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Thread: Not sure about chord name

  1. #1
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    Not sure about chord name

    Hi
    I was trying to recreate chord progression from this YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-Ds9I_Eh3A).
    I have attached screen shot from you tube video where I can see his midi sequencing in piano roll,and screen shot of my recreation in piano roll.
    Progression contains three chords. I have no problem recognising first two Am next F but the third is unusual for me.
    Would you be able to tell me if this is some advanced chord or its just a "mess chord"or some experimentation?

    I have attached screen shot and link to the video just in case I was wrong recreating this chord but i am pretty sure I've got this right.

    Thank You
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Listening to the original (I wish you'd have used a time index to jump right to where the music begins...) I don't think your transcription is correct. It LOOKS correct based on the screen shot, but it doesn't SOUND correct to me (it's very distorted in the video and honestly I don't want to listen to it any more than I did).

    It's very likely we are looking at only one track, and there are other tracks sounding that we can't see.

    What I'm hearing is more like an Am - F - E chord progression (hard to tell if the E is an open 5th, has included sustained notes in it from previous chords as the image implies, or minor or major, and again, don't feel like listening to it any more to find out).

    However, if it was in fact what you've transcribed, that's C-E-G-B without the G. That's a C Major 7th chord (CM7). It is commonplace to leave out the 5th in 7th chords (the G here). It's less traditional to double up the 7th (two B notes here) but this is not traditional music and certainly not "schooled" in traditional techniques.

    If you want "that sound", I would try both Am - F - Em and Am - F - E (or E7) and see which sounds more like the original, or more like what you want. But yeah, the "name" for a chord with only C-E-(g)-B would be C Major 7.

    Best,
    Steve

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    Hi Steve!
    I know I should indicate the time sorry.I know the video was terrible especially that other weird dude with coke in his hand ,but thank you for stoping by and helping.
    They are doing this videos and cheating somehow something else is heard from what we can see.
    I was watching his other video where he was showing his bass sequencing and in the video bass was in C# ,but when I played on the keyboard and checked with software it was definitely in C.It looks like this are probably promotional videos rather than something else,but when they do that all three chords should be different from what we can see vs what is played not just last chord... Not sure what is going on with this video.
    Later in the video its possible to see that he's got a lot more tracks playing.

    I was reading yesterday about relative minor relationship C-Am.

    http://www.torvund.net/guitar/index....=prog&prid=160

    Interesting subject.Can we say that this is happening actually in this case but in reverse Am-F-C ???
    Or we can say about relative minor only when this two chords C,Am are happening straight after each other.

    I will try Em instead of C but why E if this is in the Key of Am is E a "borrowed chord"??

    Thanks a million Steve.
    Last edited by ssyniu; 06-16-2016 at 06:31 AM.

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    The order of the chords doesn't matter for Relative Major or Minor. Instead, it is based on which chords is heard as "home" or the "center" or "chord of resolution" etc.

    In modern pop music - which often treats minor keys more as Aeolian mode, the chords would be the same for relative keys. So the only way to tell is which is given the most emphasis, and there are certain chord progressions that tend to emphasize one chord over others as well.

    In "loop based" composition where a chord progression is continually repeated over and over again, we often hear the first chord as the Tonic, especially if other factors reinforce that. If the first chord can be tacked on the end and it sounds "final", there's that much more evidence.

    In this case, the Am is first, and twice as long as the other chords, and I think if you tack it on to the end of the progression you'll hear it as pretty final sounding.

    The C doesn't have the "importance" the Am does in this example.

    As a side note, traditionally 7th chords can't be tonics, but in modern music there are plenty of exceptions. But we'd probably assume a triad first.

    As for the E, in minor keys, traditionally the V chord is a MAJOR triad, not minor as the key signature would indicate. Likewise, the VII chord is built on the leading tone, and is diminished (viio).

    Therefore, in traditional (classical) music, the chords in Am would be:

    Am - Bo - C - Dm - E - F - G#o

    Using Em and to some extent, G, gives it a "modal" feel. In some ways, "pop" people have avoided the "classical" chords becuase they sound "too classical" but you can still find plenty examples of traditional minor key use with chords.

    That's why I suggested trying both - the "modal" Em and the "traditional" E (or E7) both to hear the difference in sound and effect, and to be able to decide which you like (now and for future purposes!).

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    Hi Steve Thanks for you answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    the chords would be the same for relative keys.
    Because of the same key signature ????

    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post

    Therefore, in traditional (classical) music, the chords in Am would be:

    Am - Bo - C - Dm - E - F - G#o
    Are you talking about A harmonic minor chords here???
    Not sure because in A harmonic minor C is augmented.
    Last edited by ssyniu; 06-17-2016 at 07:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    The order of the chords doesn't matter for Relative Major or Minor. Instead, it is based on which chords is heard as "home" or the "center" or "chord of resolution" etc.

    In modern pop music - which often treats minor keys more as Aeolian mode, the chords would be the same for relative keys. So the only way to tell is which is given the most emphasis, and there are certain chord progressions that tend to emphasize one chord over others as well.

    In "loop based" composition where a chord progression is continually repeated over and over again, we often hear the first chord as the Tonic, especially if other factors reinforce that. If the first chord can be tacked on the end and it sounds "final", there's that much more evidence.

    In this case, the Am is first, and twice as long as the other chords, and I think if you tack it on to the end of the progression you'll hear it as pretty final sounding.

    The C doesn't have the "importance" the Am does in this example.
    So in this situation(examples 1 and 2)

    In example 1 C Major chord is the "home" because its on the strong beat.???

    And in example 2 the "home" chord would be A minor because its the longer chord.???

    All the best Thank You
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssyniu View Post
    Because of the same key signature ????
    Yes

    Are you talking about A harmonic minor chords here???
    Not sure because in A harmonic minor C is augmented.
    That's an oversimplification that far too many people are taught (or pick up) unfortunately.

    In effect, the Major V and VII diminished chords are "borrowed" from Major, and used in minor keys. However, because they are "borrowed" so frequently, and had been since the very beginning, we don't consider them to be borrowed anymore and instead see them as part of a Minor Key.

    There is no such thing as a "harmonic minor key", and honestly, the "harmonic minor scale" is really more of a mnemonic device to indicate how tones work in minor.

    While modern people have misunderstood this, and think "You build chords out of the scale", that's not really how the chords work in a Minor Key.

    I'll add that "building chords from the scale" can be and is a viable method and has been and is used in much more recent music, but much of it is also derived from the traditional use of minor, which alters the V and VII chords ONLY.

    Thus "C+" or III+ in minor doesn't actually happen in real music (not at least until people started learning it wrong, and using them, and playing them in Jazz ;-)

    Likewise, there was no such thing as a CmM7 traditionally (again, Jazz).

    So you raise the 7th scale degree to make it the Leading Tone, only on those chords with a Dominant Function, which are V and VII, yielding V and viio (E and G#o respectively in Am). But III and im7 are NOT altered because they do not have Dominant Functions. They just appear simply as III and im7.

    I think a lot of textbook writers spread this misinformation because they often try to show "chords that can be built from Harmonic Minor" in an effort to explain the V and viio (where "borrowing them from the Parallel Major would actually make more sense).

    But it also gives them a chance to show all 4 triad types - M, m, o, and + because otherwise Augmented Triads are not Naturally Occurring in any Key. So they often single out "III+" because I think they want to give an example of "all 4 types of triads". And maybe they feel bad for the poor + triad so include it and even try to justify it!

    But really, when people write in Am, they don't tend to use C+ for the III chord. Just plain old C. They use E and G#o when they want a "classical" sound, and Em and G when they want a more "Modal" sound (the G is so commonly accepted now it doesn't even sound "modal" anymore - Em still can though).

    So lets say that the use of V and viio were so common, that they're considered the "default" chords for Minor keys:

    i - iio - III - iv - V - VI - viio

    It's also possible to use IV (D in Am) and #vio (F#o) in minor keys, but they're less common, so not the "default" so are not listed (Jazzers would say these "come from" the Melodic Minor or Jazz Minor scale). But even though Melodic Minor *could* make a ii instead of iio, it's so rare - like the III+, it's not worth mentioning.

