Dissonance

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by J_Mac, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    520
    Likes Received:
    89
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    Location:
    Stockton-on-Tees, UK
    So I'm bored of playing regular scale melodies, and I'm going through a bit of a Thordendal phase at the mo (well, for the last few years :lol:). I want to start using those dissonant jazz scales. Thought it would be best to pick the collective wisdom here first, before wading off through the music theory jungle on my own. Maybe one of you guys can point me straight in the right direction and save me a lot of time :)

    \m/
     
  2. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,453
    Likes Received:
    538
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2015
    Location:
    Not here
    Firstly, do you understand how intervals within the 12-tone octave range from consonant to dissonant? Here's a lame example from one of my old teaching packets:

    E.g. You can write dissonant licks over a major chord by modifying, say, a lydian scale to have a minor 2nd and then resolving it to the root. Same with playing pentatonics and flatting the root each time it's played until you choose to resolve the phrase. In each case, you're creating dissonance with a note that's a minor-2nd from the note the ear expects.

    In the case that you're just waiting on folks to list scales Thordendal uses, I'm not familiar enough to be useful.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
    J_Mac likes this.
  3. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    520
    Likes Received:
    89
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    Location:
    Stockton-on-Tees, UK
    Thanks man :)

    Although I have some basic music theory grades, and know about intervals, I don't quite understand the shorthand fully. M3 - major third, m2 - minor second? I'll have to go read up on those.

    Edit - I'm quite liking these ideas: https://www.guitartricks.com/forum/thread.php?t=22450 but have yet to try them.

    Trying to read music theory at 9pm on a Saturday night is tying my brain in knots :lol: maybe not the best time. For example, why can't a number of semitones simply be given an interval name? The fact that the naming convention for intervals applies to stave lines & spaces makes things more complicated than they should be to communicate the theory. So an interval of 4 semitones can have several names depending on which notes they are! Arrgh! The frequency ratio is the same, the sound is the same, bloody musicians! Maybe this is why I never fully got to grips with it :lol:
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
  4. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    29
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2017
    In terms of what to play. I have a few basic concepts I tend to fall back on, depending on the 'feel' I want at that moment:

    Diminished/half-diminished riffs - darker, tense feel
    Augmented/whole-tone riffs - progressive jazzy feel
    Chromatic riffs - jazzy/bebop feel
    Playing the same scale or riff 1/2 step above or below the tonic - progressive jazz feel with tension
    Repeating a short 3-8 note arpeggio or riff by ascending or descending 1/2 step each time - gives a feeling of movement or 'going somewhere'
    playing in a totally unrelated key for 1/2 bar (like a major scale on the b5 of the root) - way 'outside-the-box' feel

    I find that the key to creating great-sounding dissonance is knowing where to interject it. I heard someone once say that the best place is where you would expect to hear a drum fill. That actually works pretty well. So like the end of a progression right before you go back to the tonic/root. Also I find it can work well when you're hitting the first IV on a I-VI-I-IV-V-I or the V on the sequence of II-V-I's.... basically the when you dive in to the chord right before or after the tonic/root chord.

    All this stuff works for creating the dissonance, but the hardest part is elegantly settling back into your root scale when your dissonance riffing ends. In an improvisation setting, it's easy to lose sight of where your tonic is when you're going 'outside the box' around the fretboard.
     
    J_Mac likes this.
  5. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    520
    Likes Received:
    89
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    Location:
    Stockton-on-Tees, UK
    Thanks man :)

    ^ it's this sort of chat that I don't really understand though...
     
  6. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    29
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2017
    Here's my crash course in music notation...

    A C major scale is C D E F G A B C, so C=1, D=2, E=3, and so on. When talking about the chords built on any scale, you typically notate the chords in roman numerals (I, ii, iii, IV, etc...). with capital letters meaning major chords, and lower case letters for minor chords. So for chords build off the C major scale:

    C= I (C major), also referred to as the "tonic"
    D= ii (D minor)
    E= iii (E minor)
    F= IV (F major)
    G= V (G major)
    A= vi (A minor)
    B= iv- (B diminished)* *note the "-" next to the chord number

    So if you play a basic blues tune in C, an extremely common chord progression is C-G-C-F-G-C or... I-IV-I-IV-V-I. A jazz progression in C would typically be more like E-A-D-G-C, so.... iii-vi-ii-V-I. You will hear "two, five, one" (ii, V, I) discussed to a lot in jazz. Also in jazz, you typically add a lot of notes to your chords, like the 7th, so you'll see a lot of iii7b5-vi13-ii7sus4-V7-I7 type notions with more advanced jazz tunes (but we won't get into that right now).

