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Variations on a Theme of Ivan1791 - Monarcheon


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Tried my hand at @Ivan1791's challenge just for fun and whipped up something quickly. I think it's pretty fun! The justification for the last variation is that each beat in the right hand uses (0148) which is the "dissonant" chord's pitch class set. Enjoy!

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Fantastic. Really interesting to see how you approached it differently. The last variation made me literally say "HA!" to myself. It could fit perfectly in a brawl scene in a saloon in a Western.

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Thank you for participating. I really liked your set of variations, really creative; and the last one is insane haha, I didn't expect that. Is it okay if I show it in my channel?

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Really cool variations. I thought it was really clever to use given Ab-G dissonance as a E7b9 chord. I also liked the chromatic bassline in Var. 3 and how you harmonized over it. Lastly I thought it was pretty cool that you ended Var. 3 on an E7, which prepares for A minor key of Var. 4.

I was curious how you came up with the below resolution (Var. 2, m. 11). In my head I see it as a Abmin7b5 without the B, but I can't figure out how it resolves to the C5 chord. It works nicely, so I was wondering if you could explain how it works?

image.png.8e10676646f9082ab69f5d4da3b33500.png

Also, I wondered if you might explain how you came up with the 16th note runs in the right hand in Var. 5, m. 33-37. It's super cool but I have no idea how you came up with it.

Thanks for sharing!

 

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@gmm Many thanks! I'll address your points individually/by paragraph.

1. It should be noted that, if you're thinking in terms of chords, that it's E7(#9), not b9, since G is just F double-sharp. I thought about chords vertically for those kinds of sonorities, but in terms of function for most others.

2. It's a French augmented 6th chord, without the characteristic tonic inclusion (leaving just the supertonic). If I included the C, then the V6/4 chord would have terrible voice leading, so I bent a rule to make it work. This is why I'd caution against thinking of everything as a chord all the time, necessarily... sometimes you miss other things. 

3. It's a series of superimposed sets of 4-18, or (0148), that fit into an adapted macroharmonic model (that's why the brackets are there; it's the original (0148)). I change some notes and break the rules many times in the passage just to make it sound crazier or whatever, but that was the basic idea.

Glad you liked it!

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43 minutes ago, Monarcheon said:

1. It should be noted that, if you're thinking in terms of chords, that it's E7(#9), not b9, since G is just F double-sharp. I thought about chords vertically for those kinds of sonorities, but in terms of function for most others.

Oops! Yes my mistake, you are correct.

 

48 minutes ago, Monarcheon said:

2. It's a French augmented 6th chord, without the characteristic tonic inclusion (leaving just the supertonic). If I included the C, then the V6/4 chord would have terrible voice leading, so I bent a rule to make it work. This is why I'd caution against thinking of everything as a chord all the time, necessarily... sometimes you miss other things. 

Ah ok, interesting. And you're right, often the individual melodic lines are more important the resulting chord structure, as long as they are individually interesting.

51 minutes ago, Monarcheon said:

3. It's a series of superimposed sets of 4-18, or (0148), that fit into an adapted macroharmonic model (that's why the brackets are there; it's the original (0148)). I change some notes and break the rules many times in the passage just to make it sound crazier or whatever, but that was the basic idea.

Would you mind breaking this down a little more? I don't have any formal training in composition, so I'm not familiar with the "(0148)" notation you used. I'm afraid this went completely over my head. Feel free to Message me if you would prefer not to expand on it here.

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17 minutes ago, gmm said:

Would you mind breaking this down a little more? I don't have any formal training in composition, so I'm not familiar with the "(0148)" notation you used. I'm afraid this went completely over my head. Feel free to Message me if you would prefer not to expand on it here.

I won't go too deep into it, just because it's the basis to a lot of very intricate atonal theory, but it's set class notation. By ordering any set of notes to their most compact form (left-wise), assigning them numbers, and transposing to 0, you get a set class. So for, (0148), it's C, C#, E, and G#. You'll notice it's a transposition of Ivan's dissonant chord (which I thought was fun!), which would be Ab, C, E, G, or [8, 0, 4, 7] in set class, still (0148)) (inverted and transposed by a factor of 8). So, you'll notice if you take the first note of every grouping per measure of the final variation in the right hand, it's another version of (0148), typically transposed, but sometimes inverted, meaning you read the set class backwards. There's more that went into it, but I can't cover it quickly so I'll skip it. 
This system was developed by Allen Forte and, separately, John Rahn to analyze early atonal works and has since become a compositional mainstay of modern classical music. This is the last thing students typically learn in the theory core in a lot of universities and it always confuses them because it's so not... normal. So don't feel bad if it doesn't really make sense. I also didn't explain it very well here. There's lots to read up on if you're interested

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Interesting... I've never been too drawn towards atonal composition (not that I have any problem with it), but it sounds like this is a very useful analytical tool. Thanks for explaining, I'll be sure to research more on my own!

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