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As I sit here writing this paragraph, I can hear birds singing outside my window. What makes this bird song musical? Quite simply, the fact that it's changing. If the bird were just singing the same note, holding it on and on, it wouldn't be very interesting.

In a very real sense, change is essentially a necessity in music. So why introduce a constant?

Well, the main reason to do it is to introduce a useful contrast—sometimes consonant, sometimes dissonant—between that changing sound and the constancy of the held note.

Those held notes are called pedal points, the subject of this diary.

The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians defines the pedal point as

A long, sustained note held through many bars while movement continues in other parts of the piece.

The term originated with respect to the organ, as the organ has a pedal keyboard that allows an organist to hold one (or two) notes indefinitely with his feet while playing the other keyboards with his hands.

[On a related note: yes, I actually own a copy of Grove, all 29 volumes of it; I won it on eBay a couple years ago, for a price in the hundreds, not the thousands. ;) ]

As a result, most of the time, pedal points occur in the lower instruments, as in our first example (which I posted in the comments to Dumbo's Op. 27, on alternate scales), Ralph Vaughan Williams' Sancta Civitas. Here, it's in the first 30 seconds.

Vaughan Williams has written "true" solo violin parts before—see The Lark Ascending, for example—but here, note that the violin soars upwards above that constant note in the bass line. Just before this pedal point, the chorus sings of the fall of Babylon; you can think of the ruins as that pedal point, while the violin welcomes the vision of the New Jerusalem that is to come. [By the way, if you have time, you should listen to the rest of the track, and preferably the entire oratorio (it's only ~35 minutes): as Dumbo said, "Oh, this gets better as you go along..."]

. . .

Second, we'll look at the Cantus Lacrimosus ("Song of Tears"), the opening movement of Karl Jenkins' Stabat Mater. Yes, that Karl Jenkins, the guy who wrote the "A Diamond is Forever" music. You may want to strangle him for that piece, but, trust me, his recent stuff is actually quite good, even if it isn't strictly "classical" in construction.

Here, if you want to jump to the pedal point, it starts around 7:25.

Note that now the pedal point is no longer in the bass line, but in the voices. Of course, the downside to using the human voice as a pedal point is that, well, most people can't hold a single note for 90 seconds. Obviously, Jenkins doesn't even try that here; instead, he gets the effect of a single continuous note by having the singers repeat the same words, "Stabat Mater dolorosa" (The grieving Mother [i.e., Mary] stood [by the Cross]), over and over again. So, as the choir holds their notes, it is the orchestra that ebbs and flows both beneath and above them.

. . .

Next, we have Paul Hindemith's When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd: A Requiem for Those We Love, which makes interesting use of pedal points.

First, there's the Introduction, from a historic performance conducted by Hindemith himself:

Hindemith begins by almost assaulting the listener with a C♯ in octaves in the cellos and basses. [When Robert Shaw performed the work at Yale to commemorate its 50th anniversary, he also added the organ—it was there, so why not?] This brooding four-minute movement is based on a single motif, played over and over again: A-C-F-E. Note that a good portion of the "brooding" nature of this movement comes from the clash between the C♯ pedal point and the C natural, a half-tone lower, in the other instruments. [For what it's worth, though, if you try playing the notes on a piano, making that note a C♯ doesn't brighten the music all that much.]

Secondly, there's the ending. See if you can spot the pedal point here.

[You can find the entire Hindemith recording on Youtube, which is a fascinating document, although I highly recommend Robert Shaw's Grammy-winning performance on Telarc.]

. . .

Finally, we have what is, in my book, arguably the best use of pedal point ever. Unfortunately, it's a work that hasn't been posted on YouTube, so I can't embed the video.

The work is Herbert Howell's Hymnus Paradisi, specifically the sixth and final movement, "Holy is the True Light."

You can find a recording of it by Chandos on Rhapsody (search for "Howells Hymnus Paradisi", and then choose one of the links that says "VI. Holy is the True Light"). That version, and my personal favorite, on Hyperion, are both on iTunes. Also, Naxos has a recording as well; if you subscribe to Naxos.com (which is $20/year for access to thousands of recordings, which is a pretty good deal), you can listen to it online.

