why stacked thirds?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:58 pm
by BillCorey • 7 Posts

Hi everyone,

New forumer here. Name's Bill. I emailed Pebber a question and he told me to post it in the forums, so here goes:

"I'm just a beginner (haven't even bought a guitar yet), and I've been reading up on music theory in preparation. I understand that basic harmony involves stacked thirds, but I don't understand why that is. Why that interval as opposed to another? I've read there are other kinds of harmony besides tertian, but I still don't understand the reasoning. Could you explain it to me, or point me in the direction of a book or article that could? Also, I plan on reading a number of books, but are there any in particular that explain these kinds of details instead of just brushing over them? I'm looking for something slow, methodical, and comprehensive. Something even a retard could understand."

Thanks in advance for any replies.

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RE: why stacked thirds?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:21 pm
by jimiclaptoncarl • 117 Posts

Welcome to the forum!

Well, honestly I can't answer your question because I'm not to sure about that myself..

I haven't really given it much thought actually, I mean, I've known it's based on 3rds, Tertian Harmony, but I don't understand the reasoning either.

Thanks for posting because now I get to learn something new.

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RE: why stacked thirds?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:04 am
by pebberbrown • 926 Posts

You can stack ANY intervals to make chords. Thats what the Scaletone form system uses - it doesnt restrict itself to Tertian harmony. However - 3rds are stacked as a natural sounding tonality introduced back around the 1100's. Gregorian monks used to sing harmonies in all 5ths and then later Leonin and Perotin added thirds. Music of the antiquity ages (800-1100) was almost entiorely ALL vocal music and it was almost all SACRED (as opposed to secular) music. Being all vocal music - thirds and fifths sounded the most consonant and tonal of al the intervals and were used for then next 700 years until the late Romantic period where Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Modest Mussorgsky, Alexander Scriabin and others experimented with combination of parallel 3rds, 4ths and fifths. The 20th century broughty more experimentation and Jazz was developed. Halfway through the 20th century Jazz started experimenting with a lot of non tertiary structures and more modern classical composers did as well. The public likes tonal music more than atonal or polytonal music so thirds remain as the basis for tertiary harmony. Try Quartal harmony sometime - its quite spacey and jazzy...

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RE: why stacked thirds?

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:18 pm
by BillCorey • 7 Posts

Thanks for the reply, Pebber.

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