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3 hours ago, filmmusic said:

I was wondering if anyone knows any bibliography (whole books/articles/dissertations) or passages from books on Diatonicism.

I can't seem to be able to find anything good...

 

Not sure I follow the question.  That is literally in most harmony books.  Might not be covered in chromatic or atonal harmony but most pre-20th century harmony books are covering mostly diatonic harmony.  If you want an intro book to harmony, Tchaikovsky is a good comprehensive intro, readable, brief, and is free

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12 hours ago, karelm said:

 

Not sure I follow the question.  That is literally in most harmony books.  Might not be covered in chromatic or atonal harmony but most pre-20th century harmony books are covering mostly diatonic harmony.  If you want an intro book to harmony, Tchaikovsky is a good comprehensive intro, readable, brief, and is free

I'm not sure how I can put it differently.

I'm searching for general information on diatonic major and minor without any chromaticism at all..

things like a formal definition, when it is used, what it conveys, such stuff..

I just want to use some bibliography for a dissertation..

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Have to speed run this right now, but you have a classic Williams lydian chord in there before it changes gears, with those distinct chord intervals really hammered home by the high strings to give that yearning, "pushing" quality. 

 

Here I thought you'd be asking for Return to the City. Now there's  some Williams juice!

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8 hours ago, Steve McQueen said:

@Nick Parker, @Loert, @Ludwig

Just a quick one: kind of want to know generally what is going on with the harmony here at the very beginning.  The opening chords are very striking, enhanced with the interplay between brass and strings.  Brief moment, but it has left a mark on me.

 

 

@Nick Parker rightfully points out the Lydian flavour of the strings here. This brings a sense of a hyper-positive state since the Lydian mode has the raised 4th degree of the scale.

 

There's also a raised note in the change of harmony that @Steve McQueen you ask about. An E-flat that's part of an E-flat major chord suddenly changes into an E-natural in a C major chord, and the feeling it evokes is, in this case, euphoric since it is when Jim finally sees a P-15 ("Cadillac of the Skies") in flight.

 

Interesting to see how Williams coordinates both the melody and harmony in these raised notes to emphasize and heighten the emotional expression of the music and the scene.

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This thing is bugging me.

What do you think is the B note (bars 9 and 11) in the left hand that goes up a tritone to F?

I think it's just an added note to the minor chord. Could it be more?

 

 

 

 

luke-and-leia-(brother-and-sister).png

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One of my favorite Williams moments, there. I've always thought of it as almost suggesting a kind of major9 chord (which pop ups explicitly later on the piece--as a player I might play around with that if it were given to me as a lead sheet), or a suspended chord, giving it a more "aged", "mature" feeling in conjunction with the inverted Gbm chord, more wistful; the sus chord being between the melody note of Gb, the Db in the bass, and the B you're asking about.

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56 minutes ago, Score said:

 

It does not have a specific harmonic function that can be codified according to standard namings, so I would say, indeed, that it's an added note to the Gb minor chord. Saying that it is the perfect fourth of the chord does not add information, as it does not behave in the way fourths generally behave. The particular effect is due to the fact that the B, together with A and Gb = F#, suggests a B7 chord without the third, so the ear is somehow undecided. However, I interpret the main harmonic line simply as Gb minor resolving to Db major, with the melodic resolution of Gb to F being anticipated with respect to the harmonic motion. The B is "colour" in the bass register.

 

 

I just played the theme with a full B7 chord at that point.

Doesn't this version pop up somewhere in the score?

Or is this what @Nick Parkermeant?

 

edit: oh yes it does, at bar 27.

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2 hours ago, filmmusic said:

I just played the theme with a full B7 chord at that point.

Doesn't this version pop up somewhere in the score?

Or is this what @Nick Parkermeant?

 

edit: oh yes it does, at bar 27.

