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44

You can divide up the octave however you want, but it turns out that doing what you suggest doesn't really make good sounding music, at least to our western ears. It all has to do with overtones and pleasant ratios of pitches. An interval sounds consonant to us when the ratio of the frequencies is mathematically simple. It causes the waveforms line up and ...


22

As the other answers have correctly pointed out, you can do what sounds good to you. But this might leave you with a feeling of not knowing where to start. That's why I would like to let you know the little trick used in Lithium and zillions of other songs: you can mix the chords from the major scale and its parallel minor. In the case of Lithium you have ...


20

Theory is not a set of rules to be followed or broken. Theory is a set of explanations for why things sound the way they do. As a composer you use theory to help inform your choices, but it never dictates anything.


19

The reason is that dividing an octave into 12 notes sounds the best for a very mathematical reason! The frequency of each semi-tone is 21/12 away from its neighbours. Note C × ? Fraction Note C × ? Fraction C 1 1/1 C 2 2/1 C♯/D♭ 1.059 18/17 B 1.888 17/9 D 1.122 9/8 A♯/B♭ 1.782 ...


19

It is known, maybe especially to piano/keyboard players, that the black keys form the Gb major / Eb minor pentatonic scale. Given the structure of the major scale and the structure of the pentatonic scale it's of course no coincidence, but I don't think there's some deeper meaning to it; it's just a result of these structures. The interesting question (in ...


14

Both C# minor and E major keys have the same key signature, so there is no difference there. This relationship is called 'relative key'. Each major key has a relative minor one, with the same key signature (to find it, descend a minor 3rd or ascend a major 6th from your tonic). Similarly for the minor key. To sum up the difference: These two keys have the ...


14

It certainly holds some truth, irrespective of tuning system, in this sense: modulating to a key with more sharps evokes a “bright” sensation; modulating to more flat evokes a “dark” sensation. This is somewhat tangible: raising accidentals are likely to be perceived as “uplifting”. (Except when they're not; perception is ...


13

TL;DR: No. You can use anything you like, as long as it sounds good to you. You can use many scales or not use any; you can use chords from some scale or use chords outside that scale. Just experiment with the theory knowledge you have and you'll see that the rules are made to be broken. You can use them when you want (or need) to, but when you are ...


13

It is impossible to say for sure, since the term chromatic has had a musical meaning since at least ancient Greek times (hence the use of a Greek word). More on that in a moment, but first, its worth noting that "color" has idiomatic meanings as well, such as these definitions for "colorful" in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary: 2. interesting or ...


12

No. A key* is not just a set of notes, it tells you the tonal center** of a piece and the expected harmony and melody of the piece. If that was the case we wouldn't even distinguish between major and minor as they have the same set of notes as do all 7 modes of the diatonic scale. How you use your harmony and melody will define the key and tonal center by ...


11

I think your question is largely about the chosen notation for the Western system, which most answers haven't really addressed. The notation we have is actually pretty natural and logical, for a simple reason: there are twelve different notes in the Western system, but only a subset of these -- seven, in fact -- are used in a given scale such as the major ...


11

You could consider as a scale derived from the F harmonic major scale as the F harmonic major scale contains the notes: F G A Bb C Db E F You can view this scales as just a major scale with a lowered 6th and this type of scale comes up in the Lydian Chromatic Concept.


11

Yes the harmonic and melodic scales are named for their relationship to the melody and harmony. To see why this is, let's first look at the A natural minor scale first: A B C D E F G A From a harmonic perspective using this scale, we can naturally build the triads Am, B°, C, Dm, Em, F, and G. These chords are all built in the key; however in ...


11

Perhaps the closest thing to a “reason” for this is that both diatonic and pentatonic scales can be considered as approximate Pythagorean scales. Now observe how the 12 degrees are constructed from circle of fifths: for instance, E♭ B♭ F C G D A E B F♯ C♯ G♯ D♯≅E♭ └───B♭-major diatonic───┘ └E-maj pentatonic┘ └temperament ...


10

Most of the answers here appear to be focusing on why we ended up with a seven note scale in western music. This is a great area of inquiry; however, it is worth noting that whatever the answer to this question, the seven note scale is a fundamentally arbitrary product of Western culture. Dissonance and harmony are culturally relative. The idea of the ...


10

First, you play a toy xylophone, and it has 1 octave of the notes in a major scale. And you can play a lot of nursery rhymes. Then you pick up a recorder, and there are some more notes in between the ones you used to play, and now you can do more - sometimes it sounds dissonant when you pick a random note or miss the one you meant to play, but you are now ...


9

It's always counter-productive to feel horrified while you're trying to learn something! At your level, please don't feel you have to memorize your fingering or your black-white key patterns. For now, make sure each scale you work on feels comfortable and smooth. What you are mainly doing at this point is getting some fluency, practicing these figures out ...


9

What you probably mean by minor and major blues scales are the two following scales (with root C): C Eb F Gb G Bb (minor blues) C D Eb E G A (major blues) These are just the minor and major pentatonic scales with one note added. The minor pentatonic scale gets a b5 (Gb), and the major pentatonic scale gets a b3 (Eb), both to make those pentatonic scales ...


9

The answer to the question "was the diatonic scale designed to make pianos easier to play" is clearly "no", because the diatonic scale precedes the invention of the piano by some thousands of years. Remember, for the vast majority of the history of music, it was not played on keyboard instruments. It was played on wind or string instruments. If you want to ...


9

What happens in your version of the staff when you start tossing in flats and sharps and double-flats and double-sharps and such? Is the bottom of the D space now Db and the top of the D space a D natural, then when you use a sharp, it suddenly switches around and the natural is on the bottom? This is just the first most obvious problem with your variable ...


9

The way that the Melodic Minor scale is presented to students (Melodic Minor when ascending, Natural Minor when descending, see ex. 1) is merely a teaching tradition. This tradition is an incomplete definition of how the great composers employed the Melodic Minor Scale in their melodies. The apparent purpose is to allow the student to demonstrate mastery of ...


9

The chroma in chromatic does mean color. In chromatic scale, we have full access to all the notes available in the twelve tone equal temperament system. We don't typically use all 12 notes when composing or playing and we'll mostly stick with a smaller set of typically seven notes from a heptatonic (seven note) scale. We'll also most likely be in some kind ...


8

The most important thing is to be able to know and see on your guitar the intervals between each scale tone and the root note. If you're able to do this then you're independent of the key and you don't necessarily need to know the name of the note that you play, as long as you know its relation to the root of the scale. So when you learn scale patterns make ...


8

It may have made a subtle difference in the days before ET but since then, F# = Gb, for example, so how can two identical sounding keys portray different emotions, or indeed sound different? I'm guessing that before ET F# and Gb did sound slightly different, and possibly playing them back to back could give a perception of 'bright and dark'. Having said ...


7

The C and A Altered Dorian scales you show, are simply Dorian Modes with fourth degrees raised by a Semitone. So, to work out the Altered Dorians starting on the other pitches: firstly, work out the Dorian modes starting on each of these pitches; secondly, raise the fourth degree of each of these modes by a semitone. There are two easy ways to work out the ...


7

As pointed out in a comment by Matthew Read, this is for sure a translation error. The author as well as the translator are both Spanish speakers (from Argentina and Mexico, respectively). Subtonic is of course correct, but sensitive is a mistranslation from the Spanish sensible for leading tone.


7

In his comment, Patrx2 listed the 8 traditional church modes: Dorian (and Hypodorian), Phrygian (and Hypophrygian), Lydian (and Hypolydian), and Mixolydian (and Hypomixolydian). The "Hypo-" forms are called plagal modes (as opposed to the four authentic modes). The plagal modes have the same "final" (tonic) and the same pitch classes as their corresponding ...


7

It's because of the dissonant tritone interval B-F that wants to resolve. The B leads to the C (root) and the F leads to the E (major third of the C major triad). This is the traditional view. Note that e.g. in the blues, a dominant seventh chord is not considered unstable; it's used as the basic chord on the I, IV, and V.


7

You are correct, the piece is in E major. If you use roman numerals to represent the chords, the progression can be written as: I - III - vi - V The reason that the III chord is major, when it should normally be minor is that it is in fact acting as the "dominant" (V chord) of the following C♯m (vi). It's almost as if you were temporarily shifting ...



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