Advanced chords in dadgad

Advanced chords in dadgad

Iv played in dadgad for a while now and I’m used to all the major and minor chord shapes and progressions. But can anybody suggest any new chords shapes other than the regular ones you find all over youtube and google

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

What tune are you thinking about using it with?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Here’s tab for a good one:

—-0———————————
—-3——————————-
—-8—————
—-16—————————
—-0————————-
—-4 1/2——————————

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

That’s not bad. How many people will struggle through that ?
I think I understand ( that’s not the same as know ) all that stuff already, but who will go through it all. Very good though.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Sarah McQuaid’s book The Irish DADGAD Guitar Book, which is available with a CD,is a good resource

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Fidkid-I think your chord would work better on the Irish 6 string oud

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Are you looking for things like 050750 or things like 9X679X?

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HansSpeek’s info is useless for anyone using DADGAD. As the house band Raw Sex said in a sketch on French and Saunders, ably assisted by a number of Rock luminaries and Ralph McTell "It’s no good, it hasn’t got those little diagrams showing you where to put your fingers." !
Never thought I’d quote F & S on this forum………..

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Take any chord you know in regular tuning. Move whatever is on the B and E strings up 2 frets. When the shape is too big for your hands, take anything you can’t grab and put it in another octave so you can reach it or just leave it out. That’s basically all there is to it.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

When is llig back?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

what has llig got to do with this discussion?,,why dont you check out his profile ?it tells you what the date of his suspension is.
nates answer is helpful

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I like fidkid’s answer.

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What llig has to do with the discussion, Dick, is that I think many of us know how he would be likely to answer the question.

I think fidkid’s answer alludes to the issue.

I’d say that looking for a bunch of new chord shapes is to be more fixated on guitar playing than on music. It is putting the cart, metaphorically, before the horse. Better to have a tune you want to back where you have a musical reason for wanting a certain chord, then find out how to play it.

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It’s chicken and egg though, best just to find your own way, just keep at it and it’ll all sort it’s self out in the end. There’s merit in enthusiasm mind, best not to knock it.

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"There’s merit in enthusiasm mind, best not to knock it."

Great point, Solidmahog. To be more constructive, I’d suggest thinking about right-hand technique at this point (assuming you are right handed, wackojacko). The beauty of DADGAD is its simplicity and how nicely suited it is to a certain kind of backing. If you’ve got the chording and counterpoint and all that down, start experimenting with with ways to accentuate the inherent rhythm of each individual tune.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

What’s wrong with finding new chord shapes? Personally I can construct any chord I need using theory, but sometimes when shown new chord shapes I really am surprised by what I hadn’t thought of, and I really just enjoy plucking out chords on my guitar sometimes. It can actually inspire me to create music.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I like
D F D C9 Bb G
0—3—7—0—0—0
0—0—0—3—1—2
7—2—7—0—0—0
0—3—7—2—0—0
5—0—0—3—1—2
0—x—0—x—0—0

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Try retuning the lowest pitch string, the highest pitch string and the second-highest pitch string each up a full step. All sorts of interesting chord shapes are possible in that tuning. ;-)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

What we would get from Mr Gill is a screed about the evils of guitars and guitarists,spawn of Satan all. I don’t see anything wrong with jacko’s OP-what’s the matter with trying to advance your playing and improve your back-up? I would think anyone in a session with jacko would be grateful not to hear the same major and minor chords and progressions all night. AlBrown’s profile has some goood advice in this respect-covering the info in the Hans Speek link and then some. Jacko-check out some sus2, add9 and sus 4 chords to give your playing a more modal sound sus chords work nicely as they are neither major nor minor and can be moved around in the key-e.g. in D major with a drone bass
Dsus2 Esus2 F#sus2 Gsus2
2——- 4 ——- 6 ——— 7
0———2———4———- 5
2———4———6———— 7
0———2———4————5
0———2———4———— 5
0———0———0———— 0
This should get you started

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Only Michael knows what we would get from him.
What you get from me, though, is play with the musicians who know the tune. Any harmony comes from that. There is no *backing*, music is about playing together.

Posted .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Ben, backing the music is just that… it doesn’t mean you aren’t playing together. Understanding the tonal landscape of a tune is an art unto itself. The best backup players are able to provide a lot to the music, but it’s like the background of a painting. There’s a subject and a background in traditional paintings, and they are both… *together*… in the same work of art.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

the point is if you are a guitarist, which gill is not, you can find beautiful unexpected chords through using shapes, without actually backing a tune, what you have then discovered you then try out in PRIVATE with a melody player, then you can use it when playing in public.

Posted .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I retract my comment about llig-I should not be putting words into people’s mouths(or keyboards) I also second what Phantom and Dick said,above. Using new chord forms on the guitar requires the ability to grab the shapes quickly - which requires practice. If you don’t know the chord you can’t use it in a tune. Having a large chord vocabulary allows you to be more spontaneous and varied in your playing,qualities which are prized in ITM. It means you have a better chance of hearing and finding that nice harmony that enhances the tune and makes the whole group sound better. Furthermore, I just don’t understand the notion that it’s wrong to try to improve your playing outside of a session. You wouldn’t tell a fiddle or flute player not to practice scales or arpeggios,would you?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

You certainly wouldn’t get Llig blanket abusing the guitar. As far as I am aware he enjoys playing with a good guitarist. You will get him telling fiddle and flute players not to practice scales and arpeggios though…

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

‘You wouldn’t tell a fiddle or flute player not to practice scales or arpeggios,would you?’

Yes, you would. Practising playing tunes gives you all the scales and arpeggios you’ll ever need.

Re: Advanced words in English

Iv been having conversations in English for a while now and I’m used to all the nouns and verbs and prepositions. But can anybody suggest any new words other than the regular ones you find all over youtube and google

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Able to start an argument when he’s not even present. Now, that is a superpower that is worthy of comic books! ;-)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Adjectives are very handy, fidkid. As long as you don’t let them interrupt the flow of the rhythm…

Advanced chords for the bodhran?

Anyone?

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Could I suggest you all hold off from speculating what Michael Gill might or might not have to add to this discussion until he’s in a position to tell you all himself ?

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Practising playing tunes gives you all the scales and arpeggios you’ll ever need"

Or, practicing scales and arpeggios enables you to learn new tunes faster,play them more easily, retrieve old tunes more readily and play with a fundamental understanding of the harmonic structure of the music….

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

The Music has a fundamentally melodic structure.

not re: Advanced chords in dadgad

What did llig do now?

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I imagine it would take about 5 minutes to draw a couple of 12 fret fretboard diagrams and plot the position of all the notes A to G (forget about sharps and flats) in both normal and DADGAD tunings. You probably know that there are two frets between notes with two exceptions. B to C and E to F are one fret only. Using this you should be able to convert any normal tuning chord to DADGAD. Have fun.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"forget about sharps and flats"

But what about the chords that have sharps or flats in them eg D (D - F# - A)?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

What difference does a semi-tone here or there really make? ;-)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

‘"You wouldn’t tell a fiddle or flute player not to practice scales or arpeggios,would you?’

Yes, you would. Practising playing tunes gives you all the scales and arpeggios you’ll ever need. "
That should be rephrased, Yes Scutcher would.
I would tell any musician if they asked my advice to practise scales and arpeggios, I would also advise them to practise tunes rather than just play them, by that i mean, break the tunes into sections or phrases and practise particular parts of the tunes, which might or might not include arpeggios.
practising arpeggios and scales in my opinion can be useful.
"the music has a fundamentally melodic structure"
wow, really? however a melody can also have a harmonic structure too and in fact in traditional music it ALWAYS does.

Posted .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

david l335,
you may or may not like people using harmonies, but because a tune has a melodic structure, that does not mean it does not have a harmonic structure too.

Posted .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I am not interested in the opinion of anyone who has not contributed to this discussion.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

" practising arpeggios and scales in my opinion can be useful. "
I would even go so far to say that it is useful to practise ornamentation.

Understanding how to accompany this music.

PB, I intended the asterisks (*backing*) to imply playing which is only loosely concerned with the tune being played. Good backing, on the other hand, is grand. I’ve posted the following quote more than once;

"In many ways really good backing is harder than melody playing when taken to it’s utmost degree (here I do expect some disagreement from melody players, but many of them don’t understand about backing, so will refer to those who play both melody and backup), the really great backers tend to also be melody players, and quite a few say the backing is often more of a challenge, having to know the tune and do something different with their hands at the same time. It would benefit greatly to learn some melody and structure of the tunes, starting with ones you love, and I don’t mean to assume you haven’t done this anyway, but just in case. It really is such a great help in understanding how to accompany this music." ~ Posted by irisnevins January 17th 2010

Posted .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

if a tune has a key, then you just might have some harmonies implied

that’s a fact of life in any musical system built on the first 6 overtones of the harmonic series

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Scutcher,
are you aware that many of the irish tunes were also songs, lanigans ball, follow me up to carlow, rocky road to dublin, haste to the wedding, father o flynn, saint annes reel, the irish washerwoman, napoleon crossing the rhine, give me your hand, the frost is all over, the foggy dew , roddy mccorley, stack of barley.
are you saying that they have no harmonic structure?
IN MY OPINION anyone who says that is showing that they know nothing about irish music.
here is a breakdown of a number of reels, and their phrasing structure, any melodic phrase in irish music also has a harmonic structure, anyone that says otherwise does not know what they are discussing.
AABB 953 54.6% bar
AB 570 32.7% bar
ABC 55 3.2% bar
AABBCC 54 3.1%

Posted .

:-O

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

AABB 953 54.6% bar
AB 570 32.7% bar
ABC 55 3.2% bar
AABBCC 54 3.1%

?? Source ??

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

AABB 953 54.6% bar
AB 570 32.7% bar
ABC 55 3.2% bar
AABBCC 54 3.1%

A little help here—what does this mean?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

So the argument is this?:

‘Irish tunes all have a melodic structure. This means that they ALL have a harmonic structure. To prove this, here is data that demonstrates that they have a melodic structure.’

The source of the data, or even what it means, would become relevant only if you were to accept the logic of this argument.

(And FWIW, I’m not opposed to harmony per se, indeed I’ve accompanied tunes on guitar myself in the past. My position is that this harmony is not necessarily inherent in all the tunes.)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

@fldkid, I don’t know but I’ll be kicking myself if those numbers show up on tonight’s Lotto.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

1. I miss Iris Nevins’ comments, she had so many thoughtful things to say when the subject of accompaniment came up.
2. I fail to see how the fact that many Irish tunes have words associated with their melodies means they have harmonic structures as well. Or how the fact that they have repeated sections is evidence of their harmonic structure. Care to elaborate, Dick?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

And while asking for explainations, Na eisc, can I ask why you referred to that quite catchy and delightful little song from the Clancy Brothers as tripe? Around here, that means rubbish. Which cannot possibly be what you meant, so I must be misunderstanding something.

Ruminating

Tee-hee. AlBrown, as I was reading about *utter tripe* I thought it a good time for a YouTubeInterlude. The song’s hilarious. Somewhere in the middle of it all, as the dishes & verses keep coming, they sing this bit, "He swallowed tripe and lard by the yard we got scared. We thought it would go hard when the waiter brought the bill …"
Glad you enjoyed the clip.

Posted .

8-bar structure of reels…

Mr. Miles, I assume this is your source;
"Within the Irish tradition, the common terms "doubled" and "singled" can be translated as simply meaning whether each 8-bar part is repeated or not, and the somewhat old-fashioned Irish terms "the tune" and "the turn" can be translated as "the A part" and "the B part" respectively."
http://www.irishtune.info/rhythm/reel-structure.html

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"if a tune has a key, then you just might have some harmonies implied"

You might, but that would only be an implication if it was intended by the ‘composer’, and unless the ‘composer’ was familiar with implied harmonies, then any harmonies are inferred by the listener.

