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Quick music-theory question...
Chromatic scales - ahhhh... I've answered it myself - no matter....
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (1 votes) 
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Uzi
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November 21, 2015 - 1:39 am
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BillyG said
I'm jumping in again very quickly @Uzi - is this a terminology thing that separates our "understanding" ???

I observe that you refer, more than once, to the term 

the relative natural minor scale

 - I see these (i.e "relative" and "natural" minor) as being two (slightly) different things - I see a "difference in meaning" between the terms "natural minor" and "relative minor" - I do not see them as being - either the same, or equivalent, and could not (currently, or until corrected, use the two words together in that context !) and, to re-quote - for me - the phrase "relative natural minor" sits "uneasy" with me because "I'm not sure what you mean by that" ( LOL )....

  Sorry @Uzi - running out of time here  - mid-evening here and things happening and people walking into the house completely outwith my control (oh, yes, I invited them)  LOL - let me get back on this tomorrow - I need to nail it, if not for my own satisfaction, but for the earlier posts above if they are in any way wrong or misleading....

  Catch you all later - 

  Bill

@BillyG, OK.  I did that to emphasize that relative isn't a scale it's an adjective describing the relationship between a natural minor scale and it's related major scale or vice versa.  So, if someone says the major scales and their relative minor scales, what they are really saying is that they are not explicitly identifying the names of the major scales or the minor scales each is related to.  

Each major scale has a natural minor scale which shares it's identical key signature, thus they are relative to one another.  They share sort of a musical DNA, if you will.  However, despite being related by having identical notes in their scales, each revolves around a different tonal center.  Taking C major as an easy candidate, where we can look at the piano keyboard posted earlier, the tonal center of the C major scale is C.  Often songs in that key will start and end on that note (the tonic), since the human ear likes to hear a resolution to a melodic phrase and not doing so is often found to be unpleasant and not musical. People always sing Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do, singing Do Re Me Fa So La Ti, would leave people wanting you to finish -- right? 

A major scale's relative minor scale revolves around a different tonal center.  That center is the sixth of the major scale or one and one-half steps below the tonic of its relative major scale. So singing that would be, La Ti Do Re Mi Fa So La.  Again songs in the natural minor will most often start on that tonic and also end on it for the same reason as above. 

Despite, a natural minor sharing the exact notes with its relative major scale, the difference in the spacing of the half steps in the scale give it a much different character, which many people associate with a sad sound, while the major scale is often thought of as a happy sound. 

The beauty of understanding the relationship between major scales and their associated (relative) natural minor scales is that one only has to learn the major scales to know all of the notes to play for the natural minor scales. You just play the same notes as the relative major scale, but start on a different note, as described earlier. 

This tonal scale relationship as described by the Circle of Fifths was historically (middle ages) preceded by modal scales.  The modes are Ionian (now called major,) Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian (now called natural minor) and Locrian. If you count across them, you will see that the Aeolian, as you would expect, is the sixth mode.  Just as the Aeolian mode starts on the sixth, the Dorian starts on the second, the Phrygian starts on the third and so on.

The terminology for modes can be a bit confusing as well until one understands how they work. The scales would be named as follows for scales with the C major key signature:  C Ionian, D dorian, E phrygian, F lydian, G mixolydian, A aeolian, B locrian.  These all share the same notes and key signature.  So, if someone says "The song is played in E Dorian," we know that the Dorian mode starts on the 2nd note of the scale so the key signature will be the same as a D major scale, but the tonal center of the music will be around the E note. 

Learning to hear and recognize the different modes can enhance both the appreciation and the learning of musical pieces, by increasing musical comprehension.  Modes, far from being discarded, occur very frequently in modern music, including modern rock and roll and jazz. 

