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LESSON XXXVI
Enharmonic Changes
"Enharmonic" is a Greek word referring to an interval smaller than a semitone. In ancient Greek music F sharp and G flat would have been different tones. With the restrictions of our modern keyboard, governing as it does our harmonic conceptions, these two written notes are sounded at the same pitch. "Enharmonic," therefore, means to us not change of pitch but change of tendency. In general a raised note ascends, a lowered one descends. When, therefore, the one is substituted for the other, if only in name, the tendency will change.
It should be noted at the outset that mere change of notation does not always involve enharmonic change. When all the tones of a chord, or passage, are altered in name simultaneously (for convenience) there is not en­harmonic change, but only change in notation. Thus the
Similarly, a whole movement in C sharp will be in­distinguishable from one in D flat.
Genuine enharmonic change occurs when one or more of the tones in a chord change their names while others remain untouched; e.g.,
These three are the principal enharmonics in general use, and may here be considered.
(i) The diminished 7th is of course a chord formed by a series of superimposed minor thirds, the root lying a
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III