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How would one harmonise this?

Posted by Jaxeto 
How would one harmonise this?
January 01, 2019 01:48PM

This is an extract from a chorale in Bb Major.



Re: How would one harmonise this?
January 01, 2019 07:54PM
Here's a chart for classical western chord progressions.


I also wrote out what it could be.


Let me know if there are any problems with the links.

- Ian
Re: How would one harmonise this?
January 02, 2019 02:37AM
I thought that vii had to be in first inversion with a doubled third (supertonic)? Also doesn't the diminished 7th have to resolve onto a stable chord (i.g I or V)?
Re: How would one harmonise this?
January 02, 2019 09:54AM
I really all depends. Classical music theory is just based on passed conventions so there really is no right or wrong harmonisation. The vii* chord in first inversion, however would create a stronger cadence. If you take a look at the progression chart, the dominant chords (V and vii*) can go to the iii, and sometimes to vi for a deceptive cadence. I found this website with some of the more common cadences if you want to take a look.

Re: How would one harmonise this?
January 02, 2019 09:56AM
This is a Bach style chorale and the phrase does not end there.
Re: How would one harmonise this?
January 02, 2019 11:11AM
I did some research and I'll post the links that I looked at. I found that baroque music (the time that Bach was making music) shifted into a more tonally centered era with more focus on the melody as opposed to harmony. With that being said, there's basso continuo. This would be the chordal accompaniment.

From what I know about vocal music and scoring, and perhaps even specific to this time, you would want to move all the voices in a stepwise motion as much as possible. Along with this, you should avoid having any movement in parallel 5ths and octaves. Adjacent voices (bass to tenor, tenor to alto, alto to soprano) should not exceed an interval greater or equal to an octave.

This is mostly stuff I learned my sophomore year of high school so it could be a bit off.

Considering that it is not the end of the piece but the end of a phase instead, then it is fair to assume that one of the typical cadences would follow regardless. So, that phase could end on the V.



Re: How would one harmonise this?
March 02, 2019 06:28AM
Something like this would be a good start:

Notice the abrupt transition to D minor ending with what some call a Phrygian cadence.
In general, the first step is working out the keys - remember, the music may pass through several.

Then (or at the same time), look at the notes you've been given. Work out what the possible triads are.
The phrase starts with C in the soprano and A in the bass. In general, this could be either A minor (ACE) or F major (FAC). - Immediately your options are limited.

Then look at the bass and consider inversions. For this type of work, second inversions are rare and only used in specific situations, so for now, discount them. Carrying on our example, this chord could be either A minor in root position or F major in first inversion.

Then, a basic knowledge of the style is important. For example, discount any augmented chords or any diminished chords in root position, also don't use chord III.
In general, prefer primary triads (I, IV, V) over secondary ones.

Also think about doubling. Most chords will contain a root, a third, a fifth and one note will be doubled. In root position chords, the root is almost always doubled. In first inversion chords, the fifth may be doubled instead.
(Of course there are exceptions to everything)
Then think about part writing (voice leading) to ensure it is possible to create lines that don't jump around too much. Think about the ranges of the parts and in particular, ensure the tenor stays high.

All these things will help you narrow down you options until you are left with something that works from all angles.

Check out this textbook on Four Part Harmony.
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