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#1
Hey Guys.

Here's my take on scale (names) and related matters.

1/ A scale is a collection of intervals measured from its start pitch. Written as a recipe, each interval symbol (here are four different symbols as examples ... 1, b3, 3, #4) indicate the number of semitones from the scale start pitch, to locate the pitch corresponding to that symbol, where "1" is coincident with the start pitch.

2/ Once the start pitch is chosen, the recipe singles out all the other pitches found at the various intervals from the start pitch

3/ The overall sound created by a scale has the same "flavour", and the choice of start pitch doesn't alter this ... it just makes the whole effect sound higher or lower.

4/ Each different collection creates a different flavour.

5/ Each different flavour is given a different name, that is shorthand for the set of intervals involved. Examples include "major", "harmonic minor", "mixolydian", "jazz minor 7" ...

6/ Only some scales (flavours) are successful for creating melodies and chord progressions that clearly draw the listener's attention to the start note of the scale chosen, over typically several bars or more of music written using that scale. This doesn't just occur because we choose a scale to use ... it only occurs with correct usage. Randomly jumbling up scale pitches and/or chord progressions has virtually zero chance of succeeding. This is another discussion.

Successful scales must include (b3) or 3, and 5, so that they have a major or minor triad available off the start note of the scale.

7/ Assuming correct usage to successful scale, then we have created a tonality. (Major-minor system proponents ... hold fire ... see below). We have imparted the scale flavour applied to some start pitch. This start pitch is known as the tonal centre. To describe the tonality, we name it by both its pitch and the scale name (see Walter Piston, Hindemith, Ligon ... as exemplary theorist with this view).

8/ Things get more blurry as we start introducing other intervals ... again, assuming correct usage, then the flavour starts becoming ambiguous, but the tonal centre remains clear.

For example, the melodic minor scale, in classical use, typically applies (1,2,b3,4,5,6,7) in ascending parts of the melody, but (1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7) in descending parts. These are often referred to as the ascending melodic minor scale and the descending melodic minor scale.

Whereas in today's music (especially jazz), only the (1,2,b3,4,5,6,7) is used, regardless of melodic direction (acending or descending).

As it happens, the descending melodic minor is identical to the natural minor scale (aka aeolian).

So, suppose we have a (section of a) tune that is 100% based on (1,2,b3,4,5,6,7). We'd be entirely correct to name it as, say, Eb ascending melodic minor (although these days its common to call it Jazz minor)

Or suppose we have a (section of a) tune that is 100% based on (1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7). We'd be entirely correct to name it as, say, Eb descending melodic minor, or Eb aeolian.

But what happens, if we mix these up? Now we could name the tonality Eb melodic minor (implying both ascending and descending).

Yet another very common minor scale is harmonic minor (1,2,b3,4,5,b6,7). It's very common to write music entirely using this scale, and so we could create a tonality of Eb harmonic minor.

But here's the nub of the matter ... very often, the above get mixed up in the same tune. At this point, we just acknowledge this under the umbrella name of "minor", so we can talk about creating the tonality of Eb minor to encompass all the above. And this makes loads of sense, unless we want to be mega-pedantic. If we did just use aeolian, we could still categorise this as Eb minor tonality (aeolian is one of the member scales of this "minor cartel").

However, don't forget the dear old major scale (which seems very certain to have been created well prior to any of the above scales). When we use the major scale correctly, we get say, Eb major tonality.

Finally, its also extremly common to mix up major scale with the various minor scales above, at different parts of a tune. So, some could be in Eb major, and some in Eb minor. (we have two different tonalities, if we ignore which actual of the above scales get used in the minor tonality). [of course, other tonal centres could be used across the tune]

Taken all these flavours together, the above gives us the "major-minor system" that gets used so much.

To recap: the scales in this overall cartel known as the "major-minor system" are: major, ascending and descending melodic minor, and harmonic minor. They don't all have to be used. At any one point (typically) a tune will either be in the major or the minor tonality, where the minor tonality can be some mix of the minjor scales just mentioned.

9/ BUT ... just because the above is so common, it does not mean it is the only source of intervals for creating a tonality. For example, we can use Dorian or Mixolydian to create say Eb Dorian tonality or Eb Mixolydian tonality, using correct chord progressions from these scales. Note the word "correct".

The scale Locrian wouldn't succeed ... it has the b3, but is doesn't have a 5.

