5th octave sound

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A fifth-octave sound (also a third-less chord or fifth-octave fingering ) describes a chord that - in contrast to, for example, ordinary major or minor chords - does not have a third and is only made up of the root , fifth and octave composed as an outer interval . Due to the lack of a third, no pitch gender can be identified and the sound, in contrast to major or minor chords (which are often described as sounding “happy” or “sad”), has a “neutral” or “empty” effect on the listener.

Quint-octave sounds were ubiquitous, especially in the music of the Middle Ages (see Quintorganum ) and the Renaissance , as the intervals contained in the chord were considered to be particularly pure and consonant. The frequent occurrence at the time certainly also has to do with the fact that the prime , octave, fifth and fourth (the latter the distance between the fifth and the outer octave as its inverse) are the first four intervals of the overtone series (the number four came at this time due to the number symbolism special meaning to). Examples of the abundant use of fifth-octave sounds can be found in the late medieval organ works by Adam Ileborgh (tablature from 1448) and the Linz organ tablature from the years 1611–1613, which was created in the late Renaissance .

For a long time hardly used in a striking way, empty fifth-octave sounds were taken up again from the late Romantic period. Here, for example, they are more often found as stylistic devices in compositions by Franz Liszt or Anton Bruckner . Even today's film, pop and rock music likes to use empty fifth-octave sounds.

When played on the guitar, the fifth-octave sound is also known as a power chord , whereby power chords can only consist of a fifth (the version with an octave doubled root or an additional octave is just a more powerful variant).

Individual evidence

  1. Michael Radulescu (ed.): Organum antiquum: earliest organ music (= Diletto musicale No. 787). Doblinger, Vienna 1978, DNB 354221094 .
  2. Peter Marr (ed.): Old German organ music: 6 pieces by Ileborgh, Buchner, Finck, Isaac (= Hinrichsen No. 500). Hinrichsen Edition Ltd., London 1967, DNB 1001724712 .
  3. Raimund Schächer (Ed.): The Linz organ tablature. Cornetto, Stuttgart 1998, ISMN 979-0-50100-071-5 (search in the DNB portal) .
  4. ^ Mephisto Waltz No.1, S.514 (Liszt, Franz) : Sheet music and audio files in the International Music Score Library Project
  5. Ecce sacerdos magnus, WAB 13 (Bruckner, Anton) : Notes and audio files in the International Music Score Library Project