Re: neutralizing pivot tones

"Steve Latham" <llatham@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message

"Abstract Dissonance" <Abstract.Dissonance@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message


And I guess that if you do things like this then it can sound like your a
lunatic if you don't know what your doing? i.e., in my music I might
think I'm sounding sophistocated but I just end up sounding crazy(or

I think amateurish is not the best word, but it's one commonly used. A
parallel is - you've seen this in movies where someone starts to tell the
joke, and then they go, "wait, I meant..." or they screw up the punchline.
It's like they start something but don't have the skill to finish it, so
in a sense, music written like that (to me) sounds like a bunch of started
ideas, without any real conclusion.

Yeah, but amateures do this. If someone is fumbling around then it could
mean they are an amateur or "rusty" or is doing it intentionally. I think
difference between a pro and a novice tends to be in execution and
confidence. A pro knows how to do what is to be done and knows it.

So your right in that when you listen to my "music" that it sounds like a
bunch of juxtaposed ideas... because it is. I either don't know how to fix
out ideas from one idea to make a stream of connected things or I don't know
how to connect two distinct ideas in a musical way(and maybe its not easy to
do that).


Is that basically the idea? i.e., the point is for everyone to get a
consistent analysis instead of something that might differ drastically
for each person.

I'm not sure what you're asking here? The point of what?

For the way analysis is done.... basically working from the end to the
beginning. Is it done so that we all get very similar results because if we
worked on that instantaneous interpretation then each person my conlude
something totally different than the other(which is kinda obvious because no
one really knows what will happen next)?


It sounds is if you kinda mix the two "methods"
of analysis sometimes. Sometimes you say we either know where were going
but other times you can imply that we don't.

To a degree. But when you're analyzing on paper you always have the
ability to look ahead. If you view any one chord or bit in isolation ou
don't know what's happening on a scale outside of that bit, and you may
not even know what's happening with that bit until you see the larger

I guess here I'm using the term unexpected in the wrong way though. I'm
still associating it with "immediate analysis"(the way I seem to want to
analyze). But here unexpected should refer to something that is
something that is not "standard" or not "common".

Let's say that while we can look ahead an the surprise is "spoiled", we
still analyze it in many ways as if we were hearing it. But think of
this - we simply put V-vi. We don't write "deceptive" in. But, we know
what musical felleing we've expereinced in other V-vi situations an that
"unexpected" resolution is something we understood would happen if we were
listening to the music without the ability to see the future. So there is
some overlap in that sense.

For me though. V-vi is not deceptive or supprising or anything. To me its
just a sound. Its just a "mood" or something. When I hear a V-vi I don't
say.. oh.. I was expecting a V-I. I don't expect anything in music ;/
Atleast I think that. I do expect certain things ofcourse such as continuity
but not in general. I mean, if some song started out classical like in for
absolutely no reason it broke out in some jazz stuff then I would be
supprised. Now maybe this is just because I have no learned to recognize
the traits of style and hence I treat a V-vi and a V-I on the same level....
but if I really knew about the classical style then a V-vi might supprise me
more. Or maybe my ear is just to modern? Obviously somethings that were
unsual in Bach's time became usual or excepted in Beethovens time. Maybe my
ear has some strong "non-functional" view of harmony? I don't have a problem
with many progressions and don't say things like "thats unusual" or "That
chord was unexpected" except in the extreme case.

I guess though this is all really about knowing the style and the composer.
You can only have unexpected things if you make things expected. So maybe I
just don't know classical style or know what its suppose to be expected and
hence its hard for me to know what is unexpected?


And is this something that everyones hear does but "uneducated" ears just
can't describe what is happening but they still hear the same thing(in
some subconscious way)?

Let's not say everyone - only those who've grown up with an understanding
of tonal music and its patterns. Even a rock listener might not notice
anything unusual about a V/V-V other than it sounds a little different
than your standard I vi IV V fare. But yes for those that might notice as
something out of the ordinary (they're common of course, but I mean in
relation to key) might not be able to put it in words (because it's
conceptual) or they don't know the definitions others use for that thing.


