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Major/Minor

Music Theory
HeavyGuitar  
19 Feb 2009 11:10 | Quote
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Is it the chord's u playing that determine if its a major or minor mode?

If you are playing some melody over a set of chords and u say that it is a C Ionian scale and that makes the song more brighter. That i understand, but C Ionian is also as you know the same as A aeolian and minor scales (Aeolian, Phyrigian, Dorian) is not so bright scales.

So it must be the chord's that determine if its Major or minor?...right?
macandkanga  
19 Feb 2009 11:35 | Quote
Joined: 03 Oct 2008
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Most of the time yes. Most songs are centered around the chord progressions. The key of the most chord progression is usually the first chord played in the progression. If your chord progression starts with a C Major and coninues in the key of C, then you would play a C Major scale. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules. And, it's the exceptions that make music more interesting!

HeavyGuitar  
19 Feb 2009 12:07 | Quote
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Thanks, that helps alot:)
EMB5490  
19 Feb 2009 12:24 | Quote
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the 3rd makes it different, in a chord the third determines the maj or minor, and flat 3rd is minor, flat 3rd dim 5 is a dim chord. so lets look at that on scales. although ur technically doing the same scale the reason some sound happy and sad the the root. the note you finish on. notes are exactly the same, but the 2nd,3rd,6th, and especially the 7th sound sad. so in a dorian, the chord is 1,flat 3,5 same with phrygian and aeolian, so the 3rd in tht scale with be flated as looked at from the root at it.

hope this comfuzes you so you read it about 5 times still going HUH? loll. i took me a while to get it also lol. if u know this...ur on ur way my friend lol.
HeavyGuitar  
19 Feb 2009 12:33 | Quote
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HahaXD... okay, I know that every major scale only has 2 notes on the E string so the 3rd is on a different string then the 1st and 2nd.
And minor modes including locrian, has the 3rd note on the same string.
So i think i understand that the 3rd makes the difference...right???

But, i need to read that ** a couple of times before i understand everything lol.
Guitarslinger124  
3 Mar 2009 05:52 | Quote
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You can play an entire scale on one string:

C major for example:



C D E F G A B C D E F G A B
e:-------------------------------------
B:-------------------------------------
G:-------------------------------------
D:-------------------------------------
A:---------------------3-5-7-8-10-12-14
E:-8-10-12-13-15-17-19-----------------

you get the point.
To determine major or minor you simply look to see if the 3rd is flatted or not.

For example A Major:



e:---
B:-2-C# 3rd
G:-2-A octave
D:-2-E 5th
A:-0-A root
E:---


and A Minor:


e:---
B:-1-b3rd
G:-2-ocatave
D:-2-5th
A:-0-root
E:---


Notice in A minor you play C instead of C#, hence flatting the 3rd. By the way A Major is: A(1st), B(2nd), C#(3rd), D(4th), E(5th), F#(6th), G#(7th).
JazzMaverick  
3 Mar 2009 11:11 | Quote
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Well, no it's not, you need to listen to the bass line because that's what plays the root notes, and that's what determines the key and mode you're in. The chords actually compliment the bassline along with the melodies.

But because we're guitarists, we mainly listen to the chords, and they follow the bassline so we never really complain. But it's the bass line that you want to listen to, to know the true key and mode.
Guitarslinger124  
3 Mar 2009 12:52 | Quote
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that all depends on the sound you are going for...as for me and many other musicians that ive worked with, write their bass lines depending on the guitar lines. also, you can base your chords off a lick you play. or you can write a song on saxophone and play the bass off that. another thing, most people will a agree that sax or a violin are lead instruments...it all depends on context. my point is, there are no rules to determine which instrument lines determine the key of the song and ultimately what the other instruments will play. oh yea, the bass doesnt always play the root notes!!! the bass plays whatever the bass wants to play. check out "sinister mister" by victor wooten/bela fleck.
JazzMaverick  
3 Mar 2009 13:14 | Quote
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Exactly, they're lead instruments, whereas bass isn't. Which is why normal bands require a bassline, because they determine the key and keep the guitarist/sax/violinist in key. Although now-a-days bassists get bored and now have more oppourtunities to shine BUT they don't always shine. We as musicians depend on the lower notes to complete our music.
Guitarslinger124  
3 Mar 2009 13:56 | Quote
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hhhmmm...i completely understand what youre saying and in some ways i agree, but the only thing i rely on to "complete" my music is my imagination....think about old renaissance music or even medieval music...they didnt have a bass they simply used a bass drum to compensate for one or two pitches. i really believe that everything anyplays should be based off context and nothing else.
macandkanga  
3 Mar 2009 16:24 | Quote
Joined: 03 Oct 2008
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It's the chicken or the egg thing once again! As it always rears it's ugly head in music creation. I think some questions need to be asked before you make the determination of what comes first:

Who's writting the song and what instrument are they using? Is it the bass, guitar, sax, or what? What is the tonal center or key of the melody?

For me, the guitar is my primary instrument so when I create a song I use the guitar. The chord progression is what's most interesting to me and that is what will determine the key and thus the scale for soloing.

Empirism  
4 Mar 2009 00:36 | Quote
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JazzMaverick says:
But it's the bass line that you want to listen to, to know the true key and mode!


I have to agree, but though I myself too create songs in following order many many times. Drums, Guitar, Bass for the rhythm section. I must say that those times, when I did Drums, Bass, Guitar... there been much more sense in that song.

Because when Im not a bassist I do mostly simple basslines so I have to plan it carefully and therefore it force my guitar playing to not go into senseless improvisation mysterio :D.

Anyway, I much agree with mac too, its matter of point of view also. But that "problem" appears only when there is an single artist. What if we go to band thing? Well...

macandkanga says:
What is the tonal center or key of the melody?!


I found this interesting, Please explain this?
JazzMaverick  
4 Mar 2009 07:24 | Quote
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Well, it doesn't matter what order things are created, just that once you listen to the complete version, you'll find out that the lower notes do follow the key notes.

The melody MUST follow something in order for it to work, even if we create the melody first, we also create something behind it to back it up. Whatever has been backed up is exactly what determines the key. (UNLESS! If it is a solo piece with nothing else accompanying it, then that's a different story, but that's not what we're talking about.)

It's very difficult to properly explain because there are people who make melodies without properly understanding that it doesn't work with the rest of the song. So in order for that to work we need to study music to really justify the sound.
macandkanga  
4 Mar 2009 15:56 | Quote
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@Emperism,

I think the best way to explain is by example: When you walk into the front door of a gambling casino the first thing you notice is the sound of all the slot machines music playing different songs all at once. Most slot machines play music in C Major. That's because it is said to be the happiest and most appealing scale in music. Since they are all in C Major they are all in harmony with each other making the sound of the environment happy and inviting. If you stand away from all the machines, close your eyes and just listen, you hear the note C more than any others even though there are 6 other notes playing. C is the tonal center of the scale making it also the key.

Now, imagine if other machines where playing songs in say C#Minor. They would stand out and throw the whole balance off in the room.

The Whole tone scale is just a series of notes a whole tone appart. It has no tonal center making it A Tonal.

I hope that all makes sense!
RA  
4 Mar 2009 21:29 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
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this whole debate, it seems to me at least, is on what drives the peace of music. Generally in western music it is a base melody or theme(for a section, whole peace, whatever) which in turn is generally played in the bass octaves(guitar goes almost low as a cello) but not all ways and saying just to listen to the bass is not correct a lot of the time yes but not always. it is kind of like when people say pentatonic scale is used 90%(notice i didn't used that % bs) and that what you should learn that as a main scale or what ever and that's just complete BS to me. A more correct way would be listen to melodies which is almost completely ignored(it seems to me at lest) now 'n days. but all that no longer applies to say music driven rhythmically, like bo diddley(song) for example.

the tonal center(key) is what the notes pull to if you understand cadences you know what i mean(though there different topics just a perfect cadence of V7 to I, really makes the pulling effect noticeably)
JazzMaverick  
5 Mar 2009 11:11 | Quote
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oh nah, i'm not saying to completely focus in on the bass, I'm just saying that the bass line is almost always the instrument that determined the key of a song. That is, if it's not already obvious within the main instruments and melodies.


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