Tag Archives: linear harmony

Linear Harmony #5: Block and Layered Counterpoint

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I’m revising a piece for my ensemble, perhaps for a recording in the near or far future. I’ve used “Take it Inside” in many posts because it’s a good example of linear harmony. It’s also free and I have the … Continue reading

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Linear Harmony #4 – Inner Roots and Voice Leading Pt. 2

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…the effect is fluid and free, almost like a composition is improvising with itself. I like this technique and I use it often. Thinking about strong lines and counterpoint first, and chords and harmonic movement second can make it all … Continue reading

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Linear Harmony #3 – From Point A to Point B

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Let your counterpoint guide you and write from the top down. Don’t worry about chords until it sounds good. Think about the beginning and the end of the phrase and how you want to get from point A to point … Continue reading

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Linear Harmony #2 – Inner Roots and Voice Leading – Pt. 1

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The layering of chords, with inner roots and strong voice leading are an important part of linear harmony; it’s a melodic way of writing with chords, and with apologies to Schoenberg and Debussy, a jazzy way of using “Klangfarbenmelodie”, or … Continue reading

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Linear Harmony #1: Almost Chords but Not Quite

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I started talking about linear harmony a while ago in “Lines Intertwining” (with apologies to Spinal Tap), and a few other Top-Down posts, like Melodic Pedal Points; in other posts I’ve discussed freeing up lines and counterpoint and not worrying … Continue reading

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Top Down #6: Melodic Motion–Space is the Place

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You can give your writing rhythmic tension by varying the “groove” under a melody, melodic line, or syncopated figure. You can also create space for counterlines and more music material under, after and around your melodic figures. This adds a … Continue reading

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Top-Down #5: More off the Grid

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When your phrases breathe and have some space, counterlines and background figures come more easily. When you write from the top, everything fits, because you decide how much space to allot each element, then you fill in the rest. When … Continue reading

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Top Down #4: Rhythmic Control and Moving off the Grid

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One goal of writing from the top-down is to compose more expressively. Not that your melodies need any help to be expressive, but perhaps there’s a way to “open it up” more. Thinking about your music with flexible rhythmic feel … Continue reading

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Amplified String Quartet? Really?

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I just mixed the piece I wrote for last April’s concert–“Effection” for amplified string quartet and three percussion. It’s an attempt at “Third Stream” music, combing some jazz elements in a modern classical setting. The musicians were cracker jack players, … Continue reading

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“Serious” Improvisation-Surfing the Third Stream

I’m writing a piece for string quartet and 3 percussionists. In this piece I want to have the players improvise in certain passages. This creates many challenges, not the least of which is how to notate improvisation. I’ve done this … Continue reading

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