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This song (YouTube) is one of the strangest pieces of music I've heard, with a long "A" pedal bass and a huge variety of crazy harmonies on top (my transcription), including lots of tritones.

  • Is this the Phrygian mode? It's clearly centered around A, but with prominent Bb, C, Dm, and F chords along the way.
  • If not, can I get an example of what is?
  • Is there a name for these kind of harmonies? The strangest sequence is (G, Cm, Eb7, D7-5, B7, E7-5) all with A bass! It's nuts that this works.
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Yeah I'm going to have nightmares tonight.

Definitely A is the root, there's no doubting that. That makes E the dominant, which is why the song has strange E chords before A chords - a "V - I" progression.

Upon listening to the melody, it seems to me that the notes in the scale are all natural except for that pesky Bb. This means that the major scale for those notes, all natural excepting Bb, is F Major. So if A is the root with the notes of F Major, and A is the third degree, we definitely arrive at the Phrygian mode.

To actually analyze the harmonies in such a piece can be very complex, and also beyond me personally. It seems to me the strange "prominent Bb, C, Dm, and F chords along the way" are actually part of a modulatory passage. I can't tell by ear ... but it seems as if the key is modulating up and then back down to A. Always follow the bass when you can - the synth is holding that Bb at different points, and also modulating up to some other key for "I'm bedazzled."

I would listen to it again, but you know, the nightmares :P

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