 

I was referring more to an Amaj9 chord, with the A, Db (C#), and B as the ninth, with a raised 6th in the key of A major (seriously, play the chord and absorb its dopeness--bottom to top, A,C#, F#, and B. Awwwww yeaaahhhh.....). I wouldn't want to take that chord as a B7, personally...nless you meant a Bm7, with an added ninth?(the Db)

Like @Score said, though, I see the basic progression as Gbm to Db.

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I think the problem people are having in giving this chord a label is, as @Score implies, that it doesn't seem to match up with how they hear it. So calling it Cb7 (or B7) probably feels wrong because it sounds to them more like a Gb minor. Let's be clear then that any chord symbol we give it isn't the end of the analysis but the beginning.

 

Calling it Cb7 doesn't mean it can't have hints of subdominant to it. But I think it goes too far to say that the chord is a Gb minor when Wiiliams writes it as Cb7 (or the equivalent when the theme is in other keys) each time it appears.

 

I also think part of the problem is that a bVIIb7 in a major mode is extremely uncommon, so our ears aren't primed to hear it as such when the chord isn't complete and the notes emphasized are scale degrees 4 and b6, which are more typical of subdominant chords borrowed from minor and are heard regularly in film.

 

It's a bit like Luke's theme (the SW main theme), where the second chord of the theme sounds like a dominant chord but isn't V7. It's actually a four-note quartal chord (chord built in 4ths rather than 3rds) but has scale degree 4 in the melody against degree 5 in the bass, so masquerades as a dominant. But it wouldn't be right to give it a label of V7.

 

In any case, my point is that a chord symbol only tells you what notes are to be grouped together, not necessarily (and certainly not in this case) the nuances of its harmonic function, which can only be obtained through its context, something chord symbols don't do.

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22 minutes ago, Ludwig said:

 

 

 

It's a bit like Luke's theme (the SW main theme), where the second chord of the theme sounds like a dominant chord but isn't V7. It's actually a four-note quartal chord (chord built in 4ths rather than 3rds) but has scale degree 4 in the melody against degree 5 in the bass, so masquerades as a dominant. But it wouldn't be right to give it a label of V7.

 

 

about that:

I've written that it's a mixolydian V, dressed as a quartal chord.

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4 hours ago, Score said:

That's also why I do not hear it as a Amaj9 chord as you suggest, because the 9th (B) is too close to the bass to sound as a ninth, Also, it does not behave functionally as a 9th (it would have to descend). 

 

 

Funny thing: when I was in high school, I played this from the official book, which is what @filmmusic posted. However, not long after I learnt it as a junior, someone sent me a digitally typeset orchestral version of the piece they had made, and--I don't have it anymore so I can't check this--it had the A dropped down an octave (which I believe is not how Williams wrote it), which I started to tinker with as a curious little chicken and said, "Hey, this sounds pretty cool!" With that A way down there opening the chord up, it gave a very strong major9 feeling, or perhaps a min11 to me. Later on, when the piece has built to its beautiful climax, and is at that delamatory, soaring, descending moment, the Amaj9 pops in full force.

 

Overall, the progression from the minor iv to the tonic is one I've heard in many ballads, so I love that Williams took it one step further and muddied the waters with the B, that one note giving us so much more to chew on. I love the suspended, or to quote filmmusic, quartal quality it provides--Williams knows how to use those to maximum heart melting effect in ballads, such as in Cinderella Liberty. 

 

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On 11/8/2018 at 6:45 PM, filmmusic said:

This thing is bugging me.

What do you think is the B note (bars 9 and 11) in the left hand that goes up a tritone to F?

I think it's just an added note to the minor chord. Could it be more?

luke-and-leia-(brother-and-sister).png

 

So first of all, I see this progression as basically diatonic so I would rewrite it in its proper enharmonic form:

 

image.png

 

however I think it's easier to analyze in C# major:

 

image.png

 

which sounds like this: https://picosong.com/wX9m7

 

Now, personally, when I listen to this excerpt, what I feel as the "base harmony" is this (pay attention to the second bar for all the following exhibits):

 

image.png

 

i.e. the Gb minor (or F# minor) which @Score alludes to. This sounds like this: https://picosong.com/wX9u5

 

So what about the B in the original piece? What does it mean?

