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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: harmonic language in prog
    Posted: February 02 2013 at 17:08
regarding the tritone in popular music, I read this on line - 

The tritone retains its "Devil in Music" character in popular music, specifically heavy metal. The opening of Black Sabbath's signature song Black Sabbath makes heavy use of the tritone. Other metal songs with prominent tritones in their main riffs are Diamond Head's Am I Evil? and Metallica's For Whom the Bell Tolls and Enter Sandman. Other examples are the beginning of Liszt's Dante Sonata and Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote brainstormer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2013 at 15:26
It's interesting that the "And Then There Were Three" album by Genesis has a lot of microtonal
sliding, like glissandro playing a part.  I'm not sure what other prog bands that
are melodically somewhat normal and not chaotic (I know, a relative word, lol) use
that.  I believe you also hear it on Wind and Wuthering, and probably in Hackett. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2013 at 14:00
ON a related topic -

Regarding the emotional impact of chords, etc - especially concerning consonance and dissonance. Consonance is generally associated with structural stability, internal "harmony" or order, and things that are at rest or in equilibrium. Consonant sounds can be generated by simple apparatuses or materials like metals (with well ordered crystal lattices), hollow tubes, plucked strings, etc. The frequencies generated by these apparatuses (overtones) have mathematical relationships to one another such that we can associate a pitch with them. The purer the tone, the fewer interfering frequencies there are. Consonance in music occurs when its structure deviates little from the overtone series generated when each pitch is played. But without a fundamental tone or pitch, consonance has no meaning. It only has meaning in relationship to that pitch, and specifically what happens in your brain when you move away from it.  One would never describe a drum hit as being consonant. Dissonance on the other hand is really related to motion, tension and conflict i.e. it acts in opposition to consonance. Its kind of like yin and yang. One represents rest, the other action. But anyway. how we perceive consonance and dissonance and how we react emotionally to it might relate to how we evolved and to how sounds occur in nature.

In the natural environment, there are not a lot of pure, consonant tones. Many birds produce them as well as other animals, but not all. When birds do produce pure tones, its often to attract a mate. The pure tones go together with fancy, colorful plumage, and the whole thing is like a theatrical prog rock performance, right? I mean, you are putting your best, most colorful, most youthful and consonant self out there for attention. And so consonance might come to be associated with good health, youth, love etc. As we age on the other hand, our bodies become more disorganized (dissonant) and is that why nostalgia in music is like a yearning to return to a more consonant youthful state?

Anyway, but most things in nature are too complex or disorganized structurally (rocks, air, water) to be able to produce pure tones.  What that means is the sounds they typically make when they interact with their environment are quasi tonal at best to the point where they're often perceived as noise. Like when a tree falls in the forest (and you DO hear it :)) But dissonance is neither noise nor pure, consonant sounds. Dissonance is the juxtaposition of two or more pure tones in ways that the brain interprets as being unstable or no longer at rest. And in nature when you hear it, it often implies that you may have two organisms producing pure tones that are not in harmony with one another.  Maybe they are arguing, or battling for territory, etc i.e. competing for space or mates. Or maybe we have a flock of birds, a noisy marsh, or a swarm of buzzing insects. The sounds generated by the latter though might better be described as atonal and stable rather than dissonant due to the large number of sources creating it and the fact that it varies little over time.  A flock of chattering birds is just noise. Its just social chatter intended for none other than themselves. But courtship on the other hand involves songs intended to attract another bird, and here dissonance could play a role. Perhaps love is all about a desire for consonance, at least to a bird trying to negotiate the dating scene.  For example,  if two competing male birds of the same species are close together and are singing the same courtship song but on a slightly different pitch (unavoidable), they are creating a dissonant sound space in their immediate surroundings. Any female in the vicinity will experience this dissonance then especially if she is positioned right in the middle and might respond by feeling distressed or confused. Which guy is the one for me? But now if one of the males moves further away (is chased away by the other male perhaps) or the female moves closer to one in particular, the sound reaching her ears becomes purer tonally and the dissonance, like conflict, gets resolved. One might actually suggest that in order to avoid the dissonance which may be distressing, she is compelled to choose a mate! Only then can she feel relief (which of course is interpreted as love by the male she chooses). Now this is real musical dissonance with resolution in nature! The resolution is made possible by the act of physically moving to a position where competing sounds are no longer competing. Love is not about social chatter, its more like a quest for that spiritual oneness. One song, one God. Consonance over dissonance. Now then take Charles Ives and his warring marching bands. Charles I guess was no romantic.:)  He actually liked the atonality associated with two different bands playing simultaneously and competing for his attention. Like the competing male birds, his bands were not far enough away from one another to keep the sound space from being dissonant, and he liked it that way. He preferred to not have to choose one band over the other. I guess this made him smile, and why he wrote music that emulated that environment. What a rogue he must have been :)

