Music Theory?

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Voltor07
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Post by Voltor07 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:00 pm

Hit wrote:Modes ...

The easy way to see them is to consider just the white keys on the keyboard

Recall that CMaj is CDEFGABC ... this is the Ionian Mode (WWHWWWH)
and Amin is ABCDEFGA ... this is Aeolian (WHWWHWW)

The rest are

Locrian BCDEFGAB (HWWHWWW)
Dorian DEFGABCD (WHWWWHW)
Phrygian EFGABCDE (HWWWHWW)
Lydian FGABCDEF (WWWHWWH)
Mixolydian GABCDEFG (WWHWWHW)

Ionian, Lydian and Mixolydian are considered major modes or scales as they have the major third. Aeolian, Dorian and Phrygian are considered minor modes as they contain the minor third. Locrian has the minor third but also the diminished fifth and is considered a diminished scale.


Ah...much more understandable. Thanks for the clarification. I read that section of DeFrag's post three times over, before going to bed, and it didn't make much more sense after I woke up.
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DeFrag
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Post by DeFrag » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:19 pm

The first three modes are termed major, the remaining four minor, governed by their third scale degree.

The Locrian mode is traditionally considered theoretical rather than practical because the interval between the first & fifth scale degrees is diminished rather than perfect, which creates difficulties in voice leading. However, Locrian is recognized in jazz theory as the preferred mode to play over a iiø7 chord in a minor iiø7-V7-i progression, where it is called a 'half-diminished' scale.

Major modes The Ionian mode is identical to a major scale. The Lydian mode is a major scale with a raised fourth scale degree. The Mixolydian mode is a major scale with a lowered seventh scale degree.

Minor modes The Aeolian mode is identical to a natural minor scale. The Dorian mode is a natural minor scale with a raised sixth scale degree. The Phrygian mode is a natural minor mode with a lowered second scale degree.

Diminished modes Locrian is the only mode whose fifth is not perfect. This interval is enharmonically equivalent to the augmented fourth of the Lydian mode. The Locrian's (I)'s seventh chord is naturally a half diminished seventh which is a diminished triad with a minor seventh on top.
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DeFrag
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Post by DeFrag » Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:25 pm

Traditional Harmony

It's easy to play a single note scale but when you play a scale using chords (inevitably, chord progressions in a song), you must follow the requisite harmonic formula for it to sound right or consonant. I recommend you learn Major & Sevenths first as they will be much easier.

Let's see an example:

The formula for traditional harmony in major is:
Major minor minor Major Major minor diminished Major or
M m m M M m o M with Roman numerals assigned to each scale degree as such:
I ii iii IV V vi viio I.

So, playing a scale using chords in the key of C Major, we play:
CM, Dm, Em, FM, GM, Am, Bo, C where the 7th degree "o" is diminished.

Now, doesn't that sound a lot better than playing all major chords from tonic to octave?
Here are the other harmonic progressions:

Natural minor (melodic descending)
minor diminished Major minor minor Major Major minor

Harmonic minor
minor diminished Augmented minor Major Major diminished minor

Melodic minor (ascending)
minor minor Augmented Major Major diminished diminished minor

Sevenths
M7 m7 m7 M7 Dom7 m7 half-dim M7

Common Chord Progressions

D-A-G

E-B-A

E-A-D

D-A-Bm-G & Bm-G-D-A

D-G-Bm-A & Bm-A-D-G

D-Bm-G-A

G-D-C

I - IV - V

I - IV - V - I

I - IV - V - V

I - I - IV - V

I - IV - I - V

I - IV - I - V - I

I - IV - V - IV

I - ii - V with ii-V-I turnaround

I - IV - V - V, which ends on an unresolved dominant, may be "answered" by a similar version that resolves back onto the home chord, giving a structure of double the length

I - IV - viio - iii - vi - ii - V - I

I - V - I

I - IV - V - I

I - ii - V - I

I - ii - iii - IV - V - IV - iii - ii - I

I - IV - vii - iii - vi - ii - V - I circle of fifths progression

i - VII - VI - V

i - III -IV (or iv) - VI

Typical turnarounds in jazz include:

I - VI - ii - V
vi - ii - V - (I)
V/ii - ii - V - (I)
bIIIo7 - ii - V - (I)
vi - bVI7#11 - V - (I)

When used in a twelve bar blues pattern, the twelfth bar may end on the dominant rather than the more conventional tonic.

"major-minor parallelism"
minor: v - i - VII - III = major: iii - vi - V - I
minor: III - VII - i - v = major: I - V - vi - iii
Last edited by DeFrag on Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Voltor07
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Post by Voltor07 » Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:00 am

DeFrag wrote:So, playing a scale using chords in the key of C Major, we play:
CM, Dm, Em, FM, GM, Am, Bo, C where the 7th degree "o" is diminished.

Now, doesn't that sound a lot better than playing all major chords from tonic to octave?


Yes...yes it does. This is all starting to make sense now. Wonderfully intuitive. :D [/quote]
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Post by DeFrag » Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:30 am

*whew* Yay! :D
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toryjames
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by toryjames » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:20 am

Voltor07 wrote:An extension of the side conversation from the Michael Jackson tribute thread. Circle of Fifths is the first question. What is it? Why do I need to know it? :?

