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Mass confusion! Please help! #2889082
09/10/19 06:48 PM
09/10/19 06:48 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 8
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Steve-22 Offline OP
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Steve-22  Offline OP
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Hi,

I'm learning from book and confused about an exercise that is asking me to incorporate "rising fifths" and "falling thirds" into a melody line, but fails to specify what these actually mean.

I tried to search for these terms online, and somehow ended up at Riders on the storm by The Doors. That descending arpeggio in the beginning is supposed to be "falling thirds", but then it gets confusing because you start on B, then go down to G (which is a third down and it makes sense), and then it steps up a major 2nd to A (or goes from scale degree 1/G to 2/A). So if it's "falling thirds", but then it's "rising major seconds"? Wouldn't falling thirds mean B -> G -> E -> C -> A -> F# and so on?

And another question regarding rising fifths and falling thirds: what about other "rising" and "falling" numbers? If I'm asked to do a rising fourth or a rising sixth, then do I have to assume perfect fourths and a major sixths? Do you have to count diatonically (scale degrees) or chromatically (semitones)? This is so confusing to me. I'm sorry. frown

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Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: Steve-22] #2889089
09/10/19 07:04 PM
09/10/19 07:04 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 12,179
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by Steve-22
Hi,

I'm learning from book and confused about an exercise that is asking me to incorporate "rising fifths" and "falling thirds" into a melody line, but fails to specify what these actually mean.

Here is a melody of my own invention wink that incorporates 'rising fifths' and 'falling thirds'.

I envisaged it in F# major smirk , but for simplicity's sake, I'll transpose it down to C major:

C - G - E - C - A - F - D - B - F - D - E. (C - G, A - F, B - F and D - E goes up, all others go down). Notice there are major and minor thirds, and perfect and diminished fifths. Not to mention a minor sixth and a major second somewhere, but hey, no melody is perfect......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: Steve-22] #2889186
09/11/19 06:34 AM
09/11/19 06:34 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,838
Ireland (ex England)
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zrtf90 Offline
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Incorporating rising fifths and falling thirds means to include them; they needn't be used exclusively so Riders On the Storm incorporates falling thirds but isn't exclusively falling thirds. The opening of Bach's Invention No. 1 includes falling thirds and a rising fifth.

If you're familiar with the circle of fifths, a rising fifth is one move clockwise and a falling third is one move to the inside.

Originally Posted by Steve-22
If I'm asked to do a rising fourth or a rising sixth, then do I have to assume perfect fourths and a major sixths?
Count the intervals in scale degrees and with regard to the key you're in. The letter name is the more important part of the interval name, the quality changes based on the key and prevailing chromaticism.

A (sharp, natural or flat) to C (sharp, natural or flat) is a third. Ab to Cb, A to C and A# to C# are all minor thirds. Ab to C natural and A to C# are major thirds. A# to C is a diminished third. Ab to C# is an augmented third.

When learning from a book, one book is seldom enough. Being sorry is unnecessary here. smile



Richard
Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: Steve-22] #2889235
09/11/19 11:06 AM
09/11/19 11:06 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,653
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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Originally Posted by Steve-22
Hi,

I'm learning from book and confused about an exercise that is asking me to incorporate "rising fifths" and "falling thirds" into a melody line, but fails to specify what these actually mean.

I tried to search for these terms online, and somehow ended up at Riders on the storm by The Doors. That descending arpeggio in the beginning is supposed to be "falling thirds", but then it gets confusing because you start on B, then go down to G (which is a third down and it makes sense), and then it steps up a major 2nd to A (or goes from scale degree 1/G to 2/A). So if it's "falling thirds", but then it's "rising major seconds"? Wouldn't falling thirds mean B -> G -> E -> C -> A -> F# and so on?

And another question regarding rising fifths and falling thirds: what about other "rising" and "falling" numbers? If I'm asked to do a rising fourth or a rising sixth, then do I have to assume perfect fourths and a major sixths? Do you have to count diatonically (scale degrees) or chromatically (semitones)? This is so confusing to me. I'm sorry. frown


I guess the question that comes to my mind in all of this is ….

Where are you in your musical journey ? Beginner …… early intermediate ….. intermediate ….. expert …..


