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General Harmony/Orchestration/Theory Questions


Dixon Hill
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Revisiting my favourite Star Wars score again, and I thought I'd have a crack at this beauty.

 

 

1) 0:40 - Any idea what scales those arcing violin runs are outlining? The basic tonality appears to be Dm warped through Hungarian minor dissonances.

 

- Are the planing bassoon/bass clarinet chords minor triads or major third dyads?

 

- Once the bass rises to F#, is the tonal 'centre' Bm/F# or something else? Dm/F#?

 

2) 1:43-149 - Gnarly muted trombone and horn chord over a F bass. Bm? The Dies Iraeish violin line is doubled in sixths, right? (C/A->B/G#>C/A->A/F#->Cb/Ab>Bb/G->Cb/Ab>F#/D). I think the following chord is Abm/C, but the Abm upper structure comes earlier (at 1:49) than the C.

 

3) 2:13 - F/A/C/Db over F?

 

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Everything up to 1:07 sounds like filler, or something not included before.

For me, this cue begins at 1:07-don't know what that other stuff preceding was about

Also at 1:07, a cool textural combo of trumpets and flutes!

 

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1 hour ago, skyy38 said:

Everything up to 1:07 sounds like filler, or something not included before.

For me, this cue begins at 1:07-don't know what that other stuff preceding was about

Also at 1:07, a cool textural combo of trumpets and flutes!

 

 

I don't think I want you in my thread.

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23 hours ago, Sharky said:

Revisiting my favourite Star Wars score again, and I thought I'd have a crack at this beauty.

 

 

1) 0:40 - Any idea what scales those arcing violin runs are outlining? The basic tonality appears to be Dm warped through Hungarian minor dissonances.

 

- Are the planing bassoon/bass clarinet chords minor triads or major third dyads?

 

- Once the bass rises to F#, is the tonal 'centre' Bm/F# or something else? Dm/F#?

 

2) 1:43-149 - Gnarly muted trombone and horn chord over a F bass. Bm? The Dies Iraeish violin line is doubled in sixths, right? (C/A->B/G#>C/A->A/F#->Cb/Ab>Bb/G->Cb/Ab>F#/D). I think the following chord is Abm/C, but the Abm upper structure comes earlier (at 1:49) than the C.

 

3) 2:13 - F/A/C/Db over F?

 

 

I think it is just slurred 32nd notes playing D minor scale rather than the Hungarian minor scale which is going to give it a noticeable gypsy quality that isn't there.  I hear the bassoons doing plaining minor thirds with lots of muted trombones, contrabassoons, bass clarinets, low voices to muddy the texture up.  Basically everything that is low is playing with lots of borrowed notes too.  So at :53, I hear bassoons playing D and F in that descending figure so minor third but I don't think the whole triad is there in the bassoons. JW is also borrowing non chord tones (E flat is in there and D flat so probably just creating lots of harmonic tension with the D tonic but these minor second dissonances).   I hear it go to G minor (not F#/Bmin) if we are talking about the same place (at 0:57).  Then eventually reaches D minor when the high strings come in at 1:07.   At 2:13, that's what I am hearing too... Fmaj+b6.  JW loves flat sixes.

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42 minutes ago, karelm said:

I  think it is just slurred 32nd notes playing D minor scale rather than the Hungarian minor scale which is going to give it a noticeable gypsy quality that isn't there.  I hear the bassoons doing plaining minor thirds with lots of muted trombones, contrabassoons, bass clarinets, low voices to muddy the texture up.  Basically everything that is low is playing with lots of borrowed notes too.  So at :53, I hear bassoons playing D and F in that descending figure so minor third but I don't think the whole triad is there in the bassoons. JW is also borrowing non chord tones (E flat is in there and D flat so probably just creating lots of harmonic tension with the D tonic but these minor second dissonances).   I hear it go to G minor (not F#/Bmin) if we are talking about the same place (at 0:57).  Then eventually reaches D minor when the high strings come in at 1:07.   At 2:13, that's what I am hearing too... Fmaj+b6.  JW loves flat sixes.

 

Cheers. I went with Hungarian minor because of the passage at 0:31-36, and often Williams uses the harmonic or Hungarian minor for these kind of 32nd note runs (i.e. accompanying the Arc Theme in Map Room Dawn and Miracle of the Arc or at 0:32 in Dracula's Death). I still hear planing major thirds at 0:44 (F/A->E/G#->Eb/G) and the bassoons at 0:52 sound like Db/F->C/E->B/Eb->Bb-D->A/Db. I can actually make out a G at 0:53 along with the B/Eb, which would support the idea that they're augmented triads. You're right about the Gm. The recording is slightly flat, which threw my ear off a bit.

 

What do you make of the chord at 01:43? I thought it was Bm/F but played it with a muted brass/string pad and it sounded completely wrong. I don't think there's an F#.

 

 

 

 

 

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On 06/01/2016 at 2:10 AM, Sharky said:

Revisiting my favourite Star Wars score again, and I thought I'd have a crack at this beauty.

 

 

1) 0:40 - Any idea what scales those arcing violin runs are outlining? The basic tonality appears to be Dm warped through Hungarian minor dissonances.

 

- Are the planing bassoon/bass clarinet chords minor triads or major third dyads?

 

- Once the bass rises to F#, is the tonal 'centre' Bm/F# or something else? Dm/F#?

 

2) 1:43-149 - Gnarly muted trombone and horn chord over a F bass. Bm? The Dies Iraeish violin line is doubled in sixths, right? (C/A->B/G#>C/A->A/F#->Cb/Ab>Bb/G->Cb/Ab>F#/D). I think the following chord is Abm/C, but the Abm upper structure comes earlier (at 1:49) than the C.

 

3) 2:13 - F/A/C/Db over F?

 

 

I'm not an expert but I'll have a go at this (because I like this sort of thing):

 

1. The only bit that sounds clear to me is the top of the scale, where I can distinctly hear A-B-C#-B-A...I think it's just a simple D minor melodic scale (or whatever you call it, the one that's like harmonic but with B instead of Bb). But since you have the raised 4th in the bass it could be a Hungarian scale, although I'm really not hearing that G#.

 

In any case I played in a few string runs to try and see what comes closest:

 

"Melodic" scale:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1melodic.mp3

Harmonic scale (Bb not B):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1harmon.mp3

 

Now in the same order but with raised 4th degrees:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1hungmelodic.mp3

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1hung.mp3

 

As for the planing chords, I think when it comes to the bassoons (that's the only instrument I'm confident I can make out) I'm hearing mainly major thirds. From 0:40, I'm getting D/F - E/G# - F/A - D/F - F/A - E/G# - Eb/G - F/A...but at around 0:52 I can definitely hear C/E - B/D# - Bb/D.

 

I think the bass note is then F# but you've got G minor overall. I think I'm hearing F# against G in the choir, or it could just be the basses moving between the two notes. This is what F#/G/Bb/D sounds like with a choir: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/choirf%23gmin.mp3

 

2. I think the gnarly chord is E/F/Ab/B? This is what it sounds like with muted trombones:

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/brass143.mp3

 

3. I think you're right with F major with flat sixth. So I think I'm hearing C/Db/F/A then E/F/A/B in the trombones:

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/brass213.mp3

 

Take this with a pinch of salt though. That track is muddy as hell!

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17 minutes ago, loert423 said:

 

I'm not an expert but I'll have a go at this (because I like this sort of thing):

 

1. The only bit that sounds clear to me is the top of the scale, where I can distinctly hear A-B-C#-B-A...I think it's just a simple D minor melodic scale (or whatever you call it, the one that's like harmonic but with B instead of Bb). But since you have the raised 4th in the bass it could be a Hungarian scale, although I'm really not hearing that G#.

 

In any case I played in a few string runs to try and see what comes closest:

 

"Melodic" scale:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1melodic.mp3

Harmonic scale (Bb not B):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1harmon.mp3

 

Now in the same order but with raised 4th degrees:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1hungmelodic.mp3

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1hung.mp3

 

As for the planing chords, I think when it comes to the bassoons (that's the only instrument I'm confident I can make out) I'm hearing mainly major thirds. From 0:40, I'm getting D/F - E/G# - F/A - D/F - F/A - E/G# - Eb/G - F/A...but at around 0:52 I can definitely hear C/E - B/D# - Bb/D.

