#1
For my composition for GCSE (I do know a little about music theory), I am doing a kind of rock piece is sonata form (exposition, development,recapitulation) anyway in this you have to modulate several times.

My first subject is in B harmonic minor: B,C#,D,E,F#,G and A#
My second subject is D major: D, E, F#, G, A, B and C#

I have written two melodies with chord backing with the first subject in 4/4 being:

Bm, G, Em, F#m.

But the second subject is in 3/4 with:

D, A, C,G , D

Okay the main confusion I have is that the second subject sounds fine, rooting to the D as Dmajor, but that C should be Cdiminished. I also noticed that Sweet Child o Mine (guns n roses) has a similiar thing going on with the chords being D, C, G, D. Likewise, it's in the key of Dmajor but it has a C in it which should be diminished.

Someone please explain how and why this can happen, because it sounds good, but I don't want to be technically wrong as this is for my GCSE.

Also anyone who has written in sonata form like this (rock/metal style as apposed to classical) could you either pm me or write on the forum.


Thank you
#2
You are using a non-diatonic chord. If the tonic is D, it is in D. There are so many songs that use non-diatonic chords and bVII in a major song is the most common one.

The key of D major isn't just the notes of the D major scale. You can use all 12 notes and still be in the key of D major. It's all about the key center. If that's D, you are in D. And you'll find the key center by listening to your song. D A C G is a very common chord progression in D major. It has that kind of descending chromatic line D-C#-C-B (if you look at all chord tones). Really common.

Also, if you want your B minor part to use the notes in the harmonic minor scale, replace the F#m chord with an F#7 chord. Because if you use the F#m chord, you are only using notes in the natural minor scale. Harmonic minor isn't a key. You are playing in B minor but you may use natural minor, harmonic minor or melodic minor scale. And of course you can use all 12 notes and still be in B minor. Again, it's all about the tonic.

But yeah, using accidentals (notes that don't fit the key signature) is very very common. I don't understand why this is not taught well. People think that it's somehow against some rules to use accidentals while it's one of the most basic things. Most classical songs use accidentals.
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
#3
Well if your piece needs to be "technically correct", then I suggest starting over and using a more classical circle f 5ths progression with a clear dominant phrase.

By using root movement by 3rd and a non-dominant v, you've pretty much already strayed outside anything considered typical for traditional/classical music.

Classical music recognizes three main areas with a given key: tonic, subdominant, and dominant. Tonic area chords are I and vi, maybe iii
subdominant chords are ii and IV
dominant chords are V and sometimes viiº

Pretty much all of classical music moves between the key areas in that order - tonic > subdominant > dominant.

examples: I IV V7; ii V7, vi ii V7

Of course, you're not just going to play big chunky chords, you're going to make each one sound special. You do that with a dominant/leading tone chord that resolves to the new harmony. This is called tonicization.

So you're in your tonic area on the I chord and you want to move definitively to the subdominant area with the ii chord: I -> ii. To avoid clumsily moving everything up a step, you use a chord in between to make the ii resolve stronger. And the strongest resolution is by 5th, so put in the chord a 5th away from ii - vi. And make it a Mm7 quality (dominant), so you get I VI7 ii

Repeat that process with the V and you'll have yourself a nice little exposition section.
#4
^ Yeah, but TS isn't writing calssical, he's writing rock. And classical music with rock instruments (IMO) sounds stupid. Rock music has its own kind of chord progressions. Classical doesn't even use certain chord progressions that much. It's a lot about I-V-I-V-I. And I don't think when you write classical music that you should think about chord progressions like in pop music (where you usually just use a 2-8 chord repeating progression). Classical music is not usually about repeating chord progressions (1 bar of C major, 1 bar of A minor and so on).

What I mean is that I don't think classical music is written over a chord progression like pop music is. In pop music (most of the time) you just repeat a progression and write a melody over it. I think in classical music you have a melody and change chords when you need to. The melody isn't written over chords, the chords are written over the melody. At least that's how I feel when I listen to classical.
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
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 1, 2014,
#5
Academic settings aren't usually impressed with non-academic music. The point of these kinds of things isn't to write something catchy, but to demonstrate knowledge. If you're going for an academic certification, which is what the GCSE is, then you need to demonstrate that you know what would be taught in a music class.

Anyway, classical music defines "chord progression". It literally means progression from tonic to subdominant to dominant harmonies. Anything else is either a regression or sequence. Technical definition, of course, but it's very important to understand that harmony is bigger than an individual chord.

Pop usually uses non-resolving tonic sequences as the verse. Sequences like I V vi IV are extremely common, and you can consider the whole thing Tonic. The subdominant and/or dominant don't show up until the chorus or bridge.
Last edited by cdgraves at Mar 1, 2014,
#6
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ Yeah, but TS isn't writing calssical, he's writing rock. And classical music with rock instruments (IMO) sounds stupid.


