MUSI 112: Listening to Music

Lecture 7

 - Harmony: Chords and How to Build Them


Professor Wright explains the way harmony works in Western music. Throughout the lecture, he discusses the ways in which triads are formed out of scales, the ways that some of the most common harmonic progressions work, and the nature of modulation. Professor Wright focuses particularly on the listening skills involved in hearing whether harmonies are changing at regular or irregular rates in a given musical phrase. His musical examples in this lecture are wide-ranging, including such diverse styles as grand opera, bluegrass, and 1960s American popular music.

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MUSI 112 - Lecture 7 - Harmony: Chords and How to Build Them

Chapter 1. Introduction to Harmony [00:00:00]

Professor Craig Wright: All right. Let’s get started. Here we go again. Going to have some fun again today. Notice, of course, we have the sign-in sheet when you come in every morning, a great thing to do. As we say, this is not Yale’s most demanding class, but one thing we do ask you to do is come to the lectures and come to section. You may know if some day you are in fact ill that you’ll get an e-mail message from me about a half hour after class is over: “So sorry to hear that you were sick this morning. Hope you’re feeling better very soon.” So we do look after these things. Such an e-mail went out last time, but I’m preaching to the converted because you’re — you guys are already here so good for you.

Let’s continue with the discussion of the elements of music. We’re going to be working today with harmony. So far we’ve had two sessions specifically on rhythm, two sessions specifically on melody, and today we come to harmony. Harmony is one of the two things that really distinguishes the music of Western civilization — Western classical music, Western pop music. What are the two things? Well, as mentioned before, this dependence upon heavy usage of written musical notation — not so much in the pop music but certainly in the classical music — writing it all down, being able to manipulate it in that fashion, so that’s one thing that distinguishes Western classical music. Another aspect that we’re talking about today is harmony. Stop and think about it. Think about the melodies of China and Japan, virtually every — and Islamic countries — virtually every musical civilization around the world has more sophisticated melodies than we do in the West. Ours are very blunt in a way. They go from one discrete frequency to another discrete frequency to another discrete frequency, and they’re not making use of all of the material in between in any sort of nuanced way. Maybe it’s because we’re so dependent on the keyboard here. So that’s important to keep in mind.

Then let’s talk about rhythm for a moment. Is Western rhythm particularly sophisticated? I was listening as I was coming in this morning — WMNR. They had a Strauss waltz playing there, [sings]. How sophisticated is that rhythmically? Think of African music where you have one downbeat and one pattern working against another downbeat and another pattern. Caribbean music — African influence, the same kind of thing. It’s worlds ahead in terms of sophistication with regard to rhythm. But the one thing that’s distinguished Western music is this idea of harmony, this concept of superimposing multiple pitches. Interesting idea that you have this sound [plays piano], then you put another one with it, [plays piano], then put another one with it, another one, [plays piano], something like that, and you can play with these and manipulate these in interesting kinds of ways.

So piling up sounds simultaneously — this idea of harmony — is what makes Western music very special, and what we end up with here — I just reached for anything in my office — here is the overture to a score of a Mozart opera. And look here, how many parts we have playing simultaneously. Some of them may be repeating pitch names so somebody may be playing a C here and somebody else a C up there, that sort of thing. They may be duplicating pitch names, but you could have anywhere up to ten — well, in this case about fifteen — different sounds going at once, and you don’t get that in other musical cultures.

Chapter 2. The Formation and Changing of Chords [00:03:37]

Let’s talk for a moment about chords. What’s a chord? Well, a chord is just a simultaneous sounding of two or more pitches. And that’s a very basic general definition of a chord. And a chord can be, of course, consonant [plays piano] or it can be [plays piano] dissonant. So let’s stick with [plays piano] just consonant chords. We’ll be working with consonant chords today and the most fundamental of the consonant chords is this idea of the triad — this figure that we call the triad. It’s the building block, really, of all our harmonies, whether it’s pop or classical. And we’re going to use a lot of pop music today and there’ll be — we’ll be pointing out triads there in this pop music.

