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enter image description hereSuppose that I went to Wikipedia and got a list of all the dominant seventh chords. Then I composed by doing them in any order I wish: CEG and Bflat was my first chord [note that I dont know how to do subscripts] E then Gsharp then BD was my second chord.

And so on in whatever order I wished as long as it was a dominant seventh.

Here I am not thinking of the tonic or numbers related to the tonic. Or the key. I am only thinking of using a characteristic - that of the quality of dominant sevenths in our case; I could use other qualities from a different list.

Would this be a type of modal composing? Or something else?

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    What some call "Modal" harmonies and melodic lines in my experience tend to avoid major/minor melodies and harmonic I IV V progressions. What you are describing is usually called "Secondary Dominants" and is probably the opposite of what some would consider Modal music. The Dominant / Tonic relationship is a very Major oriented sound. – Alphonso Balvenie Jun 30 at 3:19
  • You might have been better writing that as a reply rather than a comment. – Snack_Food_Termite Jun 30 at 3:22
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    I considered putting in an answer, but I think it is too much an opinion since I'm not sure what is currently considered "modal". There is enough of a difference between early English Renaissance modal forms, Jazz modal music, and pop/rock (al la the Beatles) modes that I don't feel I can make a qualified answer other than Secondary Dominants probably aren't it. – Alphonso Balvenie Jun 30 at 3:29
  • I also wondered if it could be a kind of serialism. Tonal serialism? Using a list of dominant chords and at random having an order? – Snack_Food_Termite Jun 30 at 3:36
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    Can't see how different this is from taking one note at a time, randomly from the list of 12 , randomly taking an octave for it, randomly taking a note length, moving on to the next, and so on. 'Music' generally speaking, has a thread running through, making some sense to the way notes (and harmonies) follow each other. Rather like someone speaking in sentences that make sense, not uttering random words. Couldn't be called modal though. This question may well be closed as personal opinion comes in too strongly. – Tim Jun 30 at 7:21
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I think that your motivation for seeing this as a modal technique is that you are focused on the character of dominant 7th chords, and using that character as a compositional device. But that isn't enough to make this a modal approach.

A dominant 7th chord isn't a mode, and you could associate a number of modes with such a chord, which is to say that you need more than a 7th chord to establish modality.

Dominant 7th chords want to move, and modal harmony tends to be more static. Certainly some sequences of dominant 7th chords will include secondary dominants, tritone substitutions, chromatic mediants, or other functional relationships that will be hard to ignore, making those sequences more functional than modal in character. So, arbitrary sequences of dominant 7th chords will not be modal in character.

Often modal pieces slow down the harmonic motion by extending the durations of the chords. This helps to frustrate the tendency to hear chords functionally; this would probably be an important feature for a sequence of dominant 7th chords to be heard modally.

By itself, I don't see how arbitrarily sequencing dominant 7th chords could be seen as a technique for creating modal compositions. It could be seen as a tool to aid in creating modal compositions; that would require that the composer keep the goals of modal harmony in mind, and use other techniques to facilitate those goals.

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