For example here is a backing track in D Dorian.  The notes will be the same as those of the C Major scale, but the musical center (one does not actually call a modal center the 'tonic', it's actually called the 'final' in modal music) is the D.  Try it out by playing the notes in the C scale.  Perhaps start out with a Pentatonic such as D, E, G, A, B, D and throw in a C every now and again to spice it up a little. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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BillyG
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November 21, 2015 - 4:00 am
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Ahhh, cool @Uzi - you are my nemesis !!!!   Hahaha !!!

I get that ! Indeed, "I Don't Play Loud Music Any Longer" ( Ionain, Dorian, and so on ) - and I do believe the "confusion" has been resolved....  sweet -  let me home in on where this (i.e. my reasoning and description) "went wrong" - or - at least "was improperly specified" - I think we're homing in on the same thing (once I correct my original statement) - in post 16 I wrote -

  As far as minor scales go, there are actually 3 types (well, even more if we include some really esoteric ones) of minor scale - the natural minor, relative minor and harmonic minor.

  And that was misleading - indeed - the "relative minor" is the "odd-ball" in the above statement, I realise that, and in that statement, I should have referred to the natural, harmonic and melodic minors which are indeed all created differently in terms of the "interval sequence" starting from the tonic.

  Quote - (my underlining ) -

@BillyG, OK.  I did that to emphasize that relative isn't a scale it's an adjective describing the relationship between a natural minor scale and it's related major scale or vice versa.  So, if someone says the major scales and their relative minor scales, what they are really saying is that they are not explicitly identifying the names of the major scales or the minor scales each is related to.  

  Excellent, I get precisely what you are saying.

  And the way I was writing about it could, I guess be summed up by saying (trying to avoid both the terms natural and relative until they are required!!!) something like this -

  Any scale, built on the interval sequence 2,1,2,2,1,2,2 will have, to our ears, a "minor quality" to it, and, it will want to resolve as you rightly say to "la".   Putting aside the intricate details of the solfege system with its fixed and moveable "do" etc, almost everyone understands the "do, re, mi, fa, so, lah, ti, do" concept - it is "scale independent" - sing, hum, whistle, from any starting note (in fact any starting frequency - it need not be an actual "note" within the chromatic scale as we know it) and you will be singing, humming or whistling a major scale.  Indeed (and here we go!) now take that same sequence, but hum it "la, ti, do, re, mi, fa, so, la" - that's the aoelian mode, and yes, that is a natural minor scale  - right - I've said it !   And, it, this particular minor scale, relative (said it!) to the tonic of the major scale effectively starts on scale (of the major it was derived from) degree 6.  

So, let's put an actual major scale into this -

C,   D,  E , F, G,   A,  B, C - i.e. if we hum, sing or play it -

do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do - with scale degrees

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, - and which has, by definition, a semi-tonal sequence of

2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1

Yup, that's C major.   Now from that scale, select the Aeolian mode - and build a scale from it - its going to be A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A.   Exactly the same notes, nothing sharpened or flattened, the only difference is in the interval-sequence through the scale, now being 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2 - yup - it has a "minor" feel to it, play it over and over, it wants to "home in" or "resolve" to the "la", in this case, the "A", and, it is (by definition) a natural ( as distinct from a melodic or harmonic ) minor scale, and although it is a "natural" minor, it also happens to be the "relative" minor of the major scale, and will appear in the circle of fifths on the same key signature as the major it was derived from - i.e. C maj / A min.

I see precisely why you say "relative natural minor", and I cannot argue with that (not that I would, I was just "unsettled" LOL)  It is NOT a "relative melodic minor" etc, etc.....  Cool.

OK - just before I go - I'll refer to another of my previous posts (17 in the thread) - which referred to the "Natural and Relative Minor of C major" - I tried to cover too much there - and indeed - the second sequence played is more correctly described as the "relative natural minor of C major, which happens to be A (natural) minor".    What I then did was to "manually" create a minor scale with C as the home / tonic / resolution point - and I did that by starting at C and applying the "natural minor tonal sequence" ascending from C - that led to us having to flatten three notes, and gave us the key signature shown in the fourth part.   That of course is not only C minor, it is also the key signature for its "relative major" - Eb major.   I think I just "ran ahead of myself" a little bit.  Were there to be any "relationship" at all between C major and C minor, I guess it would only be by virtue of them both having the same tonic, they are most certainly not constructed from the same notes, as evidenced by parts 3 and 4 in the image.

