About standing in key

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
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jancivil
KVRAF
15753 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:08 am

I didn't know this until 2013 when I adapted it. But I first did this kind of thing in Reliable Music one day when I found out this Oberheim synth would stack, I forget the model but it was 4 or more oscillators I could tune to whatever and I would do tritone, Eb A D G# - or F# - for instance and noodle around with that playing single lines. It sounded like a lot of the Zappa I was into then, circa 1979. I think I knew they had this synth and I went there to fug around with it.

This is a pentatonic feel in the Theme [Act II] albeit there are some really hip chords; but doing this there are 11 notes in the first three chords. The P4s have congruence with the pentatonic type line, but the #4 throws a kink in. But this, planing quartal chords was pianist McCoy Tyner's thing in the 1960s, here found in the 1890s. Yes, you've seen this before from me but I think it's a glimpse into the far future for its time. I actually treated it as doing key-like things, kind of against the grain of the idea, but that's too much to go into, you have to hear it. At first glance, well you'll have to wonder about that, again in the first phrase here are 11 notes already. But it isn't atonal either...

So you could locate a key _area_ isolating say the bass line but the top stack lies outside of that so arranging this part of the group is in a different 'key' in a very loose usage of that word. It's quite musical.

Ives was doing very difficult music in the 1890s already so this is not the most radical thing in the world at that time but it is not like anything else either.

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fmr
KVRAF
7779 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: About standing in key

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:23 am

jancivil wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:56 am
As to polytonality, check this out. This isn't your Charles Ives challenge or your Milhaud.
This simply stacks mixed fourths onto a simple line (Act II of this is the "Theme", but the theme is embedded right here in the "Prelude", just follow any voice in isolation):
I'm not following you. What is the relation of this with A # Major? Or with polytonality?

This is a completely different approach, much in the vein of what Debussy (and Ravel too, but not so evidently) would be doing (Debussy and Ravel were infuenced by Satie, BTW).

EDIT: I saw you elaborated on this while I was writing. So, it seems we agree that these are different things. Not polytonality. Notice that the piece even do not have a key signature (because there isn't one)

EDIT: Even A# minor is usually not used. Alternatively, composers may use B Flat minor instead. That's because the leading tone of A# minor would be Gx (double sharp), while in B Flat minor it is A. Since the two tonalities are enharmonic (in 12 tone ET, the notes sound exactly the same), the use of A# minor would only be justified as a passing tonality and justified by the whole piece tonal environment, not as a starting option.
Fernando (FMR)

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jancivil
KVRAF
15753 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: About standing in key

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:04 am

I'm just talking about things that interest me. I tend to doubt the OP's notions are going to take us anywhere.
What in what I said leads us to this sentence:"Notice that the piece..."?

---

Kind of a drag, man.


I did something with it like they were chord changes with direction, as I indicated. Here's something to notice (again): the line, the intervals forming the line.

_________________________________________


& yeah, I said the unaltered minor, didn't I. I don't mind double sharps but there would tend to be a reason we're that far in the sharps area. In itself the notion of 'key of A#' is in all probability someone that hasn't really done music before there was a DAW-sequencer on a computer where the indication is only in sharps.


the OP seems a nice sort, just sayin'.
Last edited by jancivil on Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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jancivil
KVRAF
15753 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: About standing in key

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:15 am

fmr wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:23 am
jancivil wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:56 am
As to polytonality, check this out. This isn't your Charles Ives challenge or your Milhaud.
This simply stacks mixed fourths onto a simple line (Act II of this is the "Theme", but the theme is embedded right here in the "Prelude", just follow any voice in isolation):
What is the relation of this with polytonality?
Think about it, what I said.

Your video had no examples, it was some guy prattling on.
I like my words so much better as they actually get into some music.

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jancivil
KVRAF
15753 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: About standing in key

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:51 am

But as to polytonality in general, do we hear more than one "tonality"? I think the tendency is to focus on one and hear the rest as color. I like thinking about such things because it opens me up to things which don't appear sticking to convention.

(The notion that because there is Bb minor, A# minor isn't really a thing is strictly from convention; it doesn't really follow that just because there is an identical object with the same name, the exotic-looking one only can exist in passing as relates to something supposedly more reasonable. It just has less accidentals.)

