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Topic: Oboe solo - An Experiment

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  1. #1
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    Oboe solo - An Experiment

    A few weeks ago somebody posted some flute solos done in different church modes. Thinking of them I decided to play around with the solo woodwinds and some church modes.

    For this I was playing with the Locrian mode. Kind of strange since the I is diminished so I cheated and used a chord based on fourths for the main theme. Besides playing with a new mode, I decided to try to write this totally away from any instrument. I’ve never tried anything like that before so this was a new experience all around.

    One thing I hate about this forum is every time I make a sound I want to post it, even if it’s a bit of nothing, like this. Oh well, you’ll just have to bear with me.

    http://trentsworld.com/music/postings/locrian-oboe.mp3
    Trent P. McDonald

  2. #2
    Senior Member CString's Avatar
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    Re: Oboe solo - An Experiment

    Trent,

    I think that was my suite for solo flute you're thinking of. Nice job on the oboe piece. I have a soft spot for modal and quartal harmony. Don't think twice about cheating Locrian. Raising the fifth for harmonic purposes is perfectly acceptable and sensible. It's even mentioned in Persichetti's very awesome theory book (20th Century Harmony; Creative Aspects and Practice).


    -Chad

  3. #3

    Re: Oboe solo - An Experiment

    Isn't rasing the 5th of locrian..simply...a different mode? (ie..that would make it phrygian)

    Locrian b,c,d,e,f,a,b,c
    Phrigian b,c,d,e, fsharp,a,b,c

  4. #4
    Senior Member CString's Avatar
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    Re: Oboe solo - An Experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by dcornutt
    Isn't rasing the 5th of locrian..simply...a different mode? (ie..that would make it phrygian)

    Locrian b,c,d,e,f,a,b,c
    Phrigian b,c,d,e, fsharp,a,b,c
    Yes. But in order to avoid the dimished tonic chord, some people opt to raise the fifth. So, whenever you have the tonic you raise the 5th. When it's not for the tonic, leave it as is. It's decent compromise as you don't really lose the Locrian flavor too much.

    Another option is to eliminate the 5th from the tonic chord. Of course, that is in an harmonic setting which doesn't help much here.

  5. #5
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    Re: Oboe solo - An Experiment

    Chad, yes it was your suite for solo flute I was thinking of. I really liked it.

    I have also seen something that with the different modes you can raise the 6th and 7th when heading for a cadence, as is typical with minor. I'm reading Schoenberg's "Harmony" and, at least as far as I've read, he uses the modes to introduce different notes and chords to the diatonic scale instead as scales on their own.

    Anyway, interesting stuff. I'll have to play around with it a little more.

    Thanks for your response.
    Trent P. McDonald

  6. #6

    Re: Oboe solo - An Experiment

    hmm...maybe just a difference in perspective:

    The modes generated from melodic and harmonic forms of minor do what you are suggesting naturally.

    For instance...in harmonic minor form, (ie..which usually doesn't get touched on in depth) raises the 7th of the nat minor form in ascending.

    Lets look: (c maj, A nat minor (or the relative minor))

    A harmonic minor ascending form:
    A, B, D, E, F, Gsharp, A.

    Some people..would look at that raised 7th degree, as a "leading tone". Another way to look at it..is simply an added alteration..ie..adding a flat9..or a sharp 5..etc.

    But, if you run the modes of this scale..
    A harmonic minor ascending (Amin Ma7) _(i)
    B half dim7 (ii)
    C Ma7 #5
    D mi7
    E7-9 (V)
    F Ma7
    G#dim7

    The raised seventh forms the V (ie..the G# in E7-9)

    Check this out (modally)

    ii, V, i

    B half dim7
    E7-9
    A- Ma7

    The raised 7th that occurs in the ascending harmonic minor form is what makes this work. It creates both the leading tone to the tonic..and it generates , modally, the V7flat9..and all the other chords you can create by simply taking everyother note ..starting on each scale degree.
    It's just a different perspective. Some of the naturally occuring modes in ascending Harmonic min form...have quite a synthetic sound to them. I happen to like them..and some of the harmony alterations driven off the modes. I've always felt it was a shame that most college theory courses..don't even spend more than a page or so on harmonic minor. They just mention...that it's a nat minor with an "altered" raised seventh. I never felt that did it justice Just me I guess.

    Lets take a look at melodic minor form though while we are here (ie..the raised 6, 7 degrees).

    There's a LOT of meat here..both modally and harmony wise

    A melodic minor (a,b,c,d,e,f#,g#,a)
    Lets spin some of the harmonic possiblities that can be generated off each mode

    1) A to A generates the melodic minor scale (A - Maj7)
    2) B to B generates Dorian flat2 (B -7 flat9)
    3) C to C generates Lydian Auqmented (C+ Ma7 #11)
    4) D to D generates Lydian dom (D7 sharp 11)
    5) E to E generates Mixolydian flat6 (or 13) (E7)
    6) F# to F# generates Locrian #2 (F# half dim7)
    7) G# to G# generates super Locrian (or dim whole tone scale), commonly_G#7+5+9

    The most common uses here would be to use extracted modes from these min scale forms for substitution. The 7th mode , superlocrian, is great to sub for function of any V or V of V chord when you want both an altered 5th and 9th. It's also called the dim whole tone scale. It covers a lot of ground for V7 and derivitive substitutions.

    The Lydian dom..is great for this also.

    While this is all basic stuff...I think the perspective that often gets lost..is that these chords and upper extensions are generated from thse scales/modal degrees. (ie..they are born to each other). I think that gets lost sometimes.

    So, lets see what happens..if we substitue a few chords here..and do so keeping the concept of modes intact for a 2,5,1 cadence in C minor.

    D half dim7 (2nd mode of C Harmonic min ascending)
    G7#11 (4th mode of D Melodic minor)
    C- 6/9 (C mel minor)

    How about this:
    D7flat9 (5th mode of C Harmonic min ascending)
    G7+5+9 (7th mode of Aflat melodic min)
    C-maj7 (C minor (either mel or harmonic ascending)

    Or this:
    Aflat7+11 (4th mode of Eflat mel minor)
    G7 flat5 flat9 (7th mode of Aflat melodic minor)
    C-6 (C melodic min)

    The idea here is...you not only have just a few altered notes to use in your melody...you have a correspoding mode or scale..to use as well. Otherwise..you end up connecting the dots...between chord tones (nothing wrong with that...just by itself can become rather mechanical).

    And this will tend to not only give you an entire range of "colors" of upper exentions..but you'll have some "idea" where they came from beyond that you stuck them up on top of the tree of your chord in one bar..and have a "scale color" to go along with that chord color...so that you can use melodic fragments..beyond just the "altered chord tones" you've used in the harmony.

    This gives your color "motion".

    Anyway..there's probably a milion different ways to look at harmony, etc. I've just always found this interesting...so..sorry to take this off askew somewhere.

    Oh..yes..you can of course omit the 5th. That would be in your "voicing" of the chord. Pentatonics might also be a good choice for this.

    In so far as synthetic..or different organizational and theory approaches..I've always found Slonimsky's polation theories quite interesting. George Russell's lydian chromatic concept..was interesting as well. (sorry..showing my age here I guess)

  7. #7
    Senior Member CString's Avatar
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    Re: Oboe solo - An Experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by dcornutt
    sorry to take this off askew somewhere.
    dcornutt,

    That was understated! Just trying to encourage Trent in his modifications. I agree with you about the classroom treatment of harmonic minor (and many other things). So much theory to teach and only four semesters to do it. I think that is part of the problem. That and non-theory/comp people teaching theory in university classrooms. Same for orchestration. As an undergrad I had an orchestration prof. who was not a composer, nor did he arrange anything but Big Band. He knew absolutely NOTHING about strings and we never wrote for them. It was very irritating. Our final project was for wind ensemble despite the fact that we had an orchestra!!!

    I am facinated by Slonimsky. Have you read his autobiography? It's interesting. Not so great things to say about Koussevitsky and some good insights on Ives and a few others.

    Not familiar with George Russell's lydian chromatic concept. Can you elaborate?...if not here, via email (chads@adelphia.net).

    -Chad

  8. #8

    Re: Oboe solo - An Experiment

    Trent, I liked your solo oboe work. It's something I need to work on writing--I tend to do large orchestral works and neglect individual solos. I liked your use of mode, although I did want the last note to resolve a half-step upwards. It probably has something to do with in the Rennaissance even works written in a minor mode ended with a major chord. So, take this as a compliment. Your piece was so well written that it made me relate back to classical music.
    C. Foster Payne
    Amateur Composer/Orchestrator
    http://FosterPayne.com/default.aspx

  9. #9

    Re: Oboe solo - An Experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by CString
    dcornutt,

    That
    Not familiar with George Russell's lydian chromatic concept. Can you elaborate?...if not here, via email (chads@adelphia.net).

