The truth about parallel fifths and octaves: good or bad?

A VERY common source of confusion and frustration from composition students involves the use of parallel fifths and octaves.

Are parallel fifths and octaves good or bad?

Why are parallel fifths taught as something to avoid if they sound so good and when great composers like Debussy, Ravel, Ralph Vaughan Williams all the way now to Thomas Newman for example. They all made and continue to make great use of them!

The answer, very simply, is that they are not inherently good or bad! They are both sounds for you to use and control, not a rule to follow blindly that controls you.

In this video I break this down and explain the sound of parallel fifths and octaves, the good and the bad.

Be demystifying this old rule you will gain an understanding of why use them, and therefore how to use them!

One of the main things ScoreClub courses do is give you practical, real-world application of the “rules” for the contemporary composer. We understand and master the rules rather than have them control and limit us.

Just remember this:


Essential Composer Training: Foundation” covers this and more. Click to read more.


October 31, 2017

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About Alain Mayrand

Alain is a working composer, orchestrator, conductor and orchestrator. His credits include "Elysium", "Ender's Game" and more.

Read more about Alain on the About Page

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