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 ?
Copland creates a pungent effect by emphasizing the single cross-relation (D[sharp]-D[flat]) that is found between the parts in ic-5 counterpoint.
The cross-relation with C is saved for prominent melodic use beginning in measure 4.
A cross-relation occurs between measures 7-8, which is permissible.
3] in measure 8 is to emphasize the cross-relation with the [F[sharp].
The realization in Example 12 is particularly dissonant because cross-relations are conspicuous.
For example, ic-2 counterpoint (Type C) features the two parent scales C Ionian and D Ionian, for which there are two potential cross-relations (F-F[sharp], C-C[sharp]).
16] The number of cross-relations grows with each ic type, while the number of ic 5s (perfect fourths or perfect fifths: a measure of potential consonance) diminishes.