Question for the musically educated

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by Bro. Curtis, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. Bro. Curtis

    Bro. Curtis
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    If God completes everything he starts, and we are to strive to be close to him, let me pose a question.

    Seventh chords, suspended 4th chords, sixth chords, ninth chords, are all examples of unresolved chords. Rock and jazz often have songs ending on these chords, technically leaving the song unresolved, or incomplete. The average listener may not notice, but musically trained people will.

    Going thru my baptist hymnal, I can't find one song that ends this way. (A minor chord is considered resolved)

    Could a song that ends this way be pleasing to God ? Are we also to strive to complete everything, including this ?

    Wish I could articulate this better, but bear with me, I'm a republican, after all.

    Thoughts ? Comments ?
     
  2. tenor

    tenor
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    OK, I'll throw myself into the fray first...

    Good question.

    As to resolution of dissonance that has changed in the west over the years. Yes, an unresolved chord can be quite distressing, but this may be done for effect.

    I can't see why we seem to be bothered by minor chords. It is merely a different sound.

    At one time, in western music, the third (both major and minor) was considered a dissonance. It slowly began to be allowed in passing, then at "weak' cadence points and finally became accepted as the standard.

    Why do most hymns end fully resolved? Because most are of a Western/European musical idiom, and this is what they are "supposed" to do.

    Some hymn tunes have been altered from their original states to fit the new sound of functional harmony that was solidified around the 17th or 18th centuries.

    Basically, the history of Western music can be traced in how we define and deal with dissonance. BTW, dissonance is not "bad," it is merely not at rest as consonant music is. They (dissonance and consonance are two sides of the same coin.

    I don not believe an unresolved chord (resolved to whose standard?) is not completing God's design. I don't feel an unresolved chord is dipleasing to God any more than a resolved chord may be due to how the music is being used and the attitude of the performer.

    Looking forward to hearing from others.

    Tim
     
  3. D28guy

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    Curtis,

    Who's to say those songs are unresolved?

    Who says they havent "ended." The music Gestapo? Who cares what they say. [​IMG]

    Did the song end? Yes? Then it was resolved with a chord that some people have labeled "unresolved". That makes those people wrong. :eek: Did the song end or didnt it? If it did, then those people need an attitude adjustment! :D

    There are a lot of blues songs that end with one of those unresolved chords or notes and the ending would be much worse if they ended any other way.

    Mike
     
  4. Bro. Curtis

    Bro. Curtis
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    Should we end songs with tension ? Thats what an unresoved chord is....a chord with a note that makes it contrast. Music does follow math, and math has laws. The label "unresolved" is an accurate label. The chord wants to go somewhere, but is stopped short, leaving the listener in a sort of limbo.
     
  5. Joshua Rhodes

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    When I was in college, we sang a song called "Acrostic" that set a poem by Lewis Carroll to music. The acrostic poem was based on Alice Pleasance Liddell's name, the famed Alice from his stories about Wonderland and the Looking Glass. The last "L" in her name, and consequently the last line of the poem, is "Life, what is it, but a dream?" The word "Dream" ended on a Dominant 7th chord. It was the weirdest thing I'd ever heard to that point (aside from some cluster chords and other 20th Century elements).

    Did the song end? Yes. When I asked why it ended on this chord and not a "resolved" one, I was told that the composer intended it to indicate that dreams don't end, and in fact, the song doesn't really end either.

    So, I believe sometimes the "unresolved" manner of a song's finish is intended. As for whether or not God is pleased or displeased with this, I can't say. I think it has to do with the changing view of dissonance and consonance in our western culture. Just my two cents. Can I have change? [​IMG]

    In His Grip,
    joshua
     
  6. D28guy

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    Curtis,

    How come the book of Acts has no ending?

    All the other epistles seem to have a very clear "ending". But not the book of Acts. I've heard teachers and preachers say many times that its because God wants us to understand that the book of Acts is still going on...right up until today.

    So the book of Acts does end...exactly like God wanted it to, in order to make His point.

    Regarding music its not up to the listener to decide if a song has ended or not, its up to the one who created to song to decide if its ended or not. Its ended when it stops. If its an unresolved chord that that unresolved chord is the ending chord...whether we think so or not.

    Just like I can make this post end any way I
     
  7. D28guy

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    Now to you that post didnt seem to end. But to me it did.

    I chose to stop there. The power here didnt go out of anything. I didnt hit "send" by mistake.

    Since thats how I wanted...for whatever reason, it doesnt matter...for it to end, than it has an ending.

    Maybe my point was to show that people will hear in their minds me saying "...want it to end" even though I never said that. [​IMG]

    Mike
     
  8. Johnv

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    The rules that govern music are man-made. I don't think God concerns Himself with things that are manmade.

    As for what kind of music God likes, He'd like contemporary theater showtunes.
     
  9. Bro. Curtis

    Bro. Curtis
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    The rules that govern music are not man made, they are governed by math. A first, third, and fifth have a completely different sound than a first, minor third, and a flattened seventh. Man, despite his best efforts, will never be able to change that. I disagree that music follows man-made rules.
     
  10. guitarpreacher

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    We do almost all contemporary (some would say rock) music, and I can't think of a single song that ends with an "unresolved" chord.
     
