kampfgolem wrote:Thanks for sharing.
I have a couple questions. Please keep in mind I'm used to Jazz/functional analysis and classical is a whole new world to me.
1) In meas. 8, the chord is notated as Em7(b5)/Bb and is labeled a non-functional passing chord. Wouldn't this make more sense as a Bb dim triad serving leading to Em? I mean, that's what I hear, a diminished chord.
2) Why are the chords in measures 12 through 22 labeled as "tritones" instead of descending diminished 7 chords?
Are these conventions from classical analysis?
John can respond directly, but:
Ordinarily, in "classical" analysis, jazz chord names are not used and the inversion symbols would be used on the Roman Numerals (he includes the 6/4, but not others).
However it should also be noted that this is not a "classical" piece and is a post-tonal work. It does contain many traditional elements, but as you can see, there are non-functional progressions and "linear" chords, etc. (that happens in classical music too BTW).
Sometimes when people analyze, they're doing more than just simply "naming chords" which can only be but so informative. For example, I see John pointing out the interval of the 10th at the beginning, and bracketed when it appears. He's also showing with the dotted slurs, the countour of the melody line (and it's "directed motion" if you like).
A great example if the "Common Tone Diminished Seventh" chord - many people who are simply "naming chords" will just give that a name like "io7" or "Eo7" but the CTo7 nomenclature tells us more about what it is and how it functions in context.
So I've always encountered analyses like these as "reductive analysis" where the "to the point" the analyst is trying to make elements are singled out and the texture is reduced to highlight those (which could be a reason for no inversional symbols).
There's actually an A and G present in the Em7b5/Bb chord (which is why he has "11" as well).
Bbo would have a Db rather than D. So it's not Bbo. You may be hearing a diminished sound, but that's produced by the E-G-Bb rather than Bb-Db-Fb (since there's no Db).
This is simply a non-functional "passing sonority". Even giving it a Roman Numeral is tricy (and not very informative) in "classical" analysis.
But it *works* like a CTo7 chord (though I should note, even with the later one, "true" CTo7 chords resolve to Major chords not minor...but we could always call it an "irregular resolution").
I do sort of disagree with John about the "descending tritones" - I mean, obviously he's pointing out that aspect. But personally I see it as planing of a diminished chord over a pedal bass note.
While Bach would use similar devices with a fully-diminished 7th chord, French composers from the impressionist era onwards very often treated as it its a "rootless" V7b9. So that progression sort of goes:
E7b9 - A7b9 - D7b9 - G7b9 - C7b9 - F7b9 - Bb7b9 - Eb7b9 - Ab7b9 - Db7b9 - F#7b9 - of course with the E pedals throughout.
Aurally the sound is similar to a V7(b9)/V resolving to a i6/4, but our i is simply a root position i chord (which is also why the CTo7 idea makes some sense - neither of them resolve "correctly", but again, this ain't classical music, and even if it was, such things happen on occasion.
Nonetheless, I'd say the "important bit" is the E drone, which maintains the center, and the planing aspect (and of course the fact that after reaching the high E climax through ascent, we have this descent now).
This kind of chromatic alteration of a basic harmony (like F# moving to B with two intervening chords) is again commonplace in Bach so even if the chords aren't functional, or "the same as Bach would do", the idea is certainly sound - call it a "re-imagining" if you like. That of course makes analysis with traditional symbology and nomenclature difficult (or simply uninformative) but like many a good analyst does when faced with a work like this John seems to be trying to point out the "glue" that holds it together in the absence of more functional harmony.