Music Theory

Music Theory

by Carl E. Gardner

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Chord Construction.

A chord is a combination of two or more tones sounded simultaneously. All chords are constructed in thirds. The fundamental tone of a chord is the tone on which the chord is constructed.

A chord of three tones is a triad which consists of a fundamental together with its third and its fifth. Triads are divided into two classes, independent and dependent. The independent triads have no dissonant intervals and may end a composition. The dependent chords have one or more dissonant intervals and are "restless" chords and demand another chord to follow. The progression of a dependent chord to an independent chord, thereby obtaining a restful effect, is called resolution.

There are two kinds of independent triads, major and minor. A major triad consists of the fundamental, the major third, and the perfect fifth.


The tonic and subdominant of the major mode and the submediant of the minor mode are formed with the major triad and the major seventh. The dominant seventh in both modes is formed with the major triad and the minor seventh. The seventh chords on n, in and vi in the major mode and on iv of the minor mode are formed with the minor triad and the minor seventh. The seventh chords on VII° in the major mode and on II° in the minor mode are formed with the diminished triad and the minor seventh. The subtonic seventh chord in the minor mode is called the diminished seventh and is formed with the diminished triad and the diminished seventh. The seventh chord on the mediant in the minor mode is formed with the augmented triad and the major seventh. The seventh chord on the tonic of the minor mode is formed with the minor triad and the major seventh. In four voice writing, all the seventh chords with the exception of those on the subtonic of both modes are often written without the fifth and with the doubled fundamental. All seventh chords are dependent chords and their natural resolution is to the chord the fundamental of which is situated a fourth above or a fifth below the fundamental of the seventh chord. This progression is called "cadencing resolution." The subtonic seventh chord of both modes may also naturally resolve to the tonic. The most important seventh chord is the dominant, which resolves to the tonic. This progression is called the authentic close. Another method of ending a composition is by the plagal close which is a progression from subdominant harmony (triad ) to tonic. The plagal close is preceded by the authentic close and is also called the after cadence and the Amen cadence.



The science of sound, including its cause and effect and the manner, velocity, and intensity of its conveyance through different media, is called acoustics.

The medium through which sound is most commonly propagated is air. Through this medium, at a temperature of 32° Fahrenheit, sound travels at a rate of 1090 feet per second. The quality and intensity of sound do not alter the rate of speed. If this were not true, ensemble music would be impossible. Intensity of sound is greater in condensed air; velocity of sound is greater in a warm temperature.

Many experiments have been made to determine the velocity of sound, the most reliable of which vary not over seven feet per second. The average of six of the best experiments, made in the early part of the nineteenth century, is 1089.7 feet per second at 32° Fahrenheit. Ten hundred and ninety feet per second is the rate now generally adopted.

Wind and temperature are the only circumstances affecting the velocity of sound in the air to any extent. Sound travels about four times faster through water than through air, and about ten times faster through solids such as metals and wood than through air. A sudden displacement of the molecules of a medium produces sound which travels in waves at an equal velocity in all directions. An idea of the manner in which sound waves travel may be obtained by throwing a stone in water; small waves are propagated from the point of impact which, if the water be still, spread equally in all directions, but if it be running water, the waves extend a greater distance downstream than up stream. The effect of wind on sound waves may be compared to the effect of running water on the waves propagated by the impact of the stone.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940011984471
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 12/27/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 500,484
File size: 2 MB

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