diagrams are supposed to line up with the ones on the keyboard picture, when you put the keyboard picture on top of them. Of course, they all have to be printed out at the same scale.


Yes, I can see now that it works.

Like keystring, and probably most of us, my spatial sense of the keyboard is marked out by black keys interrupting the evident symmetry of the white keys which are all equally spaced. The fact of this failing to tally with the musical spacing - B to C is a semitone while C to D is a tone - is an anomaly I've just come to accept.

But if you go to the back of the keys at the fallboard, where you need to place your diagram, it's an entirely different story. All intervals are proportionally spaced. By lining-up the notches with the key centres, black or white, the paradox is resolved!
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic

The time for a piano octave with 6 white keys and 6 black is long overdue.
Originally Posted By: keystring
It's already been done. Maybe somebody can find the picture. laugh

I'd also like to see the pictures of a pianist trying to cope.

Here's a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cK4REjqGc9w

He left the colors the same,
but did raise some of the whites and lowered some blacks,
so all notes in a row are a whole tone apart:
C D E Gb Ab Bb
Db Eb F G A B
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 01:56 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung

It does, but sort of indirectly. I actually don't use it much any more, but it was very helpful in the beginning. It's a quick and accurate way to get from letters on a lead sheet to fingers on the keys. It gets you playing the chords a little quicker, and then the playing is what leads to understanding how the chords work.

I can see how that works for you. Essentially you have a pictorial representation of how the intervals relate. For example, a major chord consists of this:
C(major 3rd = 4 semitones)E(minor 3rd = 3 semitones)G
where we're seeing the distance from C to E, and E to G.
Simplified that is
C(bigger)E(smaller)G

I have an image like that in my head, and I imagine that if you don't, then you are just memorizing things like "4 semitones" or "major 3rd" --- a pile of facts. So I see its usefulness. And then you are also automating some reflexes relating to the instrument that's between your hand and the keys. Eventually the rest of the associations kick in. Cool idea.
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 02:42 PM

Originally Posted By: JohnSprung
Originally Posted By: tinman1943
But doing the analysis in terms of actual intervals (concurrent and sequential)
expressed as "just" frequency ratios (such as 2:3 for a "fifth") might lead to an actual understanding of why the music works.


Integer frequency ratios are a natural consequence of the physics of vibrating strings, air columns, metal bars on a glockenspiel, etc. The physics and math may make an interesting appendix to the book for those who can follow that stuff. But it doesn't do much to illuminate why we like ii - V - I chords in that order.


OK. So what I want to know is, why do we like ii - V - I?
Or why do we like ii7 - V7- I even better?

Actually, "like" is not really the issue;
what we really need to know:
what are the progressions that are most likely to occur
and therefore the ones we need to learn first?

Maybe we should start a list:
I V7 I
I IV V I
I ii7 V7 I
I I#o ii
etc.

But where does the list come from?
The Circle of Keys is a start.
But that doesn't explain when to use 7th,
or when to use minor vs major,
or dim or aug or 6 9 11 13.
Admittedly, some of those are probably more advanced topics,
but beginners don't even know what's "advanced" vs. what's "fundamental".

So as we build the list above,
we should sort it,
with the "basics" first and "advanced" progressions later.

Then part of our analysis should be:
* here are the "basic" progressions I've found
* here are some others I don't recognize or understand yet.
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 03:08 PM

America or God Save the Queen
Have we started this one yet?
I took a quick look and it has an unusual form, 3x2 measures + 4x2 measures.
Most songs are even multiples of two or four.

Happy Birthday: 4 lines of 2 measures, but lines split after 2nd beat.

Lili Marlene: 3 lines of 4 measures,
but the 4 measures split into two groups of two.
Also, beginning with the second line, most groups start with a pick-up from the previous measure.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 03:11 PM

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
America or God Save the Queen
Have we started this one yet?

tinman, yes we have started it. It's on a new thread Begining Analysis 01: America / God Save The Queen.

Sorry I've been missing for several days -- I have several thoughts, but no time to put them in order!
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 04:28 PM

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
OK. So what I want to know is, why do we like ii - V - I?
...
what are the progressions that are most likely to occur
and therefore the ones we need to learn first?

Maybe we should start a list:
...
But where does the list come from?

It comes from what has worked thus far in music.

When you move from the tonic (I) chord to ii, IV or vi you maintain a concord. As soon as you use a chord with the leading note in it (ii, V, or vii dim) you create discord. The dissonance creates tension and consonance releases it. The ear wants to return to consonance.

The climax of most songs occurs on the dominant. The use of the dominant seventh increases the tension by introducing the tritone, three whole tones and the most dissonant interval in Western music, between the 3rd and flat 7th degrees of the chord.

The V7-I move works because of the leading note effect (Western music is essentially shaped on and defined by the 7-8 resolution at the end of a major scale), the tritone resolution and the move of a perfect fifth in the bass, the most fundamental move in all of music.

ii is the dominant of V so the move ii-V-I is moving from the dominant of the dominant to the dominant and then on to the tonic. The ii in this instance is frequently heard in second inversion so that the root movement of a fifth is avoided that would have created a premature resolution on the dominant.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 06:31 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

When you move from the tonic (I) chord to ii, IV or vi you maintain a concord. As soon as you use a chord with the leading note in it (ii, V, or vii dim) you create discord. The dissonance creates tension and consonance releases it. The ear wants to return to consonance.

Since this is a beginner theory section, can you explain what concord and discord are, and what maintaining one might mean? Also, do you think that there is no difference on which of the chords you would use at any time (which I think is part of the question)?
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 06:31 PM

Thanks keystring, Richard, johnsprung and Pianostudent88 for helping me to understand how we know whether it is a sharp or flat. I understand it now! (well at least I think/hope I do; whether it bears out in practice is to be seen). John and Richard, the charts and guides are great and will hopefully help me to improve my recognition of the intervals and chords because if I don’t recognize the chord just from looking at it, it seems I have to count halfsteps! That’s the only way I can seem to do it when I don’t recognize it just by looking, which isn’t so bad when I have pencil and paper in front of me and time to figure it out, but hopefully one day I’ll be better at recognizing them more easily just by looking at the score or at the piano.

Pianostudent88, I appreciate your detailed explanation which was really helpful and clear. I’ve had a go at the interval exercises you posted a link to. They are good practice! So far I’m only through up to the fourths (page 4). It’s still a brain strain to do these exercises. Here are the ones that keystring posted—I had a go at these too:

E G__ B___

E, G#, B

A C__ E___

A C# E

Db F__ A___

Db, F, Ab

Can you get this one:
B D__ F__


B D# F#
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 07:03 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
As soon as you use a chord with the leading note in it (ii, V, or vii dim) you create discord. The dissonance creates tension and consonance releases it. The ear wants to return to consonance.


The tonic ma7 and a more sophisticated ear refute that.

Quote:
...the tritone, three whole tones and the most dissonant interval in Western music...


- and yet, to me, this is a warm, bluesy interval. If we're talking about bare intervals I believe most would find the natural 7 (e.g. C-B) or b9 (C-Db) far more unsettling.

Quote:
...Western music is essentially shaped on and defined by the 7-8 resolution at the end of a major scale...


In so far as we can define a dog, and divine its shape, by referring only to the tip of its tail.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Valencia
Here are the ones that keystring posted—I had a go at these too:

E G__ B___

E, G#, B

A C__ E___

A C# E

Db F__ A___

Db, F, Ab

Can you get this one:
B D__ F__


B D# F#

Excellent. The reason I gave you this exercise was to start answering your question about chord types (kinds) and accidentals.

A "kind" of chord means whether it is major, minor, and other qualities such as diminished etc., but we will stay with major and minor for now. Each "kind" of chord has a particular quality, and this is something you can hear. All of the chords that you formed were major chords. People often hear major chords as having a "happy" sound and might even attach a colour like yellow or orange. In contrast, a minor chord is often associated with a "sad" sound, and maybe blue or green.

So you formed four chords built on the roots E, A, Db, and B respectively. Our chords are triads, which means in root position they are stacked like snowmen on adjacent lines or spaces. This also means that the letter names will skip one. That is why we had E G_ B___ which you filled out as E G# B. You could look at the black key in the middle and say "wait a minute, couldn't I call that note Ab instead of G#?", and you would be correct. If you wrote E Ab B and somebody played it, you would hear the same thing. But it would no longer be a triad with notes on adjacent lines like a snowman because the Ab would bump against the B, and you would no longer be skipping letter names. Therefore we chose E G_ B_ specifically.

This should give you the relationship between chords and accidentals. You start with a chord kind --- say major --- You have the notes of the triad which is:
E + some kind of G + some kind of B.
We need that "G" to be a semitone (half step) higher in order to have the 4 half steps from E, and to get it a semitone higher, we add a sharp. That is what sharps do. They move the note a half step higher in pitch, which we get on the piano by moving one piano key to the right. We use accidentals to make that happen.
--------------
Conversely, we also had Db F__ A___
The A is too high for it to be a P5 from Db or a minor 3 (3 half steps) from F. So you correctly lowered the A by a half step by making it Ab. The Ab lowers a note by a semitone, which on the piano means moving to the next piano key to the left.

So this is one way of looking at how chords and accidentals relate. Is anything unclear or are there any questions from this? smile
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/06/13 08:11 PM

Continuing ... Your next question, Valencia, was about key signatures and chords.

Let's take our E G# B, which is an E (major) chord. We know why we need G#. This chord is in the key of E major, where the notes are:

E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E. We already have G# in the scale which we started from the tonic. One question you will ask yourself is "What is the I chord of E major?" You find it by skipping every second note, looking for the snowman, and you get that same EG#B. The key signature of E major has 4 sharps: F# C# G# D#, so we don't have to use an accidental, because the G# is already in the signature.

We have the original relationship of the chord as a pure chord, being major, with E in the root, and the middle note is G#. We have a second relationship, namely that if we want to find the tonic chord (I) we start with E and we again get E G# B.

Supposing we are in the key of A major (3 sharps: F#, C#, G#).

A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A

E is the 5th note over. What is the V chord of A major? Again we can see it is E G# B. Again we don't need accidentals because that E is in the signature.

Key of B major (5 sharps: F#, C#, G#, D#, A#).

B, C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A#, B.

E is the 4th note over, and is the IV chord of B major. Again we have the notes for forming E G# B

How about D major (2 sharps: F#, C#)?
D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

No, because we get EGB (no G#) which is Em.
We can also predict that because there is no G# in the signature, and we know the ii chord is always minor in a major key.

I don't know if this answers your second question, or if it confuses things.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 07:01 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Since this is a beginner theory section, can you explain what concord and discord are, and what maintaining one might mean? Also, do you think that there is no difference on which of the chords you would use at any time (which I think is part of the question)?

I covered consonance and dissonance earlier in the thread when I first introduced the terms, post #2017754, 20 Jan 2013, 10:17am, PW time.

According to Pythagoras' Theory of Proportions, the simpler the vibration ratio is between two tones, the more consonant is their interval.

The ratio of an octave is 2:1, a perfect fifth is 3:2 and a major third is 4:5. The tritone, the most dissonant interval in the octave, is 32:45.

The degree of dissonance depends, therefore, on how easy it is to recognise the repeating pattern created by the different frequecy ratios.

The difference between using one chord over another is a question of personal choice but since the development of Western harmony there has been a preponderance of moves from tonic to subdominant major, dominant major and submediant minor compared to moves going to the supertonic and moves to the mediant minor are even more rare.

You could list the effect of each change from tonic to every other possibility, they are finite, but you can't describe the effect in universally accepted terms.

Leonard Bernstein's The Unanswered Question: Six Harvard Lectures argues that humans are 'programmed', not just conditioned, to appreciate tonality and register tension and resolution, which we can do almost from birth. He argues that tonal relations are built into nature and are understood instinctively.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 07:08 AM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
As soon as you use a chord with the leading note in it (ii, V, or vii dim) you create discord. The dissonance creates tension and consonance releases it. The ear wants to return to consonance.

The tonic ma7 and a more sophisticated ear refute that.

Pardon my poor proofreading, that should be iii, V and vii dim.

The tonic major seventh is an unresolved chord. It is a softer sound than the flattened seventh and is more likely to be heard in Burt Bacharach's music than rock and blues. But so few western tunes end on it.

I have likened dissonance in an earlier post to enjoying chillis. You can acquire a taste for capsaicin and enjoy eating it but it is still an irritant and people who eat it in large amounts are typically unable to appreciate the subtleties of salad vegetables. People who enjoy dissonant intervals certainly have a wider palette but if it numbs their ear to the dissonance of Mozart I'm not sure I'd describe that as sophisticated.

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
...the tritone, three whole tones and the most dissonant interval in Western music...


- and yet, to me, this is a warm, quite luscious interval. If we're talking about bare intervals I believe most would find the natural 7 (e.g. C-B) or b9 (C-Db) far more unsettling.

History shows otherwise. The minor second interval, B-C, is 16:15 in just temperaments.

The tritone, I believe, was banned from church music at one time.

This is a quotation from wikipedia's entry on the tritone:

"Although this ratio [45/32] is composed of numbers which are multiples of 5 or under, they are excessively large for a 5-limit scale, and are sufficient justification, either in this form or as the tempered "tritone," for the epithet "diabolic," which has been used to characterize the interval. This is a case where, because of the largeness of the numbers, none but a temperament-perverted ear could possibly prefer 45/32 to a small-number interval of about the same width."

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
In what sense do you think jazz could be "shaped on" or defined by this 7-8 resolution?
I'm not a jazz afficionado. Give me some examples of Jazz tunes that end on a seventh and I'll give them an honest listen and check out their popularity.

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: zrtf90
...Western music is essentially shaped on and defined by the 7-8 resolution at the end of a major scale...

Only in so far as we can define a dog by the tip of its tail.

I am making posts on a public forum. These aren't intended to be lapidary inscriptions. Let me soften that from 'defined by' into 'characterised by'. smile
_________________________

The governments in the US and the UK in the early eighties declared that fat makes us fat and that two and a half million years of evolution was essentially wrong. Look at the state of the nations now after forty years of low fat, high carbohydrate diets!

We can't deny history. Nearly all Western music moves from tonic to dominant and back again. The ebb and flow of tension and release is what drives it and gives it movement; we talk about harmonic progression. Most Western music closes with a perfect cadence. The tritone doesn't have to sound bad, how delightful it is that you enjoy the sound as many do, it serves to mount excitement as in the climax of "Twist and Shout" (The Beatles and The Isley Brothers) but it's the release of the tension on the return to the tonic that gives us rest.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 11:06 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
The tonic major seventh is an unresolved chord. It is a softer sound than the flattened seventh and is more likely to be heard in Burt Bacharach's music than rock and blues. But so few western tunes end on it.


In playing the standard popular songs of the 30s/40s (Porter, Berlin, Gershwin etc) a pianist is as likely to finish on the 6th or the ma7 as the major. These are everyday subsitutions.

Quote:
I have likened dissonance in an earlier post to enjoying chillis. You can acquire a taste for capsaicin and enjoy eating it but it is still an irritant and people who eat it in large amounts are typically unable to appreciate the subtleties of salad vegetables. People who enjoy dissonant intervals certainly have a wider palette but if it numbs their ear to the dissonance of Mozart I'm not sure I'd describe that as sophisticated.


I can’t speak for the public palate, I suspect evidence is mixed. Both scotch bonnets and spinach leaves have space on my table so I don’t accept your assertion nor is the analogy sound.

Quote:
History shows otherwise. The minor second interval, B-C, is 16:15 in just temperaments.


As far as I know history says nothing about my suspicions regarding the relative tolerance to the intervals b5, ma7, b9 but by all means link me to something relevant.

Quote:
I am making posts on a public forum. These aren't intended to be lapidary inscriptions. Let me soften that from 'defined by' into 'characterised by'.


It's still a gross oversimplification.

Quote:
We can't deny history. Nearly all Western music moves from tonic to dominant and back again. The ebb and flow of tension and release is what drives it and gives it movement; we talk about harmonic progression. Most Western music closes with a perfect cadence.


I think you’ve probably spent enough time marvelling at how most western music closes. Ditto your preoccupation with tonic and dominant. Of course such movements are peppered throughout but there’s so much more going on that your 7/8 resolution plays no part in. A beginners’ thread needs basic concepts but it serves nothing to make simplistic generalisations regarding the essence of music.

Tension and release? I prefer to travel and arrive. Better to travel…and this, the greater part of the journey, is where your 7/8 resolution gets second billing.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 11:22 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

I covered consonance and dissonance earlier in the thread when I first introduced the terms, post #2017754, 20 Jan 2013, 10:17am, PW time.