This topic does not seem appropriate for a beginner but maybe that is because I have been at this many years and I have NEVER heard of it.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: bennevis] #2889360
09/11/19 04:51 PM
09/11/19 04:51 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 8
S
Steve-22 Offline OP
Junior Member
Steve-22  Offline OP
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Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 8
Quote
Here is a melody of my own invention wink that incorporates 'rising fifths' and 'falling thirds'.

I envisaged it in F# major smirk , but for simplicity's sake, I'll transpose it down to C major:

C - G - E - C - A - F - D - B - F - D - E. (C - G, A - F, B - F and D - E goes up, all others go down). Notice there are major and minor thirds, and perfect and diminished fifths. Not to mention a minor sixth and a major second somewhere, but hey, no melody is perfect......


Thank you. I sort of understand it now.

Last edited by Steve-22; 09/11/19 04:51 PM.
Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: dmd] #2889369
09/11/19 05:04 PM
09/11/19 05:04 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 8
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Steve-22 Offline OP
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Steve-22  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Incorporating rising fifths and falling thirds means to include them; they needn't be used exclusively so Riders On the Storm incorporates falling thirds but isn't exclusively falling thirds. The opening of Bach's Invention No. 1 includes falling thirds and a rising fifth.

If you're familiar with the circle of fifths, a rising fifth is one move clockwise and a falling third is one move to the inside.

Originally Posted by Steve-22
If I'm asked to do a rising fourth or a rising sixth, then do I have to assume perfect fourths and a major sixths?
Count the intervals in scale degrees and with regard to the key you're in. The letter name is the more important part of the interval name, the quality changes based on the key and prevailing chromaticism.

A (sharp, natural or flat) to C (sharp, natural or flat) is a third. Ab to Cb, A to C and A# to C# are all minor thirds. Ab to C natural and A to C# are major thirds. A# to C is a diminished third. Ab to C# is an augmented third.

When learning from a book, one book is seldom enough. Being sorry is unnecessary here. smile



Thank you so much! Yes, I'm familiar with the circle of fifths and agree that one source of wisdom is usually not enough. If you have any book recommendations on this topic, then I'd greatly appreciate it as I'm eager to learn. smile


Originally Posted by dmd
I guess the question that comes to my mind in all of this is ….

Where are you in your musical journey ? Beginner …… early intermediate ….. intermediate ….. expert …..


This topic does not seem appropriate for a beginner but maybe that is because I have been at this many years and I have NEVER heard of it.




I'm a beginner on the piano, but spent prior time learning about theory. I wanted to fill in the gaps if there were any, so bought the book and arrived at the exercise that left me confused. So while I'm learning to play the piano, I'm also learning about melody and harmony on the side. I understand that my question might fall outside the beginners section, but I do feel like a beginner. Hope that makes sense and isn't an issue. smile

Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: Steve-22] #2889391
09/11/19 05:43 PM
09/11/19 05:43 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,774
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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Northern England.
Glad nobody taught me this stuff! Ignorance is most assuredly bliss!


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Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: Steve-22] #2889398
09/11/19 06:10 PM
09/11/19 06:10 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,653
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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dmd  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,653
Pennsylvania
Originally Posted by Steve-22
I'm a beginner on the piano, but spent prior time learning about theory. I wanted to fill in the gaps if there were any, so bought the book and arrived at the exercise that left me confused. So while I'm learning to play the piano, I'm also learning about melody and harmony on the side. I understand that my question might fall outside the beginners section, but I do feel like a beginner. Hope that makes sense and isn't an issue. smile


Not an issue at all.

I just thought I would check to be sure you were not getting too deep into things a beginner does not need to deal with.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: Steve-22] #2889471
09/12/19 12:09 PM
09/12/19 12:09 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,153
Canada
keystring Offline
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This thread has left me with "????" from the beginning. I believe I have a decent grasp of theory, but these fifths and thirds are without any kind of context. Can someone who has an idea explain what this is about, and in what kind of context, in order to do what?

Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: keystring] #2889476
09/12/19 12:27 PM
09/12/19 12:27 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,653
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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Originally Posted by keystring
This thread has left me with "????" from the beginning. I believe I have a decent grasp of theory, but these fifths and thirds are without any kind of context. Can someone who has an idea explain what this is about, and in what kind of context, in order to do what?


Having "never heard of this" …. Let me take a crack at it.

It appears this is a theory concept aimed at those interested in composing music.