So what’s a triad? Well, obviously you get the idea of three pitches. How does it work?  Let’s go over to the keyboard and the staff here. Let’s say we’ve got a scale and we do have a scale, [sings] C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, and I wanted to construct a triad above each of these notes of the scale. Well, I take — well, this happens to be a C, middle C here, so a triad is going to have three pitches. You — and it spans five letter names — and we go one letter name, two letter names, three letter names, four letter names, five letter names. We take one, three, and five. Here I’m taking C, skipping D, taking E, skipping F and taking G, and it gives me this three-note aggregate. Take one, skip, take one, skip, take one, [sings] and we can do the same thing [sings] and so on right up the scale in that fashion.

Notice, as we’ve said before, we’ve got the scale, we’ve got some notes rather important in the scale. Tonic is very important, we’ve said, the — [sings] the leading tone is important so with chords and triads. Some are very important. The tonic is very important and this dominant — what we call the dominant. It’s not really the most important. It sort of leads into, pulls into — particularly important setting up the tonic. It’s the next important. Right below that is the sub-dominant. It often pulls into the dominant which then pulls into the tonic in that fashion. So we would get this idea of here is a chord here, [plays piano] there is the tonic, here is the dominant, [plays piano] there’s the sub-dominant, [plays piano] and there’s the tonic. We can flip this just a little bit. We can say, “All right. Here’s our tonic up here” [sings] and go that way. Tonic, sub-dominant, dominant, tonic, [sings] [plays piano] that way. So we could go — come up from the tonic or go down from the tonic.

Generally speaking, composers are more likely to go down from the tonic and then come back up to the tonic and then they aren’t likely to go the other way. So we’ve got these three basic chords that we’re going to talk about. There are others there that we’ve built on the second and the seventh degree of the scale, but these are the most important. And it’s surprising how much music these three basic chords can accommodate and all of the things — [plays piano] dominant, tonic, dominant, tonic, finally sub-dominant, tonic, dominant, tonic. So a lot of music is made in that fashion.

One of my favorite pieces, and I thought it was because it’s a good teaching piece and I thought it was known just to me and other old codgers, is an old cowboy song called “Streets of Laredo,” but last night I looked it up on You — not on YouTube, on iTunes, and there are one hundred thirty-nine recordings of that that you can buy now — Johnny Cash, Arlo Guthrie, but I’m interested — [plays piano] anybody ever heard that before? Raise your hand if you’ve heard that. One, two, three — well, a few people. So it’s a cowboy song. [plays piano] [sings] “As I walked out in the streets of Laredo, as I walked out in Laredo one day, I spied a cowpoke who was dressed in white linens, dressed in white linens as cold as the clay.” And as I was singing that all I was doing underneath was playing the basic harmony, the chords, and they consist just of two chords. [plays piano] [sings] As I — dominant, tonic, dominant, tonic, dominant, in that fashion. Why do chords have — why do we do that? Why do we have to change these chords? Any ideas? Why do we — why don’t we just say, [plays piano] [sings] “As I walked out in the streets of — ” Why do we change chords? Yeah.

Student: The melody changes.

Professor Craig Wright: The melody changes [plays piano] and because the melody changes and you keep banging that same aggregate against it it’s going to create what? A dissonance and we don’t want — we don’t like dissonances. If we’re going to have dissonances, we got to control them. [plays piano] If — unless I change that chord underneath when I get up here, [plays piano] that’s very dissonant. It doesn’t sound very silent for “Silent Night” there, so I need to switch to another chord [plays piano] and then switch back to the original. And so we change chords to make the harmony consonant or to make the harmony harmonious. All right. So that’s something that we need to keep in mind.

Here’s something else that’s — we’re going to ask you to focus on and that is the rate of harmonic change. We’re really going to be asking you two things. Is the harmony changing? Okay? Can you — is the harmony changing or is it static? And if it is changing, is it changing at a regular or irregular rate? By regular rate, every time a chord sounds it will be holding for exactly the same amount of time.