Right hats_off@Uzi - I would like to say a big THANK YOU and thumbs-up  for taking the time out to clarify these things, it is truly welcomed.    It is great to share information, and it is really important to make sure it is clear and understandable. The last thing I would want to do is to misinform folks!  

That's why this forum is such a great place.

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Jim Dunleavy
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November 21, 2015 - 10:39 am
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I don't know if this link will help or make things worse, but whichever, it makes interesting reading. It's a discussion between music teachers in the UK about the best ways to teach minor keys to pupils. The information is spread out through the thread a bit, but worth ploughing through imo. 🙂

Parallel Minor Scales

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BillyG
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November 21, 2015 - 11:01 am
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Aha ! @Jim Dunleavy - I read it with interest ( ! ).  The "interest" came from the occasionally heated discussion ( posts 47 - 50 LOL ) - but I did pick up a new term -the "tonic minor" - fair enough !!!   Cool !  Thanks for the find !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Jim Dunleavy
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November 21, 2015 - 11:07 am
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lol, @BillG - yes, it never fails to amaze me how hot under the collar people get on there over some esoteric nuance.

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Uzi
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November 21, 2015 - 12:31 pm
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@BillyG, I hope I'm not your nemesis, that was not my intention.

@Jim Dunleavy  It's interesting that those who teach music for a living get tangled up in  terminology as much as everyone else does. 

Clearly this concept of the other threads "tonic/parallel minor" is one of the things Billy was alluding too in his original post.  Surely there are many ways to skin a musical cat.  One can approach minor scales from their relationship in the circle of fifths with its different tonal centers, or one can consider the minor scale from the perspective of a major scale with a flatted 3rd, 6th and 7th, which gives both scales the same tonal center. 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

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BillyG
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November 21, 2015 - 1:36 pm
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Uzi said
@BillyG, I hope I'm not your nemesis, that was not my intention.

  LOL, of course not !!!! ( I blame my curious sense of humour for my comment ! ) 

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Mark
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November 21, 2015 - 8:16 pm
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Guys, 

Great topic I have enjoyed reading and studying the topic give me some information to pester my teacher with this winter for some discussions with him on the subject.

 

Thanks again,

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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Mark
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November 21, 2015 - 11:36 pm
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Jim,

Just read through the link, thanks a very enlighting and lively discussion! Glad i'm just a dumb fat happy electrician! lumpy-2134bunny-headbang

Mark

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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BillyG
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November 22, 2015 - 2:55 am
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Mark_1 said
Guys, 

Great topic I have enjoyed reading and studying the topic give me some information to pester my teacher with this winter for some discussions with him on the subject.

Thanks again,

Mark

  Yup, it's amazing where an "initial thought" about exactly why I felt the generic chromatic scale was always expressed using sharps where required (possibly because that was the only way I had ever seen it written - of course you can express it using flats if you want or need to....) - leads on to other related things.   It's a fundamental part of understanding the entire basis of what we regard as "western mode" music - its scales, modes, harmony and so on....  

  If this has piqued your interest, you might enjoy following up with some research into an area Uzi brought up, above, that of the different "modes" - Ionian, Dorian, 
Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian  ( "I Dont Play Loud Music Any Longer" or other aide-memoirs ), and, perhaps investigate some well-known pieces played in a specific mode ( but, beware, researching "Greensleeves" will cause your brain to overheat... LOL - http://forum.emusictheory.com/.....5410,15410 hahahaha )

  As much as I really enjoy understanding the details, I guess "theory" is all well and good, but it is the application of technique that turns a performance into an art form, and I have a long way to go in that respect !

  Have some good discussions with teach !!!!

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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