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Topic: Can you name this scale?

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  1. #1

    Can you name this scale?

    So, if I haven't made it clear in my previous posts here on the listening room, I'm not a huge buff when it comes to music theory.

    If that's not clear enough, then I'll put it this way: I'm not a huge buff when it comes to music theory.

    Now that that's out of the way, I've started a piece using a scale I "invented" while playing a bit on the piano. I say "invented" with a huge emphasis on the quotation marks. Really, what really happened, was I ran into it while playing a bit of a theme. I created this theme and made a scale around it.

    This is where the music theory comes in, I hate saying that I "invented" this scale, because I would be surprised if it has not been created before and, therefore, given a name. Here's a picture of the scale:



    I really enjoy working with this scale. Though it sounds kind of awkward by itself, I've found it's pretty malleable when it comes to chord progressions I can make with it. It certainly has sort of a harmonic minor sound to it, but it's great for making major chord progressions, or a mix of major and minor chords.

    I've written sort of a short intro (threw it together quickly, so don't expect much in the way of quality). It's about 38 seconds long, probably took you longer to read the description that it will to listen to this . The theme I used that led me to this scale is introduced by the oboe right at the beginning.

    Note

    It seems when I originally posted these links, I had them referencing the wrong piece of music, which neither uses GPO nor this scale. I thought I had it corrected fairly quickly, but it seems that it got 8 plays yesterday, so my apologies . The links are corrected now, and should be good to go!

    lo-fi URL: http://www.soundclick.com/util/getpl...d=8864044&q=lo
    hi-fi URL: http://www.soundclick.com/util/getpl...d=8864044&q=hi

    Download:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page...?bandID=700962

    Though I plan on expanding on this at some time (perhaps modifying what I've written so far) currently, I just have it named as "Short Intro" because...well...that's what it is!

    Anyways, would love to hear what you guys have to say about the scale, if you know where it comes from, it'd be great to know!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  2. #2

    Re: Can you name this scale?

    Looks like an altered Locrian (with flatted seventh). Normally, one stays away from the Locrian mode - very difficult voice leading issues.

    John

  3. #3

    Re: Can you name this scale?

    My knowledge of scales is also limited, but the music sounds great. It sounds like it is eternally searching for resolution, a bit like Tristan. Actually, this scale's I7 looks very much like the Tristan chord, if I'm not mistaken (or the i7, if such a thing exists in this scale).
    Theo

  4. #4

    Re: Can you name this scale?

    Looks like an altered Locrian (with flatted seventh). Normally, one stays away from the Locrian mode - very difficult voice leading issues.

    John
    Hey John, thanks for the help! I'm assuming Locrian mode would be a scale that starts on the 7th note of a certain key? So this would be the Locrian mode for C, with Ab added in. That would make sense, thanks!

    FLWrd after looking up what a tristan scale is, I can definitely see that.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the music! I really do enjoy how easily this shifts from one chord to another, I may have over-done it a bit, especially around :17 with some quick changes in woodwinds, but it was fun anyway!

    Thanks, you two, for your comments, they were very helpful!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  5. #5

  6. #6

    Re: Can you name this scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by FW Lineberry View Post
    Yes, I can see that. This is essentially a harmonic major scale, only rather than starting on the original note, it starts on the 7th.
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  7. #7

    Re: Can you name this scale?

    I can't find much reference to the altered Locrian with a lowered seventh. Why lower the seventh? As it is the Locrian has a whole tone bewteen the 7th and 8th making it hard to deal with.

    Anyway, the Locrian has problems with the root chord (I) being diminished and there not being a perfect 5th (which is why it is unstable). Very hard to reslove V to I (or anything to I!). So, composers will sometimes aviod root!! This is what one writer says:
    "Harmonically, the Locrian mode begins in the ditch, clutching a bottle of absinthe, and never manages to crawl out."

    Jazz folks use it mostly as color by having it provide a m7b5 chord. Heavy metal bands use it as their "shredding" sequence (to my ear anyway). It is rare (if at all) to find whole compositions based on Locrian, usually Locrian will be employed for a few bars to add tension or suspense or other disconnoance feeling.

    John

  8. #8

    Re: Can you name this scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Rice View Post
    ... Why lower the seventh?
    Perhaps because that's the way he wanted it to sound?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Rice View Post
    ... It is rare (if at all) to find whole compositions based on Locrian, usually Locrian will be employed for a few bars to add tension or suspense or other disconnoance feeling.
    Whether or not Michael is staying in the Locrian mode, he's got a good beginning. I'm eager to hear what it turns into.

    Pat

  9. #9

    Re: Can you name this scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Rice View Post
    I can't find much reference to the altered Locrian with a lowered seventh. Why lower the seventh? As it is the Locrian has a whole tone bewteen the 7th and 8th making it hard to deal with.

    Anyway, the Locrian has problems with the root chord (I) being diminished and there not being a perfect 5th (which is why it is unstable). Very hard to reslove V to I (or anything to I!). So, composers will sometimes aviod root!! This is what one writer says:
    "Harmonically, the Locrian mode begins in the ditch, clutching a bottle of absinthe, and never manages to crawl out."

    Jazz folks use it mostly as color by having it provide a m7b5 chord. Heavy metal bands use it as their "shredding" sequence (to my ear anyway). It is rare (if at all) to find whole compositions based on Locrian, usually Locrian will be employed for a few bars to add tension or suspense or other disconnoance feeling. I tried harping on this with the French Horns, marimba, and harp at around :25. Though, after I added the descending bass clarinet and contra bassoon notes, it sort of made it a bit too much (not really happy with that decision, will probably go back and remove it).

    Anyways, thanks for your response!

    John
    Hey John, thanks for your response! Yes, the reason I added the flat was simply because of the theme I introduced in my short intro. I had a theme that was followed by another sort of counter-theme after it that utilized the flat.

    I certainly see how this scale can be difficult to use over long periods of time. I've been harping on the fact that it's great with chord progressions, when secretly I really know that these are just chords based on different keys/scales

    Another aspect of it I enjoy is its ability to sort of create something of an impressionistic mood at times. It seems like it can be sort of disconcerting, especially when played loudly, or with instruments that have a harsher timbre. This sound can be transformed into something a bit more mysterious or uncertain when played with softer timbres and dynamics.

    edit

    Strange, it seems the extra paragraph I added was deleted after I submitted the post...

    Anyways, I actually harped on this softer bit with a sort of flourish in the marimba and harp with the horn playing some sustained notes over it around :25. Unfortunately, I later decided to cover it up a bit with the descending scale in the bass clarinet and contra bassoon. I will likely go back and remove it, though
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

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