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

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
Caine123
KVRAF

Topic Starter

6767 posts since 5 Aug, 2009

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:35 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.
thx, but sorry i dont understand the 1 b7.... (8va) etc. im a total noob and only know cdefgab/h and the piano roll in fl studio :D

so i looked up, Perturbator - Retrogenesis is
D Natural Minor Scale and the notes are
D – E – F – G – A – B♭ – C – D

how do i come to
E Flat Minor Scale (this is Eb minor is it?)
E♭ – F – G♭ – A♭ – B♭ – C♭ – D♭ – E♭
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BertKoor
KVRAF
13329 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:53 am

@2:13 it transposes a semitone up, 2:39 it transposes back down by one semitone.
That's what we call a modulation.
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Caine123
KVRAF

Topic Starter

6767 posts since 5 Aug, 2009

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 7:05 am

BertKoor wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:53 am
@2:13 it transposes a semitone up, 2:39 it transposes back down by one semitone.
That's what we call a modulation.
thx so much, so such a transposing in semitone is not really a chord progression is it? cause this is very easy in a DAW to do and a nice idea actually :D
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shawshawraw
KVRist
307 posts since 4 Aug, 2020 from Montreal, Canada

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 8:40 am

Caine123 wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:35 am
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.
thx, but sorry i dont understand the 1 b7.... (8va) etc. im a total noob and only know cdefgab/h and the piano roll in fl studio :D

so i looked up, Perturbator - Retrogenesis is
D Natural Minor Scale and the notes are
D – E – F – G – A – B♭ – C – D

how do i come to
E Flat Minor Scale (this is Eb minor is it?)
E♭ – F – G♭ – A♭ – B♭ – C♭ – D♭ – E♭
No worries! I can hear and sing with movable-do solfege, so when I said 1 b7... b6 5 b3 1 on Eb minor, I meant these notes:

1=Eb
b7=Db
b6=Cb
... etc.

And that "8va up" means moving up an octave.
so such a transposing in semitone is not really a chord progression is it?
Suggested listen: The Beatles - When I Get Home :D

Quoting jancivil, "anything can happen, period"!

N__K
KVRist
151 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Wed Oct 06, 2021 3:29 pm

Caine123 wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 7:05 am
BertKoor wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 6:53 am
@2:13 it transposes a semitone up, 2:39 it transposes back down by one semitone.
That's what we call a modulation.
thx so much, so such a transposing in semitone is not really a chord progression is it? cause this is very easy in a DAW to do and a nice idea actually :D
DAW is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural ;)

In this case the composer could have indeed simply selected all notes and moved them a semitone up on the 12-pitch piano roll, for that section. I can't say so for sure until I've taken a better look at it with spectrum analysis, but that's closest to what it sounds like.



***


As for it being a "chord progression", here's a thought experiment:

Consider a "scale" that includes all 12 pitches; and the idea that any chord (or combination of pitches, whether they're actually called chords in traditional sense) could be built on any pitch, at any time.

To you, does that sound less or more confusing than thinking in 7-pitch scales?

Caine123
KVRAF

Topic Starter

6767 posts since 5 Aug, 2009

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:46 am

This is really great info guys and thx for being so patient!

I learned that a scale has always? 7 notes in an octave. So you can play all notes within that which harmonize each other, sure if i play another note not in the scale i hear that thankfully!
So a 12-pitch scale is not possible afaik.
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N__K
KVRist
151 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 2:35 am

Caine123 wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:46 am
I learned that a scale has always? 7 notes in an octave. So you can play all notes within that which harmonize each other, sure if i play another note not in the scale i hear that thankfully!
So a 12-pitch scale is not possible afaik.
That's one way to think of it, yes. Many musical traditions settle on 7-pitch scales, although there can actually be scales with less or more pitches than that. But 7 is indeed the most common number.

I'll assume that that way of thinking is more natural to you at this time, so let's forget that 12-pitch thought experiment.


***


If I understand correctly, you asked whether modulating to another key (and/or scale) is a chord progression.

If we think of "chord progression" in most common meaning - a sequence of chords, usually within some scale, and that sequence usually repeating a few times during the song/track - then modulation is not the same phenomenon, even though in modulation one technically also "progresses to another chord".


The following Wikipedia pages might be of interest:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chord_progression
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostinato#Vamp

The next interesting concept is the rate and rhythm of chord changes:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic_rhythm

Don't worry about not understanding most of the things on those pages ;) It's helpful to simply realize that such concepts exist. Just take in what you can, at whatever pace that feels comfortable to you.

By the way, do you have any music theory books for reference (be they in electronic or paper form)?

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

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:02 am

Caine123 wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 1:46 am
I learned that a scale has always? 7 notes in an octave. So you can play all notes within that which harmonize each other, sure if i play another note not in the scale i hear that thankfully!
So a 12-pitch scale is not possible afaik.
I'm not sure if a "scale" is defined as all notes that "harmonize each other." Think sustaining the note F on a CMaj7 chord, where everything's taken straight from the C major scale. I'd only feel comfortable using F as a passing note.

Wikipedia tells me
In music theory, a scale is any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch. A scale ordered by increasing pitch is an ascending scale, and a scale ordered by decreasing pitch is a descending scale.
We do have the term "chromatic scale" when referring to the 12-pitch scale.

Hanley
KVRist
149 posts since 21 Apr, 2011 from Alexandria, VA

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:47 am

It's easy to go down a rabbit hole of theory in situations like this, but sometimes a simpler approach is more practical.

For example, with Roller Mobster, instead of thinking about what scales the non-diatonic chords (chords that don't fit in the song's key) come from, I recommend just thinking of these chords as deviations from the song's scale and not worry about what other scale they might come from.

For example, as @N__K pointed out, Roller Mobster is in G Minor, but there's a D Major chord which technically isn't diatonic. I'd argue it's the most common non-diatonic chord, which may be why there's a whole other minor scale (harmonic minor) that exists to accommodate it. But rather than thinking about this other scale, I think it's simpler to just know that's an option and move on.

It's also helpful to think of these non-diatonic chords in terms of numbers, rather than letters, as @shawshawraw did. An oversimplified way of doing this is to simply count up the scale degrees. So in G Natural Minor the D Major chord could be thought of as a 5 Major chord. That way no matter what minor key you're in you just find the 5th scale tone and know that you can make it Major if you wanted to.

I'd do two things:
1. Figure out the chord progressions of songs you like, and see if there are any non-diatonic chords in them, and make a note of those.
2. Experiment! Make a diatonic chord progression (meaning all of the chords use notes in the song's scale) and start tweaking them to see how it sounds. I love doing this. I'm particularly fond of changing a natural minor scale's 4 Minor chord into a 4 Major chord. I don't care why it works, or what scale it comes from, I just like it. So I use it from time to time.
Interactive training apps for modern musicians
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N__K
KVRist
151 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:48 am

shawshawraw wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:02 am
I'm not sure if a "scale" is defined as all notes that "harmonize each other." Think sustaining the note F on a CMaj7 chord, where everything's taken straight from the C major scale. I'd only feel comfortable using F as a passing note.
For comparison, I can imagine situations where all 12 of 12-TET pitch classes are played simultaneously (or in fairly quick arpeggios) and I'd like the result. The "trick" would be voicing it so that most of the dissonances are in treble range; and it becomes easier when instrument timbres have only a few partials (or are just sinewaves).

But that's beyond the subject of this thread.

Topically, I'd say that diminished chords (such as B D F) and intervals of minor second (such as E <> F) when used as part of a chord are probably the easiest way to find some dissonance in a diatonic scale. Depending on the person, that may be exactly what the track needs to make it more interesting. Or not :)

N__K
KVRist
151 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:53 am

Hanley wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:47 am
I'm particularly fond of changing a natural minor scale's 4 Minor chord into a 4 Major chord. I don't care why it works, or what scale it comes from [...]
Unless I'm misreading, that'd be Dorian. I like it too.

Hanley
KVRist
149 posts since 21 Apr, 2011 from Alexandria, VA

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 7:26 am

N__K wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:53 am
Hanley wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:47 am
I'm particularly fond of changing a natural minor scale's 4 Minor chord into a 4 Major chord. I don't care why it works, or what scale it comes from [...]
Unless I'm misreading, that'd be Dorian. I like it too.
True. But if the remaining chords are part of natural minor, like say a b6 major chord, then you're back to natural minor. And you could take it further and say either dorian or natural could then be considered the song's main scale, and the other the borrowed scale. But then back down the semantic rabbit hole you go.
Interactive training apps for modern musicians
Building Blocks – DAW-Based Composition and Music Theory http://bit.ly/2OoU99N
Syntorial – Synthesis - http://bit.ly/2LPwD3E

