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#41
The number of songs I have written that I am proud of that were consciously thought out in terms of keys and scales and what not: 0

The number of songs that I've written that I were imagined because they felt right as they were composed: A gillion million billion

Music theory is great for EXPLAINING music and CAN help you in the writing process, but I'd just as soon as trust my ear...
#42
I think it's like most things that involve thinking; those who want to learn these things will, those who don't, won't. Playing guitar isn't a compulsory thing, and I can understand why you think everyone should have a moderate understanding of keys/scales etc, but for a lot of people, the thought of learning is both boring and intimidating. Nothing inside guitar is a necessity, and attaching necessity to something "fun" can drain the enjoyment out of it.
I would feel confident saying that, that accounts for about 89% of guitar owners. I do agree, however, that it would be beneficial to have a simple way of explaining and teaching the aforementioned cadences, keys and ways to properly structure songs is a good idea, and would be a benevolent act to the guitarists/musicians that embrace learning.
#43
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
lol keys.


But how do I baroque music in 2013 without keys?????

Not srs
#44
Quote by griffRG7321
But how do I baroque music in 2013 without keys?????

Not srs

You make up a ghetto baroque and use chopsticks to baroque music!
#45
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Actually there are, they're just purposely written in a manner that people aren't used to hearing...but whatever...

But I don't enjoy "art music" or find it to be inherently better than music than, say Mozart or AC/DC or Ne Obliviscaris (or whatever other composer/band you can think of).

I would agree with that, to a point.


Like all art, It all comes down to aesthetics and audience. People are not going to listen to Chopin concertos when bumping it at da club.

I guess I am thinking along the lines of the extreme atonal works where there is absolutely no resolution, no motifs, excessive use of dissonance and tritone. Or any music with little craft to it. I love Sonic Youth's experimentation and how they create tension and resolution through borderline atonality and feedback. Or the use of tritone in some metal songs. Something like Blitzkrieg bop works because it's not just A D E chords, there is rhythm, tone guitars, message to convey, drums, bass, tone of Joey's voice.

Check out Scriabin Vers la Flamme or any other type of work that is borderline tonal. I like that. Or his Op. 74 which is octatonic based and has an interesting harmonic language that takes time to seep in.
#46
^Will do. Thanks.

I think, for most of us anyway, the thing about atonal music is that we're naturally trained to find tonal music very pleasing. So, atonal music takes some listening training.
#47
Quote by sweetdude3000
People are not going to listen to Chopin concertos when bumping it at da club.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mh7L0tSoFNM

better than legit chopin but that's not saying much
Quote by Kevätuhri
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Quote by UseYourThumb
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Last edited by Hail at Mar 8, 2013,
#48
Quote by crazysam23_Atax

Scales and modes are inferior in comparison to keys, when it comes to composing. I sort of thought that was clear in the OP, since I talked about how we have guitar players who compose using Xscale or Ymode.


because composers have never used a particular scale, mode or pitch class as a means of generating basic material for a composition...
#49
Quote by griffRG7321
because composers have never used a particular scale, mode or pitch class as a means of generating basic material for a composition...

Most serious composers haven't used scales/modes/pitch class as a basis of composition since the 1700s. Granted, I'm not saying all. But I'm fairly certain that the prevailing means of composition is writing in keys.
#50
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Most serious composers haven't used scales/modes/pitch class as a basis of composition since the 1700s. Granted, I'm not saying all. But I'm fairly certain that the prevailing means of composition is writing in keys.


I was thinking more along the lines of 20th and 21st century composers...

For a guitar example... a number of Joe Satriani's pieces/songs arise from modal concepts.
#51
Quote by griffRG7321
I was thinking more along the lines of 20th and 21st century composers...

For a guitar example... a number of Joe Satriani's pieces/songs arise from modal concepts.

Ah, good example. But Satriani is the exception, not the rule. Also, his compositions are largely completely modal (as opposed to people using the modes tonally by using them as scales).
#53
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
So, you disagree that learning music theory will improve one's musicianship? Ok, then...



really? you're going to invent my point of view and then argue against your own fabrication?
It's hard to have a conversation with someone when they do that.
#54
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
You don't learn about harmony, for instance, in terms of scales.

It's pretty common actually. Particularly, in the lesson titled "Harmonizing the Major Scale" or something similar.
Si
#55
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
This thread makes me uneasy. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something weird about it.


Everything that crazysam posts makes me uneasy, probably because he actually uses his own face as an avatar. I prefer my UG users to be unidentifiable except by an abstract picture or celebrity face so that I don't feel any human connection while I'm ripping into them.
.
#56
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Ah, good example. But Satriani is the exception, not the rule. Also, his compositions are largely completely modal (as opposed to people using the modes tonally by using them as scales).


Admittedly I'm not completely familiar with Satrianis work, but nothing Ive heard of his is modal. Do you have any examples to shoot me down?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#57
Quote by AlanHB
Admittedly I'm not completely familiar with Satrianis work, but nothing Ive heard of his is modal. Do you have any examples to shoot me down?


his big thing was pitch axis theory but i think he does have a few drone songs, none off the top of my head because he's an incredibly boring player and composer to me

him and steve vai and all them feel so "fashion over substance" that i have trouble taking them seriously, but that's just how i've always interpreted that realm of guitars so flameshield->on
Quote by Kevätuhri
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#58
Quote by AlanHB
Admittedly I'm not completely familiar with Satrianis work, but nothing Ive heard of his is modal. Do you have any examples to shoot me down?


Off the top of my head, the main theme of 'Lords of Karma' is based on the interchange between Lydian and Mixolydian modes. The underlying chord progression is Amaj#11 - A13. I'm not as solid (or at least, not as confident that I'm solid) on theory as most of the regulars here but this seems to be a pretty definite case of modal thinking being applied where similar results would be difficult to achieve with another method.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrwk0COfggo

Quote by Hail
him and steve vai and all them feel so "fashion over substance" that i have trouble taking them seriously,


Satch's style is pretty different from Vai's. I mean, they both embody the '80's guitar hero' role to an extent, but Satch's playing, at least on Surfing with the Alien, was melodic and, at least to me, highly memorable.
.
Last edited by Nietsche at Mar 9, 2013,
#59
Whether Satriani's work is modal or not isn't of any relevance, what matters is that modal concepts were part of his compositional process. Analyse the intro to 'Not of This Earth' as "E major with a #4 accidental then E minor then E major with a b7 accidental" and you're missing the point.
#60
Quote by AlanHB
Admittedly I'm not completely familiar with Satrianis work, but nothing Ive heard of his is modal. Do you have any examples to shoot me down?

Well, I guess I shouldn't have said completely modal. But he did a lot of work with pitch axis theory. A lot of his songs rhythmically revolve around modal 2-chord vamps as well, iirc.

I'm more familiar with Vai than Satch. But I do know Satch's work used to involve a fair amount of modal concepts.

Quote by griffRG7321
Whether Satriani's work is modal or not isn't of any relevance, what matters is that modal concepts were part of his compositional process. Analyse the intro to 'Not of This Earth' as "E major with a #4 accidental then E minor then E major with a b7 accidental" and you're missing the point.

Yes, but as I said, he's rather the exception to the rule. I would say at least 85% of modern composers (ranging in style from pop songs for the radio to obscure metal bands*) write in keys.


*Although, some of the less talented metal bands write in terms of random scales and random chords. The better talented ones tend to write in key and are very good at reprising things (or doing theme A, then theme A1, then theme B, theme B1, etc.; where theme B & B1 might be in a related key [a key that shares some of the same notes in its key signature] to A & A1).
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 9, 2013,
#61
Quote by griffRG7321
because composers have never used a particular scale, mode or pitch class as a means of generating basic material for a composition...

This is the first thing I was asked to explore when I studied composition. It's one of the most basic skills a composer should have. I'm sure it's a similar story with you as well.
#62
Quote by crazysam23_Atax



Yes, but as I said, he's rather the exception to the rule. I would say at least 85% of modern composers (ranging in style from pop songs for the radio to obscure metal bands*) write in keys.



Rule? There are no rules to writing music. Whilst the majority of popular music is tonal, that doesn't mean scales and modes have no place in the compositional process.

99.9% of contemporary classical music isn't written in keys.

And the for 'obscure metal bands' a key based analysis would be utterly pointless.
#63
Quote by griffRG7321
Rule? There are no rules to writing music. Whilst the majority of popular music is tonal, that doesn't mean scales and modes have no place in the compositional process.


