Balancing Tension

In everyday life, harmony is generally accepted as living with out tension. In music, harmony is the art of balancing tension. In life, it is easier to create tension, then it is to get out of it gracefully, and the same goes for music. Also, in our daily lives we often find it easier to deal with those farther away. In music, it is basically the same. It is much easier to harmonize a note that is farther away. Once again, in music and in our lives, the closer the relationship, the more challenging the harmony becomes. A note farther away does not need as much support as one that is very near. You can often steer clear of it with out causing too much trouble. Needless to say, you know what is coming next, it is the same in life. We do not have to give as much support to those farthest from us, and if we steer clear of them, we will not cause too much trouble. Now, two notes sitting close to each other is another matter. If we try to steer clear, our melody will contain an awkward leap. One way that works quite well harmonically, is for one note to simply stay where it is, and let the other one move. This way, you are still offering your support, but not allowing someone's action to change who you are. Another way is for each note to first move in the same direction, and then a simple step or two in the opposite direction. This way you are acknowledging each other's similarities, and allowing your differences to support each other. The closest interval, the half step, creates the most dissonance. The notes are so much alike, yet each carries their own identity yearning to be heard. If one note moves up, and another down, it still creates the same amount of tension. And which one of the notes should move? You can always add more tension by adding notes around them, changing the focus, sort of like turning up the car radio to drown out your squeaky brakes. In the end, the argument is still not settled. A better way to create harmony would be for each note taking their turn and actually stepping into their shoes, seeing their point of view, then taking a step back from the tension creates the resolution. Have a great day