• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Topic: Syntactic Structures in Music

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Syntactic Structures in Music

    For anyone interested in theory, (which I am trying to learn) I have stumbled across a fascinating website outlining the research of a fellow computer scientist (finally, a music theorist who speaks my language) into the "syntax" of harmony in western tonal music. This new analytical technique is not only fascinating, but utterly logical and rational.

    Unfortunately I discovered the site at nearly midnight last night and was forced to stay up many hours past my bed time studying it. I learned more about the harmonic structure of western music in those few hours than I had previously learned in my entire life! (Which, considering that I've never studied theory, isn't really saying much. )

    Take look, if you are interested, at http://www.harmony.org.uk/
    Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to studying chapter three.

    --gary shannon
    --gary shannon
    Spooks! - The Movie

  2. #2
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206 USA
    Posts
    1,425

    Re: Syntactic Structures in Music

    Great find!

    I'm reading now. This might be just what I needed.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California Redwoods
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Syntactic Structures in Music

    Well, I intend to check it out in more detail later. But I find it useful to remember that in general, music theory is backward looking. That is, theory derives from practice. Attempting to compose by logical rules and theory is running a great risk of sounding like music composed by logical rules and theory. Or to express it differently, composing music is not rocket science.

    There are many theories floating about. Walter Piston, among others has stated that any theory can be stretched by it's protaganist to encompass any music imaginable. My general outlook is to leave the theory and analysis to the musicologist. I will concentrate on composing and performing.

    But I still intend to investigate the site.

    Richard

  4. #4

    Re: Syntactic Structures in Music

    Quote Originally Posted by rwayland
    ... My general outlook is to leave the theory and analysis to the musicologist. I will concentrate on composing and performing.

    But I still intend to investigate the site.

    Richard
    I shared the same basic outlook, but I'm beginning to gain new respect for theory inasmuch as I can see ways in which applying that theory could enhance the harmonic richness of my compositions. I tend to get stuck in the old "three chord rut" (I IV V).

    And Bob Dylan told us that learning harmony is mandatory when he pointed out "Harmony roads must a man travel down..."

    --gary shannon
    --gary shannon
    Spooks! - The Movie

  5. #5

    Re: Syntactic Structures in Music

    This site looks very imformative, I hope to explore it further! Thanks for the link!

    I tend to look at theoritical material as this not as "logical rules and theory to compose by" but as "observations and ideas to inspire."
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  6. #6

    Re: Syntactic Structures in Music

    Many people often confuse harmony with music.
    In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    http://reberclark.blogspot.com http://reberclark.bandcamp.com http://www.youtube.com/reberclark

  7. #7
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    2,797

    Re: Syntactic Structures in Music

    Great link, thanks for posting.

    I tend to look at theoretical material as I should learn all the rules so i can break them.

  8. #8

    Re: Syntactic Structures in Music

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince of Music
    yeah.... and we have so much music in the west that doesn't have any harmony???

    Tom
    For most bands that depends on whether you let them use Autotune or not.

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Bergen, Norway
    Posts
    22

    Re: Syntactic Structures in Music

    I often get the impression that Traditional harmony is looked upon with some grade of contempt. Even so, the traditional harmony is of great value to at least one kind of composer or arranger, the one who writes for choir. Sometimes when I arrange for choir, I even get the feeling that the theory of harmony must be a result of experience from working with choirs. When you make an arrangement following the rules , all the voices will be easy to sing. There is especially a quite a satisfying effect of a melodious base resulting from good voiceleading. In classical music you can find a good functional baseline in every successful piece.

    By all means, break every rule at will when you feel for it ! But why not use a useful tool in those cases where you could benefit from it ?
    Oyvind

  10. #10
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    California Redwoods
    Posts
    2,937

    Re: Syntactic Structures in Music

    Quote Originally Posted by Oyvind
    I often get the impression that Traditional harmony is looked upon with some grade of contempt. . . .


    By all means, break every rule at will when you feel for it ! But why not use a useful tool in those cases where you could benefit from it ?
    Oyvind
    Well, even though I usually stray from tradional harmony, it does not follow that I hold it in contempt. I write mostly for piano, and will never write for choir, and so the tradiotanal harmony can safely be violated, and usually is, by me. To me, it seems that non-traditional harmony is held in contempt more than traditional. But both have their values.

    Richard

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •