"Solarstone - Release": how would you analyze the harmony?

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
KVRist
78 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Fri Sep 24, 2021 8:13 pm

Here's the track:

Solarstone - Release (Original Mix)

https://youtu.be/If7emP1Ulbg?t=90


In terms of pure math, it is fairly simple. But there are several options for theoretical interpretations, in part because many of its chords are sus2 and sus4 - in other words, quartals.


How would you analyze and write down the harmonic formula of this, especially from perspective of decoding it to make music with similar feeling?

NOTE: strict adherence to textbook markup styles not required. Roman numerals (chromatic or with scale defined), combination of degree numbers and chord qualities, 12-pitch integer notation - all goes.
I'm curious to see various methods to describe the harmonic logic of this, in a way that can be decoded from the markup.

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KVRian
803 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:12 am

N__K wrote:
Fri Sep 24, 2021 8:13 pm
all goes.
Except in the real world.

Best of Luck :wink:
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

KVRist

Topic Starter

78 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:34 am

TribeOfHǫfuð wrote:
Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:12 am
Except in the real world.
Well, for me, the real world has shown that there are many different ways to think about musical phenomena. Some are in line with various institutional orthodoxies, and some are quite outside of them, and everything in between. All reflect the people who experience music and think about it, in their own ways.

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KVRian
803 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:40 am

If it is idiosyncratic diversity into the art of music astrology you want, you have come to the right forum. As for me, I think in terms of species counterpoint, tonal movements and cadances, and leave the chord approaches and functional harmony analysis to those who can cope without getting bored, so I am not in. But godspeed finding participants.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

KVRAF
22882 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:53 am

"because many of its chords are sus2 and sus4 - in other words, quartals."
a so-called sus2 or sus4 is not through itself a "quartal" harmony for use value. It is when it is, but def. doesn't have to be.
In perhaps the majority of the time the 1 2 5 is meant as exactly that. C D G may well have a different meaning than D G C in musical example.
The thought might be that the 2 is there in place of 3 so that the triad has no major or minor quality (losing the connotations), but the root is the root. You've insisted it is, per se, a second inversion of the structure D G C. Hard no.

C F G may well resolve to C E G, in which it behaves at least in part as a suspended 4-3 (we don't know it was suspended, and it's a pop chord or lead sheet convention outside of the voice-leading original intent). For that matter C D G may resolve to a tertial C E G and quartal practice nowhere in sight.

Frank Zappa came up with what he called 'the 2 chord' as per the explanation above. it's root, second, fifth, full stop.

I can't take analyzing anything from this viewpoint at all seriously. It's missing basic concepts, leaping to "quartal"...
Last edited by jancivil on Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

KVRist

Topic Starter

78 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:59 am

Let's put it in another way: if a student of yours presented you that track, and asked "how do I make music with similar feeling", how would you guide them?

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KVRian
803 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:09 am

So a musical "feeling" can be formalized in harmonic functions? Like the good old fallacy that minor means sad and major happy? I would guide no one on such terms. OTOH if they asked me how a sus chord traditionally is used, I could teach them a few cadances, but that would not be in terms of feeling, but rather tension and resolvement by virtue of trivial staff notation. However, when I go percussion, the term "feeling" makes sense, but that regards the groove and time sig of the rhythm.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

KVRAF
22882 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:21 am

N__K wrote:
Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:34 am
TribeOfHǫfuð wrote:
Sat Sep 25, 2021 9:12 am
Except in the real world.
Well, for me, the real world has shown that there are many different ways to think about musical phenomena. Some are in line with various institutional orthodoxies, and some are quite outside of them, and everything in between. All reflect the people who experience music and think about it, in their own ways.
Well, stating conjecture about known things as facts where they aren't really facts is not a matter of culture or orthodoxy compared with the novel. It's fanciful, so pointing to 'real world' is, to me, not really so unfair. I started to think characterizing you as leaping past your understanding might be untoward, now maybe not. Because you want to talk like you're above the orthodoxy when you're just skipping past. Our sus2 or sus4 resides within conventions, are conventional assignations and certainly the very term suspended is orthodox. Your thinking is simply missing basic knowledge, not really a new thing to say.

