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 https://soundcloud.com/larya/quint-quart-1

This series of four pieces was inspired by a member of the forum, Joel Becker and his piece, A Peek into a Boson. Joel's piece is jazzy, harmonically pleasing, and breathtaking in scope, largely due to his use of quartal and quintal chords. The notes in a quartal chord are all an interval of a fourth apart. Quintal chords are a fifth apart. Playing a circle of fifths or fourths as a single chord is either genius or diabolical.

At the risk of over simplification, Joel's Boson piece is structured somewhat like a jazz chart in that the melodies incorporate the notes of the underlying quartals or quintals. I took a different approach by trying to integrate these chords with conventional scales. Consequently the sound of the two pieces is quite different.

The sources I have read on the internet tend to equate the two chords, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Quartals sound jazzy, up beat, and peaceful. Quintals are dark, dense, and foreboding especially if the intervening thirds are added to the chord. In the first movement I used a few quintals but then discovered that the two types were somewhat incompatible, so essentially this work is a study in quartal chords. Whole tone scales work well with quartals which Joel used extensively and I used as well, but I also used conventional scales.

The structure of this series is a sonnet. For those of us who have not written a sonnet lately (as if), a sonnet is a 14 line poem with the rhyming scheme, ABBA in the first two verses or quatrains. The second two verses or sestets have the rhyming scheme CDC. So the rhyming scheme of the total sonnet is ABBA, ABBA, CDC, CDC. Instead of rhyming lines I substituted musical sections in each of the four movements. Having two B sections back to back seemed too repetitive (ABBA) so my structure for the first two movements or quatrains is ABCA.

There is a method to this madness. The first two movements are the same in structure but different in melodies and rhythms. If the first movement is a dud I have a second chance in the next movement. Similarly for the CDC movements.

This is the first movement or quatrain with the structure of ABCA using quartal and quintal chords. Hope you enjoy and give me feed back.

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Lawrence,

I think this is the best piece you've posted in my time on this forum. I wish you would have entered mine and Rays' competition as this would have been a worthy competitor and more entries would have kept the competition alive...ah well.

I hear Debussy (La Mer) and oddly, Michael Daugherty and Malcom Arnold among others, but I also hear some nice originality too.  The sound is in a bit of a state and I had to keep my ears half closed to try and imagine what it is supposed to sound like. 

I admire that you keep pushing to try new things and it is paying off as far as I can tell with some very interesting harmonic moves and scoring.

Mike,

     Thanks for listening and for your input.  I'm not familiar with Daugherty or Arnold but I've probably heard their music.  This piece has the feel of 1960's jazz, so I'm not sure if it is a step forward or a step backwards.  I need to get back into the forum to see what is going on, but it can take up all ones waking hours. ( I have a day job). 

     In some ways it is easier to write in fourths than in thirds and fifths.  Just write a melody line, transpose down a fourth for the second part then transpose down a fourth again etc.  Thanks again.

"In some ways it is easier to write in fourths than in thirds and fifths. Just write a melody line, transpose down a fourth for the second part then transpose down a fourth again etc. "

Oh if only Lawrence.
Did you ever consider augmenting or diminishing one or two of those 4ths, or perhaps using their inversions, or chromatically altering one of the notes to lead elsewhere. Even making harmonies wih 4ths and 5ths and creating scales based upon them. It really is not easier, in fact it might be harder to be convincing in a sea of amicable neutraliity unless you can create edge (and thus music) with some artifice.
Still you really have done a great job here.

Mr. Aurich, this is pretty damn good. Colorfully textured, creative and, even

with a somewhat droning background in parts, you balanced that out with

some interesting surprises. At one point I thought I saw Gene Kelly dancing : >}

I thought too that your ending fit with a bravado that suited the piece perfectly.

(not sure if that's exactly the correct term, but I think you will know what I mean)

ps- I couldn't hear the harpsichord or the accordion in this... was that intentional? RS

Roger,

   The fact that you liked this piece is somewhat disconcerting.  I feel compelled to go back and figure out what I did wrong.

Maybe I should put the harmonica back in.  As always, thanks for listening.

Let me see if I get your drift.  If there are quartals and quintals there must also be sextals, septals, tripals, and dupals, and their minor versions.  A dupal chord would be the notes of the whole tone scale played together.  I hesitate to call this a good idea, more like a can of worms for another day and another piece. 

     For those avant gardists enamored with the sound of the minor second I offer the minor dupal chord.  First place a 2"X4" across the white keys and another across the black keys, then sit on them, simultaneously.  Voila, the minor dupal chord.
 
Mike Hewer said:

"In some ways it is easier to write in fourths than in thirds and fifths. Just write a melody line, transpose down a fourth for the second part then transpose down a fourth again etc. "

Oh if only Lawrence.
Did you ever consider augmenting or diminishing one or two of those 4ths, or perhaps using their inversions, or chromatically altering one of the notes to lead elsewhere. Even making harmonies wih 4ths and 5ths and creating scales based upon them. It really is not easier, in fact it might be harder to be convincing in a sea of amicable neutraliity unless you can create edge (and thus music) with some artifice.
Still you really have done a great job here.

