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Contents

Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century

THE TRIAD COMES OF AGE

Chapter:
CHAPTER 15 A Perfected Art
Source:
MUSIC FROM THE EARLIEST NOTATIONS TO THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
Author(s):
Richard Taruskin

All theory we have studied up to now has been discant theory, in which two voices (the “structural pair”) define harmonic norms and in which only perfect consonances enjoy full freedom of use. If nowhere else, composers of written music still honored this ranking of consonances at final cadences, where as we have seen, triads had to be purged of their thirds for full cadential finality. Zarlino was the first theorist to accept the triad as a full-fledged consonance. Not only did he accept it, he dubbed it the harmonia perfetta—the “perfect harmony.” He rationalized giving the triad this suggestive name not only on the basis of the sensory pleasure that triadic harmony evoked, nor on the basis of the affective qualities that he ascribed to it, although he was in fact the first to come right out and say that “when [in a triad] the major third is below [the minor] the harmony is gay, and when it is above, the harmony is sad.”7 Along with these factors Zarlino cited mathematical theory, so that he could maintain, like a good Aristotelian, that according to his rules reason held sway over sense. The “perfect harmony,” he asserted, was the product of the “perfect number,” which was six.

Citation (MLA):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 15 A Perfected Art." The Oxford History of Western Music. Oxford University Press. New York, USA. n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2018. <http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume1/actrade-9780195384819-div1-015003.xml>.
Citation (APA):
Taruskin, R. (n.d.). Chapter 15 A Perfected Art. In Oxford University Press, Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century. New York, USA. Retrieved 19 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume1/actrade-9780195384819-div1-015003.xml
Citation (Chicago):
Richard Taruskin. "Chapter 15 A Perfected Art." In Music from the Earliest Notations to the Sixteenth Century, Oxford University Press. (New York, USA, n.d.). Retrieved 19 Dec. 2018, from http://www.oxfordwesternmusic.com/view/Volume1/actrade-9780195384819-div1-015003.xml
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