N__K
KVRist
151 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 2:57 pm

Hanley wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 7:26 am
N__K wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:53 am
Hanley wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:47 am
I'm particularly fond of changing a natural minor scale's 4 Minor chord into a 4 Major chord. I don't care why it works, or what scale it comes from [...]
Unless I'm misreading, that'd be Dorian. I like it too.
True. But if the remaining chords are part of natural minor, like say a b6 major chord, then you're back to natural minor. And you could take it further and say either dorian or natural could then be considered the song's main scale, and the other the borrowed scale. But then back down the semantic rabbit hole you go.
Indeed. That's one of reasons why in my personal practice I'm increasingly thinking in 12 degrees (0-11) with the idea that any collection of pitches can be on any degree. It results in numerical representations somewhat similar to idea of roman numerals - for example, "i - IV" would be "0°(0,3,7) - 5°(0,4,7)". It is suitable for representing some traditional concepts, while entirely sidestepping others.
Anyway, presenting that system does not seem topical here, so I'll refrain from doing any more of that, at this time.

Suffice to say, I agree with what you wrote.


EDIT:
Whoa. I just clicked your Building Blocks link and some of writings there seemed to echo many of my own thoughts from last two decades (as well as my posts from last two weeks on this very forum).

I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who dares to modernize theories. Except that you are commercializing it, while I'm mostly still in planning & testing stages, and likely to remain there for foreseeable future.

Hanley
KVRist
149 posts since 21 Apr, 2011 from Alexandria, VA

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:37 pm

N__K wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 2:57 pm
Hanley wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 7:26 am
N__K wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:53 am
Hanley wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:47 am
I'm particularly fond of changing a natural minor scale's 4 Minor chord into a 4 Major chord. I don't care why it works, or what scale it comes from [...]
Unless I'm misreading, that'd be Dorian. I like it too.
True. But if the remaining chords are part of natural minor, like say a b6 major chord, then you're back to natural minor. And you could take it further and say either dorian or natural could then be considered the song's main scale, and the other the borrowed scale. But then back down the semantic rabbit hole you go.
Indeed. That's one of reasons why in my personal practice I'm increasingly thinking in 12 degrees (0-11) with the idea that any collection of pitches can be on any degree. It results in numerical representations somewhat similar to idea of roman numerals - for example, "i - IV" would be "0°(0,3,7) - 5°(0,4,7)". It is suitable for representing some traditional concepts, while entirely sidestepping others.
Anyway, presenting that system does not seem topical here, so I'll refrain from doing any more of that, at this time.

Suffice to say, I agree with what you wrote.


EDIT:
Whoa. I just clicked your Building Blocks link and some of writings there seemed to echo many of my own thoughts from last two decades (as well as my posts from last two weeks on this very forum).

I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who dares to modernize theories. Except that you are commercializing it, while I'm mostly still in planning & testing stages, and likely to remain there for foreseeable future.
Thanks for checking out Building Blocks!

Yes, we're definitely on the same page. I have a ton of respect for the ingenuity of traditional music theory and its accomplishment in organizing pitch and rhythm into a set of definable and teachable principles. But its long history and classical-based origins has made it dense and not always conducive to actual music-making, especially for DAW musicians (not to mention woefully non-inclusive of the music of many cultures).

As you said "representing some traditional concepts, while entirely sidestepping others." is the right approach. And the OP's dilemma shows it. Shed the density of theory, pick out what you need, and frame it in a way that's hyper-practical.

P.S. I love the idea of allowing yourself all 12 pitches and the freedom that comes with it. It marries structure with experimentation in an exciting way.
Interactive training apps for modern musicians
Building Blocks – DAW-Based Composition and Music Theory http://bit.ly/2OoU99N
Syntorial – Synthesis - http://bit.ly/2LPwD3E

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

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:24 am

Hanley wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:37 pm
As you said "representing some traditional concepts, while entirely sidestepping others." is the right approach. And the OP's dilemma shows it. Shed the density of theory, pick out what you need, and frame it in a way that's hyper-practical.
I was thinking about "OP's dilemma" you summarized. I'll add that "density of theory" is all relative to what our ears can do for each individual. A producer friend once told me 'stay cautious whenever your ears surpass your fingers', and I think it's also a matter of concern when one's theoretical knowledge surpasses his/her ears.

But also everyone has to start somewhere, and it's always a balance in action :p

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