Friday, February 6, 2009

Harmonic Progression and the Whole-Tone Scale

Today I endeavored to find a way to create a sense of chord progression in a whole-tone environment. I also hoped to avoid too much of the sound of augmented triads.

To illuminate the problem, we need to consider the harmonic resources of the scale:

--There are no major or minor triads.

--There are augmented triads on every scale degree.

--There are no perfect fourths or fifths or minor thirds.

My solution:

--Imply Major triads by using major third and minor sixth intervals (They should sound like the root and third of a major chord sans fifth.)

--Use much contrary motion. Parallel motion tends to allow those major thirds to aurally "stack up" into augmented triads and other structures that could undermine the sense of progression.

--Keep it short. It's easy to run out of resources in a whole tone scale.

--Imply VII to I as a cadence form at the end.

I have included chord symbols below the staff as a kind of analysis.

(click on image to enlarge.)

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