But I guess that what i'm saying is that in nature, dissonance often implies conflict between two or more organisms, and all conflict begs for resolution. Not always but in many situations, especially where the tones are in relative isolation to other sounds. Noise on the other hand might startle you and indicate that something is amiss (avalanche approaching), but it doesn't beg for resolution (OK, maybe get out of the way) and so emotionally, the effect on you is colder. Love, hate, nostalgia, etc doesn't come into play. Only fear maybe:) And then as you move to the modern world, dissonance increases and in cities, etc, you have mechanical systems made of metal and their purer tones which sort of compete with one another and maybe for the first time then, humans encountered the tritone WITHOUT resolution. I don't know..:) 

But anyway, I used to birdwatch and so spent a lot of time listening to birds. The most chaotic environment sonically, the most dissonant, was always the marshlands. I wonder why that is? The purer tones seem to come from the birds living higher up in the forest canopy. Chaotic bird sounds are more frequently encountered down low, in the marshes and low bushes. Now theres an observation for you....:)  Are we talking about angels and devils here? :) Angelic voices from on high compared to grunts and groans coming from the marshes? :)  Try translating that to music and what your preferences are :) But its also related to how birds evolved, because the purer tones are also associated with more recently evolved species. The birds high up in the canopy tend to be "song birds" (of course!) which are more highly evolved compared to the water birds.  Size doesn't seem to necessarily matter. Habitiat is more important. It could be related to the size of their territory and probably a need to project farther if you live higher up in the canopy where distances between birds are probably greater. Or in drier country where trees are well spaced. Interesting, "song birds" that do live in the marshes have more chaotic, less pure voices (blackbirds, for example). Maybe its more like a city there - purer tones just get drowned out and combined with the cacaphony which renders them meaningless. Its crowded and dissonant there. Charles Ives would have loved the marshes...

Anyway, this makes me want to get outside and stop writing. Its sunny out, and I need to go enjoy the consonance of nature...


aldri7


Edited by aldri7 - February 03 2013 at 01:22
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2013 at 12:01
Originally posted by Polymorphia

 Fittingness actually encompasses all elements of music. A certain's chord sequence's physical characteristics can cause one to associate it with nostalgia. I agree, the notes themselves don't have inherent emotional impact.

I actually have never heard of "fittingness". I mentioned in an earlier post that if anyone throws any new words out there, I will go look it up. I just did. The first definition I came across was "the act of putting on clothes" :)  clearly I need another definition.....

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Polymorphia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2013 at 09:23
Originally posted by aldri7

Originally posted by Polymorphia

 It all has to do with fittingness. You basically gave an example with the phrase like "unrequited love" though I don't necessarily feel the same way about the minor third (it really depends on its context for me). The brain makes connections based on similarities. Pitches can't actually be "high" or "low" in the same sense that an object can be. If we wanted to be technical, we could say "pitches that vibrate with a fast frequency" and "pitches that vibrate with a slow frequency." But everything we associated with pitch, like resonance in the human body while singing, designates a "high" and "low" that is almost universally understood.  This allows composers to create a kind of musical symbolism. 

I'm basing what I'm saying a little on what I know about the overtone series (the pitches that sound along with the fundamental whenever you pluck a string, sing, etc). Anyway, the overtones closest to the fundamental create the most consonant chords when you play  them together. Like C and G, for example. And then you continue to add notes. The fourth overtone with C as the fundamental is E. Put C and E together and you have a major triad. The minor triad in comparison is not so consonant to the ears/brain, and so that is why I suggested we associate sadness with the minor triad when it is not resolved to the major triad (like maybe the ear wants it to be). Anyway, I'm not disagreeing with anything you wrote, I just thought I'd add that to what I wrote earlier. Thats because you're talking I think about single notes when I'm talking about chords and how they sound together. But its all relative with chords too. I mean we were talking about the emotional impact of music, and single notes played by themselves don't have much impact as far as I know (other than to relax you or annoy you (sine wave. Arrrg!!)) depending on the quality of the sound :)). Its when you put them together using scales and chords that things start to happen in the brain. 

