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Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths

Posted by walters 
Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
August 22, 2005 05:38PM

What are Hidden octaves and hidden Fifths?


When does hidden octave and hidden fifth become a problem?


Occurs between 2 outside voices?

Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
August 25, 2005 11:32PM
This sounds more like a homework assignment than a personal question you had, or something about music theory you didn't understand... so I let it wait a few days. If you need to answer these questions for a class, I'll bet the answers are there in your textbook (or class notes).

Anyway, it sounds like you're studying part-writing. Hidden fifths (hidden octaves are the same idea, but with octaves) is when two voices move in similar motion into a fifth in the next chord.

This isn't the same as parallel fifths, where they move together from one fifth to another. Parallel fifths are basically always forbidden in counterpoint, because the listener loses track of the two separate voices when they move in parallel at a perfect interval like that. Hidden fifths aren't as bad, but in strict counterpoint you have to avoid them in the outer voices. This is because they can sort of "imply" moving in perfect fifths -- if there were a passing tone added in there, you'd have perfect fifths.
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
August 26, 2005 12:07AM
Thanks for the information

No its not homework i'm trying to advance my theory and change ideeas


Whats the difference between Hidden Fifths and Parallel Firths?

Are Hidden Fifth- move similar motion into 5ths in the next chord

Similar motion is parallel motion? Whats the difference?
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
August 26, 2005 04:27PM
Hi -

Parallel motion would be if both voices moved the same direction, but also they moved the same distance. So if you had two voices singing C & G, then they moved to D & A, that's moving in parallel fifths.

Hidden fifths movement is when the voice are moving in the same direction, and the second interval is a fifth, but the first interval was something different. For example, the two voices moved from C & F (a fourth) to D & A (they both moved upwards into a perfect fifth). The important difference is that in the hidden fifth movement, the first interval wasn't a fifth.

Does that help?
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
August 26, 2005 07:31PM

Yes thats alot Admin i understand what hidden means now thanks
I have a mental block about parallel octaves (and fifths). Surely, if you double one of the notes of a triad - as is recommended in four part writing - you cannot avoid creating octaves in every chord? I shall probably kick myself, but an explanation, please.
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
November 17, 2007 09:52AM
In four-part writing, using Triads, you cannot avoid creating Octaves.What I would say to you, is, if you must write to that fomula, then you must try and write acceptable music that contains no chordal Octaves. You do not say whether the four-part music referred to must not contain "chords" consisting of octaves of the three notes of the said triads Also, it depends on what the four-part music is to be suitable for, for instance,A saxopohne quartet, or possibly a mixed vocal quartet .It is inevitable that in writing for, say, a Sax quartet that at times, depending on the music, that the Bass member of the quartet will be playing Octaves with one or other of his/her companions virtually all of the time!.It is unavoidable. then again, this may just be a pretty useless exercise in a boring exam'where 'Proper' proceedure takes precedence over logic. the resultant music created by the above formula, is unlikly to sound as good as other music of i'ts kind based on normal un restricted principles,
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
November 19, 2007 09:28AM
It is ok to have octaves IN every chord, they're only a problem if the two voices in octaves on one chord are the same two voices in octaves on the next chord. Only then is it parallel octaves.
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
March 04, 2008 09:01PM
I still don't understand how to differentiate or identify hidden fifths/octaves, and consecutive fifths. Explanation please?

What does it mean to move in "parallel stepwise motion"?
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
March 07, 2008 08:22PM
Hi, Blue --

bluecandyo16 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I still don't understand how to differentiate or
> identify hidden fifths/octaves, and consecutive
> fifths. Explanation please?

Check over the examples I gave a few posts up and let me know which parts are confusing -- then someone can offer more specific help. Are you not sure what they *are*, or not sure why they might be *bad* in part-writing?

> What does it mean to move in "parallel stepwise motion"?

Break it up: "parallel" like parallel lines in basic geometry. "Stepwise", one step at a time. "Motion", a melody changing from one note to another.

I'll dig into it a bit more, because it's part of how you can talk about a melody.

First, moving "stepwise" just means your melody is walking along the notes the scale instead of taking "leaps". Think of the "Mary has a little lamb" tune. It starts with only repeated notes and stepwise motion:
E D C D E E E D D D E
...then it makes a small "leap" to G (skipping over the F), and so on.

In "Happy Birthday" the mixture of stepwise motion and leaps is something like
C (unison to) C (step to) D (step to) C (leap to) G (step to) F...
..then another unison/step/step/leap/step pattern, using a larger leap.

The "Row row row your boat" melody has ONLY stepwise motion in phrases 1, 2, and 4, and motion is phrase 3 is ALL leaps. Kinda interesting, isn't it?

Okay, so what's "parallel" stepwise motion? The examples above are one-voice melodies. If you have a second part ("voice"), then when you see both voices moving stepwise in the same direction (parallel) at the same time, shout it out, because that's it. If you sing row your boat in a round, then you've got 4 parts... but alas, there's not a single example where two voices are in parallel stepwise motion. Again, interesting, right?

And forgive me if I've cursed anyone to humming these tunes the rest of the day, but hopefully they're at least more interesting this time through!

