|MusicNovatory/Introduction/Reference/Comments and Questions/Harmony/Basics/Chords|
Also I've found that when you double the third of a major chord it sounds more minor, and when you double the third of a minor chord it sounds more major. This can also be explained by your website.
A very astute observation. When doubling the so-called third of a chord (we assume you mean a Triad), it is probably not
the third at all, but more likely a primary note (root or fifth) of its shadow. For example in the progression Dm to C, one will often find the Dm in "first inversion" (third in the bass) with the F
doubled. All the more reason to suspect that it is not a Dm at all, but an F6 with a doubled root and no fifth!
On the website harmony section, it says to be cautious of using the 5th in the bass. Why is it so "dangerous" to invert the frame of a chord? When you play a 5th, it feels like the bottom note is a root, and when you play a 4th it feels like the top note is the root. It doesn't seem so dangerous to me...is there something I'm missing here?
The bass note of a chord can have very strong implications with regard to our perception of harmony. This is especially true
with primary notes (root and fifth). When the 5th is in the bass, it tends to sound like a root, and gives the actual root,
a 4th above, the feeling of a non-chordal tone, like what is commonly referred to as a "sus 4." Likewise, the note a sixth
above the bass (the actual 3rd) sounds like a non-chordal tone of the fifth above the bass. (This is the famous "cadential
six-four" chord.) This is only "dangerous" when used at the wrong place at the wrong time. In some instances it would be
desirable, even necessary. For instance, take a piece of music that ends with a dominant/tonic chord progression with one
measure of dominant resolving to one measure of tonic. Now replace the first half of the dominant measure with a flatter tenant chord. This will be a tonic embellishing the dominant. This tonic should definitely have the dominant root (5th of the tonic)
in the bass, so as to make it clear that the true chord is the dominant, and the tonic is an embellishment, which could also
be perceived as a dominant with two non-chordal tones.
I just read some of the pages dealing with harmony. Let me get this straight - are you saying that chords can only progress by fifths, either up or down? That seems rather limiting. Music seems to be filled with other types of chord progressions, although I admit the progression by 5th is one of the most common.
The answer is a qualified "yes." First of all, if you look at the section on Incompleteness in the Harmony - Transformations pages, you will see that there are many ways that a progression by fifth can be "disguised" to appear as something else. Secondly, there is another way that chords can move around besides "progressing." If you see the section on Metamorphoses (especially the "Mixing"), you will find that chords are able to "morph" into other chords, fulfilling one function in relation to the chord that precedes it, and another in relation to the chord that comes after it. This opens up a world of possibilities, and not only is it not limiting, you may find it in a sense liberating.
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