There are also some symmetrical scales that can't succeed, even when they do contain (b)3 and 5. This is because of their symmetry. But none of the scale in the major-minor system, nor modes of these, are symmetrical.

10/ For modal scales, we may not choose to use chord progressions per-se, and just groove away on one or two chords.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 3, 2015,
#2
What are you getting at here?

Scales are just sets of notes, not an interval series (that's a mode). They never impose a harmonic regime, rather they are derived from harmonies.

If you actually look at where and how these scales are used, they correlate completely with the harmony. The harmonic and melodic minor, for example, having a raised 7th (leading tone) - where do you see the leading tone in minor key tunes? On the dominant. Therefore, melodic and harmonic minor scales are appear solely during dominant harmonies, and are simply the melodic expression of the dominant harmony.

The use of scales to express non-tonic harmony is why you have a lot of very useful scales that can't be harmonized: locrian, diminished, wholetone, wholetone-diminished, lydian dominant, blues, bebop minor scale... This litany of non-diatonic scales is part of why strictly scalar analysis becomes nonsense very quickly.

Also, major/minor is not really a huge distinction. A is A is A, no matter what the third above is, and you resolve to it the same either way.

The big distinction is, again, harmonic, and it's the tonic/dominant distinction. You are either on a tonic-type harmony, or you are working your way back to a tonic-like harmony. That distinction then break down when you consider modal harmonies, because they lack the harmonic motion that requires a tonic/dominant relationship.

If you're apt to analyze this thoroughly, I'd recommend taking the rigor to harmonic analysis. Scales are incidental to harmony, and so don't tell you a whole lot by themselves. Harmony is real the meat of the music.
Last edited by cdgraves at Jul 3, 2015,
#3
Quote by cdgraves
What are you getting at here?

Scales are just sets of notes, not an interval series (that's a mode). They never impose a harmonic regime, rather they are derived from harmonies.

If you actually look at where and how these scales are used, they correlate completely with the harmony. The harmonic and melodic minor, for example, having a raised 7th (leading tone) - where do you see the leading tone in minor key tunes? On the dominant. Therefore, melodic and harmonic minor scales are appear solely during dominant harmonies, and are simply the melodic expression of the dominant harmony.

The use of scales to express non-tonic harmony is why you have a lot of very useful scales that can't be harmonized: locrian, diminished, wholetone, wholetone-diminished, lydian dominant, blues, bebop minor scale... This litany of non-diatonic scales is part of why strictly scalar analysis becomes nonsense very quickly.

Also, major/minor is not really a huge distinction. A is A is A, no matter what the third above is, and you resolve to it the same either way.

The big distinction is, again, harmonic, and it's the tonic/dominant distinction. You are either on a tonic-type harmony, or you are working your way back to a tonic-like harmony. That distinction then break down when you consider modal harmonies, because they lack the harmonic motion that requires a tonic/dominant relationship.

If you're apt to analyze this thoroughly, I'd recommend taking the rigor to harmonic analysis. Scales are incidental to harmony, and so don't tell you a whole lot by themselves. Harmony is real the meat of the music.


There are many discussions on how to name a tonality, whether to use scale name or not. Hence the above post.


"Scales are just sets of notes, not an interval series (that's a mode). They never impose a harmonic regime, rather they are derived from harmonies. "

The above is so wrong it deserves a medal. Completely wrong on every level.

If you've a teacher that's told you that, then demand your money back.

FACT: There is absolutely no need for any harmony to establish a tonal centre.
FACT: Counterpoint originally was based on concurrent melodies, and as the concurrent pitches came together, created harmonies ... not the other way round.

"If you actually look at where and how these scales are used, they correlate completely with the harmony. The harmonic and melodic minor, for example, having a raised 7th (leading tone) - where do you see the leading tone in minor key tunes? On the dominant. Therefore, melodic and harmonic minor scales are appear solely during dominant harmonies, and are simply the melodic expression of the dominant harmony."

Wrong. Medal #2. However, it is true that a wide variety of scales are used over a dominant chord, but that chord does not have to be functional.

"The use of scales to express non-tonic harmony is why you have a lot of very useful scales that can't be harmonized: locrian, diminished, wholetone, wholetone-diminished, lydian dominant, blues, bebop minor scale... This litany of non-diatonic scales is part of why strictly scalar analysis becomes nonsense very quickly."

