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Music Theory articles

  • The pedal point and the sus4 chord

    The pedal point and the sus4 chord - Harmony Basics - Part 29


    In the previous articles we dealt basically with dissonances and consonances and how they alternate following the different harmonic motions.

  • Harmonic anticipation and appoggiatura

    Harmonic anticipation and appoggiatura - Harmony Basics - Part 28


    Welcome to today's article, where we will keep on discussing motion in the harmonic domain. Last time we talked about suspension, so today we'll talk about its flip side: anticipation and its very close relative, the appoggiatura.

  • Harmonic suspension

    Harmonic suspension - Harmony Basics - Part 27


    It's sometimes hard to believe the similarities between real-life events and music. You could say that when you are late or early in life, you are not in sync with your environment. Well it's similar in music: when something is delayed or comes early (as you will see in the next article), there's often dissonance. That's why you need to be well pr…

  • Indirect resolutions

    Indirect resolutions - Harmony Basics - Part 26


    In the previous article you saw how a resolution can be regular or... irregular. And it's precisely the latter that we will start exploring today. By doing this you will be able to observe, once again, how everything is linked to each other in the world of music harmony. Because we will touch upon some notions we've seen before, like cadence and c…

  • Forced motions and resolutions

    Forced motions and resolutions - Harmony Basics - Part 25


    In the previous article you saw how the different voices of a chord evolved to get to another chord, following a very specific voice leading procedure, which is called a "forced" motion. And that's what we will see in detail today.

  • Context and first resolution

    Context and first resolution - Harmony Basics - Part 24


    In the last article, we saw consonances and dissonances according to our Western point of view, as well as the alternation that governs their use. In the present article you will see how to lead these dissonances towards consonances, respecting the alternation in question.

  • Consonance and Dissonance

    Consonance and Dissonance - Harmony Basics - Part 23


    If you want to start making up melodies and bass lines from chord inversions, as I promised in the last article, we must first address the thorny issue of consonance and its evil twin, dissonance... which, by the way, is crucial to harmony!

  • Melodic and harmonic motion

    Melodic and harmonic motion - Harmony Basics - Part 22


    In the previous article we discussed inversions within the frame of enharmonic modulations. I will take this opportunity to explore with you in this and the following article the different ways in which you can take advantage of these inversions.

  • Enharmonic Modulations

    Enharmonic Modulations - Harmony Basics - Part 21


    Before I begin I most warn you that this article might seem a bit grueling for some of you. But if you've been following the other articles in the series up to now, you shouldn't have a problem with what is about to come. Otherwise, you can always use the comments section to ask anything you want.

  • Modulating to neighbor, distant and chromatic keys

    Modulating to neighbor, distant and chromatic keys - Harmony Basics - Part 20


    In the previous articles we saw how you can modulate towards other keys, mainly using pivot chords to guarantee a smooth transition. So, now that we've seen how to modulate, it would be nice to know where you can modulate to, right?