Page 1 of 2
#1
I've recently come up with a bare-bones composition based on C Mixolydian (unintentionally, mind you. This is just how it happened). So that I don't forget it and for fun, I've been getting into the practice of notating everything that comes to the mind (melodies, rythms, etc.) However, I've a question about notating music based on particular modes: Would it be justifiable to write the key signature as F Major (one flat) even the the song doesn't ever actually resolve to F? The truth is that it seems a bit redundant to me to write B flat out over and over. Thanks in advance.
#2
Seems alright to me. You may want to write a little note saying it's C mixo though
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
#3
According to my theory prof composers go both ways on that. Some write out a key signature with 1 flat and some write out one with no flats but add the accidental throughout the piece. He refers to Lydian and Mixolydian as the major-ish modes and Dorian and Phrygian as the minor-ish modes and that's how you know which key signature to use if you chose the method of writing out ther accidentals as they appear in the piece.

Personally, I include the accidentals in the key signature for the sake of simplicity.
#4
Key signatures are a notational device, nothing more. You could notate it in Ab minor if you wanted to. It's entirely a personal decision.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#5
The most proper way of doing so is to put it in F major, and then put an asterix.
Then, above that, this:

Key signature denotes C mixolydian
Gore AND Core; unite!
#6
^I've never seen that on a modal piece.

Like Archeo Avis said, it's just a notational device for the sake of making it easier for the performer to read. Personally, I would put it either in C Major (Because it resolves to C, and use the Bb as an accidental), or F Major.
#9
Why would you need to add the stuff about the mode? It doesn't help them play it, or change the way they play it.
Pretty sure you don't need to, but you can if you want to.
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
#10
Quote by 12345abcd3
Why would you need to add the stuff about the mode? It doesn't help them play it, or change the way they play it.
The goal of writing sheet music is to make it as easy as possible for the performer to read. Stating that the song is modal would be potentially useful to the performer.
#11
Quote by bangoodcharlote
The goal of writing sheet music is to make it as easy as possible for the performer to read. Stating that the song is modal would be potentially useful to the performer.

How so? I can see for information purposes but not for actually playing the song.
#13
Quote by 12345abcd3
How so? I can see for information purposes but not for actually playing the song.

I've also seen it used frequently where the key signature for the parent major is notated and then an asterix at the top saying Key signature denotes C mixolydian

Personally I think it's quite useful to know it is modal. I know straight away where my home is and mentally shift into the right modal gear. I prefer to know upfront if the piece is modal. I don't always stick strictly to the notation but will improvise and make the piece my own. When I get a piece of music and am playing it for the first time knowing it is modal seems to help me. But I'm not a good sight reader and the more info I can get the better.

You don't have to include the short note at the top of the page but why wouldn't you? It's not as if it's a time consuming task.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Nov 7, 2008,
#14
Quote by bangoodcharlote
So you know what is happening in the song, how you can embellish, et cetera.

But that's not really the purpose of standard notation. A piece doesn't say that it's in F major or D minor, the key signature is simply their to avoid writing tons of accidentals. You are expected to work out what's happening in the song, or just play embelishments that sound good.
Quote by 20Tigers
I've also seen it used frequently where the key signature for the parent major is notated and then an asterix at the top saying Key signature denotes C mixolydian

Personally I think it's quite useful to know it is modal. I know straight away where my home is and mentally shift into the right modal gear. I prefer to know upfront if the piece is modal.

You don't have to include the short note at the top of the page but why wouldn't you? It's not as if it's a time consuming task.

But we don't write Key is x minor although that wouldn't be time consuming either.

And personally, I don't do any sort of mental shift when playing minor (I don't play modal stuff often), I just play what's written.

Also, when you've seen this was it in just a score of a piece or in a book that's teaching you the instrument? Because I can see the point in the latter, because it makes the player aware that they are playing in a mode (which is teaching the player).
#15
Quote by 12345abcd3
But that's not really the purpose of standard notation. A piece doesn't say that it's in F major or D minor, the key signature is simply their to avoid writing tons of accidentals. You are expected to work out what's happening in the song, or just play embelishments that sound good.
The point of standard notation is to write music that is as easy as possible for the performer to read and interpret. A simple note about the song being modal could be very beneficial.

It is not necessary, but neither is a putting any sharps or flats in the key signature. Both of those notational devices, however, could be very helpful to the performer.
#16
But we don't write Key is x minor


Speak for yourself. If the key signature doesn't match the key, or if there's any possible ambiguity, I'll routinely write "key is x minor".
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#17
Quote by Archeo Avis
Speak for yourself. If the key signature doesn't match the key, or if there's any possible ambiguity, I'll routinely write "key is x minor".

To be honest, that means ridiculously little. I could enter the thread about C meaning 4/4 and say that I write it to mean 3/4, and I wouldn't be wrong because that's how I do write it. Tell me that again once a company has published it. (you're not the only one who can be an arse)
#18
Quote by bangoodcharlote
The point of standard notation is to write music that is as easy as possible for the performer to read and interpret. A simple note about the song being modal could be very beneficial.

It is not necessary, but neither is a putting any sharps or flats in the key signature. Both of those notational devices, however, could be very helpful to the performer.

Key signatures are as much for the composers benifit as the performers, because it saves writing out all those accidentals.

But if there is a note like in C mixolydian, what changes are you going to make?You might accent the C to make it sound like it resolves there but that might not have been what the composer wanted.
#19
Quote by 12345abcd3
To be honest, that means ridiculously little. I could enter the thread about C meaning 4/4 and say that I write it to mean 3/4, and I wouldn't be wrong because that's how I do write it. Tell me that again once a company has published it. (you're not the only one who can be an arse)


*sigh*

A key signature is nothing more than a notational device. The only relationship it has to key is that the key signature is generally chosen to match the key, for the sake of making the score easier to read and write. The key signature is not required to even correspond to a diatonic scale, and you can really use any combination of sharps and flats you like (you could write a key signature suggesting the whole tone scale if you wanted to). If you've never seen this, you need to get out more.

I could enter the thread about C meaning 4/4 and say that I write it to mean 3/4


That analogy makes no sense. The symbol "C" describes a specific time signature. Key signatures have no relationship to key.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#20
Quote by 12345abcd3
Also, when you've seen this was it in just a score of a piece or in a book that's teaching you the instrument? Because I can see the point in the latter, because it makes the player aware that they are playing in a mode (which is teaching the player).

In the score.

If you are in a situation where you are just playing the notes as you read them I can see how it might be superfluous information.

However if you just want to add parts or mix it up a little bit to suit your own style, tastes, and situation or are improvising some lines then it helps to know if you're in a specific mode.

You can figure out the mode through the way the composer has used chords and notes to resolve the piece. Or he/she could be nice enough to just write it at the start for you.

If you're jamming with another muso what's the one thing you both need to know? Key. It's the first thing you communicate. "Dude, E minor. Let's jam." is different than "Dude, G major. Let's jam." And different again than "Dude, D mixolydian. Let's Jam".

You might not use a score to jam. But sometimes if I have a keyboardist playing a song note for note from a score and I'm improvising over the top it's great for him to be able to be specific "In C mixolydian" as opposed to "In F".

It might not mean anything different to you but it does to me.

Like I said it's not necessary but personally, I prefer it.
Si
#21
Quote by 12345abcd3
You might accent the C to make it sound like it resolves there but that might not have been what the composer wanted.
In the case that the composer doesn't want the piece to be in C Mixolydian, it would be ridiculous to for him to write a note saying the song is in C Mixolydian, would it not?

That's a rhetorical question. You know what a rhetorical question is, right?
#22
Quote by Archeo Avis
*sigh*

A key signature is nothing more than a notational device. The only relationship it has to key is that the key signature is generally chosen to match the key, for the sake of making the score easier to read and write. The key signature is not required to even correspond to a diatonic scale, and you can really use any combination of sharps and flats you like (you could write a key signature suggesting the whole tone scale if you wanted to). If you've never seen this, you need to get out more.

Thanks for telling me somthing I know and that I never contested. The thing that I contested was putting "the key is x minor" because most composers don't.

There is no need to adress any ambiguity in the key in standard notation, because the key doesn't change the way you play it. If you write "the key is in x minor" then it should have no effect on how it is played and if it does then it just makes your piece even less clear.
Quote by Archeo Avis

That analogy makes no sense. The symbol "C" describes a specific time signature. Key signatures have no relationship to key.

If someone said that C means 4/4 and I said "Speak for yourself, when I write C it means 3/4", then it wouldn't matter to the thread because I would be going against common practise.

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear but by 'we' I meant most composers, and therefore the people who follow the common conventions. I just got annoyed at the fact that you thought yourself such a great composers that your practise should be akknowledged by everyone.

Quote by bangoodcharlote
In the case that the composer doesn't want the piece to be in C Mixolydian, it would be ridiculous to for him to write a note saying the song is in C Mixolydian, would it not?

That's a rhetorical question. You know what a rhetorical question is, right?

I meant the composer didn't want the C accented, not he (or she) didn't want it to resolve to C.
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at Nov 7, 2008,
#23
You didn't even comprehend my post, did you? Go back and reread it.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#24
That's a rhetorical question. You know what a rhetorical question is, right?
Ooh, a bitchy remark about the opponents intelligence...bring on the name-calling and swearing!

