The Synthetic Scale Thread

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Mr. Big Noodles, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    I just got off the piano, and had the idea for this thread. Here's the concept: if you have a synthetic scale that you'd like to share, then post it. Explain, if you can, what was going through your mind when you made it up. Does the scale harmonize? Is it the same ascending as it is descending? Is there a tonal centre? Perhaps it just sounds cool. Anyway, let the games begin!



    C D# E F# G G# A# B
    This is what I was working on right before I made this thread. The idea is to take the I and iii chords of a major scale and add a few notes so that instead of having just a C major and an E minor, we get C major, C minor, C diminished, E major, E minor, and E diminished. There's a bunch of goody goody chords in there, but I'm too lazy to find and name them all at the moment. I haven't had the chance to experiment with this scale too much, so I can't say much on how it resolves and whatnot.



    C D D# E F F# A A#
    Another octatonic scale. I drew inspiration for this one whilst watching Purple Rain. :sharpie:
    There's a little part in "Computer Blue" that has this chromatic thing going on. I picked up my guitar, played three chromatically consecutive notes on the E string, moved up to the same fret on the A string, did the same, and then onto the D string, same fret, another three chromatic notes to complete the octave. After playing around with this for a while, I decided that the sixth mode had the strongest tonic gravity. The original scale would have been this:

    C C# D F F# G A# B

    I asked a couple of guys at school what they thought of it, and they agreed that the sixth mode sounded the most resolved, so that became the final product.

    Edit: Now that I revisit it, what I had originally sounds more resolute. Perhaps I was playing something that emphasized that perfect fifth that day. Any thoughts?
     
  2. S-O

    S-O t(-.-t)

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    You sir, need to purchase the Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns by Nicolas Slonimsky. Great book.

    The first half or so is dedicated to dividing the octave(s) into parts. The first one is dividing one octave in two, so C F# C, and then using interpolation, and a bunch of other xpolations (infra, ultra, etc...; and combinations: inter-infra, etc...) SO interpolation of one note is C C# F# G C, adding one note above. This method goes on up to interplation of 5 or 6 (don't have it right here to see). Then there are symmetric scales, ading one note aboce C and one note below the next octave of C; C C# F# B C

    These go onto diving the octave by 3 and 4, then diving 2 ocvates by six, 3 by 8, and so on. I forget how high the octaves go when it stops in the book.

    It also does this for pentatonic and Heptatonic scales (Even though some heptatonics are created in the first half). Then it gos over bi tonal scales and arps/chords. Then it shows chords, some created by using all 12 tones. The pyramid contains all twelve intervals starting with an octav and ending at a minor 2nd. The grandmother chord contains all 12 tones and 11 symmetrically invertible intervals.


    The book is insane. Best music Book I ever bought. I even have two.
     
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  3. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Thanks, I'll look into it. I find that scales sound best if you have something to work with that doesn't quite sound the way you want it, and you make your own modifications. I've mentioned this before, a good example is the minor pentatonic scale.

    C D# F G A#

    I thought this was too minor, so I raised the second tone a half step to get a major tonic chord.

    C D× (or E, it's all enharmonic) F G A#

    It is rather different, and I probably couldn't have built it from the ground up.
     
  4. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    Well, since seeing this thread, I started messing around with this idea. I just came up with this: E F# G A# C D
    It's like the C overtone scale but without the A.
     
  5. Luan

    Luan SS.org Regular

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    Blues scale, but considering this:
    You will never play the P5 ascending, you will only play it descending and then you are going to play next the b5.
    It is a amazing raga I love.
     
  6. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    So I had this idea after making my post. It rekindled the memory of the Allan Holdsworth's "10 Most Useful Scales" video, wherein he mentioned that some scales would take two or three octaves to resolve. To that end, I decided to craft my own, although it has doubtless been done before.

    It's a symmetrical scale made entirely of a Whole-whole-half intervallic combination. So starting with E (we go root-whole-half whole-whole-half) it would be

    E F# G
    A B C
    D E F
    G A B
    C# D# E
    F# G# A
    B C# D
    E F# G

    Sounds pretty cool, I guess.
    Descending (from G) it's

    G F E
    D C B
    A G F#
    E D C#
    B A G#
    F# E D#
    C# B A#
    G# F# F
    D# C# C
    A# G# G

    I may have made a mistake, though. But oh well!
     
  7. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Cool. In the first octave, you have Emi, F#dim, G, Ami, Bdim, C, and Dmi.
    The second has Emi, Faug, Gaug, A, B, C#mi, and D#dim.
    The third is E, Fmi, G#dim, , Baug, C#dim, and D.

    If you cross over octaves with inversions (which, in this case, really aren't inversions), you can get some pretty funky chords, like Bmi, Bdim, and B just between the first two. I'd love to hear some studies made out of this.
     
  8. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    It might kill people.

    Nah, after serialism's innovation, music reached its pinnacle of nastiness. If anyone could make people die with their music, Schoenberg could.
     
  9. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    My stepdad has a friend who played guitar in a production of Alban Berg's Wozzeck. It's comical that anybody could make music so depressing, and then decide to put a story on top of it that is even more depressing. It wouldn't be so bad if it were an opera about a destitute guy that kills his cheating wife and drowns himself, leaving his child an orphan, if he just resolved that last phrase. I'm not a big fan of tonality, but I'm no atonal purist, either. I felt like such shit after Wozzeck.
     
  10. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    That's awesome-tastic dude!

    Not having heard the piece (yeah, yeah, I know, but there's so much freakin' music), I would have to say that it's brilliant. It helps the truly awful plot to be better conveyed to the listener.