>Let me see if I get your drift

I think what was being referred to is the alteration (raising or lowering) of one or more of the perfect fourths-- for example you can chromatically change a quartal chord very easily into a different kind of harmony--eg C F Bb into C E Bb (dom 7th) or C F# B into C F# A#(=Bb) , (incomplete b5)  etc. and quintal C G D Into C G Eb (minor), etc.

This adds a little spice as repeated straight quartal or quintal chords can be very bland, static or even somewhat boring if overused, but in your piece here IMHO I wouldnt change any of the chords, or do it very very sparingly, as these harmonies work very well in your composition.

There is also, but more dissonant, C F Bb into  C F B--still fourths but one is an augmented fourth or tritone, instead of all being perfect; or into C F# B (very important in the Second Viennese school--Schoenberg, Berg Webern). Or with perfect fifths C G D into C G Db (or Db G C )

>For those avant gardists enamored with the sound of the minor second I offer the minor dupal chord.  First place a 2"X4" across the white keys and another across the black keys, then sit on them, simultaneously.  Voila, the minor dupal chord.

This is actually called a chromatic cluster https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_cluster and is a staple of contemporary piano music, and no 2X4 or sitting is necessary..unless one wants the entire keyboard to play at once, which isnt at all very often the case!! :) They are played using forearms and hands, and for example cover all the black and white keys (chromatic scale) in an octave:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_3q3_VdVz8

(Yes its an acquired taste..LOL:)

Very nice piece..I enjoyed it very much:)

Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

 Lawrence, Bob M is on the money.

Your theoretical musings are flawed, funny but flawed. The point I was making is that there is a massive compositional resource in quartal writing and the manipulation thereof can be as varied and fruitful as it is in tertial harmony - all you need is technical imagination to discover new sound fields to explore for expressive means.

btw, I wasn't suggesting you incorporate anything different in your piece, but perhaps think about applying tertial techniques to quartal harmony in the future if you feel so inclined  - it just needs a little lateral thinking.

Very nice and modern-sounding. I did still detect traces of Holst in it... but overall, I liked it a lot.  Very nice overall dramatic arc.

So many good ideas, so little time. So far I'm just trying to get some proficiency in the basic chords.  Thanks for listening and commenting.

Bob Morabito said:

>Let me see if I get your drift

I think what was being referred to is the alteration (raising or lowering) of one or more of the perfect fourths-- for example you can chromatically change a quartal chord very easily into a different kind of harmony--eg C F Bb into C E Bb (dom 7th) or C F# B into C F# A#(=Bb) , (incomplete b5)  etc. and quintal C G D Into C G Eb (minor), etc.

This adds a little spice as repeated straight quartal or quintal chords can be very bland, static or even somewhat boring if overused, but in your piece here IMHO I wouldnt change any of the chords, or do it very very sparingly, as these harmonies work very well in your composition.

There is also, but more dissonant, C F Bb into  C F B--still fourths but one is an augmented fourth or tritone, instead of all being perfect; or into C F# B (very important in the Second Viennese school--Schoenberg, Berg Webern). Or with perfect fifths C G D into C G Db (or Db G C )

>For those avant gardists enamored with the sound of the minor second I offer the minor dupal chord.  First place a 2"X4" across the white keys and another across the black keys, then sit on them, simultaneously.  Voila, the minor dupal chord.

This is actually called a chromatic cluster https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_cluster and is a staple of contemporary piano music, and no 2X4 or sitting is necessary..unless one wants the entire keyboard to play at once, which isnt at all very often the case!! :) They are played using forearms and hands, and for example cover all the black and white keys (chromatic scale) in an octave:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_3q3_VdVz8

(Yes its an acquired taste..LOL:)

Very nice piece..I enjoyed it very much:)

Thanks Bob https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito

I figured as much, but for now I'm dealing with regular quartals, then perhaps quintals.  This forum sucks you in so that you spend all your waking hours thinking about music. 
 
Mike Hewer said:

 Lawrence, Bob M is on the money.

Your theoretical musings are flawed, funny but flawed. The point I was making is that there is a massive compositional resource in quartal writing and the manipulation thereof can be as varied and fruitful as it is in tertial harmony - all you need is technical imagination to discover new sound fields to explore for expressive means.

btw, I wasn't suggesting you incorporate anything different in your piece, but perhaps think about applying tertial techniques to quartal harmony in the future if you feel so inclined  - it just needs a little lateral thinking.

I think people like this music because it a new sound, more cutting edge.  Personally, I think it is wiser to write one good solid piece of music than sixteen experimental pieces.  But more power to those composers brave enough to live on the edge.
 
H. S. Teoh said:

Very nice and modern-sounding. I did still detect traces of Holst in it... but overall, I liked it a lot.  Very nice overall dramatic arc.

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