aldri7
Fittingness actually encompasses all elements of music. A certain's chord sequence's physical characteristics can cause one to associate it with nostalgia. I agree, the notes themselves don't have inherent emotional impact.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 02 2013 at 07:55
I don't really analyze scales and harmonies much when I'm listening. I just react in some way, unless something really makes me raise an eyebrow, or if I happen to be trying to play it. Scales and harmonies are very important to me as a player more than as a listener. Lately I've been in love with the half/whole diminished scale. I discovered it while playing Hungarian minor and really liking the part of it that is composed of a half step-whole step-half step so much that I decided to just repeat the pattern. It allows lots of diminished chords and 13th chords and allows one to change back and forth between major and minor chords. The feeling for me is one of a lot emotion but all pent up, never laid on the table. It reminds of the feel I get from a lot of Crimson. Whether or not Crimson actually actually uses diminished scales or not, I don't really know.

Edited by HackettFan - February 02 2013 at 07:57
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Atavachron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 22:49
Originally posted by Polymorphia

Originally posted by aldri7

Originally posted by Atavachron

 ^ Good points, music is relative to the other music around it, but still the question is begged;  why do certain melodies and chords, whatever the context, evoke a particular response?   Is it a vibrational relationship with our ears and brain; Is it learned or automatic; etc.
I have wondered that with respect to the Lydian mode and nostalgia, because nostalgia is not something that you can easily define. Its not an emotion really. But anyway, to find the answer, maybe in this case its subjective and based on the experiences of those that came of age at a certain time and place back in the 50's or so - and then went on to compose music for film. If at some point growing up they were exposed to that mode, then hearing it now might tend to elicit nostalgia. But for someone growing up in a different time and place, I don't see how they would tend to make that connection.

Probably the biggest mystery then is why a minor third is considered "sad" while a major third is "happy". This seems to be pretty universal, and so I wonder if it is a vibrational thing - I'm guessing a major third is more consonant  i.e. easier on the ears, and so when they hear a minor third, the ears wants to convert it or resolve it to a major third which it can't. Because it can't, the effect on you, the owner of those ears, is sadness :)   Its a little like unrequited love, maybe. With the minor third, there is a little bit of tension. So near but so far away...
It all has to do with fittingness. You basically gave an example with the phrase like "unrequited love" though I don't necessarily feel the same way about the minor third (it really depends on its context for me). The brain makes connections based on similarities. Pitches can't actually be "high" or "low" in the same sense that an object can be. If we wanted to be technical, we could say "pitches that vibrate with a fast frequency" and "pitches that vibrate with a slow frequency." But everything we associated with pitch, like resonance in the human body while singing, designates a "high" and "low" that is almost universally understood.  This allows composers to create a kind of musical symbolism.

Quite--  like a universal emotional language.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Progosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 19:11
^ Well said, aldri7, well said.  There is something positive in being part of a community, and although we can get pretty bitchy around here on some issues, it's a good community to be involved in.
The world of sound is certainly capable of infinite variety and, were our sense developed, of infinite extensions. -- George Santayana, "The Sense of Beauty"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 18:09
thanks, Progosopher.

Truth be told, I'm a harmony snob. I admit it.  And I'll dig through music of every conceivable style searching for certain sounds. So the best part for me about being here on this site is that the prog touches so many different genres - you can get to the heavy stuff from here (metal, extreme, art rock and avant gard), or cruise the lighter side (folk, world, classical, or new age). And somewhere there is a great prog band that plays or is influenced by one of those genres. So to me we're like a hub with many spokes and tie ins that can lead you just about anywhere in music you might want to go. If its not here, someone can point me the way.  So thanks to the admins and everyone else that contributes to this great site. My initial reaction after spending a day or two reading extremely articulate descriptions here of the different sub genres of prog etc was enough to convince me that this place was for me..