Howells wrote Hymnus Paradisi as a private document to channel the grief he felt upon the death of his son Michael from polio in the 1930s. It was not until the 1950s that this work saw the light of day, when the aforementioned Ralph Vaughan Williams convinced Howells to publish it. While it is rarely performed in the U.S., it became quite popular in Britain; for the rest of his life, Howells received letters from listeners moved by hearing it.

The previous movement ends with a beautiful a cappella chord in D major. The finale then starts with the cellos, basses, and organ playing a low B♭, as we find ourselves in the rather interesting key of B♭ minor (the same key used to open Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings).

B♭ minor has five flats: B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, G♭, A♭. This might remind you of Dumbo's Op. 27 on the pentatonic scale—because, aside from the C and F, all the notes are on the black keys!

So, not surprisingly, in measure two, a trumpet comes in, heralding the brilliance of that True Light, playing that pentatonic scale. Two measures later, in comes a second trumpet, also playing that same scale. They continue on until bar 12, when the violins and violas enter. Remarkably, they hold two more notes, a D♭ and an E♭, for about two bars, creating, for a short period of time, a double pedal point, one above, and one below.

The pedal point lasts for a total of 60 bars, half of those purely orchestral, while in the second half, the chorus sings lines from the Salisbury Diurnal: "Holy is the true light, and passing wonderful. Alleluia." Over a total of about 3 minutes, the part above the pedal point builds in complexity, but remarkably, Howells continues to draw the listener's attention back to the pedal point by constantly having the harp and piano play that B♭ staccato, until the music, having reached fortissimo, spills over into a new key.

I've only had time here to highlight a few examples. But the more you listen, the more you'll be able to pick out pedal points. [In fact, I've conspicuously left out the exemplar of the pedal point given by Grove!]

And, by the way, here's one last bonus (non-classical music) clip to prove that the pedal point isn't limited to classical music.

* * * *
Unfortunately, I have to work tonight, so I won't be able to contribute much to the discussion until relatively late (close to midnight ET).

Originally posted to Samer on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 01:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Classical Music Fans, An Ear for Music, and Community Spotlight.

Poll

What do you think of the pedal point?

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65%28 votes
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| 43 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here are two of my favorite examples of (9+ / 0-)

    a pedal:

    First, is Taverner's ethereal Song for Athene.  Basses and Baritones carry a pedal through the whole thing.  

    My second favorite is more of a stylistic one.  It's very common in Mahler (No, Dumbo, it's not the suspended 6th).  Here is an example from Mahler's 4th Symphony.  The pedal starts at 2:39 and goes to 3:02.  Now, technically, it's a suspended sostenuto note above the orchestra, but it follows the general rules for a sustained pedal.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 01:17:15 PM PST

  •  Excellent diary, Samer. Many thanks. (9+ / 0-)

    DKos is becoming very musical--a most welcome prospect.

    Stonewall was a RIOT!

    by ExStr8 on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 01:18:16 PM PST

  •  the next step, i'm guessing (7+ / 0-)

    would be the repeated bass line that you'd find in a passacaglia or chaconne.  is that correct?

    in baroque keyboard music, one often finds sustained trills due to harpsichords not having sostenuto (i think i got the right name for the one on the right) pedals to hold notes for multiple measures or the capabilities of the organ.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 01:26:52 PM PST

    •  Sostenuto is the middle pedal. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, homo neurotic, kareylou

      The right pedal is the sustain pedal.

      Sostenuto only undampens the keys you're holding when you press it; sustain undampens all of them.

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 09:21:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not sure if it was literally the 'next step', but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo

      it's certainly an elaboration of the basic theme.

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 09:22:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Passacaglia (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, barbwires, MT Spaces

      Pachelbel used a passacaglia (sometimes called a ground) in his famous Canon (sometimes called a round. So basically it is a ground round!

      Ba-dump bump!

      The daily floggings will continue until morale improves.

      by Tuba Les on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 01:14:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the flute choir arrangement (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, Samer

        I have done the alto flute gets the underpinnng for the whole bloody piece-talk about boring!

        I am so grateful to our church organist, with whom I have collaborated on quite a few weddings: she keeps coming up with shorter and shorter versions of Pachelbel.  We no have what we call "just the flavour" version of about 24 measures.

        Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

        by barbwires on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 05:06:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  oh, and the vaugh-williams is just lovely. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Samer, barbwires, ExStr8, slksfca

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 01:27:43 PM PST

  •  Another example, (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Samer, barbwires, ExStr8, esquimaux, slksfca

    with which people might be familiar is the drone on bagpipes.  No matter what goes on above, that drone just sits there.

    Thanks for reminding me about pedal point.  I hadn't actively thought about it since college (about a hundred years ago, or so...).  I'll be hearing them all over the place now.  :-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 01:33:08 PM PST

    •  The drone is a different thing, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Samer, barbwires, slksfca

      but you can see the similarities.  I'm reading quite a bit about drones, right now, because I'm doing research on Bartok for next week's diary.  Drones are a typical part of ancient music or ethnic music, an alternative way of creating a strong sense of tonality, just by sustaining a strong note in the bass line, like the pedal point.  And yeah, I would imagine the bag pipe is the ultimate drone instrument.  :)  You probably wouldn't want to have to play the Tristan prelude on a bagpipe.

      •  to amuse myself while vacuuming (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, Samer, Julie Gulden, Seldom Seen

        I use the horn-like A on my old vacuum cleaner as a drone and sing Amazing Grace over it. If you have a loud vacuum try it. Or not. I'm sorry.

        To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate, that is strength undefeatable--Helen Keller

        by kareylou on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 05:09:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The drone appears in Jazz too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo

        Mostly beginning in the 60s.  Maybe even earlier.

        Keith Jarrett uses chords for this effect.  Jarret would fit into the neo-bop and free-jazz subcategories.

        Another piano player who does this with great effect is McCoy Tyner.  In 1961 he played with John Coltrane in My Favorite Things where multiple drones are used between Coltrane and Tyner.  Coltrane went on to incorporate Indian and Arab elements into his music where drones are employed.

        John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra is one of his groups) is well known for this as well.  McLaughlin brought world music to jazz (or is it that he took jazz to world music).  

        I'm embedding St. John Will-I-Am Coltrane here just because of Coltrane, but because it might be be a bit more "accessible" than McLaughlin or Jarrett.

         ">

        ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. --Steinbeck

        by Seldom Seen on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 12:43:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well as a Celtic Tradder With a Stack of Bagpipe (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Samer, ExStr8, slksfca, Mary Mike, jhop7

    music on hand, I'd say our entire genre is one giant pedal point. I think the overwhelming majority of Irish & Scots trad music can go well with a drone even if it's not usually presented that way by instruments other than pipes.

    On the Irish pipes the drone has an on off so in ensemble playing they'll often use it more like a pedal point, on for one tune or part of a tune and off for parts of others.

    As trad bands began to perform for sit-down audiences and recording, they began to borrow from classical and jazz in making more elaborate arrangements than everybody simply bashing in.

    On this set the piper begins with the drones which are on the 5th (D drone, tune's in G) but if you watch his bottom hand around 16 seconds in you can see and plainly hear him cut it off when the keyboard joins. Later into an E minor pieces the strings add a drone or pedal point for a short time. At 2:55 when they go back to D Major to reprise "The Sailor's Bonnet" (incorrectly listed as "Fisherman's Lilt") the drone's kicked back on, but with all the players going and this a youtube from a TV broadcast it's not clear to hear.

    Bothy Band live from the late 70's or 1980 perhaps.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 01:35:23 PM PST

  •  What? (7+ / 0-)

    A diary about pedal point with no mention of Bach? I'm horrified!! ;-)

    (Great post. Thanks!!)

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 02:02:27 PM PST

    •  Oh thank you for posting that! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Samer, barbwires, ExStr8, slksfca

      I've been trying to remember the name of that Bach piece.  I heard it years ago -- in fact I think I have it on an E. Power Biggs vinyl in my garage rafter, which means it will never see the light of day again.

      By the way, that Toccata sounds relatively simple at first.  It gets very complicated in the last half of the recording.

  •  very cool diary but please tag it! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, barbwires, Julie Gulden, ExStr8

    A great diary that I've never seen on DK3 but I stumbled across on DK4 via the recent recommend list. Why, pray tell, does this not have a "music"  or "classical music" tag???