Medal #3, #4 ... the above statement would set a seriously large number of jazz players spinning in their graves. What about m7b5 (locrian, and others), 7b5 chord (lydian dominant, and others)? Or 13b9 (half-whole). Etc.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Posting such inaccuracies can wreck some newbie's understanding. Where did you get these ideas from?? You should reassess very carefully your understanding of harmony and melody to establish a tonal centre.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 3, 2015,
#5
If there is a war of names, the name Kwame is going to lose.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#6
what happens if you go both up and down from the starting note and don't play a scale shape
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#7
Quote by Hail
what happens if you go both up and down from the starting note and don't play a scale shape


If that happens the name Travis loses.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#8
^Not if I can help it.

Okay everyone TIME out. I need to set a few things straight here before this turns into a flame war:

#1: Jerry, your two "facts" contradict each other. All melodic lines IMPLY harmony. All harmony is the result of melodic lines. You do need harmony to imply a tonal center. But guess what? Melody IS harmony.

#2: There is no such thing as being 'in' harmonic or melodic minor. Tonal Music is either in a major key, or a minor key. Minor keys often use elements of MM and harmonic minor scales.

#3: MM going up one way and down the other way is a myth. There are plenty of examples from the literature demonstrating against this false rule.

#4: Every scale can be harmonized. End of story.

#5. Major/Minor IS the only system of creating tonality. Modes create MODALITY. Diminished and symmetrical scales are NOT tonal, and MM and Hmaj are shading devices. Tonal and non-tonal music are mutually exclusive. Music cannot be both tonal and non-tonal.

#6: There are only TWO tonalities: X major, and X minor. Everything else isn't tonal.

#7. Scalar analysis does NOT become useless because there are many. It becomes useless because scales are colors, and choice. If I paint a red house, or a blue house, it's still a house. Scale usage is a personal choice you make when improvising. There are at least NINE common scales that fit perfectly well with a Dom7 chord. Pick one.

#8. "Successful scales must inlcude "X"" is an insane statement. All scales are successful. A scale without a P5 interval will make establishing an expected root difficult (this is why there are no Locrian frameworks) but to imply a scale without a 5 or 3 is "unsuccessful" is inaccurate. There is more to music than establishing a tonal center. If there wasn't, we would only play major and harmonic minor scales.

#9. Melodic and Harmonic minor scales do NOT solely appear on dominant harmonies. Maj7#9 and its siblings say hello.

#10. You both, more or less, know what you're talking about , but you're only looking at it through one lens, one perspective. The blind people with the elephant analogy. There's a horizontal and a vertical perspective to music, and you need them both.

Tonal music works in a specific way, and so does modal music. These extra concepts?

They're tools, just tools to expand the palette of sounds available to you.


I dunno what everyone's getting at here, but A) cool it, and be civil and B) expect ME to pounce on anything "less than accurate" in here.

If this goes even a little off the rails I'm closing it.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#10
hello i would like one scoop major scale, one scoop wholetone, and if it could come in a pre-modern notation waffle cone, that'd be great
superman is killing himself tonight
#11
Quote by Jet Penguin
^Not if I can help it.


Your name is Travis then? I didn't know that.
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#12
or perhaps travis is a lover
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#13
Quote by Jet Penguin


#1:... ...All melodic lines IMPLY harmony. All harmony is the result of melodic lines. You do need harmony to imply a tonal center. But guess what? Melody IS harmony.

.

All harmony is the result of melody. Hmmm.... ...thinking about it.... ...okay I'll give you that.

"You do need harmony to imply a tonal centre." - Why? It seems that many melodies have a tonal centre without harmony.

Adding harmonies to the melody will affect the melody as there will then be harmonic relationships to hear and not just melodic ones. These new relationships can alter our sense of where that tonal centre lies.

"All melodic lines IMPLY harmony." - No they don't. You might point to specific examples and say that it implies a certain harmony but if someone is singing a melody without any accompaniment then there is no harmony. If a solo violinist is playing a melody then there is no harmony. - Not even "implied" harmony.

What exactly is the "implied" harmony supposed to be? Is it a tonic drone? Is it an oscillating tonic-fifth vamp? Is it a harmony of parallel octaves? Is it parallel fifths? or maybe it's harmonized in thirds, or in sixths? Maybe it's some combination of I IV V block chords played in straight eighths? Is it a bunch of independent melodic lines that work together as a whole? What is this "implied" harmony? - seriously, what is the implied harmony?

While we can use our years of cultural experience to create a harmony in our heads for a melody that harmony is implied by the years of musical conditioning that have gone before as much as it is by the melody, and it is a completely subjective experience. And the simple fact is that when there is only one note sounding at a time there is by definition no harmony.

All this begs the question though:

If a melody can not determine a tonal centre on it's own then how can it imply a harmony that does? Surely if there is some unheard harmony inherent in every melody and that "implied harmony" is what determines the tonal centre then hasn't the melody which itself implies the harmony also implied the tonal centre?

I don't get what you are trying to say there.
Si
#14
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
okay, okay please, please help me out...

I mean, to whom were you referring too? Posts #1, 2, 3 or Post#8?... or all of them???, now I'm really confused? despite the passionate deliveries, posts 1, 2, 3, and 8 were albeit an honest attempt at clarification.

You seem to be stating that either or all above posts mentioned are (in your opinion) half-baked at best ...but then you follow it up with... well nothing? I mean this post (for me) has now become the most confusing of them all. The others were at least making honest attempts to sort fact from fallacy.

If you believe you have all the answers here, please by all means, enlighten us, share something, I mean for those like me, certainly now feel dumber due to this video having been posted.

I now don't know what to believe? (and in case you missed it), I would appreciate/value your input.

cheers!
#16
at some point MT regs get tired of writing the same posts every 3 days so the vast majority become apathetic assholes
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#19
Double confirmed. ^I read the thread...

20T:

I'm not claiming melodies don't show tonal centers. Behold:

Monophonic lines delineate harmony. An unaccompanied melodic line had harmonic implications. The melody does determine a tonal center, because it implies harmony, and the harmony determines the tonal center. That's what I'm getting at.

Yes, when there is one note sounding there is no harmony. But a melodic line implies harmony. Can you say that 'happy birthday' has no harmony, because there's only one note sounding at a time? Or a Bach cello suite? No. They imply harmonies IN the line.

Unless, you know, you think this has no harmony. I forgot that Bach didn't use harmony.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxsqtoNTLTo

Right, clearly no harmonic movement or keys or anything there, since it's one note a time until the cadence.

My sarcasm aside:

A melody CAN and does imply tonality/modality/non-tonality because a melody implies harmony, but it's the harmony that determines those things, not the melody. The melody just delineates the harmony.

You can think about music vertically all you want (and there are times when this is a very good thing) but you hear it horizontally.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#20
Chris Thile isn't really that great to be honest. I don't know why you love him so much.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#22
Ok I don't know what's going on in this thread but it's been brought to my attention that some have suggested a standalone melody does not contain harmony.

I would like to shameless plug my music to demonstrate that it does imply harmony and can even imply counterpoint.


This a Bach piece that contains an exclusively solo melodic texture:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-yFA2kd2DA


This is the same Bach piece, with all of the implied harmony and counterpoint realized (by me no less )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7Rs7CG6jSw

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#23
^Thank you sir. This cannot illustrate my point much better.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#24
can i be taken off filthy casual status now

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
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Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
#25
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Everyone's right except for the parts where they're wrong.


Every post over 100 words is wrong.
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#27
we should unban will or any of his several dozens of (likewise banned) multis


superman is killing himself tonight
#28
^We need a prisoner exchange. Bring me the severed head of an MT'er of value and I'll consider it.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#29
isn't MTer of value kind of an oxymoron
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#30
I like this thread. It's a great thread. Not that I'd have anything to say what hasn't been said already.

I can mention though that while reading the OP, only thing I could think of was that it was like trying to find the hardest possible solution to a relatively simple problem. Of course the theory isn't that simple at least for a beginning musician but it sure isn't that hard either. Couldn't we just agree that tonal music is either in major or minor and modal music is "in" a mode derived from the major. Everything else is just extra, necessary extra but extra nevertheless. And scales are scales no matter the intervals. Whether you can use those scales in a key or a mode is a different thing, but it doesn't make them any less a scale.
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*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#31
Quote by theogonia777
Chris Thile isn't really that great to be honest. I don't know why you love him so much.


I don't know. That was pretty great. I don't know what made that not to you, but knowing what that is and hearing that level of execution applied to
the complexity of the instrumentation, you must be hearing tones of perfection on a far more granular level than me.

Best,

Sean
#32
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Best reaction I could ever hope for tbh. Confusion, a little anger and waves of antipathy. The video was aimed at the op. Everyone's right except for the parts where they're wrong.
Not quite the response I was expecting... no wait perhaps it is? There was no aversion in my asking, just looking for clarity, It's just that this thread is kind-of on the cusp of my theory level so I found it interesting and was just looking for some clarity, some times we take what we can so thanks for that.
#33
Quote by Sean0913
I don't know. That was pretty great. I don't know what made that not to you, but knowing what that is and hearing that level of execution applied to
the complexity of the instrumentation, you must be hearing tones of perfection on a far more granular level than me.

Best,

Sean


kristen's just a snob for folk instruments
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.
#34
Quote by Jet Penguin
^Not if I can help it.

Okay everyone TIME out. I need to set a few things straight here before this turns into a flame war:

#1: Jerry, your two "facts" contradict each other. All melodic lines IMPLY harmony. All harmony is the result of melodic lines. You do need harmony to imply a tonal center. But guess what? Melody IS harmony.

#2: There is no such thing as being 'in' harmonic or melodic minor. Tonal Music is either in a major key, or a minor key. Minor keys often use elements of MM and harmonic minor scales.

#3: MM going up one way and down the other way is a myth. There are plenty of examples from the literature demonstrating against this false rule.

#4: Every scale can be harmonized. End of story.

#5. Major/Minor IS the only system of creating tonality. Modes create MODALITY. Diminished and symmetrical scales are NOT tonal, and MM and Hmaj are shading devices. Tonal and non-tonal music are mutually exclusive. Music cannot be both tonal and non-tonal.

#6: There are only TWO tonalities: X major, and X minor. Everything else isn't tonal.

#7. Scalar analysis does NOT become useless because there are many. It becomes useless because scales are colors, and choice. If I paint a red house, or a blue house, it's still a house. Scale usage is a personal choice you make when improvising. There are at least NINE common scales that fit perfectly well with a Dom7 chord. Pick one.

#8. "Successful scales must inlcude "X"" is an insane statement. All scales are successful. A scale without a P5 interval will make establishing an expected root difficult (this is why there are no Locrian frameworks) but to imply a scale without a 5 or 3 is "unsuccessful" is inaccurate. There is more to music than establishing a tonal center. If there wasn't, we would only play major and harmonic minor scales.

#9. Melodic and Harmonic minor scales do NOT solely appear on dominant harmonies. Maj7#9 and its siblings say hello.

#10. You both, more or less, know what you're talking about , but you're only looking at it through one lens, one perspective. The blind people with the elephant analogy. There's a horizontal and a vertical perspective to music, and you need them both.

Tonal music works in a specific way, and so does modal music. These extra concepts?

They're tools, just tools to expand the palette of sounds available to you.


I dunno what everyone's getting at here, but A) cool it, and be civil and B) expect ME to pounce on anything "less than accurate" in here.

If this goes even a little off the rails I'm closing it.



Jet,


#1: You do not need any chords to imply a tonal centre. Read Paul Hindemith, "The Craft of Musical Composition", book 2. Read Jack Perricone "Melody in Songwriting".

#2 Those statements are entirely consistent.

#3 Absolutely.

#4 Absolutely.

#5 Is incorrect. Major/minor is very frequently used. It is NOT the only way to created tonality. Other scales can do this, so long as they contain 1, (b3) and 5. The point that modes only create modality is wrong. Check a private message from me, dated Nov 19, 2014.

#6 See #5.

#7 Agreed

#8 Read my point 6 in my original post carefully. I gave the criteria of success in relation to creating tonality. Obviously any scale can be used in the wider meaning of success.

#9 Yes

#10 I'll let that go. See end note to #5 as reminder, nothing more. I know what I'm talking about, very well, have deeply studied melody, harmony for many, many years and implement it in my playing.

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 4, 2015,
#35
The whole "b3" thing seems a little excessive.

A scale must always contain a 3, a b3 is just a 3 which is further specified as a minor third. I'd just go with 3, so it would form a more general description of the concept.
#36
Quote by Sean0913
I don't know. That was pretty great. I don't know what made that not to you, but knowing what that is and hearing that level of execution applied to
the complexity of the instrumentation, you must be hearing tones of perfection on a far more granular level than me.

Best,

Sean


He puts a too little "man" and too much "lin" in his playing.

Actually, ask Xiaoxi what is wrong with Chopin. All of it applies to Chris Thile.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Jul 4, 2015,
#37
Guys,

Many thanks for all the responses.

