Music theory help needed. Scales.

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Ill Frequencies
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Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by Ill Frequencies » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:38 pm

I am a bit confused with the whole scale thing.
For example if I was to do a track in C Major would it only then work will if I use only the keys in the C Major scale and no others?

Cheers

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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by AceLuby » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:57 pm

Are you talking about the 'scale' plugin?
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Ill Frequencies
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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by Ill Frequencies » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:08 pm

AceLuby wrote:Are you talking about the 'scale' plugin?
Nah im just talking about scales in general.
For example if I am writing in C Major will it only work well if I only use the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B and no others?

frep45
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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by frep45 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:37 pm

Ill Frequencies wrote:...if I am writing in C Major will it only work well if I only use the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B and no others?
That's the idea of scales at a very basic level. However, a song that only has notes in one key may become boring (depending on the type of music you're making). Often times people write a chord progression that moves to other keys and then returns to the "tonic" key (C Major in this case). Each time you move to a different key, having the melody use notes from the key/scale you're in tend to sound the most pleasing. Of course, there are no hard rules with music, but it's a good guide if you're just getting started with theory.
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kc2ine
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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by kc2ine » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:44 pm

Ill Frequencies wrote:
AceLuby wrote:Are you talking about the 'scale' plugin?
Nah im just talking about scales in general.
For example if I am writing in C Major will it only work well if I only use the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B and no others?
use your ears - the key of the song is usually a base we start wondering from and where we're coming back.
At the very basic there may be indeed notes exclusively from the given key. Don't feel limited by that though.

rbmonosylabik
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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by rbmonosylabik » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:13 pm

It's kind of hard explaining how scales work against chord progressions in short, but I think the easiest way to think about it is that the notes in your melody should respond to how the chords underneath are moving and not just be one a pick off a set of preselected notes (a scale).

For example, think you're writing a song in C Major, and your song's part A chord progression goes something like CMaj7 Em7 Dm7 G7. Over that progression it'd probably be safe to play only notes from the C Major scale. Then you decide that you want part B to sound sadder, so you make the progression from chords in C Minor, say Cm7 EbMaj7 Fm7 AbMaj7. On top of that, playing C Major scale notes would sound weird, so a melody would sound better for part B if you use Eb, Ab and Bb instead of E, A and B.

That example is a full modulation into the parallel minor for a whole section, but your changes into chords from other keys can be way shorter, maybe 1 bar or even less, just quickly hinting at different tonalities without completely leaving your song's main key. For that short time you can reinforce key you're hinting at in the chords by playing notes from that key in your melody.
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mbird21
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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by mbird21 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:09 pm

rbmonosylabik wrote:It's kind of hard explaining how scales work against chord progressions in short, but I think the easiest way to think about it is that the notes in your melody should respond to how the chords underneath are moving and not just be one a pick off a set of preselected notes (a scale).

For example, think you're writing a song in C Major, and your song's part A chord progression goes something like CMaj7 Em7 Dm7 G7. Over that progression it'd probably be safe to play only notes from the C Major scale. Then you decide that you want part B to sound sadder, so you make the progression from chords in C Minor, say Cm7 EbMaj7 Fm7 AbMaj7. On top of that, playing C Major scale notes would sound weird, so a melody would sound better for part B if you use Eb, Ab and Bb instead of E, A and B.

That example is a full modulation into the parallel minor for a whole section, but your changes into chords from other keys can be way shorter, maybe 1 bar or even less, just quickly hinting at different tonalities without completely leaving your song's main key. For that short time you can reinforce key you're hinting at in the chords by playing notes from that key in your melody.
Can i just say you explained that really really well in a nutshell
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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by pencilrocket » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:43 am

This theory will help. It's not their invention. Every music teacher knew it.
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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by jallan99 » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:48 pm

Ill Frequencies wrote:I am a bit confused with the whole scale thing.
For example if I was to do a track in C Major would it only then work will if I use only the keys in the C Major scale and no others?

Cheers
Using only the notes in the C major scale you can write a song that will sound nice but you do not have to stick to just those notes. Loads of tunes include notes from outside the scale.

The notes in C major give you the following chords, built on the notes in the C major scale:

C [CEG], Dm [DFA], Em [EGB], F [FAC], G [GBD], Am [ACE], (and a weird chord on B that is hardly ever used)

But people don't stick to just those chords. They use other chords, frequently built on the same root notes, but using other notes drawn from outside the key. These outside notes help give a tune a bit of edge and make it sound a bit cooler.

Its common to hear a major chord in place of one of the minor chords in the key eg D instead of Dm, using F# instead of F.

Its common to hear a minor chord in place of one of the majors [often on the chord built on the 4th note in the scale - this chord frequently its common to here the major chord followed directly by the minor chord eg F [FAC] followed by Fm [FA#C] in the key of C.

It common to hear a major chord on the note a semitone below the seventh note in the scale ie Bb [Bb D F] in the key of C. Bb the root note is not even in the key - but its a classic for bluesy music. Same goes for the Eb, being one semitone below the 3rd note in the scale.

There are loads of other variations.
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BlueMixer
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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by BlueMixer » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:03 pm

I think that it's really important to understand how intervals work within the Major scale. Once you understand the intervals of the Major scale (1st position - Ionian mode), you can then move onto the different modes, which in theory will enable to apply scales to the corresponding chords. Once you understand the intervals and modal system, you will be able to determine what key you are in just by hearing/looking at the chord, and from there apply a suitable scale. It might take quite some time for the concept to sink it, but it's well worth it.

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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by Moody » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:26 am

I need to read better...

Stepping out and using chromaticism is fun. Also come up with intersting chord combinations instead of a standard triad... you don't have to know the theory to know what you want your music to sound like.

Example:

BCE (often the 5th is not nescessary in the chord structure because it is not a dominant tone and is picked up by harmonics in the root note)

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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by sexface » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:29 pm

I'm going to go the other way for the purposes of argument and suggest that, even within the 7 notes of a scale, some will sound "better" over a certain bass note.

Let's say that you have a steady C playing in the bass. Unlikely, but possible.

Over that, you have some keys playing C-G-E. This suggests that you should be able to play a melody that consists of C-D-E-F-G-A-B and all of their octaves.

But try to sustain an F in the melody. Doesn't sound quite comfortable, does it? That is because this note wants to resolve to an E or a G, or to some, more domimant tone.

The same thing will happen with a B, and to a lesser extent, a D and A. The 4th tone, the 7th tone and to a lesser extent, the 2nd and the 6th, will experience this tension.

If you want to resolve this tension, you have to either move the melody or move the chords/bass. Either way is done very commonly.

Oftentimes, though, this tension is really awesome and adds a lot to the song. But keep this in mind when you're writing melodies.

Moody
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Re: Music theory help needed. Scales.

Post by Moody » Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:54 pm

sexface wrote:I'm going to go the other way for the purposes of argument and suggest that, even within the 7 notes of a scale, some will sound "better" over a certain bass note.

Let's say that you have a steady C playing in the bass. Unlikely, but possible.

Over that, you have some keys playing C-G-E. This suggests that you should be able to play a melody that consists of C-D-E-F-G-A-B and all of their octaves.

But try to sustain an F in the melody. Doesn't sound quite comfortable, does it? That is because this note wants to resolve to an E or a G, or to some, more domimant tone.

The same thing will happen with a B, and to a lesser extent, a D and A. The 4th tone, the 7th tone and to a lesser extent, the 2nd and the 6th, will experience this tension.

If you want to resolve this tension, you have to either move the melody or move the chords/bass. Either way is done very commonly.

Oftentimes, though, this tension is really awesome and adds a lot to the song. But keep this in mind when you're writing melodies.
Good stuff... To expand on this, if the Bass is holding down a C then build chords with out a C over the bass. One could continue this idea as the Bass moved to other notes.

Example:
Bass is C

Your chosen instrument chord would be EGB

This would give the chord a C Major Seven (Cmaj7, C^7)feel, a more colorful sound.
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