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Thread: Baroque "chord progressions"

  1. #16
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isorhythm View Post
    The concept of major seventh chords was definitely introduced into music theory some time during the common practice period.

    Also, I think you're conflating theory and practice a little. There are plenty of major seventh chords in Bach, whether he would have called them that or not.
    You mean where they is treated as a chord tone rather than a contrapuntal dissonance (suspension, passing tone etc.)? Have any handy examples?
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Mar-21-2019 at 21:54.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    In CP, there is no C major seventh chord.
    That is not true according to any harmony textbook I know, or any harmony course I've taken or taught. Regarding Common Practice Harmony (CP): it is a compilation, systematic but not rigidly consistent, of classical harmonic practice at least in the later 18th and earlier 19th centuries, if not more. Piston's Harmony is a well-known example. We can find exceptions in other harmony books and still more in the actual practice of composers. In common-practice harmony the seventh of a chord usually resolves by step, and is sometimes prepared with the same note in the preceding chord, like the treatment of a suspension in species counterpoint. That does not mean it isn't a chord; to be sure this chord is found within phrases and is not the final chord of a cadence (close), as it is in jazz or pop or sometimes modern classical music.

    The idea that I7 (C7 in your example) is not a chord suggests Schenkerian analysis to me, where chords are mostly seen to be derived by linear motion. Only at the opening, the cadence, and certain other points of significance are chords labelled as such with Roman numerals; otherwise figured bass is used. So you might see a I7 chord shown as "7" (shorthand for "7/5/3") in a Schenkerian analysis. For me anyway, it is a problem when Schenkerian or Schenker-related concepts are introduced without identification.
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Mar-21-2019 at 21:27.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    You mean where they is treated as a chord tone rather than a contrapuntal dissonance (suspension, passing tone etc.)? Have any handy examples?
    I'm glad you mentioned things you've identified accurately through listening.
    IMO, TalkClassical needs musicians with your ears and insight and I hope you'll continue to post!
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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    MR: "In CP, there is no major seventh chord."

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    That is not true according to any harmony textbook I know, or any harmony course I've taken or taught. Regarding Common Practice Harmony (CP): it is a compilation, systematic but not rigidly consistent, of classical harmonic practice at least in the later 18th and earlier 19th centuries, if not more. Piston's Harmony is a well-known example.
    "The seventh degree, leading-tone, for all its importance a an indicator of the tonic through its melodic tendency, has not been treated as a basic structural factor in tonality. It remains a significant melodic tone, common to both modes. It is seldom regarded as a generator of harmony, but is usually absorbed into the dominant chord. The progression, leading-tone to tonic, may be described as melodically VII-I and harmonically V-I." -Walter Piston, Harmony, p. 33

    This treatment of the seventh degree supports what I am saying, as well as it weakens what you are saying.

    "It follows that the tonal structure of music consists mainly of harmonies with tonal degrees as roots (I,IV,V, and II), with the modal degree chords (III and VI) used for variety." -Piston, p. 34

    If the seventh degree cannot be used except melodically, as a leading-tone, or harmonically, as part of a V-I, this also supports my position that a C major seventh is not considered to be a chord unto itself.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-21-2019 at 23:00.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    The second act of Tristan und Isolde (1859) begins on a major 7th. It's the earliest example I can think of in which the 7th is neither prepared nor resolved in the usual way. The motif and progression are also heard in that form elsewhere in the opera.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Mar-21-2019 at 22:55.

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    There are no major 7th chords in Bach (or Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Brahms). 7th above the root is a non-chord tone that always resolves to a chord tone. Those of you who think otherwise do not understand dissonance and its treatment, in theory or practice. Others in this thread have tried to explain it to you but apparently some of you still don't get it.

    If you can show me one instance of a major 7th in Bach that is not treated as a dissonance, that is to say that it doesn't resolve to a consonance, I will fully repent.

    Now that I mention it, I think this thread has gone about as far as it can without examples. Show me some. I double dog dare you
    Last edited by drmdjones; Mar-21-2019 at 23:49. Reason: Addition

  8. #22
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmdjones View Post
    There are no major 7th chords in Bach (or Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Brahms). 7th above the root is a non-chord tone that always resolves to a chord tone. Those of you who think otherwise do not understand dissonance and its treatment, in theory or practice. Others in this thread have tried to explain it to you but apparently some of you still don't get it.

    If you can show me one instance of a major 7th in Bach that is not treated as a dissonance, that is to say that it doesn't resolve to a consonance, I will fully repent.

    Now that I mention it, I think this thread has gone about as far as it can without examples. Show me some. I double dog dare you
    A major 7th need not always resolve to a consonance in CP. If the note which is the seventh is held through the chord that follows, it may instead become a dissonant note in that chord as well. To illustrate: in the key of C, hold E in the top voice as a melody note over the tonic chord (l). Progress to lV (producing a major 7th), then to V7, still keeping the E in the melody, then resolve it to D and cadence on l. A similar case: over the tonic chord in C, let the melody descend from C to B or leap up from G to B (producing a major 7th), change the chord under it to iV, then resolve the dissonant B to A before cadencing on l, either directly or through V. In both cases the dissonant melody note producing the major seventh becomes the dissonant note in another chord.

    What can probably be said is that a major 7th is never perceived as a consonance, and is never (to my knowledge) introduced except as a function of melodic movement, before the later 19th century. But as I pointed out in post #20, Wagner used an unprepared major 7th in 1859, and for all I know Liszt may have done so before him.

    EDIT: See post #24 below.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Mar-22-2019 at 05:43.

  9. #23
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    Yes, thank you, I was aware of this type of dissonance treatment but was not inclined to go into such detail. I thought it might give the "pro-major 7ers" a reason to say that the chord with extended dissonance is a major 7, 11, or 13b9#5 chord.

