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Encyclopedia > Parallel fifths

In music, consecutive fifths (also known as parallel fifths) involve two or more fifths (between two voices) which follow one another in parallel motion. Music is an art, entertainment, or other human activity which involves organized and audible sound, though definitions vary. ... Fifth means one part out of five (1/5, 0. ...


During the common practice period, use of consecutive fifths was strongly discouraged. This is primarily due to the nature of the voice leading involved in four-part or SATB harmony, which stresses individual voices maintaining their identities. Partially due to the overtone series, this individuality between two parts may temporarily be lost when two voices a fifth apart move in parallel motion. In music the common practice period is a long period in western musical history spanning from before the classical era proper to today, dated, on the outside, as 1600-1900. ... In music, voice leading is the continuity between pitches or notes played successively in time. ...


This loss of individuality is also apparent in cases where parallel octaves occur.


There is a prolific example of consecutive fifths in the parodying of medieval plainsong chant. In contemporary times, if a composer wishes to mimic the sound of Gregorian monks intoning plainsong in a cathedral they will generally use fifths and move them in parallel motion. However, this process lacks authenticity, as plainsong chant was originally sung in unison, not in fifths. The creation of the myth grew from the occasional singer accidentally singing the chant exactly a perfect fifth above (or below) where it should be. To the untrained ear the two notes can sound very similar, so the mistake is understandable. Broadly speaking, plainsong is the name given to the body of traditional songs used in the liturgies of the Catholic Church. ... UNISON logo UNISON is the largest trade union in the United Kingdom, with over 1. ...


As classical music progressed, the sound of consecutive fifths was deemed universally to be unpleasant. Composers were careful to avoid their appearance in work, either in one part (such as the left hand of a keyboard work), or in two parts moving independently (such as a tenor and a bass line). This is not to say that the interval of a fifth was not allowed - on the contrary, it forms a very strong and crucial base to many musical works. Only the consecutive use of different fifths was forbidden. Classical music is a broad, somewhat imprecise term, referring to music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of, European art, ecclesiastical and concert music, encompassing a broad period from roughly 1000 to the present day. ...


Also, the fifths did not have to be undisguised, or alone as the only two notes of a melodic line. The fifths may form part of a chord of any number of notes, and may be set well apart from the rest of the harmony, or finely interwoven in its midst. But the interval was always to be quitted by any movement provided it did not land on another fifth. Harmony is the use and study of pitch simultaneity and chords, actual or implied, in music. ...


Consecutive fifths did not just apply to perfect fifths. Diminished fifths moving in parallel motion were also disapproved. Therefore a move from C and G to E and B flat was just as avoided as a move from C and G to E and B. This article is about the musical interval. ...


The religious avoidance of consecutive fifths is one of the major reasons for the doubt of the authorship of the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor, attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, as Bach himself was one of the most accomplished composers that ever lived at avoiding this harmonic movement, and the work abounds with them. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor is the name of two different pieces of music by Johann Sebastian Bach for the organ: BWV 538 and BWV 565. ... Johann Sebastian Bach (21 March 1685 O.S. – 28 July 1750 N.S.) was a German composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra and solo instruments drew together almost all of the strands of the baroque style and brought it to its ultimate maturity. ...


As music moved on into the 19th century, composers like Grieg helped to liberate the consecutive fifth in works like 'Les Cloches', until they became commonplace and completely acceptable by the 20th century. But even to this day they are studied by music students to aid their harmonic subtely and develop their aural and theoretical awareness. Edvard Hagerup Grieg (June 15, 1843–September 4, 1907) was a Norwegian composer and pianist. ...


The identification and avoidance of perfect fifths is a standard part of instruction in classical counterpoint, but consecutive fifths are quite common in popular and folk musics as in double tonics and shifts of level. The prohibition originates in the requirement for contrary motion in counterpoint and European classical music's gradual and eventually self-conscious attempt to distance itself from those musics, as explained by Sir Donald Tovey's discussion Joseph Haydn's Symphony no. 88: "The trio is one of Haydn's finest pieces of rustic dance music, with hurdy-gurdy drones which shift in disregard of the rule forbidding consecutive fifths. The disregard is justified by the fact that the essential objection to consecutive fifths is that they produce the effect of shifting hurdy-gurdy drones." (van der Merwe 1989, p.210) Counterpoint is a musical technique involving the simultaneous sounding of separate musical lines. ... Popular music is music belonging to any of a number of musical styles that are accessible to the general public and mostly distributed commercially. ... Folk music, in the original sense of the term, is music by and of the common people. ... A double tonic is a chord progression, melodic motion, of shift of level consisting of a regular back-and-forth motion, in melody similar to Bruno Nettls pendulum type though it uses small intervals, most often a whole tone though may be almost a semitone to a minor third... A level (van der Merwe 1989, also tonality level, Kubiks tonal step, and John Blackings root progression) is a temporary modal frame contrasted with another built on a different foundation note. ... Counterpoint is a musical technique involving the simultaneous sounding of separate musical lines. ... Classical music is a broad, somewhat imprecise term, referring to music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of, European art, ecclesiastical and concert music, encompassing a broad period from roughly 1000 to the present day. ... Sir Donald Francis Tovey (July 17, 1875 - July 10, 1940) was a British musical analyst, musicologist, writer on music, composer and pianist. ... (Franz) Joseph Haydn, (March 31 or April 1, 1732 – May 31, 1809) was a leading composer of the Classical period, called the Father of the Symphony and Father of the String Quartet. Although he is still often called Franz Joseph Haydn, the name Franz was not used in the composer... French type guitar-body hurdy-gurdy, made ca. ... A level (van der Merwe 1989, also tonality level, Kubiks tonal step, and John Blackings root progression) is a temporary modal frame contrasted with another built on a different foundation note. ... In music, a drone is a harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout much or all of a piece, sustained or repeated, and most often establishing a tonality upon which the rest of the piece is built. ...


Reference

  • van der Merwe, Peter (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0193161214.
    • Tovey. Essays in Musical Analysis, vol. 1, p.142.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Consecutive fifths - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (580 words)
In music, consecutive fifths (also known as parallel fifths) involve two or more fifths (between two voices) which follow one another in parallel motion.
The fifths may form part of a chord of any number of notes, and may be set well apart from the rest of the harmony, or finely interwoven in its midst.
The identification and avoidance of perfect fifths is a standard part of instruction in classical counterpoint, but consecutive fifths are quite common in popular and folk musics as in double tonics and shifts of level.
MUS 111 Study Guide F (576 words)
Parallel fifths and octaves can occur between any two voices and are sometimes easy to overlook...
Attempting to hide parallel octaves or fifths by dropping one voice an octave does not solve the problem; the intervallic motion is still considered parallel.
The permissible exception to this guideline would be in a final cadence where, for example, the soprano and bass are on the root of the V chord and both move in contrary motion to the root of the I chord.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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