Anyway, but getting back to harmony. The sub genre approach to classifying prog here works extremely well for channeling similar sounding music into bins where you can sort of leaf through them at your leisure (using the analogy of a dusty old record store here...). But for guys like me that are so harmony oriented, its still a needle in a haystack type thing, finding those bands that put their notes together just the way I like.  The best luck I've had so far is when I use a country based strategy (and why I started my other thread comparing prog by country) because I know that harmony is a language which, like all languages, varies according to geography. That has worked somewhat. As of yet, however, there is no place that I know of where you can find music organized based on the chords, scales and harmonies used (given preference over everything else). I wish that there was such a place. I suppose with technology the way it is, you could run music through a program which could extract basic info about the chords, scales etc and then throw it into bins labeled "Lydian mode", "augmented scale", various key modulations etc. This I would eat up, because I would go straight to the Lydian mode bin or whatever and be confident that I would like what I hear. 

But until there is such a program, I have to ask if anyone else feels the same way I do, or do you use a whole different criteria for judging what you hear?  BEcause if anyone else feels the same way, it would be worth it for me or someone to put together some lists of prog bands organized by their harmonic language (scales, chords) and nothing more. Informally, I have been doing this sort of thing all of my life. To some extent it would cut through the current sub genres, picking out bands here and there from each, and shuffling them into harmony categories. Not always though, as different sub genres often DO display a unique harmonic signature. Anyway, do I sound like I'm nuts? Well, with 8,000 bands and I'm not getting any younger (I think my listening hours are numbered), it doesn't sound that nutty to me. We only need members who can quickly identify sounds and articulate (perhaps the key word there - has the word "tritone" tripped anyone up yet?) what they hear in terms of standard music theory regarding chords and scales, etc.

On the other hand, in the absence of lists, I suppose this thread might suffice. I'll think on it...

aldri7




Edited by aldri7 - February 02 2013 at 01:18
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Progosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 16:05
Originally posted by aldri7

Originally posted by Progosopher

  However, if you are looking for an interesting harmonic palette, try The Residents who seem to operate within a set of musical rules all their own.  


Holy Crap! (pardon my english) - These guys are amazing! I need to set aside some serious time to listen to this! Keep recommendations like this comin!

I've got them up at Spotify. They'll load up on these atonal dissonances, then suddenly resolve to a very consonant chord without any warning. But at one point, this happened and then things suddenly resolved to the familiar Spotify commercial and I had to close out. Now I'm back in but can't find the track I was listening to. They were singing about a ping ping ball in a video game going back and forth, and I was almost laughing.....:)

aldri7


That track could have been from The Commercial Album, which consists exclusively of one minute songs.  How's that for a concept?  This is one of the things I like most about their music, that just when you think you've figured them out, or that one song you're listening to, they throw something else at you and then you're back at square one.  And yes, it is often so absurd I just have to laugh at it.  My favorites are the very early albums Not Available, The Third Reich 'n' Roll, Duck Stab, and the more recent The Ughs!  As another mentioned about Charles Ives, this is not music for sissies or the aural unadventurous.
The world of sound is certainly capable of infinite variety and, were our sense developed, of infinite extensions. -- George Santayana, "The Sense of Beauty"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 14:20
and one more thing before I head out!!

Stacking fourths is what Keith Emerson did a lot, especially on Tarkus which to me was like a giant ode to the fourth as an interval. In jazz also, this became increasingly popular in the late 60's, early 70's as an alternative to standard jazz harmonies. McCoy Tyner did it too.

And then you can also stack your fifths. This gives you that relaxing, whole tone, meditative sound that I love. One of my favorite chords is the one John McLaughlin (again....) introduced me to a long time ago in "Power of Love", for example (album Apocolypse). The notes are from the bottom up C, G, D, E flat, B flat and F - all open fifths (four in all) with a minor third in the middle. Technically, this I think is some sort of 13th chord. Anyway, as a variation substitute a major second for the minor second, and play the chord in different keys. Thats exactly what John did in "Power of Love"  Anyway, a lot of others picked up on this chord like Metheny, Holdsworth (bases a lot of his harmonies on these types of chords), Abercrombe (who loved to chill out to stacked fifths) etc and all its variations, permutations etc, but generally combining fifths with minor or major seconds. Also, in "Nevermore" by  U.K. (album U.K.), the guitar opens with the same type of chord. Try it with the minor second at the top or bottom of the chord too, and substitute 6ths on occasion with your fifths. Its interesting, but if you try substituting fourths for your fifths here, you suddenly get REALLY dissonant sounds!  I mean, making that simple substitution takes you from some of the most relaxing chords in music to some of the most dissonant.