They do have a place, which is within a specific key.

99.9% of contemporary classical music isn't written in keys.

If you're calling art music "contemporary classical music", I'd agree with that. Or maybe I'm not understanding what you mean.

And the for 'obscure metal bands' a key based analysis would be utterly pointless.

If you say so...I do just fine with a key-based analysis. So do a whole lot of other people, I imagine.
#64
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
They do have a place, which is within a specific key.


Or as a way of generating pitch material, a concept you are writing off completely by stating 'ignore modes and scales'.


Quote by crazysam23_Atax


If you say so...I do just fine with a key-based analysis. So do a whole lot of other people, I imagine.


I'd be interested in seeing your harmonic analysis of say, this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23RXfdCHBAU
#65
Quote by griffRG7321
Or as a way of generating pitch material, a concept you are writing off completely by stating 'ignore modes and scales'.

Actually, I'm not writing that off, as I've actually used that concept myself. However, once you've generated your pitch basic material, I see no need to limit yourself to the 7 notes with a mode or a scale.


I'd be interested in seeing your harmonic analysis of say, this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23RXfdCHBAU

Although I'm not the best to ask for this kind of thing, I will say that it's all based on the resolution.
Just based upon a quick peruse of the song, I would say that the Intro resolves to B, the Verse resolves to G#, the Chorus resolves to G#. I may be wrong, because I just did that in about 2min.

Also, don't ignore the fact that a key can be changed within a song. Many of the bands like SikTh have a tendency to change keys within the same song. (Changing key within a song is something that composers like Bach did frequently as well.)
#66
Quote by crazysam23_Atax


Also, don't ignore the fact that a key can be changed within a song. Many of the bands like SikTh have a tendency to change keys within the same song. (Changing key within a song is something that composers like Bach did frequently as well.)


Quote by Kevätuhri
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Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#67
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Actually, I'm not writing that off, as I've actually used that concept myself. However, once you've generated your pitch basic material, I see no need to limit yourself to the 7 notes with a mode or a scale.


Who said you have to limit yourself to the 7 notes in a scale?


Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Although I'm not the best to ask for this kind of thing, I will say that it's all based on the resolution.
Just based upon a quick peruse of the song, I would say that the Intro resolves to B, the Verse resolves to G#, the Chorus resolves to G#. I may be wrong, because I just did that in about 2min.


How does that help you understand the piece or anything about the compositional process?

Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Also, don't ignore the fact that a key can be changed within a song. Many of the bands like SikTh have a tendency to change keys within the same song. (Changing key within a song is something that composers like Bach did frequently as well.)


Songs can change key?!?!?! Who's this Bach fellow?
#68
Quote by griffRG7321
Who said you have to limit yourself to the 7 notes in a scale?

Unless we're discussing the chromatic scale, the amount of notes in a scale are limited to however many notes are in the scale. You can create a scale with as many notes as you want, of course, but unless it's the chromatic scale, you don't have the full range of notes. Whereas in a key, once you've established the tonic, you have as much freedom as you desire really.

Of course, you still want the notes to serve the song, but the reason I despise using scales in writing is because it's limiting to say, only use the 7 notes of the major scale. Instead, establish the tonic and then you could easily include chromatics to achieve your composition goals. Or, if you composition goals are better set by not using chromatics, don't use chromatics.


How does that help you understand the piece or anything about the compositional process?

Basically, that defines the small harmonic movements in the piece. If you wanted to evaluate the song further, you could easily examine the individual notes themselves.
#69
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
It's my belief that, if the guitar community taught some basic music theory (very basic counterpoint, harmony, chord construction, cadences, etc.) and emphasized writing in keys, we'd have less bands running around with uninspired songs that sound exactly like the half the other bands. (Of course, there'd still be band that have uninspired songs trying to cater to the more commercial side, but that just separates out the bands with good songwriting skills all the more.)
A great number of beginning players come to UG with the idea they can "selectively learn music", to the end of being a rock star. Or least that's how they envision themselves. Ignoring what they couldn't be bothered with, while asking, "how long will it take me to be able to shred".

So, do I have to learn theory? Why bother with theory? I want to start using modes. How much do I really need to practice? I don't need to learn to read music do I? Because I don't want to bother.

In short, many players fail themselves by lacking the initiative, the willingness to put in the necessary effort, and preemptively thinking they know more than the people they're asking their questions.

