Hidden octaves and 5ths

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Lockie
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:02 pm

Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by Lockie » Sat May 12, 2018 7:27 pm

Hi

I am currently studying 1st Species counterpoint and one of the questions I can't seem to grasp. How to write hidden 8ths,5ths and explain the same. I would appreciate any help.

Regards
Lockie

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guitareleven
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Re: Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by guitareleven » Mon May 14, 2018 4:06 pm

I am guessing that you aren't actually asking how to write hidden octaves and fifths, because they are to be avoided in species counterpoint; rather you want to understand what they are, so that you know what to avoid. Simply put, "hidden" (or "direct" as they're sometimes called) octaves and fifths are those intervals approached in similar motion, i.e., both voices move to the interval in the same direction- either both ascending or both descending. Parallel motion is actually an example of similar motion as the voices both move in the same direction while the interval between them remains intact. Similar motion as a more broadly defined phenomenon, as it includes those instances in which the interval changes. There can be two ways in which this happens- either the interval expands, or it contracts. If the voices of a C-E third both descend to a G-D, the lower voice by skip and the upper by step, then the interval expands in similar motion to a fifth. The same interval could be approached from an inversion of the third, as in E-C moving in ascent to G-D. In that case, a sixth is contracting in motion towards a third.
This is what I am supposing you are asking about, but, the way you asked it actually touches upon a valuable experiment to undertake. As a predicate to detailing the experiment, there are different pedagogical ideas about such fifths and octaves. Some teachers and methods simply proscribe any and all instances of them in species counterpoint, others allow them if one of the voices moves by half step. Rather than satisfy an externally imposed rule on paper, and keep track of what variant are your instructors preferences, I suggest it's better to make your own determination. I once did a whole series of species counterpoints that were all correct except for my having deliberately inserted in each one, somewhere in the middle, an example of a fifth or an octave approached as described. I did enough so that every possible fifth or octave in a diatonic system was tried in approach, ascending and descending, from as many possible prior intervals, both in expansion and contraction. This sounds like a formula for precipitating a huge number of exercises to do, but in actuality, there are not that many of them, if all other rules of species counterpoint are followed. Anyway, doing these, and then hearing them, quickly demonstrated to my hearing just why the "rule' exists (I did the same thing for unsupported fourths). I did not discern any forgiveness factor afforded in the spare texture of species counterpoint by a half step approach in either voice. In every case, the exampled interval stuck out like a sore thumb, and hammered against the ear in the contextual flow. But, be aware that the parameters of "contextual flow" in a species counterpoint exercise is very artificially narrow. There is a lot going on in multi-textured free composition that can mitigate against the effect that they have when left bare, or , the compositional plan may even deliberately invoke such effect. So, the training of the inner ear is not necessarily towards defining "good" vs. "bad" movement, it is more towards developing a sensitivity to what the sounds actually are, and the connotations they can have, either for good or for ill, in different settings. For now, continue with your species counterpoint as if its a "game" with arbitrary rules. They're good for doing in your head while trying to go to sleep, like counting sheep.
Last edited by guitareleven on Mon May 14, 2018 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lockie
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Re: Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by Lockie » Mon May 14, 2018 5:03 pm

Hi

Thanks and I really appreciate your help. My thinking was that if I could deliberately create hidden 5&8's, then I probably should be more aware of them in my studies etc. I am studying counterpoint with out a teacher, using materials from a site that dates back to 2003. It was created by Professor Irene Girton. One of her questions was explain and create hidden 5ths etc. I can copy them but was not sure if I understood correctly the point. It appeared to me that while I could somehow get how the 5ths happened, I was not able to create the hidden 10th.

Regards

Lockie

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guitareleven
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Re: Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by guitareleven » Mon May 14, 2018 5:26 pm

Lockie wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 5:03 pm
Hi

Thanks and I really appreciate your help. My thinking was that if I could deliberately create hidden 5&8's, then I probably should be more aware of them in my studies etc. I am studying counterpoint with out a teacher, using materials from a site that dates back to 2003. It was created by Professor Irene Girton. One of her questions was explain and create hidden 5ths etc. I can copy them but was not sure if I understood correctly the point. It appeared to me that while I could somehow get how the 5ths happened, I was not able to create the hidden 10th.