  •  Is this considered a pedal point? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Julie Gulden, ExStr8

    This was in last week's piece, Debussy's La Mer.  At the 4:25 mark in the music, a high sustained note is held in the violins for at least a whole minute there.  It may be difficult to hear the note with the limited quality of Youtube audio, which is one more good reason to get a good La Mer Mp3 or CD for your home library.  The effect of that long, long note is to create a sense of tranquility and serenity between the more stormy musical sections that come before and after it.

    I know for a fact this next one is a pedal point.  It even has an organ.  It's 2001: A Space Odyssey, more properly known as  R. Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra.  Back in the 70s, it was considered a good stereo testing tool.  If you couldn't hear the very deep bass pedal note that begins about five seconds before the brass enter, then you had a shitty speaker system, phono cartridge, or LP.  I used to have big ol' JBL Monitors back then, and the RCA Reiner recording would make the woofers visibly wobble like a hula dancer.

    That Reiner recording is interesting for other reasons, too.  It's one of the very first stereo recordings ever made commercially, back in the fifties before vinyl stereo LPs were invented.  It was initially sold on reel to reel tape.  RCA's techs busted their asses to make this, and a few other classic recordings.  And they still stand up as some of the greatest stereo recordings ever made.  I've never heard a better one in terms of the clarity of it.

  •  Another famous pedal point (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Julie Gulden, ExStr8, kareylou

    I just thought of...  Beethoven's Ninth! The first 29 seconds of the first movement, here.

  •  As a string bass player (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Samer, barbwires, Julie Gulden, ExStr8

    growing up, I got very, very used to pedal points. Usually we'd get a nice, big, long one at the end while everybody else got the flashy whiz-bang finale. For Barber's Adagio, I remember we used to have to tune our low E's down to a D and sustain it for forty-or-so measures at a time--quite difficult on an open string that doesn't want to stay in tune.

  •  Another Example Bach's "Little" Fugue in g minor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, barbwires

    Listen for it at 1:34, 3:01 and 3:47
    For each time at 1:34 and 3:01 it lasts for a total of two measures but for 3:47 it lasts a total of three.  (I downloaded the score)


    Played by E Power Biggs

  •  Pedal point works because it provides the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Samer, barbwires

    tension between the fundamental, or often the dominant, against changing harmony.  From a Schenkarian standpoint, it is highlighting an affect that is probably already present.  From a listeners point of view, it is enjoyable to hear the tonality established in such a black and white manner.  

    Conducted the Stabat Mater by Jenkins last month, and the pedal point in the first movement is not one of my favorite examples.  It's actually a bit static.  I wanted more tension...more grind.  It was perhaps more of an example of minimalism than ped pt.  I did however really enjoy the work, especially the marriage of the Arabic musical elements with the classical ideas.

    Thanks for the diary.  Very interesting stuff.

    •  Two questions about the Jenkins: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, barbwires

      (1) Have you noticed that—in general—he seems to be more concerned with projecting a mood, regardless of what the texts are saying (rather like the Poulenc SM). After all, why just repeat "Stabat Mater dolorosa" over and over again when you could repeat the entire verse?

      (2) Am I correct in that the Paradisi Gloria is mostly in a minor key? When you listen to it, there's just something that seems a bit off about the ending.

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 11:29:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I LOVE the Gloria (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dumbo, barbwires

        And I like the ending, but the metrical and tempi shifts in the end are written for maximum affect.

        Jenkins is best at bring different worlds of music together and coming up with an interesting mosaic, and he is concerned with composing music that meets people at a basic emotional level.  I think it tends to be a combination of minimalism and cinematic affects.  My personal experience is that the Stabat Mater connected with me deeply the first time I listened.  And then when I studied the score, I found myself a bit bored with the simplicity of the writing.  I found the melodies to be just a bit too simple.  I wanted some counterpoint, more development, or perhaps more aggressive harmonic development.  As I moved into rehearsals, I started to panic because I thought I had a made a mistake programming it.  

        In the end, however, it was incredibly successful.  The same elements that captured my attention on my first listen had the same dramatic affect on the audience.  In fact, the audience reaction to the piece was quite visceral and it shocked me.  Very few performances have elicited the same almost naked personal identification.  I do think the arabic percussion and chanting was a big part of it.  Unfortunately, I was not able to use the mey, and subbed in the English Horn.  I regret that I didn't solve this problem.  But my Arabic soloist was so amazing.  She just held the audience in the palm of her hand.  

        •  I haven't heard it, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Julie Gulden

          but you lost me as an audience when you said "minimalist."  I've been trying to justify to myself doing a diary on one of the minimalists like Gorecki, (and Gorecki seems to be the best of that bunch), but the more you listen to it, the more you lose respect for it.  It does have its best impact the first time you hear it.  Or the first five minutes of it.  

          •  Yeah, Gorecki tends to bore me as well (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dumbo, Samer

            The music is very immediate, and tends to connect with audiences.  The impact is the largest the first time.  I can't deny the success of the performance of Jenkins' Stabat Mater, and I think it's important as a conductor not to be an elitist that thinks I should get to just impose what I think is good music on an audience.  

            You should listen to it.  One music "And the Mother" has some very nice contrapuntal movement.  The infusion of Arabic instruments and chants are very moving.  I like it more than other works such as the Armed Man.  And one can't deny the success of his performances around the world.

            •  As a minor point, it's interesting that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dumbo

              the most creative movements are the ones where he doesn't use the text of the Stabat Mater at all. . . .

              Also, I've never gotten around to doing this, but I wonder what it would sound like if you just played the six movements that contain the SM text by themselves. I imagine not as well.

              We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

              by Samer on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 09:57:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Dumbo...how is working w/you now in DK4.0? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dumbo, Samer

            Hope it's getting better.

            What if the hokey pokey is what it's all about?

            by Julie Gulden on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 04:42:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm just here for the CMOPUS diaries. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Julie Gulden

              I've pretty much given up on DailyKos at large.  Even before the switchover, I was hitting Americablog, Eschaton, HuffingtonPost, Hullabaloo, FDL, and Greenwald every day, and still am doing that, so I don't feel information deprived.  It's the community part of DailyKos that I miss.  

              However, I was already drifting away from DailyKos politically.  I'm not a reliable Democratic anymore.  I feel like that cow at the end of Animal Farm looking at the farmers and the pigs and not being able to tell one from the other.  I don't have much to contribute to the political discussions anymore without just being a big bummer.

              But all you guys who hang out with me in the music diaries are awesome, and I want to keep that going if I can.  I even value it enough to not want to deliberately antagonize Markos anymore!  Wow, that's a whole lot!  

              Thank you for asking. :)  You rock.  

        •  A clarification on 'off', and the other ? I asked (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dumbo

          First, the question: what key is it in? :)

          Second, when I said 'off' it was more in that visceral sense. The very first time I listened to it, it was "oo, cool celebration."

          Around the third time through, it dawned on me, "You know, that trombone part (the one around 5:20) doesn't really fit in with a 'joyous celebration' theme," and that's when it dawned on me that it might actually be in a minor key rather than a major one.

          The other thing that seemed a bit 'off' was the fact that he basically throws away the last three verses; they take up something like 45 seconds of a 7' movement, and the last four minutes are basically all "Alleluia" and "Amen." But when you look at it from the emotional connection standpoint, that makes more sense.

          We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

          by Samer on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 06:31:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  According to Grove, the PP is "traditionally" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo, homo neurotic

      on the dominant.

      With the Hindemith, it would be the tonic.

      Since I've never had ear training, it's hard for me to tell what's going on in the Jenkins without seeing a score.

      As for the Vaughan Williams, I know that's neither the dominant or the tonic. I can't remember the key, but I know that the violin is playing a pentatonic scale, and the pedal point is on one of the two notes dropped from that scale (which makes it either 4 or 7 in a major key, or 2 and 6 in a minor key).

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 11:32:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Samer, barbwires

    for this diary, much appreciated!

    "All those who believe in psychokinesis raise my hand." ~ Steven Wright

    by IndigoBlues2 on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 02:01:28 AM PST

  •  I love working with pedal tones (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, barbwires

    As a guitarist, it works differently for me, but I will play with open strings a lot, often allowing the 1st or 5th note of the scale to serve as my upper pedal point.  Using the 5th is great because it creates tension and can lead pretty much anywhere but it also has the advantage of fitting in smoothly with almost any chord.

    No, I was not in the Harry Potter movies.

    by Julie Waters on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 02:59:24 AM PST

  •  Great diary! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, Samer

    Is there a classical music "group" or a way to follow a tag?

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Fri Feb 25, 2011 at 05:14:36 AM PST

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