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Old 02-01-2013, 05:34 PM   #1
Aukikco
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Tool for figuring out scale degrees

I want to improve my skills in analyzing chord sequences, of my own songs and other random music, too. Looking for tools (software, websites etc) to make it a bit easier. Not just theory but a program where I could type in chords and it would suggest possible degree solutions. (Or some other genius idea that I haven't thought of.)

Suggestions?

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:39 PM   #2
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Degree solutions? What are you looking for?
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:44 PM   #3
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I have a degree. Does that help?

...

Actually probably not because it's in philosophy.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rockingamer2
Degree solutions? What are you looking for?

I'm imagining that just entering the chords in a nice little useful program won't give an absolutely correct answer that has no alternatives (two chords could be included in different keys/modes/whatever, and thus be interpreted as being many different scale degrees, the same as entering the notes in a guitar chord into a chord namer software doesn't result in just one absolutely correct answer).

Do correct me if my assumptions are completely ****ed

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:50 PM   #5
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Train your ears. There's no better tool for analyzing music than that.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by J-Dawg158
Train your ears. There's no better tool for analyzing music than that.

I am. And then I'm looking for tools to complement.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aukikco
I'm imagining that just entering the chords in a nice little useful program won't give an absolutely correct answer that has no alternatives (two chords could be included in different keys/modes/whatever, and thus be interpreted as being many different scale degrees, the same as entering the notes in a guitar chord into a chord namer software doesn't result in just one absolutely correct answer).

Do correct me if my assumptions are completely ****ed

I still don't understand. Just work on your ear and develop your understanding of theory and you won't need some program to do... whatever you've typed up there.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:56 PM   #8
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The problem is that when you actually need that app your phone will die.

The most portable solution is to carry it around in your brain. If your brain dies you're going to have much bigger problems than 'what chords would fit here'.

Seriously - just knuckle down and learn this shit. It's not like learning calculus, it's just a question of memorisation. All it takes is a bit of effort.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:00 PM   #9
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I'm under the impression that normally, when you learn this stuff in a conservatory or such, there will be a teacher to give you feedback. You're given songs to analyze, and the teacher tells you the stuff you got wrong. I'm looking for a tool cause I don't have a teacher handy just now.

I can go learning by ear all I want, that just doesn't really help if I don't have a clue on where I'm doing wrong.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:03 PM   #10
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I learned my stuff by teaching myself.

If you give us an example of where you're struggling we can get an idea of the problems you're having?
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:13 PM   #11
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Ok. I'm been looking at several songs. For example, there's a chord progression Cm7-Dm7-A-Ab (followed by an Fm chord, but that's sort of an interlude or something, I was thinking of figuring out the first four yet).

Now, I carry a vague notion that many chord progressions do not really go along with the concept of scale degrees, and this probably could be one, since I can't find a stable key (the different chords have different notes, yes?). Am I onto something here? If I am, how precisely does one decide when a chord or two are just deviations from a set key, or not compatible with the idea of degrees at all?

What do you call that? Atonal?

Please be gentle to me. I'm trying my best to listen and evolve.

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Old 02-01-2013, 06:27 PM   #12
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OK. First thing: What's the song you're analysing?

Second thing: Atonal means no key at all, rather than just no stable key. Don't worry about that for now though.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:32 PM   #13
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2:11 onwards
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:15 PM   #14
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experience. that's the only tool that will really do you any good.

if you prefer to rely on external tools, calculators, software, and other such abominations, leave the music to those of us with the training and experience.

you can join us or you can look for shortcuts and fall short. choice is yours.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:22 PM   #15
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The progression you are thinking of may not center around one "key". Like jazz, this song contains a "tonal center" versus a key.

You will find this also in music from the Impressionism period onward, as well. At a point, the chords become less about traditional harmonic function and more about common tones.

For instance, if you assume your tonal center is C, it is a logical step to go from Cm (C, Eb, G) to Dm (D,F,A). If you see, the Eb is a semi- tone away from the D. Note that in modern music "leading tones" are often used from a semi-tone above or below the tonic (ie. tritone substations). So, the composer used that to lead to the D and filled in the rest of the chord accordingly.

Then it is only natural to make the next chord A major since the A note is already contained in the D minor chord. Also, it is the V of the Dm, so, it makes since anyway. From there, the composer needed to make his way to F minor. So, he decided to use the same upward leading tone to take him to the Ab major chord (A to Ab notes). This then allowed him to use the 3rd of the Ab chord (C) as a common tone to shift the F minor. He then goes back to C minor and starts over by way of a Plagal cadence (Fm to Cm).

This is a pretty weird progressions to subject to a microanalysis (Roman numerals). So, often music theorists simply do as I have done, or, rely on set theory. Which is another monster.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:35 PM   #16
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On another note, however. I do agree with everyone. It is wise to start from the beginning and learn how to analyze for yourself.

For theory fundamentals, just check out www.musictheory.net or teoria.com
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:31 PM   #17
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I suggest reviewing your basic theory. I mean, there are only 11 different scale degrees, and maybe 8 of them are likely to show up in any one phrase. Guess and check would be easier than finding some program to do it.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:00 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdgraves
I suggest reviewing your basic theory. I mean, there are only 11 different scale degrees, and maybe 8 of them are likely to show up in any one phrase. Guess and check would be easier than finding some program to do it.

Ummmm I'm pretty sure there are 12..

But otherwise I share your view
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:41 AM   #19
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actually I just counted and there are 17 different scale degrees: 16 solfege syllables plus bb7

Do di (1 #1)
ra re ri (b2, 2, #2)
me mi (b3, 3)
fa fi (4, #4)
se so si (b5, 5, #5)
le la (b6, 6)
"bb7" te ti (dim7, b7, 7)

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Old 02-02-2013, 02:24 AM   #20
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You could get pedantic and say that the number of scale degrees is totally dependent on the tuning system at hand. 19-tet? β-scale? 3/2 Pythagorean? :p
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