Music GCSE: Harmony, intervals, triads and cadences

Howard Goodall shows the importance of the discovery of triads for the development of music.

We look at examples of the medieval era and see early combinations of octaves, perfect fourths and perfect fifths, with choral examples such as Gaudete.

We see how John Dunstaple was a key figure in the shift to more varied harmonies, introducing major and minor thirds, triads and cadences.

Includes extracts from Gaudete, John Dunstaple, Morning Has Broken and Amazing Grace.

This clip is from the series Howard Goodall's Story of Music.

Teacher Notes

Play the chords I, IV and V, and see if students can think of popular songs which use this progression. How have the chords have been used to structure the song?

Ask students to develop their own four chord composition.

Curriculum Notes

This topic is relevant to, GCSE, AS Level and Higher Music in the areas of notation, history of music, composition, and understanding styles.

More from Howard Goodall's Story of Music:

Notation and melodic movement
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Harmony, dissonance and an introduction to opera
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Key signatures, equal temperament and the 12-tone tuning system
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Handel, the pianoforte and oratorio
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Mozart, melodic writing and the symphony
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Haydn, symphonies and melodic writing
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A profile of Beethoven
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Franz Liszt, symphonic poems and orchestral music
Saint-Saëns and developments in French composition
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Debussy, world music and impressionism
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Shostakovich and the effects of Nazi rule on composers
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Minimalism and the advance of music technology
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Stravinsky, Russian music and modernism
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Blues and ragtime
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