# Chapter 11 Introduction to Harmonic Analysis

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Chapter 11

Introduction to Harmonic Analysis
Harmonic Rhythm

I   n order to analyze chords in a passage of music, we must decide exactly where the
chords occur, and how often the chords change from one to the next. Chords normally
change at a regular rate (e.g., one chord change per quarter note, or one chord change
per half note). The rate at which chords change is called the harmonic rhythm. We
express the harmonic rhythm as the durational value of the chord changes. For example, if
a passage changes chords every quarter note, we say the harmonic rhythm equals the quarter
note. Example 11.1 demonstrates some harmonic rhythm values. 11.1c has a harmonic
rhythm of varying durational values.

a) Harmonic Rhythm = ∂              b) Harmonic Rhythm = ß
## œ         œ      œ     œ        bb ˙ ˙
˙ ˙           ˙       ˙
˙
& œ  œ         œ
œ      œ
œ     œ
œ           ˙ ˙           ˙
˙       ˙
? ## œ         œ      œ                               ˙
œ        bb ˙ ˙                   ˙
D     D6     A     D             Bb   Eb     F       Bb

c) Harmonic Rhythm = ß ∂
# ˙             œ
œ     ˙        œ
& ˙˙             œ     ˙
˙        œ
œ     ˙
˙
˙         œ
œ    ˙ ..
˙.
œ    ˙
?#                     ˙              ˙
˙        œ              œ                    ˙.
œ
G         C     G        a6   G@        DMm7 G

Example 11.1

Normalization

If music were only made up of a series of neatly arranged chords as the previous example,
always sounding precisely together and always easily recognizable, most music would be
rather boring. Music, however, consists of a wide variety of textures and voicings while still
maintaining a consistent pattern of harmonic changes. Analyzing these harmonies can be
an intimidating task, especially for those with little or no keyboard experience. With

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