Scales - do you change or can you change the scale midsong?

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
Caine123
KVRAF
6763 posts since 5 Aug, 2009

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 12:24 pm

Hey guys very noob question but i saw a video where someone showed how chords are or can be the same as scales.
So normally i pick a scale and know by ear and piano roll that im in key. Ok nice, but what about chord progressions?

Here comes the totally out of the box and crazy question from me.
If you do chord progressions are these in the same scale still or do they change the scale?

Be gentle please ;)
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BertKoor
KVRAF
13321 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 1:18 pm

Can you come up with any good reason why not?

How is it relevant what I do?
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Caine123
KVRAF

Topic Starter

6763 posts since 5 Aug, 2009

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 1:33 pm

Thx i see some how to tutorials e.g. rap or hip hop beats, i dunno if there is a difference ;) and they choose a scale and stay in scale.
But i am no good in theory sadly and wonder if a Madonna song, michael jackson etc stay just in 1 scale from beginning to end or if they change too and if so how i know which scale is compatible to another? Sounds really stupid i guess but i mean it for real ;). I am not back at the pc sadly to start my chord progressio to find out if a chord progression stays in a scale or not.
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Daimonicon
KVRAF
2603 posts since 30 Aug, 2012 from Sweden

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 1:34 pm

Whatever sounds good to your ears. There are many songs that go outside any scale .If you feel your song will sound much better with e.g that A flat during the pre-chorus that isn't in the scale, just do it. Don't think, just play and feel.

N__K
KVRist
151 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 2:41 pm

Caine123 wrote:
Tue Oct 05, 2021 1:33 pm
[...] wonder if a Madonna song, michael jackson etc stay just in 1 scale from beginning to end or if they change too [...]
Personally, I think the best way to find that out is to analyze the composition [of each song].

Sometimes that requires doing transcription oneself, which is a good way to train one's musical perception. Another option is to look for existing transcriptions as MIDI files (or staff scores) on the web, assume that they're correct enough, and analyze them.

As far as I know, many of Madonna's and Michael Jackson's songs stay in a specific scale for their entire duration. Transcriptions of their older material are almost certainly available somewhere on the web as MIDI files.

If you have a specific example song in mind, perhaps we could take a listen and a look at it.


Caine123 wrote:
Tue Oct 05, 2021 1:33 pm
[...] how i know which scale is compatible to another?
There are various guidelines in music theory books, based on analyses of previous eras of music. The challenge is that, indeed, anything can sound good depending on the genre, and the music maker, and the listeners.

Torchlight
KVRist
385 posts since 10 Apr, 2010

Post Tue Oct 05, 2021 3:29 pm

I also learned to play keyboard just as scales, and have no deep understanding of theory.

From the smattering of knowledge I have picked up, as I understand it, what you are describing is a key change. Most pop songs will stay in the same scale. Classical music will generally switch keys (sonata form involves transitioning to a different key then transitioning back again). The keys are typically related to one another; they will have overlapping notes, so there will be "bridge" passages between one key and the next that will use only the shared notes so the ear becomes used to those and the transition to the new key does not sound too jarring to the listener.

The "Circle of Fifths" diagram shows the keys that are most closely related to one another (i.e. share the most notes) but there would usually still have to be some transition or the music would sound jarring.

Caine123
KVRAF

Topic Starter

6763 posts since 5 Aug, 2009

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 4:24 am

thx a lot to you guys! really helpful informations :).
N__K wrote:
Tue Oct 05, 2021 2:41 pm
Caine123 wrote:
Tue Oct 05, 2021 1:33 pm
[...] wonder if a Madonna song, michael jackson etc stay just in 1 scale from beginning to end or if they change too [...]
Personally, I think the best way to find that out is to analyze the composition [of each song].

Sometimes that requires doing transcription oneself, which is a good way to train one's musical perception. Another option is to look for existing transcriptions as MIDI files (or staff scores) on the web, assume that they're correct enough, and analyze them.

As far as I know, many of Madonna's and Michael Jackson's songs stay in a specific scale for their entire duration. Transcriptions of their older material are almost certainly available somewhere on the web as MIDI files.

If you have a specific example song in mind, perhaps we could take a listen and a look at it.


Caine123 wrote:
Tue Oct 05, 2021 1:33 pm
[...] how i know which scale is compatible to another?
There are various guidelines in music theory books, based on analyses of previous eras of music. The challenge is that, indeed, anything can sound good depending on the genre, and the music maker, and the listeners.
hey thanks so much! yeah i got 2 examples im unsure if they stay really in one scale all the time, i write down the breaks where im unsure but of course if you got the time and enjoy them you can of course listen through :).

1st example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmnCKftMbPw
the scalefinder online says b minor (i dunno how well tehse work out though)

breaks at 2:15 mins & 2:45 mins & 3:43 min

2nd example
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFfybn_W8Ak
breaks at 0:44 mins & 1:16 mins & 2:00 mins & 2:20 mins
online scale finder says g minor

breaks i mean harmonychanges?
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N__K
KVRist
151 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:19 am

Caine123 wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 4:24 am
[...] i got 2 examples im unsure if they stay really in one scale all the time [...]
Quick notes (as always, I appreciate fellow theory fans checking my findings for errors):


Perturbator - Retrogenesis

Appears to be based on D Natural Minor scale, with chords generally conforming to it, but some notes in arpeggios deviating from it. At 2:13 - 2:39 the bass is in Eb (or D#, as FL Studio piano roll shows it by default), which indeed is not part of D Natural Minor scale.




Carpenter Brut - Roller Mobster

The beginning suggests G Natural Minor; however at 0:35, 0:42, 1:33 and 3:01 appears to be the note Gb (or F#), which is the seventh note in G Harmonic Minor scale; it would be part of D major chord (D F# A), which is the "V" chord in G Harmonic Minor.

At 3:31 there appears to be Db (or C#) note which is outside of both G Natural Minor and G Harmonic Minor scales.




I intend to do a rudimentary transcription of bass and basic chords in these, unless someone beats me to it. It'll take me several days until I can post the results.

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BertKoor
KVRAF
13321 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:23 am

Those could simply be accidentals.
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My MusicCalc is served over https!!

Caine123
KVRAF

Topic Starter

6763 posts since 5 Aug, 2009

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:38 am

N__K wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:19 am
Caine123 wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 4:24 am
[...] i got 2 examples im unsure if they stay really in one scale all the time [...]
Quick notes (as always, I appreciate fellow theory fans checking my findings for errors):


Perturbator - Retrogenesis

Appears to be based on D Natural Minor scale, with chords generally conforming to it, but some notes in arpeggios deviating from it. At 2:13 - 2:39 the bass is in Eb (or D#, as FL Studio piano roll shows it by default), which indeed is not part of D Natural Minor scale.




Carpenter Brut - Roller Mobster

The beginning suggests G Natural Minor; however at 0:35, 0:42, 1:33 and 3:01 appears to be the note Gb (or F#), which is the seventh note in G Harmonic Minor scale; it would be part of D major chord (D F# A), which is the "V" chord in G Harmonic Minor.

At 3:31 there appears to be Db (or C#) note which is outside of both G Natural Minor and G Harmonic Minor scales.




I intend to do a rudimentary transcription of bass and basic chords in these, unless someone beats me to it. It'll take me several days until I can post the results.
thx so much!

Perturbator - Retrogenesis
so maybe the bass seems to be wrongly played in this section i dunno but D Natural Minor scale is not Normally compatible with Eb as as far as i see is it?

Carpenter Brut - Roller Mobster
WOW, this is complex :D would you say these scales are just maybe chosen by feel or can you check this progression with some theory knowledge like the circle of fifths? cause i wouldnt know how they come to these 3 scales.

thx a lot!
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shawshawraw
KVRist
307 posts since 4 Aug, 2020 from Montreal, Canada

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:54 am

Caine123 wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:38 am
N__K wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:19 am
Perturbator - Retrogenesis

Appears to be based on D Natural Minor scale, with chords generally conforming to it, but some notes in arpeggios deviating from it. At 2:13 - 2:39 the bass is in Eb (or D#, as FL Studio piano roll shows it by default), which indeed is not part of D Natural Minor scale.
Perturbator - Retrogenesis
so maybe the bass seems to be wrongly played in this section i dunno but D Natural Minor scale is not Normally compatible with Eb as as far as i see is it?
I'm sure 2:13 - 2:39 is an abrupt switch to Eb minor. Listen to the melody 1 b7... (8va up =>) b6 5 b3 1.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
9703 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:08 am

Torchlight wrote:
Tue Oct 05, 2021 3:29 pm
I also learned to play keyboard just as scales, and have no deep understanding of theory.

From the smattering of knowledge I have picked up, as I understand it, what you are describing is a key change. Most pop songs will stay in the same scale. Classical music will generally switch keys (sonata form involves transitioning to a different key then transitioning back again).
Key changes.. :love:

Not just classical;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-rB0pHI9fU

Absolute genius songwriting.

shawshawraw
KVRist
307 posts since 4 Aug, 2020 from Montreal, Canada

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:11 am

Caine123 wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:38 am
Carpenter Brut - Roller Mobster
WOW, this is complex :D would you say these scales are just maybe chosen by feel or can you check this progression with some theory knowledge like the circle of fifths? cause i wouldnt know how they come to these 3 scales.
It's simply common to use both b7 and natural 7 in a minor song. (In the scale-speak, we use Natural Minor and Harmonic Minor alternately.)

N__K
KVRist
151 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:14 am

Caine123 wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:38 am
[...] maybe the bass seems to be wrongly played in this section [...]
That's the thing - in creative composing nothing is strictly "wrong", as such.

The laws of physics and human biology result in the fact that some combinations of intervals will sound more "consonant" while others will sound more "dissonant". Dissonance is sometimes perceives as "wrong" by humans, but on the other hand too much consonance is often uninteresting.

7-pitch scales can be seen as a middle ground between "too boring" and "too complex". They are often a good reference to start from, but in some kinds of music it's quite common to deviate from them, or to think in larger pitch spaces from the beginning.

N__K
KVRist
151 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:18 am

shawshawraw wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:54 am
Caine123 wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:38 am
N__K wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 5:19 am
Perturbator - Retrogenesis

Appears to be based on D Natural Minor scale, with chords generally conforming to it, but some notes in arpeggios deviating from it. At 2:13 - 2:39 the bass is in Eb (or D#, as FL Studio piano roll shows it by default), which indeed is not part of D Natural Minor scale.
Perturbator - Retrogenesis
so maybe the bass seems to be wrongly played in this section i dunno but D Natural Minor scale is not Normally compatible with Eb as as far as i see is it?
I'm sure 2:13 - 2:39 is an abrupt switch to Eb minor. Listen to the melody 1 b7... (8va up =>) b6 5 b3 1.
Yep, I would think so as well. I have to go through it with an analyser for more certainty.

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