    -Chad
    Sure Chad,
    George noticed that commonly...lydian mode was substituted for ionian..to raise the 4th degree and avoid the half step in the scale against the chords 3rd.

    What he did was..basically...arrange a modal theory..based off this concept of lydian using 12 tones (ie..lydian chromatic concept).
    Basically..first mode is "lydian". His concept includes the common lyidan derviative substitutions that are commonly done (ie..lyidan forms of V7..etc). Hence..lyidan chromatic concept. There are no "wrong" or avoid notes..in any of his modes.

    These substitutions have commonly been done..ie..using lydian scale over "I" chord..or dervitive lydian modes from minor forms over V7 chords for the same reason. George created a modal theory based off this premise. It's a lot more interesting and in depth than I have described.but that's a very basic desription of it to give you some idea what it's about.

    George Russell was a Jazz musican and composer.

    Slonimsky was well known to Jazz musicans. As was G Russells book. You can still get them at Padelsons in NYC.

    Russells book is much simpler to understand than Slonimsky. I always felt it was better to read George's book first..and understand it...as a primer to Slonimsky. George's book gives a good look at just what alternative theories..etc..can do..why they might be done..and how they might be useful in some way. It's so closely related to the coventional mode theory taught (since it's based on lydian) that it gives one a good look at how and why such theories come about..and how they releate to what you learned before..and consequently..how it might be useful.

    Once you understand that...it helps when you start digging into something like Slonimsky.

    You'll find John Coltrane all in the Slonimsky book (Giant Steps..moments notice..etc). If you look closely...Giant Steps..for all it's myriad of changes...is basically...3 tonal centers (B,G,Eflat). If you analyze further you see..that it's symetrical at the major 3rd. (Aug). His melody ..is part of one of the polation derivation examples from Slonimsky's book. I won't tell you which page..you have to hunt

    But, most of the Jazz greats were intimately familiar with this book.

    Here:
    this is something interesting

    9 tone symectrical scale: (there are 4 of these)
    c,dflat,eflat,e, f, g, gsharp,a,b

    The symetrical pattern is (3 half steps..one whole step)

    Run patterns and intervals of this scale. (what it's made for..ie.it's symetrical)

    But, let me get you started. Within this scale..is
    Whole tone scale
    dflat, eflat,f, g, a, b

    Augmented scales
    c,eflat,e, g, gsharp,b
    dflat,e,f,gsharp,a,c

    Double Harmonic Major (maj w/ flat2 and flat6)
    c,dflat,e,f,g,gsharp,b
    e,f,gsharp,a,b,d,dsharp
    aflat,a,d,dflat,eflat,e,g

    Now..I've used enharmonic spellings..but you get the idea.

    The 4 scales start on c,dflat,d,eflat.

    Make patterns out of this scale..here:
    b,a, gsharp,b/g,f,e,g/eflat,dflat,c,eflat

    It's symetrical at the Maj3rd...and it spawns such chord progressions modally (aka Giant steps). Try it also on the bridge to "Have you met miss jones".

    For whatever reason..these chord progressions sym at major 3rd give people fits. Mostly because they do not see them as modally derived...and are usually faced with improvising over such progressions by just weaving through chord tones..or mentally substituting things..as they go to try and make it work for each beat/bar there is a change. (daunting at tempo and with as many changes as there are in Giant Steps).

    anyway..more askewness.

  10. #10
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    Re: Oboe solo - An Experiment

    Fossman, thanks for the comments. I should have done the last scale ascending so I could use the raised 6th and 7th and keep it in the intended key. Oh well. Glad you liked it.

    dcornutt, that's what I like about this forum - people are willing to share their knowledge. I haven’t had a chance to go through your second “mini lesson”, but the first is similar to what I was reading in Schoenberg’s book.

    In his book he takes all of the modes based on a scale (i.e., from C major we get d Dorian, e Phrygian, etc.) as parts of that scale which he justifies since the notes of the scale are (at least in theory) derived from the overtone series.

    For instance, if we look at d Dorian we have d, e, f, g, a, b, c sharp, d, c (natural), b flat, a, g, f, e and d. We can then use the notes c sharp and b flat to make chords such as e-g-b flat and f-a-c sharp in our piece written in C major to add more harmonic color.

    As I said, interesting stuff.

    Thanks for your posts.
    Trent P. McDonald

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