flats instead of sharps

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
crumhorn
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Re: flats instead of sharps

Post by crumhorn » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:40 pm

stringtapper wrote:
It's Db7: Db-F-Ab-Cb

Since this kind of usage (in modern times at least) is usually in a jazz context the tritone sub will probably resolve down to either a major or minor seventh tonic. In your example of C major the seventh of the Db7 chord (Cb) would simply be a common tone with the CMaj7 chord's own seventh and become a B at that point.

And yes, that would probably be a nightmare to get a computer to understand that kind of context to make such a change.
Thanks for clarifying that for me. It's the sort of thing I spend a lot of (unproductive) time wondering about.

Also I think that even if Ableton could succeed in naming everything perfectly then for most people, who don't study theory, it would actually be much more confusing than it is now. I regularly play with a guitarist who will say things like "OK this one's in A#" because he's using A shapes with a capo on the first fret. It's a complete mystery to him why this offends me so much (in fact I think he does it on purpose now). If I start to try to explain why it's better to think in two flats rather than four sharps plus three double sharps I can actually see the moment his brain turns off.
"The banjo is the perfect instrument for the antisocial."

(Allow me to plug my guitar scale visualiser thingy - www.fretlearner.com)

Machinesworking
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Re: flats instead of sharps

Post by Machinesworking » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:52 pm

crumhorn wrote:[ I can actually see the moment his brain turns off.
:lol:
Back to that scale, isn't it correct to think that the name and naming convention of the scale changes based on context?
Still learning, but it seems to me that it would based on the other scales in the song and the way you play the scale?
I've seen this Altered scale called a Diminished Whole Tone, which as a noob to theory makes the most sense to me.

stringtapper
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Re: flats instead of sharps

Post by stringtapper » Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:45 pm

Machinesworking wrote:
crumhorn wrote:[ I can actually see the moment his brain turns off.
:lol:
Back to that scale, isn't it correct to think that the name and naming convention of the scale changes based on context?
Still learning, but it seems to me that it would based on the other scales in the song and the way you play the scale?
I've seen this Altered scale called a Diminished Whole Tone, which as a noob to theory makes the most sense to me.
Altered Scale = Diminished Whole Tone Scale = Superlocrian Scale = 7th Mode Melodic Minor

"Altered Scale" is used because in jazz chord/scale theory the scale is often used over Altered Dominant chords, e.g. "G7alt", which can contain both or either of the altered 5ths and 9ths (b9, #9, b5, and #5).

"Diminished Whole Tone Scale" is used because the first tetrachord of the scale matches a Half-Whole Diminished scale (H-W-H-W) and the second tetrachord matches a Whole Tone Scale (W-W-W-W).

"Superlocrian Scale" is used because the scale can be thought of as a Locrian scale with a b4 scale degree. The Lcorian scale being the most "flatted" of all the modes of the major scale with b2, b3, b5, b6, and b7—the addition of the b4 makes it even flatter, or "super" flatted. Thus "Superlocrian."

"7th Mode Melodic Minor" is obvious. That's just where the scale comes from.
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crumhorn
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Re: flats instead of sharps

Post by crumhorn » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:35 am

Have you ever read The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse? Music theory sometimes seems a bit like that.
"The banjo is the perfect instrument for the antisocial."

(Allow me to plug my guitar scale visualiser thingy - www.fretlearner.com)

stringtapper
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Re: flats instead of sharps

Post by stringtapper » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:44 pm

I haven't read it, but I think I know what you mean.

The history of why it seems like that is rooted in "music" being part of the Quadrivium which itself was a result of the Greeks' study of musical ratios being passed down through Boethius. So the study of music has long had an intellectual angle to it with all manner of scholars through the centuries approaching it in scientific as well as artistic terms.

The tonal system of scales and chords that we have now was sort of cobbled together over many centuries by many different people and composers and music makers have always done things that "break" previous theoretical systems.

Late 19th/early 20th century harmony and jazz/pop harmony tend towards breaking the tonal system by introducing chromaticism and "exotic" scales like the whole tone and octatonic. That's why ambiguities like we've been discussing start popping up.
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Martin Gifford
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Re: flats instead of sharps

Post by Martin Gifford » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:43 am

I don't need them to name whole scales in Ableton. Just have the option of swapping between sharps and flats for the black keys. :D If that's not possible (surely it is possible in 2015 FFS :evil: ), then at least just turn off all the letters so it's not distracting. :D This seems really obvious to me, especially since brass and woodwind instruments are often in flat keys. Oh, and Jimi Hendrix and others tune down half a step. It would also help beginners in music theory. And it's annoying when someone says their song is in D# major or some such.

stringtapper
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Re: flats instead of sharps

Post by stringtapper » Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:17 pm

Like I said, even Logic X doesn't have this feature. If you hover over a note in the editor it will show you a D# even if you've set the key to Bb major. Then go into the score editor and the note will show as an Eb. Go figure.

I agree that it would be nice to be able to assign keys and see either flats or sharps, but as has been discussed earlier it's not as simple as that. What if I'm in G minor and I write a V chord (D major)? The third of that chord is properly spelled as F#, but if there's only an option to show as flats or sharps then the chord is going to show as D-Gb-A, which is wrong.

Surely not an easy fix or someone would have done it by now.
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Martin Gifford
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Re: flats instead of sharps

Post by Martin Gifford » Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:30 am

If you want too much, then it might be too hard. If you settle for just a button to switch the labels for the black keys in the midi editor to flats, or to turn the labels off, then it might be easily doable. But if you want all the notes to be displayed according to various keys, then it might be too hard.

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