Common practice period
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Common practice music obeys two different kinds of musical norms: first, it uses conventionalized sequences of chords, such as I-IV-V-I. (For more on this Roman numeral notation, see chord.) Second, it obeys specific contrapuntal norms, such as the avoidance of parallel fifths and octaves.
Common practice music can be contrasted with the earlier modal music and later atonal music. It can also be contrasted with twentieth-century styles, such as rock and jazz, that are broadly tonal but do not obey the harmonic and contrapuntal norms described in the preceding paragraph. Nevertheless, there are often significant similarities between the music of the common practice period and the broadly tonal music of the twentieth century.[which?]
See also: Functional harmony
For example, in common-practice harmony, a major triad built on the fifth degree of the scale (V) is unlikely to progress directly to a root position triad built on the fourth degree of the scale (IV), but the reverse of this progression (IV-V) is quite common. By contrast, the V-IV progression is readily acceptable by many other standards; for example, this transition is essential to the "shuffle" blues progression's last line (V-IV-I-I), which has become the orthodox ending for blues progressions at the expense of the original last line (IV-V-I-I).
Durational patterns typically include:
Patterns of pitch and duration are of primary importance in common practice melody, while tone quality is of secondary importance. Durations recur and are often periodic; pitches are generally diatonic. (Kliewer, 1975, chapter 4)
Many people have proposed that a "new" common practice period is now discernible in 20th century "classical" music. George Perle (1990) has argued that this amounts to "Tradition in 20th Century Music", the most significant element of which is the "shared premise of the harmonic equivalence of inversionally symmetrical pitch-class relations," among composers such as Edgard Varèse, Alban Berg, Béla Bartók, Arnold Schoenberg, Alexander Scriabin, Igor Stravinsky, Anton Webern, and himself. John Harbison refers to symmetry as the "new tonality".
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