    Neither one nor the other guarantees goodness. So both can be done poorly or well (or, my liking of the music isn't dependent on tonality or atonality).
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2008
  11. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Tonality is supposed to sound nice, so naturally, it does. However, I like little non-harmonic passages when I can get them. Le Sacre du Printemps is a tour de force, all that rhythm and and dissonance and polytonality going on, but it's so hard to make an entire piece like that (think of what it must have been like for Stravinsky's poor old neighbors). With atonality, it's hit or miss, but tonal music is moreorless consistent, and in able hands, beats the best that most atonal artists have produced.

    That our ears are conditioned to harmony and the theoretical motives of atonality's innovators probably decreases the likelihood that there will be as much human aspect in atonality as in the densely overpopulated realm of harmony. I hate a lot of atonal music, but I also hate a lot of tonal music. It's just that there is more tonal music on record. If the ratio of great musicians to crap is 1:10000, then you might have a couple thousand good musicians in tonality, but how many atonal composers are there?
     
  12. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    Aye. Sometimes atonality reminds me of modern art. I mean, express yourself any way you want, but I reserve the right to laugh if your masterpiece is a bucket of paint thrown at a wall............or the severed head of a cow left to rot under glass.

    That being said. Atonality can be awesome if done well. Just like modern art. I like Salvadore Dali's melting clocks. It's strange, I suppose, but at the very least it's painted well.

    Compare this. On 20/20 or some other show like that they had a segment on modern art, and they gave a kindergartener's fingerpainting-- a pretty cool-looking glob or paint, no prints, just swirls-- to an expert art appraiser. She thought it was done by a master. When told it was a three-year-old, she said, "Must be a very talented three-year-old."

    Same thing with atonality. There has to be a difference between a skilled and inspired composer using clusters and a three-year-old hitting adjacent piano keys.
     
  13. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    I was watching Public Arts Showcase and came in on a mime ballet. No music, just a bunch of masked people in white, wiggling their arms in front of them, running around. It reminded me of Stravinsky. Turned out I was right. I would never have guessed it was Petrushka, but that is true art, when you can take music, turn it into visual performance, and retain the composer's idiosyncracies. It's easy to hear Beethoven or Bartok, or Deep Purple, but that raises the question: is music just frequency?
     
  14. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    Hmm... I've never seen the ballet, but was the dancing similar, or evocative of the choreography? Was it the original choreography? Maybe the piece has certain sudden rhythms of which dancing moving to those rhythms could remind you? I don't know.
     
  15. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    I've never seen another Stravinsky ballet, and I had only heard Petrushka once, to listen for a chord that I had read about on Wikipedia. It's not nearly as rhythmically interesting as The Rite of Spring or the Firebird suite. The mime ballet was just weird. I don't know if it was original choreography. I'll look around for a picture of what I saw.
     
  16. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    Weird.... I don't know I wouldn't be surprised if music has some non-auditory shenanigans; truth really is often stranger than fiction.
     
  17. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Can't find it. There were a bunch of guys wearing pointy hats, and a bunch of women in puffy dresses, all pure white. The women were chasing one guy around, and then about thirty more looking just like him flooded the stage. It was all very confusing,and they all held their arms at full length in front of them, pedaling their hands... More scales?
     
  18. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    Indeed. Well, I thought I'd be all clever and combine the goodness of the harmonic minor thread with this one and create a scale based on my previous idea, but to no avail! It exists already.

    I wanted to create a maximum exotic scale by taking a root-half-major third-half approach, but it yields the augmented scale one major sixth higher.

    So my scale in E: E-F-G#-A-C-C#-(E)

    C# augmented scale: C# E F G# A C

    grrr. Wait, I've an idea. . . .
     
  19. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass Deathly Chuuni

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    C Phyrgian with #4 and maj7
    C Db Eb F# G Ab B

    Nine tone augmented
    C C# D E F F# G# A Bb

    Some wierd eastern sounding thing
    C Db D# E G Ab B

    Wierd 8 tone
    C D Eb F F# G# A Bb C

    Locrian dim7 add maj7
    C Db Eb F Gb G# A B C
     
  20. TonalArchitect

    TonalArchitect Augmented Chords!

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    Well, in trying to combine the goodness of this thread and the harmonic minor thread, I came up with this, which I deem the "Maximum Exotic Scale" (I'd say "Arabic" or something, but I think I'd offend someone, which I'd rather not do.)

    So here's my thought process: I took the way I approached my other contribution and make a symmetrical pattern that would take a couple octaves to resolve.

    My pettern is Root-half-minor third-half-whole. So basically the first five notes of phrygian dominant. Note that the note of the whole step at the end is the root of the next segment.

    In E:
    E-F-G#-A
    B-C-D#-E
    F#-G-A#-B
    C#-D-F-F#
    G#-A-C-C#
    D#-E-G-G#
    A#-B-D-D#
    F-F#-A-A#
    C-C#-E-F
    G-G#-B-C
    C-C#-E-F
    G-G#-B-C
    D-D#-F#-G
    A-A#-C#-D
    E-F-G#-A

    Whew! So, now if you try to play this "more of a giant-huge-run-than-a-scale-"scale on a 24-fret six-string, you will be able to make the last E but not the rest of the run. You could play the notes in that order, but skip down an octave once.

    I don't know. I think it's cool. Besides it uses all twelve notes, doesn't sound like chromaticism, but doesn't sound quite normal either. For no real conceivable reason, you could notice that every four notes, the segment is one fifth higher.
     

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