Originally Posted by Larry F
I'm a little confused about the 4th vs inverted 5th business. Are you saying that the interval formed by G above D is either a 4th or an inverted 5th? If you are saying that calling something a 4th or an inverted 5th is contingent on one note being the tonic, I have not come across that usage before. I have always understood the concept of interval having to do with size and not tonality.
To bring us back to inversion, I have also understood chord names as having to do with membership of notes, irrespective or order, register, or inversion.
Back to Smoke on the Water. There is nothing wrong with saying that the interval of G above D is a 4th, where G is the tonic. It is not common practice to assume that the bottom note of an interval is or is not the tonic. Those are two different concepts.
In practice, the concept of an inverted interval usually arises in connection with melodies that are inverted--that is, played upside down.
I see your point in wanting to say the a root position C chord is more common that its inversions. I also see your point in giving the note G pride of place. But you run the risk of confusing people in this forum who take things literally. If I didn't know much about theory and someone told that a C chord in 1st inversion wasn't a C chord, I would be confused. Similary, if I was starting to learn about intervals and someone told me that a 4th was different from an inverted 5th, I would be confused there, too.
Put another way, I don't see what is to be gained by saying that G above D is an interverted 5th rather than a 4th. I know that G is the tonic.
As I noted in my first post on this Smoke on the Water thing, I have been through this with a PhD who took your view. I found evidence from a publication by two other PhD's that took my point of view...that the key determines the better way of referencing these two notes...that is, in the key of Gminor(Smoke on the Water)....the G is is the first interval..tonic.. and the D is the fifth interval in that scale....so D below G is an inverted fifth. I noted also that I agreed wholeheartedly that when measuring the distance between the lower D and the G above it, then yes it is a perfect fourth. I find it easier to convey to someone who doesn't know the song that we are in G minor...we want to play a inverted power chord....the 5th interval placed below the 1st interval of the scale. When my rather uneducated mind deals with scales, I deal with the intervals of that scale....not the distance between the notes. This way, everyone learns that the D is the 5th interval in the Gminor scale...and G is the tonic. It builds knowledge instead of confusing by saying that we are in the key of Gminor but we are palying an interval of a fourth from the D up to the tonic G. This is how I view it. I find it simpler. I also am not alone in this piont of view. I should never have brought this up. I did so just to point out that even experts...PhD????...debate this crap endlessly. Remember my father-in-law's observation that academicians were full of it? He is a great old fellow..with an education an a keen eye for reality.
You say that YOU know that the key is G...actually Gminor in this case. That is a good thing. The problem is that some people without your in-depth musical education become more confused when presented with the fact that a fourth between the D and the G is a 5th from the scale of Gminor. They may know the scale and thereby know the D is the 5th from that scale. IT is simpler to say the key and invert the 5th in my world....and in the world of noted educated PhD's....who debate with other PhD's endlessly, right? Why am I bothering...this question will go on ad nauseum.(sp)
The word interval is confusing enough to anyone who has not studied music much...it can be a placement of a note in a scale or it can be the distance between notes that may or may not be in the same scale. When I am speaking of scales..and that includes chord forms...I find it simpler to talk about the note's placement in that scale as an interval. Ex: 1-3-5-8-5-3-1 You are correct that the musical measurement from D to the G above it is an interval of a fourth. I am not debating that. We are also correct in noting that an inverted 5th from this scale yields a measured musical distance of a fourth from the lower note to the higher note. What I and others with far more musical education than I have.....as you might have guessed...are positing is that it is proper to call these two notes an inverted 5th in the key of Gminor. Why would I not want to make as positive of reference as possible to the key in which we are playing? What I am saying is that the D in this instance is not the 4th interval in the key in which we are playing....it is the
5th. You and I both know that. Why can we not simply use the key and its intervals in our communications about the song? Thsi is the point that the referenced publication took....that the key yields the most common ground for the interval reference....not the musical distance from a low note to the high note. The key is the key....it solves the debate. IT is simple. IT makes sense out of the difference between musical distance and placement within the scale.....the two uses of the word interval in music.
C/G....if someone tells me to play C, I am going to play a Chord with C in the root position until such time as it is revealed that a different tonality is preferred. I am not going to play G or E or anything else in the lowest note until I or my fellow musicians decide that we want that certain tonality.
IF this goes on and if I care to continue, I will pull out the material and name the inversion for this chord...
Until then, I gladly and again agree that this is an inversion of a C major chord. It's use is wide. IT's tonality is different from this C chord...
--X-- unplayed. I was taught to kill the 6th string when I didn't want that inversion...5th or 4th...right?
LarryF wrote: "I think it can create confusion to fuse concepts such as interval and tonality or chord quality and inversion. This gives me more flexibility in analyzing or composing music."
It is the fact that inversions yield different qualities that makes them vital, don't you think? Writing these things down on a staff is just a way of communicating. Playing a chord in a certain inversion is done because of the voicing of the tones that are created when the intervals are placed in various positions relative to one another.
Ex: play this Smoke on the Water riff with the G below the D...however you want to call it I don't care. It is a power chord...the tonic plus the 5th from the scale. Then playit inverted...however you want to call it. There is a difference. Blackmore played it that way because of the relationshhip that the lower D had to thehigher tonic...the harmonics that fly are different. IT growls in a different manner. The other way around doesn't even sound the same...except we all recognize the rhythm, right?
Larry wrote: "Put another way, I don't see what is to be gained by saying that G above D is an interverted 5th rather than a 4th."
To sum up my view of the D and the G....
A perfect fourth is an inverted fifth if we are in the key of the higher pitch and forming a chord based on the 1st interval. Ex: Smoke..in Gminor
A perfect fourth is a suspended fourth if we are in the key of the lower pitch and forming a chord on the 1st interval....Ex: Dsus4.
There is the crux of my point of view. I never get confused this way...and yes, I know the musical distances between notes. I just like it simple. Some PhD's do also. Some Phd's don't. Who am I to try to stop them from debating this....
It has been fun...but I have done this before.....