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Guidonian Hexachord

Discussion in 'General' started by Terez, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    I have to take Medieval/Renaissance music history this coming semester, and before I start, I'm trying to wrap my head around the concept of the hexachord. It seems simple enough, but some of the implications of it are counterintuitive to someone who's been brainwashed to think in octaves. Does anyone know of some reading material that might help with this? I started reading this article but got confused around section 1.3 (too many questions).
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    oh boy, Terez. I clicked off after just the first line of introduction. :? Good luck in that class.
     
  3. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Well, I don't think I'll really have to know it for this class (though I could be wrong - we'll see). But since I'm a bit obsessed with the evolution of harmony, it would be a good thing to dig into. :D

    Maybe I should just ask Alf. He knows everything...
     
  4. juufa72

    juufa72 New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Obamanation, unfortunately...
  5. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    lol...I already looked at the Wiki page. It hasn't got what I'm looking for, alas. And I've been hiding this summer because I've been taking a bunch of core classes and no music classes, so hanging out here would have just been depressing. :lol:
     
  6. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I too clicked off after the first line of introduction (and not because it's something that I already know...) :lol:


    Happy to read you again, Terez. :p
     
  7. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Gah! If Alf doesn't know, then I have no hope! :(

    I should track down one of the music theory or music history profs...
     
  8. bclever

    bclever New Member

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    Terez, usually when I read your posts I get envious about you being in school still with all that
    access to great music, stimulating conversations and interesting people. Then I read a post
    like this one and think thank god I don't have to go through that again.
     
  9. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Bah, I don't think it will be that hard once I get my questions answered. :D Everybody knows the "Doe, a deer" song. The difference between that and the original hexachord is that the current one uses all 7 tones of the diatonic scale, and the original only used 6 and went "ut re mi fa sol la" instead of "do re mi fa sol la ti". Also, the current use of solfege is altered so that "do" is always the tonic - adjustments are made for minor keys or modes with the alternate syllables (minor third is me instead of mi, minor sixth is le instead of la, etc.). By contrast, the original system apparently was so that the one semitone in the hexachord (first 6 notes of a major scale, essentially) was always between "mi" and "fa". So, if you're singing a chant in Dorian mode, the "tonic" (which I'm not sure was a very solid concept back then) would be on "re". Since they only use 6 tones, it ends up sounding closer to pentatonic music than what we're used to.

    Anyway, we pianists don't get much exposure to medieval music, or even Renaissance music. Keyboard literature kicks in around the time of Bach, and by then functional harmony as we know it was established. I'm just interested in this because I want to learn as much as I can about the evolution of harmony between, say, Pythagoras and Bach. That's a really weak area of knowledge for me - even weaker than my knowledge of the evolution of harmony in the 20th century. :D
     
  10. alf

    alf Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That reminds me of the old joke "There are 10 kind of people, those who understand binary and those who don't."
     
  11. Terez

    Terez New Member

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    Count me among the latter. :lol:
     

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