‘Harmonic series’ aside (not really relevant - even though it exists, given the atmosphere we all share), the question of harmony existing in ITM is mostly theoretical. Yes, a harmonic structure can (and will) exist if you want to analyse a melody in the eyes, or ears, of someone steeped in the theory of harmony. Indeed, some - nay several - tunes are clearly built on arpeggios - but you have to ask yourself "did the composer intentionally build the tune on arpeggios, or was it that those notes sounded nice?".
What I’m getting at is there is a tendency to believe there are "implied harmonies" if you have come to the music from a formal background. For example, suggesting that there is an "implied seventh" in a hexatonic tune, even though the composer is unknown, and the likelihood of that unknown composer ever implying the seventh is minimal. "Gapped scales" are what they are - nothing implied, and it’s quite possible that whoever originally composed the tune was unaware that the tune had a "gapped scale".
It is an advantage to be able to distinguish between implication and inference. In the main, these tunes were built on a melodic structure, and there is nothing implied in the way of harmony (at least, there is no way of knowing whether anything was implied). Any harmonies ‘heard’ by the listener are inferred, and that inference could depend on what discipline the listener has followed. You may be hearing a myriad of subtle harmonies, or wanting to throw in a few power chords to give it some (imagined) lift.
There is nothing to stop anyone from doing what they want. Nobody owns the music. However, if you want to play with other folk, then there has to be mutual respect. Don’t let that inference become interference.
In relation to the OP, there are no doubt many new chords to explore, but tread carefully - your ears are more important than any ‘chord chart’.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

:-)

One only has to Google the term "melodic analysis" to find a load of academic stuff written about melodies that scarcely, if ever, mentions the word "chord". I don’t understand it, being academic stuff someone will probably regard it as tripe, but it seems to support Weejie’s view.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

am I the only one getting a headache trying to understand this ?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

any person who thinks music or irish traditional music does not have a harmonic structure is in my opinion incorrect, the only music as far as i am aware that lacks a tonal centre and therefore dos not have a harmonic structure is atonal music.
whether someone chooses to use harmony or not is a completely different matter, and is entirely a personal choice., and one of taste .
yes, most of the tunes i mentioned are songs composed and popular in victorian times that were generally accompanied, that does not mean they should or were not sung on occasions accompanied, it was the custom in music halls and at home for many people who could afford instruments to accompany these song tunes, which illustrated they had a harmonic structure .
it is not necessary for a guitarist to have to play with anyone else while experimenting with chords all he has to do is sing the tune and accompany himself and use his ears., however sometimes a second opinion is useful

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"that does not mean they should or were not sung on occasions accompanied,"
should read "unaccompanied"

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"any person who thinks music or irish traditional music does not have a harmonic structure is in my opinion incorrect,"

You are entitled to your opinion. Any series of notes can be looked at "harmonically", ie, the relationship of the notes can be analysed in terms of ‘perceived’ harmony. However, this doesn’t make the notes ‘harmonic’, nor was the compilation of those notes necessarily undertaken with a view to the application of harmony. The mention of "tonal centre" is clouding the issue.
This is not polyphonic music. This is confirmed by the fact that the tunes can be rendered in their entirety on a monophonic instrument (a flute, say). "Tonal centre" in the context of this purely "horizontal" form of music would relate to a "home note", rather that a note on which to build vertical blocks.
Anyone looking at Irish traditional music in terms of "harmonic structure" is, in my opinion, barking up the wrong tree - it’s not up in the trees, it’s along the winding road - with a cosy cottage where you can put your feet up after the journey.
That’s not to say harmony can’t be applied, just that it isn’t where it’s at.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

It is amazing how threads can get sidetracked on here. It was originally just someone coming on asking for some ideas for a few chords…

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Well, NCFA, that’s the nature of internet forums. But one thing I have noticed on here is that one can post the most innocuous self-evident truisms, and somebody will take issue with them.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

We are are a species who has spent millennia developing the art of conversation while doing routine work or round the embers of a fire when it is too dark or dangerous to do much of use outdoors. Why the amazement ?

All part of the crack.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

… species that… (before anyone takes issue …)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"It was originally just someone coming on asking for some ideas for a few chords…"

And the response has, on the whole, been pertinent. Any ideas for new chords must be counterbalanced with the awareness of what those new chords can do to, or not do for the music.

Re: Harmonic structures in tunes??!!

"the only music as far as i am aware that lacks a tonal centre and therefore dos not have a harmonic structure is atonal music."

I think this is just the point. When there is a home note, there are melodic structures that imply (yes, imply) harmonic structures. Intended or not, your brain will (unconsciously) always interpret a melody in respect of harmony, as tension between certain notes.
Concerning backing, this can be realised in various ways, of course. The simplest way of harmonising a tune is a drone on the tonic; it creates a dissonant tension where the melody is going away (in the harmonic sense) from the home note. The next step is a backing with two notes, one for notes related to the home note, and one for the rest (for example, the I and the II, or the I and the IV). This can be elaborated to any desired level of complexity, like progressions of "advanced chords" or so.

So yes, there is not a one and only right way to harmonise a tune, as intended (or not) by the composer. But with a home note, there’s always an interplay between tension and resolving. And I think this implies harmonic structures, even in a monophonic melody, where the harmonies themselves are not explicitly played. The home note still echoes through the whole tune.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Anyone looking at Irish traditional music in terms of "harmonic structure" is, in my opinion, barking up the wrong tree - it’s not up in the trees, it’s along the winding road - with a cosy cottage where you can put your feet up after the journey.
That’s not to say harmony can’t be applied, just that it isn’t where it’s at."
no, it may not be where it is at for you, but for someone else it may be perfectly valid to want to harmonise, but it does not alter the fact that the only music that does not have a harmonic structure is atonal music.
I agree there are many different ways to harmonise a particular tune, all of which is a matter of taste.
In my opinion I think that irish music does not need any accompaniment, it can be enhanced by a skilful accompanist it can also be wrecked, but that does not mean I am against irish music being accompanied harmonically, it does not need it, it is perfectly good without it, but when done with skill and understanding of the modal/tonal centre, and by an accompanist who is listening to the melody players it can be improved, it all depends on how it is accompanied both harmonically and rhythmically

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Can we always agree on "the home note" ?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

" there are melodic structures that imply (yes, imply) harmonic structures."

They can’t imply. They are just a series of ‘disruptions’. They are inanimate. Without knowing who compiled that particular pattern of disruptions, you can’t say that any implication was intended or even present. If there is any ‘interpretation of harmony’ it comes from the listener, and it is therefore an inference, not an implication. This inference is very much influenced by the musical background of the individual.
Some - not all - of this particular genre of music comes from the same era as ecclesiastical chanting, and although it would be churlish to suggest that the two forms of music stemmed from a common root, there are some shared aspects (like modes). There was no conscious harmonic structure to this music. It was purely melodic. It was only later that any thought on harmony entered into musical discipline. Tension and resolving does not in itself make harmony. It is considered when harmonising however - where notes are played simultaneously.
As Vaughan Williams suggested, "with the birth of harmony, composers found the modal system unsuitable to their scheme, and the modal melodies beganto be altered to fit harmonic considerations, according to the rules known as Cantus Fictus".

As I said earlier, there is a difference between implication and inference. Don’t confuse your own ‘conditioning’ with any underlying ‘harmony’ within something that is purely melodic.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"but for someone else it may be perfectly valid to want to harmonise,"

Of course. It doesn’t mean that the music is built on harmony, however.


"but it does not alter the fact that the only music that does not have a harmonic structure is atonal music. "

That’s not a fact. That’s your opinion.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Can we always agree on "the home note" ?"

Probably more often than there is agreement on "chord structure".

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

We only need one disagreement to illustrate your point about conditioning.

Perhaps like which note to end the "Skye Boat Song" on last time round, though that may be matter of what effect we are used to, not where it would go if we all preferred the same effect.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

That was ended with a bridge across Loch Alsh.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

(my last sentence may have been edited after Weejie posted)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Indeed. I’ll rephrase: The Sky Boat Song ends with a bridge over Loch Alsh. At least it’s concrete, instead of implied or inferred.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

no, it is a fact.

Posted .

Re: implication vs inference

"They can’t imply. They are just a series of ‘disruptions’. They are inanimate. Without knowing who compiled that particular pattern of disruptions, you can’t say that any implication was intended or even present. If there is any ‘interpretation of harmony’ it comes from the listener, and it is therefore an inference, not an implication. "

Ah, okay. In this context, melody is not the mere physical ("inanimate") sound waves. Melody is itself an interpretation of these waves on a more abstract level. This interpretation does imply; the brain does infer, and again interpret on a higher level, harmony. Don’t confuse cause and consequence here.

I also said that there are various ways to interpret a melody regarding it’s harmony, and that this does not necessarily have to be intended. But if it wasn’t implied somewhere in the melody, any harmonisation would be sheer random.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I suppose traditional Irish music is harmonic in the same way it is polyrhythmic. A jig may be considered to be in 6/8 time by most players, but that doesn’t keep a djembe player from putting 7/4 against it.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Oh no, not that rhythm-discussion again! :-D

:-)

(did you notice I threw in djembes as well?)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"That was ended with a bridge across Loch Alsh" Weejie

Still three boats plying the brine to and from Skye……….

I can’t really remember where the boat was meant to be sailing from (could have been south uist) to "carry the lad, born to be king, over the sea to skye", in the song, but it sure wasn’t kyle :~p

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Irish music is not harmonic.
Each note consists of a certain frequency, it is true, and various other frequencies can be blend with it; but that does not mean that they should be or were intended to be blended with it.
The beauty of melodic music lies in the freedom from harmony, leaving the audience/player to construct an internal musical world.
As soon as you play a harmonic accompaniment, all other possibilities are wiped out.
It is virtually impossible these days to hear non-harmonic music, and it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that people are conditioned to hear/imagine harmonies where they are not intended. Just because so-and-so plays a tune with such-and-such accompaniment, and you like the sound, that does not make it traditional.

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

There appears to be some lovely misunderstandings here of both the definition of the word ‘imply’ and fundamental music theory. The first google definition of imply is;

im·ply
/imˈplī/
Verb
Strongly suggest the truth or existence of (something not expressly stated): "the report implies that two million jobs might be lost".
Synonyms
mean - hint - signify - involve - suggest - insinuate

There are lots of tunes that have sections which are arpeggiations of chords. It is perfectly correct to say these sections imply those chords. Also in linear diatonic or modal scales each pair of alternate notes is two thirds of a triad. So each pair would imply or suggest a couple of chords. Come on guys, get a grip.

gam expresses a form of wishful thinking which I, in part, share but harmony is implicit in traditional music.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Agreed, gam! Except for your very first sentence.

Of course there is freedom of harmony; but freedom isn’t randomness. The melody does imply some harmonic structures, though not necessarily the same for everyone. But no one would, for example, listen to a tune in D and wait for it to resolve to D#, because they constructed an "internal musical world" in D#. This would be disharmonious even on the very fundamental physical level, because the relation of frequencies to each other determines what we find pleasant to hear and what not, what creates tension and what makes us want to hear certain resolving notes.

And therefore some harmonies fit the melody (because they are implied), others simply don’t.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"There appears to be some lovely misunderstandings here of both the definition of the word ‘imply’ and fundamental music theory. "

Not at all. For something to be "implied" or "suggested" or "mean" or even "hint" a deliberation has to be made by the person making the statement - in that example "the report" was made by a person - and that "implication" could well have been an inference, as the wording of the report is not given. Look up "implied terms of contract" and how some of those terms had to be taken as given by statute, as it took court case after court case to establish whether there was implication or mere inference.

As for "fundamental music theory" - Music theory based on harmonic progression (with a view to harmonisiong) is not relevant to a form of music that predates harmony - especially if that music was not intended to be harmonised. In the case of Irish traditional music, it is a form of music that, as most people seem to agree on, was not intended to be harmonised, and there could be no implication of harmony if harmony was not in the equation. Any apllication of harmony would therefore be by inference.

"There are lots of tunes that have sections which are arpeggiations of chords. It is perfectly correct to say these sections imply those chords. "

Again, that’s not the case. It’s perfectly reasonable to infer chords from basic arpeggios, but they are only implied if a piece of music is intended to be harmonised.

"Also in linear diatonic or modal scales each pair of alternate notes is two thirds of a triad. So each pair would imply or suggest a couple of chords. "

And this is where your argument really breaks down. If a melody is pentatonic or hexatonic, a pair of notes would not "imply" or "suggest" a couple of "chords". You are applying your "discipline" to something that was not necessarily conceived within that discipline.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

yea, I didn’t post any more about implying harmony because it seemed pointless, but every melody implies a harmony. The trouble is that the english word "implies" really just barely approximates what processes a musician goes through when they accompany somebody.

In any melody, some notes define the "shape" of the melody (for lack of a better word) and other notes just fill in or embellish those notes. Its the notes that really give the "shape" to the melody that a musician uses to harmonize a melody.

the fact that some chords don’t "work" I will enter as evidence that melodies actually do imply a harmony. Otherwise, it would seem that we could play anything, and that is just not the case

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Weegie, get over it, you’re wrong.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"It’s perfectly reasonable to infer chords from basic arpeggios, but they are only implied if a piece of music is intended to be harmonised."

Something does not have to be intended to be there.

"Nobody has the intention of building a wall"
- Walter Ulbricht

See? :-)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"but every melody implies a harmony. "

So, does Indian classical music imply a harmony? Do Gregorian chants?

"Weegie, get over it, you’re wrong."

Mr Ellison, get over it, you are sadly conditioned by your musical upbringing.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I have to say that I do appreciate the aesthetic preference not to hear any "harmonizing" in this music. That doesn’t mean that the tune is devoid of harmonic implications, it just means that they don’t actually need to be played.

And there’s nothing wrong with that

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Something does not have to be intended to be there."

Is it there? It has to be expressed to "be there", otherwise "implication" would have to be shown to be a possible intention. In the case of something that was conceived without any thought given to what someone takes to be "implied", then that could only be an inference.

Back to Gregorian chants. It would be a bold statement to say that any harmony was implied, when there was no concept of harmony.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"That doesn’t mean that the tune is devoid of harmonic implications, it just means that they don’t actually need to be played."

That’s rather amusing. It doesn’t mean that the tune is devoid of harmonic possibilities, but they are not "implied" if the harmonies are not part of the fabric. Not only do they not "need" to be played, to some people they should definitely not be played.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

""Nobody has the intention of building a wall""

I’m quite sure "Der Antifaschistischer Schutzwall" was deliberate.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"I can’t really remember where the boat was meant to be sailing from "

It doesnae matter. If there was a brig they would have made the detour to save the ferry charge.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

what you said about Indian music made me realize that I was being very western in my insisting that melodies imply harmonies.

So I’m glad you found what I said amusing. That was an olive branch. The tunes actually do "imply" chords, but that doesn’t mean we need to play them.

So I’ll remeber if I ever get over there, to leave the 6 string devil back here in the states, fair enough?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Okay Weejie, Gregorian chants then. There may not have been an (explicit) concept of harmony. Nonetheless, you could grab your guitar and strum a few chords to it. Some progressions would sound better than others, some wouldn’t fit at all, and some disharmonies would make your cat leave the room in panic.

Therefore, again, harmony does not have to be intended to be implied.
(Not by the composer of course, but by the melody.)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Something does not have to be intended to be there." To be there it must already exist. Is harmony an invention or a discovery ?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Nonetheless, you could grab your guitar and strum a few chords to it."

Yep. Just like you can to Irish traditional music.

"Some progressions would sound better than others, some wouldn’t fit at all, and some disharmonies would make your cat leave the room in panic."

My cat leaves the room when I’m playing anyway. So that’s nothing new.