According to Pythagoras' Theory of Proportions, the simpler the vibration ratio is between two tones, the more consonant is their interval.



But frequency ratios of intervals – for whatever insight they might convey (none at all as far as I’m concerned) – have no bearing on the chaos of sonic interference that occurs when we play a chord. A four note chord has six simultaneous intervals banging against each other. A two handed ten-note chord has 45.

Dissonance and consonance are aesthetic issues. As far as I know there’s no useful science on this which will explain why our tastes and tolerances can be so radically different but links are always useful.

Posted by: Chris Goslow

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 11:45 AM

Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
Several people have commented at various times that they are interested in analysis, but the current Sonata Analysis thread is too hard for them. Also people have occasionally asked, "what is analysis for?", and I hope this thread can persuade some people to dip a toe in and find out.

To me, analysis is studying a piece with an eye to understanding how it is put together. For people with a practical bent, it also includes finding ways to improve learning, practicing, playing (and optionally memorizing) a piece, in particular by understanding the structure and subtleties of a piece.


Hi PianoStudent88,

Nice idea for a thread! I'm still relatively new to posting on here and didn't really realize there was such an extensive conversation on analysis.

I like how you describe what analysis is for you. I'm definitely more pragmatic in my interest in analysis. I think I do it with a mind, ultimately, to be more informed in my own creativity.

Thanks for posting.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 11:46 AM

Richard, thank you for your answer on consonance and dissonance. I've taken the liberty of putting it all under one roof. Response or further thoughts in next post.
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

I covered consonance and dissonance earlier in the thread when I first introduced the terms, post #2017754, 20 Jan 2013, 10:17am, PW time.


I found. It's part of the long post outlining a number of things, so I've taken the liberty of isolating this subject.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Dissonance and consonance is a physical effect. When there is an integral relation between the frequencies of combined notes, and the relationship involve small numbers, the waves make a pattern on our ears.

The octave is a 2:1 relationship. It sound 'the same but different' to us. All civilisations recognise the octave as fundamental in music. Up the Renaissance the octave was divided into steps from the harmonic series. Our equal temperament system, known as Western Harmony, was the result of a mathematical intervention of dividing the octave into 12 equal semitones.

It has done away with the pure harmony you can still hear in Gregorian Chant but in return has given us the ability to change key and have cadences.

The dominant has a 3:2 relation with the tonic (exactly in pure harmony, very close in Western harmony). The subdominant has 4:3 relationship (the pattern of waves repeats every seven waves).

The leading note has a relation in the order of 20:11. The pattern won't repeat until over 30 waves and the pattern is easily recognised (many pianists struggle with 4 vs 3). This pattern not being easily recognised we call dissonance.

People exposing themselves to a wide range of musical styles will develop a greater appreciation of dissonance but it's a reaction not dissimilar to people liking or disliking chilli's.


to which you have given us now
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

According to Pythagoras' Theory of Proportions, the simpler the vibration ratio is between two tones, the more consonant is their interval.

The ratio of an octave is 2:1, a perfect fifth is 3:2 and a major third is 4:5. The tritone, the most dissonant interval in the octave, is 32:45.

The degree of dissonance depends, therefore, on how easy it is to recognise the repeating pattern created by the different frequecy ratios.

The difference between using one chord over another is a question of personal choice but since the development of Western harmony there has been a preponderance of moves from tonic to subdominant major, dominant major and submediant minor compared to moves going to the supertonic and moves to the mediant minor are even more rare.

You could list the effect of each change from tonic to every other possibility, they are finite, but you can't describe the effect in universally accepted terms.

Leonard Bernstein's The Unanswered Question: Six Harvard Lectures argues that humans are 'programmed', not just conditioned, to appreciate tonality and register tension and resolution, which we can do almost from birth. He argues that tonal relations are built into nature and are understood instinctively.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 12:16 PM

CONSONANCE and DISSONANCE as topic

I put together Richard's two sets of explanation in one place above.

Ok, mathematics (ratios) gives us one kind of understanding which is a scientific intellectual one. If we explore this side, I would like it to be real. Otherwise 3:2 etc. are just facts. So I looked for something stretchy but taut that will vibrate ergo a rubber band. If you stretch a rubber band over something and pluck it, you get a sound. That's how guitars work. If you push on your rubber band at some point, pushing that section right into the body holding it, and then pluck. You'll get a different note. Only the plucked side will vibrate because you have effectively shortened it. If you pushed it down at the half way mark of its length, then that's a ratio. What sound do you get at that ratio relative to the original sound?

So to translate this one sentence:
Originally Posted By: zrtf
The dominant has a 3:2 relation with the tonic

it means that if you get this ratio right with your stretchy whatever (rubber band) you should hear a tone that is a P5 of the original. The Greeks did a lot with this, and it tied in with philosophical ideals of the time.

But maybe we can get much more mundane and simpler for understanding this. Simply put:

Consonance involves note combinations that we generally hear as nice, smooth, easy on the ear, settled. What people perceived as consonant has varied over the centuries, and it will also vary between cultures, and genres of music. So this is a generalization.

If you play CG, CE, CEG, you will get that sense of smoothness, niceness etc.

Dissonance involves note combinations that we generally hear as unsettled, not smooth, vibrationy (my invention), and the theory is that we want that to resolve into consonance. Again there is a huge variation on perceptions.

If you put the flat of your hand on the piano hitting all the white and black keys at the same time, you have a dissonance. If you play CDb at the same time it probably "rubs" more than CD. The tritone (FB or BF = augmented 4th or diminished 5th) has an unsettled feeling, which is why it plays an important role in a V7 (GBDF) making the movement of V7-I so strong because of the contrast.

Meanwhile there is a lot of music where these tones are standard and considered pleasant, so what is considered consonant and dissonant is not written in stone.
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 02:50 PM

ii-V-I progression
Originally Posted By: zrtf90

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
why do we like ii - V - I?
what are the progressions that are most likely to occur
and therefore the ones we need to learn first?

Highlighting added by tinman
The V7-I move works because of
* the leading note effect (Western music is essentially shaped on and defined by the 7-8 resolution at the end of a major scale),
* the tritone resolution and
* the move of a perfect fifth in the bass, the most fundamental move in all of music.

ii is the dominant of V so the move ii-V-I is moving from the dominant of the dominant to the dominant and then on to the tonic. The ii in this instance is frequently heard in second inversion so that the root movement of a fifth is avoided that would have created a premature resolution on the dominant.

Richard,
Is ii = (2 4 6) in second inversion ( 6 9 11 )?
Then ii(7) V7 I in C would go:
A (C) D F ->
G B D F ->
C E G C ?

Then what about the progression:
B (D) F G
C E G
that you so often see in beginner books?

As I've mentioned before,
one problem I have with analysis of "beginner" music is that
I never know whether the score represents "best practice"
or whether it was "simplified" (that is, distorted) just to make it "easier" for a beginner to play.

I would hope this analysis forum would shed light on that.

Of course, it may be necessary to simplify the arrangement for a beginner,
but the "simplification" should not violate basic rules.
I'd rather make the extra effort to learn to play according to the "rules"
than break the rules in order to learn to "play".

For example, if a "cadence" requires a 5-1 or 5-8 in the bass,
then it does a disservice to end an arrangement with 7-8 in the bass!

Part of "analysis" should include finding the broken rules
and either fixing them
or understanding the exceptions, if that represents the composer's intent.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 03:22 PM

Originally Posted By: tinman1943

Is ii = (2 4 6) in second inversion ( 6 9 11 )?
................
Then what about the progression:
B (D) F G
C E G
that you so often see in beginner books?

ii is the 2nd degree chord. This should be somewhere near the beginning of this thread. As follows:

Key of C major
I CEG
ii DFA
iii EGB
IV FAC
V GBD (V7 = GBDF)
vi ACE
viio BDF

Your BFG is part of the V7 chord BDFG as you say. The ear recognizes the V7 even without all the notes being present. The reason that it is written this way in beginner music is because it is hard for a beginner (esp. a child) to play 4 notes at the same time in one hand. When music is composed, the composer must think of its playability on that instrument. When it's for beginners, he has to think about even more things.

I don't think there is such a chord as 6 9 11, is there? In C major we'd have 6 = A, 9 = D (= 2), 11 = F (=4), i.e. 2 4 6 = ii.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/07/13 03:34 PM

About broken rules and such:
In my mind, the purpose of this exercise is to gain an understanding of the structures in music - chords, progressions, meter, signature, form etc. We are using the pieces to extract these things and get a better understanding. I don't think the main purpose is analyzing music, see which rules are broken - but rather to get at those patterns. It is not my favorite way of going about this because personally I prefer real study, but maybe it can lead to that. For example, you don't keep a concept by reading about it. You should work with it for a while. In that way the "rules" also reveal patterns in more depth.

