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Ethan L.
Music Pedagogue with Administrative Background
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Study Skills
TutorMe
Question:

Studying in small chunks is more effective than cramming in marathon sessions. What are sometimes` you creative times you can use reinforce your knowledge of material?

Ethan L.
Answer:

There are many times on a given day that could be used as a time to review material. Riding in the car or bus, while getting ready in the morning, waiting in line, waiting for the oven or other cooking methods - these are just a few examples of reclaiming time that would be otherwise academically inactive. Short sessions like this are easy to facilitate, even when unplanned, with the mobile computing technology of today. Even finding 15 minutes a day of otherwise unutilized time can make a huge difference in student success.

Music Theory
TutorMe
Question:

What can we say about the relationship (including key areas and harmonic function) between these two chromatic harmonies: The Neapolitan and the German Augmented Sixth?

Ethan L.
Answer:

This question requires a good deal critical thinking. At the most basic level, both chords serve as predominant or chords that point to the dominant chord. This could also be described as each harmony having a subdominant function. For this answer, I will use C Major as an example. The Neapolitan chord (Db F Ab) contains Le (b6), an agent of the subdominant function and a tendency tone that desires a resolution down by half step. This is reinforced by the presence of the F, the fourth scale degree (Fa) or subdominant partner. The German Augmented 6th chord (F# Ab C Eb) also contains Le. However, the fourth scale degree has been raised - Fa is now Fi, and the tendency of this tone has changed so that it now desires to ascend by half step. This chromatic harmony still contains the fourth and sixth scale degrees - the agent and partner of the subdominant. There is a further relationship between these two chords, which is exposed by respelling the German Augmented 6th as a dominant chord. This idea is often used by composers as a modulatory tactic, particularly in the 19th century. If the F# of the German Augmented 6th is respelled to a Gb, we can reorder tones to reveal an Aflat dominant 7th chord (Ab C Eb Gb). This chord has a strong function as the dominant in the key of D-Flat major. As D-flat is the harmony we call the Neapolitan in C Major, we can see that the German Augmented 6th in C Major shares the same tones (enharmonically) as the dominant of D-Flat. This key relationship can be expressed as a shortcut. If you want to easily spell a German Augmented 6th chord in a given key, find the Neapolitan chord of that key and it's dominant seventh chord. Then, respell the seventh to its enharmonic equivalent. Rehashing the above example; To find the German Augmented 6th in C Major, I can consider the Neapolitan chord (Db F Ab). The key area of Db has a Dominant of Ab7 (Ab C Eb Gb). By respelling the seventh of that chord, I get Ab C Eb F#, the pitches of the German Augmented 6th chord in C. How can you keep the German Augmented 6th and its dominant counterpart in the key of the Neapolitan apart? One was is the spelling - more often than not, composers will spell a chord to indicate its function. However, this is not always the case. The respelled tone is the second place to look - considering the German Augmented 6th in C, we will expect observe F#-G, or even Gb-Natural. This upward motion of the tone is counter to what we expect from the alternative role, where Gb would resolve down by step as the seventh of the dominant harmony in D-flat.

Music
TutorMe
Question:

How can we tell the difference between music in 3/4 time and 6/8 time, even though a measure with each time signature will have the same total number of eighth notes?

Ethan L.
Answer:

The difference lies in the way each measure is organized. In 3/4 time, the listener will feel three impulses - the six total eighth notes in the measure are organized into three groups, making up the three quarter note beats of 3/4 time. In 6/8 time, however, the listener will feel only two impulses - the six total eighth notes in the measure are organized into two groups of three. The difference can also be expressed in terms of strong and weak beats. In a measure of 3/4, the only typical strong beat is on beat 1. In a measure of 6/8, both the downbeat and the fourth beat carry an increased weight.

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