"Therefore, again, harmony does not have to be intended to be implied.
(Not by the composer of course, but by the melody.)"

We’re back to that contention that something inanimate can "imply". Mr Ellison obfuscated things by giving some "definition" gleaned off the net without thought. All the various definitions in the OED relate to a certain amount of deliberation by the person delivering the "statement". It’s implied if it’s not expressed, but only if it involves "hinting" or "suggestion" - "saying in a round about way". "Inference", on the other hand, is more like "reading something into" a statement that is not expressed. Unless the perceived "implication" was made with deliberation, then it wasn’t implied. If necessary, I could go further to illustrate the difference. Where you might interpret a Gregorian chant in your strummed chords, someone might interpret it differently on the combolin. Neither could be proven correct, because the chant wasn’t devised with harmony in mind. Any argument you could make for your interpretation would be based on a set of rules that were not applicable to the piece of music. And although they may adhere to your particular rule book, and indeed keep your cat in the room for longer than the other person playing the combolin, the argument that the "harmony was implied" could not hold any water. I happen to think that Irish traditional music is in much the same vein. Especially where it concerns gapped scales. Anyone harmonising with the current rule book, and introducing third or seventh notes that don’t exist in the melody is alterinng the structure of that melody to suit the rule book. It’s done through perception of a "harmonic structure" that isn’t necessarily there. It’s not implied, because it couldn’t have been hinted at by the composer if harmony wasn’t considered by the composer. It’s inferred by the listener - even if it looks blatantly obvious that a chord "should" be there.
I say this, not through ignorance. I play (or played) several polyphonic instruments, including harp and guitar. I am aware of the processes that can go through an "accompanist’s" head. However, I’m also conscious that I’m putting something there that probably wasn’t meant to be there, and I wouldn’t be putting full chords to those pentatonic tunes. Perhaps you would’t either, but I know many "rule book" harmonists who would.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

whether the harmony is there or not, written or not, intended or not, the simple fact is that a musician can harmonize and reharmonize any melody that is based on the equally tempered tuning system. I qualify that statement because of Gregorian chant, Indian music, and any other non western music that I’m not really talking about.

but the simple fact remains that these tunes can be harmonized, and people actually do it every single day.

Since there are no "chords" written as part of the fabric of the tunes, players must be using the melody itself as the basis for their harmonic choices. So the melody has to contain the information these musicians need to make their choices. Since there clearly are "wrong" ways to "back" these tunes, the tune itself must have a harmony "implied" (for lack of a better term)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I think I get what you are saying there. Is it a problem with the word "imply"? Is it more that the tune doesn’t imply a harmony, but rather limits what chords could be chosen? (assuming we are actually trying to keep the cat in the room)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"whether the harmony is there or not, written or not, intended or not, the simple fact is that a musician can harmonize and reharmonize any melody that is based on the equally tempered tuning system. …."

I haven’t disputed this.

"Is it a problem with the word "imply"? Is it more that the tune doesn’t imply a harmony, but rather limits what chords could be chosen?"

You’re there. A tune can be harmonised, but that doesn’t mean it was designed to be harmonised, and implication can only be present if there is a degree of deliberation (or it has been decided that there is automatic implication, as in contract law). You can harmonise tunes that are not based on equal temperament too, as many GHB players have demonstrated. I don’t see many cats around during the demonstrations, but it actually has an appeal for me.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

what tradition are we talking about? i have trouble believing that uilleann pipes were made for music without a sense of harmonic structure, or that harpers only used one hand to play melody and left their other hand limp at the side. no doubt these musicians of the past had a different sense of harmonic structure than beethoven or bach, but that doesn’t mean that pipe makers fashioned regulators expecting them not to be used to progress some sense of harmony or that harp makers fashioned bass to imply something besides harmonic movement. right now i’m looking at an excerpt from Mr Connor (no. 17) from O’Carolan’s music (1746) that has two lines: one of melody and one of harmonic accompaniment. part of me wonders, based on what people here say, if O’Carolan was indeed irish or at least if his music is part of the tradition.

i think it is a fair conjecture to say that irish music has implied harmonies that are (most) often ambiguous, rather than irish tunes have strict and definite chord progressions. this is especially true in older tunes. i tend to drop thirds (or only do an 8th) on the concertina in general, but especially on certain tunes that are modal in nature and therefore harmonically ambiguous. i do this for two reasons: so that i don’t impose my modern ideas of theory onto old tunes and to let the listener fill in whatever sort of third or chord their ear would like. personally, my ear usually hears the tension of both implicit.

i agree completely that most of our tunes were written without any explicit harmonic intentions, but that doesn’t mean that these people had no sense of progression in their music, it’s just that their sense of progression is different than in western classical theory. in college groves, for example, you could view the C majors harmonically several ways (none of which fall readily into chordal analysis in graduate level music theory). that tension and harmonic ambiguity (from a classical standpoint) is in itself a character of our music, rather than evidence that there is no implicit harmony. the fact that the implicit harmonies tend to be ambiguous in the middle of tune and that tunes may start or resolve unexpectedly (modally).

in short, progression in irish tunes is often not linear, which is to say that melodic progression can be without direct harmonic intent at every step along the way. so what? to me that is a type of intent, to suspend progression at all levels of the basic triad and instead focus on the relation to the root in a non-dogmatic way. if irish music has no sort of harmonic sense, then pipe makers put an awful lot of work into making regulators, which would amount to nothing more than a fancy decoration for the lap.

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

what tradition are we talking about? i have trouble believing that uilleann pipes were made for music without a sense of harmonic structure, or that harpers only used one hand to play melody and left their other hand limp at the side. no doubt these musicians of the past had a different sense of harmonic structure than beethoven or bach, but that doesn’t mean that pipe makers fashioned regulators expecting them not to be used to progress some sense of harmony or that harp makers fashioned bass to imply something besides harmonic movement. right now i’m looking at an excerpt from Mr Connor (no. 17) from O’Carolan’s music (1746) that has two lines: one of melody and one of harmonic accompaniment. part of me wonders, based on what people here say, if O’Carolan was indeed irish or at least if his music is part of the tradition.

i think it is a fair conjecture to say that irish music has implied harmonies that are (most) often ambiguous, rather than irish tunes have strict and definite chord progressions. this is especially true in older tunes. i tend to drop thirds (or only do an 8th) on the concertina in general, but especially on certain tunes that are modal in nature and therefore harmonically ambiguous. i do this for two reasons: so that i don’t impose my modern ideas of theory onto old tunes and to let the listener fill in whatever sort of third or chord their ear would like. personally, my ear usually hears the tension of both implicit.

i agree completely that most of our tunes were written without any explicit harmonic intentions, but that doesn’t mean that these people had no sense of progression in their music, it’s just that their sense of progression is different than in western classical theory. in college groves, for example, you could view the C majors harmonically several ways (none of which fall readily into chordal analysis in graduate level music theory). that tension and harmonic ambiguity (from a classical standpoint) is in itself a character of our music, rather than evidence that there is no implicit harmony. the fact that the implicit harmonies tend to be ambiguous in the middle of tune and that tunes may start or resolve unexpectedly (modally).

in short, progression in irish tunes is often not linear, which is to say that melodic progression can be without direct harmonic intent at every step along the way. so what? to me that is a type of intent, to suspend progression at all levels of the basic triad and instead focus on the relation to the root in a non-dogmatic way. if irish music has no sort of harmonic sense, then pipe makers put an awful lot of work into making regulators, which would amount to nothing more than a fancy decoration for the lap.

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"We’re back to that contention that something inanimate can ‘imply’"

Surely something inanimate can imply… for instance:

If A, then B.
If B, then C.
=> If A, then C.

A implies B and C here, without being animate. Only animate beings can intend things, yes, but implication also works as a mere conditional.

However, on the core of your reply… I acknowledged that the harmonic interpretation may vary. You acknowledged that certain attempts of harmonisation keep the cat in the room longer than others do. Then why do some harmonisations match the melody, while others don’t? Obviously, there must be a connection between the melody and possible harmonies. Without the melody there’s no harmonic interpretation. So the interpretation must have its basis in the melody itself. What would this be other than that the melody implies harmonies, and equally implies what doesn’t sound harmonic at all?

And I wouldn’t say that harmonies need to be part of the according "rule book" to be implied; that’s why they’re implicit and not explicit, or explicitly intended. These rule books are made intentionally, they are just cultural standards, but harmony itself is beyond this - as David suggested, it would have been there even if it had not been discovered, and certainly we haven’t discovered all aspects of it yet. There are endless possibilities to harmonise a melody, but all of them have to be somehow implied, I think.

Oh, and don’t worry, I wouldn’t imply you’re ignorant. I myself play monophonic instruments, too.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"but the simple fact remains that these tunes can be harmonized, and people actually do it every single day"
this is what happens when you don’t understand that the music is not harmonic. Dick Miles — instead of waiting for Scutcher, how about proving that Irish music does have a harmonic structure. Just because you can shoe-horn a tune into another system of music which evolved in another time and place does not mean it belongs there. Go and get your guitar and busk along with a few traditional Indian, or Chinese musicians. No doubt you would be able to do it, but would they be happy?

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

This is an answer to Weejies posting of an hour ago. Apologies if some of this is recovering old ground.

OED definitions.

http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/92512?redirectedFrom=imply#eid

Check definition 3.

Weejie, you appear to be creatively reinterpreting your definitions. This is a natural process which usually extends use. You appear to want to restrict it in order for it to make you right. Tut tut.

The reference to strummed chords is yours not mine.

As for Gregorian chants (a form of monophonic, unaccompanied sacred song) I just played this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlr90NLDp-0


There is so much reverberation that the melody harmonises with its own echo and and produces its own chords. I hope no one asks me to transcribe them.

Your invention that an ‘implication’ requires a deliberate cause is a confusion which we can all avoid if you can offer a word which suggests a meaning derived from observing and understanding. How about contains? A melody ‘contains’ notes which suggest a range of specific chords.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Jacko-aren’t you glad you asked? If you want I would be glad to send you a PDF of some chord diagrams in DADGAD. Use them at yur own risk

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"as David suggested, it would have been there even if it had not been discovered" (megapop). I didn’t suggest anything of the sort. I asked the question "Is harmony an invention or a discovery ?".

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"as David suggested, it would have been there even if it had not been discovered" (megapop). I didn’t suggest anything of the sort. I asked the question "Is harmony an invention or a discovery ?".

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Naa David, you didn’t suggest it, but you brought this harmony-to-be-discovered thing into the game, which I found very cool and apt.
(Maybe you did imply it? :-P )
Sorry for my unfortunate choice of words.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

You could always say that in music you like the harmony is discovered but in music you dislike the harmony is invented.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I could say it, but I wouldn’t understand it.

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

In mixed-age, mixed-sex community singing with an ad-hoc starting note some individuals have to switch octave to stay within their vocal range. In this situation accidentally getting the fifth rather than the octave is not uncommon (I do it myself). Somewhere I have read it suggested that this is a way in which harmony could have been ‘discovered’. How much the further development was an ‘invention’ is another matter.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I haven’t read all the above - my eyes tend to glaze over following these arguments. But it does strike me that you can’t possibly say that Irish traditional music is one homogeneous whole - as if it was perfectly formed by the almighty on the eighth day.

I’ve always understood it to contain many influences, as waves of musical fashion lapped up on the shores of Erin, so they were absorbed and refashioned through the sensibilities of the times. So perhaps some strands are best played and understood as essentially melodic whilst others always lent themselves to some harmonic accompanient. Maybe it’s a case of respecting these different styles and influences??? But then what do I know?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

… but by the time it got to parallel fifths being regarded as boring I think we were well into invention.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

How can you invent harmonics? You have to discover what sounds harmonious, and then you try to understand why this is so. But the physics behind it have always been there before.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

The physics and physiology relate to why an interval of a fifth is described as consonant and an interval of a second is described as dissonant. It does not explain why parallel fifths are now widely regarded as boring even though medieval monks though they were a cool thing to do or why parallel seconds are widely regarded as unpleasant even though Bulgarian village women like singing them. Or why people have different views about appropriate accompaniment.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

That’s a matter of taste and culture. Harmonics doesn’t explain this either.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Check definition 3"

"To express indirectly; to insinuate, hint at."

I see. So a piece of music can "express indirectly", or drop a hint? That’s interesting. I thought people were responsible for the music. I find it odd that they could drop a "hint" if they haven’t a clue about the rules of harmony. Or are all trad musicians clued up on such things - and don’t actually play those harmonies, but drop subtle hints of their existence in the tunes?

"Weejie, you appear to be creatively reinterpreting your definitions. This is a natural process which usually extends use. You appear to want to restrict it in order for it to make you right. Tut tut."

Nonsense. You seem to be the one using "creativity". Especially here:

"The reference to strummed chords is yours not mine."

It wasn’t mine, either. It was a response to someone saying they could strum chords to Gregorian chants.

"There is so much reverberation that the melody harmonises with its own echo and and produces its own chords. "

Right, so these chants were actually expressing harmony, even though it wasn’t invented?

"I hope no one asks me to transcribe them."

I certainly won’t. I dread to think of what you might come up with. Would those "harmonies" involve a tempered scale? How would ornamented Irish trad sound in that environment?
It seems to be the case that harmony "evolved" to a certain extent, from ecclesiastical chanting, but the suggestion that harmony was "implied" before then is without foundation.

"Your invention that an ‘implication’ requires a deliberate cause is a confusion which we can all avoid if you can offer a word which suggests a meaning derived from observing and understanding. "

It wasn’t an invention. It was a logical inference that if implication is defined as an insinuation, hint or to express indirectly, then there must be some deliberation involved. Otherwise it’s just chance. The word you are wanting is "infer" - but "understanding" would be an assumption. It’s also "definition 3" in the OED.

In fact, this has got me laughing so much that I nearly fell off my rocking chair. Well, I don’t actually have a rocking chair, but there is a sycamore tree in my back garden. The chair is there. It is implied by the tree.

There was a tune submitted here, I wish I could remember which one. There was a debate as to the "key" it was in. One faction suggested a major key, and another suggested a mixolydian mode. I pointed out that it could be neither, because it was hexatonic. There was no seventh degree. The response from someone was "it’s implied". This kind of summed up what I’m saying, because you could argue that either the sharpened seventh was implied or the natural. It couldn’t be grasped that the tune didn’t have a seventh. It ‘had to have’ a seventh, because the rule book said so.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"… but by the time it got to parallel fifths being regarded as boring I think we were well into invention."

Well said that man. An issue I would have raised if you didn’t. It wasn’t that they were boring, it’s just that it made things too easy.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"It couldn’t be grasped that the tune didn’t have a seventh. It ‘had to have’ a seventh, because the rule book said so."

Rules are there to be broken :-)

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"That’s a matter of taste and culture. Harmonics doesn’t explain this either." Of course not, but it could explain why singers of parallel seconds may also put a hard edge tone on their voice, and why individual voices barber-shop quartets tend to adopt a ‘smooth’ tone.

And why trad fiddlers may play some notes"out of tune".

Re: implications, implications…

"I see. So a piece of music can ‘express indirectly’, or drop a hint? That’s interesting. I thought people were responsible for the music. I find it odd that they could drop a ‘hint’ if they haven’t a clue about the rules of harmony. Or are all trad musicians clued up on such things - and don’t actually play those harmonies, but drop subtle hints of their existence in the tunes?"

As you say. People are responsible for the music. With all its harmonic implications, intended or not.

(Of course, these implications are limited by the scale. Some melodies leave more room for interpretations than others.)

When someone writes a tune without the slightest understanding of harmonics, like the Gregs if you like, and you "posthumously" (successfully) apply harmonies to it (or infer harmonies from it, if you like), this can only be possible because certain harmonies are already implied by the melody. Not by the Gregs, by the melody. At the latest when it is being heard (becoming physical sound waves), music creates a momentum of its own.

The other way round: if certain harmonies were not implied by the melody, you could infer anything from the melody. Like a D# drone on a tune in D. And no one could say that there’s something wrong with it, because hey, the one who wrote it had no clue of harmonics, so anything goes.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"The other way round: if certain harmonies were not implied by the melody, you could infer anything from the melody. "

You still don’t seem to understand. You can infer anything from the melody. There is no "implication". What you are doing is applying your own rules. You could indeed introduce a D# drone, though the animal cruelty man would probably come for you. How about a bagpipe tune in (nominal) B minor - with a constant A drone on top of it. Not quite as "uncomfortable" as your D# drone example, but not something you might envisage from your rule book. But, hey, those tunes exist. Lots of them.

Where you say:

"and you "posthumously" (successfully) apply harmonies to it (or infer harmonies from it, if you like), this can only be possible because certain harmonies are already implied by the melody. "

You clearly don’t understand what I’m saying. You are "applying" harmonies. It’s something you have undertaken yourself. This can be done, to an extent, with Indian music (where a tanpura is actually providing a drone - or drones, there are often fifths or fourths played) but you would be on a hiding to nothing suggesting that harmony is implied in Indian classical music. "Apply" and "infer" are not synonymous here. You are inferring your harmonies from what you hear, in order to apply them to something that wasn’t and that might be straightforward if you hear, say, a root third fifth arpeggio. It complies with the rule book. However, what do you do if you come across a hexatonic, or pentatonic tune? Even more of a problem, what happens if you come across the "out of tune" notes that Dave is alluding to?
Harmony has no doubt affected players of all forms of Western music. You can’t easily remove yourself from it. But where music was intended to be played without harmonic accompaniment, it is just that. Whether you choose to apply harmony or not doesn’t affect the original intention of that music. The only reason you suppose there are "implied" harmonies, is because you are hearing what you are versed in. You infer them from what you hear.
That example of the Gregorian chanting producing perceived harmonies, because of the slow decay in the hall does not mean that harmony is implied - or was Willi Apel wrong when he stated that a common trait in ecclesiastical chanting was an absence of harmony - a purely melodic character? You could say that harmony is implied in a single note played on, say, a cello, because of the harmonic series that is actually audible.

" And no one could say that there’s something wrong with it, "
Yes you could, because it sounds shoite to an unaccustomed ear. However, it doesn’t necessarily need a drone at all. Or any harmony.
If you could accept that you are the one putting the harmony there, and you are applying your own rules from what you hear - however much or little the tune conforms to those rules, you could accept that this is inference, not implication.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"You are inferring your harmonies from what you hear, in order to apply them to something that wasn’t " should have "intended to have them" at the end.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Have you read daiv’s comment by the way? One of the best ones in this discussion, in my opinion.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I have many thoughts at this point:
1. Megapop, if you get much more philosophical, you will have to change your name to meta-pop! ;-)
2. I think Nate has made some very sensible comments.
3. And I utterly agree with the wounded hussar that Irish music is made up of many influences. And while it is less focused on harmonies than other musics, to say it is free of even the implication or inference of harmonies is absurd.
4. I also found this statement from Weejie amusing, "It would be a bold statement to say that any harmony was implied, when there was no concept of harmony." No concept of harmony? Man has been playing music for many millenia, and I find it difficult to buy the premise that primitive man never noticed that when you play certain notes simultaneously, that you get an interesting sound. I seriously doubt that harmony remained undiscovered until very recent history. Although, I can imagine a piper saying to his friend,"Oh, those things attached to my pipes are drones, but I can’t use them until the 20th century, because that is when people started to add harmonies to Irish music." Or O’Carolan smacking a student on the knuckles, saying, "One note at a time, damn you, one note at a time."
5. The talk of cats above put me in the mind of Schrödinger’s cat, and I began to imagine a Schrödinger’s chord, placed in a box next to the melody, it’s delightful ambiguity only being spoiled when pesky accompanists opened the box, and eliminated the uncertainty.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I hadn’t until now. I’m of no doubt that it meets your approval, but it contains some obvious flaws.

"i have trouble believing that uilleann pipes were made for music without a sense of harmonic structure, "

Well, if you look at the development of regulators, and why and when they were introduced, and the actual notes played, you might conclude that "it’s harmony Jim, but not as we know it".

"Right now i’m looking at an excerpt from Mr Connor (no. 17) from O’Carolan’s music (1746) that has two lines: one of melody and one of harmonic accompaniment. part of me wonders, based on what people here say, if O’Carolan was indeed irish or at least if his music is part of the tradition."

That is not necessarily "Carolan’s music"as Carolan played it, going by the date. (he was dead by then) It’s an arrangement (and I’m not sure whose). The only published tunes during his lifetime that I recall were by John & William Neal, and they comprised a single melody line. Carolan’s music is not usually considered "part of the tradition", but part of the "harping tradition", and there is little to tell us exactly how the music was played, except from the likes of Bunting, and if you’ve read his account of how the old harpers played and accompanied the tunes, you’d see that it definitely isn’t "harmony as we know it".
If you can’t believe that Irish traditional music (apart from the harping tradition - and notwithstanding the use of regulators in piping) is structured melodically, and is based on "ornamentation" and variation in the melody, then there is little point in continuing this "discussion".

The Droning Thread…

AlBrown, I don’t know if Weejie was implying the concept of harmony did not exist in any form or that within certain styles of playing (chanting) harmony is not an applied concept. Obviously there has always been music which can be described as single line melody, i.e. ~ something which is purely melodic.
Amongst his usual, tireless ramblings he managed to parlay this bit of insight,
"As Vaughan Williams suggested, "with the birth of harmony, composers found the modal system unsuitable to their scheme, and the modal melodies began to be altered to fit harmonic considerations, according to the rules known as Cantus Fictus".

As I said earlier, there is a difference between implication and inference. Don’t confuse your own ‘conditioning’ with any underlying ‘harmony’ within something that is purely melodic."
Posted by Weejie February 19th, 2013

…also from Vaughan Williams, "Modern music has so steeped us in harmony that we find it difficult to realise what pure melody means.
… Harmony has given a much(?) wider scope to music than pure melody could make possible. But harmony at the same time confines the composer within bounds. He finds it difficult to get away from the major and minor modes, with their corresponding perfect cadences, half-closes, sharpened leading notes, …"

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"There is no ‘implication’. What you are doing is applying your own rules."

I am not applying my own rules at this point.

1. Physics explain, why certain sound waves blended with others sound pleasant, while others create tension.
2. A melody, plain and without any harmonies, creates arcs of suspension, an interplay of tension and relief (as long as there is a home note, at least, but regardless of the scale).
3. A melody which is being heard is physical itself, it is sound waves.

Therefore a melody implies harmonies.
Try to crack this one! :-)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I’m a melodic sort of thinker/musician, much happier with creating tunes rather than harmonising. When I have created a tune with which I’m happy and I hear someone harmonising it well, there is often a realisation that what I had written/created was the result of having those (or similar chordal structures) bouncing around in my head. They are not always three chord trick either (often more complex), but when I was creating the tune away from an instrument i.e. vocally I was following a structure unintentionally but possibly as has been expressed, not the one necessarily that an accompanist would choose. I have sometimes been wrong and what I hear improves on my original.

Before I became a bass player or used an instrument which had ‘built in’ chords the melodies I thought up were actually more trite and stuck to three chord trick, or worse they followed other tunes or songs unintentionally, or even worse were completely off the wall melodically or harmonically and often rhythmically. Looking back the last of these were not interesting or pleasing (at the time I thought they were wonderful).

It’s worth a look at the theories of Bob Evans (Bragod) about how people heard music before we were so heavily influenced by Western Classical harmony. It’s a very interesting discussion, because we are so tied up with Western harmony, we have no idea how conditioned we actually are. However, I do think we write tunes because of this conditioning. I also agree that much Irish session music is of the woodland path variety, but a skilled accompanist who is sensitive does not knock anyone off the path.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"4. I also found this statement from Weejie amusing, "It would be a bold statement to say that any harmony was implied, when there was no concept of harmony." No concept of harmony? Man has been playing music for many millenia, and I find it difficult to buy the premise that primitive man never noticed that when you play certain notes simultaneously, that you get an interesting sound. I seriously doubt that harmony remained undiscovered until very recent history. Although, I can imagine a piper saying to his friend,"Oh, those things attached to my pipes are drones, but I can’t use them until the 20th century, because that is when people started to add harmonies to Irish music." Or O’Carolan smacking a student on the knuckles, saying, "One note at a time, damn you, one note at a time."

That quote about a concept of harmony was relating to Gregorian chants. Let me quote an authority on the subject:

[Different though these various repertories are, they have one trait in common, that is, the purely melodic character of the music or, in other words, the absence of harmony, counter- point or any other kind of accompaniment, especially instrumental.]
Willi Apel, Gregorian Chant, Indiana University Press, 1990, p. 4.

So, are you saying there was a concept of harmony?

"Man has been playing music for many millenia, and I find it difficult to buy the premise that primitive man never noticed that when you play certain notes simultaneously, that you get an interesting sound."

That was not the premise. There is a difference between "an interesting sound" and basing a musical tradition on harmonic progression.

" I seriously doubt that harmony remained undiscovered until very recent history."

So you think it was merely "discovered" and not bound by (on the whole invented) rules?

""Oh, those things attached to my pipes are drones, but I can’t use them until the 20th century,"

Oh, so "harmony" means "drones"? Harmony is not dependent on the actual series of notes, but it is a single (or three notes an octave apart) note played constantly on top of a melody line? How about Indian music, that predates Irish traditional music by some years - that involves drones. Are you saying Shankar was wrong when he explained that his music was not based on harmony? Who has mentioned the 20th century as being the time that harmony found its way into homes in Ireland?

Really, Al. I would have thought you were more capable than that.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"1. Physics explain, why certain sound waves blended with others sound pleasant, while others create tension.
2. A melody, plain and without any harmonies, creates arcs of suspension, an interplay of tension and relief (as long as there is a home note, at least, but regardless of the scale).
3. A melody which is being heard is physical itself, it is sound waves.

Therefore a melody implies harmonies.
Try to crack this one! :-)"

It’s not "one", it’s a set of assertions without support.

1. While there are certain physical characteristics in musical sounds, can you show that the "pleasant" and "tensive" sounds are common to all cultures? In other words, do all cultures follow the same (perceived) "inherent" rules of harmony?

2. Does a melody need a tonal centre to create "suspension" "tension" or "relief"?

3. How is this relevant to anything? I’ve said quite early on that harmonic series should be put aside ( equal temperament puts it aside to an extent).

There’s nothing to crack.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"I am not applying my own rules at this point."

They are not your rules - I didn’t put that clearly. You are applying the rules from the rule book you were "given". You now seem to be trying to say that these rules of Western classical harmony are purely the result of the laws of physics. As Western classical harmony deviates from other cultural norms, would you say that those other norms are inconsistent with the laws of physics?

Bang goes my plans of introducing Tuvan throat singing to the local session.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"It’s worth a look at the theories of Bob Evans (Bragod) about how people heard music before we were so heavily influenced by Western Classical harmony. It’s a very interesting discussion, because we are so tied up with Western harmony, we have no idea how conditioned we actually are. However, I do think we write tunes because of this conditioning. I also agree that much Irish session music is of the woodland path variety, but a skilled accompanist who is sensitive does not knock anyone off the path."

I would agree with that wholeheartedly - it’s also consistent with the thoughts of Vaughan Williams on the subject. Conditioning has undoubtedly had an effect on Irish music. But does this mean that a tune implies a particular harmonic structure, or is the melodic structure affected by an environmental harmonic influence, and therefore harmonies can be readily inferred from the melody?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

it’s not one, but a buncha unsupported assertions..I like that one, Weejie. You know, what you said made me think of a lecture I heard back in college from Witold Lutoslowski. He was talking about how you go about deriving meaning from music when you are no longer using the convention of harmony to help you organize the sound. How do you keep it from being just noise.

He talked about how some sounds, like the sound of breaking glass or a police siren, have immediate meaning associated with them, but other sorts of sounds (like our instruments) have to rely on their context. His idea was that his works created what he called "one time only" conventions.

music, if you have sufficiently long hair and are into this sort of thing, is really just sounds that allow for an association of meaning and using a known musical system is like using a particular spoken language. We have the "convention" of the English language to help us understand one another here, and we have the convention of this music to help us share ideas with our instruments

Re: to infer from implications…

Ha! Cheers Al, done! :-D

Weejie, first, yes, physical laws determine what sounds pleasant and what not, due to the beat (interference). Some harmonies are purposely dissonant to create tension, others resolve. I assume that this is true of every musical system - I don’t have an evidence at hand. Feel free to prove me wrong.

Second, okay, suppose an entirely different musical culture with entirely different scales and all. Play an western European tune to them. It would of course not be heard the same way as we hear it, as the notes used were not even part of their musical system. Then tell them to try to just somehow harmonise it, with their scales, according to their "book of rules". All they can do then is to infer from the melody’s implications, how they can try to apply their musical system to it.

Earlier you said "If you could accept that you are the one putting the harmony there, and you are applying your own rules from what you hear - however much or little the tune conforms to those rules, you could accept that this is inference, not implication."

But of course you do infer. You infer from the implications of the melody how to apply your rules. But the implications are there regardless of the musical system, whereas you can always only infer from them in respect of a particular system. That’s the difference.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I have every confidence that the folks who composed Gregorian chants knew what the concept of harmonization and accompaniment was. Just as the early Shakers of America knew what it was. But like the early Shakers, they chose not to use it, feeling that the purity of the unadorned and unaccompanied melody was the best way to pay homage to the Lord.

Melody

AlBrown, I don’t get your point. Is unaccompanied melody distinct from melody?

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I once lived for a year or so with a family of tribal people in a remote part of Arnhem land (Australia). Many a night I fell asleep listening to the sound of a dijeridoo, chanting, and clapstics. I swear that despite the drones there was absolutely no implication of harmony in their music.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

My point is that just because you do not use accompaniment or harmonies, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a concept of them. Perhaps I am misunderstanding what Weejie meant by his ‘no concept of harmony’ comment. Did he mean that, within the form of Gregorian Chants, there is no concept of harmony, because it consists of only melody? Or did he mean that the folks who wrote Gregorian Chants had no concept of harmony? If it was the second, I have severe doubts about the statement. I would expect that, even back in the 9th or 10th century or whenever they wrote their tunes, that singers and musicians knew what harmonies were.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees in these discussions. Melody, (particularly folk music), is usually based on some sort of harmonic sequence. Understanding the structure isn’t necessary to compose a tune since the composer is instinctively tuning into some sort of harmonic sequence to find the notes they like. Being able to unlock the harmonic sequence and provide a supportive and interesting background or tonal landscape as backup for the melody is a high art. Players of tunes are very good at this, but it still requires an understanding beyond just knowing the melody. People that aren’t tune players can also be extraordinarily adept and they might also be doing it instinctively and unable to explain what they’re doing in theoretical terms. My point is that the melody usually has an implied harmonic landscape even though it was likely never intended directly… it’s the nature of the music and melody, especially in diatonic music, as Irish trad is. The secret is finding a supportive harmonic context to work in… there’s clearly a wrong context, and everyone can usually hear it when it happens. I know from my own experience that when the context is missed by the backer the bottom seems to fall out of the music. Backers who understand what’s happening harmonically in the melody are able to fill the sails… so to speak.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I believe he means the former.

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several posts later ~

Jack, I’m assuming you’re saying harmony can be implied in almost any melody. But that isn’t the same as saying a melody is based on a particular harmonic sequence.
So long as harmony is only implied there are potentially a number of harmonic possibilities. But once a given harmony is played, in a structured way, the melody itself becomes less ambiguous (more structured).

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

weejie: first i will address your supposition that i don’t believe irish music is focused on melody and ornamentation. i am reminded of this brilliant line i found a music theory textbook that perfectly describes irish music:

"in general, the music from cultures other than our own european-american one is concerned less with harmony than with other aspects of music. complexities of rhythm or subtleties of melodic variation, for example, might serve as the focal point in a particular musical culture." ("tonal harmony" by kostka and payne, p. ix)

i have spent my whole life exploring the subtleties of rhythm and melody in irish music, and i feel that i have only just begun. i agree that irish music’s main tapestry is woven on the backbone of rhythm and melody. where a classical pianist must weave a story of tension and resolution in harmony, a fiddler tells their story through the tension and resolution of rhythmic and melodic variation. harmony, implied (modal or not) is secondary. harmony can definitely accentuate this rhythmic and melodic drama. i provide an example of my old playing to show how sparse use of chords can really help the audience connect to melody and rhythm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_NXCYUtpQ8


so, that aside, i’m going to go back to supporting my argument and addressing the rest of your concerns.

i never said that o’carolan wrote down the accompaniment that i was looking at, but i want to point out that you have a narrow view of the tradition. is the harp tradition really so separate? i think it is unlikely that as the harping tradition was waning all the up and coming musicians held a blind ear to the harper up the road lest their music be accosted with a sense of harmony. if harpers were playing accompanied music in 1746, then isn’t it likely that pipers and fiddlers in the next century had a sense of harmony, as well? i think it is also reasonable to surmise that harpists probably did not write out accompaniment, just as baroque composers thought that any skilled pianist or bassist could accompany an orchestra with only minimum instructions.

i believe that in general, the musicians who created our music had a sense of harmony, but that it was different than ours today. i also believe that they were not very concerned with consistently applying it, and definitely not concerned with strict progression of stacked notes (i.e. chords; 2 notes is technically not a chord), but rather tension and resolution.

again, i think that the regulators are a strong source of evidence that irish musicians had a sense of harmonic progression. i think that your comment here unintentionally summarizes my point perfectly:

"Well, if you look at the development of regulators, and why and when they were introduced, and the actual notes played, you might conclude that ‘it’s harmony Jim, but not as we know it’. "

that is exactly what i meant. i believe pipemakers crafted their instruments very deliberately to accompany the music in exactly the way they believed it should be. the fact that the "chords" (no full triads) most readily available on the regulators are A minor, G, and D is indeed telling, as you say. what i think is more telling is that there are two G chords available on the regulators ( http://uilleannobsession.com/photos/reg_diagram.jpg ): one with a D (GDG), and one without (BGB). right there, we can see that a playing B and G could be put into a G chord or an Emin chord. i think that this reflects my point about purposely ambiguous chords. for space reasons, i will not speculate on the various ways that they could have arranged the regulators if they had a more "modern sense" of harmony. also, please note that i am taking a simplistic view of regulator playing. geoff woof’s exposition on the basics of less immediately apparent chords and how to use them can be found here: http://uilleannobsession.com/extras_geoffwooff.html

now, i’m not going to say that every irish musician of the past had a sense of harmony, but i’m talking about an emergent process here, rather than a direct one. emergent processes are notoriously difficult to study, conceptualize, learn and teach. direct processes, in comparison, are very intuitive. compare the dispersion of ink through water (divergent) and the flow of blood through the veins (direct). it is a subtle difference, but i think it is important: random, simple processes when combined can have unintended or unexpected effects. the giant’s causeway is a good example of an emergent phenomenon ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Causeway-code_poet-4.jpg ; thanks to wikipedia for helping me find an ireland-related emergent process!).

the modal nature of irish music is very well explained as an emergent phenomenon. a sense in the ear that putting an E on the penultimate beat next to a D on the ultimate beat over time builds a theory of melody that anticipates tension and resolution. consider a tune that starts and ends on the note D. modern musicians sit around and decide whether the E is part of a V chord (in Dmaj) or a IV chord (in Gmaj), or even a I chord (in Gmaj), but i believe the originators of this music were content with knowing that E into D can resolve tension.

i tend to hear things pretty modally; when i play in the key of G i actually have trouble hearing an E in the melody as a IV chord in irish music. i actually tend to hear E’s as belonging to a G chord, which does make sense (at least to me) if we think modally. this probably comes from learning from noel hill, who’s sense of music theory (at least in teaching me) comes from the sort of chord progressions willie clancy played in the sitting room while he fell asleep as a child. i would sooner play a D against a C in Dmix, rather than force it to be a II chord (Cmaj triad) or a v chord (Amin triad), but i often take the easy way out and just honk a double stop so i don’t offend anyone.

modern musicians attempt to harmonize irish music is an example of a direct process. rather than composing melodic structures that loosely figure into an "irish sense" of harmony, modern irish musicians impose a sense of harmonic structure that was probably never intended implicitly or explicitly by the original composers of the oldest tunes. this is a direct process because it is in response to a need: audiences like accompanied music, so we try to impose established harmonic theory from western art (classical) music onto irish folk music.

consider a Dmix tune like college groves: good luck analyzing that harmonically! i showed that tune to a professor of music once (PhD. in music analysis) and he gave it half a second look and said that he would have no idea of a systematic way to diagram harmonizing a D mixolydian scale, never mind melodies in Dmix. however, if we spend some time with our thinking caps on, we can find different ways to impose a harmonic structure on the tune. as i stated previously, playing a D against the C naturals of that tune is most likely the originally intended harmony if the composer was a piper, as played as a drone on the pipes. playing a C and and E harmonically is a good compromise, allowing the ear to stand forever in anticipation between a Cmaj and an Amin chord.

this is the sort of ambiguity that i think was intentional, at least in an emergent rather than direct way. i think that we can say that in any form harmony is a secondary component in irish music. however, given both the piping and harping traditions it is hard to for me to believe that irish musicians of the past had no sense of some sort of ambiguous and modal harmony when creating both irish dance music and the gaelic song tradition.

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Ben… a melody, like what you find in Irish trad, has an implied tonal structure based on the harmonic sequence the tune is built on. This doesn’t change… what DOES change is the way a backer uses it to create a tonal landscape to support the tune. That change might be called, interpretation, but the basis still remains unchanged. Sometimes player will change the melody as a variation enough to effect the implied tonal character, and it’s up to the backer, if there is one, to sense it and respond in context. There are different approaches one can take as a backer, but it still has the same core. There are some tunes that, by there structure, have a more ambiguous implied tonal landscape, but it’s still there.

I’ve never personally sailed a boat, but an analogy might be that backing tunes is similar to knowing how to pitch the sails to catch the wind. The same wind is carrying all the boats, but if you pitch your sails wrong you won’t go anywhere and you might even capsize.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"I am not applying my own rules at this point.
1. Physics explain, why certain sound waves blended with others sound pleasant, while others create tension." (metapop)"

No. You are repeatedly and wrongly mixing members of pairs such as harmony/dis-harmony, consonant/dissonant, resolution/tension, pleasant/unpleasant. They are not equivalent.

Physics explains why certain sound waves blended together have characteristics that we hear as consonant or dissonant, with the usage of "consonant" and "dissonant" being better defined than in some other usages (or miss-usages). Seconds are near the dissonant end of the scale, but it does not necessarily mean that they are unpleasant (some people who sing parallel seconds may do it with the same relish as others eat raw hot chillis, I don’t know, but neither do I know if either group find it "pleasant"). Some people find unrelieved consonance tedious and so unpleasant (or maybe the unrelieved pleasure is more than they can cope with).

Tension is related to what has gone before and culturally conditioned expectancy of what might come next. I would be keen to hear a description of that in terms of physics (and psycho-acoustics) - most writers resort to the terminology of western music "theory" (so I get lost…)

Interesting post daiv, informative, with well-stated views.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"But of course you do infer. You infer from the implications of the melody how to apply your rules. But the implications are there regardless of the musical system, whereas you can always only infer from them in respect of a particular system. That’s the difference."

There’s gobbledygook for you. This "implication of the melody", the melody put it there, right?

Let’s use the common method of differentiating between inference and implication.

"Communication consists of a message, a sender, and a receiver. The sender can imply, but the receiver can only infer."

Now you are saying that even though the sender didn’t imply, the implication was there, because the message implied it?

Nice one. You also say it here:

"Second, okay, suppose an entirely different musical culture with entirely different scales and all. Play an western European tune to them. It would of course not be heard the same way as we hear it, as the notes used were not even part of their musical system. Then tell them to try to just somehow harmonise it, with their scales, according to their "book of rules". All they can do then is to infer from the melody’s implications, how they can try to apply their musical system to it."

"The melody’s implications". They are not "implications" They can infer from the structure of the melody. It doesn’t imply anything. There could be a belief that whoever created that melody was implying, or trying to imply something. What’s this "notes used were not even part of their musical system"? Do "cultures have the monopoly on notes now? Is it not a bit presumptuous to expect another culture to harmonise anything? What if harmony isn’t part of that culture?

All I’m trying to say here is that there can’t be implication unless the "sender" implies something. You can theorise that there is an underlying harmonic structure to any piece of music, but unless the creator of that piece of music actually implied something, then any harmony you apply to that music would be from inference - to turn your gobbledygook on its head, you are inferring that there is an implication.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"weejie: first i will address your supposition that i don’t believe irish music is focused on melody and ornamentation. "

I didn’t imply that at all! I pointed out that the samples you gave to assert there was some level of harmony were skewed.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Melody, (particularly folk music), is usually based on some sort of harmonic sequence. "

It’s based on a melodic sequence - and there’s a relationship between each note - interval etc.
This was the basis of the development of modern harmony. As some people believe that ecclesiastical chanting is "purely melodic", and it is commonly accepted that although ecclesiastical chanting and Irish traditional music don’t share the same roots, they share the use of the modes, it could also be inferred that Irish traditional music is also "purely melodic" in its structure. It is also put forward that modern harmony had to adapt the modal system to "function", and this was instrumental in the decline of the modal system. Those "harmonies" were not inherent within the system. They didn’t equate without some adjustment.
I’m implying something here.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Perhaps I am misunderstanding what Weejie meant by his ‘no concept of harmony’ comment. Did he mean that, within the form of Gregorian Chants, there is no concept of harmony, because it consists of only melody? Or did he mean that the folks who wrote Gregorian Chants had no concept of harmony? "

The former, of course. Any one of those "folks" might have been a potential Elton John.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Weejie - "Now you are saying that even though the sender didn’t imply, the implication was there, because the message implied it?"

Exactly.
Would you feel more comfortable with the formulation "the implication was there, because the sender implied it unconsciously"?

"Let’s use the common method of differentiating between inference and implication."

Common, because you found it somewhere in the internet? :-/

"Is it not a bit presumptuous to expect another culture to harmonise anything? What if harmony isn’t part of that culture?"

This was just a somewhat provocative thought experiment, because you use to insist on your "rule books", and I tried to take this into account.
You suggested that different musical cultures may have no harmonics, or that they don’t necessarily "follow the same (perceived) ‘inherent’ rules of harmony". Why would those want to harmonise a Western melody then? Why would one want to apply an entirely different musical system ("rule book") to it (even if it is possible due to a certain compatibility)? You got that point.

Nonetheless, the harmonic implications are still there, whether or not you are able or willing to harmonise the stuff. When you got the appropriate tools, so to say, you should be able to infer from these implications reasonably.

David - "Tension is related to what has gone before and culturally conditioned expectancy of what might come next."

Yes, that’s nicely to the point! Regarding the cultural context, I admitted that it was a mere assumption of mine that the same interferences cause the same effects for everyone. You’re right, that’s thin ice. At least, while physics may not be able to predict these effects, they should be able to explain them.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

metapop - You need to read Helmholtz "On the sensations of tone as a physiological basis for the theory of music" (1895). Nineteenth century science writing at its best and an excellent example of how to separate the physics and the culture.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Anyhow, why do people finish "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" on an A ?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Thanks David! … Helmholtz rings a bell! Once I attended a semester of music informatics at university. Somehow I dropped it then anyway… so there’s not too much left from it.

"Anyhow, why do people finish "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" on an A ?"

Because it is not meant to be finished at all, but always leads back to the A part at the end… a vicious circle!
But when you finish on an A, then it clearly leaves some unresolved tension. Like Connaughtman’s Rambles, which even purposely ends on a suspense note. It wants to go somewhere, but it doesn’t (if you really finish the set on it). That’s so mean.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

when I was a long hair in music school, I used to look at modern music theory in terms of accoustics as a physical science and human perception in terms of psychology. Musical tension and release all have to do with our expectations, and that is psychology. The elements at our disposal to create those expectations are the vibrating systems that create sound waves and that is physics. I was into alot of micro tonal tuning systems back then, but I got help and am living very happily these days.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

:-D I’m glad you rode it out!

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Some tunes are played in a way which does not satisfy my learned desire to think a chord against a note. The Scholar is one of those tunes. In the b music there is a figure which most sessions seem to play as a pure repeat whereas I’ve also heard it where the last note of the figure descends by a semi tone on the repeat. The latter to me (taking once again a topographical analogy) is interesting country; the former is like being in a car park on grey tarmac. Where my feelings come from when I play and hear this tune, I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s from something in my environment - my head - yes. I’ll have to dig out an example of both to illustrate what I mean.

Diatonic Sequences

Music Theory II
Prof. Nancy Rogers

"When the word *sequence* is used without further description, it is normally assumed that the music contains both a melodic pattern and a harmonic pattern. If, however, this is not the case, then it is advisable to use the expressions ‘melodic sequence’ and ‘harmonic sequence’ for greater clarity."

http://mailer.fsu.edu/~nrogers/Handouts/Diatonic_Sequence_Handout.pdf

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

eiluned, I’ll put to you a question that an old friend once put to me…Steve was teaching me how to develop perfect pitch. He had it, we were living together, and he was certain that anyone could aquire perfect pitch if they worked at it.

Here’s the point….if you ever wonder if music is absolute or if our perception is a product of our environment (that would make it a learned process) as yourself this: Are people born knowing that A=440 cycles per second?

Of course not. How could they be?

you would be surprised how that little test can upset alot of deeply held beliefs

so are people born knowing major from minor? Born expecting the tonic chord to follow the dominant? Born to have an inherent aversion to parallel fifths???

our music like our language is learned from those around us

we are born, however, to recognize a crying baby

so the mystery deepens once again

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Interesting contribution from Daiv, but why "…we can find different ways to impose a harmonic structure on the tune…"? If the tune has no harmonic structure, why try to impose one?
The assumption generally in this thread seems to be that either the traditional composers/players of Irish music didn’t know what harmony was, or they did know therefore the music they played must have included it. It is, however, perfectly possible that they knew exactly what harmony was, and made every effort to keep it out of their playing.
As has been mentioned already, Carolan was not a traditional musician, so it is not reasonable to use his works to point up a theory. And anyway, to say that the old harpers played harmony is a leap of logic that I can not follow. Is there any evidence that they did?
It is true that chords can be played on uilleann pipes if you work at it — or read someone else’s ideas on how to do it — but the keys are hardly laid out to facilitate chord playing, and the traditional way of playing is more rhythmical than harmonic.
I suppose some people can just not get their heads round the notion that melodic music can exist.

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

The reason that we do music at all is to do with communication or the memory of communication (please have a look at the work of Katie Overy on the Mirror Neurone system) we have to have some common language. Maybe that language is purely melodic sometimes or in other circumstances full harmonies are required. I can remember playing in O’Connors pub in Doolin 20 years ago when I had no melody instrument and very little knowledge of Irish music. I was just playing chords to the melodies and an elderly guy who was playing a battered old melodeon in C (Matty was his name) kept stopping me and eventually got a sentence out to the effect that I was hardly even playing half the notes. Light dawned at that point that the melody was indeed king in this music.

However, that is not the whole point. Whenever we hear or play music or even remember it when nobody is playing, we conjure up the situation in our heads which makes us feel less alone. We are social animals, so whatever our usual common ground for playing music and communicating in this way with our fellows has been, that is what we apply to what musically we hear or play or create from nothing. This will include harmonies for me always - I won’t be able to help it. It brings up the big big question ‘why do we play music at all’. The nearest thing I’ve seen to an answer to this is in the Mirror Neurone System and also the Shared Affective Motion Effect (pity about the acronym and I may have it wrong). brilliant discussion though - really enjoying it.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

If there was no harmonic structure, then why would some chords sound good and others sound bad? The physics of sound seems to be present regardless of a tune composer’s intentions.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Exactly.
Would you feel more comfortable with the formulation "the implication was there, because the sender implied it unconsciously"?"

No. The implication isn’t there, because the sender didn’t imply it, "unconsciously" or consciously.

"Common, because you found it somewhere in the internet? :-/"

No, common because it is commonly used per se - you’ll find multiple versions of it on the internet.

"Why would those want to harmonise a Western melody then? "

You’ve missed the point entirely. I asked you "do all cultures follow the same (perceived) "inherent" rules of harmony". That wasn’t suggesting one should give a piece of music and see whether it would be harmonised the same way. It was questioning whether other cultures see an inherent harmony in a melody - this "implied harmony" that you seem to think exists in all melody. I’ll quote the Ralph Vaughan Williams line again (Na Eisc did earlier) :

"Modern music has so steeped us in harmony that we find it difficult to realise what pure melody means"

You are obviously struggling. There is no implication, because the tune was not necessarily intended to be harmonised. Harmony isn’t implied, because implication comes from the creator(s) of the music. Any harmonisation would come from the listener. It is inferred. It lends itself to harmonisation, because it follows the format of much Western music, though it is essentially modal in nature. It shares this with the "church modes" where much harmonic thinking developed. You can apply your rule book to it, but, like the "church modal" music, it wasn’t conceived with harmony in mind. It is purely melodic. The concept of implied harmony is that harmony need not be explicit, it can be implied. This means that a composer can imply a harmony in a melodic line, rather than express it. Students are trained to hear "implied" harmonies in single line melodies. The formula works on just about any piece of western music. This doesn’t mean that there is an implied harmony in every piece of western music. This is where you have erred. There is no implication in a purely melodic piece, if the composer didn’t imply it. You can infer it, however. You are so steeped in harmony that you are under the illusion that harmony is implied in any melodic line. To think that it can be implied without the composer implying it - that it is inherent in the music is no better than thinking the music is a message from God.
The end result is the same, should you apply harmony to it. You just need to realise when you are actually "reading the harmony into the piece" rather than realising where the composer implied it.

Back to Vaughan Williams (part of this has already been quoted by Na Eisc):

"Harmony has given a much wider scope to music than pure melody could make possible. But harmony at the same time confines the composer within bounds. He finds it difficult to get away from the major and minor modes, with their corresponding perfect cadences, half-closes, sharpened leading notes, and the rest.
We saw how, in the case of "The Miller of the Dee", the presence or absence of harmonic considerations affected the whole nature of the tune. When harmony is absent the necessity for the sharp leading note disappears. The possible positions for the intermediate cadences are increased, and the whole modal system on which melodies may be built up is enlarged."

Vaughan Williams on Music, David Manning, OUP, 2007 p.193.

You might be dragging yourself down!

Another relevant snippet:

"The musician taking the solo part at any time must feel free to ornament and vary as he pleases, without any restriction placed on him by the accompaniment. He must lead and they must follow. Keyboard instruments, for example. and strummed guitars, with their attendant harmonic implications. will impede the free melodic line and have no place in a group which is reaching out towards a traditional goal, It seems that this goal may only be attained by traditional means, implying that the group use traditional instruments exclusively."

Traditional Music in Ireland, Tomás Ó Canainn, Routledge & Keegan Paul 1978, p.46.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"If there was no harmonic structure, then why would some chords sound good and others sound bad? The physics of sound seems to be present regardless of a tune composer’s intentions."

Non sequitur. Like harmonic structure, melodic structure contains intervals, just that they are spread in a "linear" fashion. Consonance and dissonance can be found in those intervals. Harmonic structure developed from melodic structure (involving a "vertical" fashion, along with the "linear") and the same consonances and dissonances apply. A piece could be purely melodic (as it was before harmony - modern harmonic structure - came into the arena) and still contain those elements.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Weejie — Then wouldn’t it be fair to say that the harmonic structure was implicit in the melodic structure? It’s but a short hop from "implicit" to "implied"…

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Na Eisc: "Amongst his usual, tireless ramblings "

You may not like my style, but it has evoked much discussion on here. You don’t have to read it either, but I’m flattered that you do place at least some value in snippets of the "ramblings".

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Then wouldn’t it be fair to say that the harmonic structure was implicit… "

I don’t think so. That would be more of a slight twist than a hop.

A harmonic structure could be envisaged by those who look for such things.
It can be applied, but it is not necessarily implied.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

You are extremely sure of yourself Weejie!

Who are you?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Who are you?"

Someone who is entitled to his opinions as much as any other poster.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

metapop, I don’t think Connaughtman’s Rambles ends on a suspense note. I don’t think it ends at all—it is one of those tunes that swallows its own tail. ;-)
As far as the implication versus inference argument, I will just let it go, as I am having trouble following some of the subtle distinctions between definitions that people are making.
And does anyone remember who on this board once said that harmony is kind of like melody, but stacked vertically instead of laid out horizontally? I am not sure what bearing it has on the discussion, but something someone said reminded me of it.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

My point is the harmonic structure is there regardless of whether it was intended or enhanced. When people came along and decided to enhance it with chords it simply disclosed what already existed. Any tunes that people found pleasing were a product of the harmonic structure. Some tunes will toggle from one harmonic structure to another, but the rules of physics regarding sound still apply. Even the One Note Samba is based on a harmonic structure; this is what gives it life and meaning. If you want random notes then fill some drinking glasses at variable levels without thinking about it and tap them randomly. I bet that if someone did this they would eventually gravitate to the tones that fell into a harmonic structure.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Daiv: " if harpers were playing accompanied music in 1746, "

What book were you referring to?

As, so it appears, there was a tradition to "train" harpers (especially those without eyesight) in a particular fashion, by certain members of a "comfortable" society, then it would be reasonable to assume that some level of the current harmonic thinking of the time would be part of the training. I would imagine that a certain amount of contrapuntal theory would have been taught at that time. But that is only an assumption. As the 19th century approached, there were several books compiled by people trained in keyboards - and a demand for books containing suitable keyboard music for the growing number of people with such instruments in their households.

Which brings me to your comments about pipers and regulators:

"It comes as something of a surprise to realise that the extended harmonic section of the pipes (that is, the set of regulators) is what is generally regarded as the most significant Irish contribu­tion to pipe development. The irony of it is that the extra regula­tors were added to provide a harmonic accompaniment which would satisfy nineteenth-century ears and they are, in general, an unsuitable accompaniment for the highly sophisticated melodic tradition that we associate with uilleann pipes. We shall see that the most significant Irish contribution to piping is in the style of the music itself and in the exploitation by a good piper of what is acknowledged to be one of the most flexible instruments of the world pipe family."

Traditional Music in Ireland, Tomás Ó Canainn, Routledge & Keegan Paul 1978, p.83.

We don’t really know what level of harmony players were versed in in earlier days, but it can be said that today, most harmony instruments are still considered as "backing" instruments (and although free reed instruments are capable of harmonising a tune, it is kept to a minimum, if at all). The melody is still at the forefront rather than part of a harmonic arrangement. The harmony hasn’t taken over the asylum.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"My point is the harmonic structure is there regardless of whether it was intended or enhanced. "

My point is it’s only "there" if you apply it - as you could to most melodic pieces.
Melodic structure is not void of consonance and dissonance. It could be said to contain its own form of harmony, but the music is not built on a harmonic structure - it is purely melodic.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"If there was no harmonic structure, then why would some chords sound good and others sound bad? The physics of sound seems to be present regardless of a tune composer’s intentions."

I think that’s it!

"metapop, I don’t think Connaughtman’s Rambles ends on a suspense note. I don’t think it ends at all—it is one of those tunes that swallows its own tail. ;-)"

Oh wait, but what if you decide to finish the tune after the last bar? The B-note, being suspense in the context of the rest of the tune, just leaves you unsatisfied - and so you have to play it once again… alas, it swallows its own tail.

Basic melodic sequence.

I’m surprised by how easily the concept of melodic sequence is either being dismissed, considered incomplete, or just difficult to follow.

Posted .

Re: Advanced implication (yes, I know :-/ )

Okay, I couldn’t resist. I know that this may distract from the actual point - melody and harmony. But I simply can’t get over it, that Weejie insistently denies that implication doesn’t require intention or even knowledge of the implicated. So I’ll give it another try.

I mentioned this simple transitivity before:
If A, then B.
If B, then C.
=> If A, then C.
As long as you accept the premises, this implication is valid.

An example:

Walter doesn’t know the Lady Hamilton.
Walter states that apples are fruits. (B -> C)
The Lady Hamilton is an apple. (A -> B)
This implies that the Lady Hamilton is a fruit. (=> (A -> C))

As you see, the fact that Walter doesn’t even know the Lady Hamilton is entirely irrelevant for the implied conclusion.

What are you implying? :-/

What are you inferring?
:-/

Posted .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Huh? Oh, that similarly melody can imply harmonic structures even if they were not intended, or if the composer didn’t have a clue of harmony at all (which is rather unlikely). Just from the logical view.

At least consider the distinction between what is meant by implied & what is meant by inferred.

Posted .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"I am having trouble following some of the subtle distinctions between definitions that people are making." (AlBrown).

I think that’s a main problem here. In the quotes from Vaughan Williams he was using "harmony" in the sense of something invented/developed/evolved by humans. Without it "possible positions for the intermediate cadences are increased". Those cadences still rely on how we process the harmonics within the individual notes as we hear them in sequence. It seems there is a whole field of "melody analysis" where that sort of thing is studied.

In this discussion people are using and understanding "harmonic structure" inconsistently. Some people are regarding it as part of "harmony" as Vaughan Williams used it, others are including things like those cadences that he said were possible without it. And some are taking most uses of the word "harmonic" as being to do with physics thus somehow inescapable.

"And does anyone remember who on this board once said that harmony is kind of like melody, but stacked vertically instead of laid out horizontally?" (AlBrown) I am fairly sure it was Mr Gill. I cannot reconcile that view with how I understand the quotes from Vaughan Williams that were given above.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Metapop — the example of the fruity Lady Hamilton doesn’t clarify anything. The implication is in the wording, but it was put there by the composer of the words in order to illustrate his point. In matters of logic, the conclusion could be said to be implicit in the text; but in matters of communication, it could equally be inferred by the reader, or not exist at all. Like the Connaughtman, we seem to be going round in circles.

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I don’t think any one really denies that Irish music is improved with harmonic ambiguity or that harmonically, less is best. But a lot of the confusion in this thread about the word imply comes from Weegie insisting on using only one definition of the word.

When a person says one thing and at the same time suggests something else, then that something else is an implication. It has human origin.

However a situation, devoid of human input, can also have implications, for instance of safety or danger, and logical systems can have implications of truth or not. In the same way the notes in a tune can have implications of harmony.

Weegie wants this not to be true so he denies the possibility.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

What do you mean by "harmonic ambiguity" ?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"However a situation, devoid of human input, can also have implications, for instance of safety or danger, and logical systems can have implications of truth or not. In the same way the notes in a tune can have implications of harmony.
Weegie wants this not to be true so he denies the possibility."

Tosh. You are using examples of figurative speech, and it is not applicable here. "Implied harmony" in musical terms does indeed relate to human imput. The music has human origin ffs. There is only "implication" where it is made - but harmony can be inferred, and in the case of Irish traditional music, it is inferred (unless the composer had homophonic tendencies).

This can be demonstrated quite clearly if you were to follow the process set out in the book by Ó Canainn I have referred to above. It is a points system (apparently suggested by Seán Ó Riada) to establish tonality, and the importance of notes in a given tune. I’m not really wanting to explain the system in full here, but will do if anyone wants it. You end up with a "tonic", "subdominant" etc quite distinct from those arrived at in conventional harmonic thinking. Yet this system adheres to the melodic structure of the tune -if the tune is pentatonic or hexatonic etc, then only the notes in the tune are used, the modal structure is preserved, and the resultant "chords" (they might not be based on triads) do not impinge on the texture of the melody. Those perceived "implied" harmonies using conventional harmonic theory are no longer there - a very different inference would by made from a melody.
Not that I advocate this method, but it certainly works.
The "implications" are governed by the rules with which you approach the music from. They are read into the music by the listener, not inherent in the melody.

And please not that I spell my moniker with a ‘j’.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"And please note".

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

This is interesting:

"Scottish traditional music is essentially melodic and monophonic - it is rooted in unaccompanied tunes and songs. The only kinds of harmony that exist naturally are the drone, as with the drones of the bagpipes, and the heterophony (simultaneous variations of a melodic line) of the call-and-response style psalm singing of some Gaelic-speaking presbyterian churches, as you can hear in this archive recording from the Isle of Lewis."

http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/scotlandssongs/about/tunes/scalesharmonymodes/index.asp

Listen to the first clip.

Do you think Donald MacLeod and the congregation (good band name btw) are observing "implied harmonies"?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

By harmonic ambiguity I mean not fully stating chords. For instance bagpipes have drones which usually play the same note or notes for the whole of the tune. Every note of the melody forms at least a part of a chord with the drones but no clearly definable triads are used. A similar effect can be heard on some bouzouki accompaniment where the open strings play the first and fifth notes of the root as a drone and a single melodic line follows or counters the tune. On guitar I’ve heard Dennis Cahill accompany Martin Hayes on guitar using ones and fives of the root all the way through, essentially a guitar equivalent of drones. Personally I prefer to play the tune although this is a lot easier on fiddle than on guitar.

Apologies for any misspelling.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I enjoyed that. Listening to it I wonder about when a song is being sung and a good fiddler plays along and ‘harmonises’. How can I tell if it is harmony or heterephony.

Oh, and getting back to that bridge. There is a link to "Skye Boat Song" on that page. Listened to the first clip whilst looking at the score shown on the page.

[this is test edit to see if it shows after several later posts]

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

So ambiguity meant in the sense of it not being clear which of a number of options applies (as opposed to vagueness). Where do the options come from ?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

David50
Yes. And a very good question. Do the options come from notes initially there in the tune or the notes played by the player? It would all depend wouldn’t it? If the accompanist respects the player then the options would come from the notes played by the player, the way the player played and an understanding of the players preferences if known.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

("But a lot of the confusion in this thread about the word imply comes from Weegie insisting on using only one definition of the word. […] However a situation, devoid of human input, can also have implications, for instance of safety or danger, and logical systems can have implications of truth or not. In the same way the notes in a tune can have implications of harmony." -ronald.ellison

Thanks. This was what I wanted to demonstrate by using the strong logical reading of implication.)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"The concept of a ‘band’ of different instruments and singers playing tunes and songs together with harmonic accompaniment is very much a modern concept…" quoted from the above mentioned page. Perhaps it is through beginning my musical life as a piper that I have no problem with the concept of purely melodic music.

"good fiddler plays along and ‘harmonises’. How can I tell if it is harmony or heterphony (sic)" It is simple — if he is harmonising, it is harmony. If he is not, it isn’t.

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"This was what I wanted to demonstrate by using the strong logical reading of implication"

If you would admit that you are using the word figuratively, we could move on.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

[It just let me add the missing ‘e’ in "heterophony" in my post from an hour ago, long after gam quoted it.]

Re: On logic

"If you would admit that you are using the word figuratively, we could move on."

No, I don’t. I’m quite familiar with logic in general. Instead of insisting on your reading of implication, you could simply have done a quick search of "logic implication" in the net. For example
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/284042/implication
I don’t say that this can be applied to music 1 to 1; but it demonstrates that there are (non-figurative) definitions of implication that don’t require intention. It just bothers me that you are so convinced of your opinion that you refuse to accept facts.
Sorry for being a bit outspoken.

(But this is again only a side note - please feel free to move on!)

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I don’t think a definition that includes things like "In an attempt to construct a formal relationship more closely akin to the intuitive notion of implication.." is going to settle this.

A bit more clarity about "the meanings of the propositions" would be good (and less of a side note :-)).

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"By harmonic ambiguity I mean not fully stating chords. For instance bagpipes have drones which usually play the same note or notes for the whole of the tune. Every note of the melody forms at least a part of a chord with the drones but no clearly definable triads are used. "

This clearly displays the conflicting approaches to the music. If you see the layers of notes as having something missing, then it gives the impression that you are seeing things from a homophonic perspective. Likewise, people who see pentatonic scales as having missing notes are looking at things from a similar conventional perspective. There is nothing missing in a pentatonic scale. It is what it is. A tune built on five notes. The notes played in an accompaniment to a traditional melody are all an addition. There is nothing missing. An accompanist may play only two notes, but it could be that it adheres to the melodic structure rather than there is a deliberate omission of a note that would make a triad, in order to create effect. If the listener feels there is a note missing, it is a reflection of the listener’s background in music. It could well be that the player was conscious of missing out a note, but the possibility that the player was only adding the notes that were thought necessary is just as, if not more likely.

Of all the traditional musicians I’ve met, who compose tunes, not one has mentioned deliberately omitting a note for effect. It’s invariably been a case of building a tune from a given set of notes, rather than "taking one or two away". It’s an example of being in touch with the idiom.
If all accompanists could appreciate this, they might not meet with the disfavour expressed by Tomás Ó Canainn in the passage I quoted from above.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"It just bothers me that you are so convinced of your opinion that you refuse to accept facts."

Facts? I see nothing but opinion - on my part as well. Perhaps it’s the same notion of "factual" that causes you to see harmonic implication where none is present. To see it from your own musical viewpoint (as most of us do).

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

In my opinion, a definition is a fact. :-P

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I which case would searching for a definition of "harmony" as used by Vaughan Willams help ?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

There was mention of Turlough O’Carolan earlier. If anyone is interested and doesn’t already know there is a book called ‘The life, times and music of an Irish harper’ by Donal O’Sullivan available on line (apologies again for any misspelling). This covers political background, biographical details, all the tunes Carolan wrote and those tunes that people thought he wrote but he didn’t and a biography or auto biography of a contemporary harper. It’s a bit pricey but worth it.

Carolan played in the big houses for people who’s culture was essentially Baroque. In case you dont know, this is strongly chordal music. Carolan would have heard this and been familiar with it. But don’t forget, big houses had servants and I guess lots of servants. They may not have been in the rooms where the ladies and gentlemen enjoyed their Baroque music but they would have been in the house and able to hear it. And that’s 300 years ago.

Around the beginning of the 1600s is when harmonised music is known to be written in England. Before that was polyphony which involved harmony but not in a modern chordal way. If the common non noble folk were harmonising then or before then is not, I presume, known. Most non noble people didn’t keep records. It is known that the Anglo Saxons had a Lyre. With only six strings this was not much good for playing melodies but, by stopping some strings and strumming, chords were possible. Harmonised music in England was possible at least as early as 500 AD and was definitely in Ireland in the 1600s.

Now I know there are more than a few people whole like their Irish music unaccompanied. I do as well. I have heard more than one beautiful player whose music has been overwhelmed by inappropriate chording but to claim that any modern music is not intrinsically harmonic is to ignore a millennium of history and the nature of the human brain.

Another point, imagine Carolan on a trip between big houses. He steps into an inn as night falls. His servant informs the house that this is the famous Turlough O’Carolan requesting shelter for the night. He gets a seat by the fire and appropriate refreshment. After enough time has passed one of the small group of local musicians playing in a corner plucks up courage to ask for a song. The harp comes out. A song is sung, maybe more than one perhaps they play a tune or two together. A good night is had by all.

Now you, dear modern tune player, do you see yourselves as the local tune players or as Carolan? Carolan is now educated, he has a much wider understanding of the world and classes beyond his own and he is not playing the first music of his native culture. The players in the corner are less well educated, perhaps only know their own village and play the music they knew from birth. I suggest that modern tune players are more like Carolan, or if that doesn’t fit, like monks in their cloisters with their intellectual preoccupations with purity and perfection, than like the tune players in the corner who earlier that day were perhaps shoveling pig shit and digging spuds.

Whether we call it traditional music or not I think that when we play tunes today we are playing a narrow, specialist niche branch of Western Art music. It has its roots in tradition but it has grown.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I find that clip of Gregorian chanting in the reverberant hall closer to heterophony than homophony.

Layering of repeated passages rather than harmonic progression. The way those partials react is probably more to do with chance than structured harmony.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"It’s a bit pricey but worth it."

One volume is available online (village music project?) for free.
I’m tempted to upset Mr "Name the same as a well known cider company" and OCR the other volume and donate it to the project, but that would be naughty.

