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Posted By: Animisha Perfect fifths and minor sixths - 07/11/20 05:10 PM
I have "composed" these two rows of perfect fifths and minor sixths. The first row goes down, the second row goes up, as a mirror of the first row, with the exact same intervals. When I listen to it, I find that the first row sounds harmonious, but the second row does not. My husband agrees with this.

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* Do you also agree?
* And if you agree, why does the row that goes down sound more harmonious than the row that goes up?

Animisha
Posted By: Charles Cohen Re: Perfect fifths and minor sixths - 07/11/20 05:24 PM
They both sound fine to me.
Posted By: Ido Re: Perfect fifths and minor sixths - 07/11/20 06:36 PM
The bottom row sounds like a series of V->I (minor, then major, then again minor and major). So you get tension and relief.
The upper one is reversed so it has open endings, and less 'final' resolution.
Don't know about them sounding harmonious or not though (is there a definition to that?)
Posted By: wouter79 Re: Perfect fifths and minor sixths - 07/11/20 07:09 PM
Ido +1. In my ears the second line sounds logical, with leading tones leading to scale notes (g# to a, d# to e, f# to g) while the first line has leading tones not resolving/coming out of nowhere.

I suppose with "harmonious" you are referring to the structure as a whole as the chords are identical. The only thing I can think of is if you play this with first chord strong, second chord weak, then the first line has the 5ths on the main beat, while the second line has the less harmonious 6ths on the main beat.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Perfect fifths and minor sixths - 07/11/20 07:16 PM
One strong rule of counterpoint is that you do not go to perfect fifth or octave by parallel motion in the outer voices .....so your second row is definitely more correct than the first and harmonically you go from first inversion of a dominant to tonic which makes sense.
Posted By: Animisha Re: Perfect fifths and minor sixths - 07/12/20 06:31 AM
Thank you for your answers! True food for thought. Sidokar, what do you mean by "outer voices"?
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Perfect fifths and minor sixths - 07/12/20 07:53 AM
Originally Posted by Animisha
Thank you for your answers! True food for thought. Sidokar, what do you mean by "outer voices"?

In your case there is only 2 voices, but you could have 3 or 4. In that situation, the rule would apply to the bass and the top voice (because it is more audible). It is more flexible if the perfect fifth involves an inner voice. The rule is not an absolute one, and in practice there are exceptions, even with Bach, but it is a good one to avoid a certain harmonic void as much as it is possible. In counterpoint classes in conservatories it is usually strictly forbidden.

A good exercice is to harmonize a diatonic descending top voice using regular harmony.
Posted By: Animisha Re: Perfect fifths and minor sixths - 07/12/20 12:26 PM
Originally Posted by Sidokar
A good exercice is to harmonize a diatonic descending top voice using regular harmony.
This is way, way above my head. smile
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Perfect fifths and minor sixths - 07/12/20 01:32 PM
Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by Sidokar
A good exercice is to harmonize a diatonic descending top voice using regular harmony.
This is way, way above my head. smile

I really think you can, once you know the chords I, IV and V. That works with these 3 chords and their inversions. For example you start with C in the top voice, obviously that would be the tonic in root position so you put C in the bass and E somewhere as a third voice, then B that would a dominant chord, A for a IV chord and so on, and the last 2 chords would be a dominant in root position and the tonic again.
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