I'm trying to understand the harmonic structure (i don't know a better word to explain this!) of DT's Under A Glass Moon:

Intro (0:00 to 0:50)
It seems like the song starts out in... A major, but the end of every phrase has a B flat which isn't in the key.. anyone can explain how this can work out?

Heavy riff (0:50 to 1:06)
F# phrygian? Seems to resolve to the F# every cycle and there's a C# and an F# so that should make it F# phrygian?

Any help/advice would be appreciated! I'm not too familiar with key changes in songs or chords outside of the song's key so any links that could explain that better would be great!
Quote by Timothongz
I'm trying to understand the harmonic structure (i don't know a better word to explain this!) of DT's Under A Glass Moon:

Intro (0:00 to 0:50)
It seems like the song starts out in... A major, but the end of every phrase has a B flat which isn't in the key.. anyone can explain how this can work out?

I'll take a stab at the first part.

First off, this is clearly not a standard progression of any major or minor key (or its modes). The opening chords happen to be: C#, D, E, F#, G#, A#, B (not in that order, obviously) The intervals from the first C# chord played (the assumed root for now) are R, m2, m3, 4, 5, 6, m7. However, the bass conveniently plays octaves of F#, which would make F# seem to be more like the tonal center, which would give you F# minor, but with a raised 3rd instead. Again, neither tonal center is going to give you a standard major or minor key.

A scale lookup of these notes comes up with C# javanese or F# Hindu (http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/reverse_scales.php). For what it's worth

Continuing to the next heavy part though (since I still have the tab open), I can see the F# phrygian you mentioned.

I suppose you could view the first section as C# phrygian, but with a major 6th instead, and the heavy riff as a regular F# phrygian phrase. The root note may change in the intro, and it is very possible that the key signature changes at some point, but having 7 unique intervals in the intro leads me to believe that this is exactly the structure they wanted. Hope that helps!
Note: I'm sure someone will come along and tell me that at least one of those F# chords is F#m, it's quite debatable in the context of the song - have a listen.

0:00-0:50 Intro:

F# E D F# x heaps (repeated when the words start)

It obviously resolves to F# - it's in the key of F#. There are two out-of-key chords - the E and the D, both of which are borrowed from the parallel minor (F# minor). It is extremely common to borrow chords from the parallel minor or major.

0:50 -1:06

F# riffing. Yes there is some accidentals here and there. As we've already set up the tonal context as F#, those b2s cannot force the song to now become in the F# phyrgian mode.

Just as a pointer guys, if you're going to analyse a song, listen to it and figure out the resolution and chord progression. Right now you're just chucking notes into scale generators and getting ridiculous answers.
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Quote by AlanHB

0:50 -1:06

F# riffing. Yes there is some accidentals here and there. As we've already set up the tonal context as F#, those b2s cannot force the song to now become in the F# phyrgian mode.

Just as a pointer guys, if you're going to analyse a song, listen to it and figure out the resolution and chord progression. Right now you're just chucking notes into scale generators and getting ridiculous answers.

I guess the first point would beg the question of the possibility of a mode's sound being able to exist at a certain point within a song that is not "modal" itself. Let's say we only look at the 0:50-1:06 bit. You said F# is already established as root, and here at this precise moment we have a riff using a run of notes that would be phrygian in the context of resolving to F#. Is it ever acceptable to have a phrase within a song be considered phrygian even if the song itself is not "modal?" If TS is comfortable describing this riff as F# phrygian, is it really simpler to say it's a minor scale with accidentals? I think the term phrygian is more specific about which "accidentals" are present. It might just be my personal preference, but I tend to reserve the term "accidentals" for instances of chromatic notes being added to an already established scale (and not one note being raised or lowered).

And I included the scale reference link because TS asked for some sources. I thought it was pretty clear that I attempted to break down the song structure on my own first. I don't think in terms of javanese (not a mode of the major scale ) and I didn't expect anyone else to, but at the same time I think I was trying to avoid calling the chords outside the key "accidentals." If the song didn't deviate from the major or minor key at all, I doubt that TS would have asked this question in the first place.
Quote by cjohnson122989
Is it ever acceptable to have a phrase within a song be considered phrygian even if the song itself is not "modal?"

No, modes only function to be modes in modes. Convoluted answer but I hope you understand. You can however refer to the pattern of accidentals as the "Phrygian scale", which has as much bearing on the song as calling a certain set of accidentals the "Blues scale".

Quote by cjohnson122989
If the song didn't deviate from the major or minor key at all, I doubt that TS would have asked this question in the first place.

It doesn't deviate from the major/minor key that much, at least in the areas we've discussed.
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Quote by AlanHB
You can however refer to the pattern of accidentals as the "Phrygian scale", which has as much bearing on the song as calling a certain set of accidentals the "Blues scale".

That is something I've wondered in all these threads about scale names. How did the blues scale get off so easy? For the blues scale, I tend to think of that minor pentatonic riff in the intro to Megadeth's Tornado of Souls (right after the harmonics). The blues scale would be characterized by the added chromatic note between the 4th and 5th, right?

And I think when people (guitarists mainly?) are referring to the phrygian mode, they probably were referring to the scale and the specific set of accidentals. I think I can see from your post where the term "mode" might imply chord progression, but the term phrygian (in this example, anyway) is being used to describe a scale derived from a mode of the major scale - mode in this case meaning shifted intervals of a parent scale. As a chord can have inversions with the notes cycling through different points in the same order, scales can have modes where the intervals are shifted, but maintain the same sequence. Am I on the right track with that analogy?
Quote by AlanHB
No, modes only function to be modes in modes. Convoluted answer but I hope you understand. You can however refer to the pattern of accidentals as the "Phrygian scale", which has as much bearing on the song as calling a certain set of accidentals the "Blues scale".

I think that's where a lot of the disagreements happen round here- one person is talking about keys whereas another is talking about scales.

Quote by cjohnson122989
That is something I've wondered in all these threads about scale names. How did the blues scale get off so easy? For the blues scale, I tend to think of that minor pentatonic riff in the intro to Megadeth's Tornado of Souls (right after the harmonics). The blues scale would be characterized by the added chromatic note between the 4th and 5th, right?

Yeah. Arguably the minor third being bent a quarter tone sharp, too For my ears, anyway, that's when things start sounding (really) bluesy. Even more so than the flat fifth (IMO).
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Quote by Dave_Mc
I think that's where a lot of the disagreements happen round here- one person is talking about keys whereas another is talking about scales.

Yeah. Arguably the minor third being bent a quarter tone sharp, too For my ears, anyway, that's when things start sounding (really) bluesy. Even more so than the flat fifth (IMO).

I think all the arguing about modes boils down to that exactly. Keys vs. scales.

And maybe I should revisit that blues scale again. I've seen that same 3-note chromatic set from the 4th to the 5th in Pantera songs too, but I never really figured out where the good spots to bend are. I should probably study someone like SRV for that. Or more classic rock in general.
Quote by cjohnson122989
That is something I've wondered in all these threads about scale names. How did the blues scale get off so easy? For the blues scale, I tend to think of that minor pentatonic riff in the intro to Megadeth's Tornado of Souls (right after the harmonics). The blues scale would be characterized by the added chromatic note between the 4th and 5th, right?

And I think when people (guitarists mainly?) are referring to the phrygian mode, they probably were referring to the scale and the specific set of accidentals. I think I can see from your post where the term "mode" might imply chord progression, but the term phrygian (in this example, anyway) is being used to describe a scale derived from a mode of the major scale - mode in this case meaning shifted intervals of a parent scale. As a chord can have inversions with the notes cycling through different points in the same order, scales can have modes where the intervals are shifted, but maintain the same sequence. Am I on the right track with that analogy?

Nobody's saying the phrygian scale doesn't exist and can't be used. It is actually used a lot. But using the phrygian scale doesn't make your music modal. Under the Glass Moon is not in phrygian. It does use the b2 accidental a lot but it also uses the natural 2 a lot. It aslo uses borrowed chords and modulates and all that...

It is definitely a tonal song.

Even the intro uses both minor and major 2nd (5-1-2-b7-4-b6-5-4-3-b2-1). You could call the intro scale phrygian dominant (and that's what it pretty much sounds like) but it also has the major 2nd. Actually I wouldn't look at scales at all. They don't tell that much about the music. Listen to the intro - it is clearly a I-bVII-bVI-I progression. It doesn't have any chords behind it but you can hear it by just listening to the melody. It doesn't use one scale - it uses the mix of major and minor because of the chords (major I chord, bVII and bVI chords borrowed from the parallel minor).

TS, the whole intro is in F#. It uses parallel minor and major a lot so let's just say it's in F#. The riff does use the F# phrygian scale but you need to look at things in context. The song doesn't become F# phrygian because it uses a b2 accidental. Yes, the riff uses F# phrygian scale but it's still completely tonal.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 17, 2014,
Quote by cjohnson122989
I think all the arguing about modes boils down to that exactly. Keys vs. scales.

See if you can follow this logic:

The chords of a progression determine the tonality of a song. A song can be in a mode, or a key. You cannot be in both at the same time.

The chords of this song determine that it's in a key, so to say it is in a mode is incorrect.

You can call patterns of accidentals whatever you want.

Noting the above, the most popular mode arguments that could be had over this progression are:

(a) someone claims that the progression is in F# mixolydian because there is an E chord
(b) someone claims that the song is in F# phryg because there is a b2 accidental
(c) someone will solo over it using the notes of F# major, but starting on G#, they'll then claim they are playing G# dorian
(d) someone will apply CST and claim that it's modal

...... and so on

So basically arguments over modes occur when one of the parties to the argument does not know anything about chords/keys etc.
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Quote by cjohnson122989

And maybe I should revisit that blues scale again. I've seen that same 3-note chromatic set from the 4th to the 5th in Pantera songs too, but I never really figured out where the good spots to bend are. I should probably study someone like SRV for that. Or more classic rock in general.

Yeah srv was great.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?