 

I think the bass note is then F# but you've got G minor overall. I think I'm hearing F# against G in the choir, or it could just be the basses moving between the two notes. This is what F#/G/Bb/D sounds like with a choir: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/choirf%23gmin.mp3

 

2. I think the gnarly chord is E/F/Ab/B? This is what it sounds like with muted trombones:

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/brass143.mp3

 

3. I think you're right with F major with flat sixth. So I think I'm hearing C/Db/F/A then E/F/A/B in the trombones:

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/brass213.mp3

 

Take this with a pinch of salt though. That track is muddy as hell!

 

Nice work, Loert42.  I heard the planning chords as a minor third with the D and F that comes across several times but it does seem to switch in and out of major and min.  The D melodic minor string runs is the one that sounds closest to the recording but yeah, it is very muddy and I'm sure intentionally to symbolize primordial and ghostly evil. 

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On 12/29/2015 at 11:50 AM, loert423 said:

What is the high instrument which comes in at around 2:02-09 in Main Title and The Attack on the Jakku Village?

 

 

I'm thinking it's either a flute cluster, or some kind of bell, or both.

 


Too metallic sounding for a flute cluster-I'm thinking a high bell-like sound or maybe a synth patch.

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13 hours ago, loert423 said:

 

I'm not an expert but I'll have a go at this (because I like this sort of thing):

 

1. The only bit that sounds clear to me is the top of the scale, where I can distinctly hear A-B-C#-B-A...I think it's just a simple D minor melodic scale (or whatever you call it, the one that's like harmonic but with B instead of Bb). But since you have the raised 4th in the bass it could be a Hungarian scale, although I'm really not hearing that G#.

 

In any case I played in a few string runs to try and see what comes closest:

 

"Melodic" scale:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1melodic.mp3

Harmonic scale (Bb not B):

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1harmon.mp3

 

Now in the same order but with raised 4th degrees:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1hungmelodic.mp3

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/scale1hung.mp3

 

Thanks so much for this. As Karelm said, great work and I agree, the melodic minor run sounds the closest.

 

What do you make of the violins at 1:29? Probably too much to ask as it's so far back in the mix. The chord seems to be C#m(b6)/C while the piano flourish at 1:37 contains G and B, so together I'd guess tonal "mass" might be C#-D#-E-G-G#-A-B-C or some other cohemitonic scale.

 

13 hours ago, loert423 said:

 

As for the planing chords, I think when it comes to the bassoons (that's the only instrument I'm confident I can make out) I'm hearing mainly major thirds. From 0:40, I'm getting D/F - E/G# - F/A - D/F - F/A - E/G# - Eb/G - F/A...but at around 0:52 I can definitely hear C/E - B/D# - Bb/D.

 

I think the bass note is then F# but you've got G minor overall. I think I'm hearing F# against G in the choir, or it could just be the basses moving between the two notes. This is what F#/G/Bb/D sounds like with a choir: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/choirf%23gmin.mp3

 

 

You're right about the thirds, but I'm pretty sure the bass note motes G. A minor chord with a major 7th in the bass is a very characteristic sound heard throughout SW, but this ain't it. I think the male voices are just singing G2 (then Ab2, G2, F#2, D2) but with a wide vibrato or lots of beating.

 

13 hours ago, loert423 said:

 

2. I think the gnarly chord is E/F/Ab/B? This is what it sounds like with muted trombones:

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/brass143.mp3

 

Spot on! I think I can hear 4 horns enter at 1:47. G#/B/E/F?

 

13 hours ago, loert423 said:

 

3. I think you're right with F major with flat sixth. So I think I'm hearing C/Db/F/A then E/F/A/B in the trombones:

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/JWFan%20analysis%201/brass213.mp3

 

Ah, that's it. If it kept on the F major with the flat six the clash with the C/Db with the violins' B6 and the D4 in the Force Theme would have been noticeable.

 

BTW, can anyone recommend in classical pieces in this nocturnal soundworld? It'll probably be Slavic dudes like Bartok, Martinu or Szymanowski.

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8 hours ago, Sharky said:

What do you make of the violins at 1:29? Probably too much to ask as it's so far back in the mix. The chord seems to be C#m(b6)/C while the piano flourish at 1:37 contains G and B, so together I'd guess tonal "mass" might be C#-D#-E-G-G#-A-B-C or some other cohemitonic scale.

 

That's about as much as I can make out as well. It's definitely some sort of Hungarian-based scale. When the violins get going I struggle to make out B, but after the bass descends from C# to C, I can definitely make out what you're saying the G and B in the piano (and harp?). If I were to make an educated guess (since I can't really hear) I think that piano is playing D#/E/G/B arpeggios, or C#/E/G/B...something like that.

 

8 hours ago, Sharky said:

You're right about the thirds, but I'm pretty sure the bass note motes G. A minor chord with a major 7th in the bass is a very characteristic sound heard throughout SW, but this ain't it. I think the male voices are just singing G2 (then Ab2, G2, F#2, D2) but with a wide vibrato or lots of beating.

 

After listening to that fragment many times I think G in the bass is correct. What put me off was that I thought I was hearing a perfect cadence, with D - C# - F# in the bass, but Williams seems to cheekily 'raise' the final chord by a semitone. I also think the choir is intentionally singing in a blurry way (it is quite reminiscent of the music playing at the start of the Blood of Kali scene from Temple of Doom)

 

8 hours ago, Sharky said:

Spot on! I think I can hear 4 horns enter at 1:47. G#/B/E/F?

 

I can only make out B/E/F (not that there isn't a G# in there). I would go out on a limb here and say it's the same chord as the one played previously by the muted trombones. :blush:

 

@skyy38: Yeah, I think I'll go with synthy pad. I recall that Williams often used synth clusters in the prequels so it seems like a logical thing to identify at the start of TFA as well.

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10 hours ago, Sharky said:

 

BTW, can anyone recommend in classical pieces in this nocturnal soundworld? It'll probably be Slavic dudes like Bartok, Martinu or Szymanowski.

 

You might want to take a listen to Poul Ruders, Sharky.  He has a lot of low sinister textural music that would fit primordial evil maniacal galactic underscore music.  For example, his Zenith (I couldn't find it on youtube but it is basically a 30 minute long ominous swell).  Sample here:ruders.mp3

and his Nightshade trilogy.

You might also enjoy hearing some of the late Arthur Butterworth as he often described desolate landscapes with his music but in a traditional vocabulary (sweeping winds would be runs for instance).  It opens with ominous cliffs but by 0:48 you get desolate ravaged north England landscapes that this composer was extremely fond of. 

 

Since you mentioned Martinu, I assume you already know his Gilgamesh oratorio which is excellent music full of evocative imagery of creation from the Gilgamesh myths. 

 

I also like Bartok's Cantata Profane but this isn't so much low textural sinister music as much as just an excellent dramatic cantata:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1ZBqQj3o7g&list=PLBJYcaB0IMrTl9oR71esQtBEj8dGROzbj (1 of 3 but the whole work is excellent and brief)

 

You might be thinking more of his music for strings, percussion, and celesta which is excellent to study for technique (especially percussion) but I assume you know this one.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

This might not be the right thread for it, but I guess technically its orchestration (or at least instrumentation) so here goes. 

I didn't put it in one of the synth threads because I don't think it's a synth, but it well could be.  Mansell uses a sound in a number of his scores that I liken to slamming a hydraulic door handle, and I'd love to know what the origin is.  Here are two examples using a different, but related sound.

The sound in question is the jarring percussive sound that recurs intermittently between 0:11 and 0:30. (Also, just how awesome is Sahara? Who but Clint Mansell could write an imposing villain theme orchestrated for bass flute and doumbek?)  It's too metallic a sound to be an odaiko, but I can't think of any common percussion that would fit the bill, although I'll be the first to admit I'm not very knowledgeable about those matters.  Want to identify a weird woodwind?  I'm your guy.  Anything percussion-related, I'm asking you.

0:01-0:03

This is more what I mean by "slamming door handle" sound.  In fact, when I scored a friend's movie project in high school, I sampled some various doors around campus to use.  This one I think is more likely than the Sahara piece to be a synth (just based on what I know about the process of the Requiem for a Dream music), but it could very well be a sample (same goes for the other).  If it's a real instrument, what is it?  If it's a sample, what did they sample?

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My favorite opening from any Goldsmith score.  That sublime electronic cascade at 0:20, anyone want to venture a guess as to what synth that is, and/or how to achieve it with something else?  I'm slightly more interested in the softer, faster "shimmerings" than the more prominent portamento/filtered(?) component. 

 

Actually, this whole opening up to the Trek fanfare is transfixing.  What's electronic, what's acoustic?  How are the keyboardists instructed to play, how did he notate this stuff?  I need to see the score.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Alexander said:

How many octaves does a harp glissando generally span? 3, e.g. from A2 to A5?

It really depends on what else is happening.  In general they are much more than 3 octaves.  The big Mahler (or Star Wars) style gliss during a tutti like here:

 
Mahler: https://youtu.be/Xplx64LVENg?t=3440  (right at 57:21) two unison harps 6 octave gliss at fff dynamic. 
 

...are many octaves - 6 or even 7 octaves.  Just for that one or two seconds into the repeat of the Han and Leia theme is many octaves like 5 or so.  3 octave gliss is not very useful unless it's a quiet passage or a solo like at the start of the Empire Finale cue where all you hear is these silent mournful harp glisses as the soft strings and horns come in but I think you are talking about those big grand gliss's.

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19 hours ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

My favorite opening from any Goldsmith score.  That sublime electronic cascade at 0:20, anyone want to venture a guess as to what synth that is, and/or how to achieve it with something else?  I'm slightly more interested in the softer, faster "shimmerings" than the more prominent portamento/filtered(?) component. 

 

Actually, this whole opening up to the Trek fanfare is transfixing.  What's electronic, what's acoustic?  How are the keyboardists instructed to play, how did he notate this stuff?  I need to see the score.

 

 

 

Jerry stopped notating synths in his around the mid 90s, from what I've seen, going for the pre-lay method. I can't find anything online for what collected around that time, but I wouldn't be surprised if he bought into the virtual analogue craze--Waldorf Q, Nord Lead, Korg Z1, Korg MS2000 and their rackmount equivalents. The main sound is a high-pass (could be band-pass) filter sweep, with some white noise and mild resonance plus a DDL. The shimmering chord is low-pass filtered and modulating by a LFO controlling either filter cutoff or amplitude.

 

 

 

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What sort of string techniques are involved in creating the sound at 2:24?  Double stops?  Playing closer to the bridge and more aggressively?  

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MikeH said:

What sort of string techniques are involved in creating the sound at 2:24?  Double stops?  Playing closer to the bridge and more aggressively?  

 

 

 

I hear it as an open G string with a portamento (slide) up the same string (sul G) to a D with a fingered tremelo to C.  This string is the thickest one on the violin and has a strong, rich tone and starts on the lowest note of the violin.  It would be very easy to play this as a double stop (two open strings) but you would not have a vibrato with open strings and that D to C tremelo would be very awkward. 

 

Here is something similar but without the fingered tremelo:

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  • 1 month later...

Yesterday I stumbled upon this chord at the piano:

86iUb5W.png   

 

It has a nice ring to it, does anybody know what it's called? I've heard it in jazz and film, and I feel like it's a dominant of some sort.

 

I got there by starting with the Ebm6 below and moving the outer voices up a tone:

 

EXMCDA9.png

 

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2 hours ago, loert said:

Yesterday I stumbled upon this chord at the piano:

86iUb5W.png   

 

It has a nice ring to it, does anybody know what it's called? I've heard it in jazz and film, and I feel like it's a dominant of some sort.

 

I got there by starting with the Ebm6 below and moving the outer voices up a tone:

 

EXMCDA9.png

 

Why not D7(+9#5).  That is D, F#, A#, C, F.

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I hear that chord as a sort of bi-chord, with a Bbsus2 on top of a D major chord (no 5th). But it can be read many ways, of course. Isn't it interesting how our perception of such chords as separate entities says so much about our own "tonal experience"?

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1 hour ago, Marcus said:

I hear that chord as a sort of bi-chord, with a Bbsus2 on top of a D major chord (no 5th). But it can be read many ways, of course. Isn't it interesting how our perception of such chords as separate entities says so much about our own "tonal experience"?

 

Yes, absolutely.  How would you spell it?  Because though I hear it as a polychord too, I can also see it as harmonic extensions and technically, my spelling would be E# (a sharp 9).

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The reason why I spelt it that way was because I felt that it functions as a dominant to G minor. When I play that chord on the piano, I feel like the next thing I should play is an Eb, followed by a G minor chord (or Gm7 etc...). 