 

I think that it could be understood as a "compressed" suspension, i.e. a compressed version of this...

 

image.png

 

...which sounds like this: https://picosong.com/wX9uQ...

(note: I removed the anticipatory E# in measure 2 so you can hear the LH clearer).

 

...but without the upper C#:

 

image.png

 

which sounds like this: https://picosong.com/wX9J4/

 

I think that this "sound" is, on average, more familiar to people here - all that Williams does is join the A and B together (compare this audio with the first audio excerpt). Note, I'm not saying that this is how Williams got to the B in the first place (with an A and B separated apart), but it is one way of thinking of the meaning of those two notes.

 

Now, I guess the deeper question I ask myself is, why did Williams join the A and B together? I think there are different angles from which you can wrestle with this, but the best way is to realise the slowness of the change in accompaniment. @filmmusic 's post makes this really obvious: the accompaniment never changes quicker than every bar - it only goes faster at bar 17. So perhaps one can say that, Williams set off from the start to have a very static accompaniment. This, of course, is the "gimmick" of the piece - it starts very static and slowly gains movement until it reaches a climax, then calms down again, A.K.A. How To Write Romantic Film Music 101.

 

Now, slow, static chords are rife for opportunity with so-called colour tones, which in this case may be the B - but I think in this case, one may understand the presence of the B easier by looking at the last exhibit above and seeing the B and A as a suspension "glued together". This is at least how I understand it.

 

Lehman's Cb7/Db is interesting but ultimately I don't think it explains much. If you were to order the pitches in ascending order, you would get A B(Cb) C#(Db) F#. The Cb has a note a tone apart on either side - this just makes it an unlikely tone to treat as the tonic, IMO, and an unhelpful one. I more side with @Score's interpretation, that it is something like a Gb minor chord (iv), but with an added B(Cb), which I interpret as a "ghost" of a suspension.

 

(I don't know what those two pictures are doing down there, I can't get rid of them... 😳 )

 

image.png

image.png

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There is a D#/Eb that occurs together with B, F#, and A in the orchestral score mm. 19, 27, 29, then transposed to F major as the note G with Eb and Db in mm. 51, 53, 59, and 61. These chords are then all bVIIb7. It's also important that the Db is never grouped with the rest of this chord but remains apart from it (generally in the bass) suggesting the function of a pedal point rather than a chord tone with the upper voices. With these points, I'm not sure how there's any support for interpreting this as a minor iv. Sure the bVIIb7 is subdued because of the way it's scored, but the notes as the maestro wrote them in these cases all make dominant-seventh-type chords. Have a look especially at the harp part, where the notes of these chords are sounded simultaneously (without the tonic pedal closeby).

 

I miss @Sharky's voice in these discussions.

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3 hours ago, Ludwig said:

There is a D#/Eb that occurs together with B, F#, and A in the orchestral score mm. 19, 27, 29, then transposed to F major as the note G with Eb and Db in mm. 51, 53, 59, and 61.

 

 

This is true. However, my opinion is that bar 9, that we are discussing, is indeed ambiguous (and should be just considered and labelled as such) because it is neither strictly Gb min (because of the B), nor strictly Cb7 (because of 1 - the absence of the important note Eb, 2 - the presence of the Db, which is of course a pedal note but it also reinforces the Gb min feeling, and also, to my mind, 3 - the doubling of the A=Bbb, one of which in the bass). It is "both of them" at the same time, in a sense. It is true that the harmony is clarified at the points that you mention as Cb7 / Db, because the Eb appears, but the ambiguity of that point, at bar 9, remains. If we compare with other instances of the theme, then we find that bar 5 of the cue "13M4 - Leia Breaks the News", where the theme is stated in F major, has the chord (bottom to top) F-Db-G-Db-F-Bb, which is of course Bbmin6 / F... and then, again, Eb7 / F two bars later. Bar 15 of the cue "9M2 - Brother and Sister", where the theme is stated in A major, unambiguously has the chord Dmin7+, and Dmin6 two bars later, which are both very different from G7 that would be the equivalent of Cb7 in the case at hand. 