#7
Thanks this was all very helpful, and yes I am writing it rock styled.About that F#m chord basically what happens is it's quickly moving between F#maj,F#m and F#sus4.
In this order:

F#m,
F#maj,
F#sus4,
F#maj

Wouldn't by using the major chord use the notes of the harmonic minor (the A#)?
#8
I wouldn't worry about trying to compose or analyze around scales. If you're doing this for academic certification, you need to demonstrate your ability to work with harmony and rhythm.

It really does not matter in the least if you're using a consistent scale or not. What matters is that you're using melodies appropriate to the harmony.
Last edited by cdgraves at Mar 1, 2014,
#9
Quote by DreamGate

Yes, I'm talking about you.

But what's "wrong" or "incorrect" with using "rock-style" chord progressions? If it's a rock song, I think it should sound like a rock song and not like a wanna-be classical rock song.

If they want a classical piece, I would just write classical and not rock that sounds like classical.
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
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 1, 2014,
#10
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Yes, I'm talking about you.

But what's "wrong" or "incorrect" with using "rock-style" chord progressions? If it's a rock song, I think it should sound like a rock song and not like a wanna-be classical rock song.

If they want a classical piece, I would just write classical and not rock that sounds like classical.

Isn't it a good thing that we have many styles of music? I mean the neoclassical rock thing became it's own genre. How is that a bad thing?

With that mentality we would never have any innovation in music. Mixing things from many genres is a big part of it.
#11
Quote by EpicGuitarGuy13
For my composition for GCSE (I do know a little about music theory), I am doing a kind of rock piece is sonata form (exposition, development,recapitulation) anyway in this you have to modulate several times.

My first subject is in B harmonic minor: B,C#,D,E,F#,G and A#
My second subject is D major: D, E, F#, G, A, B and C#

I have written two melodies with chord backing with the first subject in 4/4 being:

Bm, G, Em, F#m.

But the second subject is in 3/4 with:

D, A, C,G , D

Okay the main confusion I have is that the second subject sounds fine, rooting to the D as Dmajor, but that C should be Cdiminished. I also noticed that Sweet Child o Mine (guns n roses) has a similiar thing going on with the chords being D, C, G, D. Likewise, it's in the key of Dmajor but it has a C in it which should be diminished.

Someone please explain how and why this can happen, because it sounds good, but I don't want to be technically wrong as this is for my GCSE.

Also anyone who has written in sonata form like this (rock/metal style as apposed to classical) could you either pm me or write on the forum.


Thank you


As for your 2nd instance, it's just borrowing from the parallel minor scale. You have I V bVII IV I in D

For your B Harmonic Minor I'd have expected your F#m to be F#7.

Best,

Sean
#12
I would change it to an F#7, but it just doesn't sound good. It sounds too nice a chord, seeing as the melody is using notes from the B harmonic minor, it needs a minor chord to make it sound less "happy". With the F#7 chord it doesn't sound like it will lead on well.

Anyway this thread has been very helpful though
#13
Quote by EpicGuitarGuy13
I would change it to an F#7, but it just doesn't sound good. It sounds too nice a chord, seeing as the melody is using notes from the B harmonic minor, it needs a minor chord to make it sound less "happy". With the F#7 chord it doesn't sound like it will lead on well.

Anyway this thread has been very helpful though

No. If you harmonize the harmonic minor scale, it doesn't even contain a F#m chord. If you play an A# over an F#m chord, it sounds really dissonant. The "correct" chord is F#7 or F# major. None of your chords really suggests using the harmonic minor scale. That doesn't mean you can't use A# in your melody but I wouldn't really call it harmonic minor.

If it sounds better this way (F#m), play it that way. But there's really nothing "harmonic minor" in it. And also, F#7 is a lot stronger chord than F#m is. To me it feels like F#7 has a lot more "emotion" than F#m.
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
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 2, 2014,
#14
Quote by EpicGuitarGuy13
I would change it to an F#7, but it just doesn't sound good. It sounds too nice a chord, seeing as the melody is using notes from the B harmonic minor, it needs a minor chord to make it sound less "happy". With the F#7 chord it doesn't sound like it will lead on well.


then you're not using harmonic minor. also the concept of "needing a minor chord to make it sound less happy" is complete and utter bull -- the saddest pieces would theoretically only use minor chords in this case, and that's simply not true.

if it sounds better to you the way it is, play it. when this is all said and done though i recommend investing time into learning how minor keys work. you cannot be "in harmonic minor" or "in melodic minor". you are only in a minor key in these cases -- harmonic and melodic minor are conventions of working within minor keys (and they've been common practice long before yngwie hit the scene).
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#15
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Yes, I'm talking about you.

But what's "wrong" or "incorrect" with using "rock-style" chord progressions? If it's a rock song, I think it should sound like a rock song and not like a wanna-be classical rock song.

If they want a classical piece, I would just write classical and not rock that sounds like classical.


Well, nothing, but there are specific things expected of composition when it's for academic credit, as this thread relates to. Formal music study is largely about understanding harmonic motion, which goes a lot deeper than chords and voice leading.

A perfectly "academic" piece could actually be built on the harmonies there, but it'd be a much elongated form, with tonicizations and such.