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Harmony for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Chapter 2. The Interval

The study of harmony really begins with the interval. The reason for this is that if I play two notes simultaneously on the keyboard, it is obvious that one note will automatically be the lowest in pitch, and the other will be the highest. This difference in pitch between them is called an interval. When the two notes belonging to an interval are played in this fashion, the ear recognizes not only the upper and lower notes, but also the harmonic relationship between the two notes. This relationship will have a particular quality to the ear for the simple reason that the two notes will be heard as either agreeing or clashing, as the case may be. In this quality of agreement/disagreement, therefore, we can see the basic forces ...

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