Yeah, but I just never really payed much attention to much in that way.

In my personal opinion, this music is not designed to just "hear" as one
might hear the sounds of a foreign language speaker. The sounds might be
pleasant or evoke imagery, etc. but you don't understand it. And don't you
think there can be a deeper understanding of the work as a whole if we
understand the content. You might find a chinese poem about a snake that
you don't know that because you don't understand the language, and you
notice a lot of sssss sounds in it (I don't know that the Chinese word for
snake even has an "ess" sound). You might notice there are a lot of ssss
sounds, and you might like it, and it might even remind you of a snake.
But, when you understand the poem is:
A sleek snake slithers through grass like glass
suddenly strikes
(copyright Steve Latham 2006 - I kind of like this one :-).


I don't doubt that music as evolved to such a degree. Its just that I do
not understand it this way. I am starting to get glispses of it though. I
just hope it doesn't take another 10 years for me to finally "get it".

If the word strikes was spoken with a "biting" attack, then it has even
more of an impact on your understanding, and hopefully enjoyment of the

Now that's not to say music shouldn't contain the simple things, or must
contain these deeper meanings, but it is my belief that the works that
endure the longest do so because they do appeal on these multiple levels.
Beethoven "sounds nice" on the surface and appeals to those who don't
understand so much about music and just like the sound. For people like
me, I hear all of the games, and "just right", and "sublime" moments in
the music. For literary people they might enjoy the Romantic extra-musical
aspectsa tied in with musical associations, and so on. I think that's
where a lof of pieces like Fugues don't gain the public appeal because
they tend not to just "sound nice" on the surface, nor or they really
inteded to. I think you're sort of expected to understand a little about
the form (like reading a novel with a lot of symbolism - if you don't get
the symbolism you can't enjoy it at the level the author intended (becuase
they obviously stuck in the symbolism).

Yes, I believe the same thing. I think our brain is obssesed with patterns
and when it hears music it tries to figure out whats going on and how things
are related. The masters could express this through music. (which is kinda
obvious but requires a lot of dedication or talent to bring it about)

I don't think music can tell a story but it can give the illusion of the
story. When I listen to music though it tends to be listening in the moment.
Just the sounds and how the move from one to another. When there is a
crecendo or the little rhythmic ideas bounced between instruments. If the
sounds themselfs are good then these things give me interest... but I don't
seem them in relation to form... just to the movement of musical ideas but
not the ideas themselfs. I'm not sure how to explain it. I guess everyone
hears like this though.

But lately I've made a little progress where, say, I'll hear something and
then later on hear the idea or somethign very similar and I'll get a little
out of that. I think its mainly my musical memory though. I can't remember
musical ideas very well and so its hard for me to see the big picture
because I forget to easily(always been my problem). I think my short term
memory is screwed up.

always kinda "lived" in the moment and never though to much about what I
was hearing. I'm trying to force myself to pay more attention. Sometimes
its easy and sometimes its hard(It was real easy at one point for about a
month then everything went to shit and its much harder now ;/

Because you're probably sub-consciously already figureing out the stuff
you already know, and now you're starting to notice the more complex
things and starting to digest them - whereas before they were so far above
as to be un-noticeable. And it should be easy and hard - that's what keeps
the music interesting. Again, music I really love I tend to always find
something new. Each time I have listened to Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata
I've discovered something new. That keeps me coming back for more.

Yeah, I guess I shouldn't worry about it to much because if it was easy then
it probably would be boring.

I'm starting to recognize phrases and such repetitions(even from
different sections) and how things are modified or sequenced. Its not
easy but I've made a little progress in it.

And the more you learn, the easier it will be.


