parallel octaves can be beautiful
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,935

    When we deprive the church of polyphony (and the architecture that supports it), we all suffer and live in spiritual poverty. This music is worthy of the Divine Sacrifice, and anyone who attends will certainly be changed.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,536
    For those hesitating to copy and paste, the url above is from Rachmaninoff's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 3 and features what I would call octave doubling rather than parallelism; the voice leading is (ahem) perfectly orthodox.
  • One of my favorites!
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,935
    octave doubling, parallel octavos... doesnt matter how you describe it... point is, it IS beautiful. Have used that method in my own comps.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Yeah, when I was music theory I was taught that parallel octaves were when you have otherwise normal counterpoint, and then proceed in octaves in two or more voices either in parallel or contrary motion and then go back to normal counterpoint. Doubling a voice in octaves is perfectly kosher. The point where parallel octaves becomes a problem is when you have two or more voices which are supposed to be entirely distinct from one another, because they lose their individuality when you go into parallel octaves or fifths and it is grating to the ear.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,943
    In dense SATB divisi writing, parallel octave doubling is not uncommon at all, often included for massive fortissimo effect, although sometimes seen in quiet passages, too. One thing for certain, it is part and parcel of the Russian choral tradition, for example in several movements of Rachmaninoff's Vespers or in Chesnokov's "Salvation is created" - to name just two rather well-known examples.

    The attached PDFs are from the Rachmaninoff Vespers. The Bogoroditse Devo illustrates both quiet octave doublings (Soprano/Tenor framing 2-part Alto in measures 15-20). The music breaks into fortissimo when the Basses join, octave doubling the Altos on the fourth beat of measure 20, so that in the next two measures 21-22, there are S1/T1, S2/T2, A/B octave doublings. Finally, in measures 25-26, there are hushed, brief instances of parallel octaves (and parallel fifths).
  • I was wondering who'd be first to cite "Bogoroditse", money was rightly placed on you!
    Too bad my wife only pays in Monopoly $.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,935
    never listened to much russian music before
  • They seem to have been highly thought of in the XII. century!
    There are few experiences more uplifting, not to mention exciting, than the music of the 'organumists'.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    <3 Russian music<br />
    I particularly like Bortiansky's Cherubic Hymn. We used to sing it a lot at my home parish in Steubenville.

    ..."organumists"? Are you talking about the use of drones and so on which is kinda like Perotin or such in the West?
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,943
    Me, too, Jam ... The Bortniansky "Izhe Kheruvimi" was a regular part of the Divine Liturgy at St. Josaphat's in Rochester, NY - and has always been a favorite of mine.
  • DougS
    Posts: 793
    Jam, re: organum

    The plainchant melody--that is, the central foundation of organum--came first and then faster-moving voices were added on top.

    Calling it "the use of drones" suggests that there was pre-existing music under which someone placed a drone--not the case.

    And yes, Perotin wrote organum.
  • Who remembers the first time he, or she, commited parallel octaves? Fifths? Fourths?
    Do you remember your penance?
    Were you made to genuflect in shame before the class?

    Somehow, pointing out that Bach used them (and Perotin and Machaut!) was not a mitigating factor, and made your penance worse.
  • Adam WoodAdam Wood
    Posts: 6,428
    In my personal exercise notebooks, I always write lengthy comments in the margins when I purposely break "rules," explaining my reasons for doing so.
    That way, if my notebooks end up being studied after death (due, obviously, to my great fame and impact) historical musicologists will at least know that I wasn't a MAROON.