harmonizations II: upper structures
An upper structure is an extra chord built on top of another chord. This harmonization technique allows a pianist to explore tonality, while incorporating influences from impressionism and jazz.
It is a more advanced technique of adding notes (see the section 'alterations & added notes'), and using this technique has the advantage of creating several tensions at once, rather than adding tensions one at a time.
Minor triad on the third of a tonic chord; major triad on the fifth of a tonic chord:
Minor triad on the b9 of a dominant G7 chord; major triad on the #11 of a dominant chord.
Upper structure example with a ‘rule of the octave’ in the right hand, while the left hand repeats a I–VI–II–V progression.
Many chord combinations are possible, as for example the first chord structure of Dances of the Young Girls from Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. This example shows Eb7 on top of E.