    Again, writers probably mention the III+ just to show an example of an Augmented Triad that is "part" of the system.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssyniu View Post
    In example 1 C Major chord is the "home" because its on the strong beat.???

    And in example 2 the "home" chord would be A minor because its the longer chord.???
    Can't answer. The answer is "depends". Sometimes, it may depend on strong beat, or length, but more often, it's a combination of factors.

    You've got the same progression twice here - C - F - Am.

    Firstly, all things being equal, most of us are *conditioned* to hear "Major" as the default choice. In fact, that's the entire reason we use V and viio in Minor, becuase without those distinctions, there's nothing to tell our ear it's Minor instead of Major. Minor key music (or "Modal Minor if you like) has a tendency to "drift" towards the Relative Major (so starting in Am, but drifting towards C Major) without that V and viio!

    Additionally, this is why Tonal Music composers used specific chord progressions - they liked "Functional" harmony because it "pointed to" only one possibility as the Key Center.

    In modern popular music, we've often abandoned that principle. When you do that, the Key Center comes in danger of being obscured, hard to define, or vanishes altogether. Someone may want that artistically speaking, but if you want it to be "grounded" or "not wander", usually you want some sort of "centering".

    So the question for many composers was, how do you "center" the music without "functional harmony"?

    Well, one way to do it is to emphasize one chord more than the rest. Have it appear more frequently, have it appear in important places (beginning and ending of phrases, down beats, etc.). Another way is to have it just be "weightier" by being longer, etc.

    Sometimes, certain choices of chords are "more definitive" than others. For example, you happened to pick a rather ambiguous set of chords. Think about it: If you have both an Am and C, it could be either with equal emphasis on each, right? That's why, in traditional music, C would be coupled with G (not in Am, because it would have been G#o to make the distinction) and Am would have been coupled with E (not in C, because it would be Em).

    This way, each key - Am or C, has "distinct" chords not found in the other. The fewer of these distinct chords you use (and remember, in this case the distinct chords are specifically a result of turning the otherwise "modal" key into a "harmonic minor" key!) the more ambiguous the key might become.

    Since the only other chord you have is an F - which could be IV in C - very common, or VI in Am - also very common (especially in minor key pop music) it really doesn't help us make a decision as to which key it really is, all things being equal.

    So in this example, your "chord content" and even your "chord progression" is ambiguous - that aspect makes it equally possible for it to be C or Am (in fact, it could be F too!!!).

    Adding "emphasis" to the Am by making it longer, *might* give it enough emphasis. But putting C first gives it some emphasis too (don't forget, we're conditioned to hear things a "Major" by centuries of hearing music that way, especially when it lacks V and viio). So you've not really done enough either way in this example to "over-ride the C" as the "most logical choice" of key center.

    IOW, it doesn't really matter how much weight, which chords start on the downbeat, etc. in a progression like this - I just played it at the piano as starting C on the upbeat, short, F on the beat slightly longer, then Am on the beat for a whole measure. So on paper, Am "wins". It's the last chord, it's the longest, and it starts on a beat, etc.

    Yet, if I play a C after it, the C still sounds like a "logical conclusion". I have to play Am for like 4 more measures by itself with a long ritardando before it even begins to sound like a possibility as the ending chord - and even then, it's not "totally restful". That's OK, and we may want that kind of a feeling, but usually that means it's NOT the key center.

    Conversely, if I reverse the progression - Am -F -C, the C sounds "final" (probably my "major-centric" life experiences) and even if I play an Am at the end, it doesn't "sound final".

    However, if I play:

    Am -F - E

    then follow it with a C or Am, the Am not only sounds logical, the C sounds "wrong" - or at least like something else is to come.

    Even if I change the 2nd chord to C so we still have an even number of Am and C chords:

    Am - C - E - ending it with a C or Am - Am still sounds "right". The C sounds like it's wandering back and forth between C and E.

    Now, some of this is going to vary depending on your conditioning and life experiences listening to music.

    But as a generalization, this holds true: In the absence of traditional functional harmony to establish a Tonic Chord and Key Center, other measures need to be taken to do so. The more definitive these measures, the more securely the Tonic Chord and Key Center can be established, and the less ambiguous it becomes.

    Ambiguity is not bad - it's just bad if you don't want it!

    So really - it's a combination of factors that define the Key (or the mode, etc.) and the Tonic chord. Depending on the context, one factor might be enough, but usually, multiple factors are at play. In traditional tonal music, there are some specific factors used (functional harmony, expected cadences, etc.) and if those are missing, if you want something as "strong" as that, multiple other factors that result in as strong a decision need to be used.

    It's like using evidence against a criminal - you can either have the "smoking gun" so to speak (functional harmony/cadence) or you can have a lot of circumstantial evidence (more appearances, important places, longer, definitive progressions, etc.). But if you don't have enough circumstantial evidence, you leave your jury with "reasonable doubt" so they can't come to a definitive conclusion.

    Your example above is sort of like someone stole a loaf of bread, and then they call an eyewitness in to identify the person out of a line up of 3 people (C, Am, or F) and it turns out they're triplets and all look alike, and one of them is wearing the shirt the actual thief had on. We have to assume that the one with the shirt is the thief because that's the best logic we can come up with (your key is *probably* C, because that's the most logical choice based on what we hear) but if one brother takes the shirt off and another puts it on, we could get the wrong guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    In effect, the Major V and VII diminished chords are "borrowed" from Major, and used in minor keys. However, because they are "borrowed" so frequently, and had been since the very beginning, we don't consider them to be borrowed anymore and instead see them as part of a Minor Key.
    Right but initially this chords were "borrowed"

    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    I will try Em instead of C but why E if this is in the Key of Am is E a "borrowed chord"??

    There is no such thing as a "harmonic minor key", and honestly, the "harmonic minor scale" is really more of a mnemonic device to indicate how tones work in minor.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    While modern people have misunderstood this, and think "You build chords out of the scale", that's not really how the chords work in a Minor Key.
    Steve any chance you could expand a little bit on this subject because actually my understanding was the same("You build chords out of the scale").And I am extremely interested what is the "proper" approach to build chords out of minor scale.


    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    But really, when people write in Am, they don't tend to use C+ for the III chord. Just plain old C. They use E and G#o when they want a "classical" sound, and Em and G when they want a more "Modal" sound (the G is so commonly accepted now it doesn't even sound "modal" anymore - Em still can though).
    At the moment I like the modal sound of the Am.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    So lets say that the use of V and viio were so common, that they're considered the "default" chords for Minor keys:

    i - iio - III - iv - V - VI - viio

    It's also possible to use IV (D in Am) and #vio (F#o) in minor keys, but they're less common, so not the "default" so are not listed (Jazzers would say these "come from" the Melodic Minor or Jazz Minor scale). But even though Melodic Minor *could* make a ii instead of iio, it's so rare - like the III+, it's not worth mentioning.

    Again, writers probably mention the III+ just to show an example of an Augmented Triad that is "part" of the system.
    Ok.
    Thank you for your explenation

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post

    Firstly, all things being equal, most of us are *conditioned* to hear "Major" as the default choice. In fact, that's the entire reason we use V and viio in Minor, becuase without those distinctions, there's nothing to tell our ear it's Minor instead of Major. Minor key music (or "Modal Minor if you like) has a tendency to "drift" towards the Relative Major (so starting in Am, but drifting towards C Major) without that V and vino!
    I must admit that when i played both of this progression,in both cases C Major sounded like "home" chord. So C Major sound is more "dominating" over the Am???

    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    Additionally, this is why Tonal Music composers used specific chord progressions - they liked "Functional" harmony because it "pointed to" only one possibility as the Key Center.

    In modern popular music, we've often abandoned that principle. When you do that, the Key Center comes in danger of being obscured, hard to define, or vanishes altogether. Someone may want that artistically speaking, but if you want it to be "grounded" or "not wander", usually you want some sort of "centering".

    So the question for many composers was, how do you "center" the music without "functional harmony"?

    Well, one way to do it is to emphasize one chord more than the rest. Have it appear more frequently, have it appear in important places (beginning and ending of phrases, down beats, etc.). Another way is to have it just be "weightier" by being longer, etc.

    Sometimes, certain choices of chords are "more definitive" than others.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    For example, you happened to pick a rather ambiguous set of chords.
    Yes I did that actually intentionally.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    Think about it: If you have both an Am and C, it could be either with equal emphasis on each, right? That's why, in traditional music, C would be coupled with G (not in Am, because it would have been G#o to make the distinction) and Am would have been coupled with E (not in C, because it would be Em).

    This way, each key - Am or C, has "distinct" chords not found in the other. The fewer of these distinct chords you use (and remember, in this case the distinct chords are specifically a result of turning the otherwise "modal" key into a "harmonic minor" key!) the more ambiguous the key might become.
    Yes. Borrowed V and viio.

    How different is approach to writing music in modal keys vs."traditional" Major/minor. I was watching lesson recently and they were teaching that the most important chords that "should" be used more often when writing a progression are Tonic,Subdominant,Dominant and Leading Tone. is that the "traditional" type of writing?How modal writing "philosophy" is different are there any basics where I could start to recognise the differences when trying to write using modal keys??? Are they more concentrated on "Blue notes" when writing modal melodies and progressions??

    I am not sure If you came across this book but probably I should get it just to understand that difference:

    https://www.amazon.com/Between-Modes.../dp/0918728770


    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    So in this example, your "chord content" and even your "chord progression" is ambiguous - that aspect makes it equally possible for it to be C or Am (in fact, it could be F too!!!).

    Adding "emphasis" to the Am by making it longer, *might* give it enough emphasis. But putting C first gives it some emphasis too (don't forget, we're conditioned to hear things a "Major" by centuries of hearing music that way, especially when it lacks V and viio). So you've not really done enough either way in this example to "over-ride the C" as the "most logical choice" of key center.

    IOW, it doesn't really matter how much weight, which chords start on the downbeat, etc. in a progression like this - I just played it at the piano as starting C on the upbeat, short, F on the beat slightly longer, then Am on the beat for a whole measure. So on paper, Am "wins". It's the last chord, it's the longest, and it starts on a beat, etc.

    Yet, if I play a C after it, the C still sounds like a "logical conclusion". I have to play Am for like 4 more measures by itself with a long ritardando before it even begins to sound like a possibility as the ending chord - and even then, it's not "totally restful". That's OK, and we may want that kind of a feeling, but usually that means it's NOT the key center.

    Conversely, if I reverse the progression - Am -F -C, the C sounds "final" (probably my "major-centric" life experiences) and even if I play an Am at the end, it doesn't "sound final".
    Yes thats true C Major in both cases sounded like "home" chord.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    However, if I play:

    Am -F - E

    then follow it with a C or Am, the Am not only sounds logical, the C sounds "wrong" - or at least like something else is to come.

    Even if I change the 2nd chord to C so we still have an even number of Am and C chords:

    Am - C - E - ending it with a C or Am - Am still sounds "right". The C sounds like it's wandering back and forth between C and E.

    Now, some of this is going to vary depending on your conditioning and life experiences listening to music.

    But as a generalization, this holds true: In the absence of traditional functional harmony to establish a Tonic Chord and Key Center, other measures need to be taken to do so. The more definitive these measures, the more securely the Tonic Chord and Key Center can be established, and the less ambiguous it becomes.

    Ambiguity is not bad - it's just bad if you don't want it!

    So really - it's a combination of factors that define the Key (or the mode, etc.) and the Tonic chord. Depending on the context, one factor might be enough, but usually, multiple factors are at play. In traditional tonal music, there are some specific factors used (functional harmony, expected cadences, etc.) and if those are missing, if you want something as "strong" as that, multiple other factors that result in as strong a decision need to be used.

    It's like using evidence against a criminal - you can either have the "smoking gun" so to speak (functional harmony/cadence) or you can have a lot of circumstantial evidence (more appearances, important places, longer, definitive progressions, etc.). But if you don't have enough circumstantial evidence, you leave your jury with "reasonable doubt" so they can't come to a definitive conclusion.

    Your example above is sort of like someone stole a loaf of bread, and then they call an eyewitness in to identify the person out of a line up of 3 people (C, Am, or F) and it turns out they're triplets and all look alike, and one of them is wearing the shirt the actual thief had on. We have to assume that the one with the shirt is the thief because that's the best logic we can come up with (your key is *probably* C, because that's the most logical choice based on what we hear) but if one brother takes the shirt off and another puts it on, we could get the wrong guy.
    Haha.
    Thanks very much again Steve
    All the best to You.
    Last edited by ssyniu; 06-18-2016 at 10:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssyniu View Post
    Right but initially this chords were "borrowed"
    Well, that too is a bit of an oversimplification.

    The Modes existed well before the Major/Minor system and what really happened was that what we call "ficta" practices evolved within the modal system.

    "ficta" basically involved adding Bb initially, then later F# into the modal system. As time went on, more accidentals were added (through the use of transposed modes) and eventually, they started adding accidentals at cadences on the 7th modal degree in any modes that didn't have them. Thus, Dorian "evolved into" Minor, and the #7 in minor comes from its use in Dorian cadences (early Dorian would have a cadence that looks like C/E to Dm, whereas later Dorian would look like C#o/E to Dm).

    One of the interesting things is that this variability from ficta (which didn't use accidentals consistently through a piece, only under certain conditions) continued in minor keys as what we now call Harmonic and Melodic minor!

    But overall, Dorian essentially became Minor, and Mixolydian and Lydian became Major. Ionian and Aeolian modes did exist, but they were comparative latecomers on the scene. But you can say (again, kind of an oversimplification) that the "minor modes" sort of "turned into" Aeolian, and the "major modes" sort of "turned into" Ionian, which they themselves became Minor and Major respectively. However, Minor "held onto" a lot of the variability present in the modal system which is why we end up having HM and MM.

    So the minor modes, and ultimately minor, didn't really "borrow" anything from Major - instead, it was a shared concept amongst the modes to use ficta under certain conditions and varied from mode to mode. We might say, the "Leading Tone" was "borrowed" from any mode that had it, and used in any mode that didn't :-)


    Steve any chance you could expand a little bit on this subject because actually my understanding was the same("You build chords out of the scale").And I am extremely interested what is the "proper" approach to build chords out of minor scale.
    In Tonal music, you build chords out of the KEY. In minor keys, you can think of the use of V and viio as an "alteration" to the key in order to give those chords characteristics of having a Leading Tone (just like what happened in the old modal days).

    In a sense, you're really building a "v" chord, then altering it to "V" if that makes sense.

    That would be a "proper" approach for pre-Tonal Modal music and Tonal music.

    But it's not necessarily a "proper" approach for 20th century music or popular music, etc.

    For example, composers at some point decided they wanted to use the Whole Tone scale as a resource for writing music. Since there is no "Key of Whole Tone" or "Whole Tone Key", the notes really must come from the scale itself.

    This could be applied to any note set, including modes and major and minor scales. Even HM and MM (or Jazz Minor).

    So even though it's kind of a misinterpretation to use "traditional" minor and build chords from the HM or MM scales, people did it anyway. So there are huge bodies of work out there that DO use the HM and MM note sets as a "limited note resource".

    So there's no real "proper" way to do it - it's just that to understand Tonal Music, one must understand how the system worked - and it wasn't a "scale-based" system, but a "Key Based" system (that's why we make such a big deal about keys, and "tonal center" and "tonality" and all that).

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    Quote Originally Posted by ssyniu View Post
    I must admit that when i played both of this progression,in both cases C Major sounded like "home" chord. So C Major sound is more "dominating" over the Am???
    Yes, to our tonally-conditioned major centric-informed ears :-)

    How different is approach to writing music in modal keys vs."traditional" Major/minor.
    Quite different if done "historically". But music is art, and certainly many people have intermingled the principles.

    One generalization we can make is that, now, when people want to write Modally, they tend to avoid anything that sounds "too tonal". For example, as I was saying in the other post, the older modes used to use cadences like what we would see a viio-I or even V7-I.

    But when people write "modal music" today they often avoid those types of moves because since we've been so indoctrinated in tonality, we have a hard time hearing it any other way. So instead, they'll choose a "more modal" thing every time.
    I was watching lesson recently and they were teaching that the most important chords that "should" be used more often when writing a progression are Tonic,Subdominant,Dominant and Leading Tone. is that the "traditional" type of writing?
    Yes. I'm using "traditional" to mean "Common Practice Period Tonality. What distinguishes CPP music from the earlier modal period is the use of Functional Harmony which is essentially a hierarchy of chords intended to establish and confirm a single Tonality and Tonic Harmony. They favored chords and progressions that reinforced the key center, rather than made it ambiguous or even hinted at other things. Again, it's art, so sometimes they would incorporate other things, but basically speaking, if you want to establish a key center, you use functional harmony and pre-determined moves to do so.

    The chords that "define" a key are I, V and viio, and ii an IV.

    iii and vi do far less to define the key (notice your progression had I, III, and VI if it was Minor, and I, IV, and VI if it was major - that's another reason we default to Major, because the IV is there with the I!).

    If composers wanted to establish the key of C Major, they didn't not play C. They didn't use Em and Am only. That's going to sound like Em!

    Instead they tried to use "definitive" progressions, like ii - V - I, or IV - V - I, or V7 - I, or ii - viio - I, etc.

    You might think of it like this: once the Tonal era dawned, composers wanted to avoid sounding "too modal" for the most part. So they hit you over the head with functional progressions.

    You see, the problem is - and this is everyone's mistake - it's not enough just to use "notes from a scale" or "notes from a key" - just using the notes from Am may not make it sound like Am. It takes *more* things - in the tonal era, that was functional harmony - in the modern era, we've often abandoned functional harmony and shoot for other things - emphasis by other means.



    "How modal writing "philosophy" is different are there any basics where I could start to recognise the differences when trying to write using modal keys??? Are they more concentrated on "Blue notes" when writing modal melodies and progressions??
    Tough call. Modern composers often approach Modality like "I'm treating it like a Key, but I'm restricting myself to the notes of the mode".

    So they write chord progressions and melodies just like they always did, but essentially, "there's a wrong note in there".

    If you ever hear "Greensleeves" - it's a modal tune. But many people "tonalize it". So much so in fact that some people thing the Dorian version sound "like a wrong note".

    If you wanted to write in D Dorian, you'd build chords from the mode:

    Dm - Em - F - G - Am - Bo - C

    But modal composers want to differentiate it from Dm. So they will make sure their melodies harp on the B that would otherwise be Bb in Dm, and they tend to use the chords that are "more modal" - which means ones that would not be used in Dm.

    Often, chord progressions are like:

    i - IV - i

    i - VII - i

    i - v - i

    and so on.

    Another danger is, that since D Dorian is the same note set as C Major, not only do you have to avoid making it sound like Dm, but you don't want it to sound like C Major either!

    You definitely do not want Bo - C or G7 - C in there as it will sound "too C Majorish". Even Dm - Em - or F - G - heck, even G - Am can be dangerous.

    It's especially tougher now because we have centuries of indoctrination into Keys.

    "Blue notes" really have nothing to do with the two - Blue notes are really "inflections" of the existing scale/mode so they're not unlike other chromatic notes.





    I am not sure If you came across this book but probably I should get it just to understand that difference:

    https://www.amazon.com/Between-Modes.../dp/0918728770
    I've not read it but it looks interesting. Actually it's probably fascinating to me.

    But remember this: The way we write "modal" music today is not like what people in 1400 did. Likewise, the way we write "tonal" music today is not like people did in 1800. One evolved into the other, then the older one was rediscovered, and recombined with the newer, such that a newer "modal-tonal hybrid" now exists. It has characteristics of both, but is in many ways its own thing.


    This book is talking about a specific time period - If you're interest in that great, but if you're wanting to think more about contemporary use (i.e Modal Jazz) it's not quite the same thing.

