There was no composition for this weeks assignment, instead I had to do an analysis of two short exerts, where I had to identify the chords using roman numeral analysis, name any non chord tones as well as identify the cadences. I must admit it was tricky. The first piece I did ok with, only making a couple of errors. However, the second piece I was stumped at for a few of the chords and so took an educated guess. Obviously I’m not quite as educated as I’d hoped yet, as I got them wrong. However, I didn’t feel like a complete failure as the bars I struggled to identify with had chromatic runs in the right hand of the piano part and actually turned out to be augmented 6th chords, which I haven’t had as much practice at spotting, so lesson learnt there. All in all though it was well worth the time and the effort of analysing the music as it’s definitely improved the speed at which I can name and identify the chords. It also seemed to help me with switching from reading bass clef to treble clef and vise versa, as my brain now seems to be able to look at both clefs as one, meaning I don’t really have to “switch” at all, something I’m sure will continue to become easier with learning to play the piano.
So this was the first week where I feel I actually did some real composition. There was still a lot of arranging involved as we were already given the chord sequence and some of the rhythms, but the teacher had left gaps in the melody to be filled in, therefore my solution was very different to his, but I feel it still fits the brief.
Cadences were the main focus of this weeks assignment. You’ll notice I’ve annotated my score with some text. Where it says HC, DC and PAC are the cadences. HC stands for Half Cadence which means that when that phrase is played by itself, it leaves the listener with a sense that the piece is not finished. PAC stands for Perfect Authentic Cadence and leaves the listener with a sense of conclusion. And finally DC is Deceptive Cadence, as it sounds like it is leading into a Perfect Authentic Cadence and so the listener feels the sense of conclusion is coming, but then the final chord for that cadence is different and instills an inconclusive feel to the phrase.
This weeks big topic was non-chord tones. Basically notes which appear in the piece but which aren’t in the chord. For instance, a C Major chord has the notes C, E and G in it, so if the note D appeared during the duration of that chord then it would be a non-chord tone. But you can’t just shove any note in as there are obviously guidelines for how non-chord tones should be used. I won’t bore you with the details, nevertheless if you are interested in the details and want to know more about non-chord tones then there’s a great book on the iBook Store which can teach you all about them.
Basic Harmony and Musicianship
by Joe Procopio
The assignments for this week weren’t really compositions but more like arrangements, as we were already given the chords and the voicing, and then we had to arrange them using the given repeated rhythm. Although I altered the rhythm ever so slightly for the last couple of bars, just for a bit of fun.
So week 1 of learning to write like Mozart was really interesting but the music I produced at the end was a bit boring. That’s because everything for week 1 had to be in a major key, use homorhythmic homophony and the chords had to be in root position. This week the tables have turned, everything was in a minor key, chord inversions were introduced, as well as some rhythms.
This week there were two assignments instead of just one. The first was very similar to last week as I was given the melody and the chord sequence and then simply had to write in the parts for the other 3 voices. However, with the introduction of chord inversions it definitely made it a bit trickier, as there were lots of new guidelines to remember, such as when using a 2nd inversion chord you must double the 5th of the chord, instead of the root.
The second assignment introduced some rhythms into the mix. This one was less of a composition though, as I simply had to re-voice the parts for keyboard instead of SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass) but I did then have to apply the given rhythm to it.
So far I’ve been encouraged to double the root of the chord, however that made the melody of the second piece very difficult to craft due to a few 1st inverted chords and it ended up all over the place, so I started again and ended up doubling the fifth on these inverted chords which made for a smoother melody.
So as you can hear, the assignments for the course are slowly progressing towards more complex music. I’m looking forward to the weeks to come.