Lament bass

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Chromatic fourth: lament bass bassline in Dm (D-C-C()-B-B-A) About this sound Play .

In music, the lament bass is a ground bass, built from a descending perfect fourth from tonic to dominant, with each step harmonized.[1] The diatonic version is the upper tetrachord from the natural minor scale,[2] known as the Phrygian tetrachord, while the chromatic version, the chromatic fourth, has all semitones filled in. It is often used in music to denote tragedy or sorrow.[3]

However, "A common misperception exists that the 'lament bass' of Venetian opera became so prevalent that it immediately swept away all other possible affective associations with this bass pattern...To cite but one example, Peter Holman, writing about Henry Purcell, once characterized the minor tetrachord as 'the descending ground that was associated with love in seventeenth-century opera'."[4]

Lament bass[1] without chromatic semitones: descending tetrachord in a minor: scale degree 8-scale degree 7-scale degree 6- scale degree 5 (a-g-f-e). About this sound Play without harmonization  and About this sound Play with harmonization  followed by Phrygian cadence.[1]
Lament bass from Vivaldi's motet "O qui coeli terraeque serenitas" RV 631, Aria No. 2[5] About this sound Play .
Tonally coherent harmonization from Beethoven's C-Minor Variations.[6] (1806) About this sound Play 
Bach's Crucifixus, B Minor Mass ground bass.[7] About this sound Play 

Musical works with a lament bass[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Brover-Lubovsky, Bella (2008). Tonal Space in the Music of Antonio Vivaldi, p.151-52. ISBN 978-0-253-35129-6.
  2. ^ Ellis, Mark R. (2010). A Chord in Time: The Evolution of the Augmented Sixth from Monteverdi to Mahler, p.200. ISBN 978-0-7546-6385-0.
  3. ^ Brover-Lubovsky (2008), p.153. "In the eighteenth century...the lament bass almost automatically invoked somber affection, gravity, and oppressiveness."
  4. ^ Thompson, Shirley (2010). New Perspectives on Marc-Antoine Charpentier, p.64. ISBN 978-0-7546-6579-3.
  5. ^ Williams, Peter (1998). The Chromatic Fourth: During Four Centuries of Music, p.69. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816563-3.
  6. ^ Frisch, Walter (1996). Schubert: critical and analytical studies, p.10. ISBN 978-0-8032-6892-0.
  7. ^ Blatter, Alfred (2007).Revisiting music theory, p.240. ISBN 978-0-415-97440-0.
  8. ^ Ossi, Massimo (2003). Divining the Oracle: Monteverdi's Seconda prattica, p.173. ISBN 9780226638836.
  9. ^ Carter, Tim and Butt, John (2005). The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music, p.182. ISBN 978-0-521-79273-8.
  10. ^ Knapp, Raymond (2009). The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity, p.260. ISBN 978-0-691-14105-3.
  11. ^ Lambert, Philip (2010). To Broadway, to life!: The Musical Theater of Bock and Harnick, p.205. ISBN 978-0-19-539007-0.
  12. ^ a b c d e eNotes: Lament Bass http://www.enotes.com/topic/Lament_bass
  13. ^ Wright, Craig (2010). Listening to Music, p.115. ISBN 9781439083451.
  14. ^ mudcat.org: The Cat Came Back (original lyrics)