 

So, the point is that JW did not assign a fixed chord to that bar of the theme, but varied the harmony almost each time, keeping the common features of the lowered 6th degree that descends to the 5th degree of the scale, and the 4th degree that descends to the 3rd degree. The rest changes, sometimes giving chords of the family of minor iv, sometimes giving bVIIb7.. If we absolutely want to assign a chord symbol to bar 9, that should just be used as a "list of the notes", then I propose either

 

Cb7 (no 3) / Db ,

   

or 

 

Gb min add4 / Db .

 

According to the "classical" rules of harmony, the problem with the first one is that the 7th is doubled, while the problem with the second one is that the add4 does not resolve.

 

8 hours ago, Loert said:

I think that this "sound" is, on average, more familiar to people here - all that Williams does is join the A and B together (compare this audio with the first audio excerpt). Note, I'm not saying that this is how Williams got to the B in the first place (with an A and B separated apart), but it is one way of thinking of the meaning of those two notes.

 

Now, I guess the deeper question I ask myself is, why did Williams join the A and B together? I think there are different angles from which you can wrestle with this, but the best way is to realise the slowness of the change in accompaniment.

 

I think what you discuss is a possible explanation of the "psychological" effect of that arrangement of notes (an effect which is probably due, in part, to cultural background, i.e., we have all heard hundreds of Romantic pieces with minor iv - I, and it's quite natural to interpret things in those terms, maybe too often). As to how JW decided to put A and B together, as I said, I am a strong supporter of the theory that it just came to him at the piano. I believe that playing the piano strongly shapes the harmonic ideas of a composer in a certain direction. Maybe he wanted to hit the A alone, slightly misplaced the thumb and hit both A and B, and decided that he liked it more :D

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2 hours ago, Ludwig said:

I agree with @Score that Williams treats the harmony at this part of the theme flexibly, offering either bVII or iv with various added notes. It's great that you point us to the other uses in the score itself! They're just further evidence that are mighty useful in trying to figure out what's going on at the start of the concert arrangement.

 

One more thing would add to this productive discussion is that Williams never "fleshes out" the harmony at this spot with a minor iv with an added 4th. In addition, "add4" isn't a standard label, probably because to add a 4th means you've got the 3rd, and having the 3rd and 4th at the same time is avoided in both classical music (having a suspension and its resolution at the same time) and in jazz (an "avoid" note). If the 4th is there, in jazz it's usually placed an octave higher to be an 11th (for minor chords, it would be the perfect 11th, for major chords, the sharp 11). Personally, I don't hear this harmony as jazzy or even Johnny's special brand of jazz-harmony-fused-with-classical-so-it-doesn't-sound-jazzy-anymore. The kind of thing @TGPtalks about as one of Williams' great stylistic achievements (which I completely agree with). Anyway, I don't hear it as that, but rather as a straight ahead late-Romantic style adapted into Williams' own style.

 

So speaking again of "familiarity", an add4 interpretation would be lower down my list than an incomplete 7th chord. But as @Score points out, either way the chord (excluding the bass pedal) is perhaps somewhat ambiguous at the start because the chord is incomplete. So one has to draw on either other statements of the theme that are fleshed out more at that spot and extrapolate backwards to the opening, or draw on a familiarity argument, which, depending on one's background, may elicit different interpretations.

 

I suppose for these reasons, I would still go with the bVII interpretation even at the start where the harmony's incomplete. But of course Williams does harmonize it with variants of minor iv as well, as @Score rightfully shows. The concert arrangement even has these as well, once the theme moves into A major at the end. So it's not as if we're supposed to hear the harmony the same way each time that part of the theme appears.