It doesn't look like anyone mentioned this so...
Most musicians memorize the circle of fifths because it helps them remember closely related keys (the keys which are most often moved to and from in a song when the song changes key). Composers move to closely related keys because it creates variation in a piece of music by moving the tonal center, while being the least jarring to the listener. For example, if you write a piece in C Major you can move to G Major fairly easily because their scales are only separated by one sharp key (F# rather than F).
The next question then has to be "why a fifth?" or "what is the significance of the fifth interval?" It is significant because it is the first natural non-octave overtone above the fundamental note. It is the interval that is most harmonious with the original note other than the octave (and the octave isn't very interesting because it doesn't get us anywhere - it's pretty much the same note). If you are interested it might be worth your time to read about Pythagoras and his ancient study of harmonics. It's pretty neat.
This is where I think music theory becomes interesting. The equal tempered "Western Chromatic Scale" (what you and I are familiar with c, c#, d, d#...) was created around the 17th Century to suit keyboard instruments where musicians couldn't alter the pitch of individual notes (because keyboards are essentially a row of switches unlike stringed and wind instruments).
So the octave was divided into fifths C to G to D to A to E... until it we arrive back at C (well almost, they are all slightly flat because the octave doesn't perfectly divide naturally into these 12 segments - but it's close). Essentially these become the 12 notes within an octave on a keyboard instrument.

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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Voltor07 » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:36 pm

toryjames wrote:It doesn't look like anyone mentioned this so...
Most musicians memorize the circle of fifths because it helps them remember closely related keys (the keys which are most often moved to and from in a song when the song changes key). Composers move to closely related keys because it creates variation in a piece of music by moving the tonal center, while being the least jarring to the listener. For example, if you write a piece in C Major you can move to G Major fairly easily because their scales are only separated by one sharp key (F# rather than F).
The next question then has to be "why a fifth?" or "what is the significance of the fifth interval?" It is significant because it is the first natural non-octave overtone above the fundamental note. It is the interval that is most harmonious with the original note other than the octave (and the octave isn't very interesting because it doesn't get us anywhere - it's pretty much the same note). If you are interested it might be worth your time to read about Pythagoras and his ancient study of harmonics. It's pretty neat.
This is where I think music theory becomes interesting. The equal tempered "Western Chromatic Scale" (what you and I are familiar with c, c#, d, d#...) was created around the 17th Century to suit keyboard instruments where musicians couldn't alter the pitch of individual notes (because keyboards are essentially a row of switches unlike stringed and wind instruments).
So the octave was divided into fifths C to G to D to A to E... until it we arrive back at C (well almost, they are all slightly flat because the octave doesn't perfectly divide naturally into these 12 segments - but it's close). Essentially these become the 12 notes within an octave on a keyboard instrument.


Awesome! Great information. I am familiar with some of Pythagoras' studies, and will look into his experiments regarding harmonics. Thank you so much, toryjames! :mrgreen:
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Bryan T » Mon Jul 13, 2009 4:40 pm

toryjames wrote:If you are interested it might be worth your time to read about Pythagoras and his ancient study of harmonics. It's pretty neat.


There's a book called "Temperament" by Stuart Isacoff that is a pretty good read on the development of the modern system.

W. A. Mathieu's "Harmonic Experience" is a good book if you want to get back in touch with the purer systems.

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Re: Music Theory?

Post by toryjames » Tue Jul 14, 2009 1:10 am

Absolutely. I've been reading a lot about this recently and I've been boring my partner's ear off about it. Glad I have an excuse/someone to talk to about it. When I first learned about this it drove me a bit crazy to think we have been trained our whole lives to listen to music that's slightly out-of-tune.

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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Voltor07 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:37 am

toryjames wrote:When I first learned about this it drove me a bit crazy to think we have been trained our whole lives to listen to music that's slightly out-of-tune.


At least I know now why a lot of rock music sounds slightly out of tune...could never figure that out. Especially the old stuff, like Rolling Stones and even the Beatles. It's all slightly out of tune. See? I'm not crazy. I'm the only one who's not crazy! :shock:
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Re: Music Theory?

Post by Bryan T » Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:48 am

Voltor07 wrote:
toryjames wrote:When I first learned about this it drove me a bit crazy to think we have been trained our whole lives to listen to music that's slightly out-of-tune.


At least I know now why a lot of rock music sounds slightly out of tune...could never figure that out. Especially the old stuff, like Rolling Stones and even the Beatles. It's all slightly out of tune. See? I'm not crazy. I'm the only one who's not crazy! :shock:


I wouldn't blame the tuning issues in rock music on the temperament system. I think you're just hearing tuning issues.

There are some great sites out there with audio comparisons of the different temperament systems.

Bryan

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Post by Christopher J. Boylan » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:14 am

If you'd like a nice stroll through the Circle of Fifths, have a listen to YES' Awaken. After the organ solo, the chords that carry us out through the rest of the song is the Circle of Fifths - backwards, well sort of making it the Circle of Fourths I suppose.

At first when you listen to the song, one might think, "Wow that's a long chord progression - kind of hard to remember. That's until you realize what's happening and from that point you can rattle it off very easily.

Try it, it's fun! You'll find yourself doing it every time you get to a pipe organ patch on any of your keyboards.
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Post by Voltor07 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:35 am

Christopher J. Boylan wrote:If you'd like a nice stroll through the Circle of Fifths, have a listen to YES' Awaken. After the organ solo, the chords that carry us out through the rest of the song is the Circle of Fifths - backwards, well sort of making it the Circle of Fourths I suppose.

At first when you listen to the song, one might think, "Wow that's a long chord progression - kind of hard to remember. That's until you realize what's happening and from that point you can rattle it off very easily.

Try it, it's fun! You'll find yourself doing it every time you get to a pipe organ patch on any of your keyboards.


Cool! Thanks for the tip! I am familiar with Awaken. I was unaware that that was the circle of fourths. I thought it was a really long chord progression, myself. 8)
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