I'm not sure whether an inverted V7 to I is not a cadence. Maybe it's a weak cadence. The step up a 5th or down a 4th which happens if the root is in the bass each time creates a strong movement, which then makes the cadence very emphatic --- Ta Daaa --- The End.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/08/13 07:25 AM

I'm not writing a dictionary here and some of these definitions are loose. Don't fix them in your head forever based on this. Keystring has already answered before I finished compiling this so just take some overlapping for granted.

The metre is the measurement of the bar. The top number shows the number of beats between each strong accent and the lower number the relative time between each beat, the value of the beat in terms of time.

The rhythm is where the notes occur in relation to that beat. Not all the notes occur on a beat and not every beat has a note occurring on it. Tap out common time with your foot at a steady four in the bar and tap out the melody to "Pop Goes the Weasel" with a finger on your desk. Then tap out the melody to Pet Clark's "Downtown".

Your foot's tapping out the metre, your finger's tapping out the rhythm.

Beat and Pulse are what your foot's tapping out, the count can either be for your foot or for your finger.

Measure or Bar is the space between strong accents or barlines.

A strong accent is typically given to the first beat in a bar. In Common Time a medium accent is given to the third beat and a weak accent given to the second and fourth beats (stronger in rock where the back beat is emphasised). Other notes such as quavers occurring off the beat are unaccented.

Phrase is, to a certain extent, subjective. It could be a line in a song or a line could have several phrases. It's inexact. There is a way of knowing understanding where a phrase ends but I'm not prepared to offer a definition. It's largely instinctive. I don't know if you get it from listening to good musicians/singers or if it's a natural talent or something else.

A motif is a short recognisable figure such as the figure used in Beethoven's fifth symphony.

The difference between a theme and a melody is not something I want to cover using words alone. They can both be used interchangeably to a large extent but not all themes are melodies and not all melodies are themes.

A Lick is a short, typically non-repetitive, sequence of notes (really loose definition), often based on a common pattern, that might be used, for example, at the start of one of Chuck Berry's hits or between sung lines BB King's music or Dire Strait's Sultans of Swing.

A Riff is a repeating sequence of notes that forms the basis of a song such as Day Tripper (The Beatles), The Last Time (The Rolling Stones) or Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin).
___________________________

There aren't distinct names for the layers you've listed other than the 3 beat measures (time signature).

Have we covered "rules" before in this thread? I haven't checked, I know I've used it somewhere recently. There are no "Rules". There are conventions and cliché's that raise expectation.

It's doing the unexpected that raises emotions and strong reactions to music. If every line in every song were four measures long and then someone threw in a three or five measure line we'd be thrown. Music thrives on the expectations set up by conventions and then doing the unexpected.

It's not a list of rules that can sometimes be broken it's a set of conventions that NEED to be broken. But they only work if they're followed most of the time - otherwise you can't build expectation.

No composers ever sat round a table and bashed out music theory. Everyone tried lots of things and what worked was repeated and that became convention. Theory in music is like theory in Chess - it's not a list of rules it's a summary of best practise so far.

There are grammatical rules in the notation to make the intention clearer and avoid misunderstanding but as to the music itself there can be no rules.
__________________________

It's a feature of musical notation that the first beat in a bar is a strong one. Music that begins with an iamb or an anapest will always begin with an anacrusis (are you familiar with the names of metrical feet?).
__________________________

6/4 and 6/8 time can be either two three's or three two's. The notes values are the key.

Picking the right rhythm for a song depends on knowing the rhythms available in your unit and reading the rhythm from the time signature and recurring note values. It's possible to find one that works most of the time but there are more rhythms written than will be in your rhythm unit. In these cases you need to use the musical/rhythmic equivalent of Lowest Common Denominator.
__________________________

I have never heard God Save the Queen described as a Galliard before. It does share a certain rhythmic element with the Galliard but these dance names were used in the suites also as an indication of tempo. The/My national anthem doesn't share it's tempo with a Galliard. It's God Save the Queen, not give her exercise! smile
Posted by: jotur

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/08/13 12:35 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf
I have never heard God Save the Queen described as a Galliard before. It does share a certain rhythmic element with the Galliard but these dance names were used in the suites also as an indication of tempo. The/My national anthem doesn't share it's tempo with a Galliard. It's God Save the Queen, not give her exercise! smile


This. Just as everything in 3/4 time is not a waltz, not everything that may, on paper, have the notation of a galliard is a dance.

It has to do partly with tempo, but also with the accents and phrasing. All of those things help make rhythm. There is a convention, as Richard says, that makes a tune actually danceable, of rhythm, accents, tempo, phrasing. I've never heard this tune follow those conventions. It may have, back in its original form - many popular tunes were "lifted" for hymns. But in these days it isn't a galliard, whatever its notated form.

I can name several dances which when notated are in 3/4 - waltzes, hambos, mazurkas, galliards - but they have distinct sounds when played, and those sounds aren't in the notation. Again, as Richard says, there are conventions that the dance musicians knows, and they "fit" with the dance. So listening, as others have said on this and other threads, makes a big difference in one's understanding of the "feeling" of a piece. Dancers who know how to hambo wouldn't waltz to a hambo. These days, any way, in its current "sounded" form, dancers wouldn't - couldn't - dance a galliard to this tune. These conventions of the actual sound of a piece of music, rather than the notation, is why musicians who play traditional music, or dance music, or swing, or blues, or any other genre, urge musicians who are new to that genre to listen, listen, listen. Because music is an aural tradtion.

So it can be helpful to see that this tune appears to have 6-beat phrases and that its notation is similar to the 6-beat phrases of a galliard, and that indeed it may have been originally a galliard, but in this case I think the words to the tune are a closer help to the phrasing/accents/rhythm as it known today.

And while I play dance music, I couldn' play a galliard at this point in time if my life depended on it laugh But the seniors I play for sing along all the time.

Cathy
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/08/13 02:20 PM

I wanted to ask about this yesterday but was in a bit of a rush...

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
…the dissonance of Mozart…


I wonder if you could explain this, Richard. Does this hinge on an individual’s definition of dissonance based on personal tolerances or is there a commonly accepted notion of dissonance in Mozart?

Either way, I’d most appreciate a pointer, perhaps a youtube video together with the timing/s for some particularly dissonant moment/s – many thanks.

Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/08/13 07:12 PM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
I wonder if you could explain this, Richard. Does this hinge on an individual’s definition of dissonance based on personal tolerances or is there a commonly accepted notion of dissonance in Mozart?
Ah, I think you've hit the nail on the head there, dire tonic. Let me try and cover this from my perspective...

Try the third and fourth bars of his Jupiter symphony (#41, K. 551). You should be able to get the score from IMSLP.

I know it's marked Allegro vivace but play over them slowly and pay particular attention to the first and third beats. Savour the sweet dissonance of the seventh between melody D and the C below it and then the even tighter clash as C and E are played below it, effectively three adjacent notes sounding together.

In it's day this would have been very emotional but to an ear dulled by twentieth century harmonies it may even seem consonant - I don't think it is but I'll get to that...

And while we're catching up I meant to respond on a couple of points yesterday but I also had more pressing matters to attend to.

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
In playing the standard popular songs of the 30s/40s (Porter, Berlin, Gershwin etc) a pianist is as likely to finish on the 6th or the ma7 as the major. These are everyday subsitutions.
I was wondering, are these the same snotty nosed summer students well established professionals who prepare 'piano arrangements' with complete disregard for the composers intentions? Is this why radio developed the fade out?

Just kidding wink

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Both scotch bonnets and spinach leaves have space on my table so I don’t accept your assertion nor is the analogy sound.
The occasional scotch bonnet is not what I'd call 'large amounts' so you may have misunderstood my analogy. No harm done.

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
As far as I know history says nothing about my suspicions regarding the relative tolerance to the intervals b5, ma7, b9 but by all means link me to something relevant.
I wasn't discussing tolerance, relative or otherwise, so you may have completely missed my point there but I'll get to that in a moment...

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Tension and release? I prefer to travel and arrive. Better to travel…and this, the greater part of the journey, is where your 7/8 resolution gets second billing.
I never actually gave it top billing, just importance. The 7-8 resolution is strong enough to introduce all those sharpened seventh accidentals when playing in a minor key. Nearly every great song or symphony concludes with a descent to tonic, from the dominant or mediant, or a rise to it from the leading note. Don't you find that? And that at the end of a journey isn't it comforting to know you've arrived?

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
But frequency ratios of intervals – for whatever insight they might convey (none at all as far as I’m concerned) –
He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 11:15)
(No offence intended, I know full well you have a well developed ear, just play on words here in response to your use of palate against mine of palette and my analogy not being "sound" - ha!)

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
A four note chord has six simultaneous intervals banging against each other. A two handed ten-note chord has 45.
Ah! Each note of a four note chord has one base frequency. You may have six simultaneous intervals but still only four base frequencies. If you struck all 88 keys of a piano the maximum number of base frequencies you could have, eliminating duplicates and excepting physical imperfections and stretch tuning etc., is twelve. The highest twelve notes, as all other frequencies would be eliminated as duplicates, no?

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Dissonance and consonance are aesthetic issues. As far as I know there’s no useful science on this which will explain why our tastes and tolerances can be so radically different but links are always useful.
Ah, there's the rub! Here is where we appear to differ.

Consonance and dissonance - as I've been taught and given to understand - are nothing to do with aesthetics, they are physical and mathematical properties that are measured numerically. Perfect fifths, major and minor thirds are considered concords. Everything else is, to a greater or lesser degree, a discord. Aesthetics are to do with our tastes and tolerance to them and they, as far as I'm concerned, are as individual as our tastes in sex.

I hope that's cleared up any misunderstanding and sorry if I've caused confusion.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/08/13 10:16 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

Consonance and dissonance - as I've been taught and given to understand - are nothing to do with aesthetics, they are physical and mathematical properties that are measured numerically. Perfect fifths, major and minor thirds are considered concords. Everything else is, to a greater or lesser degree, a discord.

I found a resource to help formulate this. Wikki article on consonance and dissonance

The terms consonance and dissonance are used in two different general ways, one of them a rather technical definition such as the one given by Richard, and the other a loose idea of pleasantness and harshness. That's a first problem in this kind of discussion. And then (from Wikki)

"Dissonance has been understood and heard differently in different musical traditions, cultures, styles, and time periods."

And then across cultures we have (Wikki):

"For instance, two notes played simultaneously but with slightly different frequencies produce a beating "wah-wah-wah" sound that is very audible. Musical styles such as traditional European classical music consider this effect to be objectionable ("out of tune") and go to great lengths to eliminate it. Other musical styles such as Indonesian gamelan consider this sound to be an attractive part of the musical timbre and go to equally great lengths to create instruments that have this slight "roughness" as a feature of their sound (Vassilakis, 2005)."

So while the physics of combined notes is unchanging, humanity's evaluation of these effects does change, and I guess that this is actually aesthetics.

What we are taught as we wend our way through harmony theory is a simplification that stays narrowly within a particular area and time period. I did not study the length of time that you did, Richard. I level 1 harmony book with a preamble to the teacher in smaller print, stating that they have simplified things in order to make way for the limited experience of students, and that the teacher is free to teach the real thing. How many students read these preambles, and how often are they there. frown

Originally Posted By: zrtf
they are physical and mathematical properties that are measured numerically.

The physical and mathematical certainly go hand in hand, since the ratios translate into vibrations with their effects. But here we also run into some of the attributes of this sound - the partials (see Wikki) are an aspect. This is also why you and Dire Tonic come up with a different number of tones, because I'm sure D T is including the partials. Meanwhile if you really come down to it, music on the piano can't be consonant anyway because it is perpetually somewhat out of tune due to equal temperament.

The most fascinating aspect of partials is the "fifth note" that barbershop quartets aspire to. If they achieve perfect tuning in a "barbershop seventh" which is like a "seven chord" (C7 etc.) then the partials recombine for a fifth note which is audible - as if there is a fifth singer. That is because every note is composed of that note plus its partials. And that is also why D T has more notes in his equation.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/09/13 07:34 AM

Thanks for the Mozart reference. You say..

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
In it's day this would have been very emotional but to an ear dulled by twentieth century harmonies it may even seem consonant –

- Quite!

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
I don't think it is but I'll get to that…

I look forward to that.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
In playing the standard popular songs of the 30s/40s (Porter, Berlin, Gershwin etc) a pianist is as likely to finish on the 6th or the ma7 as the major. These are everyday subsitutions.


I was wondering, are these the same snotty nosed summer students well established professionals who prepare 'piano arrangements' with complete disregard for the composers intentions? Is this why radio developed the fade out?

Just kidding

- this is a propos an earlier discussion on the travesty that is the piano arrangement of a pop song. You’ll find it’s usually the composer sporting the snotty nose and the idea he had ‘intentions’ would seem, even to him, laughably lofty. The advent of the ‘fade out’ is interesting in itself. That in conjunction with the ‘key change’ (semitone up, think Bobby Darin, ‘Mack the knife’) to my mind hints clearly at the need for movement, for travel (call it tension if you must) rather than resolution and ending (call it release if you must). There’s more to be said on this.

But to come back to the specific point above about substitutions; it’s the performer not the arranger who's plopping in his ma7 in lieu of the major and he does it to soothe his own and his audience’s sensibilities. On that subject you said...

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
The tonic major seventh is an unresolved chord. It is a softer sound than the flattened seventh ..

…just to be clear on “softer than”, I guess you’re saying that the tonic 7 is more unresolved (more tension, to use your terminology) than the tonic ma7. Is that about right?

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Both scotch bonnets and spinach leaves have space on my table so I don’t accept your assertion nor is the analogy sound.

The occasional scotch bonnet is not what I'd call 'large amounts' so you may have misunderstood my analogy.

I don’t think so. You were saying that just as chillies can jade the palate so can too much dissonance numb the ear to the dissonance of Mozart? I know what you’re getting at but the implication is that one is ‘missing something’. I don’t accept that but I haven’t yet thought it through.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Nearly every great song or symphony concludes with a descent to tonic, from the dominant or mediant, or a rise to it from the leading note. Don't you find that?

Yes. The literary equivalent would be “…and they all lived happily ever after”.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
And that at the end of a journey isn't it comforting to know you've arrived?

Yes and no. I’m ambivalent about endings and I certainly don’t rejoice in sameness in art. Of course we can decorate our dominant-tonic and make it our own but this segment of the discussion arose out of your determination to define/characterise/shape music from an element of it and to suggest that this element was pre-eminent. It isn’t, it is merely commonplace.

Regarding movement: You have tension and release. I travel and arrive and just as in the adage “it’s better to travel than to arrive” I’m infinitely more fascinated by the myriad possibilities, the twists and turns of harmonic change that can occur during the journey than the hackneyed resolution we must settle for at every musical conclusion. I think it’s reasonable to talk about ‘tension’ in chords but as a description of the emotion music engenders in me, it’s a misnomer. Tension is absolutely not what I experience. I can say more about that at another time.

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Originally Posted By: dire tonic
A four note chord has six simultaneous intervals banging against each other. A two handed ten-note chord has 45.


Ah! Each note of a four note chord has one base frequency. You may have six simultaneous intervals but still only four base frequencies. If you struck all 88 keys of a piano the maximum number of base frequencies you could have, eliminating duplicates and excepting physical imperfections and stretch tuning etc., is twelve. The highest twelve notes, as all other frequencies would be eliminated as duplicates, no?


I don't think that's a useful description nor is it a conclusion which leads anywhere. The octaves are vital and distinct in our appreciation of sound. I (you too) can go to the piano and, using two hands, play perhaps 40 or 50 different inversions of the chord of Cmajor. Many of these will have an entirely different quality by virtue of using the full 7+ octave range.

It’s pure folly to try and understand all this in terms of the coherence of vibration when what so often enriches sound is incoherence. Think of the sound of a single violin. It’s beautiful when played well. But now think of the glorious, rich texture which fills out a concert hall when all orchestral violins are playing the same note, a unison fortissimo sustain with a passionate vibrato. What’s going on?; fine errors of tuning between performers, inconsistent rates and depths of vibrato all hopelessly out of phase, complex overtones jumping here there and everywhere off the belly of a craftsman’s secret trickery, the auditorium throwing it all hither, thither and back again in a battle of reflections resonances and echoes. So mathematically unfathomable even the beats have beats. Why does this mess of sonic interference thrill us so? And this is just one note!

As I say, it’s hard enough to reconcile what we like/dislike with frequency ratios when looking only at intervals because the numbers simply cannot account for our differences in personal taste, tolerance and conditioning. When we try to extend this to chords we have no mathematics to relate to - Pythagoras stopped short and nobody else has bothered. If we look beyond the piano to multi-timbral harmony we find far more flexible boundaries, more scope to break the 'rules' without assaulting the ears. Then there's timbre itself, the very sound of an instrument alone can excite or disappoint us. And in any case, to discuss chordal dissonance without context, without the next chord, is a nonsense. It’s one hand clapping.

Honestly, I have zero time for mathematical analyses of musical aesthetics. The only reliable observations we can make are stupefyingly banal. If it must be tackled, try it empirically. In the meantime, keystring’s synopsis above is well worth reading.


Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/09/13 09:35 AM

Dire tonic,

You clearly have a greater knowledge, understanding and experience of music after a lifetime in the industry. Keystring has much less and is still under tutelage but I have learnt more from keystring's explanations than from any your ramblings and smoke blowing. You know a lot but sit back like a cantankerous old man criticising everyone who doesn't know or understand as much you do but you don't seem to offer more guidance except to say that there's more to it.

If you want to bring some substance to the table I'm well prepared to enjoy it.

We all benefit from sharing knowledge. You must be aware of differing definitions of consonance and dissonance unless you've lived your life in the industry with your head up your backside. Can you not try and explain what more there is to it rather than spit on the genuinely benevolent intention of explaining what many are taught as essential basics.

I have in front of me a first book on Harmony. It states that "Dissonance is an interval which sounds incomplete in itself and need some other special interval to follow after it". It gives three examples, G and F, a seventh, A and D#, a diminished fifth and Bb and C#, a major second.

Years after reading this book I was taught by an experienced musician using harmonics on a guitar to explain the physical properties of harmonics and intervals. He explained the 'beats' between the notes and how small integral relations created consonance where larger intervals created dissonance. It made sense to me and it explained what I was hearing.

Now you come on here and tell me there's more to it but you don't enlighten us with that extra knowledge. You sit back on your lofty perch and berate our lack of experience and understanding.

While keystring kneels among us and offers us pearls and gems.

I post here with the best of intentions, I have never tried to confuse or deceive and have never continued unpleasant conversations. You may kick sand in my face, dire tonic, it clings not on an anonymous forum and I flinch not from it. Based on my pm's your dire tribes do not reflect badly on me so go ahead and knock yourself out.

You don't need a doctorate in mathematics to teach basic counting to people new to the subject. But when flaws in the basics are revealed in a forum such as this there's no need for animosity and verbal flatulence. Just make a correction based on your greater knowledge and experience and let us all move on.

Just a suggestion. smile
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/09/13 01:51 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
Dire tonic,

You clearly have a greater knowledge, understanding and experience of music after a lifetime in the industry. Keystring has much less and is still under tutelage but I have learnt more from keystring's explanations than from any your ramblings and smoke blowing. You know a lot but sit back like a cantankerous old man criticising everyone who doesn't know or understand as much you do but you don't seem to offer more guidance except to say that there's more to it.

The "cantankerous old man" could teach you about a million things you don't know. He has already taught me a ton.

He has more knowledge in his pinky than you have in your whole pretentious body.

END
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/09/13 07:25 PM

I must apologise to the participants and followers of this thread for my uncharacteristic outburst. I hope I haven't soured your taste for the subject matter.

I was giving what little I had to share and was frustrated that my inexpertise was being insulted rather than broadened. I should have taken time to reflect but did not and events have overtaken me. I cannot undo what has been done and so must suffer the consequences.

If I've misled anyone I assure you I was not aware of it. I have imparted nothing that isn't supported by printed matter, mostly university text books. I know that doesn't necessarily make it correct but it is the best I can do.

_________________

Gary, you know from our pm's that I wasn't pretentious and that it is only from your encouragement that I was able to continue without full confidence in my knowledge or ability.

Alas, he was not as generous to me as he was to you.
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/10/13 03:04 AM

No harm done. Musings on dissonance and the (ahem) ‘definitive nature of music’ are bound to be contentious. I added nothing constructive because there’s nothing I can add and I’ve long been of the opinion that these things are rooted in culture. I think I understand why some received ideas don’t work for me and I did my best to lay those arguments out. You have a proclamatory style and I react to it. That is how we are.

I don’t recognise myself as “criticising everyone” – I hope that’s not true. I admit to being generally lazy in the forum but usually all bases are covered by members aplenty willing to offer an answer. Where something lies in my area of expertise (very narrow!) I’ll usually try and throw a little light.

I felt I was able to offer something substantive albeit brief on the use of the ma7 as an ending chord and a perspective on an alternative to the idea of movement as tension/release. Maybe this latter is a bit of a sacred cow? You mentioned the release on resolving to the tonic at the end of Twist and Shout. The final chord in that song is D9. The blues has a lot to answer for!
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/10/13 05:30 AM

I am relieved, dire tonic, that you find no harm done.

I re-read your post and see that I had mis-read your tone and will be more cautious in future.

I also see the folly of my ma7/flat 7 point. I was thinking of the non diatonic seventh on the tonic or subdominant.

Had we been corresponding by traditional mail rather than with the relative immediacy of the forum this would probably not have happened.
Posted by: Valencia

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/10/13 03:14 PM

Thanks keystring for your helpful response about the chords and accidentals. I understand it now, at least through reading it. I think it will take awhile for all of this to become more ‘intuitive’ for me. So until then I’ll just keep referring to the helpful notes everyone is putting up in these threads!

And thanks keystring, dire tonic and Richard for the discussion about dissonance. I’m not sure I understood a lot of it. But I like the explanations of both the science of it, and how culture influences our expectations of how music should sound. I found the notes about the barbershop quartet interesting and went to listen to a few on Youtube after reading to hear how the voices combine to achieve a fifth voice.

As for dissonance, I think this is what I hear in ocean etude with some of the notes. In this piece I think of them as “growly” or "rumbly" note combinations. When I first started practicing the piece, I thought I must be hitting the wrong notes in these parts. But soon, with a little more tempo and in the context of the surrounding notes, those sounds made sense to my ear.
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/10/13 08:43 PM

Re Lili Marlene 2e

Just in case anyone is still following the analysis of this particular piece,
I have another observation / question.

In one of these analysis fora the notion of "cadence" was introduced,
that is, V7-I or ii(7)-V7-I.

The ii(7)-V7-I pattern occurs repeatedly in Lili Marlene 2e.
Are all of these cadences?

In particular, consider M12-13:

The harmony is Dm7-G7-C then C7 and on to the final cadence.

Now on the surface, the Dm7-G7-C looks like a final cadence:
G7 in root position to C in root position;
melody ending on the tonic.

But to my ears. the C at the start of M13 doesn't sound at all like a stopping point. We want to hear the "resolution?" to the G over C7!--but that's a dissonance, right?

Certainly M11-12 are still solidly in the key of C.
What is pushing the music forward past this seeming cadence
into another dissonance?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/10/13 09:21 PM

Cadence doesn't actually mean two particular chords (V-I etc.). It means the end of a section or a piece, and this is indicated by such chords, and also through other elements of music such as rhythm. Very often the music will slow down, and before I could truly read music my eye would hunt for fat white notes instinctively. Music often uses a series of V-I and similar at the beginning in order to establish the tonic so that the ear gets set to that. I think that in jazz and non-classical "seven chords" are used more frequently (????)
Posted by: dire tonic

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/11/13 03:26 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
I think that in jazz and non-classical "seven chords" are used more frequently (????)


In blues it's very common, ever-present. A lot of blues in the major key consists of nothing but 7ths on 1,4 and 5 then typically finishing on the tonic7. It creeps in everywhere, as you say, into jazz and pop music - e.g. Twist and Shout which we've seen finishes on the tonic9.

For the real thing listen to BB King in a major key or check out this rather sterile but very clear example. Almost everyone will have heard the standard blues endings at 2.22 showing also how context, and probably conditioning, affect our expectations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea6TvaVqcKk
Posted by: Rocket Man

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/11/13 04:57 PM

[obscenity deleted]
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/12/13 01:14 AM

Originally Posted By: dire tonic
Originally Posted By: keystring
I think that in jazz and non-classical "seven chords" are used more frequently (????)


