|MusicNovatory/Introduction/Reference/Comments and Questions/Harmony/Preface/Chords and Scales|
I can't find anything on your site concerning scales. Have they suddenly disappeared from music altogether?
Not at all. Start by looking at the section called CHROMINICISM and come back to us.
Both the classical roman numeral harmonic analysis and the more advanced and interesting Schenkerian analysis use the concept of scale degree, a melodic construct based in the ionian mode (or the aeolian mode) over the tonic. Strange : we are using traditionally a melodical concept pretending to grasp the harmony of the music. Your ordinance by fifths seems more logical but in that case to label, for instance, the sub (counter) dominant with IV (or iv) is nonsense. How about the "traditional" (mainly jazz) concepts of chord-scale reationships (I mean ionian, lydian, locrian,....stuff) ??? I find your MusicNovatory revolutionary, great, wonderful, clever. The rest of theory, harmony,... treatises become obsolete and dull !
Thanks for your compliments. It's always pleasant to know that more people appreciate what we are doing. MusicNovatory uses symbols or terms like IV (or iv) only to give traditionally trained readers something to relate to. We agree with you that these terms are quite incoherent. You must understand that this applies to a huge number of terms (including for intervals) and to better make sense and communicate, MusicNovatory rather uses the terms "TONIC, DOMINANT, COUNTER", with "ANTE-1, ANTE-2, ANTE-3", and the inevitable "BUCKLE" chord, each one with its specific place in the diatonic Window. Scale degrees are used here because readers may still need to refer to them. Of course, revising terminology is not a simple issue as it implies agreeing about the new terms and definitions. MusicNovatory works to limit the changes to a minimum, but we still need adequate vocabulary to better communicate and understand. There does not seem to be much point in using scales of any kind as a theoretical tool. In a melody, scales are merely arpeggios "filled-in" with passing tones. The arpeggio is a spread-out version of the chord that we are on and the passing notes are borrowed from the neighboring chords. Our advice about scales would be : "you'll see that you can easily live without them".
...Sorry, one last question. you say that the major scale inverted is the minor scale, but isn't it actually the phrygian?
No reason to apologize, we love questions! Another astute observation. First of all, we don't think we said that the major scale inverted is the minor scale. We think we said that the fundamental diatonic (descending) major mode inverted is the diatonic (ascending) minor mode, and what we mean by mode is revealed more clearly by looking at the diatonic window with the notes disposed in the series of fifths. Inversion involves rotating the entire system around the central note of the window (in Cmaj/Amin this would be the note D). Look what happens to the Tonic triad when you do this inversion - the frame inverts, so the root of the major tonic becomes the fifth of the minor tonic. Therefore, any melodic structure (such as a scale) that begins on C (root of the tonic chord) in major will, when inverted into diatonic minor, begin on E (fifth of the Am tonic chord). So, getting back to your question, yes, in a way a C major scale inverted (around the note D) does give you a phrygian scale, but not a C phrygian or A phrygian, but E phrygian. But of course, it makes no sense to call it E phrygian, because E is not the tonal center, i.e., it is not the root of the tonic chord; A is. So this is an A natural minor scale. All this goes to reinforce the concept that scales are not fundamental, they are results of something deeper: the series of perfect fifths, generated from the simplest productive ratio.
I have a question about the chromatic minor mode. What scale does it use? does it change for each chord in the mode?
You may not realize it, but this is really quite a loaded question! First of all, let us begin by saying that Music
Novatory theory does not recognize the scale as being a fundamental musical building block. You may find that a scale passage
is best understood as an embellished tetrad. If you look at any swing progression, you will notice that it defines a set
of seven notes (there are four notes in each tetrad with one note being the common tone). On either chord of the swing, a
scale passage can be generated by embellishing the four chord tones of the tetrad with non-chordal passing tones borrowed
from the other chord of the swing.
I've been doing some ear-training with intervals lately, and it seems to me like major 3rds and perfect fifths both have the
top note sounding like an extension of the bottom note, and vice versa for min6 and p4. aug4/dim5 are completely ambiguous,
seconds are ambiguous, and min3/maj6 are ambiguous. It's the maj 3rds (min6) and perfect 5ths (p4) alone that have this unique
Your observations are divided in two different parameters : (a) chords, where the sounds are heard simultaneously, which we
call the vertical parameter of The Structure of Pitch, and (b) scales, where the sounds are heard successively, which we call the horizontal parameter of The Structure of Pitch.
We will examine these individually, because we firmly believe that the vertical parameter is more fundamental (because it
is more demanding, as you accurately observed) and the horizontal parameter derives from the vertical chords, more specifically
in the Orbit Lines of the Voice-leading.
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