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o The purpose:

Creativity in music: An aspect that has been neglected.

One remark that Ive had numerous times during my studies is how the fun factor of music
making has diminished over the recent years (in the classical world) and has been replaced by
rigidness. In this process, creativity, a phenomenon which in my view is one of the most
valuable sources of inspiration and motivation, is many times crumbled, leading to the
creation of a gap between musical performance and composition.
My purpose through this method is to lessen that gap and render music making more
accessible and fun by putting creativity into use.
By creating links between music theory and practice and by providing the necessary tools, I
am ultimately aiming to develop ones ability to dynamically generate music out of scratch.

o Who its meant for:

Due to the nature of the subject, this method is addressed towards the teacher, providing
guidelines on the application of exercises and activities involving the student. Because of the
fact that improvisation is such a broad topic, the exercises and activities provided are for the
most part indicative, meaning that it is required by the teacher to come up with additional
exercises/examples based on the given models (there are almost infinite exercises -for the
most part- one could come up with). Having said that, it is vital that the teacher utilizing this
method has previous knowledge on the topics discussed and is proficient in music theory as
well as in playing a keyboard instrument.

The Students profile: This method is best suited for people who are not complete beginners.
Some basic experience in a keyboard instrument as well as some basic music theory
knowledge is highly recommended (ability to read notes and values, music symbols, time
signatures, etc.).

o The Goal:

This method is meant to provide the necessary tools so that ultimately, a student may
express themselves in their own style. To achieve that, the method is utilizing general
conventions that fall within the classical era (1600 - .) without particular stylistic

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o The philosophy:

The teaching philosophy employed in this method is based on certain principles. Those can
be summarized in the following bullet-points:

Meaningful and substantial teaching with focus on logic and perspective development.
Theory and Music go together, with direct links between the topic discussed and how it
functions in practice.
No nonsense theory that exists for the sake of existing without serving any
musical purpose.
Focus on interaction between student and teacher.
Emphasis on activities and games that stimulate ones musical ear.
Gradual introduction of subjects with minimal repetition of topics.
(Later encounters of an already discussed topic wont be explained in detail)
Progressive difficulty curve.
Adaptive to the background and context of the student, broad age target group.
(Minimum age: ~12 years-old)
Applicable on any keyboard instrument.

o Teaching systems:

During the course of this method certain teaching systems are implemented in order to
provide a more organized and logical unfolding of topics. Those are as follows:

The 3-Pillars: A system through which topics are expanded by filtering them through
three stages:
Theory/Examples: Featuring explanations and demonstrations through various
means (such as analogies and metaphors, examples from existing music, Etc.).
Exercises/Activities: Featuring exercises as well as interactive activities relevant
to the topic discussed.
Practical Tips: Hints and tricks with practical applications concerning the
realization of the topic discussed.

Note: The 3-Pillar system is more or less present in all chapters and topics, yet depending on the
context and circumstances some of its aspects might be present more than others. Occasionally
it might be employed in a more macro or micro scale when seen appropriate
(e.g.: when a topic doesnt involve enough information in itself to justify exercises/activities
dedicated to it).

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The Extras:
In addition to the 3 Pillars, the following elements will be encountered in the course of
this method in various sections within a topic.
REF: A reference to a topic that will be explored thoroughly at another moment.
Note: Usually a note for the teacher, for clarification or orientation purposes.
ADV: Advanced, Explanations, activities or exercises that are above average
complexity, meant for more advanced students.

The Toolbox/Skillset System:

This is a system for monitoring and evaluating progress.

For every topic explained, a Skillset can be earned. Those carry distinctive names that
describe the topic in which they belong, making them easy to remember.
A Skillset functions as a qualification for carrying on with the next topic or chapter.
All skillsets belong in the Toolbox, which is inspected at the beginning and end of every
major chapter, were an assessment of all Skillsets earned is made. In the beginning of
every chapter, there will be an indication of which Skillsets are required in order to go on.
This system also functions as a means of orientation for students who would like to jump
directly into a later chapter.

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Chapter 1: The Basics 2.32 Suspensions

1.1 The formation of intervals 2.32A 2nds
1.11 The naming system 2.32B 7ths
1.12 Interval qualities 2.32C 4ths
1.13 Interval Inversions 2.32D Ultimate Resolution

1.2 Interval Categories 2.4 Triads in Context (I)

1.21 Consonant intervals 2.41 Revisiting the Note Office
1.22 Dissonant intervals 2.42A Triad Positions
2.42B The Concept of Stability
1.3 Triads 2.43A Triads in Two Parts
1.31 Major & Minor Triads 2.43B Contextualizing a Bassline
1.32 Augmented & Diminished Triads 2.44A Oblique Motion and Triads
1.33 Triads in Practice 2.44B Connecting Triads
2.44C Triad Forms
Chapter 2: Thinking Horizontally
2.5 Embellishing Tones
2.0 While changing directions 2.51 Introduction
2.01 Basic concepts (Reference Chapter) 2.52 Meet the Neighbors
2.53 Embellishing Tones in Practice
2.1 The 63 Rule 2.54 Patterns with Embellishing Tones

2.2 Types of motion 2.6 Creating a Melody

2.21A Parallel, Similar, & Oblique 2.61A The Pillar Tones
2.21B Properties of Parallel Motion 2.61B Melodic steps and leaps
2.21C Patterns for Parallel Motion 2.61C Melodic direction in context
2.22A Contrary Motion 2.62 The Bigger Picture
2.22B The Properties of Contrary
Motion 2.7 Triads in Context II
2.22C Steps/Leaps in Contrary Motion 2.71 Contextualizing a Melody
2.22D Patterns in Contrary Motion
2.23 Motion Types in Context 3.0 Structure and Form (REF)
2.23B The 63 Rule: Motion Types Patch 3.1 Structure from small to large scale
3.2 Composition Layouts
2.3 Managing Dissonance 3.3 Putting it together
2.31 The Clash Resolution Center

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Chapter 1: The Basics


This chapter covers a variety of topics that act as prerequisites to understanding music further. The
introductory character employed, features in depth explanations of basic music theory, with
examples and activities that aim to stimulate ones musical ear.

Since music can be observed from various perspectives, depending on ones point of view different
qualities will distinguish themselves.

The unfolding of topics follows an approach that begins with discussing phenomena that mostly
concern the vertical structure of music and gradually leads to a more horizontal approach. During
this journey attention will be paid to acquiring the necessary tools to be able to understand the
function and whereabouts of the topics discussed.

Toolbox Overview:

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1.1: The formation of intervals

One could say that notes are like people. They exist as individuals but they are also part of a context,
a society of notes so to say, which gives them a greater meaning. They have relationships with each
other, they are separated by various distances and they can travel together if the circumstances

One of the essential tools necessary to express various phenomena in music is the system through
which the distance between notes is measured. To understand that concept better, lets imagine
that somewhere in the note society there exists an office building. In this office-building every floor
represents a different note, and a set 8 floors forms a group known as an octave (every 8 floors -to
either direction- the same pattern is repeated, just higher or lower respectively).

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When multiple notes work in the office simultaneously, they form relationships with each other.
Those relationships are expressed through the distance that separates them. In music terms, this
distance is called an Interval and it is determined by two factors:

A. The actual distance between the names of the notes.

B. The quality of the interval.

1.11: The naming system

First and foremost, lets examine how the basic naming system works.

The name of the distance between two notes, is the numeric value which separates them, with the
departure note being number 1. For example, the distance between the notes C and F would be a
4th, as we would count all the notes between them, with C being the first one (C-D-E-F are 4 notes in
total, making it a 4th interval).

In the context of the note-office metaphor this system would apply as follows:

In this example, the number of floors that separate two notes is the value that describes the interval
between them, counting also the floor one started from.

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Here are a few examples of intervals between notes:

Play random intervals within an octave range on the keyboard, then try to identify them
(their distance only) and notice how they sound (Nice, Ugly, Sad, Etc).

Note to teacher: Upon successful completion of the previous task, perform various
intervals to the student to identify. Associate them with something the student can
relate to.

1.12: Interval qualities

With the aforementioned naming system, intervals get a First name strictly based on their distance,
yet their Surname is still missing. That Surname is what provides specific qualities to intervals,
giving them unique properties and making it possible to have more than one option of an interval
with the same First name.

The specific quality of an interval is determined by the exact distance between the two notes,
measured on a semitone-level.

The general concept of those classifications is as follows:

With Perfect being the most neutral state, the other two directions either lead to the flat side,
making an interval narrower, or to the sharp side, making an interval broader. The Perfect state
however is not available for every interval.

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Those that cant be in a Perfect state always occur in two other sizes, those being either Major or
Minor, without having the possibility of an in-between quality (thus known as Imperfect intervals).
The following diagram displays the states in which intervals can be:

5ths - 4ths and 8ves are by default Perfect, unless flattened or sharpened accordingly.
In that case they become diminished or augmented respectively, but never Major or Minor.

3rds - 6ths - 2nds and 7ths are either Major or Minor (thus Imperfect) and can potentially become
diminished or augmented (if flattened or sharpened accordingly). They can never be Perfect.

A few examples of intervals with different qualities:

As we see for instance on the interval C-E and C-Es, the quality between them differs by a semitone. In
the case of the Major 3rd, the E is two whole-steps away from the C, while the Es is one whole and one
half-step away from the C. The same semitone classification principle applies the rest of the intervals.

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While performing the following activity, notice how different intervals sound when put
in succession. Which ones do you think sound better one after the other?

Note: Intervals can be spread over several octaves with their substance remaining essentially the same.
One can express them with various points of reference (for example, a 9th can be described as an 8ve
plus a 2nd, etc.). In the context of this method, intervals spreading more than one octave might be
described simply as 3rds or 5ths etc. irrelevant of the exact number of octaves that separates them.

Skillsets Earned:

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1.13: Interval Inversions
In music, inversion is a process where the lowest or highest note in a group of notes, moves an
octave higher or lower respectively, thus converting the initial interval to its exact opposite.

The following diagram demonstrates the inversion of intervals:

In addition to the change in the name of the interval that subsequently occurs, its quality also
changes to the exact opposite, resulting in the following:

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Visualized example of an interval inversion:

The magic 9: To easily calculate inversions, one can subtract the desired interval from
number 9. The result of the subtraction is the inversion of the interval subtracted (e.g. if
the inversion of a 7th is required, subtracting 7 from 9 would result in the inverted
interval, in this case, a 2nd).

Skillsets Earned:

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1.2: Interval Categories

Once intervals have acquired a full name, characterizing both their numerical distance (4ths, 5ths,
etc.) and their specific quality (major/minor, etc.) they start displaying more individual properties and
begin to be part of a broader context in the note-society.

At this moment, intervals may further be classified in two main categories, which define which side
they belong to (one could say that as intervals grow up and acquire a name, they become active parts
of the note-society).

Those two categories are:

A. Consonant Intervals
B. Dissonant Intervals

(Note: during this topic more focus will be put on activities, ear-training, as well as demonstrations).

1.21: Consonant Intervals

The first category includes a group of intervals that are considered consonant. In a way, those are
the intervals that are well sounding in themselves and develop stable relationships with each other.
The intervals that belong in this category are the following:

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As seen in the diagram, all perfect intervals are considered consonant, with the exception of 4ths,
which although well sounding in themselves, tend to lack a general classification since their
properties depend on the context in which they appear (at least to our post 17th-century western
ears). Any other state of these intervals however, such as Diminished or Augmented is not considered

In addition, 3rds and 6ths are also consonant, both in their major and minor forms.

To further investigate the properties of each one of them lets start by examining how those
intervals behave and what their characteristics are.

Note: In this section intervals will mostly be examined in their harmonic form, meaning that both of the
tones involved will be sounding together rather than in succession after each other (melodic form).

1.21A: Fifths & Octaves

Perfect fifths have a rather neutral & open sound. In a way, they are intervals that lack gender
since they arent associated with sounding happy or sad. When put in succession, perfect fifths have
a rather medieval sound associated with them.

Octaves consist of two tones that are essentially identical, with one being half the frequency of the
other one. Their sound is broad and stable.

Due to their special characteristics, in western music (after ~1600) both fifths and octaves are treated
with special care (REF: See Chapter 2.1: The 63 Rule).

A common melody which includes the interval of a perfect fifth -in a melodic form- is
the beginning of the song Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star

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This section features concepts for exercises and activities. The teacher is
required to further elaborate and create more material based on the following

ADV: Try these exercises in different keys.

ADV: Try playing 5ths on other notes while the teacher accompanies. Before changing to a new fifth, inform the
teacher on which note it will be.

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On the keyboard, all 5ths and 4ths that are formed between two white or two black
keys are perfect except for the interval B-F or F-B which is diminished and augmented
respectively. An easy way of remembering this is thinking of B-F as an abbreviation of
Boyfriend and F-B as an abbreviation of Facebook (Boyfriends are never perfect, and
Facebook is also far from perfect)

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1.21B: Thirds & Sixths
Thirds and Sixths are in a way siblings, since sixths are essentially inverted thirds. Both are
expressive intervals that play quite an important role in western -tonal- music, as they are responsible
for giving scales their major or minor qualities. In addition to being well sounding by themselves
both of them work well when moving together (REF: See Chapter 2.1: The 63 Rule).

(To be sang/played together with the teacher)

(Notes in red form 6ths)

Common melodies that start with 3rds & 6ths: Greensleeves (Minor 3rd), Four Seasons
- Vivaldi (Major 3rd), Conquest of Paradise (Minor 6th), La Traviata - Verdi (Major 6th).

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Note: This section features concepts for exercises and activities. The teacher is
required to further elaborate and create more material based on the following
models. Exercises can be transposed and embellished further.

ADV: Try transposing this exercise to another key without notating it.

ADV: Try converting this melody to minor without notating it.

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ADV: Try changing minor thirds to major thirds to experiment with their sound (first perform as written and then
alter it to major).

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Complete the following activity in the context of 3rds and 6ths.
Later, using sequences of arrows to either direction make a small composition (must
start and end on the same tone).

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1.22: Dissonant Intervals
The second category of intervals includes the ones that dont get along that well with each other.
They are tensed or unstable and occasionally clash requiring resolution.
Nevertheless, these troubled intervals can play quite an important role in spicing music up, as their
dissonance adds drama, creates expectation, and generally makes consonance feel like a relief in
comparison. Traditionally dissonance has been used to express pain, grief, conflict, etc.

The intervals that belong in this category are the following:

As seen in the diagram, all augmented or diminished intervals are immediately considered dissonant,
no matter what their actual distance is.

In addition, 2nds and 7ths are also dissonant in any of their major or minor variants, forming rather
striking clashes.

As mentioned before, 4ths lack a general classification (depending on the context, they can be
considered both consonant and dissonant). In many cases (such as when formed between two external
voices), 4ths are considered rather unstable, and need support from their surroundings (something
which is only possible when 3 or more voices are present). For that reason, 4ths are considered
dissonant in a two-part context (at least in the post-17th-century western tradition).

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How those intervals resolve, what their exact characteristics are and how they function in a context is a
topic that will be discussed later (REF: see Chapter 2.3 Managing Dissonance). This is due to the fact
that their practical employment comes at a later stage of this method.

A few demonstrations of 2nds, 4ths and 7ths:

When performing these examples (Singing or Playing) try to feel the tension of each interval. Can you hear which
direction it wants to follow?

A few melodies that feature 2rds, 4ths & 7ths: Jaws Theme (Minor 2rd), Happy
Birthday to you (Major 2rd), Star Wars heme (Perfect 4th), The Winner Takes it All -
ABBA (Minor 7th).

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A few examples of Diminished and Augmented intervals.

Example of Diminished 5ths (same as Augmented 4ths) from Dance Macabre (Saint-Sans):

Example of a Diminished 7th:

Skillsets Earned:

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1.3: Triads

If one takes all consonant intervals (apart from 6ths and 8ves and 4ths as they are inversions of 3rds,
unisons & 5ths respectively) and puts them on top of each other simultaneously, a block of notes is
formed. This block, which in a way looks like a three-storey building, consists of a ground floor
known as the root or tonic, a third and a fifth, which acts as the ceiling of the triad. In music terms,
this block of notes stacked up in thirds is called a Triad. *(The example below is in G clef)

Much like intervals, triads also have certain qualities which are determined by the qualities of the
intervals included in them.

As a result, triads can be further divided into two categories:

Triads containing a Perfect Fifth (most common).

Triads containing an Imperfect (altered) Fifth.

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1.31: Major and Minor Triads:
The most common types of triads are the ones that contain a perfect fifth. This fifth, which is placed
on top of the ground tone, acts as the ceiling of the triad leaving an in-between space where the
third of the triad belongs. Consequently, the quality of that third further characterizes the triad into
major or minor (when the third is major, the triad is major and when the third is minor the triad is
minor). *(The example below is in G clef)

Triads could be considered as some of the most basic building blocks of music, having applications
in a variety of genres ranging from classical to pop. They can be formed on top of any note and can
succeed each other in various patterns.

Notation wise, triads are indicated based on the note on which they are formed, and on the quality
of the intervals involved in them (major/minor, etc.).

Major triads are indicated simply by writing the note name on which they are formed in capital
letters (for example a C major triad is indicated as C and a D Major triad as D).

Minor triads are indicated by writing the note name on which they are formed, followed by an m or
min (for example a C minor triad is indicated as Cm or C min and a D minor triad as Dm or D min).

A few examples of major and minor triads:

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1.32: Augmented & Diminished Triads (ADV)
The second type of triads (which are somewhat less common) includes the ones that contain an
imperfect fifth. This fifth, which may either be Augmented or Diminished, also provides the name of
the resulting triad accordingly.

Diminished and Augmented triads are two complete opposites.

On the one hand, diminished triads are the depressed versions of minor triads, were in addition to
the third being minor, the fifth is also shrunk further, becoming diminished.

Augmented triads on the other hand, are the overly-excited versions of Major triads, were apart from
featuring a major third, the fifth is stretched even further thus becoming augmented.

In the end, both triads are considered dissonant (one sounds really narrow while the other one sounds
too stretched).

Note: Since these triads form dissonance, they require resolution. In addition they dont usually appear
alone but rather in a context, were their surroundings provide support.

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Notation wise, these triads (much like their major and minor counterparts) are indicated based on the
note on which they are formed, as well as their special quality.

Diminished triads are indicated by writing the note name on which they are formed followed by the
term Dim or the symbol o. For example a C Diminished triad is indicated as C dim or C .

Augmented triads follow the same principle, except they are described by the term Aug or +. For
example a C Augmented triad is indicated as C Aug or C +.

A few examples of diminished and augmented triads:

Note: Since these triads wont be encountered for the most part of this method, they wont be as
throroughly explained as major and minor triads.

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A revision of triads using cookies
In the following analogy, triads are compared to cookies. The filling between the
buns of the cookies represents a major third, while its absence represents a minor

o From Left to right: Augmented, Major, Minor & Diminished.

Note: Diminished triads are the most disappointing -for most- cookie as they contain no filling. Their
misery could somehow relate to their sound

Disclaimer: Cookie/Form concept was taken from

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1.33: Triads in Practice: Practical information concerning the placement and grip of
major and minor triads on the keyboard.

I) The Shape

Every triad has a characteristic shape on the keyboard. As a result, the triads that share shapes also
have a similar feeling in the hand when being performed.

Those shapes can be classified into 3 types of pairs, as demonstrated in the diagram below (seen
from a horizontal perspective, facing the keys).

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II) The Fingering/Grip

The typical fingering for playing Type 1 & Type 3 triads (with the right hand) is to use the fingers that
correspond to the intervals of the triad itself: The first finger on the root tone, the third finger on
the third, and the fifth finger on the fifth (the exact opposite fingering applies to the left hand, with
the root being played by the fifth finger and so on).

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Type 2 triads are the ones which require the combination of a white and black key to form a perfect
fifth on top of their root, making their shape unequal. Those are no others than the intervals B-F#
and B flat-F (the case of BoyFriend, as mentioned in chapter 1.12). When forming triads on top of the
aforementioned notes, it is handier to use 1-2-4 (RH) and 4-2-1 (LH) instead of the typical 1-3-5.

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Note: When forming triads with either hand, first place your thumb over the desired root tone, think of
a perfect fifth on top of it (thus, make the ground floor and the ceiling of the building), and finally,
place the third in between (notice how the quality of the third affects the overall sound of the triad).

Triads belonging in the same type group share more or less the same fingering, though exceptions
may apply. Some of the Type 3 triads can also be played with 1-2-4 (RH) and 4-2-1 (LH) instead of the
typical 1-3-5 (e.g. C# minor or G# minor).

III) Grip Relation

Every grip type mentioned above can be organized in sets of triads that share those characteristics:

Starting from C, triads that are a fifth apart to either direction have a similar grip.
In pairs of relative scales, each set covers an entire category of shapes.
The following triads cover the 1st category, while their sharp/flat variants would cover the 3rd:

Using this system, one can perform almost all triads by following their shape relations.

To be continued in: Chapter 2.4 Triads in Context (I)

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Note: The following exercises gradually introduce triad types (shapes) in a
musical context. When changing triads, choose for the option that is the
closest to your initial triad (for the time being the triad connections dont need
follow any other rules).

Note: The Teacher is meant to accompany the following exercises with the basslines provided and
optionally, with an extra top voice.

Note: Once comfortable with playing these exercises, try (together with the teacher) to make a small
variation out of them (e.g. alternating the frequency of triad repeats and their rhythmical patterns and
apply various dynamics in such way so that each variation has its own character).

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Note: In the exercise above, certain triads in combination with the bass notes accompanying them form
seventh chords. This is to demonstrate how they can function in action as part of something bigger.

Skillsets Earned:

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Chapter 2: The Horizontal Aspect

Having dealt with various aspects concerning the vertical structure of music (such as intervals and
triads, etc.), we come to the point where the orientation of our approach starts to change from
vertical to a more horizontal one. This will allow us to explore how the topics we discussed apply in a

The horizontal direction in music is of major importance. Basically it tells a story of how the
succession of various pitches in conjunction with time, combine to create direction and flow. The
tendency of certain notes to lead somewhere, the patterns in a melody or the tension relieved from
the resolution of a dissonance is all part of this horizontal frame.

In this chapter we are going to focus on horizontally oriented phenomena, starting with topics that
concern the interval successions themselves and later moving on towards a more melodic approach,
were top to bottom thinking becomes more important. The contents of this chapter naturally
involve the vertical aspects already discussed in Chapter 1.

Note: To avoid repetition and fragmentation of topics that cannot be explained at once, certain
Reference Chapters have been included. These are meant to be explained in the greater course of
Chapter 2.

Toolbox Overview:

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2.0: While changing directions (Reference Chapter)

While proceeding to a more horizontal approach, lets adjust or point of view by familiarizing
ourselves with certain concepts. he contents of this chapter are mean to be referred back to during
the explanation of later topics that might involve the application of what is explained here.

2.01: The Leading Tone

The leading tone is a rather special tone within a scale. Located on the 7th tone, its purpose is to
lead towards the tonic (root) of the scale and as a result, most times it has the tendency to resolve
upwards in a stepwise manner. Due to the leading role it has, it shouldnt be doubled by other
voices and should remain unique.

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2.02: The Tonic Function
One could see the series of events within a piece as a sort of journey, one that has a beginning stage,
an in-between stage and an end stage. In fact, most of the time the beginning and the end stages
occur on the same place, like in a race were the finish line is also the start line. What happens in
between those two stages is -much like in a race track- varying greatly.

This point of reference, being the beginning and the end, is whats called the Tonic.

The Tonic is the first tone of the scale a piece is written in, including the triad on top of it (basically
the notes that belong in the same group as the Tonic).

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What this means is that at the beginning of most exercises to come, one may start on any of the
tones belonging to the Tonic Triad. Thus, the upper voice may start with the 8 (or 1), the 5 or the 3 on
top of the tonic bass note.

2.03: The Cadence

The last stage of the journey within a key is the process of returning back to its tonic. This concluding
act is also known as a Cadence (literally meaning Falling) and is responsible for slowing down the
momentum of a musical phrase to a resting point (in a way they function like the brakes of a car,
but then in a musical context).

Such process can occur in a variety of ways, leading to the possibility of having multiple types of
cadences, classified according to their conclusiveness (a weak cadence would give the feeling of a
somehow inconclusive or questionable ending while a strong cadence would clearly state that the
musical phrase has come to a full stop).

2.03A: The PAC

One of the most important types of cadence is the Perfect Authentic Cadence or PAC for short.
This is a case of a conclusive cadence that signifies the end of a musical phrase.

In a two part context, it involves the leading tone in the upper voice and the 5th tone of the scale
(Dominant) in the lower voice simultaneously moving towards the tonic of the key, resulting in a
rather familiarly sounding closing pattern, that is encountered all over the music world.

Example of a Perfect Authentic Cadence in C Major (notice the characteristic bass Leap):

Note: The student doesnt need to know what exactly a dominant is at the given moment.

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An example of a PAC in two parts (in C Major):

2.03B: The HC

The second most common type of cadence is one that instead of concluding a musical phrase, it puts
a question mark at its end. It is known as the Half Cadence or HC for short and it basically consists
of an arrival to the dominant (the triad on top of the 5th tone of a scale) occurring on a metrically
strong beat. This setting creates a cliffhanger effect at the end of a phrase, were the listener
expects some sort of continuation (REF: For more on practical applications of HCs see Chapter 3.12A).

Example of a Half Cadence (in C Major):

Note: In a two-part context a HC is ideally featuring the leading tone in the upper voice and the fifth
tone of the scale in the bass.

An example of a HC in two parts (in C Major):

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Note: Cadences as well as similar concepts will constantly be encountered throughout this method,
without necessarily mentioning their existence. In general, the familiarization of the ear with the effect
a cadence has is more important than their theoretical whereabouts. The teacher can refer back to this
section whenever seen fit, in order to gradually introduce them as an individual phenomenon

Spot the Cadence: While the teacher performs passages that contain cadences, point
them out whenever they occur and comment on how conclusive or inconclusive you
think they are.

2.04: Basslines 101

In many of the cases we will encounter in this chapter the bass may either have a fundamental or a
more superficial role. This mostly depends on the contexts its given, were it may either -for instance-
act as an accompanying figure to a melodic pattern, or it may be responsible for shaping the
structure of a piece (especially for later topics, such as: Chapter 2.5 Embellishing Tones).

2.05: Strong & Weak Beats

Another concept that is good to keep in mind is the one of strong and weak beats within a bar. The
reason why these two are significant is because different kinds of events typically occur on every
one of them.

The important events usually take place on the strong beats so that they stand out from being
naturally stressed, while the less significant and many times less desirable events occur on the
weak beats (in a way the weakness of the moment occasionally covers it up).

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To get a better idea of some of the things that typical occur on these moments; lets take a look at
the list below:

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Note: Due to the general concept of this principle there is no ideal place to put in within a particular
chapter. One can refer to these at any time seen relevant during the explanation of a later chapter/topic
that features their implementation).

2.06: Basic Forms & Structure

During the unfolding of this chapter, exercises and examples might include a variety of phrase
structure/general structure forms. Those forms are explored in Chapter 3.0: Basic Forms and
Structure, which is designed in such was so that it is independent of the rest. Its contents can be
introduced/explained either parallel to the order of the topics to follow or separately, at any point
seen fit by the teacher.

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2.1: The 63 Rule

As we have already seen, some intervals form better relationships than others.

When these relationships are judged from a vertical point of view, they provide a rather static
verdict of which category an interval belongs to (Consonant/Dissonant).

In the context of a more horizontal approach though, the category of an interval in itself isnt the
only factor to consider. Instead, a more dynamic approach has to be employed, one that also weighs
in whether or not that interval works well when put one after the other. In other words, the fact that
two notes have a good relationship with each other doesnt necessarily mean that they can also
travel together.

In this method, this approach is represented by the 63 Rule. This rule features a generalized system
that can be used to create well sounding successions of intervals without accounting for every single
case in which theses successions can occur. It is based on principles dictated by general stylistic
treatises that concern classical music from around 1600 and on.

How does it work?

To start with, lets answer the question Which intervals can travel together?

Consonant intervals do classify in this category, yet some display their own particularities, meaning
that special attention has to be shown. The basic principles of this system are as follows:

Thirds and Sixths (Major and minor) may move together to any direction ad infinitum.
Fifths and Octaves (Perfect) may not be put in succession after each other.
Ideally at least one of the two voices moves stepwise.

That said, Fifths and Octaves can exist in between, but they should always be followed by another
interval that is either a third or a sixth.

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The 63 Game

One could think of this rule as a sort of round-

based board game which features two possible
kinds of moves in every round: Regular and

Regular moves may consist of either Thirds or

Sixths and can be used on every round as long
as one wants.

Special moves consist of Fifths or Octaves and

require at least one round of reload time to be
used again.

Note: When applying this rule in the context of a

certain tonality, remember that the leading tone
must remain unique and thus shouldnt be
doubled (the special move of an Octave may thus
not be used on it).

Note: Due to the general nature of this rule some limitations are to be expected. In certain occasions it is possible
to end up with not the most ideal (counterpoint-wise) situations . But hey! We can already do some counterpoint
so, its something For an updated version see: Rule 63: Motion Types Patch (Chapter 2.23B)

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While utilizing the 63 Rule, create a melody on top of the following bass lines:
Note: the red notes indicate the potential starting tones, all belonging in the
Tonic Triad of the key the exercise is in, REF: Chapter 2.02.