    Best,
    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevel View Post
    Yes, to our tonally-conditioned major centric-informed ears :-)



    Quite different if done "historically". But music is art, and certainly many people have intermingled the principles.

    One generalization we can make is that, now, when people want to write Modally, they tend to avoid anything that sounds "too tonal". For example, as I was saying in the other post, the older modes used to use cadences like what we would see a viio-I or even V7-I.

    But when people write "modal music" today they often avoid those types of moves because since we've been so indoctrinated in tonality, we have a hard time hearing it any other way. So instead, they'll choose a "more modal" thing every time.


    Yes. I'm using "traditional" to mean "Common Practice Period Tonality. What distinguishes CPP music from the earlier modal period is the use of Functional Harmony which is essentially a hierarchy of chords intended to establish and confirm a single Tonality and Tonic Harmony. They favored chords and progressions that reinforced the key center, rather than made it ambiguous or even hinted at other things. Again, it's art, so sometimes they would incorporate other things, but basically speaking, if you want to establish a key center, you use functional harmony and pre-determined moves to do so.

    The chords that "define" a key are I, V and viio, and ii an IV.

    iii and vi do far less to define the key (notice your progression had I, III, and VI if it was Minor, and I, IV, and VI if it was major - that's another reason we default to Major, because the IV is there with the I!).

    If composers wanted to establish the key of C Major, they didn't not play C. They didn't use Em and Am only. That's going to sound like Em!

    Instead they tried to use "definitive" progressions, like ii - V - I, or IV - V - I, or V7 - I, or ii - viio - I, etc.

    You might think of it like this: once the Tonal era dawned, composers wanted to avoid sounding "too modal" for the most part. So they hit you over the head with functional progressions.

    You see, the problem is - and this is everyone's mistake - it's not enough just to use "notes from a scale" or "notes from a key" - just using the notes from Am may not make it sound like Am. It takes *more* things - in the tonal era, that was functional harmony - in the modern era, we've often abandoned functional harmony and shoot for other things - emphasis by other means.





    Tough call. Modern composers often approach Modality like "I'm treating it like a Key, but I'm restricting myself to the notes of the mode".

    So they write chord progressions and melodies just like they always did, but essentially, "there's a wrong note in there".

    If you ever hear "Greensleeves" - it's a modal tune. But many people "tonalize it". So much so in fact that some people thing the Dorian version sound "like a wrong note".

    If you wanted to write in D Dorian, you'd build chords from the mode:

    Dm - Em - F - G - Am - Bo - C

    But modal composers want to differentiate it from Dm. So they will make sure their melodies harp on the B that would otherwise be Bb in Dm, and they tend to use the chords that are "more modal" - which means ones that would not be used in Dm.

    Often, chord progressions are like:

    i - IV - i

    i - VII - i

    i - v - i

    and so on.

    Another danger is, that since D Dorian is the same note set as C Major, not only do you have to avoid making it sound like Dm, but you don't want it to sound like C Major either!

    You definitely do not want Bo - C or G7 - C in there as it will sound "too C Majorish". Even Dm - Em - or F - G - heck, even G - Am can be dangerous.

    It's especially tougher now because we have centuries of indoctrination into Keys.

    "Blue notes" really have nothing to do with the two - Blue notes are really "inflections" of the existing scale/mode so they're not unlike other chromatic notes.






    I've not read it but it looks interesting. Actually it's probably fascinating to me.

    But remember this: The way we write "modal" music today is not like what people in 1400 did. Likewise, the way we write "tonal" music today is not like people did in 1800. One evolved into the other, then the older one was rediscovered, and recombined with the newer, such that a newer "modal-tonal hybrid" now exists. It has characteristics of both, but is in many ways its own thing.


    This book is talking about a specific time period - If you're interest in that great, but if you're wanting to think more about contemporary use (i.e Modal Jazz) it's not quite the same thing.

    Best,
    Steve
    Hi Steven
    Very interesting read.
    Thank you for your help.
    All the best.
    Last edited by ssyniu; 06-23-2016 at 10:20 AM.

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