Download Added-Tone Sonorities in the Choral Music of Eric Whitacre

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sounding third as the basis for interpretation, imagining the missing fifth of a chord, than
to use a sounding fifth and imagine the third.127 In these cases, listeners will prefer to use
the 03 or 04 interval as the root and third of a root-position triad. If the chord type
contains neither a 3 nor a 4, listeners will use the 08 or 09 interval as the root and third of
a first-inversion triad. If the chord type does not contain pitch classes 3, 4, 8, or 9,
listeners will interpret the 07 interval as the root and fifth of a root-position triad. If the
chord type does not contain pitch classes 3, 4, 7, 8, or 9, listeners will use the 05 interval
as the fifth and root of a second-inversion triad. Finally, if the chord type does not
contain pitch classes 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, or 9, listeners will interpret the bass as an added tone
ornamenting a triad implied by the interval of a third or fifth between two of the
remaining pitch classes.128
I represent added-tone sonority interpretations by a notation that specifies the
quality (and root tone, if desired) of the underlying triad, the bass tone of the chord, and
the specific pitch classes added to the underlying triad. The above interpretation of the
013578t chord type as an added-tone sonority, for example, would be represented using
the notation m(1,5,8,t)/0. The lower-case “m” specifies that the underlying triad is minor.
Other options include “M” for a major triad and “M/m” for a triad with split third or no
third; upper- and lower-case letter names may be used to specify a single transposition of
127
Auralizing the third would entail a greater degree of interpretation on the part of the listener, who must
then decide whether the underlying triad is to be major or minor. Using the sounding third and imagining
the fifth is thus simply less work than the alternative. In addition, the fifth of the chord is already present to
some degree in the harmonic series of the root tone; thus, listeners may be able to imagine an absent fifth
more easily than an absent third.
128
There are three possible combinations of pitch classes in which a third or fifth does not appear between
the remaining tones. These three chord types (012, 01e, and 0te) are therefore not identifiable as addedtone sonorities via this system. One may note that the three non-analyzable chord types are the three
possible “inversions” of a semitone cluster.
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