Stupid question about music theory
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Old 15-01-2017, 11:29 PM   #1
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Stupid question about music theory

K i have a stupid question but here goes.

A lot of tutorials i watch I notice people writing in the minor scale. This scale doesn't have the second in there because it's W-H-W-W-H-W-W

Yet I see a lot of people writing melodies by starting on the root then, going to the second which would be

a Half step instead of a whole step, breaking the scale format...

The thing is a really like the sound of the root to the second note, it gives it a pretty dark feel, I'm just wondering if it's correct to do this, or is it some form of the minor scale that's not the basic minor scale?

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Old 15-01-2017, 11:45 PM   #2
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

Short answer, yes it's some type of minor scale that isn't the natural minor scale.. Kind of.


The b2 (flat two), as I would call it, can be found in a lot of contexts.

The most basic would probably be the Phrygian mode. Most of the time if you hear a b2, it's in the form of modal mixture. Modal mixture is when you temporarily use a parallel mode, so in other words you go from C Ionian to C Phrygian. Keep in mind this will change the harmony also.

in this case, the b2 would be harmonized as a major triad. So you could have chords like C min to Db maj.

There are other scales with b2. Locrian mode, Phrygian dominant, the altered scale.. There even more also.

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Old 15-01-2017, 11:47 PM   #3
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

By the way, looking at your example, yo spelled the Locrian mode.

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Old 16-01-2017, 12:22 AM   #4
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

I don't have a good music theory answer specifically to your question, but my typical writing style involves a couple half steps. Pretty much "darkens" anything. I really like the sound of it. One of the half steps in the scales I work out is usually from the root up.

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Old 16-01-2017, 05:10 AM   #5
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

in my personal opinion music theory is kinda outdated, yeah basic knowledge is still handy but there are many factors that western theory ignores or just blindly rejects
don't overthink chord progressions scales and simmilar dogmats, because it will just make your creativity dull
as already stated adjacent semitones sound "dark" unless you were indoctrinated otherwise, chromatic glissando's are pretty common in older horror movies
flatten or sharpen something in "happy" major scale and it will become "dark" but we should call it fancy name like "diminished minor mode with augmented fifth something" or whatever ridiculous thing it is called, you can also shove extra note in scale instead to get "octagonal", "octonic" or whatever scale or mode
after listening many different types of music i realized that harmony is social conditioning, yeah there are mathematical relations between certain frequencies, so what ? eastern music doesnt care much about it, african music ignores tonality at all,
straight tone and timbre(chords are basically timbre modifiers) is not only emotion carrier, tritone is called dissonant in western music but its common in eastern, why ? because thats what they were listening since childhood, why people who listened genre A a lot are less likely to appreciate genre B ? same goes with "harmony" but on worldwide scale,
best example i can bring is that filter sweeps over white noise can have as strong emotion as note progressions, no music theory book will teach you this expect some of the newer ones which are not blinded by millennia old bigotry

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Old 16-01-2017, 09:24 AM   #6
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

there is no "correct" or "not-correct"
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Old 16-01-2017, 12:28 PM   #7
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

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Originally Posted by AetherSound View Post
there is no "correct" or "not-correct"
Profound

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Old 16-01-2017, 01:21 PM   #8
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

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Originally Posted by AetherSound View Post
there is no "correct" or "not-correct"
this basically. trust your ears. if it sounds good it's good. the theory is not there to tell you what you must do for it to be correct or not. try to see it more as something that is trying to explain why something sounds good in a particular situation.

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Old 16-01-2017, 04:58 PM   #9
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

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Originally Posted by professurreal View Post
this basically. trust your ears. if it sounds good it's good. the theory is not there to tell you what you must do for it to be correct or not. try to see it more as something that is trying to explain why something sounds good in a particular situation.
This exactly. If you are using music theory as a road map you are doing it wrong (ok it's all subjective but..). I view music theory as a way to label and organize sounds so you can access them more quickly.

It only limits you in the same way that having a folder labeled "kick drums" would. Sure you will be inclined to use the samples as kick drums but it's quite easy to disregard this and do whatever you like with them.

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Old 16-01-2017, 06:07 PM   #10
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

To me the most useful thing about music theory is that it names things and allows us to communicate as musicians. That is why I wish I knew more about it. Nothing worse than working with some cunt like me that can't express what he is doing musically in words.

Quite honestly this whole "theory stiffles creativity" or "its a social construct" argument is simply bullshit. Once you understand that system--which certainly would limit you if you chose to only work within its "rules--you can work outside of the system.

Its a language that allows us to understand how and why music works. Elsewise we would just be fumbling around. It gives you a way to think about music. Try to imagine not knowing a language. What would your thoughts sound like in your head? That's how people making music who know zero theory have to think about music.

Not directing this at any one particular person.

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Old 16-01-2017, 06:30 PM   #11
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
To me the most useful thing about music theory is that it names things and allows us to communicate as musicians. That is why I wish I knew more about it. Nothing worse than working with some cunt like me that can't express what he is doing musically in words.

Quite honestly this whole "theory stiffles creativity" or "its a social construct" argument is simply bullshit. Once you understand that system--which certainly would limit you if you chose to only work within its "rules--you can work outside of the system.

Its a language that allows us to understand how and why music works. Elsewise we would just be fumbling around. It gives you a way to think about music. Try to imagine not knowing a language. What would your thoughts sound like in your head? That's how people making music who know zero theory have to think about music.

Not directing this at any one particular person.
Definitely helps with communicating..

But for me, it comes in handy most as a composer. When I'm communicating with other musicians, it's usually not too necessary to go in depth about the theory of a song. In a jazz context it's like.. "here are the chords.. improvise with them." Usually they can either do it or they can't. I don't really collaborate in composing very often. I'm sure it would be super handy in that situation though.

When i'm writing music though.. it's a little different. Before I learned my theory shit, I might be writing something and be like "man.. I like this sound and I notice I use it a lot," now I'm like "I like the sound of a bVI chord. And I use it a lot."

By my reckoning, this actually gives me more creative control. Now instead of being all willy nilly stumbling around in the dark, I can decide if I want to use a sound or not. If I'm getting tired of a particular sound, I can avoid it.

Still, for the most part, I shut off the theory part of my brain when composing and go by ear. In the process of writing something, there might be a few moments where I draw on my theory knowledge, and it allows me to work through something quickly that could have me scratching my head for a while otherwise.

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Old 16-01-2017, 06:35 PM   #12
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

^Yes! That was the break through for me as well. That is what I was getting at--it gives you a language to think about music. W/o it one is stumbling around in the dark. If just knowing theory shrinks someone's creativity and forces them into some social construct, they must be pretty weak minded

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Old 16-01-2017, 06:43 PM   #13
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

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Originally Posted by relic View Post
^Yes! That was the break through for me as well. That is what I was getting at--it gives you a language to think about music. W/o it one is stumbling around in the dark. If just knowing theory shrinks someone's creativity and forces them into some social construct, they must be pretty weak minded
lol..

ok, so i honestly did't read the last paragraph of your preceding post. but that's an eloquent way of putting what i was saying..

the not knowing language thing is a perfect analogy. It allows us to think about music more effectively. So instead of remembering "this sound, and that sound, and that other sound, and that sound I heard that time," you have a bunch of labels.

Saying "music theory stifles creativity" is something like saying "having a large vocabulary stifles good story telling"

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Old 17-01-2017, 12:12 AM   #14
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

I think the thing that people often miss is that theory exists independent of its use. Like, literally anything tonal that anyone ever creates has a reference point in theory. It's there whether you're scoring Classical pieces for film or writing three chord punk songs in your garage. And theory extends so very far past what people perceive as classic and modern Western music. Knowing how and why you're doing things doesn't exclude you from doing them.

What theory does for me is creates a self-referential system for me to bounce around in. I can embrace some rules, throw some out. It tells me why I don't like some music and creates red flags for me to avoid in my own stuff. It inspires me by inviting me to jam up two or more parts of theory that don't get used a lot (like a microtonal waltz). When amazing compositions don't just pop into my brain, I can go back to the theory for ideas. It's a well that doesn't run dry.

Anyone that thinks knowing theory stifles creativity doesn't know enough theory.
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Old 17-01-2017, 12:28 AM   #15
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

only play the black keys.

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Old 17-01-2017, 12:29 AM   #16
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

or learn minor pentatonics scales for shredding guitar solos. oh, also tremolo and sweep picking.

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Old 17-01-2017, 12:33 AM   #17
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

I love pentatonic scales <3 b/c I don't know shit I often go with w/e made up five note "scales" in my tunes....maybe throw in a sixth note later on in the tune to change things up

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Old 17-01-2017, 01:05 AM   #18
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

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only play the black keys.
Their first album is the best one. I liked them before they were cool and totally sold out to the man.
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Old 17-01-2017, 02:22 AM   #19
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

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Their first album is the best one. I liked them before they were cool and totally sold out to the man.
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Old 17-01-2017, 11:42 PM   #20
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Re: Stupid question about music theory

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Originally Posted by Chaotix View Post
K i have a stupid question but here goes.

A lot of tutorials i watch I notice people writing in the minor scale. This scale doesn't have the second in there because it's W-H-W-W-H-W-W
This confuses me.
I've read it repeatedly and tried to wrap my head around it; maybe I'm misunderstanding or missing something, but I'm not understanding the use of "second" in this section.

How does a minor scale not use a "second"?
A second is a degree placement, and the minor scale has a second degree; it's not absent of a second degree.

In degree mapping, the natural minor scale is:
1 2 ♭3 4 5 ♭6 ♭7

That 2 is the "second".

Are you referring to a different thing when you say "second"?

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