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Every Child a Composer

Music Education in an Evolutionary Perspective

Nicholas Bannan

This book breaks new ground in drawing on evolutionary psychology in support of advocacy for music education, and the presentation of innovative musical pedagogy. The book adopts the perspective that musical experience is the birthright of all human beings through the decisive role it played in the evolution of our species, the traces of which we carry in our genes. The author draws on scientific developments in acoustics, neuroscience, linguistics, archaeology and anthropology to examine theories that have emerged powerfully during the last twenty years and which argue for the significance of the practice of music as foundational to human culture. This position is examined in parallel with research into how children learn musically, and the role that creative decision making plays in this. A series of strategies is presented that explores collective creativity which draws on vocalisation, the use of gesture, and instinctive responses to harmony to develop musical imagination.

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Chapter 19: More on 7ths and their implications, 9th chords, and enharmonic relationships


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More on 7ths and their implications, 9th chords, and enharmonic relationships

All 7th chords are, conventionally, dissonant, and require resolution. In a variety of genres, especially jazz and blues but also in music influenced by the Impressionist style, 7th chords have become treated as consonances with a special timbre, and have been left unresolved. Nevertheless, the underlying harmonic ‘pull’ remains strong: and it operates distinctly according to whether the context implies resolution through modulation, or through remaining in the prevailing key. In this chapter, we will increase the scope of our handling of added 7th chords and others derived from or built upon them; and proceed to consider further features of expressive harmony based on enharmonic relationships.

Further varieties of 7th chord and the signs for them

As we discovered in Chapter 14, the addition of the ‘OK’ sign ° in the left hand allows us to build 7ths on Major and minor triads. The 7ths derived in this way are minor:

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Should we wish to add a major 7th to a chord, we need to employ the right hand, using the sign for the appropriate degree of the scale. For example:

In the minor, this works as follows:

This arresting dissonance features as the final cadence of Bach’s St Matthew Passion and also as the first trumpet entry in Mahler’s Symphony No. 3:

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