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Two-notes vs. Three-notes chords


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I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that explanation. There are very few musical contexts I can think of where a major or minor chord on the same root are both appropriate. I don't know "sliabh Russel" (mentioned above), but it sounds like the same may be true of "O'Keefe's Slide." Also, a few modal "banjo tunes" like the first chord in the B section of "Cold Frosty Morning." But by and large, the shape of the tune will dictate which chords to choose from, and while D and B minor might be interchangeable in a given context, D and D minor rarely are.

 

But there are many modal minor tunes in the English tradition where a minor chord will sound wrong unless it is in "Just" tuning.

PLEASE try playing either "Bonny at Morn" or "Scarborough Fair" with even-tempered minor chords, and then try it again without the thirds!

Gill

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One example which comes to my mind is the jig "sliabh Russel". It is in A but based on a scale which does

not contain the note C, neither natural nor sharp.

 

While I agree with your point, the example isn't the best: eAA Bcd eaf ged edB c2 A BGG does have the C

 

The tune I had in mind was actually "lilting banshee". I edited the previous post.

Sorry for the confusion.

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David Fabre Quote"other players playing instruments with different tones and different temperaments"

 

Hello Gill (and best wishes for 2009),

 

 

I now take time to reply to your very interesting post.

 

I would personally LOVE to have several instruments in different temperaments to experiment myself. I would already

be happy to try other instruments than mine but I live in a part of the word which is a desert for concertina.

 

As I understand your meantone box has a shift between the C and G row. I'm surprised because it seems to

contradict the idea of this tuning, which is to allow some amount of modulation within an adjusted 12-note scale

while retaining "good intervals" (especially thirds) Can you comment on this point ?

I also understand that you find minor chords better than major with this tuning. Do you see some reason ?

 

As for "just tuning", one point I'm wondering is the following.

Just tuning on the C row implies D a perfect second above C (frequency ratio 9/8) and an A a perfect major

sixth above C (frequency ratio 5/3). These D and A do not make a perfect fifth but a "wholf". Thus with a box

in this kind playing in D minor along the C row (which a do a lot) would sound awful. Is you box tuned this way ?

 

 

I got a very interesting book a few weeks ago by Ross W. Duffin entitled "How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care)" . It may have only recently been published in England and makes very informative reading. Only £10 for the paperback.

 

Regards, Gill

 

Much has been written and will certainly be written again on this issue...

Helmholtz was also a fervent supporter of just tuning. His books describes several experimental instruments

with more than 12 notes per octave to allow modulation is several tonalities with just intervals. But such instruments

seem to have remained experimental and not convinced musicians, maybe because of difficulty of playing.

 

It must be recognised, however, that equal temperament has advantages, the best being the abity to modulate

in any key. Many styles of modern music would not have been possible without this. I've played some jazz on the

piano. Jazz is based on a constant modulation over all tonalities and this would not be possible without equal temperament.

Anyway, in jazz consonance is not particularly looked after.

 

There is one point, however, on which I completely follow Helmholtz, namely that for purely vocal harmonies

one is unforgivable not to sing just intervals.

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I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that explanation. There are very few musical contexts I can think of where a major or minor chord on the same root are both appropriate. I don't know "sliabh Russel" (mentioned above), but it sounds like the same may be true of "O'Keefe's Slide." Also, a few modal "banjo tunes" like the first chord in the B section of "Cold Frosty Morning." But by and large, the shape of the tune will dictate which chords to choose from, and while D and B minor might be interchangeable in a given context, D and D minor rarely are.

 

But there are many modal minor tunes in the English tradition where a minor chord will sound wrong unless it is in "Just" tuning.

PLEASE try playing either "Bonny at Morn" or "Scarborough Fair" with even-tempered minor chords, and then try it again without the thirds!

Gill

This doesn't disagree with what I said, so I'm not sure why you started with "But..."

 

I didn't say you should put a 3rd in chords. I only said, in effect, that if you leave them out, don't delude yourself into thinking that it's because a major 3rd or a minor 3rd might be equally appropriate, so let the listener (or the guitarist) choose.

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After a bad dose of flu and chest infection I've just got back to playing a bit after 7 days off.

 

I am working on 2 chord accompaniment (Ists and 5ths) I am playing Inishoir (G) and Northern Lass(Amin) as well as Old Joe Clarke etc

 

It's the 2 note chords I'm after and Ido notice that the 3rds 'get in the way'.