 

But I guess the thing that intrigued me was the Bb stuck in the middle, which I take as being related to G minor (the tonic in this case). So I feel like this chord is an altered kind of V7b9 (is that correct? I mean D 7th with a flat 9 at the top). But the Bb gives it a kind of poly-tonal tinge? As if it's pulling towards G minor. Sort of like how one might play a dominant 7th chord and a tonic together. 

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As I hear it...

 

Every chord has E B E in it, with an additional note somewhere. For each chord, the additional note is different. They are:

 

G A G A C

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12 hours ago, Jilal said:

For me, any M4M (e.g. Ab -> C, bVI -> I) has an exceptional cadential quality, sometimes even more so than more tonally grounded cadences.

 

A small but important clarification: in Scott Murphy's notation of "MnM," the first M represents the tonic regardless of whether it is first or second in the progression. So the situation you're citing would actually be M8M, not M4M. Though this may seem pedantic, it is an important distinction because some relationships are much more common than others. The Vader riff, for example, or m8m (Gm-Ebm), is exceedingly common in film whereas its inverse, m4m (say, Gm-Bm, where G is tonic) is quite rare.

 

The brilliance of this notation is that the order of the chords in the music doesn't matter, only the tonic does, which is how we tend to hear triadic progressions after all.

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7 hours ago, Ludwig said:

A small but important clarification: in Scott Murphy's notation of "MnM," the first M represents the tonic regardless of whether it is first or second in the progression. So the situation you're citing would actually be M8M, not M4M. Though this may seem pedantic, it is an important distinction because some relationships are much more common than others. The Vader riff, for example, or m8m (Gm-Ebm), is exceedingly common in film whereas its inverse, m4m (say, Gm-Bm, where G is tonic) is quite rare.

 

The brilliance of this notation is that the order of the chords in the music doesn't matter, only the tonic does, which is how we tend to hear triadic progressions after all.

 

Thanks for correcting me! :) I guess I need to read Murphy's chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Film Music Studies.

 

1 hour ago, loert said:

What does the number 'n' stand for? 

 

N represents the amount of semitones in between the roots of the two triads. In the case of A♭ -> C (tonic), which is written as M8M, there are 8 semitones between the C and A♭ (C -> D♭ -> D -> E♭ -> E -> F -> G♭ -> G -> A♭).

 

@Jay, can you somehow implement the flat and sharp signs on this board as emoticons?

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On March 27, 2016 at 3:29 PM, karelm said:

I hear it as an open G string with a portamento (slide) up the same string (sul G) to a D with a fingered tremelo to C.  This string is the thickest one on the violin and has a strong, rich tone and starts on the lowest note of the violin.  It would be very easy to play this as a double stop (two open strings) but you would not have a vibrato with open strings and that D to C tremelo would be very awkward. 

 

Here is something similar but without the fingered tremelo:

 

A bit late in responding, but thanks karelm!  It's a great effect.  

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I'm not sure whether to post this in the classical precedent thread, or this one, or "What's that sound" thread, it doesn't really fit in either but...

 

Consider that 90s "futuristic" bell synth at the beginning of Watto's Deal:

 

 

What are some pop/film tracks which make prominent use of that kind of sound? For example, I know that Bjork's "All Neon Like" has something with that same vibe throughout (though more of a pad than a bell); are there any other good examples?

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Nah, it doesn't really have that futuristic vibe. :( And not Hatching Baby Raptor, A Tree for My Bed or Remembering Petticoat Lane either. And not A.I., which is not the sort of harmony I'm looking for.

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Quick notation question, I was looking at JW's "Elegy for Cello and Orchestra" and got confused by some very brief clef changes. Seems a little random to shift to tenor when the lines would be perfectly readable throughout in G clef. Why are these necessary?

 

OPdIJft.jpg

 

 

klxwqWK.jpg

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17 minutes ago, mrbellamy said:

Quick notation question, I was looking at JW's "Elegy for Cello and Orchestra" and got confused by some very brief clef changes. Seems a little random to shift to tenor when the lines would be perfectly readable throughout in G clef. Why are these necessary?

 

OPdIJft.jpg

 

 

klxwqWK.jpg

 

I agree with you that the tenor clef is unnecessary in that passage.  It is ultimately a judgement call to make the note identification easiest but it breaks this rule from Read's style guide: "The notator should avoid a frequent change of clef signs.  If a few ledger-lines, or the brief use of one of the octave signs will suffice, that is preferred.  It is better to use the clef change for longer or extended passages."

