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Thread: Random theory questions that don't deserve their own thread

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    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    Default Random theory questions that don't deserve their own thread

    During common practice era, was it outright rare to use a minor v chord in a minor key? Obviously major V would be used for cadential purposes, but otherwise?
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    Senior Member Gaspard de la Nuit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dim7 View Post
    During common practice era, was it outright rare to use a minor v chord in a minor key? Obviously major V would be used for cadential purposes, but otherwise?
    I can't point you to where it happens but if the third of that triad was approached downward and step-wise from the tonic pitch, and left downward and stepwise as well along the natural minor scale, it would sound pretty common place and you wouldn't bat an eyelid.

    Something like: i - v63 - iv63 - V
    Last edited by Gaspard de la Nuit; Oct-07-2015 at 18:50.
    "Only in being hidden does the Divine reveal itself."

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    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    v63? iv63? What does that 63 mean?

    edit: v63 in A minor would be B,G,E with B as the lowest note and iv63 would be F,A,D with F as the lowest?
    Last edited by Dim7; Oct-07-2015 at 19:12.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dim7 View Post
    v63? iv63? What does that 63 mean?
    First inversion, usually written 6/3 or simply 6.

    It stems from figured bass notation, where only a single note is written and the numbers show the intervals above that note to be played. A conventional root position triad would be 5/3, meaning a fifth and a third above the root (independent of voicing, so this could be a fifth and a third an octave higher rather than closed position).

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    Senior Member Gaspard de la Nuit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dim7 View Post
    v63? iv63? What does that 63 mean?

    edit: v63 in A minor would be B,G,E with B as the lowest note and iv63 would be F,A,D with F as the lowest?
    g would be in the bass for v 6/3 in that key but you're correct with iv6/3. So the progression would have a familiar-sounding bass of a-g-f-e.
    "Only in being hidden does the Divine reveal itself."

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    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    Aegrhk of course. The third in the bass yes.
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    Senior Member Gaspard de la Nuit's Avatar
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    This isn't really a question, but one thing that I wonder about is the ambiguous/ in between 3rd you hear in all kinds of music outside WCM and the music whose harmony evolved from it....it's so potent that you think orchestra composers would've used it ( or invented instruments that use it) in a way that's more mainstream.

    That and bent pitches in wind instruments (obviously the trombone has been a popular glissando instrument since whenever), for how beautiful this effect is it seems like it's not used in contexts that it could be.
    "Only in being hidden does the Divine reveal itself."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaspard de la Nuit View Post
    This isn't really a question, but one thing that I wonder about is the ambiguous/ in between 3rd you hear in all kinds of music outside WCM and the music whose harmony evolved from it....it's so potent that you think orchestra composers would've used it ( or invented instruments that use it) in a way that's more mainstream.

    That and bent pitches in wind instruments (obviously the trombone has been a popular glissando instrument since whenever), for how beautiful this effect is it seems like it's not used in contexts that it could be.
    In much of WCM, especially 18th century the preference was for 'pure' sounding minor and major thirds because they sound in tune and resonate nicely. A third that isn't in tune acoustically can sound buzzy and jarring. The may be a preference in some forms of music but western tonality tends to favour thirds that don't buzz. And I'm not talking about jazz here. Obviously in the 20th century things changed a little, but before that it was jsut preference. People just didn't like pitch bending and thought it sounded horrible, it's just cultural taste.
    Last edited by Rik1; Oct-28-2015 at 14:25.

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    Senior Member Stavrogin's Avatar
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    Wow, this thread is exctly what I had in mind when opening this section of TC.

    As a music enthusiast totally lacking musical education, questions often spring to my mind while listening (or reading) so the availability of a place like this where some of them can be answered is definitely welcome.

    The only problem is that most of my questions will probably VERY BANAL, so the probability to find someone willing to accept the effort to answer decreases However, I will try.


    So here's my first question.
    Beethoven's Piano sonata op.109, first movement.
    When does the exposition of the second theme begin? Where does it end?

    I wouldn't know how to recognize "bars", so please refer to actual timestamps referring to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HghTwMHW8hI

    Thanks
    Last edited by Stavrogin; Nov-04-2015 at 17:47.
    Listening to one another is an important thing in life. And music tells us how to do that. - Claudio Abbado

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    Senior Member Stavrogin's Avatar
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    Beethoven's Piano Concerto 5.
    The very first note of the piano.
    Listening to a number of different performances, there is a huge variety of how that note is played.
    In some cases (like Kempff/Leitner, Gilels/Szell, Ashkenazy/Haitink, Fleisher/Szell or Perahia) it's barely audible and the piano part starts as a continuous flow.
    In others (like Pollini/Bohm, Zimerman/Bernstein, Brendel/Masur, Cliburn) that note is quite stressed and "intense" as if it were the clear cut starting point of the piano part.
    With all sorts of in-between nuances (e.g. Michelangeli/Giulini, Brendel/Masur, etc).

    Now my question is: is there something on the actual score of the concerto that indicates how this note should be played and therefore which of the two extremes is "more correct"?
    Last edited by Stavrogin; Nov-05-2015 at 11:22.
    Listening to one another is an important thing in life. And music tells us how to do that. - Claudio Abbado

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    It's not specifically marked with an accent or Sf marking, but the passage is marked ff and the pedal is requested, which will actually help to make all of the notes blend more. In short, I don't know if there's really an easy answer.

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    Senior Member Stavrogin's Avatar
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    Thanks Mahlerian.
    If the whole passage (rather than the single note) is marked ff and the pedal is requested, it seems to me that a more "flowing" approach is closer to the score (contrary to my taste - I sort of prefer the "strongest" approach).
    Why do you think it doesn't?

    In comparison, what are the markings/accents at the very start of the sonata op. 111?
    Listening to one another is an important thing in life. And music tells us how to do that. - Claudio Abbado

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stavrogin View Post
    Thanks Mahlerian.
    If the whole passage (rather than the single note) is marked ff and the pedal is requested, it seems to me that a more "flowing" approach is closer to the score (contrary to my taste - I sort of prefer the "strongest" approach).
    Why do you think it doesn't?
    Because the pedal being depressed will make the notes blend, especially the low ones, so that the first one doesn't feel especially accented as such, you may think that a flowing approach is called for, but the modern piano is different from the action of pianos of the early 19th century, so Beethoven might have had something different in mind which performers might try to go for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stavrogin
    In comparison, what are the markings/accents at the very start of the sonata op. 111?
    The initial note is marked f, and there are sf markings all over, with no pedal except at the arpeggio passages. It should sound forceful.

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    Senior Member Balthazar's Avatar
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    ^ With regard to the Emperor Concerto, I would add that when the piano enters, the entire orchestra should still be playing their opening notes ff (to be clinically specific, over the first 7 notes that the piano plays). This makes me think the desired effect is more of the piano line growing naturally out of the orchestral tutti rather than a bald, independent, contrasting attack. It seems to me that had Beethoven wanted a sharp piano attack at the opening, he would have added a sforzando or accent, or quieted the rest of the orchestra. He was not stingy with dynamic markings.
    "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
    And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh."
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    Senior Member Stavrogin's Avatar
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    ^ Thanks to both Mahlerian and Balthazar, your posts have been very explanatory.
    Listening to one another is an important thing in life. And music tells us how to do that. - Claudio Abbado

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