Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Harmony and melody

~From Roots of the Classicalby Peter Van der Merwe, page 21:

Chords are melody, behaving in a special way... Harmony is an 'emergent' property of melody, in the same way as life is an emergent property of matter, or mind of life. And, just as one can have life without mind and matter without life, so one can have melody without harmony--but not harmony without melody. There can be no explanation of harmony that does not take into account its melodic component.

This seems to be an important point. Harmony and melody are often thought of as perpendiculars; the melody is the horizontal and the harmony is the vertical, which is, in a sense, still true when it comes to looking at notes on a page. But chord progressions, harmonic shifts, and such, which are usually implied by the use of the word 'harmony', are definitely based on melody. They're not opposing forces. Any good chord progression is melodic by nature, though probably much simpler.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home