This concept, in music theory, is known as the principle of harmony in music, after the French composer René-Léon Gérôme, who developed it more than half a century ago. The name comes from Greek for harmony or “perfection” and from Latin for “common,” so it’s not so much an “artistic” idea as a pragmatic one. The French term “harmony” was first used by Gérôme to describe what’s known as an enharmonic sound, a sound that has some harmonic relationships, or that is in some way similar to a major chord. In other words: one of the harmonic notes of a chord is the same as the other two, which is exactly what you want from a melody, a song, a piece of music.
This is how Gérôme used this principle to develop a theory of harmony in his own music.
Gérôme’s principle: harmony is a function of harmony
In the key of A, I’m not playing the three fundamental notes we know, A Major, D Major, G Minor. Instead, I’m trying to establish a new harmony that’s based on the two notes of our natural fifth (F#, G#) and the two notes of our natural fourth (F#, G), and that gives you these chords: C Major, C Minor and G Major. When you play two chords together that are in harmony, you get a note that is in the bass, in place of the same note that you heard.
Here’s a nice example of a piece of music that uses G Major and D Major notes together: “You’re So Vain, (D),” which was written by British pop genius David Bowie, but has its roots in French Gérôme melodies with a key called A minor. I played it on the keyboard and we wrote our own version of the song. Our new version was based on a technique that is called harmonic succession, which is another name for the principle Gérôme developed to explain how a single note can help establish a harmony.
First we play A major in place of F#, G#. That’s a standard way to develop a harmony, but we could have played both A and D major. In this case, as well, the harmony is based on F#, G#, Bb — the G major-D major chord we know. We are also able to use a different harmony
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