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Thread: Figured Bass (Thorough Bass)

  1. #31
    MMus, MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    I understand all the answers and explanations you give. If I don't understand something I ask. Nothing you say get lost. Since i started theory it's been nearly 1 year maybe more. I know music requires self sacrifice and devotion. I'm definitely ok with that.
    Great, and you're welcome.

    Have you actually done any exercises yet though? - You might find that actually doing something makes things stick in your head rather than simply reading about it.

    Here's a simple exercise for you to have a go at (if you want). Soprano and Bass are given, you need to add parts for Alto and Tenor (so, you'll have to work out a suitable chord first, then voice it appropriately). The music consists of two phrases, entirely in the key of C major. Change chord (or position of chord) on each note.


    When you're done, post your answer back here and I'll be happy to offer feedback.
    There is not necessarily only one correct way of doing it, but I'll show you how Bach did it because you can learn a lot from studying his chorale settings.

    Have fun!

    (Obviously this is not figured bass, so not relevant to the OP. But I didn't see any harm in posting it here)

  2. #32
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    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/43744201/Ex1.PNG

    I may make mistake while putting down the notes on software from paper.

  3. #33
    MMus, MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/43744201/Ex1.PNG

    I may make mistake while putting down the notes on software from paper.
    Yes, I would check this - I suspect you've got some of the parts muddled up in places...

    Anyway, well done for doing it!

    Firstly the general layout: You should put Soprano at the top, with Alto underneath, then Tenor, and Bass at the bottom.
    The 8 below all of your clefs means that they should all be sung an octave lower than written (which would be impossible) - so just use the normal clefs without the 8.

    Many of your chords don't have a third. - The third is an important note of any chord and should always be present.
    Chords 1, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 13 are all missing a third. Chord 6 is made up entirely of Gs!

    Talking of thirds, you shouldn't normally double major thirds if you can possibly help it, and you absolutely cannot double the leading note as you do in chords 7 and 15.

    A couple of times you have crossed your parts, which is generally frowned upon in elementary harmony: See chords 3 and 9 where the tenor is higher than the alto.

    You also have many instances of parallel fifths, octaves and unisons
    Chords 1-2: Parallel unison between alto and tenor.
    Chords 4-5: Parallel unison between alto and tenor.
    Chords 5-6: Parallel octaves between alto and tenor.
    Chords 6-7: Parallel unison between soprano and alto
    Chords 7-8: Parallel fifths between bass and tenor.
    Chords 11-12: Parallel unison between alto and tenor.
    Chords 12-13: Parallel fifths between tenor and soprano.
    Chords 13-14: Parallel unison between soprano and alto.
    Chords 14-15: Parallel unison between soprano and alto AND Parallel octaves between bass and tenor!
    Chords 15-16: Parallel octaves between bass and tenor.

    I suspect some of these might be the result of typos when putting the notes into your software; did you mix up some of the parts by any chance?

    Anyway, don't be discouraged, everyone makes mistakes at first. The important thing is that you learn from them.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    Talking of thirds, you shouldn't normally double major thirds if you can possibly help it, and you absolutely cannot double the leading note as you do in chords 7 and 15.
    1) Chord 7 and chord 15 are G (V) : G-B-D; I didn't double the 7th I doubled the 3rd (B).

    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    You also have many instances of parallel fifths, octaves and unisons
    Chords 1-2: Parallel unison between alto and tenor.
    2) Not using unisions contradict doubling the notes (Doubling). If I don't use unisions means I don't double the notes. Am I right? Is there a doubling restraint?

    3) "Between voices there shouldn't be unision, octave and perfect 5 intervals."

    I had assumed meaning of "Between Voices" are just successive voices. For ex; Bass-Tenor or Tenor-Alto. Next time I'll beware interaction of all voices.
    Last edited by zanshin777; 05-04-2014 at 09:42 PM.

  5. #35
    MMus, MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    1) Chord 7 and chord 15 are G (V) : G-B-D; I didn't double the 7th I doubled the 3rd (B).
    "Leading note" is always one semitone (half-step) below the tonic of the piece.
    In other words, it is the seventh note of the key and NOT the seventh of the chord.

    So while the seventh of a G chord is indeed F, we're in C major so the leading note is B.

    (The third of chord V is always the leading note; it must not be doubled).

    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    2) Not using unisions contradict doubling the notes (Doubling). If I don't use unisions means I don't double the notes. Am I right? Is there a doubling restraint?
    "Doubling" doesn't necessarily mean literally the same pitch, it means another copy of that note in any octave.

    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    3) "Between voices there shouldn't be unision, octave and perfect 5 intervals."

    I had assumed meaning of "Between Voices" are just successive voices. For ex; Bass-Tenor or Tenor-Alto. Next time I'll beware interaction of all voices.
    Don't worry, that's a common mistake.

    Do you want to have another go at the exercise?

  6. #36
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    1) "Active melodic tones should not be doubled."

    I had assumed meaning of "active melodic tones" are just the tones except 1-3-5-7 in a chord. However melodic refers to the scale of the piece. So I should not double the tones except 1-3-5-7 and leading tone of the scale. (In this case C Major Scale) Am I right?

    2) "Between voices there should not be aug2, aug4, maj7, min7 intervals and bigger than octave."

    Does "Between voices" mean just successive voices or all voices in a chord?


    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    Do you want to have another go at the exercise?
    Yes, please I will remake the previous exercise as well.

  7. #37
    MMus, MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    1) "Active melodic tones should not be doubled."

    I had assumed meaning of "active melodic tones" are just the tones except 1-3-5-7 in a chord. However melodic refers to the scale of the piece. So I should not double the tones except 1-3-5-7 and leading tone of the scale. (In this case C Major Scale) Am I right?
    No. "Active" here essentially means a note that has a strong inherent tendency to want to go somewhere.
    So this would include the leading note (which wants to rise to the tonic), sevenths (which want to fall a step), and any chromatic notes (which you shouldn't be worrying about for now).

    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    2) "Between voices there should not be aug2, aug4, maj7, min7 intervals and bigger than octave."

    Does "Between voices" mean just successive voices or all voices in a chord?
    Are you sure it says "between voices"? - That doesn't seem right to me.

    I expect this refers to the interval between two adjacent notes in any one part (nothing to do with the chord).
    Basically, never leap a seventh, an augmented interval, or anything larger than an octave.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    Are you sure it says "between voices"? - That doesn't seem right to me.

    I expect this refers to the interval between two adjacent notes in any one part (nothing to do with the chord).
    Basically, never leap a seventh, an augmented interval, or anything larger than an octave.
    No, I'm not. Then, I take that as "two adjacent notes" in any one part.

  9. #39
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    The best I can do for this exercise is here;

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...(Answered).PNG

    This example isn't rigth according to Four-Part Writing Rules already.

    a) Between 5 and 6th notes there is aug 2 in the bass voices.

    b) In 6th chord between bass and tenor there is an octave interval.

    What are the 9, 10, 11, 12, 13th chords?

  10. #40
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    The best I can do for this exercise is here;

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...(Answered).PNG

    This example isn't rigth according to Four-Part Writing Rules already.

    a) Between 5 and 6th notes there is aug 2 in the bass voices.

    b) In 6th chord between bass and tenor there is an octave interval.

    What should be the 9, 10, 11, 12, 13th chords?
    Last edited by zanshin777; 05-08-2014 at 09:23 AM.

  11. #41
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    The best I can do for this exercise is here;

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...(Answered).PNG

    This example isn't rigth according to Four-Part Writing Rules already.

    a) Between 5 and 6th notes there is aug 2 in the bass voices.

    b) In 6th chord between bass and tenor there is an octave interval.

    What are the 9, 10, 11, 12, 13th chords?
    Are you sure you posted the right image? I can't follow your questions at all.
    Firstly, there is no aug2 anywhere in the piece - it's all diatonic.
    Secondly, it's perfectly OK to have an octave or more between bass and tenor; it's between other voices that the "octave or less" rule applies.

    There certainly are things wrong with this exercise, but not the things you say. I'll let JJ critique this one, as he set the question.
    Last edited by JonR; 05-08-2014 at 09:05 AM.

  12. #42
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    + In the bass part 5th note E3 and the next note is G3. The Interval is aug2 (1,5 interval)

    + I know that Between voices there shouldn't be unision, octave and perfect 5 intervals. Is that wrong?

    What should be the 9, 10, 11, 12, 13th chords?
    Last edited by zanshin777; 05-08-2014 at 09:25 AM.

  13. #43
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    + In the bass part 5th note E3 and the next note is G3. The Interval is aug2 (1,5 interval)
    No, that's a minor 3rd.
    An augmented 2nd is what you find in the harmonic minor scale, eg, between F and G# in A minor.
    E-G is a 3rd because there is an F in between: IOW, G is the 3rd note up from E.
    E-G#, Eb-G, Eb-Gb, Eb-G#, E#-G, E#-G# = all 3rds of some kind, because of the 2nd note in between.
    F-G# is a 2nd because there is no note in between - and it's "augmented" because it's one half-step bigger than a major 2nd (F-G or F#-G#)

    IOW, it isn't the size of the interval in half-steps that matters. Intervals are measured by counting notes (letters or lines/spaces in notation) first. Then counting the half-steps.
    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    + I know that Between voices there shouldn't be unision, octave and perfect 5 intervals. Is that wrong?
    That rule - which is not expressed very well in that quote - applies to moves between chords - not to the intervals in the chords themselves.
    Two voices moving in parallel 5ths or octaves is wrong (and there are other limitations on movement into 5ths or octaves).
    You might well have errors of this kind in your piece, but - as I say - JJ is best placed to say.
    Quote Originally Posted by zanshin777 View Post
    What should be the 9, 10, 11, 12, 13th chords?
    you mean the 5 harmonies beginning from where there is only soprano and bass?
    A better question is maybe "how can I harmonise" those parts? The chords aren't fixed, in that the two notes given might belong to a couple of different chords. The identity of those chords is less important than the inner harmonies and the voice-leading.
    I could provide a solution myself, but I think it's better if JJ addresses the issues before that point first.
    Last edited by JonR; 05-08-2014 at 11:34 AM.

  14. #44
    MMus, MA, PGCE JumpingJack's Avatar
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    I'm a little wary to comment since I'm not sure I'm actually helping or just confusing you more.
    Jon has already addressed a few things.

    I think perhaps it might be wise to revisit intervals. You can have a melodic interval, which is a horizontal thing between two adjacent notes in the same part, and you can have a harmonic interval which is a vertical thing between two separate parts at a single point.

    The rule about avoiding augmented intervals (as well as sevenths and anything larger than an octave) applies to melodic intervals.

    The rule about avoiding parallel fifths and octaves applies to harmonic intervals. - It is only relevant where you have one harmonic interval of a perfect fifth or octave) directly followed by another harmonic interval of a fifth or octave concerning the same two parts.

    One harmonic interval of a fifth or octave on its own is fine. It's only a problem when you have two next to each other involving the same parts.

    Now some comments on your answer to the exercise:

    Chord 1: You've got 3 Gs and an A. What chord were you going for here?

    Chord 2: This is chord iii which is best avoided in this type of work. (I'll repeat that: Don't use chord iii)!

    Chord 3: Not only is this chord iii, but it is in second inversion! Don't use any second inversion chords unless they can clearly be explained as either passing or cadential.

    Chord 4: C-F-A-G; again, not a chord. - Check your tenor; have you got the ledger lines right?

    Chord 5: Chord iii again, - don't use it.

    Chord 6: Attempting the cadential 6/4? - Good, but don't approach the fourth above the bass by leap. The sixth above bass should fall by step into the next chord.

    Chord 7: The alto here is more than octave below the soprano. - That's too far apart.
    Keep the tenor in the tenor line, not in the bass.

    Chord 14: Don't double a major third.

    Chords 14-15: Parallel fifths between bass and alto AND Parallel octaves between soprano and tenor.

    Chord 15: Don't double a major third, and especially don't double the leading note!

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    I'm a little wary to comment since I'm not sure I'm actually helping or just confusing you more.
    Jon has already addressed a few things.
    No, absolutely not! I understand everything you said. If I don't comment something that means it's understood. Otherwise I ask.


    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    I think perhaps it might be wise to revisit intervals.
    Yes, I need to revisit "defining the intervals title" I had understood those Four-Part Writing Rules according to your explanation.

    I spent long hours after midnight but i can't find any chord to put the space of 9, 10, 11, 12, 13th chords. How can we harmonize them?

    Quote Originally Posted by JumpingJack View Post
    Chord 1: You've got 3 Gs and an A. What chord were you going for here?
    There are 2 G's in Bass and Soprano voices. That's F(ii).

    After I couldn't find any chord to harmonize those notes (9, 10, 11, 12, 13th) i gave up and didn't check other Four-Part Writing Rules. I just checked horizontal and vertical intervals.

    Thank you very much for your answers.

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