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WMAS NEWS UPDATE
Despite the heat and humidity (weren't we just saying "despite the cold"?) we had a very good turnout for Dale Wise's improvisation workshop at Tuesday's meeting.
The goal of the workshop was to encourage us to embellish and not just play the notes written in the sheet music. Dale first laid out the building blocks of embellishment -- steps (neighboring notes), skips and repeated tones -- and explained how to use these in various nonharmonic functions to add color to a piece of music or transition from one note to another.
[Because some of the material Dale presented was a little complicated, we consulted WMAS member Anne Johnson, who has been studying music theory, and have supplemented Dale's information with material taken from Northern Virginia Community College class materials (developed by Dr. Barbara Ryland Wells) and the textbook "Music in Theory and Practice," vol. 1, B. Benward and M. Saker, McGraw-Hill Higher Education Publishing.]
A Non-Harmonic Tone (NHT), by the way, is a tone that does not fit with the surrounding harmony.
Suspension: an NHT that is held over from a previous chord tone and is followed by (resolves by) step down.
Retardation: an NHT that is similar to a suspension except that it resolves up instead of down.
Anticipation: an NHT that anticipates a chord tone in the following chord. It is usually preceded by step, and the anticipated tone is repeated in the following chord. It is usually accompanied by a dotted rhythm.
Upper Auxiliary (aka Upper Neighboring Tone): an NHT that is preceded by step and resolves by step in the opposite direction.
Lower Auxiliary (aka Lower Neighboring Tone): an NHT that is preceded by step and resolves by step in the opposite direction. The difference is that the LA steps down then up, while the UA steps up then down. A grace note is an example of a UA or LA.
Passing Tone: an NHT that is preceded by step and resolved by step in the same direction. (A run is an example of this.)
Appoggiatura: an NHT that is preceded by skip and resolved by step.
Escape Tone: an NHT that is preceded by step and resolved by skip.
Cambiata: an NHT between chords that is preceded by skip and resolved by step.
Changing Tone: two successive NHTs between chords. The first leaves the chord by step, then skips in the opposite direction to a second NHT that is then resolved by step in the opposite direction.
Pedal Tone: a tone that is held throughout a series of chord changes and is sometimes harmonic and sometimes non-harmonic.
Obviously, these techniques are better demonstrated than explained. If you can't figure them out, we can revisit them at a future meeting.
By the way, this is what Webster's has to say about "appoggiatura": a rhythmically strong dissonant grace note used melodically and resolving to a principal harmonic tone, usually by a single scale step. And about "passing tone": a note part of a harmonic scheme but introduced for ornamentation or for smoother transition from one tone or chord to another. And about "suspension": the continuing of one or more tones of one chord into a following chord while the other tones are changed, so that a temporary dissonance is created.
Some people commented that they know and use these techniques but didn't know the terms or theory. Now we do!
Thanks, Dale, and it's wonderful to see you back on your feet!
Fourth of July Parade
We already have the following tunes on the list:
Polka Night drew a lot of dancers, so despite the summer heat we expect a good crowd. Mike Rubin will provide dance instruction.
New Year's Eve 2005