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  1. #1

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    (Thanks to Christian Miller for turning me on to partimento here)

    Here is an interview with Robert Gjerdingen, author of Music in the Galant Style and an authority on 18th century musical pedagogy, which centered around partimenti, which were essentially stock licks that could be combined into phrases and was the underlying structure of composition and improv. It was all figured bass - so no one ever wrote roman numerals. If you saw the first scale degree you knew it was harmonized with a 3/5 chord and if you saw the third scale degree, you knew it was harmonized with a 6/3 chord (first inversion tonic triad). Interestingly in the interview below, Robert talks about how even in Debussy's day, the system was still taught in French conservatories and Rameau's theory of chord function was ignored. Nadia Boulanger taught partimento to Elliott Carter. (if you go to Youtube for the video instead, there is a good index of questions and time markers)

    To the clickbaity thread title, he also talks about how modern college music theory was created in ivy league schools for trust fund babies to have a semester or two of music without expending the effort required to become a musician, a profession which was below their station. So instead of the hours of practice required to internalize harmony into the playing of an instrument, which was the focus of 18th century training and current Jazz pedagogy, you took the more gentile course of learning to slap some roman numerals on the chords in a Beethoven sonata during a semester at Yale. He also has some positive things to say about Schenker's thinking in figured bass and counterpoint - one of the themes here is that harmony is not separable from counterpoint - good counterpoint results in good harmony

    Here CM w/ the basic rule of the octave, the most basic element in partimento, on guitar

    From what I have read, the next steps would be named counterpoint patterns, such as the Romanesca or Pinner - these were the building blocks of improv and composition. Ultimately, students would be expected to improvise fugues using these tools. The Romanesca is perhaps most familiar as it is the basis for Pachabel's canon

    and just bought this, which has as exercises the rule of the octave in all 24 keys
    Fundamental Harmony - DANIEL NISTICO
    I think there is some free stuff on the website, but the book was only $20 AUD (which I think is couple of US bucks). The rule of the octave exercises were taken from a little known 19th century guitar method by Mrs Robert Kirkman, available here http://149.71.162.59/H29/h_29_01_001.pdf

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Oh god you didn't post that video did you lol...

    Full of consecutives IIRC....

    It's actually quite hard to avoid consecutives in parallel 6/3 chords I find in four voices, so it probably no surprise that many rules of the octave except for IIRC Scarlatti's very basic treatment have more complex harmonies here, including raising (augmenting) the sixth . I think the only way Scarlatti could get the voice-leading to work is by doubling one of the notes in one of the 6/3 chords, but Sanguinetti does not include his harmonisation in his book, sadly.

    Anyway, all original rule of the octave stick to oblique motion between bass and treble as much as possible, and do it in four positions - starting and ending with root, third, fifth or octave in the treble.

    Apologies for my rubbish version. I'll revisit at some point.

  4. #3

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    Another very nice way of harmonising descending scales are the various suspension formulae.

    Of those, the most familiar to jazz guitar players will be

    1 3 7 - 1 3 6

    Or 7-6 in figured bass shorthand. The 6 becomes 7 in the next chord...

    You can also add fifths to those chords....

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    It's actually quite hard to avoid consecutives in parallel 6/3 chords I find in four voices.
    Here is the realization in the Mrs Kirkman method - although in Gjerdingen's book the examples tend to be in 2 or 3 voices - which is more realistic if you are teaching this to a piano student and the goal is to improvise melodic figures and ornamentation

  6. #5

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    I went through some of the Fenaroli harmonisations in the Sanguinetti book and simplified some of the voice leading to be more idiomatic for intermediate (grade 3+) classical guitar. There do seem to be some consecutives interestingly!

    As with your example, the use of 6 5 and #6 chords makes it a little easier to avoid consecutives while adding more colourful harmony.

    My plan is, inspired but the Gjerdingen interview, to encourage my students to mess around with simple passacaglias, Pachelbel's Canon, Oh Come All Ye Faithful and other simple bases and start to compose and improvise this type of harmony.

    But those on the thread may enjoy.

    Music theory is classist, but Schenker's cool-rules-octave-guitar_0001-jpg
    Music theory is classist, but Schenker's cool-rules-octave-guitar_0002-jpg

    I'll do a video about this when I get the chance.