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  • 2 months later...

Where do the origins of triadic writing lie? E.g. strictly parallel triads (possibly over a balancing pedal tone), triads following similar motion, etc. Obviously there are Stravinsky, Copland, Holst, Walton, Ravel, Debussy, but where did it all begin? Jazz? Brass band? Fanfares?

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You mean planing?

 

A long, long time ago, people in churches sang Gregorian chant. Initially, it consisted of just one melodic line which the choir sang in unison, but eventually somebody came up with the idea of having them sing two separate lines in parallel, e.g. a fifth apart (parallel organum). Note, this was probably not a completely new idea in the history of music, but this specific technique is at least the first documented case appearing in Western classical music...I think.

 

Anyway, in the late 19th century, Satie was studying Gregorian chant at the piano, and he was inspired to begin exploring parallel motion in the same way. He thought of "coloring" melodies by playing them as chords. As it happens, Debussy was a friend of Satie's and began using similar techniques in his music. The "impressionistic" use of planing chords started from there, basically.

 

That said, planing chords had been used in music before that time. Mainly as an effect. E.g. see Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries (1856), or Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique (1830). You can even find hints of it as far back as Chopin (e.g. in the Tristesse, and Op.10 No.7 is essentially based on parallel triadic motion in the right hand, though not strictly planing). Maybe even further? Beethoven?

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Well, the Flying Over Africa scene was temped by Pollack with Vogel's Death from The Last Valley, so I'd look at that score in particular. Flying Over Africa is essentially the same progressions from the chorale of the Main Title, but with the melody reworked.

 

In E:

I-iv I-iv

I  I

In D:

iv-I iv-I
In Dm:

i  i

 

Main theme in C:

I vi iii IV

ii iv V7 V7

 

 

You've got a modulation down by a major 2nd, but the I-iv exchange is inverted in the following bars, which is clever way of keeping a simple progression fresh. If you notice, there's a chromatically descending inner line (common trick with Barry) from Am to the C of the main theme.

 

C    B     Bb    A    A   G

A    G#   G    F#   F   E

E    E     D     D    D   C

 

There's actually three descending lines here, if you include the C-B-Bb-A-G and E-E-D-D-C.

 

Barry studied counterpoint with the organist at York Minster, so he knew about voice leading, three/four part harmony and parsimony (the most economic and smooth way to get from chord A, to B to Z). 

 

The main theme itself is a pretty standard pop/romantic progression when you get down to it. In purely functional terms, the vi and III are tonic substitutes, the IV is the subdominant, the ii is a subdominant substitute and the iv is a chromatically altered (modal borrowing/mixture is the proper term) subdominant, and the V7 of course is the dominant. If you remove the substitutes and borrowings you get a basic I-IV-V or I-II-IV-V jazz/pop turnaround. The secret here lies again in the voiceleading. If you map out each triad like I did above, you'll find a number of inner lines that move up and down, with the viola counterline helping to "connect" the dots between each chord.

 

For similar examples from classical music to study, I recommend the 3rd movement of Sibelius's 5th Symphony and the Adagio from Khachaturian's Spartacus.

 

More to come later...

 

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5 hours ago, loert said:

You mean planing?

 

A long, long time ago, people in churches sang Gregorian chant. Initially, it consisted of just one melodic line which the choir sang in unison, but eventually somebody came up with the idea of having them sing two separate lines in parallel, e.g. a fifth apart (parallel organum). Note, this was probably not a completely new idea in the history of music, but this specific technique is at least the first documented case appearing in Western classical music...I think.

 

Anyway, in the late 19th century, Satie was studying Gregorian chant at the piano, and he was inspired to begin exploring parallel motion in the same way. He thought of "coloring" melodies by playing them as chords. As it happens, Debussy was a friend of Satie's and began using similar techniques in his music. The "impressionistic" use of planing chords started from there, basically.

 

That said, planing chords had been used in music before that time. Mainly as an effect. E.g. see Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries (1856), or Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique (1830). You can even find hints of it as far back as Chopin (e.g. in the Tristesse, and Op.10 No.7 is essentially based on parallel triadic motion in the right hand, though not strictly planing). Maybe even further? Beethoven?

 

Obviously I've studied that, but I didn't know about the Satie connection. Thanks!

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