 

Mike

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After a bad dose of flu and chest infection I've just got back to playing a bit after 7 days off.

 

I am working on 2 chord accompaniment (Ists and 5ths) I am playing Inishoir (G) and Northern Lass(Amin) as well as Old Joe Clarke etc

 

It's the 2 note chords I'm after and Ido notice that the 3rds 'get in the way'.

 

Mike

but other two note chords can be root and seventh,c an b flat[partof a c7 chord],and three note chords do not have to contain the third,they can be ist fifth and ninth [ modal c 9]c g d,but with the dissonance c to d spread far apart,or ist fifth and sixth c g a,but this sounds better if you add the notes gradually.so that the dissonant g and a,only touch for a moment.

 

 

Thanks Dick

 

I'll report back.

 

If I could get the technology together I'd let you all hear what I'm doing but for now I'll work on what people let me know. My New year Resolution is to put it on the net.

Mike

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[quote name='david fabre' date='Jan 1 2009, 05:41 AM' post='86411'As I understand your meantone box has a shift between the C and G row. I'm surprised because it seems to

contradict the idea of this tuning, which is to allow some amount of modulation within an adjusted 12-note scale

while retaining "good intervals" (especially thirds) Can you comment on this point ?

I also understand that you find minor chords better than major with this tuning. Do you see some reason ?]

 

 

Sorry, I didn't explain clearly.

With 1/4 comma meantone the fifths are, infact, approx 6 cents flat of their true value, and this makes the major chords sound out of tune to my ear.

When I analysed the tuning of my Lachenal C/G concertina, I thought that there might have been an attempt by the original tuner to compensate for this by (generally) shifting the pitch of the G row up by 6 cents. (If you are interested, I can send you the original readings and the values used for the retune.) This gives much better sounding major chords if played across the rows. In practice this also gives a very slight pitch shift when modulating.

 

[quoteAs for "just tuning", one point I'm wondering is the following.

Just tuning on the C row implies D a perfect second above C (frequency ratio 9/8) and an A a perfect major

sixth above C (frequency ratio 5/3). These D and A do not make a perfect fifth but a "wholf". Thus with a box

in this kind playing in D minor along the C row (which a do a lot) would sound awful. Is you box tuned this way ?]

 

Yes this is how my box is tuned and no tuning system is perfect. It plays best only in the main major key (sharp Bb), but is acceptable in F when playing with pipes. With modal minors the wholf tones have to be played in passing.

Frequent use of the drone button seems to keep the ear more comfortable with "interesting" note combinations.

Regards, Gill

NB Sorry I can't get the hang of quotation boxes!

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just like Henry the Eighth. :lol:

 

I assume he wrote more than Greensleeves then?

 

He was known as the Mouldwarp and was possibly (I think likely) the grandson of an archer. That gave him some grief and made him doubt his right to reign.

 

Ian

Edited by Hereward
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brian peters recommends dropping the third in most situations....

also, beyond tuning issues on the concertina, thirds can make a chord overwhelming, overpowering melodic notes above it, which is one of the primary reasons i recall brian peters saying to leave the thirds out.

David is quite correct in his recall of my comment in the workshop I gave in Michigan. Of course, generalisations like that are easily unpicked if you analyse what you actually do, as opposed to what you think you do.

 

So here's the real truth:

Thirds often sound to me like they're "muddying the water", especially in modal tunes, where I would almost always avoid them. Not because they're out-of-tune, but because they add too much information and general sludge, as David suggests. Like Mike Wild I play melodeon with the thirds out all the time. However, when playing jolly-sounding English dance tunes in the home keys on my C/G anglo, I will regularly throw the major third into the C and F chords on the left hand (like Mikefule above, usually on the off-beat), and sometimes add a B from the RH to a pulled G chord. And occasionally I would play a pulled G chord with a B, rather than the keynote G, as the lowest note, e.g. in Bar 6 of Northern Lass (I can't find the post now but someone earlier raised the idea of putting in the 3rd as a "treat", which is just the way I see it in that situation).

 

In song accompaniments I usually miss out the thirds as well. And as a guitarist accompanying tunes I use DADGAD specifically because the basic chords in that tuning don't include 3rds. But of course all of this is down to personal taste.

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just like Henry the Eighth. :lol:

I assume he wrote more than Greensleeves then?

Henry VIII was quite a prolific composer. See The Music of Henry VIII or any of numerous other sites that came up when I typed "Music of Henry VIII" into Google.

 

I have performed some of his music as part of a recorder ensemble.

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