Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
rbarata
KVRist
464 posts since 6 Feb, 2005 from Portugal

Post Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:23 am

Hello, my friends

I've been studying using Piston's Harmony book and I need you to confirm my answers to an exercise.
I know there are multiple answers to the exercises (hence why probably there's no answers key) but I tried to cover as much as I can.
Image

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jancivil
KVRAF
15335 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:11 am

Those all work.

rbarata
KVRist
464 posts since 6 Feb, 2005 from Portugal

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:35 am

Good...I'm happy with myself.:)
Probably there are some more possibilities...I'm not very experienced in minor sclaes but I've read today something about modes in minor scales. I had the feeling, without knowing anything about that, that it might work here also.

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jancivil
KVRAF
15335 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:53 pm

Well, you might want to consider the modalization (for lack of a better word) of any given diatonic scale to uncover other possibilities and in extension of the exercise. You want to be able to see what you did like right away, ultimately.

rbarata
KVRist
464 posts since 6 Feb, 2005 from Portugal

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:40 pm

jancivil wrote:You want to be able to see what you did like right away, ultimately.
Yes, that's the ultimate goal about it. Much more work needed.

Thanks for your reply! :)

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jancivil
KVRAF
15335 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:52 pm

for quickie examples: ex. c) can be from C Dorian, Eb Lydian etc.

ex. e), 4th mode of C harm. minor; for a real world instance Erik Satie in Gnossienne 1 does that, tonic = F.
Tune is C Eb D C B B, over an F minor harmony. Nice easternish, pungent effect.

ex. a) can be from D Locrian...
Last edited by jancivil on Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

rbarata
KVRist
464 posts since 6 Feb, 2005 from Portugal

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:56 am

I forgot the modes...that's an obvious sign of lack of experience.
It's so obvious that I didn't see it.
In my defense, that's an exercise from the first book chapter, no modes yet hehe
Thanks for the clue, jancivil. I'll work on that.

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StudioDave
KVRian
890 posts since 23 Jun, 2007 from Findlay OH USA

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Thu Jun 14, 2018 6:32 am

@rbarata - Good work ! Very nice to see someone taking the plunge into Piston. IMHO he's an excellent guide into common practice harmony. Are you working only on Piston's book exercises or did you get the DeVoto workbook too ?

@jancivil - Still on the job, I see. And I still read everything that you write here. :)

Best regards,

dp

rbarata
KVRist
464 posts since 6 Feb, 2005 from Portugal

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:31 am

Hi, StudioDave

No, I don't have the workbook. I didn't know there was one.

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StudioDave
KVRian
890 posts since 23 Jun, 2007 from Findlay OH USA

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:07 am

rbarata wrote:Hi, StudioDave

No, I don't have the workbook. I didn't know there was one.
https://www.amazon.com/Workbook-Harmony ... y+workbook

It's actually by Arthur Jannery, sorry for the confusion.

Best,

dp

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jancivil
KVRAF
15335 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:12 am

StudioDave wrote:
@jancivil - Still on the job, I see. And I still read everything that you write here. :)
Thanx for the kindness, Dave.

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fmr
KVRAF
7605 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:35 am

Actually, your answers to c) and d) are not entirely correct, IMO. Those fragments can happen in F Major and D minor, and A Major and F# minor, period. I would avoid treating the minor mode as if there are three of them. There is ONLY ONE minor mode, and what we have is variants, which can all be used during the piece, without changing the mode from what it is. Therefore, the correct answer, IMO, is strictly F# minor.

I don't know what that book says about this, but there is a common misconception that tends to treat the minor variants as if they were three different entities, when, in reality, they are only variants of ONE single entity.

Minor is a mode born from the old gregorian mode of D (the first mode), through the bemolization of the B, done to avoid the tritone (F to B forms an augmented fourth, or tritone, which wasn't appreciated melodically). Later, during the "musica ficta" period, the C# started to be sung instead of the C, to create the leading tone (the attraction to the final note, which became the tonic). That's where the minor mode (natural AND harmonic) comes from.

Finally, it was Bach who "created" the melodic variant, by raising the sixth and seventh degrees when going up to avoid the melodic augmented second jump while preserving the leading tone, and lowering the two when going down (because the leading tone is no longer necessary when the movement goes away from the tonic, and there still is a need to avoid the augmented second jump).

So, to sum it up: There is only one minor mode, and what we have are variants, that may coexist all in the same piece. There is no need to specify, but if you want or feel the need to, so you should say D minor (in harmonic form).

I just say this because it seems you are starting, and clarifying this now may be useful for you in the future, when things start to mix.
Fernando (FMR)

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jancivil
KVRAF
15335 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:55 am

That's all well and good in context, but there may arise other contexts for the curious. It even seems sort of dogmatic to apply your school to music in the wider sense <there is but the one "minor mode">.

I'm a great stickler for only calling real modal music 'modes', except when I say 'modalize' things here, which is just obtaining more vocabulary. In terms of scales.

In jazz practice, whether you respect this or not, the so-called rising melodic minor is a thing. AND you can think about it differently than the name indicates: as though a major scale with a minor third for instance.

"The scale may be considered to originate in the use of extensions beginning with the seventh in jazz..."
EG: Ab 'jazz minor' associated with G7, V7 of C: Ab Bb 'B' Db Eb F G gives the 'sound' of G7b5b13. Strong suggestion of the resolve to C minor. Has nothing to do with classical usage.

Then the so-called fourth mode of melodic minor produces what some call the acoustic scale; let's base it from C mel. minor: C D Eb F G A B to F G A B C D Eb. Or you can say it's Lydian flat 7, or whatever, it doesn't matter objectively. So even before I took music theory at school I was hip to synthetic scales.

Finally let's look at Erik Satie's Gnossienne 1. The first melodic statement, the main tune really is: C Eb D C B, B.
The chord is F minor. It is in total agreement with <C harmonic minor> as a scale, but it isn't in C so it functions exactly as the jazz ideation above does. It has naught to do with <there is but the one "minor mode"> or classical harmony paradigm particularly. All it does is go to iv and back to i.
To suppose its basis is C harmonic minor (including the harmony, F Ab C the scale is F G Ab B C D Eb) seems only reasonable. It's what I saw immediately. It's fourth mode of C Harmonic Minor, to keep it simple. Now, one may well just say it is what it is and name it whatever, F Dorian #4; but with a certain experience (this is late 19th c.) I say this is what it probably is.
Gnossienne No. 1.png
Of course the B natural isn't used for iv (the Bbm).
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rbarata
KVRist
464 posts since 6 Feb, 2005 from Portugal

Re: Piston's exercise from scales fragments

Post Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:48 pm

I don't know what that book says about this, but there is a common misconception that tends to treat the minor variants as if they were three different entities, when, in reality, they are only variants of ONE single entity.
Piston consider the harmonic minor as the minor scale. So far, when he mentions minor scale it's refering to harmonic minor.
I decided to consider all the variants (natural, harmonic and melodic) for practice purposes only. :)

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