"Horizontal Harmony"


Page 1 Panel 1.

There are three women, of various descriptions but all dressed in 1920s flapper garb. The first one gestures wildly, saying, "Hurry, Dot, we don't have much time!" The second, hands on hips, says, "Oh, dry up, Dot. Rushing her won't make this week's comic any less late." The third, seated at a drawing table, says, "You Dots are all screwy. I've got it handled."

Page 1 Panel 2.

The World On A String. Vol. 1, No. 3. CC BY-SA 2019 by Ken Alleman. Featuring the three Dots. Imagery includes a portrait of each of the three women.

Page 2 Panel 1.

We see chord block diagrams for E major 2nd inversion, A major 1st inversion, B major, and E major 2nd inversion again. Instead of dots marking which notes are fretted, we see simplified caricatures of the three women's faces appearing in different configurations in each diagram. They take turns speaking. "Here's a sequence of four chords you might find in a song." "There are a couple ways we can think about these chords and how they relate to each other." "One way is vertically." "And the other is horizontally."

Page 2 Panel 2.

For anyone who prefers it, here's the tablature for those chords. On the following page, you'll also find them written, in order, in standard notation. Ed.

Page 3 Panel 1.

The chords appear in standard notation in treble clef. Again, we get the convention of the Dots' faces appearing in place of the usual markings, moving around from chord to chord. Each chord is united by a vertical streak drawn through it, linking the three simultaneous notes. And again, the Dots take turns speaking. "When thinking vertically, each chord is like a stack of notes all playing at once." "A chord is a snapshot of each note being played at one time in harmony." This type of thinking was big in the classical period. Think Mozart." "His music often appears as a melody with chords under it."

Page 3 Panel 2.

Again, the chords appear in standard notation in treble clef with the Dots' faces. This time, the top notes are all linked by a streak, then the middle notes, then the bottom notes, linking them as three simultaneous melodies. Again, the Dots take turns speaking. "When thinking horizontally, each note in a chord is a voice." "It forms a melody with the corresponding notes in the other chords." "In this way, a set of chords is also a set of parallel voices that sing together." "Baroque composters like Pachelbel saw music as multiple melodies woven together."

Page 4 Panel 1.

The Dot at the drawing table says, "Vertical thinking may be more common in popular genres of music." The Dot who was gesticulating, who now seems more calm, says, "Chords are friendly for early learning milestones. If you can learn a few chords, you can play music." The last Dot says, "But horizontal thinking may help to create music that is unique and distinctive. It may lead you to unusual modes or inversions."

Page 4 Panel 2.

The Dots, in the same order as the last panel, take turns speaking once more. "In summation, thinking both horizontally and vertically provides a wide variety of musical flavors." "Y'see? Everything's jake. Just in time." "How fast d'you think Ken comes running when he realizes there's a new comic due?" Ken, charging in from off-panel, shouts "Gangway!" End.

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