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Hi all!

I'm trying to teach myself some music/theory and I'm going through the exercises in Schoenberg's "Theory of Harmony". Since I don't have a teacher, I was hoping I could get some input from the kind people here. :-)

In the attachment is a harmonic progression I've done (tonal, SATB form). Only chords in root position and first inversion (the six-chords) are allowed.

Is the voice leading correct? I'm having doubts about the final chord, where I've decided to drop the fifth because I'm not able to squeeze it in while retaining the smoothness of the transition without it. If I understand correctly, the fifth *can* sometimes be dropped. I'm just wondering whether this is an example of such case, or simply a mistake.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Anne!

 

Thanks very much for your help, I really appreciate it!

 

You mentioned that there are crossed voices and too much unisons.  Could it be that we are differently interpreting the tenor clef?  I've written this in Sibelius and the two E's in tenor and bass (measure 1) sound an octave apart, i.e. they are not unisons.  Consequently, I cannot find any case of crossed voices or unisons.  Am I missing something?

 

By "too large intervals", did you mean between bass and other voices?  Maybe this also has to do with "the tenor clef issue", because no two voices, other than bass and tenor, are separated more than an octave.  Should I be aiming for reducing the separation between bass and tenor?

 

Thanks!

I think Anne missed the little "8" under the Tenor Clef-I did too at first, until I read your post. I learned 4 part harmony in  2 staff system and I find it more convenient- I don't know what Schoenberg suggests, but you should give it a try. 2 voices on the G clef and two on the F, or 3 on the top and 1 on the bottom (the latter is generaly not used and is not particulary neat when hand writting). Now to the actual task.

 

When I was taking the elementary harmony classes, I was taught a rule, that "When a voice does two continuous leaps to the same direction, and the interval between the first and last note is a 9th or a 7th, it is not allowed, UNLESS, the second note is of a relatively large rythmic value". You can propably listen to it yourself that figures like ms 2-3-4 and 4-5-6 in the bass do not sound nice most of the times, especialy if the tempo is fast, or the middle note is not of large value, thus giving the sense of playing the 1st and 3rd lone one after another (your ear doesn't forget the 1st sound and listens to something "unmelodic"). I do not know if Schoenberg mentions that, but at least for aesthetic reasons I would avoid it. Anne gave you a nice alternative there, using a IV6 chord. Another solution is to transpose the bass in ms 4 one octave lower and then use a 6 inversion on ms 8. Or something similar to that, there are more ways.

Moreover, when using secondary chords, use their invertions, for example, the III and especially the VII. I remember that "when using primary chords we do not double the 3rd of the chord (and thats why we ommit it in the 6 inversion)" and "doubling the leading note is not allowed", and thus, we almost always use the VII in it's 6 inversion. 

 

And for the cadence.  One, not good for the ending chord, solution is for the Soprano to go to G and the Alto to B in ms 10 and 11, and you will have a full chord.

I have to say I do not like your ommiting the 1st of the chord in ms 10 (in the upper 3 voices) and ommiting a note again (even if it is the 5th) in the next measure, especially when this is the I and the last chord of the theme. Yes the 5th *can* be dropped, but the hteory ges that "it must be a situation that you cannot avoid it", which is quite broad, and there are certain cases when we do not really mind it at all, for example, you can have a V7 in it's root position, and ommit the 5th if you like, especially in the cadence, bringing you to a final full chord with a better sound,

So to a proper cadence:

In ms 10: Soprano goes to D instead of F. Alto stays as is. Tenor goes to B insead of D. 

In ms 11: Tenor goes to B.

 

I think the rest are fine. The leaps in voices other than the bass were nicely resolved, so no problem with those. Your "mistakes" were mainly aesthetic. Use more inversions, do not fear them, if you have reached the proper chapter use contrary motion and use the "superstrong" progressions (as Schoenberg names them). I would avoid having octave intervals between two concecutive voices especially soprano-alto. Variate your progressions a bit more, for example the III-VI-IV in measure 6 could become V-VI-IV or V-I-IV, instead of repeating it like in measure 2-3-4. I take it you have not yet reached the 7th chord chapter yet, so I will stop here.

