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

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
Hanley
KVRist
149 posts since 21 Apr, 2011 from Alexandria, VA

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:56 am

shawshawraw wrote:
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
Are you saying that, in essence, when it comes to theory, put your ears first? Or put another way, train your ear to recognize each bit of theory that you learn before moving on to the next bit?
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shawshawraw
KVRist
326 posts since 4 Aug, 2020 from Montreal, Canada

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:47 pm

Hanley wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:56 am
Are you saying that, in essence, when it comes to theory, put your ears first? Or put another way, train your ear to recognize each bit of theory that you learn before moving on to the next bit?
Definitely can't put it in a rigid practice cycle, though! You know sometimes knowledge has to come first and then practice... but practice is a must! For example, it's super easy to discern that OP's question is a non-question (sorry OP...), because I've heard all sorts of planned and random and temporary modulations in casual listening (in whatever genre!), and it's totally a choice of the composer. Learning from actual music is much much faster with ears in place ;)

N__K
KVRist
152 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:45 pm

I've been slowly working on transcribing the basics of Perturbator - Retrogenesis, and so far it appears that composer intentionally used dissonance of minor second (one semitone) at various times, in various ways. Thus, for a "methodical explanation" to some of the notes being outside of D Natural Minor, that'd be my closest guess at this time.

Aside from already-discussed modulation to Eb Minor, I base that assumption on observation that the four-bar bass pattern which is mostly in Bb has two variants: one with a few notes in B (used in sections 0:00-1:28 and 2:44-3:43) and one with a few notes in C (used elsewhere in the track).

Both variants of the pattern serve the same harmonic purpose, which in roman numerals would be marked up as "bVI" (though some people may prefer the expression "VI in Natural Minor").
The essence of it, in this case, is that Bb is the sixth pitch of D Natural Minor scale; and when it is clearly in bass, the notes above it are likely to be perceived as part of Bb chord of some kind. The basic triad on 6th degree of D Natural Minor would consist of pitches Bb, D, and F, with bass in Bb.
I assume that the composer had a reason for making two variants of the Bb bass pattern, one "spiced" with B (out of scale, in strict sense) and one "lightly seasoned" with C (the seventh pitch of D Natural Minor).




In other words: it sounds like in Perturbator - Retrogenesis, the "deviate by minor second" idea is used in two ways:
1) for the section at 2:12 - 2:42, shifting the entire content of the pattern that was in D Minor, to Eb Minor
2) having some occasional notes deviate from D Natural Minor scale, to add some dissonance/unease/spice/etc.

Overall, the interval of minor second / one semitone is probably the most common "dissonance trick" in music. Usually, in threads about it, someone mentions famous film soundtrack examples ;)


***

I'll post some MIDI screenshots of the transcription in a few days...

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

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:00 pm

N__K wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 6:45 pm
Overall, the interval of minor second / one semitone is probably the most common "dissonance trick" in music. Usually, in threads about it, someone mentions famous film soundtrack examples ;)
No way!!! Now that you mentioned "soundtrack", here's Danny's theme in Schmigadoon! if anyone also listens to it:

at 0:48 and 1:15, a semitone up and down right in the verse. Super cool theme!

https://youtu.be/66i4SgCvzl4?t=48

N__K
KVRist
152 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:39 pm

shawshawraw wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:00 pm
at 0:48 and 1:15, a semitone up and down right in the verse.
Bb going to B, unless I'm mishearing?

There's a non-zero chance that I'll be staring at spectra of that at some point - though I have no idea when :D

Also it reminded me of something in some Nintendo game. A level background music perhaps, where similar step (as far as I can remember, which is not very far) was repeated continuously.

N__K
KVRist
152 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:00 pm

shawshawraw wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:47 pm
Learning from actual music is much much faster with ears in place ;)
I completely agree with the emphasized fact - but speaking from personal experience, attempting to train the wetware does not guarantee success (at least not in full) even if considerable amounts of one's lifetime are spent on the effort :D

To put it in another way, some of us can be "natural" Jedi Knights (or even Masters) while others have to "augment" themselves with machines out of necessity ;)

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vurt
addled muppet weed
88648 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:34 am

so, sith lords, like vader? :o

N__K
KVRist
152 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:19 am

vurt wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 12:34 am
so, sith lords, like vader? :o
Well, sith lords tend to start relying on technology only after losing their original body parts.

So more like Mandalorians, perhaps? They rely on their gadgets by default, since they're not (generally) force-sensitive. Lobot would be another example, though he worked for the Empire originally.

Come to think of it, aside from cyberpunk-ish works, scifi tends to often portray cyborgs as evil and/or deficient somehow. Not many good role models for people relying on technology - even though in real life, by now, we as a species are defined by it.

(Sorry for offtopic. Then again, synthwave + cyborgs go hand in hand... into lovely land.)

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vurt
addled muppet weed
88648 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:26 am

it's the fear of the cold, emotionless, machine, at what point do you become more machine than human???

but yes, the majority of us are connected at all times with tech, not to mention people who rely on prosthetic limbs.

(don't worry about going off topic, ill take the blame :tu: )

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
9767 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:30 am

Spliff lord more like.

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
4392 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:31 am

Scales - do you change or can you change the scale midsong
I once did that in an early two-track EP. Reception was mixed, but a number of people actually understood my idea.

That was kinda audible and dramatic for the most part, but one chord progression getting out of scale turned out to be very emotional. Probably my best ever.
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vurt
addled muppet weed
88648 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:35 am

donkey tugger wrote:
Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:30 am
Spliff lord more like.
badum tish!

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TribeOfHǫfuð
KVRian
917 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 3:53 am

Caine123 wrote:
Tue Oct 05, 2021 12:24 pm
If you do chord progressions are these in the same scale still or do they change the scale?

Be gentle please ;)
Mate, what are your worries? As someone quoted Jan for, anything can happen. Unless someone is threatening to dump you on an exam in a specified style or gives you a job with a demand for a formalized style, the world is yours.

Here is a multimodal experiment. At first we have a bass doing phrygian moves in C, while the melody above is aeolian, so two modes active at the same time. Then there is a modulation to A phrygian along with a change in time signature from 6/8 to 4/4. Then the mode is changed to A aeolian for the third part. Then a break with drums only and back to the original phrygian/aeolian multimode in 6/8. I swear we were not struck by lightening during this stunt. Bloom in any direction you wish, mate. Happy music making.

https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154/norn-song
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or oblique motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

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

Post Sat Oct 09, 2021 5:56 am

N__K wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:39 pm
shawshawraw wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:00 pm
at 0:48 and 1:15, a semitone up and down right in the verse.
Bb going to B, unless I'm mishearing?
Yes! In my view, it's a REALLY clever writing (and the modulation is the motive itself!). The whole train of change is uber smooth via the overloading of the IV-I progression as bV-bII, where bV has the sound of a new IV - but still, the weak metering/phrasing is not fully establishing the new key so the switch back to original IV is totally home-feeling without sounding like a III on the key of B. The repetition of melody and rhyme (which is also a catchy rhyme!) also contributes to the synergy of the phrasing.

I really love every song in that show. A top-notch work. It's turning me into a music theatre fan :)

EDIT: haha! Actually not IV-I, but ii-V-I :p

N__K
KVRist
152 posts since 26 Mar, 2017

Post Mon Oct 11, 2021 6:40 am

More stuff about Perturbator - Retrogenesis (which is one of example tracks posted: viewtopic.php?p=8231188#p8231188 )

Overview:
Perturbator - Retrogenesis - overview.PNG




Bars 0-8 (0:00-0:14) : the bassline

Perturbator - Retrogenesis - bars 1-8.PNG

First four bars are all D. Based on that, one might think of D as tonic or "the home pitch". Second four bars have mostly Bb, but also A and B. So at this point, there are pitches D, A, Bb and B to guess the scale from.