For example, I love the progression vi V IV III(or iii) vi. This doesn't
seeme to be a CPP progression but its very natural to me for some reason

Oddly enough, nothing about CPP really seems "natural" to me. Gregorian
Chant seems very natural to me. Debussy seems very inevitable to me (like
it was the only logical choice for him to do that). Beethoven actually
seems a little "forced" to me. But it's like, in Gregorian chant, you take
a picture of a still life. In Debussy, you put that still life with the
sun at a certain angle, becuase that's when you noticed it was cool, and
in Beethoven, the still life consists of objects that weren't actually
there already, but assembled specifically to make a still life. I think
one is "capturing" one is "capturing at a precise instant" and one is
"creating". I don't know if that makes sense, but I like each for their
own reasons.

hehe. I don't think of it in those terms. For me its about the sounds.
Beethovens sounds seem almost always harmonious and natural and flow very
smoothly into the next. Kinda like a pond of water. Bach is similar but the
water is has a lot of ripples and sometimes there are splashes. I kinda
feel somewhat about Bach about how you feel about Beethoven. It seems a
little forced or contrived at times like he just did what he did for
technical reasons or because of a rule or some other reason excep the sound.
Like theres all these dissonances that he plays that just kill my ear. They
stick out like a sore thumb. Like I'm trying to play the 2nd prelude in
Cminor of the WTC1 and the 3rd bar just drives me nuts. Theres a C in the
bass and a B in the soprano and not only does it kill my ear, it happens
twice. I don't get very much satisfaction from its resolution either. This
piece sounds very good but also bad to me.

Its similar to the predude in C. The repeated notes get very boring and the
only reason I like it is because of the beautiful sounds and progressions
that occur in it(but sometimes there are ones that sound bad).

Its similar to the toccata in Dmin.... wher the C# dim chord is played and
is very dissonant then resolves into the Dmaj sus chord to Dmaj(not that
there is a Dsus in there but thats what I'm calling it for sake of
argument). Its the most beautiful thing I've probably ever heard(as far as
short ideas like this).


This seems to be the problem though. What if you don't have another

Too bad so sad. You can only go on what you remember.

What if you were back in Beethoven's day where there wasn't recordings
and you went to a live performance... are you saying that analysis here
is not really possible(in the sense we are talking about)?

O, I mentioned this one, but haven't mentioned it enough: This analysis
also includes "established patterns" - things you hear from hearing other
similar works. You've heard people joke about how similar all Vivaldi is,
or even how Mozart is a "paint by numbers" composer in many respects. I
agree (but for different reasons) and after you listen to a bunch of
things, you begin to predict things in other pieces. Sequences are a good
example - after the opening bars of most Baroque works and even Classical
pieces you can expect a Sequence. And they typically do it. So it's like
data compression: instead of worrying about whether X chord is part of Y
or Z, we expect X to be part of a modulation and can just hear "N" as
representing X, Y and Z. It's surprising (and makes you take note of it)
when it doesn't go through a sequence. So there are certain familiar
patterns that let you accept broader strokes rather than beat by beat

Yeah. But I think maybe the problem is, is that when I listen I don't have
a way to interpret what I hear. Its just sounds... I can't really say that
that chord is a dominant or secondary dominant or whatever.. sometimes I
feel strongly that it could be but I tend to not even guess because I could
be wrong... and most things seem to go by way to fast and I can get
distracted by different chord voicings and such(and the bass is a bitch for
me to hear ;/

like in the Cmin prelude he starts off in a Cmin chord with some parallel
6ths) and then 4 bars later does the same chord but exchanges the inner
voices... but the chord sounds different yet sounds similar. I'm very quick
to say its a different chord because it sounds so different(specially with
the NHT's).

I guess I just need to play a bunch of chord progressions and listen to them
and write down what they are and stuff and just keep doing that. Just by
working on these preludes I'm kinda hearing some of it. i.e., I can play the
different "figurations" of the same chord and hear what is similar and what
is different and then try and keep in mine that those similarities are what
makes it the same chord.

I think the idea is that you kinda have to ignore the "moving" notes and
somehow capture the overall sound. If I do this I can kinda hear the chords
as just blocks of sounds and then its more obvious how those chords sound
and relate to the next... but its hard cause my brain wants to focus on the
melodies and stuff.