Let’s go back to “Streets of Laredo.” [plays piano] Conduct — three, one, two, three [sings]. What do you think? Regular or irregular? Regular. Okay? But no — well, okay. So that’s regular. Let’s go on to another one. [plays piano] Okay. I’m doing a lot there in the bass to make it more interesting, but let’s strip that down just to the fundamental chord that’s underneath of that so we’re — _[plays piano]. We’re sitting here on the tonic chord and we’ll go [sings] [plays piano], and we could even count it out: [plays piano] [sings] one-two, two-two, three-two, four-two, one-two, one-two, one-two, two-two, one-two, two-two, three-two, four-two, one-two, two-two, one-two, one-two. So some chords there are holding for — I guess four measures — four bars — and some for two and some for just one, so that’s an irregular rate of harmonic change.

So we’re not going to be asking you is — are we — “what chord do we have here,” and expect you to say sub-dominant or “what chord do we have you,” — here and expect you to say dominant. We’re going to be working with more fundamental things. Is the harmony changing? Is it changing at a regular or irregular rate? Okay. Notice I was playing up here [plays piano] a little “Jingle Bells.”

So what is it in music that sets the harmony? What part? Who — what’s the foundation of harmony? What instrument plays it? Where in the texture is it — are we talking high, low, middle? Low. It’s the bass. The bass — it’s like these pillars. Think of architecture. You get-your — you put these pilings in and then you can build other things around it. Well, those basic notes: [plays piano] the tonic note, the dominant note, the sub-dominant note, they’re sort of the pilings, and you can ornament around the piling. [plays piano] That’s just — I could [plays piano] in that fashion. That would be simple, from dominant to tonic, [plays piano] or I could make it a little more interesting. [sings] [plays piano] And that’s kind of what bass players do whether they’re playing electric bass in a rock band — maybe in an even more sophisticated way — an acoustic bass in a symphony or a double bass in a bluegrass band. And who is the world’s most famous double bass player in a bluegrass band? Anybody know? Well, think here at Yale. Well, we’ll see. Now what we’ve got here — let —

This is one that this world famous bass player was kind enough to loan me. It was something put together by Kentucky Public Television so let’s bring up this screen. So here’s the setup.

We’ve got a DVD from Kentucky Public Television involving, as you will see, some people that may look familiar. Does this person look familiar? Does anybody know this person? She’s a student around here. She was a Yale undergraduate and she’s telling us how she tried out for the Yale Symphony Orchestra, and she was designated as an alternate. And she was crestfallen, but she then saw this ad where some people wanted her to play in a bluegrass band. So let’s watch what happens. [

So our mystery bass player is Peter Salovey, the new provost. And I sent him an e-mail — I said, “Peter, look. We’re teaching bass over here. Why don’t you come in and bring your bass in and you can demonstrate this stuff.” “Oh, I’m a little bit busy [laughs] at the moment but I got this DVD. You can have this DVD and do whatever you want to it.” So what’s he doing there? [sings] And he’s working around these [plays piano] particular notes in this particular piece. We’re going to say here is a C, [sings] there’s the subdominant, [sings] then it goes [sings] and oftentimes he’s going [sings]. But again it’s just fleshing out that subdominant chord, dominant chord and tonic chord, and it’s — and we can all hear this.

Do we see — is this guy playing off the music? Again, get across the point — not using music. How are they doing this? They’re hearing the chords. They’re hearing tonic, subdominant and dominant, and I think we can hear them too. Anybody out there hearing these chords? Can you sing along with these? This is wonderful music. It’s great. I — how many like this music? It’s happy music, again. Is it — we should have a whole course on bluegrass music. It could really be good ‘cause a lot of interesting ethnic issues involved there.

So let’s continue here — and I’ll sort of bang on the piano — sing the basic pitches of the bass. And I hope you’ll join with me here. If you don’t like bluegrass, you don’t have to sing but if you like bluegrass sing along with me here. Okay. Here we go. [DVD playing] [sings] One, one, five, five, five, five, one, four, one, five, one.

Now I think this is Craig Harwood, who actually went through our Ph.D. program. He’s the dean of one of the colleges around here. What college? What? Davenport. So he’s very good — playing the mandolin here. He also runs a Klezmer Band. [laughs] [DVD playing].