 

 

I agree with what you wrote. By association of ideas (maybe also due to the passages being in the same key), this sequence reminds me of another use of a bVII chord, this time unmistakeably jazzy, occurring in "The Fountain Scene" from The Terminal. It happens here between 4:41 and 4:42,

 

 

The beautiful melody is presented in Db major, and in that bar it goes F - Db - Ab - Gb. Under the Ab (second half of the bar), we find a chord of Cb7 with the additions of the major 9th and the major 13th, i.e., the chord is (bottom to top): Cb, Gb, Bbb, Db, Eb, Ab. In enharmonic notation, easier to read, it would be B, F#, A, C#, D#, G#. Now, here the chord is definitely complete (6 notes!), but apart from that, it reminds me of the ROTJ case we have discussed. The harmonic resolution is different, but "not too much": it goes on with the chord of Bb min / G natural, which contains the key notes Db and F, as the Db major chord in ROTJ (the F reached melodically, also as in the ROTJ case). I perceive a similar harmonic strategy beyond these two examples. That whole theme is actually a wonderful example of interesting harmonies. 

 

 

 

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Excuse me, I have another basic question that may be dumb, but I'm very confused.

I see all referring to the tarnhelm progression (eg. in a minor, it's a minor chord going to f minor) as

i-bvi

 

shouldn't the flat be on the right, since then it shows that the third of the chord is flattened (f-ab-c)?

i-vib

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In honor of the new LLL set, I figured I'd ask a Potter question that's been bothering me for a while. It's about this incredible passage:

 

 

I've always thought of those gorgeously dissonant (?) brass harmonies as jazzy. But I'm not well-schooled enough in jazz to know whether that bit is actually influenced by JW's (extensive) jazz background. I think it'd be really cool if this was yet another example of JW's jazzy style shining through in even non-overtly-jazzy set pieces like this. Anyone have any thoughts? @Loert, @Jilal, @Score, and/or @Ludwig, or anyone else? 

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On 12/16/2018 at 4:50 PM, Will said:

In honor of the new LLL set, I figured I'd ask a Potter question that's been bothering me for a while. It's about this incredible passage:

 

 

I've always thought of those gorgeously dissonant (?) brass harmonies as jazzy. But I'm not well-schooled enough in jazz to know whether that bit is actually influenced by JW's (extensive) jazz background. I think it'd be really cool if this was yet another example of JW's jazzy style shining through in even non-overtly-jazzy set pieces like this. Anyone have any thoughts? @Loert, @Jilal, @Score, and/or @Ludwig, or anyone else? 

 

If this were a jazz-based cue, at least harmonically, I'd expect to hear chords built in thirds with plenty of types of extensions (7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths). And of course generally, Williams frequently draws on these kinds of chords in his writing, but they're not really found here. With all the clusters, polychords, and aleatory, my thinking is that the cue belongs more in the realm of Williams' atonal CE3K-ish writing influenced by such composers as Ligeti, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, et al. More detail on these kinds of cues can be found in a thread @Sharky started a few years back called "Johnny's Mystery Chords" that is filled with these kinds of chords in Williams' film music and explains more thoroughly what I'm getting at here. Hope that helps!

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1 hour ago, Ludwig said:

 

If this were a jazz-based cue, at least harmonically, I'd expect to hear chords built in thirds with plenty of types of extensions (7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths). And of course generally, Williams frequently draws on these kinds of chords in his writing, but they're not really found here. With all the clusters, polychords, and aleatory, my thinking is that the cue belongs more in the realm of Williams' atonal CE3K-ish writing influenced by such composers as Ligeti, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, et al. More detail on these kinds of cues can be found in a thread @Sharky started a few years back called "Johnny's Mystery Chords" that is filled with these kinds of chords in Williams' film music and explains more thoroughly what I'm getting at here. Hope that helps!

 

Thanks for the response! Now that you mention it I definitely agree that there's a lot of Ligeti, Penderecki, etc. here. I still can't shake the feeling that there's something jazzy about these few seconds, but maybe it's actually more because of the jolly rhythm and less because of the harmonies themselves:

 

 

In any event, it's hard not to marvel at JW's wild chords for this cue. Few composers today would attempt something like this for a climactic action scene. 

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