  10. #24
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drmdjones View Post
    There are no major 7th chords in Bach (or Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Brahms). 7th above the root is a non-chord tone that always resolves to a chord tone. Those of you who think otherwise do not understand dissonance and its treatment, in theory or practice. Others in this thread have tried to explain it to you but apparently some of you still don't get it.

    If you can show me one instance of a major 7th in Bach that is not treated as a dissonance, that is to say that it doesn't resolve to a consonance, I will fully repent.

    Now that I mention it, I think this thread has gone about as far as it can without examples. Show me some. I double dog dare you
    I hope your dogs like the taste of crow.

    Measure 21 in the Prelude #1 in C Major of the Wohltemperirte Clavier consists entirely of a Major 7th that doesn't resolve to a consonance. Specifically, it's an F 7th in root position, F-F-A-C-E, that resolves to a diminished seventh, F#-C-A-C-Eb. Unusual in baroque music? I suppose so. But there you are.

    Woof woof.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Mar-22-2019 at 05:44.

  11. #25
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I hope your dogs like the taste of crow.

    Measure 21 in the Prelude #1 in C Major of the Wohltemperirte Clavier consists entirely of a Major 7th that doesn't resolve to a consonance. Specifically, it's an F 7th in root position, F-F-A-C-E, that resolves to a diminished seventh, F#-C-A-C-Eb. Unusual in baroque music? I suppose so. But there you are.

    Woof woof.
    If it resolves melodically, it's not a chord. Poor example choice anyway.
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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I hope your dogs like the taste of crow.

    Measure 21 in the Prelude #1 in C Major of the Wohltemperirte Clavier consists entirely of a Major 7th that doesn't resolve to a consonance. Specifically, it's an F 7th in root position, F-F-A-C-E, that resolves to a diminished seventh, F#-C-A-C-Eb. Unusual in baroque music? I suppose so. But there you are.

    Woof woof.
    The passage is a layering of linear motions. It's nearly all linear, making Roman numeral, or any other kind of straight harmonic analysis, of limited value. In the whole last half of the piece, measures 19-36, there are only four real root motions, as follows:

    19-20 — I
    21-22 — IV
    23-32 — V
    33-36 — I

    The E in measure 21 is a suspension from the tonic chord in 19-20, not a chord tone. It eventually resolves via a chromatic passing tone to the D in 24-25.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Mar-22-2019 at 15:58.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    He dares to disagree? Yep, I have to agree with EdwardBast on this.

    As an added note, I find Walter Piston's view of (in C major) the seventh degree as either melodic (VII-I) or harmonic (V-I) as very revealing;

    "The seventh degree, leading-tone, for all its importance a an indicator of the tonic through its melodic tendency, has not been treated as a basic structural factor in tonality. It remains a significant melodic tone, common to both modes. It is seldom regarded as a generator of harmony, but is usually absorbed into the dominant chord. The progression, leading-tone to tonic, may be described as melodically VII-I and harmonically V-I."

    "It follows that the tonal structure of music consists mainly of harmonies with tonal degrees as roots (I,IV,V, and II), with the modal degree chords (III and VI) used for variety." -Walter Piston, Harmony, p. 33-34

    So if VII can't be used as a tonic root, as a generator of harmony, it reinforces the view of B-D-F-A as in incomplete dominant ninth with its (assumed) root on G.

    For me, this brings in to question whether any diminished seventh chord can be considered as a tonic-root generator of tonality, unless it is assumed to be an incomplete V7 or dominant ninth chord.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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  14. #28
    Member Anna Strobl's Avatar
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    I'm just going to pop in here to say, Zelenka's favored expressive chord was the diminished seventh.

    I'm on a Zelenka tear today.

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  16. #29
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    The passage is a layering of linear motions. It's nearly all linear, making Roman numeral, or any other kind of straight harmonic analysis, of limited value. In the whole last half of the piece, measures 19-36, there are only four real root motions, as follows:

    19-20 — I
    21-22 — IV
    23-32 — V
    33-36 — I

    The E in measure 21 is a suspension from the tonic chord in 19-20, not a chord tone. It eventually resolves via a chromatic passing tone to the D in 24-25.
    All of that is obvious. Drmdjones was looking for a major 7th chord that doesn't resolve to a consonance. The underlying harmony in measure 21 is lV, but the audible chord is a lV major 7th, whether it results from the interaction of voices or not. Maybe he should have added more requirements: the 7th of the chord can't be suspended from the previous bar, resolution to a consonance need not happen in the next chord but may be delayed through passing chords, etc.

    If there's a misunderstanding here, it seems to be a matter of terminology - of a certain way of talking theory. It doesn't make sense to me to say that a clearly audible 7th chord is not "really" a 7th chord merely because the 7th in it is a component of a melodic line moving through the measure. In this case hardly even a melodic line; the piece is a succession of chords broken into arpeggios, in which "melodic lines" and "counterpoint" are bound to result.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Mar-22-2019 at 18:58.

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  18. #30
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    "Maybe he should have added more requirements: the 7th of the chord can't be suspended from the previous bar, resolution to a consonance need not happen in the next chord but may be delayed through passing chords, etc."

    In the case of the Bach Prelude, it's a non-harmonic tone, not a component of a chord.

    "It doesn't make sense to me to say that a clearly audible 7th chord is not "really" a 7th chord merely because the 7th in it is a component of a melodic line moving through the measure."

    If the seventh is not considered and
    treated as a component of the chord, it's a non-harmonic tone. Major seventh chords do not exist in CP tonality. In CP tonal thinking, the note on vii must be resolved to I, or be considered as a component of a V chord in a V-I.

    You haven't been listening to jazz, have you?
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-22-2019 at 18:23.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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