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 Forum index » Discussion » Composition
Heaps of questions about harmony
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HarmonyNoob123



Joined: Feb 25, 2010
Posts: 1
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:08 pm    Post subject: Heaps of questions about harmony Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hey folks

first of all excuse my english, i'm not a native speaker Smile i would be very happy if you could help me and answer the following questions.

thank you very much!

Chords
Does electronic music (especially electro) have chords? And which instrument usually plays the chords in electronic music? I quess it's a chord-playing synthesizer? If yes, how has the chord-playing synthesizer to sound like (the same as the lead-synth)?
And is it possible do make musik without chords (techno)?

Counterpoint and adding of other instruments to the melody
How can i figure out what the bass is playing according to the lead instrument's melody? -> Is it just about counterpoint and nothing else? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterpoint)
And if I want to add additional instruments (especially e guitar or strings) is it only about counterpoint-theory as well?

i hope you understand my weird questions Smile otherwise feel free to ask for explanation.

thank you very much!
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AperionProject



Joined: Apr 15, 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Heaps of questions about harmony Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

HarmonyNoob123 wrote:
hey folks

first of all excuse my english, i'm not a native speaker Smile i would be very happy if you could help me and answer the following questions.

thank you very much!

Chords
Does electronic music (especially electro) have chords? And which instrument usually plays the chords in electronic music? I quess it's a chord-playing synthesizer? If yes, how has the chord-playing synthesizer to sound like (the same as the lead-synth)?
And is it possible do make musik without chords (techno)?

Counterpoint and adding of other instruments to the melody
How can i figure out what the bass is playing according to the lead instrument's melody? -> Is it just about counterpoint and nothing else? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterpoint)
And if I want to add additional instruments (especially e guitar or strings) is it only about counterpoint-theory as well?

i hope you understand my weird questions Smile otherwise feel free to ask for explanation.

thank you very much!


Ok, I'll do my best here to help you. Hopefully I can at least point you in the right direction and not confuse matters here.

Chords can be and are used in any type of music. Yes, they can be used in electronic music. Any polyphonic instrument can play a chord. Yes, it is possible to make music without chords. I have composed pieces of music with one long drone on just one pitch. This allows live instruments to improvise using that pitch as a tonal center. Most electronic music does not have an instrument playing chords (if anyone else reads this an knows otherwise please say so), but of course some does. Regardless, that does not mean there is not harmony to music with no chord changes. For example, even if you have a bass playing one note, one pitch, harmony still exists, whatever that pitch would be would be the key of that piece of music.

As far as 'counterpoint' goes...you are not really describing counterpoint, or I'm just not sure what you are asking. You can't really figure out what "the bass is playing according to the lead instrument's melody" as you say. Simply listen to the bass part to figure out what the bass is playing. Hum the bass notes to yourself. Play the music, hear the bass part, even just one note, stop the music and hum that note. Then, if you want to and know how to notate music you can write it down. Or I suppose you can play it on another instrument and record. Now, how the bass part is related to the melody - I suppose that falls under counterpoint, as does adding other instruments. However there is no reason to apply traditional music theory counterpoint part-writing rules! There is no reason to make things so complicated, the theoretical rules of counterpoint were created naturally anyway, music is natural. Therefore, my advice to you would be to create each instruments part one at a time, until you get something you like and not worry too much about music theory counterpoint. Write a bass line until you get one you like, then while listening to that bass line, compose a melody that sounds good with that bass line. Improvise on another instrument (or perhaps different patch on a synth) until you find another musical part that sounds to your liking.

A basic music theory course would give you exactly the knowledge you're looking for. You might be able to audit a course at a local university if you live near one.

It actually not that complicated. Use your ears and your brain will figure it out and you will understand. It does take time and work, and I'm certainly not exactly the best expert in the world. I hope I helped and did not make matters worse. Please ask if there is anything else I can explain and I will try my best.

Wait, you're from Germany? Just study Bach and you're all set.
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Keep in mind that you can play three unique notes and still not have "tied down" any particular chord. For example, 1 note on a bass synth, 1 on a violin, and 1 on a piano, say E, B, and G and your playing some type of Eminor chord. But, if the vocal is on C#, you've got an Eminor6 and if the vocal hits a D, you've got Eminor13.
Chords are fluid things, they change dynamically with the melody, and may not be all on one instrument.
Sometimes, parts of the melody may be passing notes which have no affect on the chord progression.
Sometimes the melody will force a complete key change. (shifting all the chords into a new area completely)

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jamiewoody



Joined: May 28, 2010
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Location: western north carolina

PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

an arpeggiator is a type of synth circuit. the definition of an arpeggio is "a broken chord". a triad is a kind of arpeggio with 3 notes, and so on.

some synths, as well as circuit bent casios, etc an added 5th note to single notes. a 2 note "chord" is actually considered a "double stop", which is chord like. in theory, however, a chord is usually 3 notes. the 3rd note, or the 2nd in some cases determine whether or not the chord is considered major or minor. the minor interval always takes prescidence over the chord or scale. for instance, a mixolydian has a major 2nd, but a minor interval eventually comes into play. so, the mixolydian scale/mode is considered minor.
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mrcold



Joined: Jun 18, 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

..you can do whatever you want.

Really, there is no right or wrong here. Certainly, the advice you have gotten already is fine advice, but keep in mind that there is no one way to do things that is correct.

If there is a specific sound that you are going for, then you should LISTEN to that sound and try to figure out what is going on there... then if you have a question bring it back here and we can help you more specifically.

If you know about harmony, then the things that you know about it can certainly apply to electronic music, if you DON"T know about it you're going to be fine.. just do what sounds good! (but learning a bit of harmony never hurt anyone)
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Ojd



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I find easy to create little piece of music (like sequence, or riff, or whatever), than, to give it flesh (with counterpoint, which, but i might be mis-leaded, it could be orchestration), you know, unexpected things in unexpected places. I love minimalism, drone, or light ant airy droning, but what about dramatic development? I mean there must be some system by which to string chords, right? I - IV - V works , but there must be more to it. Let's look at the classic Kraftwerk's Komietenmelodie 2 , can somebody put a chord chart for it? Lets talk about why they made such harmonic decisions (i clearly here 2 different tonalities there)?

Well, to make techno you don't need much musical knowledge. Anyone CAN do techno (Though not anyone can do CAN Very Happy ), its just 4/4, and simple bassline, repeating same pattern overandoverandover. Its a kind of today's punk. Also thats why it lost its elitism flavor, which Kraftwerk or Harmonia ( or Ash ra or other german post-psychedelic electronics) had. Though, in terms of orchestration (or contrapunkt), it has some taste, it has a place for maneuver (at least rhythmically). In minimal techno, for example, you can often hear clicks or boops in ridiculous places, it doesn't make sense, but as soon as 4/4 kicks in its a sense of a relief, its a syncope somewhere in the pattern. It is what contrapunkt is about (at least for me).
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abreaktor



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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

heh, thats an interesting aspect, i use rhythmic "counterpoint" a lot. last time i ran across a fine example of this (in a very basic and powerful form) was when listening to fluxion (chain reaction, around 2000 i think). stream I and stream II

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFYoQvdDIRE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G65B57vaXOU

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bandcoach



Joined: Feb 27, 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Heaps of questions about harmony Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

HarmonyNoob123 wrote:
hey folks
Chords
Does electronic music (especially electro) have chords? And which instrument usually plays the chords in electronic music? I quess it's a chord-playing synthesizer? If yes, how has the chord-playing synthesizer to sound like (the same as the lead-synth)?
And is it possible do make musik without chords (techno)?


As has already been said, any music can have chords. Why? Because as you play two or more melodic lines, you will naturally generate chords or the impression of chords as the music flows.

Quote:

Counterpoint and adding of other instruments to the melody
How can i figure out what the bass is playing according to the lead instrument's melody? -> Is it just about counterpoint and nothing else? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterpoint)


The bass line can be deduced from the melody as it is in most 19th/20th century harmony texts. However, it is more common to identify the underlying harmonic progression and harmonic rhythm and then create a bass line that outlines the harmony, rather than being a melodic line that intertwines with the lead melody.

So, yes, you can use counterpoint in the strictest terms although in practise within pop music you are more likely to find the bass relegated to simply being a rhythmic underpinning of the root harmonic progression.

Quote:

And if I want to add additional instruments (especially e guitar or strings) is it only about counterpoint-theory as well?

i hope you understand my weird questions Smile otherwise feel free to ask for explanation.

thank you very much!


Um, yes and no. Most pop music (and electro/techno music is no exception here) uses the arranging quartet of

  1. melody
  2. countermelody
  3. harmony
  4. rhythmic impetus


This does not mean that there are only four instruments. You can have several instruments at each level in the above structure, playing together or independently. The degree to which you use traditional counterpoint methods is down to you and is only limited by your imagination and ultimately what sounds good.
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abreaktor



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

sup bandcoach

for us non-educated producers, i found chordspace to be immensely helpful.

http://www.chordspace.com/ChordSpaceindex.htm

alsoplustoo, its freeware!

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Freds 1030



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You can find counterpoint even in the simplest styles of music. Not necessarily the "traditional" classical or jazz counterpoint, but the whole idea of 2 or more lines playing together.

If you understand this concept you can derivate harmony principles and ideas, as well as chord theory from this.

In other words, I really recommend studying counterpoint. It will help you with any style of music and your understanding of music will grow a lot. I would go as far as saying that you can apply counterpoint principles to other arts, like writing or painting.

So don't try to differentiate too much chords, from counterpoint, from rhythm, etc. Everything is related and like some have said, at the end there's no right and wrong. But is better to break the "rules" when you actually know them.
Everything will make more sense then and music will probably be more interesting.

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Praxis Axis



Joined: May 09, 2011
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One of the interesting things about electronic music is that a synth is an especially good instrument for unravelling timbre and the harmonic structure of what is ostensibly a single pitch. The way that timbral exploration, manipulation and change can be used to create musical interest and development - sometimes in place of harmony - is perhaps the most notable thing that electronic music has offered western music in general.

Having said that of course there is harmony in all sorts of electronic music, much of which is standard triadic harmony (again in many cases, perhaps, the interest is more to do with timbral manipulation).

I guess what I'm saying is that if you get into electronic music, you're perhaps missing the best part if you are not interested in exploring the physical interior of sound, as well as abstract things like pitch and harmony.
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