Expanding a Major tonality range

Discussion in 'Education' started by Freetobestolen, Feb 1, 2021.

  1. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    Raising the question - how to insert the 5 "unnatural" degrees (bII, bIII, #IV, bVI and bVII) to a Major scale, yet mantaining a melodical and harmonical correlation to all its actual natural ones? - yielded me the results I share at following.

    Seeking to open a helpful and constructive discussion upon such and beyond. Best regards.

    PS.: please check the attached audio file.

    The 6 Diatonic Major Scales-Modes.png
     
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  3. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Audiosexual

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    A very brief comment then a (far too long) ramble about this subject.

    Absolutely brilliant question! I hope answers stay focussed on that explicit goal, even when inevitably discussing around it more generally. I will often refer to that question as "How to work outside the safe diatonic space"
    Maybe that can be a useful shorthand way of referring to the goal in your question.

    I regard that chart as your quirky personal-only subjective map of the musical terrain
    (and as I say below - that is something which I applaud and which everyone should try to produce)

    Good, and good luck (sincerely)
    I applaud the question being framed as a 'how to' question. And while applauding it I also say "good luck with that" because we are not going to find any magic silver bullets that answer the question.
    Learning a lot while failing to answer it is well worth the effort - but it's a life-long effort.
    Nobody can provide full answers - but we can all chip in with various subjective perspectives.

    ============

    My 2 cents... (make that 3 cents today)

    As an overview only, I see it as two (very different but related) aspects ...
    • [1] Developing theory maps of the musical terrain
    • [2] Exploring the terrain in musically interesting ways
    I find this 'map and terrain' analogy is useful for lots of reasons.
    If we develop and study musical maps (like @Freetobestolen's chart above), then we may be able to make better choices about where to explore next. These maps can be really really valuable.

    But an immediate important caution...
    (please note I use the word 'you' a lot because it reads better - but I always mean 'we' really)
    You can build these maps forever and end up knowing lots about them without ever becoming a musician!
    If you had to choose between 'learning a map' and 'exploring the terrain' - forget the map and just get out there exploring the terrain - immerse yourself in repertoire, let the repertoire provide wacky routes through the terrain - don't worry about getting lost, the repertoire will show you endless interesting paths through the terrain. So, just explore real music - learn how to play it (even badly) and (optionally) also partially analyse what's going on in the stuff that seems to work well for you.

    Allow your increasing knowledge of 'stuff that just works well' to be fashioned by more and more hands-on exposure to music that has already demonstrated how to work outside the safe diatonic box.
    Well worth noting that even in the world of the simplest pop songs (and I'm not suggesting all pop songs are simple) there are countless examples of beautiful songs that DO stay within the diatonic box and countless examples of beautiful songs that effortlessly stray outside the box,
    It's easy to see why the safe diatonic songs work.
    It's much harder to find consistent rules that explain why some excursions outside of diatonic work so well and why some don't.


    So, that could be the pragmatic end of my 2 cents answer.
    But that would be like just the preface of a sloppy improvised book.
    It merely hints at where to look for some answers without actually starting to provide any answers.

    To make my 2 cents into 3 cents here's a few paragraphs in spoilers that add some details - tiny steps.
    At one extreme we could make a mathematical exploration of all the possibilities (more than 4,000 scales)
    e.g., see scales websites like https://ianring.com/musictheory/scales/ (brilliant and insane :))
    You can study these scales in a rules-based way if you wish and of course absolutely none of it is telling you how to be musical in any way at all. It is only mapping out the possibilities where you can explore.
    Assuming you don't have the stomach for studying a list of > 4,000 scales, (I certainly don't), more pragmatically, we can then focus on a sane subset of scales and know how they relate to each other.
    We are looking to have our own 'personally useful' maps in mind.

    Which subset of scales should you strive to be familiar with?
    This can and will be hugely influenced by which styles of music you like to explore.
    So, are there any generic recommendations that will be useful in all (or many) styles?

    This next comment is NOT any kind of criticism of @Freetobestolen's chart in his post above.
    I see that chart as a very quirky personal map of tonal spaces. But that is exactly what I am recommending we should all do, we should build our own preferred maps which help us personally. They are always going to map out tiny subsets of the terrain. It would be a huge mistake to think that this map (or any map) is a faithful representation of the terrain.

    OK, now as a personal-only comment, I find @Freetobestolen's map a bit confusing, It seems like there's a lot of 'arbitrary' interchangeable features being highlighted there. But again I truly applaud everyone trying to refine their own personal maps - as a life-long quest. But we should always avoid the mistake of assuming our maps represent any objective truths about music - no matter how good your map looks to you!

    What kind of 'personal-only' maps would I build myself?
    I would first try to be very traditional - there is just so much good stuff that centuries of music theory has delivered.

    So, a highly recommended first step is to acquire a thorough familiarity with what I prefer to call 'safe diatonic spaces'. Don't cut any corners with mastering the safe diatonic space first, and it's a bigger space than you might think.
    This is absolutely NOT a suggestion to write songs that are only safe diatonic,
    It is just recognising that a simple diatonic space is a well used foundation in western music.
    I posted stuff about this in other threads. See this link...
    https://audiosex.pro/threads/recreating-melody-by-ear.45195/page-3#post-412391
    (and see a few other posts in that thread which discussed this a lot)

    I would go as far as saying nothing in our mapping exercise is more important than a thorough familiarity with that basic diatonic space. Look at the seven white notes on a piano. If you think this is just the C Major scale then you still have a lot more to see.

    Next, we could get into (pointless) arguments about how to use the word 'diatonic'.
    So, for example, the seven white notes on a piano ARE a diatonic space, no-one will argue with that.
    But if you adjust the A natural minor scale to include F# and G# you have A melodic minor, and you do now have a different tonality.
    Now you can easily find squabbles over whether to call this new tonality diatonic or not.
    I think the squabbles over whether to call melodic minor diatonic or not are a waste of time.
    Ignore the labelling arguments and just know that you have defined a different tonality when you use melodic minor instead of natural minor.

    Sticking with the melodic minor scale (as just a first example).
    From the above (if you explored it) you can see that the scale can be started on any note
    (which is a very loose way saying that the scale has modes)
    In the same way as the 'seven white notes' produced seven different flavoured modes for our diatonic space, the seven notes of the melodic minor scale generates seven different flavoured modes for that tonality.

    The exploration of these modes of the melodic minor scale is an important feature of the Jazz player's musical toolkit.
    Is it a map you personally want to explore? - only you can decide.
    A jazz musician might say "it's essential" A rock musician might say "maybe a bit now and then"

    So, now we've explored two different 7-note subsets from the 12 note chromatic scale
    (only 4,000 more subsets of 12 to go!)

    First, and I think the most important, we chose a 7 note diatonic space, the seven white notes on the piano, classically thought of as the major scale and natural minor scale, but which turned out to be just two of the seven modes that you can define from those 7 white notes.
    (and of course it's not really just the 7 white notes starting on C - you can find that same diatonic space in 12 different pitches)

    Second, we chose a different 7 note subset (from 12 notes)
    This tonal space can be described as the 7 modes of the melodic minor scale.
    And I avoided any arguments about whether this tonal space should or should not be called diatonic.
    As a personal-only preference - I prefer to NOT call this tonal space diatonic.
    I prefer to reserve the word diatonic for the first example above - the classic 7 white notes safe diatonic space.

    Now that we have two examples of 7 note subsets from the 12 chromatic notes, why stop there, why not define many more subsets?

    Well you can, and you should, but the number of permutations is vast so how do you choose?
    I think the best way is to find real musical examples where other musicians have demonstrated that they found something interesting.
    You are now spoilt for choice.
    As 'just one' example - read about the whole tone (6 note) scale and read about composers like Debussy exploiting that scale beautifully.
    Are there any suggestive tips, tricks, rules that can help exploring outside of the safe diatonic space?
    This the million dollar life-long question.
    (which @Freetobestolen and all of us wants to see fully answered here - fat chance :wink:)
    The best answer I can think of is immerse yourself in exploring musical repertoire.
    The repertoire will always be vastly richer and more complex than any theoretical rules that try to analyse the repertoire.
    See and enjoy first-hand where centuries of explorers have already travelled.
    Try to be hands-on (try to play it - even very badly) and allow that endeavour to influence your own creative efforts.