 

I hope I wasn't terribly wrong in any of those, I haven't had a lesson for a couple of years. 

I have promised myself a copy of Schoenbergs "Theory of Harmony", I will get that gem sooner or later. :D

Hi, Josip. You progression is good like exercise, no cross voice and the distance in positions is good. By the way, have to keep the distance between tenor, alto, and soprano, but between bass and other can be reasonably large. You have one mistake in 10-th measure, in alto must be B not F#  beacose its a primary chord (not inversion .)in primary chord you can use only double 1th. You can do any jump  (drop) in bass and from 5th to 1st its ok. Inside (tenor, alto sopr.) better third jump, more rarely 5th. And in final chord you jump tenor to G, alto rest on B sopr. E and bass E. Spyrus, to end on 3hd in sopr. is not so good, only in special cases.  

Anne, truly  your harmonization is better but Josip dont yet  know many other chord (DD3\4 in 9 measure)  to do more interesting harmonization.  This is an exercise for the beginning and still have to learn more and more.

Good luck Josip!  

as I said, "One, not good for the ending chord, solution is for the Soprano to go to G and the Alto to B in ms 10 and 11, and you will have a full chord." :D unless you were just underlying my point. 

 

In Anne's solution I see a leading note (D#) not resolving to E, in measures 10-11, isn't that a mistake?

Vlad Burlea said:

Spyrus, to end on 3hd in sopr. is not so good, only in special cases.  

 

No this is not mistake but not interesting, better to move B in bass to D# (halfe notes ) D# the same to B tie to next,  B in tenor jump to G (later, get down to A  and go to G ).

SpyrusTheVirus said:

as I said, "One, not good for the ending chord, solution is for the Soprano to go to G and the Alto to B in ms 10 and 11, and you will have a full chord." :D unless you were just underlying my point. 

 

In Anne's solution I see a leading note (D#) not resolving to E, in measures 10-11, isn't that a mistake?

Vlad Burlea said:

Spyrus, to end on 3hd in sopr. is not so good, only in special cases.  

 

Spyrus, sorry, I didnt see the "key word" NOT GOOD! in your replay.

Josip, Spyrus is right in all his long replay, read once more carefully his recommendations and go ahead! 

Success!

Anne, Spyrus, Vlad, thank you all for your time and effort!  I find your remarks very useful.  I could ask some further questions but I'll hold until I've re-examined all that you've written.

Cheers!

As soon as I get to my office, I'll re-realize this example and re-post it for benefit of learning four-part voice leading, because: "A note is worth a thousand words".

I know I promised to post a realization of the roman numerals with the given bass: I, however, after careful inspection would suggest learning to write melodies, then learn to write a bass line utilizing the exact techniques for writing melodies, then learn counterpoint in two parts, then learn to write melodious inner voices via studies on counterpoint in three, four, and more than four voices.

I could write some homework assignments --- a basic bass line with basic roman numerals. If this appeals, then contact me.

Hi, Gordon!  Thanks, I'd appreciate that!

Version of Sibelius? (I can save the files in whatever version you've got, then I can send it via this forum or personal e-mail, then you can write in the remaining parts without hassle, lastly you can post it on the forum for feedback from various composers or send it to me for evaluation via whatever manner suits you)

Josip Gracin said:

Hi, Gordon!  Thanks, I'd appreciate that!

You will get as many opinions as there are folks that answer.

So here's mine.

There is more to writing than following a theory. Yes, you have to have some basics. Writing for a choir is different from writing for a string quartet. The basses in your piece have so many jumps that they will probably hunt you down and do terrible things to your copy of Sibelius. Jumps here and there are fine and kind of fun. I changed the 7 chord in measure 5 to a 5 chord and dropped the bass note an octave in the next measure. Why? A diminished chord didn't sound right to me there;kind of wimpy. Wimpy chords work better as passing chords than they do the way you have used it. I'm sure that there is some kind of rule about when you can use a diminished chord. I haven't got a clue what it is. I use my ear. Don't forget to use your ear. For your exercise you are plodding along with whole notes, so I think you have to create your progression carefully.

 And put some passing tones in. Things will be a lot more interesting

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