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Elements of Music

28 29 MorE coMplEx harMonIEs sevenths and their inversions add suspense Continuing to stack thirds beyond the triad yields major, minor, or diminished sevenths, with their dynamic pull towards the tonic. As the root and fifth of a chord provide architectural structure, the third and seventh provide feeling and flavour, push and pull. Sometimes referred to as guide tones, they lead the movement of harmony from chord to chord, adding to the intensity of the forward drive. The presence of two guide tones in a chord maximises this, e.g., the dominant 7th, whose third and seventh often resolve to the tonic root and third. Hollow suspended chords, where the third is replaced with its junior or senior note, are shown below. Similarly add chords take on a colour without compromising any of the three basic notes of the triad, the 2, 4, and 6 sweetening the overall sonority. If the lowest tone is kept constant, as chords move around it, then we are in the presence of a pedal point, so named because of the ability of the organ to sustain bass tones played with the feet while changing harmonies played with the hands on the keyboard, keeping a central bottom tone in place, which may or may not be the root of the chord. In fact, a pedal point doesn t have to belong to the chord at all, differentiating it from an inversion. Suspended 2nd Pedal points Pedal points Sus pended 4th Added 2nd Added 4th Added 6th Above Inverted sevenths. The figured bass notation second column indicates the intervallic placement of notes above the bass, which in fact indicates the inversion, though the 1, 3, and 5 are assumed and not always written. We still hear the identity and therefore function of the chord as though it were in root position. The brain reassembles the notes into their closest formation, regardless of how the individual notes are voiced, even when spaced openly across octaves see too page 16. Above The eight basic seventh chords derived from stacking thirds. Note the interval content of the major chords versus the minor chords, also the open and expansive quality to chords with more perfect and major intervals, and the more closed and contractive quality to chords with diminished and minor intervals. The maj7, mma7 and maj7 5 have the most large intervals. The 7 5 and m7 have an equal balance, and the 7, o7, and m7 b5 also known as halfdiminished are made up mostly of smaller intervals.
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