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About Polaris

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  1. I've improved since my last topic for posting my incomplete works, so I'm starting a new one. I'm aware that there a couple of awkward spots in these, but I'm still interested in getting feedback.
  2. Thank you for your response. My problem, though, isn't that I regard everything as a chorale. I'm looking at what makes two harmonies ("harmony" is probably a better word than "chord," simply because the word "chord" comes with so much baggage, like people thinking of there being a distinction between "the chord and the melody" or classifying certain tones in the chord as "non-chordal," neither of which affect my considerations one way or the other) in succession sound good or bad in any context, including in the type of situation that occurs in the Harry Potter theme. Yes, I know that some notes (and sometimes even whole chords if it suits a theorist) are typically classified as non-harmonic, and I'm familiar with the usual figures like suspensions, neighbor tones, and so forth. Such devices are all changes of harmony. That's what I'm looking at--changes in the overall sound. On a side note, I have to disagree with the idea that only the top part has melodic implications. All of the intervals that occur in the progression, including those created by the difference tones, have melodic significance. The upper part may be more prominent, as is often the case, but the other horizontal (and diagonal) connections between the notes are heard to some extent as well.
  3. I have often written a melody to be played against another melody, using common tones, avoiding parallel perfect consonances, utilizing stepwise motion, etc. and ended up with a combination that sounds bad even though all of the standard rules have been followed and the melodies are strong individually. The purpose of this program is to figure out what kinds of features in a chord progression are correlated with bad effects of that kind so that I can avoid producing them in the future. A program that learns to produce consistently good progressions can tell me how to do it myself. So far, in addition to what I listed in my original post, we just have sharing a scale and following the tendencies of leading tones. I believe there are more factors involved than that. In fact, I know there are, having investigated a few of them myself. It would be nice if people could try to think of some more things.
  4. I knew someone would say that it's subjective. I agree: it's subjective. That doesn't mean there aren't factors that help people decide whether they do or don't like a pair of chords together, though. Whether a shirt being lime green or not is a bad thing or a good thing is subjective. Its color nevertheless plays a role in helping people decide (provided they're not color blind). When I say "chord" I mean all of the notes that are sounding. I'm not making a distinction between "the chord" and "the melody." Anything in the melody is a part of the sounding chord. I disagree that it's a simple matter of using a progression that has been used before. Many progressions that have been used before sound bad to me. And music theory is very frequently helpless to explain why. Yes, it comes down to my subjective opinion. But what is influencing my opinion? And what things influence other people's opinions on a chord progression?
  5. I gave some more thought to the question, and the broad answer, I think, is that almost anything you can say about a chord progression will play some role in determining how good it sounds. Virtually every characteristic you can think of will coincide more with either nice progressions or bad ones. So the question can be answered by answering the question: What are the properties that a two-chord progression can have? They can be very outlandish properties as long as they aren't 50/50 divided between producing a pleasant sound and a displeasing one.
  6. Polaris

    Where once Poe walked (SATB)

    Absolutely gorgeous. I love it.
  7. I've been designing a computer program that learns what makes chordal motion sound good or bad, and I've had had a degree of success so far, but I would like to improve its performance as much as possible. To do this, I need to give it features to look for in progressions, features that help to determine how good or bad a progression will sound. Some of the features that I know affect the quality of a progression are the distance that the voices travel, what kind of motion they have relative to each other (e.g. contrary, parallel, similar, or oblique), whether dissonances are prepared, the absence or presence of parallel perfect consonances between pairs of voices, whether notes fall in each other's critical bands, and what notes follow the preceding notes. Beyond that, I don't have a whole lot of ideas. And so I pose a question that every composer should ask: what are the factors that make a two-chord progression sound good or bad?
  8. I finished today's canon. There are one or two spots that bother me, but I'm not going to try changing them.
  9. I started another canon today. The voice leading proved to be difficult, and it steered me into a high register. I wonder if I ended up going too high.
  10. Another one. Actually, it might be done, but it's too short to have its own topic.
  11. Here's one I started earlier tonight.
  12. Yes, D is definitely liberal in its treatment of dissonance. The difficulty I had was that getting the voices to move into the desired harmonies required a lot of leaps into dissonances. I didn't want to sacrifice the integrity of the progression to considerations of dissonance treatment. Perhaps I should go back and insert some chords in between the chords that are already there so as to make the flow a bit smoother.
  13. Instead of creating a new topic every time I start a composition and want suggestions or feedback on it, I will use this as my sole thread for uploading various past and future works-in-progress. The first two were started half a decade ago when I first got a piano and started learning to compose music (107 is pretty rough just before the middle point; it needs revision there). The second one was started yesterday and, I hope, works well on a harmonic level. It was a test for a certain technique that I invented, a technique that I hope will provide a strong foundation for writing chord progressions.
  14. My power was out for a couple of days, and upon having it restored, I listened to "B" again. My fresh ears revealed to me that "B" sounds fairly bad--worse, in fact, than a lot of the stuff I composed within a few months of starting to learn how to write music. Will I attempt to salvage it? Absolutely not. Its problem? More of a stylistic one than a technical one, as I mostly followed the old rules of counterpoint when writing it.