It is suggesting that the op should try to create a melody line which contains notes which are a 5th apart and going up …. therefore …. a rising fifth.

You can then surmise what a falling third might be.

What is it good for ?

Probably nothing unless you are composing music.

This is a guess (educated, I think) …. but a guess, none-the-less.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: dmd] #2889529
09/12/19 02:23 PM
09/12/19 02:23 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,153
Canada
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by keystring
This thread has left me with "????" from the beginning. I believe I have a decent grasp of theory, but these fifths and thirds are without any kind of context. Can someone who has an idea explain what this is about, and in what kind of context, in order to do what?


Having "never heard of this" …. Let me take a crack at it.

It appears this is a theory concept aimed at those interested in composing music.

It is suggesting that the op should try to create a melody line which contains notes which are a 5th apart and going up …. therefore …. a rising fifth.

You can then surmise what a falling third might be.

What is it good for ?

Probably nothing unless you are composing music.

This is a guess (educated, I think) …. but a guess, none-the-less.

I can guess too, but I wanted to get beyond guessing. wink When I studied formal theory, there were patterns that are commonly used in music. These patterns were explained, and then exercises were given toward them. There was a broader context. I was thinking that something similar might be going on here, and if someone has run into it, maybe they can give more information.

As an example, I have a vague recollection that a leap, followed by another leap, in the same direction, was generally a no-no because it created something ugly. I could actually see the rising fifth and falling third to be along this line. I can also see it knitting together with harmony in some ways.

Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: keystring] #2889616
09/12/19 06:53 PM
09/12/19 06:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,301
Midwest USA
Stubbie Offline
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by keystring
This thread has left me with "????" from the beginning. I believe I have a decent grasp of theory, but these fifths and thirds are without any kind of context. Can someone who has an idea explain what this is about, and in what kind of context, in order to do what?


Having "never heard of this" …. Let me take a crack at it.

It appears this is a theory concept aimed at those interested in composing music.

It is suggesting that the op should try to create a melody line which contains notes which are a 5th apart and going up …. therefore …. a rising fifth.

You can then surmise what a falling third might be.

What is it good for ?

Probably nothing unless you are composing music.

This is a guess (educated, I think) …. but a guess, none-the-less.

I can guess too, but I wanted to get beyond guessing. wink When I studied formal theory, there were patterns that are commonly used in music. These patterns were explained, and then exercises were given toward them. There was a broader context. I was thinking that something similar might be going on here, and if someone has run into it, maybe they can give more information.

As an example, I have a vague recollection that a leap, followed by another leap, in the same direction, was generally a no-no because it created something ugly. I could actually see the rising fifth and falling third to be along this line. I can also see it knitting together with harmony in some ways.
Certainly if you were using voice leading principles for composition a la Bach chorales, you would use leaps of a fifth sparingly. Even for instrumental composition you wouldn't want very many linked together in the same direction.


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Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: Steve-22] #2889964
09/13/19 12:51 PM
09/13/19 12:51 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 242
Connecticut, USA
MichaelJK Offline

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MichaelJK  Offline

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Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 242
Connecticut, USA
This is an important thing to understand.

These are falling thirds:

[Linked Image]

You might see them more clearly as thirds if you notated it this way:

[Linked Image]

So, these are falling thirds, as well:

[Linked Image]

Yes, they separated by 2nds and 6ths, but that's not the point. They're still thirds:

[Linked Image]

Re: Mass confusion! Please help! [Re: MichaelJK] #2890113
09/13/19 11:04 PM
09/13/19 11:04 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 8
S
Steve-22 Offline OP
Junior Member
Steve-22  Offline OP
Junior Member
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Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
This is an important thing to understand.

These are falling thirds:

[Linked Image]

You might see them more clearly as thirds if you notated it this way:

[Linked Image]

So, these are falling thirds, as well:

[Linked Image]

Yes, they separated by 2nds and 6ths, but that's not the point. They're still thirds:

[Linked Image]



Thank you MichaelJK! I think yours is the best explanation along with zrtf90's response. The exercise DID specify the key (CMaj), but I missed it somehow and hence the confusion. I apologize for that.

However I learned how these falling and rising degrees shouldn't have to be strict, and you may walk up or down.

It was worth asking. Thank you for all the help. smile

Last edited by Steve-22; 09/13/19 11:05 PM.

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