    We could go a lot deeper, but those are the basics. Anyhow, the purpose of a V chord is to create tension before resolving to the I chord. So that's a great place to create dissonance.

    djent and a lot of dissonant styles of heavy metal often don't readily follow these conventional chord formations, but if you think about a metal song written on a 7-string guitar (standard low-B tuning) where you keep returning to the open B string - for example B,B,B,B,C,F#,G,C,D#,B,B,B,B (repeat) - B is the tonic note in this case. You'd probably want to solo in key over the B notes - E harmonic minor (phygian mode) works great here.... but you could easily go 'outside the box' over the C,F#,G,C,D# section with diminished, chromatic, or a 1/2 step ascending riff (from my previous examples in the post above) before returning to your B,B,B,B tonic section and it would probably sound acceptable if you did it well. Alternatively, you could solo a strait up B-minor over the B,B,B,B section (or if you wanted to get really whacky for dark metal, a 'happy' B-major instead) and then E harmonic minor over the C,F#,G,C,D#.

    Knowing where the tonic is the most important thing in music... pretty much every musician just knows and/or feels this intuitively, even those that don't know any music theory. Going "outside-the-box" or playing dissonant riffs right before you land back to the tonic (in synch with the music, of course) is usually an acceptable, or even pleasing thing for the listener to hear. Most important thing is to stick that landing on the tonic though!!!

    Sorry for the long-winded theory discussion... hope this helps!!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2017
    Narvic57, J_Mac and chopeth like this.
  7. J_Mac

    J_Mac SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    520
    Likes Received:
    89
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2016
    Location:
    Stockton-on-Tees, UK
    Epic! That makes a lot of sense, thanks very much :)
     
  8. Aion

    Aion SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    18
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Location:
    DC
    Just about all of music is based off of tension and release. For adding dissonance I find rooting yourself in one of two ways makes sense.

    Chordal: is there a chord progression that changes at a rate of one chord per measure or faster? If so, you can think of all notes as either being a chord tone or a non-chord tone. Most of your notes should be chord tones and generally every non-chord tone resolves to a chord tone. Non-chord tones from outside the scale will sound more dissonant. Non-chord tones from outside the scale usually work best over the major V chord (so in the C Major scale, a G Major chord), but can work over anything in the right context.

    Scaler: If chords change at one chord per measure or slower, a scaler approach is usually better. There's a couple different approaches here. First is if you're playing a scale tone or a non-scale tone. This roughly follows the same rules as the chordal approach. Second, moving different patterns around. A common one is playing three consecutive scale tones and moving them up the neck. Ex. CDE DEF EFG etc. But you can do fourths, you can move the pattern in chromatic ways (which takes it outside the scale). To get a jazzy sound, take three or more fourths or fifths and move them either diatonicly (within the scale) or chromaticly. There's a number of possibilities with patterns and they're a good launching off point. Lastly, I'll mention pitch-axis theory a la Satriani. If you're playing over a consistent bass note, you can keep changing to different scales so long as they include that note.

    Getting specifically to Thorendal, I'd look at octatonic and various augmented scales. This whole topic is a pretty deep rabbit hole, but once you get your foundation down it's a very rewarding direction.
     
  9. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

    Messages:
    5,082
    Likes Received:
    902
    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    A lot of the links in my set theory thread are broken due to Photobucket's BS, but I feel that you can apply some concepts from that corner of theory. Find a set you like the sound of and transpose it around, see what kind of combinations you can make. A trichord like (016) or (014) is a good place to start, as those have a pretty striking affect. The other thing you can do is pick a collection (like the octatonic scale) and play around with interlocking sets within it.
     
  10. ArtDecade

    ArtDecade Unhindered by Talent

    Messages:
    3,955
    Likes Received:
    754
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    Sunset Strip, 1987
    Jazz isn't dissonant. It is tension and release.
     
  11. Tech Wrath

    Tech Wrath SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    166
    Likes Received:
    17
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Location:
    Chicago, Il
    Sort of on a related note.
    I kind of dislike the word "dissonance" because it means out-of-harmony, lack-of-harmony etc. but whenever "dissonance" is used correctly it perfectly fits within the context of the music and although technically lacks harmony, at the same time it harmonically fits in the music.

    I guess in a tonal context, dissonance can be used to explain something outside of the tonal norm (but even then, it is a tonal norm to add "dissonance" as long as it's resolved...) but in an atonal context I don't think "dissonance" exists.
     

Share This Page