This thread has gotten ridiculous - I'm going to report it

*reported*
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
#25
Quote by Archeo Avis
You didn't even comprehend my post, did you? Go back and reread it.

Get the fuck over yourself. I understood you post just fine.

Try and understand that what you personally choose to do (eg. write x minor) doesn't affect the rest of the musical community.

The thing that annoys me most is what you say above your avatar. Just because everyone worships you because you know a lot of theory doesn't give you the right to treat people like crap. And that goes to Bangoodcharlotte aswell (thanks to the last line of your post), what provoked you, someone daring to disagree with you?
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at Nov 7, 2008,
#26
Quote by Ænimus Prime
Ooh, a bitchy remark about the opponents intelligence...bring on the name-calling and swearing!
I've do no name-calling and haven't cursed at him once. Arch and I are trying to educate a misinformed guitarist.

FP, Psych, Danny, please let us at least attempt to teach this guy.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Nov 7, 2008,
#27
Quote by 12345abcd3
Get the fuck over yourself. I understood you post just fine.

Try and understand that what you personally choose to do (eg. write x minor) doesn't affect the rest of the musical community.

The thing that annoys me most is what you say above your avatar. Just because everyone worships you because you know a lot of theory doesn't give you the right to treat people like crap. And that goes to Bangoodcharlotte aswell (thanks to the last line of your post), what provoked you, someone daring to disagree with you?


I have been civil this entire thread. It's you who can't seem to even comprehend the arguments of other people. Everything in your previous post was responded to in the post you were quoting. Read it again.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#28
Quote by Sue
I've do no name-calling and haven't cursed at him once.
Didn't say you did. I meant that the thread was soon to degenerate into name-calling and swearing. As it did.
Quote by Sue

Arch and I are trying to educate a misinformed guitarist.
I don't think it's a good idea to imply that the person you're trying to teach is stupid.
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
#29
Quote by Ænimus Prime
I don't think it's a good idea to imply that the person you're trying to teach is stupid.


I think I was pretty explicit. I didn't imply anything.

Back on topic: Ignoring the fact that compositional ability is irrelevant to this discussion (making 12345's comment an ad hominem), I'll lower myself to his level and mention Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which uses a key signature of C major. Granted, Bach isn't a composer on the level of whatever shitty pop music you listen to, but I'm reasonably confident in his knowledge of notational devices such as key signature.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#30
Quote by Ænimus Prime
I don't think it's a good idea to imply that the person you're trying to teach is stupid.
The guy may have a full academic scholarship to Harvard (we pwn Harvard, but they have the "sex appeal" as far as academics go) and be on pace for honors degrees in Electrical Engineering and Biochemistry, but he doesn't understand this issue. I would not expect someone to understand a concept if I am trying to teach it to them, regardless of general intellectual ability or even prowess in many aspects of the field in which the gap in knowledge is.
#31
Quote by Archeo Avis
I think I was pretty explicit. I didn't imply anything.

Back on topic: Ignoring the fact that compositional ability is irrelevant to this discussion (making 12345's comment an ad hominem), I'll lower myself to his level and mention Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, which uses a key signature of C major. Granted, Bach isn't a composer on the level of whatever shitty pop music you listen to, but I'm reasonably confident in his knowledge of notational devices such as key signature.

Pure win.
Quote by Metalfreak777
Dude if i were you i'd look more at bands like Dragonforce, Dragonland, Dream Theatre and Power Quest, most of their songs are either in E major, A major, C major or D majhor

#32
From Wikipedia:

"The famous "Dorian" Toccata and Fugue by Bach is so named because, although it is in D minor, there is no key signature, implying that it is in the key of C. Instead, the B flats necessary for D minor are written as accidentals. When musical modes, such as Lydian or Dorian, are written using key signatures, they are called transposed modes."
#33
Quote by one vision
From Wikipedia:

"The famous "Dorian" Toccata and Fugue by Bach is so named because, although it is in D minor, there is no key signature, implying that it is in the key of C. Instead, the B flats necessary for D minor are written as accidentals. When musical modes, such as Lydian or Dorian, are written using key signatures, they are called transposed modes."


I would also mention Bartok's use of non-standard key signatures. But he's not a respected composer at all, so he doesn't count.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#34
Quote by Archeo Avis
I would also mention Bartok's use of non-standard key signatures. But he's not a respected composer at all, so he doesn't count.


A question:


Why the hell would you mislead and confuse the performer by writing a certain key signature while writting the piece in a key (or mode) that doesn't correspond to that key signature?


How would you know (at first glance) in which key it is?
#35
Quote by gonzaw
A question:


Why the hell would you mislead and confuse the performer by writing a certain key signature while writting the piece in a key (or mode) that doesn't correspond to that key signature?