Here's my understanding of the terms involving "harmony", let me know if you think differently

1/ harmonic interval ... two pitches sounded at the same time (versus melodic interval ... one pitch after the other).

2/ one or more harmonic intervals sounded together comprise a chord. (Choice of intervals determines chord type). Each pitch may come from a different instrument.

3/ Harmony: the sounding together of pitches to create a chord

4/ Harmony: in the wider sense the overall flow of chords throughout a piece of music.


When writing a single melodic line, placing adjacent chord tones from a scale close together temporally in the line will impart the sound of that chord. So, yes, this implies what the harmony could be if these pitches actually were played harmonically. But harmony itself is not occurring.

This effect (any implied harmony) can be lessened by using more adjacent scale tones close together temporally in the line...

And there is a whole spectrum of effects achievable from obviously hearing a chord, to not ... yet the latter can still be created in such a way as to create tonality.

Now, people's appreciation of the above is going to be strongly influenced by the music genre they study, write, perform, listen to, etc., not to mention the (de)emphasis of some aspects of theory when taught a given genre.

So, yes, a melody can imply harmony (as above), but doesn't have to, to establish a tonality. And there are an awful lot of stand-alone well-known melodies that exemplify this very clearly.

As to Xiaoxi's point ... of course when more than one melodic line is playing concurrently, by definition we have harmony (unless there's never more than one pitch sounding at any time). One line alone can imply harmony ... but is not harmony itself (which I am 100% Xiaoxi knows anyway).

Yet again, this all reinforces my belief that what is going on in music is hard to get across using words that make sense to everyone!!

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jul 4, 2015,
#38
Ok Tonibet, here I go.

Quote by jerrykramskoy
Hey Guys.

Here's my take on scale (names) and related matters.

1/ A scale is a collection of intervals measured from its start pitch. Written as a recipe, each interval symbol (here are four different symbols as examples ... 1, b3, 3, #4) indicate the number of semitones from the scale start pitch, to locate the pitch corresponding to that symbol, where "1" is coincident with the start pitch.
K.

2/ Once the start pitch is chosen, the recipe singles out all the other pitches found at the various intervals from the start pitch
No idea what this means.

3/ The overall sound created by a scale has the same "flavour", and the choice of start pitch doesn't alter this ... it just makes the whole effect sound higher or lower.
Scales of the same type sound the same regardless of transposition. Right.

4/ Each different collection creates a different flavour.
Different scales sound different. Right.

5/ Each different flavour is given a different name, that is shorthand for the set of intervals involved. Examples include "major", "harmonic minor", "mixolydian", "jazz minor 7" ...
Different scales have different names. Right.

6/ Only some scales (flavours) are successful for creating melodies and chord progressions that clearly draw the listener's attention to the start note of the scale chosen, over typically several bars or more of music written using that scale. This doesn't just occur because we choose a scale to use ... it only occurs with correct usage. Randomly jumbling up scale pitches and/or chord progressions has virtually zero chance of succeeding. This is another discussion.

Successful scales must include (b3) or 3, and 5, so that they have a major or minor triad available off the start note of the scale.
I hate the term successful. In a general and traditional sense though, yes, a mode has to support a major or minor triad built from it's tonic pitch to establish a tonal centre. I don't know what you're getting at with the jumbling up thing. Yeah you have to aim melodies and harmonies towards the tonal centre to establish it if that's what you mean.

7/ Assuming correct usage to successful scale, then we have created a tonality. (Major-minor system proponents ... hold fire ... see below). We have imparted the scale flavour applied to some start pitch. This start pitch is known as the tonal centre. To describe the tonality, we name it by both its pitch and the scale name (see Walter Piston, Hindemith, Ligon ... as exemplary theorist with this view).
Sure, but this doesn't mean we say things like "key of A melodic minor." I'll holler more about melodic minor below I imagine. There are exactly two modes in the key system: major and minor. These are the only two descriptors of tonality that we use.

8/ Things get more blurry as we start introducing other intervals ... again, assuming correct usage, then the flavour starts becoming ambiguous, but the tonal centre remains clear.

For example, the melodic minor scale, in classical use, typically applies (1,2,b3,4,5,6,7) in ascending parts of the melody, but (1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7) in descending parts. These are often referred to as the ascending melodic minor scale and the descending melodic minor scale.

Whereas in today's music (especially jazz), only the (1,2,b3,4,5,6,7) is used, regardless of melodic direction (acending or descending).

As it happens, the descending melodic minor is identical to the natural minor scale (aka aeolian).

The natural, melodic and harmonic minor scales are synthetic. They're derived from the melodic and harmonic behaviours of the minor key. The idea of ascending and descending melodic minor is a distillation of a common contrapuntal behaviour, but doesn't really have bearing in reality. Composers will approach the tonic with the b7 and will leave the tonic with the raised seventh pretty regularly.

So, suppose we have a (section of a) tune that is 100% based on (1,2,b3,4,5,6,7). We'd be entirely correct to name it as, say, Eb ascending melodic minor (although these days its common to call it Jazz minor)

We'd be correct to say that it uses that scale, but scales and keys are different concepts so we wouldn't be correct to say it's "in" Eb ascending melodic minor." Also there's no reason to say ascending. When you say melodic minor the assumption is raised 6th and 7th.

Or suppose we have a (section of a) tune that is 100% based on (1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7). We'd be entirely correct to name it as, say, Eb descending melodic minor, or Eb aeolian.
Yeah, you'd just want to call that Eb minor.

But what happens, if we mix these up? Now we could name the tonality Eb melodic minor (implying both ascending and descending).

Yet another very common minor scale is harmonic minor (1,2,b3,4,5,b6,7). It's very common to write music entirely using this scale, and so we could create a tonality of Eb harmonic minor.
Nah to both of these. Just misusing the word tonality.

But here's the nub of the matter ... very often, the above get mixed up in the same tune. At this point, we just acknowledge this under the umbrella name of "minor", so we can talk about creating the tonality of Eb minor to encompass all the above. And this makes loads of sense, unless we want to be mega-pedantic. If we did just use aeolian, we could still categorise this as Eb minor tonality (aeolian is one of the member scales of this "minor cartel").
Yeah, that's why in real world use the three minor scales are synthetic. They're used as abstractions a lot, but a minor key piece will freely use all of them. I don't even like saying that a minor key piece will use all three scales tbh. Again, the reality is the scales came from the behaviour of the minor mode, not the other way around.

However, don't forget the dear old major scale (which seems very certain to have been created well prior to any of the above scales). When we use the major scale correctly, we get say, Eb major tonality.
Major and minor came about around the same time.

Finally, its also extremly common to mix up major scale with the various minor scales above, at different parts of a tune. So, some could be in Eb major, and some in Eb minor. (we have two different tonalities, if we ignore which actual of the above scales get used in the minor tonality). [of course, other tonal centres could be used across the tune]

Taken all these flavours together, the above gives us the "major-minor system" that gets used so much.
Saying flavours this much is a bit creepy.

To recap: the scales in this overall cartel known as the "major-minor system" are: major, ascending and descending melodic minor, and harmonic minor. They don't all have to be used. At any one point (typically) a tune will either be in the major or the minor tonality, where the minor tonality can be some mix of the minjor scales just mentioned.

9/ BUT ... just because the above is so common, it does not mean it is the only source of intervals for creating a tonality. For example, we can use Dorian or Mixolydian to create say Eb Dorian tonality or Eb Mixolydian tonality, using correct chord progressions from these scales. Note the word "correct".
Using modal terms and then saying tonality is dicey because it's more typical to separate the two concepts. I get what you're saying, but using the word tonality needlessly confuses it.

The scale Locrian wouldn't succeed ... it has the b3, but is doesn't have a 5.
Yeah.

There are also some symmetrical scales that can't succeed, even when they do contain (b)3 and 5. This is because of their symmetry. But none of the scale in the major-minor system, nor modes of these, are symmetrical.
I'm assuming you mean succeed as in establish a tonal centre, in which case, true in the traditional sense, but untrue in the sense that Stravinsky did it so why can't everyone.

10/ For modal scales, we may not choose to use chord progressions per-se, and just groove away on one or two chords.
To create a true modality you can't use a chord progression. The idea of progression is fundamentally tonal. I've said this a lot before and no one ever understands what I mean, but whatever.

cheers, Jerry



I guess the ultimate question here is why does this exist. What knowledge are you giving here? It seems like basic knowledge of tonality explained in a very long and convoluted way.
#39
I'm just gonna put this out there: Dorian is the best mode. All other opinions are flawed.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#40
Quote by theogonia777
I'm just gonna put this out there: Dorian is the best mode. All other opinions are flawed.


Hmph, you should hear all the stuff I've written in superlocrian

Definitely not a troll bait.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

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*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
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