#1
So, I came up with a nice little chord progression: which got me thinking. Can you use so many out of key notes that in a progression that there are actually multiple keys present at the same time? For example, (though probably not the best):

the progression I came up with goes Abmaj7 - Bmaj7 - Gbmaj7 - E5add9

Looks pretty simple at first glance right? Well, here are the notes present in the chords (btw, these are all triads).

In alphabetical order: Ab, A, Bb, B, C, Eb, E, Gb, G

If we rename some of these notes and reorder them, it could technically be in the key of Eb minor with a b2, b4, and b5.

So what do you guys think? I know the chord progression my not completely fit what I'm looking for, but do you think it's possible to achieve multiple functioning keys within a single chord progression?

EDIT: I was wrong about it being in Eb with accidentals. I mistakenly thought Eb to Gb was a whole step! So from Eb it would be 1, b2, b3, b4, 4, b5, 5, b6, 6?! I need some rest...
Last edited by canvasDude at Jul 20, 2010,
#4
Quote by DiminishedFifth
Congratulations! You've just discovered the Romantic Era!

But yes, it is completely possible to have multiple functioning keys within a progression.


Drats! Yet another of my "discoveries" turns out to be known about for centuries. Anyhow, do you know of any good examples of pieces from the romantic era that have multiple functioning keys or use every note in the chromatic scale in a progression?
#5
Quote by canvasDude
Drats! Yet another of my "discoveries" turns out to be known about for centuries. Anyhow, do you know of any good examples of pieces from the romantic era that have multiple functioning keys or use every note in the chromatic scale in a progression?

Only 2 ;]

This is my favorite piece, and the progression is a lot more complex than it sounds (I has analyzed).
#6
Quote by canvasDude
Drats! Yet another of my "discoveries" turns out to be known about for centuries. Anyhow, do you know of any good examples of pieces from the romantic era that have multiple functioning keys or use every note in the chromatic scale in a progression?


Look at Wayne Shorter modal lead sheets, more non functional harmonies than you can shake a stick at.
#8
Thanks guys, I really appreciate the links and such. I guess now I've just got to sit down and see if I can accomplish this multi-key concept in reality. Cheers
#9
Quote by canvasDude
Thanks guys, I really appreciate the links and such. I guess now I've just got to sit down and see if I can accomplish this multi-key concept in reality. Cheers


It's easy to come up with the chords as you can tell, but the hardest part is getting a nice meaty melody out of it. If it's any help Bartok, although he was more polymodal but I guess it can relate to polytonality as well, said that the ear wasn't advanced enough to determine 2 keys simultaneously in a melody. The ear basically picks up one tonality and the rest is just frosting kinda. That said, that polytonal frosting is the hardest part to get a good flavor out of in order to compliment the whole cake.

The easiest way you can go bitonal though is by combining out of key triads. basically, you would form a six note scale out of two triads, like Cmaj and C#maj and so on.

On the wayne shorter front, his impressionistic modal harmony ignores keys and tonality in a way and goes for the sound and flavor each chord makes, so in a way the chords have nothing to do with each other and it's more like walking into different rooms with different lighting, paint color and decorations. Obviously though in order to play within each room you have to appear you fit in it, hence the modality part of it. By the way, this type of modal includes any pitch set or scale and is not limited to seven modes. You could build a chord out of the whole tone scale to use it's flavor for example. It's a different type of harmony though since again it's not "progressing", the chords are just there to set up the mood for the melody.
#10
^^ Thanks a ton, I'll definitely check some of those composers and concepts out. And your right, it is rather difficult to pull off the whole polytonality deal. However I added a little clip on my profile that shows my best (read first) go at it.
#12
Quote by Pillo114
Look at Wayne Shorter modal lead sheets, more non functional harmonies than you can shake a stick at.



the beauty of jazz...a set melody (head)...(8-16 bars): repeat...then..goodbye rules...so to speak

play well

wolf
#13
Quote by canvasDude
Drats! Yet another of my "discoveries" turns out to be known about for centuries.
I know how you feel. I felt the same way when I "discovered" Coltrane changes.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#14
Thanks a ton guys, now only one question remains. How the hell do I write polytonal melodies?! Like Pillo said, the chords I can come up with in a jiff. But the melodies aren't so simple. So, you guys have any good tips for this or should just start analyzing as much polytonal music as possible?

EDIT: Btw, I've heard some people say that some "polytonal" progressions are merely octatonic scales harvested for chords (ie. that they're not polytonal, just making use of a larger spectrum of notes within a key, giving the appearance of multiple keys). Thoughts?
Last edited by canvasDude at Jul 21, 2010,
#15
There's also a scale that Joe Satriani and John Petrucci have used called "The Enigmatic Scale" which also has no tonal center (or so I've been told, I'm not there yet)

Might be worth looking at.