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week01_lecture01 - 21M011(spring 2006 Ellen T Harris...

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C 21M011 (spring, 2006) Ellen T. Harris Lecture I Introduction (with in-class examples) Music exists in time and is notated on a vertical and horizontal axis. The vertical axis represents sounds heard simultaneously. The horizontal axis consists of the unfolding of music over time, as a melodic, harmonic and rhythmic progression. The vertical and horizontal can be easily grasped in terms of a simple round, like “Row, row, row your boat.” If everyone sings the tune together, the resultant melody represents a horizontal line. If sung as a four-part round, a distinct vertical element is created by the simultaneities as the different voices enter in delayed sequence. This can be graphed as follows. The tune itself has four parts: A Row, row, row your boat, B Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, D Life is but a dream. As a melody, this reads: ABCD. Once the melody is sung as a round, the vertical element begins to appear: A B C D A B C D A … A B C D A B C D A… A B C D A B C D A… A B C D A B C D A… Note that once all the voices enter, the vertical column becomes: A B C D, which repeats over and over again. This sound can be duplicated by having each of the four sections sing only one phrase over and over again, such as AAAA, or BBBB. The sound columns remain the same. The reason a round works is that each of the phrases “works” with the others over a repeating harmonic pattern. In “Row, row, row your boat,” the pattern essentially consists of the repetition of a single chord (with an upbeat leading into it to provide rhythmic and harmonic impetus). That is, each phrase (giving an Arabic number to each chord) is simply: 1 1 . Or, possibly 1 (2)-1 (2)- . A longer pattern exists in the familiar “Heart and Soul,” based on four chords. This four- chord pattern is frequently used: its four “vertical columns” also support such familiar songs as “Blue Moon” and “Santa Catalina” (“Twenty-six miles across the sea”) originally sung by the Four Preps in 1958. What does this shared bass mean? First, it means that all these songs can be sung together (which is a lot of fun). Heart and soul, I fell in love with you. Heart and soul, … Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina Blue moon I saw you standing alone, … 1 2 3 4 1 2 1
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Secondly, like “Row, row, row your boat,” it means that any of these songs can be sung as a round over the repeating four chords—or, if you have enough people, all of the songs can be sung as rounds together.
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