    BTW, it also strikes me that we have many rules of the octave outside of classical music. The Barry Harris scales take the form of these - often with classical style 7-6 suspensions and so on. Also Irish folk guitarists seem to have formulas for harmonising the bass notes of a scale in an idiomatic way.

    I think there's a lot of flexibility in this idea beyond classical style harmonisations.
    Last edited by christianm77; 10-18-2020 at 08:23 PM.

  7. #6

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    Also I got to give you some minor

    I'm doing more pages of this. There are suspension formulae and cadence things, but I don't want to post too much, and I don't want to cover everything in Sanguinetti for school kids! Just enough to get them playing around with harmony. What I've posted here is far too much, needs to be made digestible. (Also some mistakes in the figures, I'll get around to those)
    Music theory is classist, but Schenker's cool-rules-octave-guitar_0003-jpg
    Music theory is classist, but Schenker's cool-rules-octave-guitar_0006-jpg

  8. #7

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    BTW, as Robert Levin points out, many jazz musicians studied with Nadia Boulanger, including Donald Byrd, Michel Legrand, Lalo Schifrin and Quincy Jones.

  9. #8
    Been practicing the Kirkman progressions along with a very simple Romanesca - Pinner. Varying it with arpeggios vs block chords etc. The Romanesca is basically the opening of Oh Canada (which came from the Magic Flute). With just that little bit, it’s not hard to put together stuff that sounds like 19th century guitar studies.

  10. #9
    Found this guy, who republished the Kirkman and has a link to the original on his website.

    The Rule of the Octave - DANIEL NISTICO

    the Kirkman is here, it’s a big file
    http://149.71.162.59/H29/h_29_01_001.pdf

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWV
    Been practicing the Kirkman progressions along with a very simple Romanesca - Pinner. Varying it with arpeggios vs block chords etc. The Romanesca is basically the opening of Oh Canada (which came from the Magic Flute). With just that little bit, it’s not hard to put together stuff that sounds like 19th century guitar studies.
    When I think of Romanseca I think of the Three Ladies scene in the Magic Flute. Also, Whatever by Oasis.

    The 7-6 resolution sequence stuck the Pet Shop Boys in my minds ear lol.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Oh god you didn't post that video did you lol...

    Full of consecutives IIRC....

    It's actually quite hard to avoid consecutives in parallel 6/3 chords I find in four voices, so it probably no surprise that many rules of the octave except for IIRC Scarlatti's very basic treatment have more complex harmonies here, including raising (augmenting) the sixth . I think the only way Scarlatti could get the voice-leading to work is by doubling one of the notes in one of the 6/3 chords, but Sanguinetti does not include his harmonisation in his book, sadly.
    Nadia Boulanger's solution to realizing consecutive 6/3 chords in 4 voices: Double the bass of the lowest first inversion chord, the 6th (above the bass) of the next chord, the 3rd (above the bass) of the following chord, then the bass again, the 6th, 3rd and so forth. The soprano will have the 6th (root) 5 times in a row. She also has a solution for consecutive 6/3 chords in longer note values that creates a canon between the soprano and alto, while keeping 3rds between the bass and tenor.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by powersurge
    Nadia Boulanger's solution to realizing consecutive 6/3 chords in 4 voices: Double the bass of the lowest first inversion chord, the 6th (above the bass) of the next chord, the 3rd (above the bass) of the following chord, then the bass again, the 6th, 3rd and so forth. The soprano will have the 6th (root) 5 times in a row. She also has a solution for consecutive 6/3 chords in longer note values that creates a canon between the soprano and alto, while keeping 3rds between the bass and tenor.
    Nice!

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    When I think of Romanseca I think of the Three Ladies scene in the Magic Flute. Also, Whatever by Oasis.

    The 7-6 resolution sequence stuck the Pet Shop Boys in my minds ear lol.
    This is the Oh Canada Romanesca bit




  15. #14

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    Do you have Music in the Gallant Style?

    It's like a book of these modules. It's brill.

    Sanguinetti tells you how to realise them.

    Still can't write a decent minuet though lol.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Do you have Music in the Gallant Style?

    It's like a book of these modules. It's brill.

    Sanguinetti tells you how to realise them.

    Still can't write a decent minuet though lol.
    Yes, that is what I started reading to prompt this thread. Romanesca and Pinner are the first two listed, and as far as I have got

  17. #16

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    Here is a fantastic resource for learning how these schema sound:


    He goes through most of them in different videos.

    This is a cool video too

  18. #17
    Another cool Bach partimento video