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Harmonic Question

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Hey guys, I was analyzing the intro of the minature of tchaikovsky from his nutcracker suite. He has this accomanying part in the repetition of the theme where he uses 16th notes. I was wondering if any of you could tell me the basic rules to make this type of accompaniment sound harmonically pleasant or correct,

Thanks

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What?? I don't get it. It's just an accopmainment. He just follows the common practise tonal rules:

No parallel 8's & 5ths, false relationships handled with care, resolved dissonances, etc.

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Oh its "just" an accompenament??What a weird look at music you have. As long as you can explain everything it becomes "just" something normal. I dont think tchaikovsky would have agreed.. anyway im not that familiar with those rules, thats why i came to seek help. I know about parralel 5ths and 8ths, but what about the length of the melody notes? should they be shorter when these fast weird accompinament notes pass along? for example a G in the theme and a G sharp passing by in accompaniment while this g is still sounding. How do I approach this?

Im not sure if this is clear..

anyway if someone knows what i mean, i would appreciate some help

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"I know about parralel 5ths and 8ths, but what about the length of the melody notes? should they be shorter when these fast weird accompinament notes pass along? for example a G in the theme and a G sharp passing by in accompaniment while this g is still sounding. How do I approach this?

 

Im not sure if this is clear..

anyway if someone knows what i mean, i would appreciate some help"

 

 

Here are some basic guidelines for counterpoint, ToCompose:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterpoint

(Oh, wikipedia, what did we ever do without you).  Is this the sort of thing you were looking for?  

 

Hope that helps.  If that's not what you need, you could try posting a copy of the spot in the Tchaikovsky score that you are looking at, so people can answer a bit more precisely.  Is there a youtube clip with the score scrolling by available, and you could cite the exact time and measure number?

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A few things to notice and keep in mind. First, notice that there is no bass line to go with the melody. There could be, of course, but he left it out for two reasons. One, to keep the music light. A bass would make the phrase more definite by anchoring the chords as they fly by. And two, he wanted the phrase to be sort of unspecific, so that he could put in those chromatic sixteenth notes. 

 

Listen to the strong beats of the phrase. The sixteenth notes harmonize with the chord, sometimes even being the root. As to all the notes in between, there doesn't seem to be rhyme or reason to them except to be chromatic. So in terms of rules, the composer just did the obvious by NOT putting an out of key note on a strong beat. That would have sounded terrible.

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Thanks for your replies. The wikipedia page about counterpoint is somewhat what i was looking for but it doesnt really explain the thing he does in this part.

I indeed noticed that the strong beats at least were in harmony with the chords. Is there some theory about chromatic notes and how they fit into harmony? Or is it just a matter of staying away from the most important beats?

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I'm not an expert on counterpoint. I just use my ear and don't study or rely on theories. Another thing to consider is the tempo. If this piece were slowed by half it would seem twice as dissonant. In short, Tchaikovsky is very clever!

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yes good point. I also try to use my ears but sometimes im very uncertain about harmony. But yes the tempo sure helps out.

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