Friday, August 10, 2007


The fastest going JSB-related group on Facebook at the moment is the delightfully whimsical "Every time you write parallel fifths, Bach kills a kitten". (You need to be registered to view it). I have gently raised the thorny and well-trampled issue of whether, therefore, he actually wrote Toccatta and Fugue in D Minor, which has plenty of PFs in it. They're mostly students on there. And that's what students are for. In the nicest possible way.

For the baffled, the relevant Wikipedia entry has a pretty succinct summary:

"In music, consecutive fifths (also known as parallel fifths) involve the concurrence of successive intervals of a perfect fifth between two voices in parallel motion; e.g., a parallel movement from C to D in one voice, and G to A in a higher voice. Intervening octaves are irrelevant to this aspect of musical grammar; for example, parallel 12ths (i.e., as created by successive intervals of an octave plus a fifth) are equivalent to parallel fifths. During the common practice period, the use of consecutive fifths was strongly discouraged. This was primarily due to the notion of voice leading, which stresses the individual identity of voices. Because of the powerful presence of the fifth above the fundamental in the overtone series, the individuality of two parts is weakened when they move in parallel fifths."

Comment on this post: NewFrontEars

No comments: