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Thread: Synthetic Modes

  1. #16
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    Whoever started talking about "building scales from scratch" got it right. I am not sure if there is such thing as a synthetic mode (in proper theory textbooks) but there sure are synthetic scales. And they are simply scales that fall outside the clasification of Major and its modes, Minor and its modes (harmonic and melodic minor), Harmonic Major (major with a lowered 6th) the whole tone and chromatic scales, the octatonic scale (classical lingo for the diminished scale) and Pentatonic Scales. I think that's it. That would leave "man made" (lol) scales like the bebop scale (think mixolydian with an added Major 7, or a major scale with an added minor 7), the blues scale, major and minor blues scales, and then you have some crazy scales like the "double harmonic" (phrygian dominant with a raised 7) or an unclassifiable scale like a Lydian with a b2 and a b7 (you can also think of it as a phrygian with a #4 and a major 3rd) ... putting it in simple terms:

    A "made up" scale.

    I hope this helps.

    -Jorge
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  2. #17
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    There are three scales in music:

    The Major scale

    The Harmonic Minor scale

    The Melodic Minor scale.

    The vast majority of the other scales and/or modes can be traced back to either of these three. Any scale that can't, is known as "synthetic".

    NM

  3. #18
    Registered User sixstrings121's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silent-storm

    The tetrachord business doesn't make sense either. "A major scale is simply a minor tetrachord stacked on top of a major tetrachord."
    C, D, E, F + G, A, B, C. Where's the minor?
    I beleive they are talking about a major scale is a iim7 chord and a Imaj7 chord put together. D F A C + C E G B = C D E F G A B C.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sixstrings121
    I beleive they are talking about a major scale is a iim7 chord and a Imaj7 chord put together. D F A C + C E G B = C D E F G A B C.
    That's what I originally thought and it makes sense but, in the article it says a tetrachord is four sequential notes. "A major tetrachord is the first four notes of a major scale."

    The only explanation that kind of makes sense would be C, D, E, F, + D, E, F, G. But then you're missing two notes.

  5. #20
    Registered User sixstrings121's Avatar
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    Hm...from my understanding a tetrachord is a 4 note chord, usually made up of stacked 3rds.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by silent-storm
    That's what I originally thought and it makes sense but, in the article it says a tetrachord is four sequential notes. "A major tetrachord is the first four notes of a major scale."

    The only explanation that kind of makes sense would be C, D, E, F, + D, E, F, G. But then you're missing two notes.
    That's exactly what I didn't quite understand when reading the article too.

  7. #22
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    Boy o boy. There is virtually no info on this topic lol. I've searched my butt to a stand still. Thanks guys for the added info. It makes much more sense than before. Just one thing though. If you make a scale from scratch surely it would have its own modes right? So, then there would be synthetic modes, or at least modes of the synthetic scales. To be honest with you, Im sticking with my three favourites (major, harmonic minor, melodic minor), thats enough for me

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black-Mantra
    Boy o boy. There is virtually no info on this topic lol. I've searched my butt to a stand still. Thanks guys for the added info. It makes much more sense than before. Just one thing though. If you make a scale from scratch surely it would have its own modes right? So, then there would be synthetic modes, or at least modes of the synthetic scales. To be honest with you, Im sticking with my three favourites (major, harmonic minor, melodic minor), thats enough for me
    Yes, that sounds natural. Where there is scale, there are modes.

  9. #24
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    Hello, All!

    I've been lurking here for a while and picked up some great tips from you guys. I guess it's my turn to try to help now! I've been out of music school for almost 10 years, so if I have something wrong, please let me know!

    Forgottenking2's explanation is pretty close to the truth. A synthetic scale is simply a scale that is not derived from the arrangement of half and whole steps that the major scale is derived from (i.e. W-W-H-W-W-W-H). Harmonic and Melodic minor are based on the step arrangement of the Natural minor with some of the tones altered, but the original step arrangement is the same, for example raising the 6th and 7th tone in Natural Minor to get Melodic Minor.

    The Enigmatic is probably the most widely-known synthetic scale, so I'll use that as an example. The F Enigmatic has the following notes: F-Gb-A-B-C#-D#-E. Which gives you a step arrangement of:
    H-1 1/2-W-W-W-H. The two half steps back to back (6 to 7 and 7 to 1) is what makes this scale synthetic.

    As another example, the BeBop Dominant (1-2-3-4-5-6-b7-7) is like this as well. This one has three half steps that are next to each other (6-b7, b7-7, and 7-1).

    So, as far as I can tell, the key is to have combinations of half and whole steps that do not occur in "normal" western harmony.

    And, yes, all synthetic scales have modes as well!

    I hope this helped more than it confused, but if you have any questions I'll try to clarify!!!

    J

  10. #25
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    The major scale is split into two tetrachords - the lower tertachord and the upper tetrachord.

    C major scale, lower tetrachord: C, D, E, F.

    C major scale, upper tetrachord: G, A, B, C.

    So a tetrachord is, essentially, half a scale.

    NM

  11. #26
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    exactly...yet the article says a major scale is a minor tetrachord stacked on top of a major tetrachord...which by that logic certainly isn't the case.

    damn, I thought everything I read on the internet was true

  12. #27
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    lol... Looks like you just learned a very valuable lesson then!!!

    NM

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