    But it is still worth trying to analyse when, why, and how, some things work so well.
    In the endless game of accumulating tips, tricks, and devices that just seem to be interesting, here's a few starting points that got briefly discussed in other threads. It discusses stuff like "modulation, tonicisation, borrowing chords, modal interchange, etc.
    https://audiosex.pro/threads/changing-keys-in-hip-hop-pop-music.51666/#post-448094
    Note the perspective here is one of "Assuming I am working in a mostly safe diatonic space, what can I do to briefly reach outside of that space, or what can I do to import something from outside the safe diatonic space"
    (and that really is 'just one' of many ways of thinking about it)

    Final comment from 3 cents.


    If you hear a musician say...

    "I just know that piece of music, and I like the chords, and I know how to improvise over those chords and make it sound good, and I don't give a rat's ass about all that diatonic theory crap"

    just believe them, they really are doing what matters most!
    :wink:
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
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  4. In 12-TET it's impossible. You can't pick a fight against the nature.
     
  5. 23322332

    23322332 Platinum Record

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    Major scale is a subset of 8, 9, 10, 11 note scales, so... use them?
    The problem with scales as big as 10 or more notes is that they won't be heard as coherent whole; notes in them will be heard as chromatic alterations of each other.
     
  6. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    First and foremost, I appreciate and respect your endeavour of, in such extensive fashion, to bestow your considerations while punctuating my proposition.

    I beforehand apologize, once I cannot respond in full as so I tend to keep things as laconic as I can, for personal reasons and condition.

    So I thought needless to say that, by any stretch, I would claim that the above encompases all the possibilities or boasts some sort of magical bullet - to one and everyone else: please avoid steering in that direction.

    What that does is simply to address some premises of mine, keeping them coherent to personal findings and interpretations, deriving some musical sense and structure from such afterall. Please let me know: how did that sound to your ears?


    Quick considerations over the 2 cents

    Quotes of yours which I would might try to clarify in case you judge pertinent.
    "I see that chart as a very quirky personal map of tonal spaces."
    "... I find @Freetobestolen's map a bit confusing, It seems like there's a lot of 'arbitrary' interchangeable features being highlighted there."

    https://ianring.com/musictheory/scales/
    I suggest picking just 2 of them - Aeolian and Aeolian Pentatonic - and together, steady and gradually, dive deeply into "making sense" out of them.

    That is something worthwhile to be revisited and discussed about, in my opinion.
    https://audiosex.pro/threads/recreating-melody-by-ear.45195/page-3#post-412391


    Quick considerations over the 3 cents

    Regarding to referencing Rick Beato: we've held together an over 3 hours long (if my memory serves me well) Skype conference back in 2016, when his goals seemed different. He then afterwards posted some Youtube content without even mentioning the source, having said he would... all in all, let it be.

    The risk of being overly generic: every musicians?
    Would that be Miles Davis and John Coltrane (to name a few) opinion over George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept? - which btw is completely subjective, but proposes and provides a structure which, at embracing it, helped them and others to approach music differently than before, possibly meaning growth.
    Personally, the concept didn't struck me in this sense, but instead shown me that one could set premisses which make musical sense to himself, so as to develop from there, which eventually may turn out to be useful for others if shared. Feedback plays a large roll as well, due to the refinements/reviews over the concept which others perspectives may bring.


    Thanks once more @Ad Heesive. If not to improve, I hope we can at least maintain our discussions at this level henceforth.


    PS.: I personally use the term DIATONIC to strictly refer 7 notes scales liable of being harmonized in 3rds, thus these should not contain chromaticisms. I have compounded the possible ones in here, once are no other possibilities to attend these premises within 12-TET.
     
  7. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    It is all about avoiding getting pounded by it then, which still is an amazing achievement. Best regards.
     
  8. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    I am now curious about how did you get to this conclusion. Would you mind sharing it? Regards.
     
  9. @Freetobestolen I never trust the discoveries within the jazz contexts. Sorry...:bow:
     
  10. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    Alright then. Check this out instead - certainly not jazz.
    Tell me how many times were you are able to perceive/spot the modulations - which occur at galore.

     
  11. 23322332

    23322332 Platinum Record

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    Open any recent book on psychoacoustics...
     
