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Polaris

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  1. I don't really see harmonic theory as explanatory. To me, it's just a set of labels to apply to different chords in the music. The thing is, a lot of harmonies don't get labeled by it. They're discarded as passing chords and the like. And then, after these harmonies are passed over by the theorist--and only then--he can claim that the progression follows certain rules. These rules have been recorded in a kind of flow chart for the composer to follow. But there is almost no composer who has ever followed these flow charts except if you arbitrarily cut out segments of their music. I've actually seen an ascending minor scale in which every note appeared get labeled as a V. There is a V in there somewhere. And then it was followed, some time later, by a scale degree I in the analysis. This is where the guidelines fall apart. If you can say that a V-I occurred by virtue of cutting some notes out, you can just as easily cut out a different set of notes and say that a progression from something else to I occurred. Of course, it has a great deal to do with how prominently featured the V notes were. They might have occurred on strong beats, for example, with non-V notes occurring on weak beats. That doesn't mean the other notes weren't there, though. And what is more, these other notes have an impact on the musical progression as surely as anything else. They might feature a later repeated motif, or, in light of them, the composer might wish to choose a different harmony to follow the "V" than he otherwise would have done.
  2. 3-voice canon #14: https://soundcloud.com/user-321964225/14th-3-voice-canon
  3. 3-voice canon number 13: https://soundcloud.com/user-321964225/13th-3-voice-canon
  4. My 12th 3-voice canon: I tried applying some strict guidelines to the melodies, and I think it mostly worked. Any shortcomings in them are mainly due to the tight restrictions on motion that occurs when writing a three-voice canon.
  5. I changed the key to C# and altered the instruments. It sounds much better now:
  6. I actually have read Schoenberg's guide to counterpoint. It was five years ago, when I was still in the earliest stages of learning to compose music. I don't remember a whole lot about his book except that it was largely an updated version of Fux's guide, which I've also read. Traditional counterpoint poses no difficulties to those wishing to use dissonance. My own form of counterpoint is a little different, though, in that every interval occurs melodically in one direction only, the most natural direction. I've found that this goes a long way toward ensuring that music sounds clear and that each harmony follows naturally from the previous one. However, it also, like I said, makes it tricky to introduce and resolve certain types of dissonance. Suspensions, for example, are easier to resolve upwards or by leap downwards (which ideally would be recovered immediately by a number of steps upwards) than they are to resolve in the normal fashion by one or two semitones down. I don't determine the harmonies before writing the melodies. I must confess that I get very little out of standard harmonic theory--it gets much of its apparent coherency by arbitrarily labeling some harmonies in a piece of music while ignoring others that either don't have labels or simply don't fit the theory--beyond the fact that certain cadences tend to create tension while others, most especially V-I, release tension. I certainly don't use a chord road map any more than I use a melody road map (which I sort of do, but it's a fairly loose one).
  7. Unfortunately, I think it sounds a little stale. It's hard to write a strong melody within the limitations posed by a canon.
  8. I'm especially fond of the the timbres of the church organ, human voice, electric guitar, and harpsichord, and Bach is my biggest musical role model, so I'm not surprised that I might be sounding Neoclassical Metal (a genre which has a lot of music that I like). About dissonance: I mainly use passing notes, like you say. I know about the other types of dissonances, as well, and like to use them, but for the most part I'm finding it surprisingly difficult to get them into my canons. I'm using strict guidelines that I've worked out for the melodies, guidelines have given me the best contrapuntal clarity that I've been able to achieve so far. But these guidelines also make most of the more exotic types of dissonances difficult to work into the music. How so? Well, each melodic interval only occurs in one direction, the direction that I've determined is the path of least resistance. This creates smoothness and a strong forward drive. It so happens, though, that this does not include descending seconds in a lone voice, which means that suspensions and cambiatas are tricky to implement. Using my guidelines--and my most recent experiments suggest to me that these guidelines are good ones--they can only occur, really, in a texture where horizontal descending seconds occur as a result of diagonal voice crossings. In other words, a descending second must be outlined by two different voice paths that cross. With these canons, I'm using separate timbres for each voice, and that makes it nearly impossible to do that. It would sound like a a poorly handled dissonance. I'll definitely follow your advice, though, and try studying non-harmonic tones in a more or less systematic fashion.
  9. Thank you for your compliment. : ) (I've never heard of Yngwie, so I'm hoping it's a compliment. *goes to look it up*) Anyway, I realized that when voice crossings occur--my current style allows them freely and plentifully--the resulting voice-leading must act accordingly. More specifically, if a C3 in voice X is followed by a C3 in voice Y, it would be somewhat inadvisable to, at the same instant, create a dissonance against C3. Since it It would count as an accented, unprepared dissonance, which is usually harsh-sounding. I took account of that in the following composition, another 3-voice canon, and the voice-leading is much clearer than it was before:
  10. I just finished this three-voice canon: https://soundcloud.com/user-321964225/3-voice-canon
  11. The final version of today's first composition and a short new one.
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