Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Switching between open and closed position in mid-melody?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Switching between open and closed position in mid-melody?

    Usually when composing a song, all of my melody is in open voicing, or closed voicing, depending on how the melody aligns with the chords. (Ie. the entire chorus may be in open voicing, and the entire verse may be in closed position.) But sometimes I can't make a cadence without switching from open voicing to closed voicing in the very end. What are other situations/examples where you need to make this switch?

  2. #2
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5,194
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Could you please clarify what you're asking?:

    What instrument(s) are playing the chords?

    Why is changing the voicing an issue?

    Is there any way you can give an example of where this issue comes up at a cadence?

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

  3. Likes Gargamel liked this post
  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Could you please clarify what you're asking?:

    What instrument(s) are playing the chords?

    Why is changing the voicing an issue?

    Is there any way you can give an example of where this issue comes up at a cadence?
    I'm just curious if switching from open to closed position or vice versa is something composers generally do in the middle of a subject/melody. I should probably grab some theory books but that might take some browsing about, if you don't know where to look. (Music is just a little hobby of mine.)

    But ok then, let's talk about me. My instrument is mainly piano. Here's a little song I composed. I think it sounds good, but on paper the final two bars look like a mess, where I had to squeeze in the 7th chords and resorted to switching back-and-forth between open voicing and closed voicing to get the sound I wanted. (I'm sure this is certainly not proper four-part voicing.)

    Bzepic.jpg

    Sounds like this:
    https://easyupload.io/e9hig7

  5. #4
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5,194
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    I should have asked one more question above: Are you working to gain proficiency in classical (in the broad sense, not a specific era) harmony and part writing? If so, I would answer your question about changing voicings by saying that changing from open to closed voicings (among other strategies) can be helpful in assuring that the voices move independently. Independent motion among the various lines is a primary value in classical voice-leading. With independence of voices in mind: in mm. 2, 6, and the last half of 4, all your voices are moving in parallel motion. In mm. 2 and 6 there are really only two voices because the alto doubles the tenor at the octave, and the soprano doubles the bass at two octaves. These passages sound smooth and harmonious, of course, because there are only consonant intervals.

    Regarding the 7th chords. Both times you use a dominant 7th chord (first beat of m. 4 and the last two beats of m. 8), the 7ths don't resolve by step, as they should in this style, but rather leap. You should work on the resolution of 7th chords.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Apr-03-2021 at 13:29.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    — Basil Valentine

  6. Likes Gargamel liked this post
  7. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    I should have asked one more question above: Are you working to gain proficiency in classical (in the broad sense, not a specific era) harmony and part writing? If so, I would answer your question about changing voicings by saying that changing from open to closed voicings (among other strategies) can be helpful in assuring that the voices move independently...
    Yeah, I originally made several attempts to resolve the 7ths by step, and failed. I have some vague idea of how it's done, so I'm gonna try again soon. In response to your first question, yes, I'm picking up stuff about harmony and part writing as I go along. I think it's a must, whether you're composing classical music, or working with short popular tunes, diatonic, as I am. (Frequently I just play them on guitar, in the way which is the most accessible way on the fingers, instead of being conscious of inversions or drop voicings.)

  8. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    109
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    I should have asked one more question above: Are you working to gain proficiency in classical (in the broad sense, not a specific era) harmony and part writing? If so, I would answer your question about changing voicings by saying that changing from open to closed voicings (among other strategies) can be helpful in assuring that the voices move independently. Independent motion among the various lines is a primary value in classical voice-leading. With independence of voices in mind: in mm. 2, 6, and the last half of 4, all your voices are moving in parallel motion. In mm. 2 and 6 there are really only two voices because the alto doubles the tenor at the octave, and the soprano doubles the bass at two octaves. These passages sound smooth and harmonious, of course, because there are only consonant intervals.

    Regarding the 7th chords. Both times you use a dominant 7th chord (first beat of m. 4 and the last two beats of m. 8), the 7ths don't resolve by step, as they should in this style, but rather leap. You should work on the resolution of 7th chords.
    Here's a new version I made. This time I gave more thought to the independency of voices, instead of thinking in terms of open/closed voicing. (I think it's convention here to use 8va.) One reason why I chose this melody as an example was because of its great contrast, from lightness to depth, between the beginning and the end. So I won't get away with being lazy, as in most of my melodies

    Bzepic2.jpg


    For listening:
    https://easyupload.io/0ulc4y
    Last edited by Gargamel; Apr-05-2021 at 18:42.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •