Analysis of Choro da Saudade -Barrios

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lagartija
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Analysis of Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by lagartija » Thu May 11, 2017 9:29 pm

Is anyone interested in delving into the B section of Choro da Saudade to help me understand what to call the chords in this section? I'm trying to identify them so I can at least learn something more than "my fingers go in these places on these frets in this shape" as I commit this piece to memory.
They are not chords that I know. I hear 7 chords, diminished, suspended maybe.... but trying to figure this out is making my head hurt! Not just naming them, but trying to understand what they are doing in the piece.

Any help is appreciated. I am using the Stover edition and I am using the ossia he gives for measure 26.
Note: The unreachable chord in measure 28 (crossbarre), my teacher revoiced and I'm playing it at VI with the Eb on string 5, but that wouldn't really change its ID....would it?
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Re: Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by Rasputin » Fri May 12, 2017 2:37 pm

Were there any particular measures you had in mind?

I had a look at the score - it looks to me as though mm. 30 to 40 are just a series of dominant 7ths going round the circle of fifths, with a neapolitan sixth in m. 34. In some cases where the bassline is descending a whole step from one measure to the next, Barrios takes it down a half step in the middle of the bar to produce a chromatic line. Personally I would look at this as an alteration of the first chord rather than a true change of harmony - I don't think the harmony really changes until the next measure.

The earlier measures often feature a non-chordal tone that is a semitone off the chord tone it replaces. There is some use of the same device in the bassline - again I don't think this really gives you two different harmonies. Bearing those things in mind might make it easier to identify the underlying chords.

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Re: Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by bert » Fri May 12, 2017 4:27 pm

Just before seeing your post I was watching this, all about 7th chords:

Youtube

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Re: Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by lagartija » Sat May 13, 2017 11:45 am

Thanks to both of you for the replies. I'll take a look at that lesson link when I get to a place with a better internet connection tomorrow.
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Re: Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by lagartija » Mon May 15, 2017 5:56 pm

Wow! Great lesson on 7ths! I'm afraid I will have to watch it a number of times more before all that sinks in. :oops:
He really rips through that. I think I'll watch some of his other videos too.
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Re: Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by bert » Tue May 16, 2017 4:25 am

lagartija wrote:
Mon May 15, 2017 5:56 pm
Wow! Great lesson on 7ths! I'm afraid I will have to watch it a number of times more before all that sinks in. :oops:
I have the same thing. I am watching them all. It explains so much. It even made me understand why I find Mozart so longwinded so often.

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Re: Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by Flawiler63 » Wed May 17, 2017 9:36 pm

Sorry can't help with any analyses of the chords. I am trying to get to grips with music theory and just wanted to say thanks for the link to the youtube lesson provided in this thread. I will stretch my fingers with the Choro da Saudade and my mind with these youtube lessons.
Christian

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Re: Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by lagartija » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:26 pm

After spending a lot more time with this piece, I would agree that Barrios is cycling through dominant seventh chords, changing mode as he goes. :-)
It has an interesting effect, doesn’t it?
Rasputin wrote:
Fri May 12, 2017 2:37 pm
Were there any particular measures you had in mind?

I had a look at the score - it looks to me as though mm. 30 to 40 are just a series of dominant 7ths going round the circle of fifths, with a neapolitan sixth in m. 34. In some cases where the bassline is descending a whole step from one measure to the next, Barrios takes it down a half step in the middle of the bar to produce a chromatic line. Personally I would look at this as an alteration of the first chord rather than a true change of harmony - I don't think the harmony really changes until the next measure.

The earlier measures often feature a non-chordal tone that is a semitone off the chord tone it replaces. There is some use of the same device in the bassline - again I don't think this really gives you two different harmonies. Bearing those things in mind might make it easier to identify the underlying chords.
When the sun shines, bask.
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Re: Analysis of Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by Rasputin » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:14 pm

It does :D I'm not sure that cycling through dominant sevenths in this way always involves a change of tonal centre, because you don't really land anywhere until you get to the end - but if you hear this piece that way then I'm certainly not going to argue.

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Re: Analysis of Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by lagartija » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:34 pm

Actually, I would not claim to hear the piece that way... I am grasping for some way to understand what he is doing so I can remember the sequence better. I don’t know what it takes to change tonal center. My grasp of music theory is very primitive. That is why I wanted to understand the choice of chords in this section. Then perhaps I would recognize it the next time I see it.
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Re: Analysis of Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by Rasputin » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:47 pm

Well FWIW I would say that it normally takes a cadence onto the home chord of the new tonal centre, but the fact that the first chord of a progression is a dominant seventh is not enough to make it a cadence – it is also necessary IMO that the chord to which it resolves is happy to stay put (which pretty much rules out another dominant seventh) and that it occurs at the end of a phrase (which pretty much rules out the chords in the middle of a chain).

If you ask yourself what note you would expect the piece to end on, if it were to end at the first possible opportunity, that note is what you perceive as the tonal centre at that point (it may be better to call it the root of the chord that defines the tonal centre). If there is no answer to that question, we may be in freefall – a chain of dominant sevenths might create that effect, but then again we may only be going round the same arc of the circle of fifths that defines the scale (if you look at any 7-note arc, you will find that the notes it includes always make a natural scale, i.e. a major scale or any of its modes, including the natural minor). Going round the arc in that way is really the harmonic equivalent of playing a scale, so doesn’t really suggest a change of key IMO. If we are going to stay with the circle of fifths for the length of the arc but still get back where we started, one of the chords will have to be different – otherwise the chain will overshoot by a semitone and will then continue on around the circle. In the end the reason for this is the same as the reason for the semitones in the scale and many of the issues around temperament – the fifth does not fit neatly into the octave.

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Re: Analysis of Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by bert » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:04 pm

lagartija wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:34 pm
Actually, I would not claim to hear the piece that way... I am grasping for some way to understand what he is doing so I can remember the sequence better. I don’t know what it takes to change tonal center. My grasp of music theory is very primitive. That is why I wanted to understand the choice of chords in this section. Then perhaps I would recognize it the next time I see it.
I haven't listened to or looked at the piece before answering, but what you're describing sounds like he's using secondary dominants. When ending a piece very often the V7-I chord progression is used. In the case of a piece in C major G7 to C. the secondary dominant is the dominant of the V chord, which will be D7 for the G7, giving the same sort of progression. Cycling through the circle of fifths.

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Re: Analysis of Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by mainterm » Fri Dec 01, 2017 1:15 am

lagartija wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:34 pm
Actually, I would not claim to hear the piece that way... I am grasping for some way to understand what he is doing so I can remember the sequence better. I don’t know what it takes to change tonal center. My grasp of music theory is very primitive. That is why I wanted to understand the choice of chords in this section. Then perhaps I would recognize it the next time I see it.
Part of what may be throwing you off here is the scordatura tuning. It makes these chord voicings possible with bass on string 5 which are perhaps less common for the LH - they sound the same as typical guitar chord voicings, but aren't played in the same way (see mm29, 31 for example). So understanding the chord structure from a music theory perspective may help - but I'm not sure that is the way to go here.

Be that as it may I think Rasputin has the right idea regarding circle of fifths movement (with a good helping of inversions thrown in).

Do you think in these terms though? It sounds like maybe not.

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Re: Analysis of Choro da Saudade -Barrios

Post by lagartija » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:54 am

What I could hear were “7” chords, but I didn’t know they were moving around the circle of fifths.
A random series of seven chords didn’t tell me where to go next. Having a road map ( that they were moving in the circle) means I could start to name them and then start to associate the shape with a particular seven chord.
The way I was remembering the sequence was by where the bass line was going. However, I always want more than one road sign to follow!

I did get used to the scordatura... I would sing the note names as I played the bass line separately and that helps a lot. I am used to drop D, but this is the first piece I’ve played using drop A as well.
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