Counting intervals upwards from D:

Code: Select all

Semitones         0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   11
Intervals         1    m2   2    m3   3    4    tt   5    m6   6    m7   7
Starting from D:  D    Eb   E    F    Gb   G    Ab   A    Bb   B    C    Db

Pitches present:  D                                  A    Bb   B          
Intervals         1                                  5    m6   6          
For reference, here are some of most common 7-pitch scales:

Code: Select all

Semitones         0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   11

Major (Ionian)    1         2         3    4         5         6         7
Dorian            1         2    m3        4         5         6    m7    
Phrygian          1    m2        m3        4         5    m6        m7    
Lydian            1         2         3         tt   5         6         7
Mixolydian        1         2         3    4         5         6    m7    
Minor (Aeolian)   1         2    m3        4         5    m6        m7    
Locrian           1    m2        m3        4    tt        m6        m7    

Harmonic Minor    1         2    m3        4         5    m6             7
NOTE: for sake of visual clarity, in above list major and perfect intervals are marked as numbers without prefixes. Another way to mark the intervals is "P1, m2, M2, m3, M3, P4, tt, P5, m6, M6, m7, M7" with "m" meaning minor, M meaning Major, "P" meaning Perfect and "tt" meaning tritone.

Of those 7-pitch scales, none contain the interval set "1, 5, m6, 6".
So one could think of it as simplest form of "mode mixture" or "borrowing", with main scale being D Natural Minor (which has 1, 5 and m6) and pitch B being borrowed from D Major (which has a major sixth).





Bar 155 (4:44-4:46) : bass tone in D + repeating arpeggio pattern

Perturbator - Retrogenesis - bar 155.PNG

Code: Select all

Semitones         0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   11
Intervals         1    m2   2    m3   3    4    tt   5    m6   6    m7   7	
Starting from D:  D    Eb   E    F    Gb   G    Ab   A    Bb   B    C    Db

Pitches present:  D              F                   A    Bb        C      
Intervals         1              m3                  5    m6        m7         

Minor (Aeolian)   1         2    m3        4         5    m6        m7    
This is perhaps the clearest point of the track that suggests it being based on D Natural Minor scale. The track both begins and ends on D in bass; and here at the end, five pitches from D Natural Minor - D, F, A, Bb, C - are present in the arpeggio.





Bars 73-76 (2:12-2:20) : bass tone in Eb + repeating arpeggio pattern transposed to Eb

Perturbator - Retrogenesis - bars 73-76.PNG

Code: Select all

Semitones         0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   11
Intervals         1    m2   2    m3   3    4    tt   5    m6   6    m7   7	
Starting from Eb: Eb   E    F    Gb   G    Ab   A    Bb   B    C    Db   D

Pitches present:  Eb   E         Gb                  Bb   B         Db   D  
Intervals         1    m2        m3                  5    m6        m7   7      

Phrygian          1    m2        m3        4         5    m6        m7    
The pitches here would fit into Eb Phrygian, except in bass there seems to be one note in D. Feel free to double-check that - so far as I'm able to tell, it is there, if only for a short time. Momentary pitchbend perhaps?





Bars 41-44 (1:13-1:21) : second part of second melody section

Perturbator - Retrogenesis - bars 41-44.PNG

Code: Select all

Semitones         0    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10   11
Intervals         1    m2   2    m3   3    4    tt   5    m6   6    m7   7	
Starting from D:  D    Eb   E    F    Gb   G    Ab   A    Bb   B    C    Db

Pitches present:  D         E    F              Ab        Bb              
Intervals         1         2    m3             tt        m6                  

"Aeolian sharp 4" 1         2    m3             #4    5   m6        m7   
This would be in D Natural Minor except for Ab, which is a tritone to D.
If I had to name a scale to fit those pitches into, I'd go for "Aeolian sharp 4" or somesuch.


***


By now, I dare to say with some confidence that when thinking in 7-pitch scales, this track indeed can be thought of as utilizing / borrowing from several of them.

For those further interested, attached are basic .MID and REAPER (v6.34) files for bass, main arpeggio and melodies:
Perturbator - Retrogenesis (basic transcription of pitches) MID.zip
Perturbator - Retrogenesis (basic transcription of pitches) RPP.zip
I omitted some elements, such as short rising apreggios which are layered with melodies at various points. But what is there could nevertheless be interesting for someone studying this genre.

DISCLAIMER: I cannot promise 100% error-free transcription. Also I am not responsible for anything anyone might do with these files - they are provided for educational purposes only.
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