We could look at the 2 chord in Uncle Meat, or The Black Page #2. The latter does G2 to Bb2 and back to G2, for starters.
Guess what happens over that? G Lydian scale and a Bb Lydian scale. In fact some actual quartal tendencies in his idiom crop up here: F# / C#, B A___ , G . E A A over the G.
The quartals however have a relationship to the G, it's ^7 / #4, 3 9___, 1 6 9 9
So here there is not quartal harmony. He's vamping from G to Bb. All the tension of the Lydian on those is informed by that, itself a certain tension (minor 3 parallel movement but from a major type mode). I suppose I'm doing too much, but I like to demonstrate a concept; there I definitely have an analysis of that "sus2" construction that isn't 'quartals'.
I do a sus4 sound a lot that is intended as the old school suspension. It is probably not going to end 'orthodoxically' and it lives in a fabric of linear movement, but it isn't a quartal idea through itself (it might or might not work that way). The idea, the thing-in-itself is the thing rather than supposition and fancy.

KVRAF
22882 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:47 am

So I clicked on the youtube.
That's not quartal practice, that's just a suspended chord on I sitting there. There's nothing more to analyze.

this is what quartal harmony does, in reality:
https://y2u.be/rWvoJTwEqr8
- the first section. The middle can be looked at tertially. The last section defies easy conventional analysis*, it does take the parallelism of the first part as a model, and the 'root' movement of the first is the melody of the last. (*: I mean we can say a Gm (add2) goes to an F#m7 over the pedal G, but there is no established precedent for why [or necessity of the name, it's a G-based sonority, that's just how a pop cat looks at it.]).

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KVRian
803 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:02 am

Clicked it to, and agree with Jan. There is almost nada there and least of all quartal practise (cool example, Jan, yeah). It sounds quite trivial and can be analysis and notated as such. You are reinventing the wheel and end up with a square one that ain´t gonna bring you anywhere further. But your engagement is a good premise for really learning the deed. Study. Don´t guess or invent.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

KVRist

Topic Starter

78 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:55 am

Well, thanks for listening to it :)

"Release" also has passages consisting of 1,2,4,5 or (0,2,5,7), and the Csus4 it begins with can also be thought of as v, or ii - so it could be classified as being in C Phrygian, F Natural Minor or Bb Dorian.

I'd consider it to have a "quartal" character because it relies on those "indeterminate" sus chords without really resolving anywhere from them. Granted, they are voiced as sus4 in many places, but the general idea of using them is not of suspension. Instead the "colors" of 1,2,4,5 or (0,2,5,7) are used on different degrees to create a feeling that could be described as "ethereal", "floating" or somesuch.

In other words, the fact that it is a simple composition and even fits neatly into a diatonic scale does not, in my current view, preclude ideas in it being called "quartal". But opinions and orthodoxies may vary, of course.

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KVRian
803 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 12:01 pm

N__K wrote:
Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:55 am
I'd consider it to have a "quartal" character because it relies on those "indeterminate" sus chords without really resolving anywhere from them.
Which does not comply to quartal practise in any sensible definition but just to unresolved sus chords.
See this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartal_a ... al_harmony

Making up your own terms and twisting those established to mean something else is the point where we get off. It becomes idiosyncratic and non-interesting as such. And orthodixies tend NOT to vary much per definition. That is what enable me to read music theory from anno 1400 and still understand what it is about.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

KVRist

Topic Starter

78 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:18 pm

From what you linked:

"In music, quartal harmony is the building of harmonic structures built from the intervals of the perfect fourth, the augmented fourth and the diminished fourth."

Sus4 and sus2 are inversions of a stack of perfect fourths.

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KVRian
803 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:49 pm

N__K wrote:
Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:18 pm
Sus4 and sus2 are inversions of a stack of perfect fourths.
Nope. A quartal harmony is build up in intervals of forths and

"Quintal harmony (the harmonic layering of fifths specifically) is a lesser-used term, and since the fifth is the inversion or complement of the fourth, it is usually considered indistinct from quartal harmony".

So the inversion of quartal harmonies are quintal harmony, and one feature is that they are neutral as to the root and developed in opposition to tonal centers:

"Quartal harmony was developed in the early 20th century as a result of this breakdown and reevaluation of tonality."

So they are developed as alternatives to tonal music, while a plain sus chord is developed in the tonal frame and has a root per definition. Lets take C-F-Bb. First inversion could make it a sus 4 chord, F-Bb-C, but only if F is root in a tonal context, and that is exactly what these harmonies are not meant for. So you mistake a chord from a tonal system as an inversion of a chord in a non tonal frame, and that is your fail here. Your own example are but a sus chords with a root that are not resolved. Have nothing to do with the quartal frame.
Last edited by TribeOfHǫfuð on Sat Sep 25, 2021 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

KVRist

Topic Starter

78 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Sat Sep 25, 2021 2:02 pm

So you would consider "Release" as a tonal piece of music, primarily?

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