  11. rlvaughn

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    guitarpreacher, I have been thinking the same thing. I also can't remember any songs that end with an "unresolved" chord.

    A possible exception that some people might regard unresolved is all the minor tunes in The Sacred Harp. Every one consistently ends on a dyad (1st & 5th) and never on a triad (1st, 3rd, & 5th). In Sacred Harp we consider this resolved - don't know how the rest of the musical world looks at it.
     
  12. Bro. Curtis

    Bro. Curtis
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    I'm thinking more of the "Steeley Dan" or "Yes", or "Emerson, Lake, and Palmer" type of music....the real complex stuff.

    Also, I'm not saying anything against anyone's music, this started after a conversation I had with a friend.....

    I would say that a first and a fifth creates an incomplete chord, as the third will determine if it's a minor or major. I have always been taught that a minor chord is resolved, as there is no tesnsion, just a more somber tone. "What child is this, that laid to rest..." is an example. It ends on the minor third, but the chord doesn't seem to want to go anywhere else, the listener is left with the feeling the song has truly ended, no tension.
     
  13. Bro. Curtis

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    Also, "What child is this" is a great example that a song doesn't need to end on the one chord to be resolved. If a song is based in A minor, the the dominant first is C. A song that ends on a four or five, or the relative minor could be considered resolved, as long as there are no transitional note, ie a suspended fourth, flattened seventh, or a sixth. (The sixth chord is a very popular one in western swing, but one that leaves the chord hanging, like it wants to go somewhere else)
     
  14. Johnv

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    I'll give you that. However, even in math, the division of numbers into groups such as "ones" and "tens" is manmade. We devised the "decade" system because we have ten fingers and toes. If we had, say, twelve fingers and toes, we'd have does instead of decades, and each do (pronounced "doe") would consist of twelve ones (instead of 10 ones in a decade).

    Prior to the octavo standard (8 major notes in an octave) we had the gregrian standard of music and notation. The math was the same, but the expression of that math was different.

    I don't God cares if we end our numbers with whole numbers or integers. Likewise, I don't Think God cares if we end our songs in major thirds, perfect fifths, or minor seconds.

    BTW, most classic rock and 50's rock ends in major triad chords of C, E or G. So I guess God likes classic rock [​IMG] .
     
  15. Bro. Curtis

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    Actually, music is based on a 12 digit system, as there are twelve tones in a scale. [​IMG]

    Also, electricity's path & behavior can be determined & controlled using math. Does that mean electricity follows man-made rules ?

    Rock around the clock ends in a seventh. Many of Elvis' tunes ended in a sixth (Teddy Bear).

    I'm starting to think there is something to the style of music that can make it un-Christian. And I have been thinking about this a lot, of late. And I think that this may be a factor. I'm not calling anyone's music evil, mind you. Just an internal struggle I'm hoping to get input on......
     
  16. Aaron

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    I think you'll be interested in this essay by noted musicologist Robert Fink.

    http://www.greenwych.ca/natbasis.htm

    [About author Robert Fink: Fink has been cited in many journals, including articles in Science magazine; Scientific American; Archaeologia Musicalis; the published proceedings of the September 2000 music archaeology conference: Archaeology of Sound, and innumerable news articles [Globe & Mail; The Times of London; Ottawa Citizen (Oct 28,2002 in the "Enchanted Ear"); Some magazine cover stories (e.g., Alberta's newsweekly: "Western Report," May 5, 1997), etc]. He has several citations in the recently published Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) book of a collection of writings titled: Origins of Music.]
     
  17. tenor

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    That is because the "rules" governing them are form a different century than the current one. That was the style of the time.
     
  18. tenor

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    A seventh or a sixth may have been included in the chord but the chord was still the tonic or home chord. Many times things such as the seventh or sixth chords are used stylistically.

    The music of the 19th Century (The Romantic Period) is more dissonant yet still very consonant and tonal than the 17th and 18th Centuries (Baroque and Classical).

    Once again, from my original post in this thread, BTW, dissonance is not "bad," it is merely not at rest as consonant music is. They (dissonance and consonance) are two sides of the same coin.
     
  19. tenor

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    Bro. Curtis,

    I wouldn't refer to it as "a sort of limbo." Many people would not hear the difference. I can generally figure out why the composer/arranger chose to end this way.

    With much popular music this state was caused by the fade out, either in the recording or broadcast usage.

    Tension can be very effective.
     
  20. tenor

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    Aaron,

    I found this article interesting, but incomplete and enven wrong on a couple of points.

    This in no way refutes that ending on a dissonance is "wrong."

    Also, when he references the "Dorian" mode he says that that mode is represented by the white note pitches on the keyboard from e-e (efgabcde). The Dorian mode is actually from d-d on the keyboard (white notes)(defgabcd).

    If he misses this fundamentally agreed upon fact, what else has he missed or intentionally sought to over look to make his point?

    Also. he doesn't list many of his sources, except sources written by him. This calls his work into question for me personally.

    As to the overtones, I am in full agreement of the basic ovetones. What he doesn't say is that the higher overtones are actully half steps and smaller apart.

    Not every instrument, voice included, prodduces the same exact overtone series. This is why different instruments sound different to us and our voices are unique.

    This article does not, in my opinion, addres the OP.

    Tim

    [ November 17, 2005, 04:00 PM: Message edited by: tenor ]
     

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