John Scofield among others brought into jazz fusion a fresh harmonic language that seemed to be based largely on inverting the seventh (putting it at the bottom of the chord) in the standard major 7th, 9th, etc chord. Ralph Towner did this all the time too. So, in other words, in the key of C, you take the seventh which is B and stick it in your base. Having it in the base against the C and other notes in the mid register can be quite dissonant. Often you are just playing a major seventh, but because the seventh is now in the base, you've suddenly got a more exotic sound. One of Ralph's favorite chords might be from the bottom up B, G, C, E. Scofield often liked to stack his fourths above the inverted seventh, resulting in, for example B, C (an octave higher), D, and G.  Both these guys would often substitute augmented chords for the triads or stacked fourths in the mid register. Terje Rypdal also based a lot of his work on chords like this. The augmented chord that often gets substituted is based on chords like D, F, F sharp, B flat. try it inverted too (F sharp in the base).

Just try playing the Towner chord, the Scofield chord, and then maybe "E, F sharp, A, D"  followed by "F sharp, A, B, E". Four chords. In the base it goes B, B, E, F sharp (never closer than a 6th from the other notes - very important). 

70's fusion....

aldri7






Edited by aldri7 - February 02 2013 at 02:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 13:27
here's an interest song with strange harmonies.....(I found this through the Residents)....Pere Ubu's (sort of art/punk rock) "Free White".

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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 13:15
Originally posted by wreckfan1

Just wondering what is your opinion of long tracks that comprise mostly of one pedal root?



To me, its a little like meditating and going "ohmmmmm.....", but I can be in the mood, definitely...

sometimes John Abercrombie would sit on one base note for a really long time..

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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 13:11
Originally posted by Progosopher

  However, if you are looking for an interesting harmonic palette, try The Residents who seem to operate within a set of musical rules all their own.  


Holy Crap! (pardon my english) - These guys are amazing! I need to set aside some serious time to listen to this! Keep recommendations like this comin!

I've got them up at Spotify. They'll load up on these atonal dissonances, then suddenly resolve to a very consonant chord without any warning. But at one point, things suddenly resolved to the familiar Spotify commercial and I had to close out. Now I'm back in but can't find the track I was listening to. They were singing about a ping ping ball in a video game going back and forth, and I was almost laughing.....:)

aldri7




Edited by aldri7 - February 01 2013 at 17:22
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 12:52
Originally posted by Progosopher

 And if you like key changes and classical music, try the symphonies of Charles Ives. 

Ives was amazing.  He wanted desperately not to be seen as writing "sissy music" (consonant sounds, which to him were for sissies....:))

His vision was of a fourth of July Parade, where a marching band is playing a song in front of you while another band, playing a different song in a different key, is a hundred yards back in the parade. The sounds collide, and that is what he tried to emulate....:)  Bands colliding wasn't for sissies...

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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 12:47
Originally posted by Gerinski

The Simpsons theme uses exactly the same triad as West Side Story's Maria.

thats funny :) (I'm singing "Maria" to myself substituting "the Simpsons" every time one sings the word "Maria". :)

"The Simpson's. I'll never stop saying The Simpsons........."

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Progosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 12:45
Originally posted by Atavachron

Originally posted by aldri7

Keith Emerson built a lot of his work around stacked fourths. That opening left hand riff in Tarkus is all fourths...
I've tried playing this on guitar, it's a real bitch as the closest fourth on guitar is vertical which makes the fingering quite a task.. and sweeping the riff doesn't sound right.

Good thread, hope you get some more responses

This problem of fourths on guitar is a good place to bring in finger picking as opposed to flat picking.  So many great guitarists have used it - Howe, Hackett, Ackerman have used it acoustically, but Jeff Beck has developed a devastating mastery of it on the electric guitar (he also continously controls his whammy bar and volume knob for what I call his triple attack).  It is not just for Country, Bluegrass, and Classical.  BTW, I am a flat picker.
 
The topic is a good one - when we get technical around here it is usually more in terms of time signature.
 