How would you know (at first glance) in which key it is?


How is it misleading? The key signature has absolutely no relationship to the key beyond being popularly chosen to correspond to whatever key the piece is in. It's one and only purpose is to spare the composer having to write out an absurd number of accidentals. There are plenty of situations in which I would use a non-standard key signature (if I used one at all (I prefer to avoid them)), for instance...

1) The music changes keys briefly or rapidly, and constantly changing key signatures would just be confusing and difficult to keep track of.
2) The song makes consistent use of of a non-diatonic tone. If the entire piece was in phrygian dominant, I would most likely write a key signature consistent with the number of sharps and flats in phrygian dominant.
3) The key change does not last long enough to warrant a change in key signature.
4) I just plain don't like key using signatures. Much of my music is notated without one.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#36
Quote by Archeo Avis
How is it misleading? The key signature has absolutely no relationship to the key beyond being popularly chosen to correspond to whatever key the piece is in. It's one and only purpose is to spare the composer having to write out an absurd number of accidentals. There are plenty of situations in which I would use a non-standard key signature (if I used one at all (I prefer to avoid them)), for instance...

1) The music changes keys briefly or rapidly, and constantly changing key signatures would just be confusing and difficult to keep track of.
2) The song makes consistent use of of a non-diatonic tone. If the entire piece was in phrygian dominant, I would most likely write a key signature consistent with the number of sharps and flats in phrygian dominant.
3) The key change does not last long enough to warrant a change in key signature.
4) I just plain don't like key using signatures. Much of my music is notated without one.


But it is a common conception that almost everyone looks at key signatures to determine the key of the song, because well, the name says it: key signature.

Obviously you can use a key signature for anything you want, you can use an A# minor key signature but write the piece in C major, etc.
But why would you make your personal issues/comformities come in play when you are writting a piece? Isn't the purpose of notating and writing music to communicate music better?
If you are confusing people by going against common conceptions and basicly consensus agreement then you are basicly making communication more difficult, which kind of goes against the whole concept of writing music.

Of course there are exceptions like what you said about phrigian dominant, and very quick change of keys (which in any case there should be a notation somewhere to indicate them and avoid further confusion), but the general concept of it seems kind of pointless...
I am talking about writing music with the goal of having other people read it (again, the general conception of writing music), because if it is only for you, you can do whatever you want...

I can't think of any analogy, but one may be of alternating double sharps with common sharps if you already have the sharp in the key signature (like, if you have an A major key signature, and you want to use EX, you would write E# since you already have the sharp in the key signature)
Again, not a good analogy because I don't know if it is alowed to do or if people actually do it (well, I've done it some times though , pure laziness when writing all harmonic/melodic minor scales for homework), but if it is done, it would basicly confuse people because it breaks conceptions they had about understanding music by reading it..
#37
Ever heard of cautionary accidentals? They're not required in a piece but they do make it easier for a performer to read. The same goes for adding accidentals throughout a piece to notate a mode, or stating the tonic and the mode somewhere. A composer has to assume that a performer only knows how to read music and play it and nothing else. When I play a piece of music, I feel much more confident if I know what the tonic is.

I know how modes work so I can work around them but not every musician can do that and those people might be confused if they ever got a piece in E phrygian thinking it's in A minor or C major. When you play without confidence your overall feel of the music doesn't sound as good, even if you played all the notes right.
#38
Quote by pwrmax
Ever heard of cautionary accidentals? They're not required in a piece but they do make it easier for a performer to read. The same goes for adding accidentals throughout a piece to notate a mode, or stating the tonic and the mode somewhere. A composer has to assume that a performer only knows how to read music and play it and nothing else. When I play a piece of music, I feel much more confident if I know what the tonic is.

I know how modes work so I can work around them but not every musician can do that and those people might be confused if they ever got a piece in E phrygian thinking it's in A minor or C major. When you play without confidence your overall feel of the music doesn't sound as good, even if you played all the notes right.


That's why I said it, how do you know the accidental acts as a cautionary alteration, or if it acts as an accidental (also taking the structural alterations into mind)?
The same could be said about key signatures and if they denote the key or not.
#40
Quote by gonzaw
if you have an A major key signature, and you want to use EX, you would write E# since you already have the sharp in the key signature
No, you'd right Ex. That's the convention used in order to avoid the confusion you described in you next post.

Regardless of the key, when an accidental is used, play what is written (don't 'add' it to the key sig).
My name is Andy
Quote by MudMartin
Only looking at music as math and theory, is like only looking at the love of your life as flesh and bone.

Swinging to the rhythm of the New World Order,
Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
Page 1 of 2