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Note: Ultimately this system should serve as a means of ear development, providing a concept of which
interval successions sound well. In this context, its application should be done by providing musical
stimuli rather than just counting from each note to get intervals right.

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Skillsets Earned:

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2.2: Types of Motion

As intervals succeed each other in various manners (as seen in chapter 2.1), each voice forms a line of
its own. When related to each other these lines move either to the same or to opposite directions.
This relative movement, defines the type of motion between them.

Moving to the same direction may result in parallel or similar motion, while moving to opposite
directions results in whats called contrary motion.

These motion types all feature their own particularities and properties and are responsible for
providing the overall direction and balance between melodic lines in the greater structure of a

Even if a composition is not polyphonic in texture, the general outlines of its shape (the top and
bottom borders so to say) are defined by the movements of the external voices.

In the following chapter we will explore how these motion types can be implemented in a musical
context as well as what role they play and what their effect is.

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2.21A: Parallel, Similar & Oblique Motion
The main characteristic of parallel motion is that both voices move towards the same direction
(upwards, downwards or both) and features successions of fixed intervals (3rds or 6ths, much like
seen in chapter 2.1). This results in melodic lines that move in pairs at a fixed distance from each other
(both in steps and leaps).

Similar motion shares the same concept with parallel motion, with the only difference being that the
interval successions are varied instead of fixed. This means that although the two voices follow a
-well- similar direction, the intervals between them dont remain constant (in any case those intervals
must be consonant and must fit the 63 Rule concept).

Generally similar motion is used in combination with parallel (or contrary as we will later see) since
the interval successions that suit are relatively limited.

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Similar motion also has a little brother, called Oblique Motion. In this case, one voice remains the
same while the other one moves above it, preferably with consonant intervals (commonly containing
tones belonging in the same triad as the bass note).

REF: Oblique motion enables us to have multiple notes moving on top of a stationary bass. This principle
provides the basis on which many of the upcoming topics are structured. For the time being the
implementation of oblique motion will be limited, up until Chapters 2.4 & 2.5.

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2.21B: Properties of Parallel Motion
The use of parallel motion features certain properties regarding the effect it has in a musical context.
Generally speaking parallel motion has the tendency to lead the movement of melodic lines to a
specific direction, either upwards or downwards.

This two dimensional nature of parallel motion may lead to rather monotonous results, if used
excessively. To the ear, constantly moving to a certain direction creates a feeling of increasing drive
towards the opposite one, meaning that if for instance two melodic lines continuously move to a
higher register eventually they will have to switch direction and head downwards to compensate.

Note: In general due to its nature, parallel motion provides the least independence between the
melodic lines involved.

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2.21C: Patterns for Parallel Motion
The following table features various patterns that can occur with parallel movement. The intervals
mentioned can exist at more than one octaves distance. The red notes represent the main melodic
line on which the pattern is built.

Note: The function of the lower voice in these patterns is less structural and more like an accompanying
figure (REF: See relevant section in Reference Chapter 2.04).

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Instruction based exercises and activities regarding parallel and similar
motion (further elaboration is required by the teacher).

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As an experiment when doing exercises with parallel motion, try to use the same
fingering for successions of the same intervals. For 3rds use 1-3 & 2-4 and for 6ths use
1-4 & 1-5.

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Ideally on two separate instruments, the teacher plays a bass line while pointing with
his/her other hand to the direction the bass line is going to move (up or down) while
the student (keeping in mind the direction pointed by the teacher) creates a melody
starting on a given tone using parallel motion.

Note: Bass lines are meant to be made on the spot by the teacher.

Skillsets Earned:

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2.22A: Contrary Motion
In an opposite fashion as compared to parallel and similar motion, contrary motion involves voices
moving against each other in various fashions. This kind of movement creates a mirror-like pattern
which is ideal for maintaining the balance between the voices involved.

Note: While using contrary motion, the interval successions that occur are constantly varying, making
the use of the 63 Rule less convenient. In this case, the intervals succeeding each other should still be
consonant, primarily on the strong beats.

For a better understanding of the idea behind contrary motion it is important to

aurally distinguish it from other motions (Recognize when voices move in opposite
directions in different contexts). A great example of contrary motion integrated in a
composition is the 60th Etude from the 60 selected etudes by Cramer Bulow
(excerpt follows).

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The idea of the examples/exercises below is to familiarize the ear with the
concept of contrary motion (following examples to be played by the teacher).

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Note: This exercise is meant to be accompanied by chords played by the teacher, to give it a certain
context. The Rhythm and the note values are arranged on the spot.

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2.22B: The Properties of Contrary Motion
Contrary motion features certain properties that concern drive/direction and tension.

To start with, as a general concept, small intervals want to become bigger, and bigger intervals want
to become smaller. As generalized as this statement might be, it does affect the overall drive of two
melodic lines moving against each other.

In contrary motion, the further two intervals stretch or shrink to either direction the bigger the drive
is towards the opposite one. For instance, if two melodic lines move too close to each other they will
develop the tendency to move apart. Dissonance also plays a role in this, as in many case dissonant
intervals are formed when moving to either of the extremes.

Contrary motion is an important tool in melodic movement as it provides the most independence
between the voices involved (compared to other types of motion).

As we will see later in this chapter, these properties are also responsible for some distinctive
patterns formed with it.

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The following analogy demonstrates the direction of intervals in contrary motion:

In this demonstration we can see the logic of how intervals behave when stretched or shrank by
making an analogy with two objects tied to a spring.
As the spring gets compressed it develops the tendency to move outwards, while when it is over-
stretched, it develops the tendency to move inwards.
In the same way, in the context of contrary motion, when two lines move apart from each other,
they eventually develop the tendency to head back together.

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2.22C: Steps/Leaps in Contrary Motion
When utilizing contrary motion the voices involved may move against each other either by making a
step (tone or semitone) or a leap (any other interval).

This opens up the following three possibilities:

A) Both voices will make a step

B) One voice is going to make a leap and another one is going to make a step
C) Both voices will make a leap

Generally speaking, A provides the smoothest kind of motion (in a sense effortless for the voices
involved as none of them has to spend extra energy in making any jumps). Every step may be followed
by another step to either direction.

In the cases of B and C, when a voice makes a leap it develops the tension to move to the opposite
direction to that of the leap, in order to compensate for it (the bigger the leap the bigger the
tension). This compensation can be either in the form of a step, or a leap -once again- to the
opposite direction. In principle however, a step is more desirable after a leap.

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One could say that the equivalent of a leap in real life would be someone going up a
staircase. When moving up or downstairs in steps it consumes the least possible
effort and thus, doesnt limit the movement. If one though, were to start climbing the
staircase by skipping one or more steps at a time (thus leaping) they would most likely feel like
taking a -single- step after every leap they made to gather energy.

Note: Of course, when utilizing the aforementioned in a bigger context one shouldnt think in terms of
What kind of steps did I exactly make but on the other hand, limiting ones tools to just being able to
make steps or leaps may have interesting results as to how they can translate that to music.

The following exercises are mean to partially act as musical puzzles, were the
student has a limited a selection of moves and has to create something using
just those.

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2.22D: Patterns in Contrary Motion
Contrary motion comes in many forms and shapes and is responsible for many of the patterns that
occur in the context of a composition. Although those patterns are not as straight forward as the
ones found in parallel motion they are still distinctive.

I. To begin, the following patterns commonly occur at the very beginning of a composition (The
following examples are in C Major):

Note: These 'outlines' may also occur in a context with more than two voices, functioning as the
external lines.

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II. ADV: Another distinctive pattern is one that exceptionally, features a dissonance as its point of
departure. It occurs when the leading tone in the top voice is placed on top of the 4th tone of the
scale in the lower voice. These results in an Augmented Fourth interval, which resolves
outwards, commonly followed by a sequence of notes moving outwards in a stepwise manner.
When in its turn the lower voice reaches the leading tone (which has the tendency to resolve
upwards), the upper voice has formed another dissonance with it, this time a Diminished Fifth,
which resolves downwards (Thus reaching the inverted situation of how it was in the beginning).
This results in the two melodic lines moving inwards until they form an Augmented Fourth once
again (Unless the pattern is interrupted it can go on forever).

Note: If this concept sounds familiar, it is because such example was mentioned in Chapter 2.22B.
This pattern is a perfect example of how the overall drive is affected by the use of contrary motion.

Skillsets Earned:

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2.23: Motion types in Context
In practice all types of motions are meant to be combined to achieve a sense of balance in the
greater direction of the melodic lines in a piece. Contrary motion breaks the monotony of Parallel &
Similar, while Parallel relieves the alternating patterns of Contrary motion. The motion types
combined result in complete freedom in voice movement.

Motion type combinations can also result in various patterns, occasionally useful for accompanying
certain figures, such as scales as seen in the example below:

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2.23B: The 63 Rule: Motion Types Patch
Having explored the concept of various kinds of motions, we can revisit the 63 Rule and update it
with a few relevant refinements as seen below:

Note: Accounting for the type of motion in certain circumstances such as after the use of a Special
Move can further help avoiding unwanted situations.

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The following exercises feature most of the aspects discussed so far in Chapter
2. Patterns and other techniques mentioned above are meant to be
implemented here. The exercises themselves are meant to provide schemes,
on which the teacher can create more related content.

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Note: This exercise is meant to be expanded to a larger scale. The exercise above is merely an example
of how various ideas can be combined in the context of one exercise.

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Skillsets Earned:

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2.3: Managing Dissonance

As we have already seen in the previous chapters, not all intervals get along equally well with each

Having explored the application of consonant intervals in a context, it is time to investigate how
dissonant intervals blend in. Those troublesome note-couples dont come in a ready to use form. In
their natural habitat they clash, and in order to relieve the tension between them they need to be
resolved first.

2.31: The Clash Resolution Center

In a human analogy, dissonant intervals would be represented by couples that fight all the time. To
resolve their arguments those troubled couples have to go through the Clash resolution center,
which functions as a consulting agency that converts dissonant intervals into consonant ones.

The intervals that are eligible for consulting are 2nds, 7ths and 4ths, all of which wish to have their
differences resolved and ideally become consonant.

The General Rules of the CRC:

The resolution of a dissonance is done by lowering stepwise the tone that is responsible for it.
The resulting interval has to be consonant.
The other voice has to either remain the same or move in a contrary fashion.

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2.32: Suspensions
As dissonance can occur in many circumstances, the C.R.C. has to accomodate various kinds of
patients. One of the most common cases is dissonance in the context of Suspensions.

A Suspension (Also known as Syncope) is a process in which (as the name suggests) a preceding
tone is suspended so that it intentionally clashes with another one due to their bad timing.

Suspensions consist of three stages:

1: The preparation (P), during which a preexisting tone in a consonant context of two or more voices
is held over (Occurs on a weak beat).

2: The Suspension (S), where the held over note clashes with another tone
(occurs on a strong beat).

3: Resolution (R): where the held over note resolves by moving down stepwise and forming
another consonant with previously clashing tone (occurs on a weak beat).

(Note: The value of the suspended note can be less or equal to the preparation tone, but not longer.)

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Suspensions are notated as a set of numbers that describe the interval suspended and its resolution
compared to the lower note during the clash (e.g.: 7-6, 4-3, 3-2 etc.).

Keeping in mind the process mentioned above, lets explore how various cases of dissonant intervals
can be formed in the context of suspensions, what their properties are and how the resolution
process works.

Lets start by investigation the formation of Seconds and Sevenths. In general these two are cases of
intervals that are too close and too far from each other, making them the equivalent of a clingy and
a distant couple respectively. (In fact, since 7ths are the inversion of 2nds, these two intervals are exact

2.32A: Seconds (2-3 Suspension)

In the context of a suspension, seconds are formed when the upper note of a preexisting third
moves down stepwise while the lower note is held over -suspended- instead of moving along. This
suspension results in a clash between the two voices which then needs to be resolved to relieve the

The Resolution: In this case, the lowest note feels pressured by the upper one moving too close to
it, so it moves down stepwise to a comfortable distance. This results in an outward resolution
where the clashing interval spreads out.

Note: During the resolution, the upper voice doesnt necessarily have to stay where it is, it might as well
leap and form another consonance, as long as it does so using contrary motion.

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This pattern may continue consecutively, with the resolved note acting as the preparation for an
upcoming suspension.

Example of consecutive 2-3 Suspensions:

To notate the aforementioned suspension we say that 2 moves to 3, (2-3) as the 2nd formed
during the clash under the upper note, resolves to a 3rd compared to it.

Note: Remember that the suspension itself has to occur on a metrically strong beat in the bar.

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The following analogy can be used to demonstrate a 2-3 Suspension:

In this analogy, the lanes of the highway represent the staves in a music sheet while the cars
represent the notes.
In figure A the two cars would represent the interval of a 3rd, which is a consonant one.
Much like in real life, both cars could continue driving straight without interfering with one another.
In figure B however, the (reckless) driver of the upper car decides to change lane without looking,
resulting in the cars getting too close to each other.
In order to resolve this situation the driver of the lower car has to adjust their course to avoid
colliding with the upper car. This is done by moving down 'stepwise' (Figure C)

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2.32B: Sevenths (7-6 Suspension)
Similarly, Sevenths are formed when the lower note of a 8ve or a 6th moves up or down respectively
-stepwise in both occasions- while the upper note is held over -suspended- instead of moving along,
resulting in a clash between the two notes.

(Note: This is the inverted process of happened in the case of the 2-3 suspension.)

Resolution: At the moment the clash occurs, the upper note feels too distant and has to move
down stepwise to compensate, resulting in an inward resolution is where the clashing interval
shrinks. In this suspension we say that the 7 moves to a 6 (7-6), as the seventh formed on top of
the lower note during the clash resolves to a 6th compared to it.

In the case where the preexisting interval was a 6th, it is possible to have a consecutive pattern of
suspensions, much like the one we encountered in the 2-3, where a resolution acts as the preparation
of the next suspension.

Note: Similar to the case of the 2-3, the resolution concerns only the note held over, since its the one
causing the dissonance. The other voice may as well, as long as it does so using contrary motion and the
interval formed is a consonant one.

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2.32C: Fourths
As already discussed, fourths are a case of an interval that evades a general classification as to
whether it is dissonant or not. Yet, when formed in a two-part context it feels rather unstable. Unlike
2nds and 7ths however, the clash created when a fourth occurs isnt as striking.

In the context of suspensions, 4ths are formed when the lower note of a 3rd moves down stepwise,
while the upper note is held over -suspended- instead of moving along, forming fourth in between
them, an interval which essentially feels like a stretched out third.

The Resolution: As the lower note of the third moves down, the upper note loses its stability as the
ground beneath is now further away. This results in the upper note having the tendency to move
closer to its pair (being dragged down in a way), as if the two were linked with a spring. Ultimately,
the upper note resolves by moving down stepwise, forming a consonance with the lower note once
again. This results in an inward resolution, as the clashing interval shrinks once it has been
resolved. Much like in the case of seconds, this pattern may repeat consecutively.

To notate this suspension we say that 4 moves to 3, (4-3) as the 4nd formed during the clash under
the upper note, resolves to a 3rd compared to it.

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Spring Intervals: Another way of seeing suspensions

In this analogy, two

notes, A & B, are attached
to the two ends of a
spring. When this spring is
held upright, the two
notes rest at a distance
of either a 3rd or a 6th
from each other.

In figure IA and IB, the spring is at rest with the two notes sitting comfortably a 3rd or a 6th apart
from each other.
In figure IIA & IIB however, one end of the spring is stretched or compressed, which puts tension on
the other end (That is the moment of the Clash).
This tension either pulls or pushes the other note away, which in its turn wants to move
closer/further to compensate.
In figure IIIA & IIIB, the tension is relieved as the note stretched/compressed returns to its original
resting state of either a 3rd or a 6th.

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2.32D: Ultimate Resolution
When any suspension is applied enough times consecutively within a scale (in a stepwise manner),
there comes a moment where one voice stumbles across the leading tone. When this occurs, that
voice is inclined to resolve to the tonic of the scale, leading to a feeling of closure.

REF: This concept is in fact pretty similar to that of a cadence (Chapter 2.03), as both slow down the
momentum of a musical phrase.

As we can see in the

examples, regardless of the
suspension type, the melodic
pattern that involves the
leading tone eventually
appears every time.

These patterns can also be

used to close a phrase, as in
this context, the resolution
of the leading tone serves as
a point of rest.


Red: Suspension

Blue: Resolution

Green: Leading Tone

REF/Note: Its worth mentioning that the 4-3 suspension is very often applied on top of the Dominant
(5th Tone) of the scale, leading to a Perfect Authentic Cadence directly after it.

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This section features concepts for exercises and activities. The teacher is
required to further elaborate and create more material based on the following
models. Exercises can be transposed and embellished further.

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Note: The bass lines for this exercise are meant to be created on the spot and it is ideally performed on
two separate instruments.

Skillsets Earned:

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2.4: Triads in Context (I)

Introducing the Triadic Approach

This chapter is the first step in introducing an alternative way of thinking by exploring how triads can
function in a context. With this new Triadic mindset it is possible to contextualize a bass or a
melody by classifying it into potentially fitting triads. This additional freedom of interpreting notes
into various triads opens up a new approach, providing an alternative way of thinking compared to
the 63 Rule which applied (and still applies) to the interval successions themselves.

In this chapter we will gradually explore how triads can function as the building blocks of various
music-related phenomena and how these can be adapted in a two-part context.

The Triadic approach will be explored from two main points of view, one from the perspective of
the Bass (Triads in Context I) and one from the perspective of the Melody (Triads in Context II).

Note: Given the fact that this chapter features the introduction of a whole new concept, its contents are
somehow more theoretical. It is up to the teacher to demonstrate at times how the topic explained can
function in a musical context. Additionally exercises from previous chapters may be revisited to test the
implementation of the Triadic Approach.

Required Skillsets:

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2.41: Revisiting the Note Office
As we have already seen, triads consist of three notes: a root, a third and a fifth.

When this idea is adapted to the Note Office concept, the notes that work in floors that are located
a third apart start forming groups. With the ground floor being the lowest note and thus
representing the root of the triad, another two floors that are third apart are stacked up on top of it
(in a way one could say that these notes work for the same company).

This concept is extended further as the Note Office gets divided into two main departments:

The Upper (Treble) Section

The Lower (Bass) Section

Both of these sections feature the same group of notes (Root, 3rd and 5th) but each section gets to
play a different role.

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To start with, the Upper section has the role of presenting the triad itself (this means that the three
tones belonging here are meant to sound simultaneously). These tones act as the pillars on which
melodic patterns can be formed (as we will see in Chapter 2.5).

The Lower section has the role of supporting the triad formed in the upper section with only one of
the three notes belonging in it (featuring in a way the candidates that will get to play the role of the

REF: How that works will be explained in chapter 2.42B.

The complete set of notes featured in the Upper and Lower sections of the Note Office:

Note: Although in total there are 6 tones present when the two sections are combined, not all of them
have to sound at the same time. From the lower section, only one of the three triad tones needs to be

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Skillsets Earned:

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2.42A: Triad positions (Upper Section):
Given the fact that triads consist of three notes, there can be different ways of arranging them
depending on which one is placed on top. As a result a triad can have different shapes depending on
its position.*

As seen in the demonstration above, when a triad is in its 8 or 3 position its tones are not arranged
symmetrically, meaning that two of its notes are further apart than the other two. Instead of being a
3rd apart, these two notes are now a 4th apart, making the triad feel slightly more spread out.

From the two notes that are a fourth apart, the upper one is always the root of the

While the teacher is playing various triads, try to recognize which note is on top. Is it
the 3, the 5 or the 8/1?

Note: Regardless of the position, the grip/grip relation between triads remains the same, as seen in
Chapter 1.33.
Not to be confused with Inversions.

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2.42B: The Concept of Stability (Inversions)

As already mentioned, the notes belonging in the upper section can be supported by a note from
the lower section. The notes that get to have the role of the bass however, must follow a certain
hierarchy among each other. The reason this hierarchy exists is because while having the role of the
bass, these notes need to be able to support the weight of the other voices placed on top of them.

In the lower section of the note office lie the Bass Staff, a group of notes working in the Stability
Department of the Office. Their responsibility is to provide ground for the upper -treble- section.

With note Do being the Boss at the Headquarters of the triad, notes Mi and So are in a way the
employees working in the same group as Do. Yet not all of them are equally qualified in getting the job

While each one of these notes can potentially have the role of the bass, their job titles represent in a
way their ability to support the floors above them (aka. upper voices).

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The Boss (Root Tone) provides optimal stability (as well as a clearer identity as to which triad is
suggested, in a two part context). This setting is the obvious choice and the most used setting
throughout this method.

The Vice President (Third) can get the job done but is slightly less stable (mostly used with the root or
fifth being featured in the soprano). When used, the third is usually skipped in the upper voices.

Lastly, the Employee (Fifth) -having less experience than its superiors- is the least suitable option for
supporting any voices placed on top of it, resulting in the formation of an unstable fourth interval
between the bass and the root note of the triad, which in its turn needs to resolve to a third (As we
saw in Chapter 2.3). This setting only exists in exceptional situations.

Note: This concept of stability is less obvious in a context of just two voices, since their presence is in
many cases not enough to suggest something definitive. For most of the part, the bass will feature the
Root or 3rd of the triad it belongs, while the 5th will only be used in exceptional cases.

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Example of stability of a C major triad:

While the teacher plays chords in various inversions, try to familiarize yourself with the
concept of stability by hearing which chords are stable (to your ear) and which ones are

Officially, these are called inversions and are indicated as follows:

When the bass has the Root: Root Position or 5-3 (Because the 3 and the 5 of the triad are
placed on top of the bass).

When the bass has the Third: First Inversion or 6 (Because the root of the triad is a sixth above
the bass note).

Finally when the bass has the Fifth: 6-4 (Because the root and the third of the triad are a fourth
and a sixth above the bass note).

Note: In the exercises to come, both terms may be used.

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One could compare the aforementioned concept with the stability of a building, were
the top part consists of the soprano and the lower part of the bass section. This
Soprano Section has a certain weight, as it consists of a whole triad of 3 floors. Given
the fact that this section is located at the upper part of the building, the lower bass section needs to
be able to support it in such way so that the building remains stable. When the bass section is
represented by the root or the third of the triad, the building in both cases remains more or less solid
as its center of gravity is low. On the contrary when the Fifth of the triad attempts to support the
upper floors, the buildings center of gravity shifts upwards as all the weight is then concentrated in
the upper section. As a result the building is unstable and in danger of tipping over:

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Skillsets Earned:

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2.43A: Triads in Two Parts:
Although a triad consists of three tones in total, in a two-part context it isnt necessary for all of
them to be sounding together. In fact the presence of two voices is in many cases enough to
suggest which triad these notes may belong to while additionally, it is possible for a note to belong
in more than one triad, depending on how it is contextualized (as we will soon see).

By choosing one note from the upper section as the soprano and one from the lower section as
bass, the following combinations are possible:

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Even though all of these combinations are technically possible, some of them are preferred, since
they bring out the substance of the triad suggested more:

From the perspective of the Bass, the upper voice can have: An Octave/Prime (Same as the bass),
a 3rd or a 5th on top of the same bass Boss note. This practically means that the a bass boss
(Root) note can facilitate up to a 5th on top of it (Not counting the octave, since its the same as the

When the bass features the Vice President (Third of the Triad, a.k.a. 6) a Sixth is ideally placed
on top of it (this 6th is essentially the root of the triad in the upper voice) since in a two part
context this is the only case were it is distinguishable that the bass has the third and not the root
of the triad.

Finally, when the bass is left in the hands of the Employee (Fifth of the Triad a.k.a. 6/4), a Fourth
should be placed on top of it, since its the only interval that brings out the dissonance of the

Note: For the cases of the 6 or the 6-4, it is in fact possible to place other notes belonging in the same triad on top
of the bass, as long as the root of the triad is eventually featured in the upper voice (e.g. by alternating between
triad tones -See Chapter 2.44-).

The prefered note combinations between bass and soprano in various inversions on a C Triad:

Note: Similar to indicating triad positions, in a two part context we still indicate what number the
Soprano is compared to the Bass (e.g.: 1, 3, 5, etc.).

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ADV: The following diagram demonstrates the preferred note combinations between bass and soprano:

Triad tones function as the building blocks of the structure of a melody, providing the main tones
around which other, n0n-structural tones (such as embellishing tones) can exist, as we will later see in
Chapter 2.5: Embellishing Tones.

Note: In general, having the third on top of the bass on the strong beat brings out the actual major or
minor quality of the triad.

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2.43B: Contextualizing a Bassline:
Having explored the various roles the bass can have, we can adapt our perspective in a way that
allows for the same bass note to function in more than one way.

This means that the same bass note can potentially be interpreted as the root, third or rarely, even
the fifth of a triad, depending on how its contextualized.

Practically speaking, the first case is the most common (and simplest) one, were the bass acts as
the Root of the triad it belongs to.

In the second case, the same bass note is interpreted as the Third of a triad, meaning that the
triad it belongs to is situated a third below. As already discussed in Chapter 2.43, in such case the
root of that triad (a sixth above) is preferably placed on top of the bass note.

Finally in the last and rarest case, the bass note can be interpreted as the Fifth tone of a triad
that is situated a fifth below it. This case is mostly encountered in the context of a Cadence.

Try contextualizing the same stationary bass note in different ways and notice how that
affects the direction of the music. Where does the bass want to go in every occasion?

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Skillsets Earned:

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2.44A: Oblique motion and Triads
As we saw already in Chapter 2.21A, by using Oblique motion one can alternate between various
intervals on top of a stationary bass note. When adapted to the context of triads, this principle
enables us to swap between the tones of a triad over a stationary bass note, which can help
establish the sound of a specific triad -in two parts- when desired.

The same principle can also apply to triads in different inversions, where the bass isnt the root:

2.44B: Connecting Triads (The Triadic 63 Rule)

When applying the aforementioned technique to more than one triad in a row, there comes a
moment were tones belonging in different triads need to be connected. This tone connection itself is
done at an interval level, according to the principles of the 63 rule:

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This fusion of the 63 Rule together with the Triadic approach, gives birth to the Triadic 63 Rule
(essentially being the application of the 63 Rule in the context of triads), which is as follows:

Note: The principles featured in this section will be particularly useful during Chapter 2.5, as they play
quite a significant role regarding fundamental melodic structure.

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Using oblique motion alternate between the tones of the triads in the
inversions indicated. Use the principles of the Triadic 63 Rule for the
connections between triads. ADV: Try using smaller note values to fill up every

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Skillsets Earned:

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2.44C: Triad Figures
The ability of alternating between triad tones over a stationary bass note, allows us to create various
patterns that can be used both as accompaniment as well as melodic figures (the Triadic 63 Rule
doesnt need to apply here). REF: For more on Figures see Chapter 3.11B.

In the following examples some of these patterns are demonstrated:

Note: Throughout the Classical period some of these have been used more than others. One such case is
the Alberti Bass, an accompaniment figure that has been used extensively by various composers such as
Mozart, Kuhlau and Beethoven. A rather typical example is the following Piano Sonata of Mozart:

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Utilizing Oblique Motion and Triad Forms (Provided Above), follow the
given instructions in completing the exercises.

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Skillsets Earned:

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2.5: Embellishing / Non-Structural Tones

2.51: Introduction
During the course of this method we came across the concept of Oblique Motion various times.

Its greater concept, namely the idea of having multiple tones moving on top of a stationary one,
gradually evolved, allowing for more advanced patterns to be created.

Its latest and most significant development occurred during our last encounter with it, (during
Chapter 2.44) were in the context of triads, we explored how it can be applied to swap through triad
tones on top of a stationary bass.

The development of oblique motion:

This in addition with the recently born Triadic 63 Rule enabled us to have more freedom both in
interpreting bass lines as well as creating melodic material fitting to them.

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The next step in enriching the concept of oblique motion is to introduce a new category of tones
which fill in the gaps between the tones of the various triads we dealt with so far.

These so called Embellishing tones essentially create bridges between the pillars formed by triad
tones, allowing for smoother, stepwise melodic motion:

Example of embellishing tones in a context (Blue: Triad Members, Purple: Embellishing tones):

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In this chapter to explore how non-structural tones that can be used to enrich, embellish and form
independent melodic lines. This is the first step towards a more melodically-oriented approach, were
thinking from above to below will be the focus.

Note: The whole triad-oriented approach featured in Chapter 2.4, provides a very important basis for
the upcoming chapter. During the unfolding of the forthcoming topics, references to content from
Chapter 2.4 will occasionally be made.

Toolbox Overview / Prerequisites:

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2.52: Meet the Neighbors
To better understand how non-structural tones can be used, lets first take a look were they come
from and how they function in a context

Meanwhile in the Note Office:

Every note working in the Note Office has two neighbors: One in the floor above and one in the floor

As opposed to notes that are a third apart and could belong in the same triad, notes that are in the
immediate vicinity of each other (neighboring) belong in different ones (in a way, one could say that
they work for different companies).

Due to this fact, their relationships are not the best and get tensed when sounding together, forming
dissonance (2nd Intervals).

Nevertheless, when one note wants to pay a visit to another note belonging in the same group (a 3rd
apart to either direction), without taking the elevator (a.k.a. moving stepwise) it first needs to cross
an annoying neighbor.