Even though I have been playing guitar for over 35 years, I have not learned much of the technical aspects of it, which is why I usually just jam in G.  However, if you are looking for an interesting harmonic palette, try The Residents who seem to operate within a set of musical rules all their own.  Or another one of John McLaughlin's projects, Shakti.  Indian classical musical utilizes unique sets of scales for individual pieces.  Given the existence of microtones in its theory, there is a lot of harmonic variance albeit in terms different from what we are used to in the West.  Also, I have heard that Deep Purple often plays in difficult keys such as F minor sharp and what-not.  And if you like key changes and classical music, try the symphonies of Charles Ives. 
The world of sound is certainly capable of infinite variety and, were our sense developed, of infinite extensions. -- George Santayana, "The Sense of Beauty"
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 12:43
Originally posted by Polymorphia

 It all has to do with fittingness. You basically gave an example with the phrase like "unrequited love" though I don't necessarily feel the same way about the minor third (it really depends on its context for me). The brain makes connections based on similarities. Pitches can't actually be "high" or "low" in the same sense that an object can be. If we wanted to be technical, we could say "pitches that vibrate with a fast frequency" and "pitches that vibrate with a slow frequency." But everything we associated with pitch, like resonance in the human body while singing, designates a "high" and "low" that is almost universally understood.  This allows composers to create a kind of musical symbolism. 

I'm basing what I'm saying a little on what I know about the overtone series (the pitches that sound along with the fundamental whenever you pluck a string, sing, etc). Anyway, the overtones closest to the fundamental create the most consonant chords when you play  them together. Like C and G, for example. And then you continue to add notes. The fourth overtone with C as the fundamental is E. Put C and E together and you have a major triad. The minor triad in comparison is not so consonant to the ears/brain, and so that is why I suggested we associate sadness with the minor triad when it is not resolved to the major triad (like maybe the ear wants it to be). Anyway, I'm not disagreeing with anything you wrote, I just thought I'd add that to what I wrote earlier. Thats because you're talking I think about single notes when I'm talking about chords and how they sound together. But its all relative with chords too. I mean we were talking about the emotional impact of music, and single notes played by themselves don't have much impact as far as I know (other than to relax you or annoy you (sine wave. Arrrg!!)) depending on the quality of the sound :)). Its when you put them together using scales and chords that things start to happen in the brain. 

aldri7
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Gerinski Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 12:30
The Simpsons theme uses exactly the same triad as West Side Story's Maria.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aldri7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 01 2013 at 12:28
my very first introduction to jazz fusion was "The Inner Mounting Flame" by Mahavishnu Orhcestra, specifically the opening track, "Meeting of the Spirits". I mentioned the first chord that sounds on that album (and that song) - I'm trying to hunt up the name of that chord, but like I said its the one that Jimi Hendrix introduced into rock with the Purple Haze album. Its a very familiar chord and it has a tritone in it (BTW - I can take this in as technical a direction as you want. On a scale of 1 to 10, my music theory is probably at about a 4 or 5, but I can handle more 'cause I have the internet to help me! If you post a word I don't know, I will look it up!!)

Anyway, the "Hendrix" chord is "C, E, B flat, E flat". Same famous chord that Blood Sweat and Tears opens up "Spinning Wheel" with two years after Hendrix recorded Purple Haze. The horns repeat it ten times.

But back to "Meeting of the Spirits" - I bring this up again because its also a Phygrian mode song. In that mode, the scale starts with a half step interval, the only major/minor scale that does that. McLaughlin plays a riff on the notes "F, F sharp, C, and E flat" and its off we go. Classical composer Anton Bruckner also uses this scale. Maybe its my second or third favorite after the Lydian mode scale.

But I need more prog using these modes!

Mclaughlin also liked the diminished scale, especially in "Birds of Fire". The notes in that scale are C, C sharp, D sharp, E, F sharp, G, A, and A sharp. It has eight notes, not the usual seven. You can play major triads using these notes and then add a base note that superimposes a contrasting key giving it a dissonant sound. On "resolution", John opens the song playing a B flat in the base and an A major triad in the mid register. Thats a dissonant combination but all those notes are in the diminished scale. Also, on the track "Sanctuary", that brooding, exotic sounding base line is from the diminished scale. I recall when I first heard that track I was so captivated by how exotic it sounded that I had to pick it out on the piano. And then I spent several months jamming to that scale, sometimes with a friend on guitar who was like "man, this is really out there!...:)" The opening notes in Sanctuary are E (base) then G, A flat and B flat (alternating), and F (top note).

aldri7




Edited by aldri7 - February 01 2013 at 12:54
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