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Thread: March in canon, why is it so dissonant

  1. #1
    Senior Member caters's Avatar
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    Default March in canon, why is it so dissonant

    I have a rhythmic cell of 1 quarter note and 2 eighth notes. I also have this overall shape for the canon:

    1 step up, 8 steps down

    And 6 rhythmic cells before each note change.

    With the middle voice, I have it start 3 rhythmic cells after the low voice. Also I have it start a fourth above the low voice which leads to this very consonant alternation between 4ths and 5ths with just 2 dissonant tritones. Then I did the same thing with the upper voice, delay by 3 rhythmic cells, then have it start. I had it start at a third above the middle voice. Enough for there to be a second inversion chord. But this led to the majority of the march in canon being dissonant. Lots of 2nds and 7ths and even more tritones than with just the middle and low voices. Not at all what I was aiming for. Would this be solved if I had the middle voice start a 3rd above the lower voice instead of a fourth above the lower voice but kept the same 3rd relationship between the middle and upper voices?

    All I was wanting was a march in canon that sounded like marching major and minor chords, not all this 7th chord and suspended chords and some chords probably not described by music theory, all being dissonant, with just a few major and minor chords.

    Note: I kept everything diatonic
    Last edited by caters; Dec-10-2018 at 00:00.

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    Rather than writing a complete melody then trying to get it to fit with itself at some transposition, try writing one unit at a time in each voice. The order of units written would look like this:

    2-part canon:

    1........3.........5.........7.........
    2.........4.........6.........8.....etc.

    3-part canon:

    1......4......7......10.......
    2......5.......8.......11.......
    3.......6........9........12...etc.

    Each lower unit is a transposition of the previous higher unit. So in the 2-part example unit 2 is a transposition of unit 1, 3 is new, 4 is a transposition of unit 3, unit 5 is new, unit 6 is a transposition of unit 5, etc.

    Building it up like this you control the dissonance one unit at a time.

    The finished product will appear to have a through-composed melody (units 1...3...5...7) that fits with a transposition of itself (units 2...4...6...8).

    The 3-part canon is constructed in a similar fashion.

    You could have the parts enter in any order.

    1...4...7...10...
    3...6...9...
    2...5...8...11...

    In this case your counterpoint will need to be invertible since 4 happens above 2 (a transposition of 1) and 5 happens below 3 (also a transposition of 1. But this is another topic.


    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    My diagrams were changed when posted. Each line below the original line should be shifted to the right by one unit. Unit 2 should be under unit 3, etc.

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