Note1: This concept applies when the two voices are sounding simultaneously. In the example above,
note Mi is in fact both the soprano and bass note, meaning that when in this case the soprano moves to
Fa, the bass Mi is still sounding.

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To do that discretely and without causing any dissonant trouble, it has to move when the neighbor
is busy and wont notice it.

The ideal moment for that to happen is on the weak beat in the bar. In that way, during the next
strong beat, the note has already arrived at another consonant group member.

This way, on every strong (or relatively strong) beat, the traveling note has arrived to another
consonant group member of the triad it belongs to, as seen in the example below:

These neighboring tones can be used in various ways to connect or embellish the main tones of a

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Experiment by applying embellishing tones to the following melodies
(Implement upper and lower neighbors to connect the triad tones). Which
options sound the best to you?

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2.53: Embellishing Tones in Practice
When utilizing Embellishing tones, it is necessary to keep concepts in mind:

I) Underlying Melodic Structure:

Embellishing tones, as their name could suggest, dont play a fundamental role in the structure of a
melody (they are just decoration). Instead, they act as connecting links between consonant states,
which are essentially formed by tones belonging in a certain triad (much like the Bridge metaphor
used in the introduction).

In this context, Triads function as the building blocks of the structure of a melody, providing the
main tones around which other, n0n-structural tones (such as embellishing tones) can exist:

When utilizing any sort of non-structural tones, it is useful to keep in mind what the underlying
structure of the embellished/connected melody is.

Example: Notice how embellishing tones enrich the melody of the following excerpt and how those
relate to its structural tones:

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II) Triads in Context & Embellishing Tones:

Most of the concepts explained in Chapter 2.4: Triads in Context come alive and provide the basis on
which non-structural tones can be applied.

Having said that, its useful to keep in mind the following:

Since triad tones provide the framework around which embellishing tones can be used,
interpreting bass notes as part of a certain triad (Root/3rd/5th) has a direct effect on the potential
musical outcome, as seen in the example below:

The Structural notes of a melody can be up to a fifth on top of the root of the triad they belong
to (if the main note of the melody exceeds that, the bass needs to re-adjust to facilitate it as seen in
the example below). However, there can be embellishing tones slightly exceeding those borders
(not more than a 2nd).

(S.T. = Structural Tone, Non-S.T. = Non-Structural Tone)

The connection occurring on a strong beat from a structural or non-structural tone towards a
new structural tone belonging in a different triad has to be made using the 63 Rule.
This concept follows in fact almost the same principles as the Triadic 63 Rule, (seen in Chapter
2.44B) with the only difference being the possibility of having a non-triad tone connecting with a
triad tone.

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Using triads that fit the basslines below:
I) Use oblique motion to alternate through their tones.
II) Employ embellishing tones to 'close the gaps' between them.

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2.54: Patterns for Embellishing Tones
With the concept of embellishing tones in mind one can form various patterns which can be used to
enrich the core of a melody. The following table provides a few possibilities of such patterns:

Note: These patterns may further be broken down in smaller values.

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Embellish the following melodies using some of the patterns featured
above (some might need some 'adjusting' to fit the circumstances). Try
combining patterns and explore which possibilities work the best.

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ADV: Try using every pattern no more than twice in a row.

Skillsets Earned:

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2.6: Creating a Melody

Melody is probably one of the most memorable aspects of any musical creation. No matter if its in
the context of a song, a famous composition or even a ringtone, its one of the main means through
which music comes alive. So far in the course of this method, we mostly encountered melody as the
outcome (a by-product in a way) of various situations, instead of it being the cause.

Now however, with a vastly expanded toolbox particularly enriched by the principles introduced in
Chapters 2.4 & 2.5, we are able to move forward and deal with it as an independent entity, one that
has identity and can have a leading role in a musical context.

In this chapter we are going to explore how melodies can be built from scratch, what the logic
behind them is and how they can be implemented in a context.

REF: This chapter is ideally combined with creating melodic themes (for more see Chapter 3.12C / 3.21).

Required Skillsets:

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2.61A: The Pillar Tones
A melody consists of a succession of tones in various pitches and rhythms that form a unity, a result
that is perceived as one thing. At the very core of a melody lie certain notes that function as its
pillars. These are responsible for providing direction, a very important element that drives a melody
forward, creating a feeling of expectation from perspective of the listener.

The creation of stand-alone melodies relies on understanding the logic behind these Pillar Tones.

To start with, every note within a scale has in a way a personality, giving it certain properties and
characteristics. There are notes that want to go somewhere while there are others that are
perfectly comfortable staying where they are. There are notes that feel stable while there are others
that are in a way hovering and feel unstable.

This tendency of notes to go or not go somewhere is captured in the illustration below:

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As seen, the 1 - 3 and 5 of a scale (being the triad formed on top of the tonic) function as its skeleton.
Being the most stable, these are the tones that dont want to go anywhere and act as a point of
reference for all the rest.

The 2 in its turn, is the mid-ground between 1 and 3 and has a rather neutral tendency.

The 4, is somewhat unstable, and wants to fall down to the stable 3 (REF: This is somewhat
reminiscent of the 4-3 suspension, were the 4 is pulled down to the 3 -see Chapter 2.32C-).

The 6, heavily depends on the mode of the scale:

In a major scale, its tendency is similar to that of the 2, playing the role of the intermediary
between the 5 and the 7.
In minor however, it wants to fall back down to the 5. This is due to the fact that the 6 in minor is
a semitone above the 5 (as opposed to a whole tone in Major) giving it the feeling of an upper
leading tone towards it (in general notes want to spend the least amount of energy in moving,
meaning that they ideally want to go to the option closest to them).

Lastly, the 7, being the -highly praised- leading tone, wants to resolve upwards to the 1.

Note1: The note values in the examples above are incidental and dont have any metrical significance. They are
merely representing the fundamental notes of a melody. Note2: The Pillar Tone concept is based on the Stable &
Active Tone principle, but it isnt the same. For creative purposes the original concept has been enhanced to
allow for more flexibility and freedom in its practical applications.

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2.61B: Melodic Steps and Leaps
As mentioned in previous chapters, a melody can move in two ways: either by walking (using steps),
or by jumping (using leaps).

Generally speaking, the way a melody moves affects the significance of a musical event. Big melodic
leaps carry a feeling of drama with them while (diatonic) steps contribute to smoother motion.

At the same time the bigger the distance a melody has to cover the more the energy it consumes,
making it want to take a step back (to the opposite direction) after each leap. Practically this
translates to a feeling of tension (during the leap) and relief (during the step-back).

Example1 of a dramatic melodic leap followed by a step down:

(Excerpt from Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis Papathanassiou)

Example2 of an even bigger melodic leap, followed by a step down:

(Excerpt from the 3rd Verse of O Come, All Ye Faithful, arranged by David Willcocks)

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2.61C: Melodic Direction in Context
Having explored the melodic tendency of every individual tone within a scale, we can now integrate
the aforementioned step/leap concept to it, using the following principle:

Steps can be used between all the notes within a scale, following their natural tendencies.

Leaps can be used starting from notes that have a neutral tendency and can go towards notes
with both neutral and non-neutral tendencies.

o If the leap occurs towards a note with a neutral tendency, then the step-back principle
has to follow.

o If the leap occurs towards a note with a non-neutral tendency (unstable) then the natural
tendency of that note is followed.

Practically speaking, this addition affects the departure from, and the arrival to another tone
within a scale.

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Using the principles explained above, construct the basis of a melody on the
given starting tones using both steps and leaps (the teacher is meant to
accompany those melodies accordingly). Do you feel the drive of the notes?
Experiment by doing this exercise by feeling

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Starting on the tonic of a scale, improvise a melody using pillar tones and their
tendencies (integrate both step and leap motions following the aforementioned
principles). The teacher is meant to accompany the melody by providing the harmonic
background (should occur after the melody-tone chosen by the student has sounded).

Note: As an alternative, try singing (instead of playing) the improvised melody using the numbers of
each tone within the scale as text.

Skillsets Earned:

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2.62: The Bigger Picture
In the previous chapters (2.4-2.5) we saw how Triad Tones could function as the building blocks
(a.k.a. structural tones) on which various melodic patterns could be built (through the use of
embellishing tones, etc.)...

Although this concept allowed for numerous melodic possibilities to be formed, it didnt affect the
overall direction of the melody in the bigger picture.

The pillar tones of a melody (as well as their principles) on the other hand, are meant to apply on a
larger scale. They provide structural direction so to say, a bigger goal towards which a melody is
aiming. These notes are thus meant to be on the spotlight, getting more gravity than the rest
(something which is achieved by placing them on the metrically strong beats of the bar).

But what is exactly is the rest?

Amidst pillar tones there can be a plethora of other elements. Most of the previously discussed
techniques can in fact be applied in between their connections (e.g. embellishing tones), or even on
top of them (e.g. alternating between triad tones), adding a new dimension to the concept of
melodic thinking.

In the following diagram we can see how the added dimension of pillar tones blends with previously
discussed musical elements (notice how pillar tones shape the skeleton of the melody, affecting its
greater drive, while other less structural tones co-exist in between):

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In a way we could compare the new dimension of pillar tones with a Ship: They function
as the means through which melody travels to a certain direction, while the previously
discussed phenomena remain onboard, following the greater direction this ship takes
them to, without affecting its course.

Using previously acquired techniques, enrich the given pillar tones of the
following melodies (the teacher is supposed to accompany the melodies on the

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Starting on the tonic of a scale, improvise a melody using pillar tones while
additionally utilizing embellishing & triad tones. The teacher is meant to accompany
the melody by providing the harmonic background (should occur after the main
melody-tone chosen by the student has sounded).

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Note: As an alternative, try singing (instead of playing) the improvised melody using the numbers of
each tone within the scale as text (sing only the numbers of the pillar tones).