I don’t know. Is this too goofy — or stay with this [laughs] or ditch this? I think it’s wonderful but you seem less excited by it than I. All right.

Chapter 3. Harmonic Progressions [00:19:52]

Let’s talk about how these basses — we said that the bass note is sort of the foundation and then you add these other things up above it, and they produce these chords and the chords are tonic and dominant and so on. Sometimes if you’re have a solo instrument the — you can play the bass as just a chord [plays piano] or you could play it [plays piano] — the same notes but spinning them out. And we call that an arpeggio — probably ‘cause the harps play this a lot, a sort of arpeggio, [plays piano] — taking the notes of the triad and just spinning them out in succession. And arpeggios work particularly well with — on triads with pieces that happen to be in three. [sings] [plays piano] “As I walked out in the streets of Laredo,” — one, two, three, one, two, three. So that’s an arpeggio — just a chord with the notes played successively to create an arpeggio. It works less well — these triadic arpeggios — with pieces in two. [plays piano] That’s not so good. Right? [plays piano] Kind of a metrical train wreck there.

So what we would do with that would be to find another pattern. And one of the favorite patterns ever since the eighteenth century was this thing called an Alberti bass. It goes [plays piano] one, then up to the fifth note, degree of the triad — one, five, three, five, one, five, three, five. [plays piano] And it sounds very classical. But that’s a good way of harmonizing something — making something that’s not very interesting sound more interesting.

Another way of doing it is just taking a note, [plays piano] kind of a boogie-woogie bass — if you just take octaves and roll it that way. Beethoven does this in the sonata [plays piano] and so on. So there you can get the harmony to sound more interesting simply by rolling that octave underneath. So all of these little tricks sort of energize the music, and, again, make it more interesting than it otherwise perhaps would be. Sometimes harmonies can stand by themselves. Sometimes you could take just the harmony and it would be very beautiful. J.S. Bach —

J.S. Bach wrote a prelude to the first book of his “Well-Tempered Clavier.” And it’s a famous work. It goes this way [plays piano] and so on. All it really is is [plays piano] a succession of chords played as arpeggios. So there it sat for about — well, I would — could say rather specifically about one hundred and forty years or so. And the French composer in the nineteenth century, Charles Gounod, came along and said, “Well, gee, that’s nice, but I could write a melody against that.” So we’re going to listen to this — listen to Bach’s harmony underneath. At the same time we listen to this lovely melody that Charles Gounod composed for it. And it gives a chance to think about melody and it gives us a chance to think about the sound of the cello. The cello is a particularly beautiful instrument. I’ve always said if I ever come back as a musical instrument I want to come back as a cello. And it’s just so rich and so beautiful and it can soar.

So let’s listen to a lovely cello line added over top of Bach’s original harmony. [music playing] Descending sequence. Here the pattern shows up again but at a lower step. [music playing] Now it sounds as if he’s going to do it yet a third time, but this time he takes that melody and moves up with it. [music playing] Now the rest of this, he’s arching for a high moment and we’ll get to that. It’s building higher and higher. [music playing]

[music playing] It comes back to the tonic after that lovely climax at the top of that. So we need to point out that we’ve got these two types of chords here, the idea of the — [plays piano] This was all in C major but we could turn this into C minor. Let’s go back and review this. We have up on the board again the scale. And we need to talk about these triads that are made up of either major or minor thirds. Here we could look at this way with this particular interval and this particular interval. Let’s go over to the keyboard here ‘cause I think it’s easier to show here so we’re going to start here with C because C is kind of revenue neutral.

We’ll start here with C and we’re going to take — skip one, take one, skip one, take one, so we do C, E, G. Notice coming up here, we have one, two, three, four half steps here. This is an interval. This interval from C up to E is the interval of a third because it spans three letter names. C up to G is a fifth. It spans five letter names. So we have C, D, E being a third with one, two, three, four steps in it — half steps. Now we’re going to go from E up to G. Notice here we get one, two, three — just three. And that’s because, as I said before, we’ve got this arbitrary division of the octave according to Greek mathematics onto which in the ninth and tenth and eleventh century the Benedictine monks laid on another system that didn’t quite work. So up here this all seems to be the same distance.

E to F seems to be the same distance as D to E but it’s not. It’s only half the distance. So we get this funny disjunction in the keyboard here. But in any event, the important thing to note is that we have a major triad with the big third on the bottom and the little third on the top. If we switched this around now and went to C, E-flat, G to give us the minor triad, then, of course, we would have just three half steps here and four here. — or reciprocal angles or something like that. You change one — ipso facto, you change the other. But that’s all of this in play and we’ve seen this in play before. Just the positioning of that third will determine whether this triad is a major triad or a minor triad.

Let’s see how this works out in terms of real sound. I’d like for you guys down here — [sings] Just hold that pitch. [sings] And TAs, can you sing the fifth? [sings] And nice and loud, everybody, and everyone else — [sings] There is the major third. Work with me. Everybody else sing that third. [sings] Now we’re going to go minor. [sings] Major, minor, major, okay. And it’s just tweaking that middle note of the triad there. That’s all that’s really involved. And composers have tweaked this. Here’s a piece by Franz Liszt. It was re-orchestrated by a contemporary composer, called “Lugubrious Gondola” in French — or in English, translated from the French. Let’s listen to a bit of it. It starts out with a woodwind instrument. What woodwind instrument is playing here? And then we’ll focus on the change from one triad to the next. [music playing]

So what instrument was that? Did you pick that up? Now everybody — yeah, it was a clarinet. Now if we were doing this on a quiz or a test, we’d probably play that three times so that you’d hear it a lot more than just that, but it was a clarinet. Now we go to this sound [plays piano] and watch what happens. [music playing] Moves to another chord, [music playing] — minor, major, minor, major, minor, major, minor.

Let’s pause it there and reset that just a little bit, because underneath, what’s the bass doing here? [plays piano] What’s that? Arpeggio. Yeah, just an arpeggio underneath. So sometimes we take these chords and we’ll just use it as an arpeggio to support. [plays piano] Remember last time? That’s all Puccini does — by way of a harmonic support there, just takes that tonic chord and [plays piano] basically just works that out as an arpeggio underneath. All right.

So let’s see how — if we can begin to hear the distinction between a major triad and a minor triad, and for this we’re going to turn to a very famous piece — the “Moonlight Sonata” of Beethoven, and I ask you — if you got a piece of paper there — I hope you do — we’re going to play nineteen chords for you and we’re going to ask you which is major and which is minor. So, you know the piece. [plays piano] So I’m going to sort of strip these down to their essence here. Here’s chord number one: major triad or minor triad? [plays piano] Here’s chord number two. [plays piano] Here’s three,

So how did you do? Well, let’s see here. Let’s go back and double check this. [plays piano] Now that’s a minor chord. I’ll just tell you the answers here. [plays piano] That’s major. This is minor. [plays piano] Three is minor. [plays piano] Four is minor. [plays piano] What about that one? That may be a tough one. [plays piano] Is that a major chord or a minor chord? Major. [plays piano] Some of these are hard, though. [plays piano] Major or minor? Major. [plays piano] Okay. That was six. Here’s seven. [plays piano] Excuse me. Seven is [plays piano] major. Eight is [plays piano] minor. Nine is [plays piano] major. Ten is major. [plays piano] Eleven is [plays piano] minor. Twelve is major. [plays piano] Thirteen is [plays piano] minor. Fourteen, minor. [plays piano] Fifteen, minor. [plays piano] Sixteen, minor. [plays piano] Seventeen, [plays piano] major. Eighteen, [plays piano] minor. Nineteen, [plays piano] major.

So we’ll be working — this I think is fair game, just to differentiate between a major triad and a minor triad. And we’ll be doing that on the test a week from now but we’ll be giving you lots of prepping in that in section this week.

Chapter 4. Major and Minor Harmonies in Popular Music [00:35:55]

Let’s return to the pop realm and focus continually here on harmony and combine the idea of harmony with major and minor triad. I’m going to play a piece that I’ve always liked by U2. I don’t really know much about them but it’s an interesting piece, “Love is Blindness.” Let’s listen to chunks of this and we’ll see what they’re doing with the harmony here. [music playing] What’s the meter? Kind of a slow what? Okay. So for copyright reasons we’re cutting this exactly short. We don’t want to go over our limit here. Okay. So we’re going to skip ahead now and listen to just a little bit more. [sings] I think that’s kind of the beat here, kind of a slow beat. Let’s hear just a little bit more and then I’ll start to play along, and I want you to count the number of bars — number of measures — in the pattern.

This is a pattern that repeats over and over. In music when that pattern repeats, we call it an ostinato — ostinare, from the Italian word ostinare: stubborn, pigheaded. So we have an ostinato harmony here and how many bars is in this ostinato — are there in this ostinato pattern? [music playing] One, two, two — [music playing]

Anybody able to count the number of bars in the pattern just on that one little quick playing there? Yeah, Betty.

Student: Sixteen.

Professor Craig Wright: Sixteen? Okay. You’re on the right track. Roger? Eight, yeah. It was a sixteen-bar pattern. It was a — we played sixteen bars there, but the harmony of the second eight bars was identical to the harmony of the first eight bars. It was just repeating that same harmony. What’s the harmony? [plays piano] Is this piece by U2 in major or minor? Everybody who think major [plays piano] raise your right hand. Sinister minor types, raise your left hand. [plays piano] It’s definitely a minor so it’s one of these unusual pop pieces in minor. All right.

So that’s chord one. [plays piano] That’s the tonic. What about this triad? Major or minor? [plays piano] Major. What about this one? [plays piano] Major. What about this one? [plays piano] Minor. Okay. Then back to [plays piano] minor, [plays piano] major, [plays piano] and minor at the end. So that’s our eight-bar pattern. Now maybe even kind of sing along with this.

My question to you, and this is the last one with this piece, is: is this an example of a regular rate of harmonic change or an irregular rate of harmonic change? So here we go. Maybe I’ll just play it on the piano — just the simplest thing here. Ready, go. [plays piano] So what do you think? Regular or irregular? How many think regular? How many think irregular? It’s actually irregular. Thaddeus, tell me why. Anybody tell me why? I just like to put you on the spot here but you got it right.

Student: Well, [inaudible].

Professor Craig Wright: Well, no. They were kind of falling on — they were falling on the meter, okay, but there was one moment when something was a little bit different. Elizabeth?

Student: It didn’t — it lasted longer.

Professor Craig Wright: Okay. It lasted longer. What’s the “it” here?

Student: The chord lasts longer at the end of the phrase.

Professor Craig Wright: Okay. At the end of the phrase, [plays piano] seven — no, six — seven-two, eight-two, so that one lasted two bars: [plays piano] one-two, two-two, three-two, four-two, five-two, six-two, seven-two, eight-two. So one of those chords lasted, actually — one of those chords toward the end there lasted twice as long as all the others. Roger, a question?

Student: [inaudible]

Professor Craig Wright: It could conceivably be a rest but that would give us kind of a seven-bar phrase and I don’t like seven-bar phrases. I’ve never met a seven-bar phrase that I was really comfortable with. And musicians generally don’t like that so it’s better to go with — I’ve used this for the first time in section the other day and I’ll use it again here a second time. Occam’s razor: if there’s a simple solution, go for it. And so take the idea of symmetry and assume that it’s an eight-bar phrase and you’ve got one chord holding for an extra chord, but theoretically that’s possible. A question here?

Student: [inaudible]

Professor Craig Wright: We would not get in to that but it would still be considered regular. All they’re doing is filling between chord — like Peter Salovey. [plays piano] Okay. All here’s doing is [plays piano] and if he comes — [plays piano] playing other things along the way that’s still regular. But that’s far more sophisticated than we’re ever going to get to. We’re just going to go “plunk, plunk, plunk.” Okay? So keep it very much in the straight and narrow.

