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Old 21-04-2012, 11:52 AM   #1
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Question about using scales...

I have been studying music theory for a while now, and a wuestion has came to my mind that I don't seem to find answer for. It's about scales.

Let's say I make a melody using Major C as my scale. SO, when I start to write the chord progression do I have to make sure that every note of my chords are on the scale?

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Old 21-04-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
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Re: Question about using scales...

No. You can use off-the-scale notes. But it is better if you not use all of them with all chords and try to put them between notes that are fitting the chord that you are using. Try to use more of youre ears and heart than your mind to do this anyway
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Old 21-04-2012, 12:04 PM   #3
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Re: Question about using scales...

I have tried it and it seems that my heart has a bad taste of music When should I use these off-the-scale notes? The thing is, I have had trouble to get this right mood to my tracks, and I thought that the reason may be that I jump to one scale to another or something like that.

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Old 21-04-2012, 12:22 PM   #4
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Re: Question about using scales...

Mood? Maybe you should reconsider picking another scale?

Off-scale notes? Firstly dont overuse them. They should be just a spice to your melody. And remember that most important notes are one that make chords in the melody. Then scale notes and then off-scale. I usually use them in fast arpeggios and other ornaments. Like acciaccatura, dont know how to say it in english
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Old 21-04-2012, 12:33 PM   #5
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Re: Question about using scales...

generally if you use any dissonant notes try to have them be quick. passing tones, that sort of thing. it's when you HOLD on those nots that they sound really bad and not just tense.

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Old 22-04-2012, 01:33 AM   #6
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Re: Question about using scales...

Do you write the melody before the chord progression???
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Old 22-04-2012, 02:05 AM   #7
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Re: Question about using scales...

oh that's a good point I didn't realize before: you probably shouldn't try and write melodies first and then chord progressions, unless you plan on having the melody build up into a chord progression - IE songs that are melodically not terribly complex.

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Old 22-04-2012, 02:27 AM   #8
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Re: Question about using scales...

Melodies are tied to the chords. If you play a melody in the C major scale while a C major chord is played, then you play the very same notes while an E minor is played you will hear a different melody, even if the notes are exactly the same. What I mean is that the intention of the melody, its meaning will differ. When you have a melody in your head, you should hear the chord that's played behind as well. A melody doesn't make sense by itself.
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Old 22-04-2012, 04:44 PM   #9
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Re: Question about using scales...

Always, when I'm writing a melody, I do the chord progression first.

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Old 02-05-2012, 06:36 AM   #10
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Re: Question about using scales...

It is also useful when writing chords to mindful of what kinds of cadences you are using. For instance you wouldn't want to use a V-I chord when the melody is building up, when it's more powerfully placed at the end of a phrase to close it.
Not that this is directly related to the question but more of a thought to put out there.
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:12 PM   #11
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Re: Question about using scales...

You don't have to at all my friend.
As long as you know the relationship of the notes that you are using in the chords, to C, then I think you'll be perfectly fine. Example:
C major 7 #11
C E G B D F#
I think that chord sounds beautiful, although the F is sharpened, creating a heap of tension within the chord that is begging for resolve.
It's all a matter of recognizing what you are doing harmonically.
This is the beauty of music you see, because you can literally do ANYTHING.

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Old 11-05-2012, 10:22 AM   #12
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Re: Question about using scales...

this way u'll get confused if ur melody is a bit tough for the way u'r approaching, I would say try to assemble the fine sounding chords then write the melody...
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:35 AM   #13
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Re: Question about using scales...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnson Academy View Post
I have been studying music theory for a while now, and a wuestion has came to my mind that I don't seem to find answer for. It's about scales.

Let's say I make a melody using Major C as my scale. SO, when I start to write the chord progression do I have to make sure that every note of my chords are on the scale?
Seems like this thread digressed a lil' bit from the original question, although people had helpful things to say.

To answer the question no. You can use non diatonic notes, but I think that makes it more complicated. There are many things you can do to spice up your chordal progressions with diatonic NCT's.

Here is a list of your NCT's (non chordal tones)
1.Apoggiaturas (note approached by a leap and resolved by a halfstep)
2.Passing Tones (just to get from one chordal tone to the next (effective in basslines))
3.Neighbor Tones (moving up or down either by half or whole step and then returning to original tone)
4.Suspensions (General awesomeness. NCT held out for dramatic effect, then resolved down by half or whole step)
5.Retardation (opposite of suspension. Half or whole step up)
6.Anticipation (an NCT that is a chordal member of the upcoming chord)

Just pay attention to your voice leading. This is an electronic music forum so I don't expect anyone to be writing Chorales in four voices, but nonetheless it is helpful to know your NCT's. Counterpoint will help to create opportunities for non chordal tones in your music.

Non diatonic tones are a totally different beast, usually created by secondary functions, modulations, or mode mixture. The last of which I believe is the most likely to end up in dance music.

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