Skillsets Earned:

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2.7: Triads in Context II / Accompanying a Melody

Revisiting the Triadic Approach

Note: This chapter is the final step to concluding the concept of the Triadic Approach, originally
introduced in Chapter 2.4.

During the chapter Triads in Context I we examined how triads could be used in different situations
to provide the basis on which various musical phenomena could be built. This opened up a new
dimension of possibilities, enabling us to use triad tones to contextualize and accompany basslines.

Now, having shifted our focus from bass to melody, its time to investigate how the Triadic Approach
can be used to accommodate an existing melody. This perspective change will enable us to
contextualize melodies in potentially fitting triads and create fitting accompaniments for them.

2.71: Contextualizing a Melody

Similarly to the case of a bassline, contextualizing a melody is about interpreting it as part of a
certain triad.

I) This means that a note belonging to a melody can either be the 1, the 3 or the 5 of a triad:

In the example above we can see that depending on how the melody note is contextualized, the
bass forms certain characteristic intervals with it which suggest that it belongs to a certain triad:

An Octave below the melody, in the case the melody is interpreted as the Root.
A Third below the melody, in the case the melody is interpreted as the Third.
A Fifth below the melody, in the case the melody is interpreted as the Fifth.

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II) These triads however, dont necessarily need to be in their root position. A melody note can
as well be contextualized as part of a triad that is inverted:

As seen in the example, to bring out the inverted quality of the triad, the melody note preferably
functions as the root of the triad inverted. Once again we see that depending on the inversion, the
bass forms a certain interval with the melody, suggesting that the triad has been inverted:

A Sixth below the melody, in the case the triad is in a 6 position.

A Fourth below the melody, in the case the triad is in a 6-4 position.

Following this concept, one can easily suggest which triad & inversion a melody tone could belong to
by placing the corresponding interval bellow it.

The bass can in its turn confirm that triad/inversion by -for example- using a figure that alternates
through its tones (see Chapters 2.44A: Oblique Motion & Triads / 2.44C: Triad Forms for more).

When contextualizing a melody, look ahead and spot if it features any succession of
tones belonging in the same triad. Doing so spares energy from separately
contextualizing each one of them.

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Contextualize the following melodies using the principles explained above (the
figures provided are optional).

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Skillsets Earned:

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3.0: Basic Form and Structure (Reference Chapter)

Note: This chapter is meant to be explained in the greater course of this method. Its contents potentially
concern the topics discussed from Chapters 2.1 and on and should therefore be introduced gradually,
parallel with their flow and when seen fit by the teacher.

Structure in music exists in multiple levels. Starting at a micro scale, it might concern the framework
of individual elements such as figures or motifs, which consist of short successions of notes. As these
elements add up they form phrases, which in their turn form phrase-groups and ultimately, groups
form larger sections that provide the overall layout of a composition, leading to a macro-scale

Example of different layers of structure:

In this chapter we are going to explore certain basic concepts of form and structure that concern
both the micro and the macro scale and can help in forming small compositions.

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3.1: Structure from Small to Large scale

In the context of this method structure concerns a number of things. Since many of these have
aspects that are merely theoretical, in this section we are going to discuss the ones that have more
practically oriented applications. The unfolding of the topics concerned will occur in a zooming-out
fashion, starting from the smallest structural units and going towards bigger ones.

3.11A: Motifs (Small Scale)

A motif is a very short musical idea that has some sort of distinctive melodic/rhythmic quality. It may
consist of a short succession of notes that follow a specific rhythmical or melodic pattern, making it
stand out as an individual entity. Motifs can play a significant role in a composition, as they are often
responsible for making a musical idea unique and memorable

Example of a rather distinctive four-note motif, from Beethovens Fifth Symphony:

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3.11B Figures (Small Scale)
A musical Figure is an often repeated, short succession of tones that has a somewhat more passive
or neutral role than the one of a Motif. In the context of a composition, a musical figure may -for
instance- act as an accompaniment pattern (such as the case seen in Chapter 2.43).

Example of an accompanying pattern from Schuberts Ave Maria:

3.12A: Phrases (Small - Medium Scale)

A musical phrase in its broader sense is a compilation of notes (figures and motifs included) that have
a beginning and an end, forming a unity that is perceived as one thing. The concept of a musical
phrased is somewhat similar that of a linguistic phrase, as both consist of smaller elements
(notes/words) can have punctuation points and eventually, full stops.

Usually, starting in the tonic of a key a phrase commonly lasts a regular number of bars (such as 4 or
8). Its end is signified by some kind of cadence (REF: See Chapter 2.03), which ultimately brings it to a

The concept of a musical phrase:

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3.12B: Phrase Groups (Medium Scale)
Depending on how strong the cadence at the end of a phrase is, the feeling of having a potential
continuation will vary (a phrase that ends with a HC will feel inconclusive, while one ending with a PAC
will feel conclusive).

As such, a phrase ending with a HC is very commonly followed by another one ending with a PAC
(answering in a way the question posed by the first one), forming thus a pair of phrases, were one
acts as the continuation of the other.

Such phrase-group (officially known as a Period) can be used to create a question-answer like

Example of a Pair of Phrases that complement each other:

Note: Many of the exercises included in this method follow some kind of regular phrase structure.

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3.12C: Themes (Small - Medium Scale)
A theme is essentially a melodic idea that is subjected to some form of variation/elaboration and has
a centralized role in the context of a composition (in a way it portraits what the story is about).

Note: Depending on the context of a composition, this centralized role can be translated into many
things, such as a persistent musical idea that keeps appearing, a bassline on top of which variations are
made, etc.

REF: The construction of themes should ideally be connected chapter 2.6 Creating a Melody. For further
implementations see Chapter 3.2.

3.13 Sections (Large Scale)

In music, a section -much like the word suggests-, is essentially a larger group of musical elements that
share a common idea. In a way, it is like a box that includes various items of the same sort.

The size of a section is relative and depends on the context in which it is found. It may include a
phrase, a phrase group, or even a group of phrase-groups.

Example of the Sections of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

Note: Sections are usually indicated by a capital letter, as seen in the example above.

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3.2: Composition Layouts

Having explored all the individual structural elements that can be found in the context of a
composition, it is time to see how those can be arranged to create musical forms. Musical forms are
essentially layouts of sections that provide the structural overview of a composition.

Technically speaking there are numerous ways one can arrange sections, however, in the course of
music history certain configurations stood out more than others. In the following chapter we are
going to take a look at some of the most common musical forms that can be applied in the context
of this method.

3.21: The AB form:

As the name suggests, the AB form (a.k.a. Binary form) consists of two main sections put after each
other. Usually these two sections have a contrasting character (e.g. different rhythmical/melodic
patterns, etc.).

Revisiting the Cookie Metaphor

One could visualize the AB form as a pair of cookies with different flavors.

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3.22A: The ABA form:
The ABA form (a.k.a. Ternary form) consists of three sections, were the third one is the same or
similar to the first one.

Much like in the case of the AB form, the B section usually has a contrasting character.

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More of the Cookie Metaphor
One could visualize the ABA form as the following combination of cookies.

3.22B: The Sonata form (ADV)

The Sonata form is essentially a more advanced ABA form, were each section features a specific set
of events. For practical purposes, the following definition has been adapted for sake of its
applicability within the context of this method.

In a sonata form the A section is called Exposition, the B section is called Development and the last
A section is called Recapitulation.

The Exposition consists of one or two themes (or theme groups) that are usually somewhat
contrasting in character (in case there are two themes, a short transition is usually included
between them) and it ends with a closing section that concludes it (the exposition section is
optionally repeated afterwards).

The Development is a free section were material from the theme(s) is recycled/elaborated

The Recapitulation consists of the reappearance of the original theme(s), with a different, more
concluding closing section.

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Note: In sonata form, key changes play quite an important role. However, since modulations have not
been explained in the context of this method, the aforementioned explanations have been
compromised to account for that fact.

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More of the Cookie Metaphor
One could visualize the sonata form as the following combination of cookies.

3.23: The Rondo form

This is a form that consists of a verse-refrain pattern. The refrain here has an important role as it
returns after each verse, while the verses themselves are different every time. In a typical
(symmetrical) rondo, once the last verse has been reached, the order is reversed causing a mirror
between the first and the second half. This results in an A-B-A-C-A-B-A pattern, were A is the refrain
and B-C-Etc., are the verses.
An example of a famous rondo is the last movement of Beethovens Pathetique piano sonata.

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More of the Cookie Metaphor
One could visualize the rondo form as the following combination of cookies
(The example is based on an: A-B-A-C-A-B-A structure).

3.24A: Theme & Variations

The general concept of theme and variations can be realized in various ways. In one of its
possibilities, this form involves a theme, presented at the beginning, followed by varied repeats
(such as altered rhythm, ornamentations, change to major/minor, different accompaniment, etc.).

Example of variations on the theme of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

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3.24B: Passacaglia / Ostinato
A Passacaglia/Ostinato is another form of the theme and variation concept. Here, the theme is
featured in the bass (sometimes presented separately) and usually remains in its original form, while
the variations occur in the other part(s). Passacaglias are usually in a 3/4 meter.

The persistence of the original theme in the bass leaves a lot of space for interpreting it in numerous

The famous Passacaglia in C minor of J.S.Bach, BWV 582:

Disclaimer: Cookie/Form idea taken from

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3.3: Putting it together

Having explored the individual levels of structure as well as the potential forms in which they can be
found, we can now proceed to putting them in practice in the context of an improvised composition.

Using the guidelines provided below in conjunction with the knowledge provided through the course
of this method, the goal is that the student is able to shape simple comprehensible compositions
with somewhat distinguishable forms.

Note: This chapter doesnt require that one has completed the whole main part of the method. In fact, it
can be used at any given moment already from Chapter 2.1 and on, with guidance of the teacher. It is
however connected with the topics of Chapter 3.1.

3.31: General Guidelines

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3.32: Theme Database
The following section features ideas for melodic as well as bass themes for use in any relevant
context. All themes provided can be transposed to major/minor.

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