Regards

Lockie
I see you've already anticipated the suggested exercise- for the same purpose, and described more succinctly. As for the "hidden" 10th, I'm not sure what the context would be, as a 10th is a third expanded by an octave, and, like a third, can be freely used- except for a general suggestion not to use too many of them in a row, which is advice both subjective and contextual. So, you probably meant a hidden 8th, or octave. You can create a direct octave in moving from a 10th. If the upper voice ascends by step and the lower skips up by a fourth, they will land on an octave approached in similar motion. In this case, the 10th contracts to an octave, in ascent. If you start with a sixth and descend, both voices moving in the same intervals as described, you will wind up with a direct octave created by expansion.

Lockie
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:02 pm

Re: Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by Lockie » Mon May 14, 2018 5:35 pm

Hi

Thanks once again. I was slow to use a 4th leap ( as its inverse is a 5th ) perhaps that is the problem. Apologies for the clerical error! I note you have an interest in fiddle tunes, commendable. I wonder is the "11" refer to 5 course and 1,Oud or cathedral guitar extened.

Regards

Lockie

kmurdick
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Re: Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by kmurdick » Wed May 16, 2018 2:12 pm

So are you taking a course in school or getting it from another source?

Lockie
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:02 pm

Re: Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by Lockie » Fri May 18, 2018 7:42 am

Hi

Another source :

https://www.oxy.edu/faculty/irene-girton

This is the link to the study material.

http://www.listeningarts.com/music/gene ... s/menu.htm

This woman really explains it clearly.
I can share my notes with you here if you want.

Regards

Lockie

Rasputin
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Re: Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by Rasputin » Wed May 23, 2018 7:14 am

guitareleven wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 4:06 pm
I once did a whole series of species counterpoints that were all correct except for my having deliberately inserted in each one, somewhere in the middle, an example of a fifth or an octave approached as described. I did enough so that every possible fifth or octave in a diatonic system was tried in approach, ascending and descending, from as many possible prior intervals, both in expansion and contraction. This sounds like a formula for precipitating a huge number of exercises to do, but in actuality, there are not that many of them, if all other rules of species counterpoint are followed. Anyway, doing these, and then hearing them, quickly demonstrated to my hearing just why the "rule' exists (I did the same thing for unsupported fourths).
It's an interesting subject.

The name and many explanations of this phenomenon suggest that under the surface it's a case of parallel fifths/octaves, with one of the tones of the first interval being displaced in some sense, but being perceived as going via the fifth/octave. Do you have any view about whether that is correct? It sounds questionable to me - if for example you have a G in the lower voice moving up to C, with a B in the upper voice also moving up to C, it is bizarre to see the B as moving via the G below. I can just about see how it could be argued that the B is understood as belonging to a lower G though, so perhaps the explanation does turn out along the lines suggested by the name. Do you remember whether both ends of your fifths and octaves were always chord tones? Perhaps the rules of first species counterpoint dictate that they have to be - I have never looked into it in any detail.

Anyway, for the time being it seems simpler to see it the other way round and identify similar movement to a fifth/octave as the basic problem, with parallel fifths/octaves being an aggravated case.

When you say you did the same thing with fourths, I take it that they sounded OK - do you have any view about why a fourth should behave differently from a fifth? I am quite attracted to the view that the fifth and the octave are original intervals, with the fourth being derived and understood as an upside-down fifth. Possibly this makes it more complex and less bland, even though it is still a perfect interval.

Edit: this last bit is probably overcomplicating matters - regardless of where the intervals themselves come from, in a two-voice texture a fourth is bound to represent a triad in second inversion, even if it is only a passing chord.

VasquezBob
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:54 pm

Re: Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by VasquezBob » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:05 pm

"Hidden", when speaking of hidden fifths is not an appropriate word (my take), as there is nothing 'hidden'. I prefer 'parallel fifths', as the progression being addressed is where two voices in a polyphonic composition are progressing in similar motion at an interval of a 5th (or, an octave). When this occurs, the independence of each voice becomes lost (or not clear). My question is why wouldn't we also lose such independence of voices with similar motion of other parallel intervals, viz., thirds, sixths? (That's my next little research by a beginner splashing around)

Lockie
Posts: 102
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:02 pm

Re: Hidden octaves and 5ths

Post by Lockie » Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:36 am

Hi

I would recommend that you have a look at this website,

https://www.oxy.edu/faculty/irene-girton

Or

http://www.listeningarts.com/music/gene ... s/menu.htm

This is a music course with material by a professor Irene Girton. It helped me to gain a better understanding of the points you have mentioned.

Two other books that have given me a greater clarity are:

HARMONY AND VOICE LEADING
BY Edward Aldwell and Carl Schachter

And

The Jazz Language
By
Dan Haerle

The second book really helps in gaining an understanding of what goes with what ie
Chord wise.

Regards

Lockie

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