  12. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    Your 1st statement was pretty vague. The 2nd one, even more. So, the point you're trying to make is...?

    Btw, I didn't mean to only insert certain tones, but degrees = faux/artificial modes, which can assume harmonic and melodic functions, although maintaining a correlation to the original tonality.

    Reminder: Seeking to open a helpful and constructive discussion upon such and beyond.
     
  13. I also hate pointless modulations (not all of them). Analyzing these types doesn't teach anyone anything though I can tell you what's going on in it second by second.

    PS:
    I'm out so my presence doesn't hamper your thread's progress.:bow::bow::bow:
     
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  14. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    There you go... you're really a prankster, ain't you? :bow:
     
  15. 23322332

    23322332 Platinum Record

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    ???
    I don't have time for long conversations, anyway, if you want to work with bigger scales, you don't use the smaller subsets as having harmonic functions on their own (this is a certain way to make stuff to sound like alteration even if your scale is not that big), so your desire is probably not possible (look into pentatonic scale, noone uses its inherent harmonic functions unless you writing historically accurate anime soundtrack or something similar that screams: "Asian cultures".)
     
  16. I'm back!


    Jazz, like most twentieth-century music, is based on discoveries and personal experimentations (perhaps a conceivable cause of individualism in everything counting music), not fully in conformity with established principles of music. That's why when you listen to jazz, you feel like you are listening to something different. It's like Slang language.

    Now what you want to achieve in this thread is kind of a discovery. It may have already been discovered by other people. This discovery, or your future discoveries will probably remain just discovery for personal use only and will not become principle, maybe because you would have ignored so many principles. The process of turning a discovery into a principle is long and must be approved by many people familiar with music.

    123.jpg
     
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  17. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Audiosexual

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    I really do LOVE music theory.

    So, just for fun... (really - just for fun and a sense of perspective)
    Place our bets - how much music theory could a five year old child discuss?
    I would guess "not much!" - and is that holding this kid back? - yeah right! :)


    www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQeC5i9c09M


    Music 'knowledge' (the direct real thing)
    is ALWAYS vastly more important than music 'theory' - just abstractions.
    and as I said - "I really do love music theory"
     
  18. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    Believe me, me too - maybe more than love... an obsession, for a long, long time now. So many frustrations, waivers and comebacks, but I simply can't help it. Every time I feel I got "close", end up realising I've left something behind/unsolved. Music theory, amongst many other things, is pure sand.

    Cutting out probably one of my crappiest digressions, what else can I say before souls like that? It's always end like this, a question with an embedded answer which only alikes may touch (not my case), while others only may get baffled by (my case).

    Damn, it's not even hard for him... he's playing and toying with the piano at same time. :woot:
     
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  19. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    No, it's not a matter of simply playing bigger scales, but to incorporate "unnatural" tones and their respective structures, as they were a natural part of (to belong) to a given tonality, like stated at first hand. No dos and don'ts here, just listen to the basic audio example and try to play the scales/modes, as so as their chords, alongside the original proposed tonality. Tell me later if you were able to "make it work". It doesn't matter if E Major or E minor. It's about Tonality, not Key!


    My personal perspective over pentatonics concern to not treat them as scales, but arpeggiated chords, thus 5 notes chords. It's a whole-different topic, excellent one btw, but it doesn't fit in here. But, as you've mentioned "asian culture and pentatonic" in the same sentence, here is my 0.5 cents for the time being:

    C In Sen (or Kokin-Joshi, or Miyakobushi) = Db Hindol = F Han Kumoi = G Jayakauns = Bb Akebono, basically a Bbm6(9) or C7sus4b9
     
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  20. Freetobestolen

    Freetobestolen Newbie

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    To one and everyone, if this thread renders itself to a complete uselessness, just tell me and I'll ask to shut it off.
     
  21. Music knowledge does not arise in vacuum. Both this boy and all other composers have had very outstanding teachers who have taught them music in proportion to the understanding of their students. Where do you think those masters themselves learned music from?

    Unfortunately, in describing the great composers, there is usually no reference to the fact that they have had master coaches. These composers, without those coaches, could not distinguish even their left and right hands let alone...
     
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