I found some possibilities in the opening statement in the Satie, which planes a kinda sorta pentatonic motif and by so doing opened up those possibilities; for one thing here is the theme which he treats in another way in the second act called "Theme...". That it planes them, a stack of 6 tones, means the theme appears on 6 levels. As per my experience, I must say that the assertion there can be no key appears to need examination.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWvoJTwEqr8
Last edited by jancivil on Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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jancivil
KVRAF
15753 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: About standing in key

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:55 am

are we off-topic yet

yeah, I'm in an expansive mood

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IncarnateX
KVRAF
3302 posts since 25 Jan, 2009 from Forgotten Realms

Re: About standing in key

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:35 am

As far as A# concerns, I just took it as an arbitrary example of key. To the youngsters, it does not really matter, does it? They write in C something, transpose it in a DAW and let their notation program print it...given they even care. Double sharps are at best something you drink.

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vurt
addled muppet weed
37742 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: About standing in key

Post Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:02 am

jancivil wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:56 am
I think it's a 'good' question, if there is some answer coming, to indicate what notes - in the piano roll, which I think is clear - were considered to _be_ 'key of A#'.

A# minor would be A# B# C# D# E# F# G# unaltered, same as C# major, 7 sharps. A little more wieldy.

could also end up in eg d minor, but hes starting on the bflat so makes the assumption hes in the a#

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jancivil
KVRAF
15753 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: About standing in key

Post Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:41 pm

Doesn't matter, he ain't coming back.

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fmr
KVRAF
7779 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: About standing in key

Post Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:20 am

jancivil wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:41 pm
Doesn't matter, he ain't coming back.
He is still looking for the "double sharps" in the keyboard :lol:
Fernando (FMR)

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jancivil
KVRAF
15753 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: About standing in key

Post Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:09 am

:lol:

brutal

sebastianlive
KVRer
27 posts since 25 Mar, 2017

Re: About standing in key

Post Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:48 pm

I mean "A#" as an example (I just realized, I don't know in which key I am, I know that my chord progression is just white keys and I don't know on which note I need to tune my kick drum, bass line etc. But my melody is started with E this is mean the E is the key of mellow?)

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BertKoor
KVRAF
10719 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Re: About standing in key

Post Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:39 am

sebastianlive wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:48 pm
I mean "A#" as an example
OK, as we figured: bad example. Never mind that.
sebastianlive wrote:I know that my chord progression is just white keys
Probably you're in C or A Minor, those are the most obvious scales with just white keys.
sebastianlive wrote:and I don't know on which note I need to tune my kick drum
Well, does that really matter?
sebastianlive wrote:... bass line etc.
That's a bigger problem! Maybe show us what you got so far and we can give you some ideas to work on.
sebastianlive wrote:But my melody is started with E this is mean the E is the key of mellow?)
Starting note or ending note of a melody says nothing really. Could be any scale... It's also possible your scale is E Minor or pentatonic, and you've avoided the sharp notes belonging to the full scale. Hard to say without listening to it.

NB: key of "mellow"?? Something got lost in translation maybe.

Anyway, first you need to figure out what scale you're in and go from there.

But to answer your original question: have you tried what happens if other instruments play other scales? Don't be afraid to experiment. It's one of the best ways to learn things.
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fmr
KVRAF
7779 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: About standing in key

Post Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:46 am

BertKoor wrote:
Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:39 am
But to answer your original question: have you tried what happens if other instruments play other scales? Don't be afraid to experiment. It's one of the best ways to learn things.
I wouldn't go that far. It's the best way to "find" things when you already know the basis, but if you don't have a clue (which seems to be the case here), you will hardly "learn" something by blindly experiment. With luck, you may find something you think is interesting, but you will hardly know why and will have a hard time trying to reproduce it in other circumstances. :shrug:
Fernando (FMR)

anomandaris1
KVRist
271 posts since 26 Nov, 2009

Re: About standing in key

Post Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:15 am

sebastianlive wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:48 pm
I mean "A#" as an example (I just realized, I don't know in which key I am, I know that my chord progression is just white keys and I don't know on which note I need to tune my kick drum, bass line etc. But my melody is started with E this is mean the E is the key of mellow?)
Melody can start on any note... Key, tonality,scale topics can get confusing, because of how much Western notation and theory is based on the diatonic scale and meantone temperament. I find the sharp vs flats debates ******** unless they actually are supposed to mean anything meaningful- unequal systems like just intonation and similar. Still, atonal integer notation is superior for any edo.
In general, you may use any piano key, if you know what are you doing (JW had some nice 12note melody in one of the Harry Potter movies). Check which notes feel the most stable, are most repeated or with longest duration to determine the tonic. It may change from phrase to phrase - there are many such melodies (especially in older medieval/renaissance music; or even pop/rock).
http://openmusictheory.com/contents.html Free music theory book, but don't take any of it as some kind of "holy grail".

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