Any talk of Baroque music should include counterpoint, which was more to the fore in the period than the Classical and Romantic periods, when homophony took a firm hold of things.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

" … but to claim that any modern music is not intrinsically harmonic is to ignore a millennium of history and the nature of the human brain. " So do you regard the singing on that recording from the Isle of Lewis that Weejie linked as "intrinsically harmonic" even though it is described as heterophonic ? Is harmony nothing more than picking a note that doesn’t clash unless you want one that does ?

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

So, are there any good advanced DADGAD chords?

;-)

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

It depends on who’s asking at what they will be used for.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

So do you regard the singing on that recording from the Isle of Lewis that Weejie linked as "intrinsically harmonic" even though it is described as heterophonic ? Is harmony nothing more than picking a note that doesn’t clash unless you want one that does ?

When I first read your question I thought my answer would be no. I listened to it again and to my surprise my answer is yes. Not because chords are being sung but because the melody contains arpeggios through chords. The very first phrase, if you filter out decoration, is note five, up to note one, up to note three and up again to a high note five of a major scale.

This is speculation but in its essence it could be very close to the earliest Christian music of two centuries ago. It is certainly heterophonic but the foundation on which the heterophony lies contains chords, if only in arpeggios. I wonder if music 2000 years ago also used chords in the same way.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"With only six strings this was not much good for playing melodies but, by stopping some strings and strumming, chords were possible"
How about "With only six strings it was not much good for accompaniment, but simple melodies would be easy"?

"Carolan is now educated, he has a much wider understanding of the world and classes beyond his own and he is not playing the first music of his native culture. The players in the corner are less well educated, perhaps only know their own village and play the music they knew from birth"
How about "although Carolan was educated and well-travelled, he chose not to play the music of his peers, but instead wrote his own music"?

To state that the ignorant potato-eating shit-shovellers in the corner were incapable of stringing a few notes together is insulting, and reveals the ignorance of which you speak. Why can’t people understand that melodic music is not inferior to harmonic music, or that upon hearing harmony you don’t have to rush home and start playing it? The music is melodic through choice, not ignorance.

Posted by .

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

"Not because chords are being sung but because the melody contains arpeggios through chords. The very first phrase, if you filter out decoration, is note five, up to note one, up to note three and up again to a high note five of a major scale. "

This just brings us back to dear old Ralph:

"Modern music has so steeped us in harmony that we find it difficult to realise what pure melody means".

And for those who are of the belief that definitions are facts:

"Harmonic" (OED):

Sounding together with pleasing effect;

Or even:

Melodious, tuneful, sweet-sounding.

In contrast with:

Relating to harmony (as distinct from melody and rhythm); belonging to the combination of musical notes in chords.

Take your pick.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Another intriguing consideration is that until the west compromised it’s tuning ears by using equal temperament (Bach’s 48 Preludes and Fugues were written to illustrate this) was there less inclination to use harmonies because some of them might sound horribly out of tune to ears which were used to perfectly ‘in tune’ intervals? We’re all conditioned to equal temperament now if we listen to most produced music, but I’ll bet that when instruments are tuned by ear away from a piano or other standardising element, this purity may be re established and therefore harmonies would be just less pleasant.

Micho Russell’s whistle playing curls around the tuning rather than each note being thoroughly ‘in tune’. This is where it makes its character and beauty (imho). His playing was a revelation when I first heard it.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

I think they were less inclined to modulate to distantly related keys rather than less inclined to use harmonies. Now the use of the extended harmonies like the 9th and the 13th weren’t used unitl the late 19th century because of that reason.

One thng to remember is that "harmony" was the result of counterpoint for alot of our classical composers. Rameau’s Tretise of Harmony was published in 1722 and he was the first one to look at the vertical harmonies as "chords". Bach in the Well Tempered Clavier (also published in 1722) was using the rules of counterpoint to create his "harmonies". Bach even wrote criticising "good German composers" who were falling for this "French nonsense" referring to Rameau’s new theory

So there’s one for the melodyists: the rules counterpoint were what generated the vertical harmonies until the time that the piano asserted itself as the dominant instrument of western music

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

In the dreaded chorales he uses many different harmonisations (counterpoint generated if you like) for the same melody. Doesn’t that make that one all? Possibly - —————— with a following wind?

I think I’ll stop there as a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

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Rethinking this (I couldn’t help myself sorry) - without the ‘aid’ or influence of a piano or other standardised fixed pitch instrument, it would be perfectly possible for a consistent player like Micho Russell to find his own scale and work within it so that it made musical sense. It’s not equal temperament and an ‘equally tempered’ harmony instrument or one with fixed pitch of any kind trying to play with him would not sound great. Perhaps this is also part of the perceived problem when non fixed pitch instruments are accompanied.

I’m not inviting controversy here, just trying to understand where people are coming from.

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you’re right that if you make your own scale, you almost have to use your own home made instruments. When I was into micro tonal music, where you actually use the 7th, 11th, and 13th overtones to generate your scale (nornal scales only use up to the 6th overtone because the 7th is "detuned") my roommate built a thing called a "harmonic cannon" which is sort of like a lap steel guitar, but with movable wedges so that you can get those odd notes. The whole thing gets tuned, one note to each string, then you play it sort of like a harp.

I have to say, when you hear music based off of those extended overtones, it is like nothing else you ever heard…(in a good way)

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You’re heading for the stratosphere as far as my knowledge is concerned, but I do recall a piece called something like ‘oiduno’, which was based around micro tones - very weird, but attractive in its weirdness - and from Ireland; although I’ve tried to find it and can’t because I haven’t got the spelling right probably.

I’m beginning to feel like Father Dougal when asked to contemplate - well anything, so I’ll probably duck out now. Thanks for a fascinating discussion.

Unless I change my mind later of course.

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attractive in its weirdness is a very good description of microtonal stuff. It’s interesting to think about the assuptions built into the very instruments we play and how many choices we are actually making when we pick one up.

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gam, I think you might have been inferring something that wasn’t there in ronald.ellison’s remarks (note how I worked in the ‘infer’ word there). I didn’t see anything derrogatory in his contrasting of the sophisticated professional musician (O’Carolan), and the ordinary working class folks without musical education who just play it because they love it. I think that some folks who work to preserve the ‘tradition,’ as they see it, are trying to trap something in amber that should instead be a living, breathing and evolving thing. Dissecting music and putting it under a microscope instead of enjoying it. Something we all need to keep in mind, lest we lose that passion that brought us to the music in the first place.

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Carolan, far from being sophisticated, was the son of a farmer who gave up farming to go into service. It was his father’s employer, not some professional musician, who taught Carolan the harp, which he didn’t play very well.
The local musicians in the corner, far from being shit-shovelling spud eaters (nothing derogatory there), would likely have been practised musicians, who grew up in musical families. To suggest that they would need to get up courage to ask Carolan to play is stretching credibility — more likely, Carolan would have been only too pleased to have some decent musicians to join in with. Were it not for Carolan’s phenomenal musical mind, he would have joined the other itinerant harpers in obscurity, while his contemporaries continued to play, write and communicate the music that is played today all over the world.
Rather than "trying to trap something in amber " I am trying, without much hope of success, to keep away the encroaching tide of modern pop and pap that is threatening to choke the life out of the music I love.

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"I didn’t see anything derrogatory in his contrasting of the sophisticated professional musician (O’Carolan), and the ordinary working class folks without musical education who just play it because they love it. "

I didn’t see it straight away, but then there was the paragraph that began "now you, dear modern tune player, do you see yourselves as the local tune players or as Carolan?", going on to suggest that modern session players were more akin to the latter - or monks in their cloisters, with words like "intellectual", "purity" and "pefection" juxtaposed with the lowly "musicians in the corner" and words like "pig shit" and "digging spuds".

It may not have been intentional, but it looks that way.

Shame that "intellect" and "perfection" didn’t come into play when analysing the Gàidhlig psalm singing:

"The very first phrase, if you filter out decoration, is note five, up to note one, up to note three and up again to a high note five of a major scale. "

Failing to notice that the melody is pentatonic - as they all tend to be.

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I didn’t notice that I misspelled derogatory until it was repeated back to me. I did notice that pentatonic thing you are talking about Weejie, primarily because someone (perhaps that was you) had just explained it further up in the thread. Talk about ‘just in time’ training!
I learn the most from threads where a lot of ideas get thrown around, and then defended vigorously and passionately (without descending into invective and name calling). I do wonder what our original poster, wackojacko, thinks about this massive and discursive discussion that he triggered!

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I’d just like to congratulate the original poster on stimulating such a long and invigorating discussion, even if someone did mention djembes…….

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This thread made me a bit sad:

"I’ve played in dadgad for a while now and I’m used to all the major and minor chord shapes and progressions. But can anybody suggest any new chords shapes other than the regular ones you find all over youtube and google"

It’s sad that someone can consider themselves as having acquired a certain level of competence and are in all innocence and politeness enquiring how they can forward there ability, and yet so completely and utterly be missing it. Missing that they are putting the cart before the horse.

(And that whole thing with Weejie splitting hairs:
I do agree with him that if someone plays a single melody line that contains a root, a major third and a fifth that that doesn’t necessarily infer a major chord. I agree with him that that only infers the chord if the melody line is from a tradition that already uses polyphony. However the harmony is in the intervals and whether the intervals are played one after the other or all at once makes no difference to the intervals/harmony. Intervals and harmony are synonymous.)

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I cannot reconcile that view (that intervals and harmony are synonymous) with how I understand the quotes from Vaughan Williams that were given above.

How many ways can one split a hair?

The only way I can think of to reconcile it is if you don’t make a distinction between pitches played one at a time (melody) and pitches played at the same time (harmony). If you imply (beg pardon ~ infer) harmony from pitches played one at a time the intervals can be thought as harmony. If you play different pitches at the same time it is harmony.

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"Intervals and harmony are synonymous"

Geez….

http://www.teoria.com/reference/m/mel-har.php?l=M

Perhaps it would be an idea to look at what I said in its context. I mean way back. It’s not rocket science that there is a relationship in the intervals in a linear/horizontal movement of notes. It was precisely this relationship that led to the application of harmony in its modern sense. However, nothing can be implied if the music isn’t built on harmonic progression (it isn’t, it’s purely melodic). The application of harmonic theory only comes into play when someone wants to add "chords, and the harmony is inferred from the music (according to the discipline the player is versed in- take note of the many "accompanists" who don’t understand pentatonic or hexatonic music, because of their formal training). This is not splitting hairs, because it’s fundamental to the point I was making. Someone playing chords to a form of music that is purely melodic is making their own inference. They are not "there by right", undertaking something that is "there by design" - think of the ‘C’ (or ‘Cs’) on the uilleann pipes - or the GHB intervals, just intonation on the fiddle etc - the "chordal instrument" doesn’t even play in tune with the melody instrument. The point I was making was said in words like "if you want to play with other folk, then there has to be mutual respect", and "don’t let that inference become interference".
I would also suggest a serious study of melodic structure on its own merit, not in the eyes of ‘modern’ harmonic theory.

Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

No, there is a distinction between a sequence of pitches played one at a time and the same sequence of pitches played at the same time. It’s just that the intervals between the pitches are the same. And have the same relationships. The same harmonious relationships

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Weejie, I agree with you that nothing can be implied if the music isn’t built on harmonic progression.

I agree with you that the practice of attaching harmonic progressions to tunes is something that closes any ambiguity to a tune’s melody.

I agree with you

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"It’s just that the intervals between the pitches are the same. And have the same relationships. The same harmonious relationships"
Which led to the application of "harmony". You still don’t get it. What do you think the word "melodious" means?
I’m very surprised. I thought you would be one person who could understand.

I said it here:

"Yes, a harmonic structure can (and will) exist if you want to analyse a melody in the eyes, or ears, of someone steeped in the theory of harmony. Indeed, some - nay several - tunes are clearly built on arpeggios - but you have to ask yourself "did the composer intentionally build the tune on arpeggios, or was it that those notes sounded nice?".

That’s taking on board what you are saying. But this relationship does not mean that there is an"implied" chordal structure to the music. It does lend itself to the application of harmony (I mean playing chords), but it’s not there by design.

Melodic structure

Is a *serious study* of melodic structure necessary? Yes, it deserves consideration on it’s own merits, but it isn’t rocket science.

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Cross post, and we are talking at cross purposes.

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"Is a *serious study* of melodic structure necessary? "

Only for those who can’t distinguish between harmony and melody. Those people appear to find it much the same as rocket science.

Steep-ed discussion

Cheers, Weejie!
;-)

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"did the composer intentionally build the tune on arpeggios, or was it that those notes sounded nice?"

Yes, this may well be the crux of it. I think it’s unfortunate that those bits of tunes that were built on arpeggios (intentionally or not) are siezed upon by strummers as evidence for their existence. And that those bits of tunes that are not built on arpeggios (because they sounded good, of course) are kind of glossed over because the do not lend lend themselves to the application of harmony.

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I’m glad that we now seem to understand that we are on the same page.

Hitch up the horse to the cart. One before the other.

"… those bits of tunes that were built on arpeggios …"

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I’ve always been on your page Weejie

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Re: Advanced chords in dadgad

Hi there,
I think I use unique DADGAD chords although I’m not sure if you would consider them advanced or not. I’m planning to make some short tutorial videos of the chords shapes that I use and hope that other DADGAD players can learn new variations to chords they might already be familiar with. I’ll drop a msg when I’ve got something to share. In the meantime, here’s a video that I posted today where I use some interesting chords. I’m not a tune player so I know it sounds bad, but the reason I made this video was to showcase the chords I had in mind for the tune and not about my actual ability to play. In truth, I don’t normally visit this site. I find that a small minority of people take the music way too seriously and prefer to stay out out of the many debates that take place here. Tunes should be open for interpretation. That way, you can develop your own style and contribute in a unique way.
Anyway, here’s the link to the youtube vid:
http://youtu.be/dKKXAVMtobE

All the best.
Dominic