In blues it's very common, ever-present. A lot of blues in the major key consists of nothing but 7ths on 1,4 and 5 then typically finishing on the tonic7. It creeps in everywhere, as you say, into jazz and pop music - e.g. Twist and Shout which we've seen finishes on the tonic9.

Thank you. Well, this tells us something right away. Namely, in one type of music you may have the "seven chord" (major triad, minor 7, as in C7) being a device for tension-resolution in the cadence sense. The whole music and expectations from custom set you up for that, because of the way the rough chord moves into a smooth one. But in other music that roughness is just a pleasant common texture. The textbook explanation that we are given, gives us a simplistic explanation that makes theory easy to understand -- and I'd use it that way --- but I'd also know that there's a large world.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/12/13 04:25 AM

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
Re Lili Marlene 2e

In particular, consider M12-13:

The harmony is Dm7-G7-C then C7 and on to the final cadence.

Now on the surface, the Dm7-G7-C looks like a final cadence:
G7 in root position to C in root position;
melody ending on the tonic.

But to my ears. the C at the start of M13 doesn't sound at all like a stopping point. We want to hear the "resolution?" to the G over C7!--but that's a dissonance, right?

Certainly M11-12 are still solidly in the key of C.
What is pushing the music forward past this seeming cadence
into another dissonance?


At the top of bar 11, the melody is on F, so that's clearly not the end.

When we get to the C major triad and C melody note at the top of bar 13, try something: Make that a whole note, and just skip the rest of it. Play it that way a few times, trying very hard to forget that you know the rest of the song.

I think it's mainly that we all *know* that there's more melody to come.

The ii7 - V7 - I thing is kinda like a wheel that goes around and around. But it's a special wheel that can only stop on I.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/12/13 08:47 AM

I'm very comfortable with the process of finding where phrases and pieces end. I'm much less comfortable explaining it to someone else what to look for. I seem to rely on intuition and experience.

M12-13 does look like a ii-V-I cadence but isn't conclusive.

I would venture that the melody falling from D to C without being precedeed by a higher E, let alone G and F, is insufficient to close the piece.

Not wanting to get into hot water smile with continued remonstrance of the importance of the 3-2-1 (preferably 5-4-3-2-1) descent to tonic or the 7-8 rise from the leading note in the melodic line can anyone else offer an explanation as to why this is not a final cadence and how it is we "know" there's more to come?
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/12/13 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
.... and how it is we "know" there's more to come?


By that I mean only that the song has been world famous since 1943. It would be quite rare to find a musician who doesn't know it. Of course the whole tune is better than the truncated version. But if it were possible to forget it, there is a resolution of sorts there.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/12/13 11:19 PM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

Not wanting to get into hot water smile with continued remonstrance of the importance of the 3-2-1 (preferably 5-4-3-2-1) descent to tonic or the 7-8 rise from the leading note in the melodic line can anyone else offer an explanation as to why this is not a final cadence and how it is we "know" there's more to come?

Because there are two more chords in measure 13 that move the music along. I'm unfamiliar with the 3-2-1 idea. I'm sure that music ends in all kinds of fashions, but very often on the tonic.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/13/13 12:16 AM

Since Richard first pointed out 3-2-1 endings last year, I have started to notice them in a surprising number of places.
Posted by: Jean-Luc

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/13/13 06:09 AM

I stumbled upon a series of very interesting videos on youtube that could in my opinion be really helpful for someone interested in analysis: http://www.youtube.com/user/AustinTPatty/videos?flow=grid&view=0&sort=da
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/13/13 08:14 AM

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
Now on the surface, the Dm7-G7-C looks like a final cadence:
G7 in root position to C in root position;
melody ending on the tonic.

But to my ears. the C at the start of M13 doesn't sound at all like a stopping point. We want to hear the "resolution?" to the G over C7!--but that's a dissonance, right?

Certainly M11-12 are still solidly in the key of C.
What is pushing the music forward past this seeming cadence
into another dissonance?

This is the question I'm trying to answer.

Why does the C at the start of M13 not feel like a stopping point - apart from more music being written after it?

If I remove M12-13 the only change is the tonic being arrived at via the leading note instead of the supertonic. Is the change from 2-1 to 7-8 enough to finish the music?

If I made the second F in M12 an E could the song finish on lamp? Would it be musically complete with a 3-2-1 finish?

If either change makes the song musically complete would it need another two bars to balance it proportionally? If it needed more by way of proportion, and I genuinely mean no disrespect here, would it matter if the next two bars ended on a major seventh or a ninth?

Is there something else that that I'm missing?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/13/13 09:39 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90

This is the question I'm trying to answer.

Why does the C at the start of M13 not feel like a stopping point - apart from more music being written after it?



Because with the overall rhythm of the piece, an ending for the third part which is only 2 measures long would be too short. If that same passage was in beat 4 of the last section, it would sound final. However, climbing up from the leading note to the tonic is also more effective and final than coming down from the supertonic to the tonic. That is why the leading note is the leading note. If you are a singer or violinist, and not restrained by the tuning of a piano, you can even heighten it by making B closer than a half step to C.

Having written this, I also know what niggled at me about the idea of a rule that says you should have 3-2-1, and why now I'm fine with the overall idea. This rule gives me no feeling to the music at all - it's just a rule. But if I actually look at how music feels, then it is clear. If Oh Christmas tree were in C major, then the ending would be "B D C" We feel B as leading note wanting to go to C, the B and D circle the C like moths circle a flame, and then land in the C. Here there is a musical feeling, rather than a rule (which isn't a rule --- you are not "wrong" if you write music that doesn't end in 3-2-1).

Similarly, D to C isn't that strong, because the supertonic is a whole step away from the Tonic. There is no strong movement pulling D to C. D is neutral and is just as happy climbing up to E, as it is to go down to C. So if you have a 3-2-1 or 5-4-3-2-1 movement, it's like watching something slide down a hill, and you expect it to keep going in that direction. There is a downward momentum and a landing. I can accept 3-2-1 in that sense. But otoh, I prefer to feel it as music and explore, rather than remembering a rule and then looking for that rule. Music is sound.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/13/13 10:01 AM

Brilliant, keystring! I never thought of switching the bars.

Yes, it does sound final if I swich M13 and M15. So proportion also plays an important role.

ETA: It also works by duplicating either M13 or M15.

Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/13/13 10:35 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Having written this, I also know what niggled at me about the idea of a rule that says you should have 3-2-1, and why now I'm fine with the overall idea.

I did not take 3-2-1 as a rule. I took it as an observation. It's a result of observing and experimenting with music, not a rule that states things must be this way, or are always this way, or should be this way, or are wrong if they're not this way.

I find it useful to notice patterns in music, and describe them. Otherwise music is just a bunch of random patterns and there's no unity and no understanding for me.

I think it's a mistake to interpret the results of observations and the naming of patterns, as "rules." They may become principles that it's useful to remember if you want to compose in a specific style, but they're not rules. My ear is not sufficiently developed to be able to discover these principles purely by noodling at the piano, or even by playing written music and only responding aurally without thinking analytically about it, and so I appreciate learning about patterns and their typical effects. Not as a way of straitjacketing music with rules, but as a way of understanding music.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/13/13 10:40 AM

And landing on C instead of B in M14 lets me finish on other, even non-diatonic, notes/chords in M15 albeit with different parting moods so I'm learning a lot about this proportion business.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/13/13 11:40 AM

Richard, you wrote something earlier in regards to phrases, of being able to perceive them due to experience and instinct, but not being able to teach how to do it. I think this brings us to some interesting things.

One is that when we play music, we absorb patterns, just like a child can speak grammatically before learning grammar in school. That is, the child can say "I saw a dog run across the street." instead of jumbling dog, street, run, across. Theory then tries to get at those patterns and if you got them first instinctively, you'll say "Ah yes - now I see why I always seem to know this! That's what's behind it." Reversing this, without some backup theory, you have to dig in an actually try to see what it is that makes you hear a phrase as a phrase. Apparently whatever we do instinctively is harder to define to others. I've been told that the easiest thing to teach are the things that you struggled with yourself, because you had to take it apart or have it explained.

This leads to a second thought, namely that the stuff of music exists in and of itself, and we can sense a lot of it. The explanations in theory are a way of codifying it. As such it's a crude approximation of the real thing. And maybe we need overlapping different code systems to get a better picture since nothing fits 100%. Knowing this might help with potential disputes as people with different "systems" (classical, jazz, ear) come in. In the same vein, any "absolutes" that go "This is how it is, totally, no other way" should probably be considered with caution.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 02/15/13 07:32 PM


OK, this discussion of knowing instinctively about resolving to the tonic and all that reminded me of something that may be helpful and even amusing. Here's another melody that virtually everybody will recognize (even though I did it hastily by ear and didn't get the durations right).

It's just a one note melody line, no chords, which shows that it's the melody that resolves, the chords just go along for the ride.

It also illustrates the business about familiarity with a melody, and knowing how it's supposed to go. (The last note here doesn't go where it's supposed to.... ;-) )


http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/ResolutionExample.pdf

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/ResolutionExample.mp3


I'll be out of town on business all next week, so I'll see your responses perhaps on the 24th.
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 03/10/13 10:24 PM

Hi, all. I've been away a while. But I find this discussion very illuminating.
Clearly the rhythm of LM requires the other 2 measures, so that does push it along.
(But then what about God Save the King, which seems to be missing a measure?).

I also found the 3-2-1 vs 2-1 makes sense when I listen to it.
Switching measures, to me it sounds OK with FDC (498) at the end,
but the FBC (47,1) in the middle seems harder to get past.
So I guess that reinforces your point.

And John reminded me of another issue:
why do we name the chords and do the harmony from the bass up?
Why not melody down--if indeed the melodic progression defines the tension-resolution?

I don't know whether I mentioned this before, but from singing in a choir,
I got the impression that the harmony follows the melody, not vice-versa.
Soprano of course has the melody,
the alto follows the soprano typically a third/sixth down,
the tenor line rides "above" the melody but an octave down,
and the bass pounds away on 1, 5 and 4 to keep the beat going.

My piano teacher of the last 2 years uses a "method"
that consists of learning some kind of "walking bass" line in LH (I may be mis-using terms),
rooted in the chord-name note,
with melody in RH and one or two notes of the "chord" (from lead sheet) in the RH below the melody note.
It's a bit different from the LH-chord RH-melody of typical "chord" methods,
and also from the two-part approach of "beginner classical" methods,
but I'm thinking it's probably more musically complete.

His approach to composition (at least for students) is to invent a chord sequence
(e.g. put I at the beginning, V7 I at the end, and "roll dice" for the middle),
make up a melody that fits the chords, then "harmonize" it as described above.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 03/11/13 06:59 PM

From where does the measure appear to be missing in G S the Q?

We tend to hear music from the bass up though this apparently isn't universal to all cultures. The bass is more fundamental to the music whereas the melody can adapt itself to lyrics, for example, that change from verse to verse. Early music forms such as chaconnes, passacaglias and grounds depend on the regularity of the bass.

The harmony follows the melody? can you be more specific as to whether you mean in the writing or the performing, etc.

The melody isn't always the highest note. Frequently in contemporary music the harmony is a third or sixth above the melody. And The Beatles used harmony a fifth apart in Love Me Do. Something of a novelty, I believe.

For choral harmony, it's logical for the alto to take the closest note down from the melody as long as it doesn't break the 'rules' of harmony as in parallel fifths, etc. The bass tends to keep to the root notes on the stronger beats and the tenor has to fit in with what's left, often having to double another voice when the harmony squeezes into close triads.

The composition varies with genre, style and effect.

To get something in the style of Springsteen, for example, where you want something anthemic and suitable for live performance, you want to keep the melody within a small compass using only four or five notes most of the time (Philadelphia, Born in the USA) then the chord first method is ideal. If you're writing for a woman's voice like Annie Lennox and want a wider vocal range (Love Is a Stranger, Right By Your Side) I prefer to write the melody on piano or a recorder and consider the harmony as an afterthought.

For beat music it's often a good idea to start with a rhythmic base such as a drum machine pattern and the poetic style of Dylan might best start with the lyrics. Elton John's music is always lyrics first, of course, and being composed on piano rather than guitar stands out as more poetical, melodic and often more adventurous harmonically.

If you're thinking of moving in that direction I would try different styles and forms regularly and often.
Posted by: tinman1943

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 08/18/13 02:34 PM

Has anybody done a harmonic analysis of Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring,
either the Hess piano version or the full chorale?
I saw couple posts in the Classical Sonata Analysis forum but they didn't really get into an analysis
--presumably it's not a Sonata. Does it even have a named form?
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 08/18/13 03:37 PM

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
Has anybody done a harmonic analysis of Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring,
either the Hess piano version or the full chorale?
I'm not aware of a published analysis.

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
I saw couple posts in the Classical Sonata Analysis forum but they didn't really get into an analysis
--presumably it's not a Sonata. Does it even have a named form?
The intention of the analysis thread was not to analyse Classical Sonatas alone but to follow that style of analysis, i.e. structural, detailed and full harmonic as opposed to a more practical style geared towards listening, learning and playing the piece on the piano. It was touched on briefly in the thread because Jeff was going to learn it.

What sort of analysis were you looking for. Most folks here balk at the thought of a full harmonic analysis. I myself haven't done one since the thread was last active; not really my preferred style.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 08/18/13 03:52 PM

The Sonata Analysis thread was meant for understanding sonata form. At some point it deviated to other forms and that became confusing. I have not studied all forms, and at some points I was trying to figure out what was being said in the context of sonata form which had been carefully laid out, and could not make head or tails out of it until I figured out these were not in sonata forms. Other times one had to take a "crash course" in some other form being mentioned by doing research and studying it, in order to follow what was being said. I consider the Sonata Analysis thread to be about Sonata Analysis. Otherwise it gets too confusing.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 08/18/13 04:31 PM

We started out with the Moonlight but had been through preludes by Bach and Chopin and then we started on Clementi. We chose sonatinas not because they were (partly) in sonata form but because they were 'easy'.

We were analysing music and since sonata form is about as tough as it gets, fugues aside, that's where we were aiming.

There are several times, through the life of the thread, where I wished I'd used more foresight in the naming of it.

For me the term 'Classical Sonata Analysis' sums up the process of analysing music by its harmonic content, not the type of music being analysed - and how would you know before you analysed it? I use the same process for symphonies, concertos and all the forms used therein.

Originally Posted By: keystring
The Sonata Analysis thread was meant for understanding sonata form. At some point it deviated to other forms and that became confusing...I consider the Sonata Analysis thread to be about Sonata Analysis.
Sonatas and sonata form are not the same thing. I think that's where you may have confused yourself. There was never an explicit restriction to sonata form, or forms using only the sonata principle. It was about analysing tonal music.

I cannot, off the top of my head, think of a sonata where all the movements were in sonata form. Sonatas cover many forms.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 08/18/13 04:53 PM

I am definitely not confused about the difference between sonatas and sonata form. The idea of the thread came from the earlier thread, where it was decided that basic form first had to be established so that everyone would be up to speed. Perhaps the title was misleading. The confusion came when, after logical order starting with simple sonatinas and the earlier sonatas, suddenly music appeared that were not sonatas and also had no sonata form in them. If it was not meant to be about sonatas and sonatinas exclusively, perhaps it should have had a different title. Somewhere in the middle of that thread it was sort of, maybe, decided to make it more general.

The thing is that we started with a context, we defined what sonata form was, and what sonatas were. Everyone could follow because there was that context. If other forms of music are to be considered in such a thread, then those forms would have to be defined just as carefully or people who are not advanced in music will be lost. I had to scramble a couple of times and do some hasty reading on whatever form suddenly cropped up.

In any case, in regards to tinman's question, is there any problem with it being addressed here rather than in the "sonata" thread? I think that was the issue though at the moment I'm not sure.
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 08/18/13 05:09 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
...in regards to tinman's question, is there any problem with it being addressed here...
No, he'd only looked there. It was mentioned there when Jeff was starting out on it but it wasn't analysed there. Here is as good a place as any to start out on it for anyone interested.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 08/18/13 05:10 PM

Quote:
No, he'd only looked there. It was mentioned there when Jeff was starting out on it but it wasn't analysed there. Here is as good a place as any to start out on it for anyone interested.

Ok, now I'm up to speed. I agree. smile
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Starting out with analysis, all invited - 08/18/13 11:19 PM

Originally Posted By: tinman1943
Has anybody done a harmonic analysis of Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring,
either the Hess piano version or the full chorale?
I saw couple posts in the Classical Sonata Analysis forum but they didn't really get into an analysis
--presumably it's not a Sonata. Does it even have a named form?

tinman, can you link to a score? I adore harmonic analysis, so I would be delighted to dig into this on this thread.