Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Writing in major or minor without the "restriction" of the scales

  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    8
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Writing in major or minor without the "restriction" of the scales

    I want to be able to tell what key the pieces I write are in. However I find just playing plain scales limits creativity sometimes. Now I know that the root note gives you your key - for example, if I were to use the trademark piano lick from Everybody Knows Your Name: Bb, D-F-Bb-D, C, C - by simple logic that should be in the key of Bb (nor does it confirm to a scale, come to that). But I can't tell whether it's Bb major or Bb minor. Should be major I'm thinking since D is Bb's major third. Is there a cheat to use to when you want to avoid the scales? Maybe use keys major thirds, sixths and sevenths up from your root for major and ditto for minor? But then perfect fourths and fifths are exceptions... blast I'm confused!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    315
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Stop thinking about scales, start thinking in motives and deformations/transformations of your melodies.
    Add transitional passages between different melodies in your piece and some kind of chordal accompaniment that is consonant, so no clusters/polychords, and you will be fine.
    All the lower equal temperaments have a projection in 12 equal, so there are plenty of scalar resources for melody and harmony, it is not just the major and minor scales that can be useful as pitch sources. I can't understand why people are so brainwashed in thinking only in major/minor dichotomy.
    And a 4 note motive/lick doesn't define a scale, you need all 7 note to say that it represents certain heptatonic set.
    If you wonder about functionality of 12 equal, check 7 equal. 7 equal has 6 interval classes (a set theorist may say that there are only 3, counting the inversions for the same thing, but whatever). These 6 interval classes are split into 2 subclasses in 13 equal, but in 12 equal the tritone is ambigious, serving as diminished fifth and augmented fourth. See Howard Hanson's book on 12 equal, if you want to learn more about theories functional theories like this one, that are not based on meantone temperament (which was abandoned during 19th century, but schools still base all theory on it) - https://archive.org/details/harmonic...00hans/page/n5

  3. #3
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,543
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulterior Motif View Post
    I want to be able to tell what key the pieces I write are in. However I find just playing plain scales limits creativity sometimes. Now I know that the root note gives you your key - for example, if I were to use the trademark piano lick from Everybody Knows Your Name: Bb, D-F-Bb-D, C, C - by simple logic that should be in the key of Bb (nor does it confirm to a scale, come to that). But I can't tell whether it's Bb major or Bb minor. Should be major I'm thinking since D is Bb's major third. Is there a cheat to use to when you want to avoid the scales? Maybe use keys major thirds, sixths and sevenths up from your root for major and ditto for minor? But then perfect fourths and fifths are exceptions... blast I'm confused!
    I not sure what you're asking. Why do you want to avoid scales? Chord progressions and melodies can define keys. Could you clarify what you mean?
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Jun-06-2019 at 00:11.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  4. #4
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,097
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulterior Motif View Post
    I want to be able to tell what key the pieces I write are in. However I find just playing plain scales limits creativity sometimes. Now I know that the root note gives you your key - for example, if I were to use the trademark piano lick from Everybody Knows Your Name: Bb, D-F-Bb-D, C, C - by simple logic that should be in the key of Bb (nor does it confirm to a scale, come to that). But I can't tell whether it's Bb major or Bb minor. Should be major I'm thinking since D is Bb's major third. Is there a cheat to use to when you want to avoid the scales? Maybe use keys major thirds, sixths and sevenths up from your root for major and ditto for minor? But then perfect fourths and fifths are exceptions... blast I'm confused!
    If there's anything we should learn from this, it's how restricted beginners feel when filled with music theory, with no basic "meta-concept" of what a scale is, and how scales can be built on the scale steps.

    This person would be better off studying music theory from a jazz standpoint. Get Dan Hearle's book on jazz theory.



    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

  5. #5
    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    472
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    2 options above. I'd always recommend the Hanson but trying to read between your lines, perhaps MR's suggestion is a better fit. You are being too vague for any concrete help though - what styles of music do you write in, or wish to write in for example? And, why does it matter if its maj or min. if it sounds how you want it too?

  6. #6
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,097
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    137

    Default

    Howard Hanson's book is valuable for seeing how scales are constructed by "stacking" intervals, but I think it might be too advanced.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •