Friday, July 22, 2016

Chords Without Thirds: A Whole New Harmonic World

Hey, thanks for checking out the exercises! This week we talked about chords built without thirds, or so-called Non-Tertian Harmony. Let's dive in!

1) One feature of standard harmony is that we have a name for pretty much every collection of notes already, so non-tertian harmony doesn't actually add anything new, just new ways to construct and interpret. So let's start by reinterpreting them back: Make some chords out of non-third intervals, then see if you can figure out what we'd call those chords in regular harmony. (If you value your sanity, though, you probably shouldn't try it with tone clusters...)

2) We mentioned that there are some good arguments for why we use thirds, but we kind of glossed over what those were, didn't we? Well, gloss no more! Why do you think we settled on thirds as our fundamental interval? How would you describe thirds, and which of those properties do you think make it such a good choice to build a harmonic system on top of?

3) And finally, the discussion question! What do you think of these? Which did you like the sounds of? Which could you see yourself working with? Or do they all just seem pointless to you? No wrong answers!

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