Parallel in Music Theory

Music theory can seem overwhelming at first, with its complex terminology and seemingly endless rules. One concept that often causes confusion for beginners is the idea of parallelism in music.

What is Parallelism?

In music theory, parallelism refers to the relationship between two or more chords or keys that have the same root note but different qualities. For example, C major and C minor are parallel keys because they share the same root note of C, but one is major and the other is minor.

Parallel Chords

When two or more chords share the same root note but different qualities, they are considered parallel chords. For example, C major and C minor are parallel chords because they share the same root note of C but have different qualities.

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Parallel Keys

When two or more keys share the same tonic note but have different modes (major or minor), they are considered parallel keys. For example, C major and C minor are parallel keys because they share the same tonic note of C but have different modes.

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Uses of Parallelism in Music Composition

Parallelism is a common technique used in music composition to create a sense of unity and coherence within a piece. It can be used to create a strong sense of tonality by emphasizing the relationship between two or more chords or keys.

For example, a composer might use parallel chord progressions to create a sense of tension and release within a piece. By using chords with similar harmonic structures, the composer can create a sense of familiarity and predictability while still maintaining interest and tension.

Conclusion

Parallelism is a fundamental concept in music theory that refers to the relationship between two or more chords or keys that share the same root note but different qualities. By understanding parallelism in music, you can gain a deeper understanding of how composers use harmony and tonality to create engaging and meaningful pieces of music.