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Victoria Williams

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Grade 6 Course

 
Next UK ABRSM theory exams
Tuesday 6th November

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A1. Introduction to Harmony

Grade Six Music Theory - Harmony Lesson 1: Introduction

 

 What is Harmony?

The first three questions in the ABRSM Grade Six Music Theory Exam are all about harmony - but what exactly do we mean by "harmony"? 

When we look at music with our analytical hats on, we can think about it in two different ways. We can look at it from left to right - this is the melody and rhythm

Or, we can look at it from top to bottom - this is the harmony.


 

For example, here are a few bars by Bach from his "O haupt voll Blut und Wunden".

There are 4 melodic lines (or "voices") here, the soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

four part harmony

On each beat of the bar, those four voices combine to make chords. The science of how we combine notes into chords, and how the chords work together, is called "harmony".

chords

 

 Tonal Harmony

For Grade 6, we are going to study Tonal Harmony. This just means that we're going to focus on the kinds of chords used by composers from roughly the 17th to the 19th centuries - composers like Bach, Mozart, Haydn and Schubert.

 

 Grade Six Harmony

In this part of the course we're going to study:

 

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