Suspended seconds and fourths (Chinese Harmony)

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by SmoothOperator, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

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    Jul 14, 2010
    So I just returned from China. The Chinese tuning caught me unsuspecting. While I was there, I had an opportunity to play a pipa and a xiao. The pipa is four string lute, tuned A D E A. Which seems awefully weird. Well I dug into it and figured out how to play the rhythm changes on it, but they don't sound very good on the instrument.:-( Even thought the fingering is very easy. So I did some google it turns out the frets aren't at all equal tempered.:dontknow:

    Chinese and Western Music

    Then I got to talking to my wife she said that when she plays Guzheng, that there are many chords la re mi la, do fa so do, and re so la re. IE a suspended second chord. Looking back at the pipa indeed that is how it is tuned. do fa so do, then looking at the link it turns out the fifths and fourths are indeed perfect and the octave is not:-o!

    So my question is how do you make brass arrangments for these types melodies:dontknow:

    I have never been a big proponent of the suspended second or fourth, and don't know how they would resolve:thumbdown: However I think they sound better in the Chinese tuning. I think horns are in pretty good shape intonation wise, since the fifths could easily be perfect, maybe the valve slides need to be adjusted, but other wise :roll:

    Any suggestions?:D
     
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    Mar 21, 2006
    Toronto
    Look in to Just tuning. It's how barbershop singers get things to ring so well.
    By thinking the 2nds and 4ths have to resolve you are expecting your western harmony to work with a totally different set of musical properties.
     
  3. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

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    Jul 14, 2010
    It seems the Chinese scale is neither equal or just, but the fourths and fifths are perfect, so my question is how to play within that framework with a brass instrument.
     
  4. SmoothOperator

    SmoothOperator Mezzo Forte User

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    Jul 14, 2010
    This is an interesting article comparing Blues and Chinese harmony. New melodies

    The 1 - 5 and 6 - 3 tone centers with suspended fourth harmonies and pentatonic scales really do remind me of the few Chinese songs I know.
     

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