-Rob
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
March 12, 2008 06:07PM
Similar Motion - both parts go the same direction - both go up, or both go down.

G - A
C - F

If the G goes up to A, and the C goes up to F, that's Similar Motion.

Parallel Motion is a specific type of Similar Motion where both parts go the EXACT same amount, up, or down:

G - A
C - D

If the G goes up BY WHOLE STEP to A, and the C goes up BY WHOLE STEP to D, then both parts have MOVED UP A WHOLE STEP. This is Parallel Motion.

Parallel 5ths occur when the two parts are a Perfect 5th apart - and, since they both move the same amount, they end up at another Perfect 5th:

G - A
C - D

or

F - A
Bb - D

You can have any Parallel interval. Here are Parallel 3rds:

E - F#
C - D

In traditional counterpoint, Parallel Perfect 5ths and Parallel Perfect Octaves (and their compounds, like 12ths, double octaves, unisons, etc.) are ILLEGAL.

The reason why is, part of the whole point of counterpoint is to have your voices maintain their individuality. When one voice starts to follow along with another voice, it makes it seem like one is relying on the other, not doing its own thing. With thirds, this is not so bad, because in a key, the thirds change from Major to minor, so they're not all parallel:
E - F - G - A - B
C - D - E - F - G
note that the C, F and G 3rd are Major, and the D and E thirds are minor (these are called Consecutive Thirds by the way).

But with 5ths, most of them in the key are Perfect:

G - A - B - C - D - E
C - D - E - F - G - A

All of those are Perfect!

As a result, 5ths and 8ves, which are both Perfect (except for one 5th) in a key tend to sound "hollow" compared to the "richer" 3rds and 6ths in counterpoint, and they are especially noticeable if there are two of them (2 5ths or 2 octaves) in a row. This is why parallel 5ths and 8ves are forbidden.

Now, in some textures (2 part counterpoint) and in some positions (in outer voices), perfect 5ths or perfect 8ves still stand out, even when they occur by themselves. So composers were careful not to draw extra attention to them.

They felt that if the P5 or P8 was approached by similar motion, it drew attention to them. Likewise, they felt if they were leapt to, it drew attention to them. So basically, if you approach a P5 or P8 in similar motion, you have what's called "Direct" motion, or Direct 5ths, Direct 8ves, or also known as Hidden 5ths and Hidden 8ves.

Generally speaking, Direct 5ths and octaves are approached by Similar, but not Parallel motion:

G - A
B - D

If the G goes up to A, and the B goes up to D, since the D/A is a P5, and is approached by similar motion (both parts go up to it), then it's a Direct 5th.

Now, Direct 5ths and Direct 8ves are generally avoided in 2 part writing, except in certain circumstances (final cadence for example). In three or more part writing, because of the other parts, usually Direct 5ths and 8ves are not too much worry. The only exception is when the 5th or 8ve is formed by the outer parts, and the upper part is leapt to. So:

G - C
x - x
x - x
B - C

(x is inner voices) where the G leaps up to C, and the B steps up to C, is considered a no-no.

The opposite:
B - C
x - x
x - x
G - C

Is ultra common though. It's seen as OK because even though it's a Direct Octave, the upper part moves by step. So it's not an "objectionable" Direct Octave.

When you are doing part writing with multiple voices, you should simply check your outer voices and see if they form a P5 or P8. If they do, you then need to check that the upper part is approached by step. If it is, OK (assuming it's not Parallel 5ths or 8ths though). If it isn't, you need to check and see that the outer voices move in opposite (contrary) motion. If they do, it's OK. If not, you've either got "objectionable" Direct 5ths/8ves, or worse, Parallel 5ths/8ves.

HTH,
Steve





Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2008 03:38PM by stevel.
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
March 13, 2008 03:47PM
Oh, I wanted to add that you can have "parallel" 5ths an d8ves by Contrary motion.


G - C
G - C

If both parts go up would obviously be parallel 8ves.

But, if these two move in contrary motion, you still have "parallel" octaves. You can tell this because on paper, it looks the same:

G - C
G - C

If G goes UP to C, and the other G goes DOWN to C, you still have "parallel" octaves, or what is sometimes termed "consecutive octaves by contrary motion".

There are cases where they do occur in orchestral (or string quartet, etc.) textures, but in general, they are avoided just like their true parallel counterparts.

5ths can be "parallel" by contrary motion as well.

So REALLY, the rule is, a Perfect 8ve should not be followed by a Perfect 8ve, either in parallel or contrary motion, and the same is true for Perfect 5ths.

(please note, this is in part-writing, octave doublings don't count, nor do 8ves and 5ths formed by different pairs of voices).

Direct (or Hidden) 5ths and 8ves are ONLY when the approach is by similar (but not parallel) motion. So you can FIX a direct 5th by having the voices move in contrary motion:

G - C
E - F

Is a direct 5th assuming both parts go up.

But, if we change it to:
G - down a 5th to - C
E - up a step to - F

The P5 is approached in contrary motion, so it's no longer objectionable.

Steve
Josh
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
April 15, 2008 12:35AM
Admin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This sounds more like a homework assignment than a
> personal question you had, or something about
> music theory you didn't understand... so I let it
> wait a few days. If you need to answer these
> questions for a class, I'll bet the answers are
> there in your textbook (or class notes).
>


I just want thank you for point out that you are an @#$%& before answering the question.


Josh
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
April 15, 2008 12:38AM
I meant to type a-s-s-h-o-l-e not, @#$^. How silly of me!
Vee
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
April 16, 2008 09:16PM
Okay, this is my situation. I am taking a music class and just when I think I have a understanding of how it all works... it turns out that I'm wrong. I had taken the scale degree 'test' and I got an F! So now I was doing just a practice test for making Ascending & Descending major scale (sharps & flats) and I thought I have all the answers. Well, No I didn't. The question was for example: construct an Ascending B Major scale beginning in Octave 5. Now I know that its ---
(B flat,A,G,F, E flat,D,C,Bflat) but what I don't know or somehow have missed what is Ocatve 5? Does that mean B5? I'm really confused and I don't have much time to complete this course. All of my time has been spent going over notes and more notes and thinking that I've got it and then turn around and take the test and get an F. I'm a straight A student. So please help me to make the connection. And yes I did ask my professor for help with no answer.
I REALLY need help.
Kind regards,
Vee.
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
April 19, 2008 01:39PM
Whoa, what are you talking about?

A "B" Major scale MUST BEGIN ON B!!!

Not B-flat, B-sharp or anything else. If it's CALLED "B" Major, then it starts on a "B" note - that's why it's called "B" major.

If you want a "B-flat Major" scale, then that one MUST start on "B-flat", not any other note.

Furthermore, you wrote a DESCENDING scale - ASCENDING scales go UP, and that follows the alphabet:
A B C D E F G.

So if it's "some type of B scale" it will include "some type" of the following 7 notes, in order, ascending:

B C D E F G A ( B )

DESCENDING will be:
B A G F E D C ( B ).

Now, what type of Bs, Cs, Ds, etc. that will be there will depend on the scale.

So, an ASCENDING B MAJOR scale IS:

B C# D# E F# G# A# ( B )

If you don't understand this, then worrying about what octave it's in is the least of your worries.

As far as "Octave 5" is concerned, that depends on who you're learning from.

The "standard" is that Middle C on the piano (and on the staff) is C4. This makes the lowest C on the piano C1 (which makes sense, it's the first C on the piano).

Now, this is a highly "piano-centric" view.

Some people - Yamaha Corporation for example - call the first C on the piano C0 (that's a zero) so middle C becomes C3 instead.

When I was in college, we called things "great C" and "contra C" or "third line C" and things like that (many people still do). I can't remember the system but it was like:

CC C c c' c'' c''' c'''' or something.

So it's hard to say what the test is asking for by "Octave 5". At my college, it would mean it would start on B5, which is the B in the treble clef one space above one leger line above the staff - which is a pretty stupid place to write out a scale (all leger lines). However, maybe you're supposed to use an 8ve sign, or maybe you're using middle C is C3, so it would start on the B on the middle line of the treble clef. Additionally, you could be using some goofy system where your octaves run from A-A rather than C-C (anything is possible)and that would be "octave 5" in a different place. It depends on your course work.

But a far more concerning problem is that, from your example above, you don't even know the difference between ascending and descending, and you don't even know how to write a scale ( your example is a DESCENDING B-FLAT major scale by the way) according to the instructions. which octave it's in is only a small concern.

So you need to make sure you understand how to construct the scale, on the proper note, in the proper direction before you even worry about the octave.

HTH
Steve



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2008 01:40PM by stevel.
Parallel octaves
October 07, 2009 03:40PM
Aid with this question would be greatly appreciated;

If, in four part chorale writing, you have a chord with an octave in, say, the tenor and the bass, and for the next chord the tenor and the bass repeat the same notes, is it considered a parallel octave, or is the term merely defined by movement?

Cheers.
Re: Parallel octaves
October 07, 2009 03:51PM
Pythag Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Aid with this question would be greatly
> appreciated;
>
> If, in four part chorale writing, you have a chord
> with an octave in, say, the tenor and the bass,
> and for the next chord the tenor and the bass
> repeat the same notes, is it considered a parallel
> octave, or is the term merely defined by
> movement?
>
> Cheers.

No, they're not considered parallel octaves if there's no movement.


Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
December 12, 2010 01:13PM
I am confused about the final cadence - is it anything goes in outer voices, ie, direct paralell motion permissible as long as it's the final cadence? Or just direct is ok, or just by contrary motion - if someone could give me the complete list of what's permissible in the final cadence regarding paralell and direct motion I am much obliged.
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
December 12, 2010 01:59PM
Ric, answered in other thread.

Steve
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
January 21, 2011 05:51AM
What is a passing tone?
Re: Hidden Octaves and hidden Fifths
January 21, 2011 09:04AM
It's a connecting tone between two chord notes. For example if a C major chord is sounding and the melody uses notes C - D - E in sequence, C and E are chord tones and D is a passing tone.

- Jim in Austin, TX
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