Chapter 5. Modulation through Harmony [00:42:38]

All right, we have one more idea to talk about and that is the concept of key and modulation. Now this piece by U2 [plays piano] is written in a key. It’s got the home key here. It’s an odd key. It’s B-flat minor: five flats. B flat minor. But it nonetheless is a key and the whole piece — at least the vast majority of it, — is in that one key. Occasionally, composers will change keys. I was thinking I could play for you here the Beethoven. He starts — [plays piano] So here we are in this minor key [plays piano] and here he is in a new key. This is [plays piano] a major key here. So composers do change keys. And when they change keys they effect what’s called a modulation. Let’s listen to an example of —

Let’s listen to an example of a pretty simple modulation effected by Aaron Copland, an American composer working in New York City in the forties, fifties, sixties and seventies — wrote a ballet suite called “Appalachian Spring.” And in it he has one section where he’s working through a series of variations on a folk tune called “A Gift to be Simple” and he pulls off a modulation. So let’s listen to Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” as he proceeds, and I’ll kind of try to duplicate and go crazy up here at the piano at the moment we get to the modulation. Modulations are hard to hear. The best you can do is that oftentimes is say, “This is unsettled. Maybe it’s modulating,” and we — I don’t — I’m not even sure we would ask you, “Has the piece modulated?” They’re really kind of hard to hear. But let’s try anyway. So here’s a Copland modulation. [music playing] So here he is in this key. [music playing]

I think this is where the modulation comes. Then he’s going to bring in the — [plays piano] He’s sitting on this note. He brings in the trombones [plays piano] and then the trumpet will jump off from there [plays piano] to a much higher — he was here [plays piano] and now he’s modulated up to here. [plays piano] So let’s see if we can hear this modulation now. [music playing] Here we go. [music playing]

So that’s a modulation. In music — conceptually it’s pretty straightforward but it’s hard to hear. I think I’ve got an — one that’s easier to hear. It’s a piece I like to use because it’s just off the charts in terms of what other popular music was doing at that time. It’s a piece by the Beach Boys. Beach Boys music is extremely interesting — you might think, “these California airheads.” No, no, no, no. This is really musically just light years ahead of what everybody else was doing, I guess late fifties, early sixties.

So what I’ve got here on the board is a harmonic scheme and we’re going to once again for copyright reasons just take little chunks of this. But you can see that it’s a piece that changes — uses — a lot of triads. So every time you see a G up here that means we have a chord built on G and a triad on E, triad on A, triad on F, D, E. And just looking at this, this isn’t shaping out to be one, four, five, one, so it’s moving around a lot. Then it gets to a section where it does get very boring. It’s very static at that particular point. And then something of interest will happen.

So let’s listen to a little bit of this and there are — it’s a piece in which there are contrasts between sections of movement with wild modulations and then sections of stases. [music playing] Okay. So here it gets very boring and we’re not going to even listen to it. It’s just going to sit there, [sings], “I’m really hip and I’m having a great time,” but then the text comes back to “I get around.” So let’s — I think that’s what — I’ve had to parse this thing out into a Frankenstein, but let’s listen to the next thing. I think we go back to the idea of “I get around.” [music playing] More boring stuff at this point but let’s pick it up as we come to the end of what I think is this boring stuff and we’ll listen to what they do there. [music playing]

Perfect. [sings]. So they’re sitting here in which they’re [sings] [plays piano]. So what kind of cadence have they give us there? Deceptive cadence. Deceptive cadence and that [plays piano] takes us up the half step and then it jumps — [plays piano]. No. It doesn’t jump to the Aaron Copland “Appalachian Spring” but it does the same thing. It does exactly the same thing. It uses that [sings]. It’s going to jump up from the dominant to the tonic and then slide up one more step — so that now we have now a whole section in A-flat and the original was in G. So he’s modulated to A-flat. And it’s extremely sophisticated, involving half step modulations and things like that. Who would have ‘thunk’ that from the Beach Boys?

All right. We’re going to stop here. We’ve got sections this week. We have a test a week from today. If you look at your e-mails later in the day, you’ll see an e-mail from me saying that we are posting a prep sheet for the test and it will tell you all you need to know and how to study over the weekend for the test next Thursday. So let’s listen to a little bit of the Aaron Copland as you go out.

[end of transcript]

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