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Old 09-25-2014, 06:35 AM   #1
matiss.gutans
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Could you explain how scales work?

Like i have C major scale. That means i play all notes that are in scale and dont even alter abit? How then you make a melody just from specific set of notes ?
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:32 AM   #2
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:52 AM   #3
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You can use notes outside the scale, but that probably means that you have to alter the harmony (chords) as well unless they're just passing notes. You can make great melodies even if you stay strictly inside the major scale.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matiss.gutans
Like i have C major scale. That means i play all notes that are in scale and dont even alter abit? How then you make a melody just from specific set of notes ?


Most songs don't deviate from the major or minor scales. Figure out how some of your favourite songs use these scales and you might learn some stuff along the way.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matiss.gutans
Like i have C major scale. That means i play all notes that are in scale and dont even alter abit?


You can alter it as much as you want

Quote:
Originally Posted by matiss.gutans
How then you make a melody just from specific set of notes ?


You combine the notes with rhythm and silence.
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:28 AM   #6
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To write a melody using a scale you can play any notes from the scale in any order. You don't have to just go up and down it one note at a time.

Musicians came up with scales because they noticed that certain notes belong together in some ways (based on the harmonic series of a vibrating string), and that they sound good in combination, harmonically and melodically.

Other scales, not based on the overtone series, were later constructed.
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Old 09-26-2014, 02:44 AM   #7
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:55 AM   #8
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I find it hard to answer this question because it's not clear what you're asking (although it did remind me of Shaggy 2 Dope's rhetorical question regarding the functioning of magnets in the Insane Clown Posse song, "Miracles", so that's pretty good).
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehannum
To write a melody using a scale you can play any notes from the scale in any order. You don't have to just go up and down it one note at a time.

Musicians came up with scales because they noticed that certain notes belong together in some ways (based on the harmonic series of a vibrating string), and that they sound good in combination, harmonically and melodically.

Other scales, not based on the overtone series, were later constructed.


There'a a lot more to melody than playing scale notes in any order. A beginner could get badly mislead by that.

If you wrote down each note name from C major on a piece of paper, and threw them up in the air, and wrote down the result, and listened to it, chances are you won't have a decent melody, and its pretty likely that it won't sound like it came from C major.

Likewise, if you have a melody with big jumps in it (e.g from C to B, 11 semitones higher), the singer is going to hate you :-) (remember your audience may want to sing along).

There's a bunch or things that punters pick up on, when they're listening, and it's best to be aware of how to satisfy their wants. This is a large topic.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:20 AM   #10
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If you have a sort of scale, that often implies a sort of tonic, which is, in this case, C. Up from there, you have the interval pattern M2, M2, m2, M2, M2, M2, m2 which is the same for any major scale. This would give you C D E F G A B C.
In tonal harmony, some scale degrees function in certain ways, like B (the 7th degree) often wants to go up to C. G can imply a V chord, which can resolve normally by going back to C, or deceptively by going up to A. F implies F major (which functions as a IV chord), and usually goes back down to E, for example. While writing a melody within a key, it's good to keep track of these types of functions to make something that sounds like it's progressing through different harmonies.
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Old 10-10-2014, 05:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrykramskoy
There'a a lot more to melody than playing scale notes in any order. A beginner could get badly mislead by that.

If you wrote down each note name from C major on a piece of paper, and threw them up in the air, and wrote down the result, and listened to it, chances are you won't have a decent melody, and its pretty likely that it won't sound like it came from C major.

Likewise, if you have a melody with big jumps in it (e.g from C to B, 11 semitones higher), the singer is going to hate you :-) (remember your audience may want to sing along).

There's a bunch or things that punters pick up on, when they're listening, and it's best to be aware of how to satisfy their wants. This is a large topic.


I don't care what punters want.

The composer himself would decide whether it was a "decent melody".

Nowhere did I advocate random note choices. Just because a melody doesn't proceed step-wise doesn't mean it's random.

And if your singer can't handle big jumps you need a new singer.
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Old 10-10-2014, 10:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehannum
I don't care what punters want.

The composer himself would decide whether it was a "decent melody".

Nowhere did I advocate random note choices. Just because a melody doesn't proceed step-wise doesn't mean it's random.

And if your singer can't handle big jumps you need a new singer.


Yea basically this. I hate when people act like their audience is dumb, or musicians are actually that bad that they couldnt sing a major seventh if they had a good melody of one in their ear. Condescending to your audience destroys any intention of art

OP, scales operate on something called "tendency tones." Each scale typically has two sets of tendency tones. Tendency tones will almost always be a half step apart. For instance, in C, you have the tendency tone from B to C. This particular tendency tone is also called a leading tone, because the B to C implies V-I which is the strongest motion in music.

The other tendency tone in C is E to F.

So more or less, when using scales to write melodies, you are going to find yourself "filling in" textures with the other notes of the scales, and "pivoting" on the tendency tones.

Those last two terms are not real, I just made them up
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:22 PM   #13
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The thing I'd say is that the best way to think of scales is as a collection of sounds. That is to say, every note in a scale has its own distinct, unique relationship to the tonic center.

The major scale is the tonic and the six notes with the clearest, easiest-to-hear relationships to that tonic. (Those relationships, tonic, imply a major tonic chord). The minor chord is, for most of us, a little harder to hear, but it's the same idea: a group of relatively-easy-to-hear relatoinships, which imply a minor tonic.
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Old 10-10-2014, 02:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassalloverthe
Yea basically this. I hate when people act like their audience is dumb, or musicians are actually that bad that they couldnt sing a major seventh if they had a good melody of one in their ear. Condescending to your audience destroys any intention of art

OP, scales operate on something called "tendency tones." Each scale typically has two sets of tendency tones. Tendency tones will almost always be a half step apart. For instance, in C, you have the tendency tone from B to C. This particular tendency tone is also called a leading tone, because the B to C implies V-I which is the strongest motion in music.

The other tendency tone in C is E to F.

So more or less, when using scales to write melodies, you are going to find yourself "filling in" textures with the other notes of the scales, and "pivoting" on the tendency tones.

Those last two terms are not real, I just made them up


Tendency tones are called that because the create expectations in the listener that another tone is going to come next. Check out music psychology books that have donelots of experiments trying to understand this. Which is why its important to pay attention to them ... it's not treating the audience as dumb. So, why mention them given you first paragraph?? I would lay very large amounts of money that if you construct melodies that jump all over the place, a) any singer will hate you, and b) the audience won't remember anything of the melody.
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Old 10-10-2014, 02:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrykramskoy
Tendency tones are called that because the create expectations in the listener that another tone is going to come next. Check out music psychology books that have donelots of experiments trying to understand this. Which is why its important to pay attention to them ... it's not treating the audience as dumb. So, why mention them given you first paragraph?? I would lay very large amounts of money that if you construct melodies that jump all over the place, a) any singer will hate you, and b) the audience won't remember anything of the melody.


An incompetent singer isnt my issue, personally. And the audience cant sing *any melody* People cant even remember and sing Beatles songs. Whether they can recall the melody has a trivial affect on how someone appreciates a song

Tendency tones are very simple, you dont really need psychology to understand them. They are simply the points in which the scale becomes asymmetrical. Seriously, tendency tones just break up interval cycles which are symmetrical. Imagine if you only had whole tone scales and diminished scales. Thats the world with no tendency tone. You can read about the harmonic series if you want to flesh this theory out
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Old 10-10-2014, 02:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehannum
I don't care what punters want.

The composer himself would decide whether it was a "decent melody".

Nowhere did I advocate random note choices. Just because a melody doesn't proceed step-wise doesn't mean it's random.

And if your singer can't handle big jumps you need a new singer.


Randomness is a possible interpretation by a beginner given your sentence: "To write a melody using a scale you can play any notes from the scale in any order. You don't have to just go up and down it one note at a time."

If you don't want ambiguity in understanding, avoid it with what you write.

As for not caring about your audience, that's your perogative. I wouldn't tell them that.

Does that extend to not caring about your singer's vocal chords?

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Old 10-10-2014, 02:52 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassalloverthe
An incompetent singer isnt my issue, personally. And the audience cant sing *any melody* People cant even remember and sing Beatles songs. Whether they can recall the melody has a trivial affect on how someone appreciates a song

Tendency tones are very simple, you dont really need psychology to understand them. They are simply the points in which the scale becomes asymmetrical. Seriously, tendency tones just break up interval cycles which are symmetrical. Imagine if you only had whole tone scales and diminished scales. Thats the world with no tendency tone. You can read about the harmonic series if you want to flesh this theory out


Mate, I don't need to learn about theory ... it's the poor beginner that originally posed the question. You miss the point on the tendency tones, though ... they are important precisely because of the psychological effects, and yes, the effect is set up to an extent by the asymmetry. Again, going back to the beginner, if he gets advice don't worry about these, do what you like, he's probably going to find life a lot harder. Once the initial understanding is there, then these can be delayed, ignored etc.
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Old 10-10-2014, 03:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassalloverthe
An incompetent singer isnt my issue, personally. And the audience cant sing *any melody* People cant even remember and sing Beatles songs. Whether they can recall the melody has a trivial affect on how someone appreciates a song

Strongly disagree. Do you really think the memorability of the melody doesn't have an impact? I think that's definitely the most important thing in a song. How do you know the audience can't recall any melodies? Anyone with just a bit of brain activity is able to hum a melody.

@Jehannum: You're right that melodies don't have to move stepwise, but if you analyze any (good) melody, you'll notice it's most likely a lot of steps with a few skips in between. If it's a lot of skips, it's probably some arpeggio pattern.
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Old 10-10-2014, 03:22 PM   #19
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@jerrykramskoy While I agree with you, I think you missed the point. The original point was that you don't need to play the scale up and down, not that you should play the notes in a random order. You can have the notes of the scale in any order, so that it doesn't even really sound like a scale any more. The melody doesn't need to sound like a scale. It can have jumps. I agree that a completely random melody is most likely not going to sound good, regardless of whether you use all 12 or just 7 notes.

When writing a melody, I wouldn't really think about scales. Let the melody guide you, not the scale. So I would first write a melody and then figure out which scale it fits. Otherwise your melodies may start sounding like scales. But it depends.
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Old 10-10-2014, 03:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Elintasokas
Strongly disagree. Do you really think the memorability of the melody doesn't have an impact? I think that's definitely the most important thing in a song. How do you know the audience can't recall any melodies?


I agree with you, in general, that the melody is the most important part of the song (and for most non-musicians, the melody IS the song) but this is somewhat genre dependent.

eg, in a lot of funk music the rhythm and the groove are the most important part of the song. In metal, it's often the guitar part (particularly in some of the -core genres, where it's hard to tell if there is a melody buried in the screaming anywhere). In some jazz, it's the progression.
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