28 May 2004

Notes: Chapter 7 from Harmony, Walter Piston

The mental steps involved in the process of harmonization make it one of the most valuable exercises in the study of harmony. ... The attempt to solve the same problems as the composer will afford an insight into the nature and details of these problems and into the manner and variation of their solution.

True harmonization means a consideration of the alternatives in available chords, the reasoned selection of one of these alternatives, and the tasteful arrangement of the texture of the added parts with due regard for consistency of style.

  1. Determine the key based on the notes,
    1. Ignore modulation,
    2. End on an authentic (V-I) or half (V) cadence,
  2. Prefer single chords for melodic skips,
    1. Exception: if the harmonic rhythm is weak to strong,
    2. Exception: if the skip crosses a bar line,
  3. Consider a chord change over a held melodic note,
  4. Write out the possible chords for each note,
    1. The note can be a chordal root, third, or fifth,
  5. Determine the harmony,
    1. The final chord should be root postion I or V,
    2. Precede a final I with the V (or VII),
    3. Favor root-position chords,
    4. Consider harmonic rules when chosing between chords,
    5. Consider aesthetic rules of unity and variety,
  6. Consider multi-phrase melodies
    1. Utilize half cadences in phrases before the final,
  7. Recognize harmonic formulas for common passages,
    1. Scale passages,
  8. Expand these principles with inversions and non-harmonic tones
[ posted by sstrader on 28 May 2004 at 4:13:07 PM in Music ]