False Relation

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False Relation


the contradiction between the sound of a natural note and its chromatically altered counterpart in another voice. In diatonic harmony, a false relation usually creates the impression of a “false” (“bad”) sound, and therefore the rules of musical composition prohibit its use in chordal texture. It is permitted only as a barely noticeable by-product where there is developed voice-leading, or as a special expressive technique, to convey sorrow or morbidity, for example.

The false relation was often used in romantic and postromantic music as one of the means associated with the nondiatonic elements of the tonalities (for example, the part of Kashchei’s wife in N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Kashchei the Immortal). In 20th-century music the false relation is frequently encountered as a standard means in the chromatic tonal system.


Tchaikovsky, P. I. “Rukovodstvo k prakticheskomu izucheniiu garmonii.” Poln. sobr. soch, vol. 3. Moscow, 1957.
Rimsky-Korsakov, N. A. “Prakticheskii uchebnik garmonii.” Poln. sobr. soch, vol. 4. Moscow, 1960.
Tiulin, Iu. N., and N. G. Privano. Teoreticheskie osnovy garmonii, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1965. Pages 210–15.
References in periodicals archive ?
Although there is no real chromaticism apart from a direct move from A minor to C minor in My Heart Is Set, Smith clearly enjoyed shifts from major to minor (over the same tonic), the clashing of major and minor thirds, and cross relations in English cadence style; these last two features indicate that he had a preference for, and knowledge of, his great forebears Thomas Tallis and William Byrd.
Intensifying the passion is Jeffries's use of simultaneous cross relations that might have come from Tallis.
King Hamad also lauded the honorable positions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards its neighbor the Kingdom of Bahrain, wishing to see the leaders of GCC in Riyadh to discuss concerted ways for boosting cross relations among the GCC member countries.