HOSTS- Jeremy Burns, Matthew Scott Phillips
BUMPER MUSIC- "Prelude in Em" (F. Chopin, performed by Angela Senicz)
ANNOUNCER- Mike Cunliffe
For a direct download of this episode, click here:
Continuing from episode 112 (Altered Chords Pt.3), we will top off our discussion of altered chords. Ready your theory brain for coloristic chord successions, chromatic sequences and non sequential linear processes!
-These make use of chords that are foreign to the key in non traditional ways.
-One way to do this is through unexpected root movements to chords that are foreign to the key you’re in.
-A lot of times these progressions involve CHROMATIC MEDIANT relationships. Two triads are said to have this relationship when their roots are a major or minor 3rd apart and one root is foreign to the key.
-Even more distantly related would be the DOUBLY CHROMATIC MEDIANT relationships. Two triads are said to have this relationship when one is major and the other is minor (or vice versa), the roots are a 3rd apart AND they share no common tones.
-In analysis, we would simply name the root of the chord and the sonority below.
In the below example, we are in the key of Dm.
The first chord is Dm, or the i chord.
The second chord is an F# minor chord.
Because F is the 3rd of D minor, an F# is still considered to be of a MEDIANT relationship.
Because it is rooted in F# (foreign to D minor) it is considered to be of a CHROMATIC MEDIANT relationship to the preceding chord, D minor. Unfortunately, in our analysis,
all we can call this is an F#m chord.
Below we see two chord progressions.
The progression in m.1-2 is a DIATONIC DESCENDING CIRCLE OF FIFTHS sequence.
We have a i - vi - ii - V. All the notes are in the "home" key of G major.
The progression in m.3-4 is a CHROMATIC DESCENDING CIRCLE OF FIFTHS sequence.
We have a i - V/ii - V/V - V. The G# in the 2nd chord makes it a V/ii, rather than the more diatonic vi chord. The C# in the 3rd chord makes it a V/V, rather than the more diatonic ii chord.
Below, we see a 4 chord progression in D major.
Notice that chords 1 (D major) and 3 (E minor) are DIATONIC to D major and in root position.
However, chords 2 (B7 6/5) and 4 (C#7 6/5) are CHROMATIC to D major and in 1st inversion. On the chord analysis (top row), the note on the right side of the slash tell us what note is in the lowest voice. This is NOT the root, but the bass voice. This makes it possible to have a bass line that ascends CHROMATICALLY.
Below, in Bm, we use the same strategy as above. Only, we change the chords and inversions to accommodate for a CHROMATIC DESCENDING bass line.
Try to study this passage, as we listen, and then consider some of the techniques given below that contribute to the NON SEQUENTIAL LINEAR PROCESSES
Here are some areas where this passage demonstrates a NON SEQUENTIAL LINEAR PROCESSES:
1-The theme of this phrase mainly occurs within the outer voices (bass/soprano). In the soprano, we have a NEIGHBOR NOTE (NN) based melody that steps up and back down to its point of origin. This provides a bit of a sullen atmosphere. Similarly, the bass line slowly descends, stepwise, from G to D through the first half of this section.
2-The key, Em, is more implied than it is established. It starts with a i6 and ends with V7-i6 (repeating the previous section). This is a i chord, but a weaker version. It follows a measure of V7 (B7) But the chords in-between make very little sense compared to the more “tonal” progressions we have taken such comfort in.
3-This whole passage is a journey from i to V7, connected by a bunch of non-functioning chords. The ambiguity created by all of these non functioning chords can be noted as a TONAL PARENTHESIS. It appears as such: i6 - ( ) - V7
4-What is occurring within these parenthesis can be referred to as LINEAR CHROMATICISM. In this case it’s a prolongation of the tonic chord in a linear fashion.
5-CHROMATIC VOICE LEADING is used in this passage. One or two voices move, stepwise at a time, while the remaining voices sustain COMMON TONES.
6-This piece has what are referred to as IMPLIED TONAL REGIONS. Though little logical analysis can result from our standard Roman numeral approach, we can hear a few moments of tonal reference. For example in m.4, the 1st chord can be heard as a V7/iv and in m.7 a V/III. But neither of these resolve to as expected.
Below, see where I (Jeremy) tried to build chords that makes sense. Notice, that most of these chords are not carrying out their expected functions. One exception is in the last 3 measures where we see a
iv - V - i, rounding off the section.
If you want to improve your piano skills, learn more about theory and increase your ear training skills, check out Popmatics.com
MUSIC STUDENT 101