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Topic: More Music Theory

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  1. #1

    More Music Theory

    Something I see a lot is, in a minor key, a minor chord built on an unaltered sixth scale degree. For instance, an Abm chord in the key of C minor. Or a Dbm chord in the key of F minor (as in Venus: the Bringer of Peace, the key signature of which denotes C minor, but the chords in the beginning are in F minor to the letter, until Holst uses that Dbm chord to pivot into the key of Db minor). Or for a more contemporary example, the beginning of Dream Theater's song "Octavarium", where Fm and Dbm are the first two chords when the vocals are introduced (they're played before that as well).

  2. #2

    Re: More Music Theory

    Oh...my question would be, does this classify as a borrowed chord? Or is there some other name for it?

  3. #3

    Re: More Music Theory

    It seems that the piece is not "tonal" per se. He is exploring mediant relationships (movement by minor or major 3rds).

  4. #4

    Re: More Music Theory

    Then why have a key signature at all?

  5. #5

    Re: More Music Theory

    So much of contemporary music is so chromatic that it often doesn't make sense to have a key signature. I would say that 95% of the material I write has no key signature. The accidentals only apply to the notes in that particular measure.

  6. #6

    Re: More Music Theory

    I found a piano piece that is so chromatic that the composer actually made a note at the top saying that accidentals only apply to the note next to them, and therefore do not carry throughout the rest of the measure. However, my original question was this: Does a minor six (i.e. Abm in the key of Cm) have a function and/or a name in tonal music?

  7. #7

    Re: More Music Theory

    you need to rephrase your question I'm afraid.

    Abm is Ab MINOR which is a chord (Ab,Cb,Eb), rather than a note

    A minor sixth is an interval (C-Ab).

    You're asking about tonal, or Atonal music?

    Either way an interval on it's own does not have a really specific goal, unless put into perspective by the surroundings. Even the augment 4th (dimished 5th), like C-F# does not really give away what will happen next, since it can be resolved (tonaly) to either BG or C#-E# (if it was spelled differently to begin with).

    In 'classical' harmony you can get borrowed chords, especially in the forms of V/V/V or something.

    You may very well go in like this:

    C (major, which is the tonal as well)
    C/ A7/ D7/G7/C. There you go. We jumped to A major (which has 3 sharps), then to D major, then to G and went back to C, with no sharps in key signature. Try it at piano, or Finale/Sibelius,whatever and you'll hear that it does sound "normal", if played correctly.

    You seem a little confused... :-/

    Anything else you need just ask! The community here rocks and we'll do the best to help you!

  8. #8

    Re: More Music Theory

    I mean a chord, not an interval, I typed what I would say. I should've typed vi instead of "minor six", note though, that I deliberately did not type "minor sixth", for I know that "th" or "rd" makes it an interval. I mean the chords, and you didn't talk about the chord I mentioned.

  9. #9

    Re: More Music Theory

    Furthermore, I was taught that Borrowed Chords are chords borrowed from the parallel key. So a borrowed vi in the key of C Minor would be an A Minor chord rather than an Ab minor chord.

  10. #10

    Re: More Music Theory

    I found a piano piece that is so chromatic that the composer actually made a note at the top saying that accidentals only apply to the note next to them, and therefore do not carry throughout the rest of the measure.
    For what its worth, much of Saties work doesn't have a time signature or bars, so the accidentals need to apply to the following note only. The key signature in pieces like this could be omitted but it does give the performer a clue to playing the piece, ( and reduces the number of accidentals)
    Derek
    Things may come and things may go but the art school dance goes on forever
    NOW WITH Cubase 5, JABB,GPO, Fender Strat, Ibanez RG, Yamaha Fretless Bass, Framus Archtop, The Trumpet and Mr T Sax, together with GREEN SEALING WAX


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