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15 January, 2016 - 09:13
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The questions that can be answered by analyzing the harmony of a piece of music are typically questions about what is happening in the harmony and how it affects the form, style, mood, and other aspects of the piece.

Designing Inquiry Questions are those that are interesting to you and will require some effort to discover and understand the answer. They should be specific. For example, "What is jazz harmony like?" is too general, but "What is it about the harmony of this piece that makes it sound jazzy?" is specific enough.

Even though you have a specific question in mind, you may have trouble stating it at first, because you don't have the vocabulary to talk about it yet. For example, you may begin with the question "What is going on in the harmony" at a particular point in the music that sounds interesting to you.

Examples of the types of questions that can be answered by analyzing harmony

  • How does the harmony help create the mood of this piece?
  • What is it about the harmony that makes it sound like it belongs to a particular genre or style?
  • What is it about the harmony that makes this piece sound different from other pieces in this genre or style?
  • How are persuasive cadences (endings) created?
  • How does the harmony create interest and variety? How does it create a sense of pleasant familiarity and predictability?
  • How does the harmony support and interact with the melody, rhythm, form, or other aspects of the music?
  • How are smooth modulations (changes to a new key) created?
  • Is this music tonal, modal, diatonic, chromatic, atonal?