So, why blame this on the musical community at large. It's really a lot of players failing on their own, despite the best intentions and interventions of said musical community.

Basic theory is available at so many different places, in so many formats, and has remained essentially unchanged, (of necessity), for decades.

So, to paraphrase an old cliche', "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't teach him chord construction".

Forums are not the best venue for learning the basics of music. They're too contentious. Besides, four people may be telling a beginner the same thing, or focusing on slightly different aspects of a topic, leaving the beginner to divine the correct information from four different overlapping partial truths.

Sit down with an instructor, take an online course, take a survey course at a community college, these are superior approaches to a well defined knowledge of music in general, rather than asking random questions in a forensic setting.

Hell, a beginner can look up musical topics on Wikipedia, and come away with a more cohesive, comprehensive musical understanding than he or she could here at UG. And one less influenced by personal opinions as well.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 11, 2013,
#70
well there's no way i'm reading all of this

can anyone who's not the thread starter confirm or deny my assumption that this is another pointless "down with scales and modes" thread because that's the cool thing to do and the discussion contained within is the same routine that has been regurgitated countless times by countless users with a wide variety of inaccuracy

is it also safe to assume since i see his avatar that guitarmunky made a post that went against the original "there's never any use for them" in some way and was immediately lambasted because there's no way a guy who teaches music for a living can provide accurate input on big exclusive serious internet forum topics
Last edited by :-D at Mar 11, 2013,
#71
Quote by :-D
well there's no way i'm reading all of this

can anyone who's not the thread starter confirm or deny my assumption that this is another pointless "down with scales and modes" thread because that's the cool thing to do and the discussion contained within is the same routine that has been regurgitated countless times by countless users with a wide variety of inaccuracy

is it also safe to assume since i see his avatar that guitarmunky made a post that went against the original "there's never any use for them" in some way and was immediately lambasted because there's no way a guy who teaches music for a living can provide accurate input on big exclusive serious internet forum topics
I came down on the side of there being more student failure than instructor failure, and it's really unfair for a beginner to expect that he be given a complete course in basic theory, by a professional instructor, in a Q & A internet forum format.

That's reinventing the wheel with every new member.

Unless somebody wants to sticky a 100 page musical instruction course in text format, and copy and paste it into a thread at the first sign of trouble. Free of charge, of course....
Last edited by Captaincranky at Mar 11, 2013,
#72
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Unless we're discussing the chromatic scale, the amount of notes in a scale are limited to however many notes are in the scale. You can create a scale with as many notes as you want, of course, but unless it's the chromatic scale, you don't have the full range of notes. Whereas in a key, once you've established the tonic, you have as much freedom as you desire really.

Of course, you still want the notes to serve the song, but the reason I despise using scales in writing is because it's limiting to say, only use the 7 notes of the major scale. Instead, establish the tonic and then you could easily include chromatics to achieve your composition goals. Or, if you composition goals are better set by not using chromatics, don't use chromatics.


Debussy made frequent use of whole tone scales and modes in his music for colour, yet his music is never static and always deviates from the notes present in these scales.

There is no ancient text saying you are limited to the notes in a scale, the limitations you just described have been set in place by yourself.
#73
I just don't get the whole polarising attitude as if one is better than the other, as though scales and keys present different approaches to music. In my opinion it just shows a lack of understanding about what these things are and their place in music and music theory.

Si
#74
Quote by :-D
well there's no way i'm reading all of this

can anyone who's not the thread starter confirm or deny my assumption that this is another pointless "down with scales and modes" thread because that's the cool thing to do and the discussion contained within is the same routine that has been regurgitated countless times by countless users with a wide variety of inaccuracy

is it also safe to assume since i see his avatar that guitarmunky made a post that went against the original "there's never any use for them" in some way and was immediately lambasted because there's no way a guy who teaches music for a living can provide accurate input on big exclusive serious internet forum topics

It's interesting, because the way I've read it it appears to be, if anything, a softening of the no scales stance that's been running wild lately. Maybe I'm crazy though.
#75
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
It's interesting, because the way I've read it it appears to be, if anything, a softening of the no scales stance that's been running wild lately. Maybe I'm crazy though.


yeah that was more necessary when everybody was asking "what scale sounds happy???? what scale is sad?????"

now personally i only care about the overprioritization of it, same as everybody who says "come back to modes later when you know they're not as important as you think they are"
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#76
Quote by griffRG7321
Modes and scales are not the be all and end all of music, statements such as 'ignore modes and scales' however are also detrimental.

It's funny how people with a beginner to intermediate understanding of music hear an advanced poster say a phrase and take it entirely out of context. Resulting in idiotic statements such as 'Scales and modes are useless, don't learn them'.


I think such statements are youthful conceits.
#77
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
A scale is generally 7 notes. As Hail pointed out, you cannot play out of a key. So, basically, a key gives unlimited options, whereas a scale limits you to 7 notes. That's why Keys > Scales.


It's nonsense to think that having unlimited options helps creativity. It actually makes the search for a tune harder. Let's say you're deciding on the next note in a melody. If you can choose any note (as in your concept of keys) there are many more ways for it to sound bad than good. You need to whittle down the search space a little. One way to do this is to prune the possibilities down to a subset of notes that sound good together. That subset could be called a scale or a mode (depending on how you use it).

In any case, if all tonal music can be described in keys anyway then what use are they for composition? They're descriptive, not prescriptive. And if you start talking I and V chords and so on you're actually numerating the key in scalar terms.

I don't think the premise of this thread makes sense.
#78
Quote by Jehannum
It's nonsense to think that having unlimited options helps creativity. It actually makes the search for a tune harder. Let's say you're deciding on the next note in a melody. If you can choose any note (as in your concept of keys) there are many more ways for it to sound bad than good. You need to whittle down the search space a little. One way to do this is to prune the possibilities down to a subset of notes that sound good together. That subset could be called a scale or a mode (depending on how you use it).

In any case, if all tonal music can be described in keys anyway then what use are they for composition? They're descriptive, not prescriptive. And if you start talking I and V chords and so on you're actually numerating the key in scalar terms.

I don't think the premise of this thread makes sense.

Yeah... But again, most of the time when I compose, I don't think the scale notes as safe notes, I just compose. I'm of course conscious about what I'm doing and I know what key I'm in and what intervals I use and if the melody uses pentatonic scale or whatever. But I don't let the scales write my music, I think in sounds that usually fit a scale. I don't just decide "let's do a song that uses C major scale". When somebody says they use a scale to compose, it sounds like they are playing random notes and hope for a good result. Different scales have different kind of sound and of course if I want it to sound like Arabic music, I won't use regular major scale. But I might not think in scales, I think in sounds. The scale has the sounds I want so I use notes in it. But I don't think it that way. I first come up with the Arabic melody and then I notice: the notes are in whatever scale if that makes sense.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#79
Quote by Jehannum
It's nonsense to think that having unlimited options helps creativity. It actually makes the search for a tune harder. Let's say you're deciding on the next note in a melody. If you can choose any note (as in your concept of keys) there are many more ways for it to sound bad than good.

How so? You'd be choosing notes that fit the song, which could mean anything from having a melody which harmonizes with itself to picking notes that harmonize with the chordal structure underneath said melody.

You need to whittle down the search space a little. One way to do this is to prune the possibilities down to a subset of notes that sound good together. That subset could be called a scale or a mode (depending on how you use it).

You don't need to do this though. Granted, some people may find it useful, but most guitar players develop an over-reliance on such a technique. By over-relying on it, they limit their creativity, because many of them naturally gravitate towards specific scales they're familiar with or that they think sound good. (Naturally gravitate towards what someone sounds good isn't bad in and of itself, but it can be if it limits creativity.)

In any case, if all tonal music can be described in keys anyway then what use are they for composition? They're descriptive, not prescriptive. And if you start talking I and V chords and so on you're actually numerating the key in scalar terms.

What make you think you're limited to just I or V or ii or iii chords or whatever? Granted, certain chord patterns have a tendency to sound good together and any chords picked should serve the song. However, examine non-modal jazz a bit. They use a lot of varied and interesting chords, such as the E7#9 example I used above. The whole point of the premise of the thread is about opening up options.
#80
As someone with pretty weak theory knowledge myself, what would you recommend someone in my position to do this way as opposed to learning scales etc?

I've pretty much got the "memorizing notes on the fretboard" shtick down, what would you say is next? To this point, I've probably learned as "scale shapes", "chord shapes", etc/