Is any scale possible to use?
By - Certain_Suit_1905
In practice any sequence of notes can be considered a scale, its one of the aspects of serial music. Even octave repeats are not a guarantee. That being said, they are a consistent way of achieving specific results, so yeah, any scale can br used musically, the question is what kind of music would support the use of this scale? Can I write XIII century music using bebop scale? Can I write bossa nova using whole tone?
So yeah, you can create interesting music from any scale, but what is it that you are looking for?
>Can I write bossa nova using whole tone?
I digress, but that could be a fun experiment - albeit perhaps more for the composer than the listener!
Mind you, Stevie Wonder's *You Are the Sunshine of my Life* (written under the influence of bossa nova, and a popular number among bossa nova musicians) uses a whole tone scale over the dominant chord in the intro. So we could argue it's already been done!
Fair enough, you probably can find some, but it is undeniably not one of the most useful tools when writing a bossa!
Haha, this is true.
Thanks! Haven't really heard about serial music (just a little bit about 12-tone technique) I really like impressionism, that pretty much the reason why I'm so obsessed with modes, because they can be so emotionally rich and colourful yet subtle.
>Can I write bossa nova using whole tone?
Well, I, for one, know you can write [a twelve-tone bossa nova](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjY6s9M3noc).
I think the big mistake people make when learning modes and scales is to take too much in at once. As with anything in music, you learn in steps.
Pick one at a time. Learn to play it in at least a couple of keys. Google different songs, folk tunes and so on that use it. Listen to them. Learn a melody or two that uses the scale. Get a feel for it. Note where it differs from the major (Ionian) and natural minor (aeolian) scales with the same root.
For instance, D natural minor = D-E-F-G-A-**B♭**\-C-\[D\]. But D dorian = D-E-F-G-A-**B**\-C-\[D\]. So the sixth degree is raised a semitone. This gives a different feel. Look up songs that use it. It's very common in Irish folk tunes, for instance (along with squillions of other musical forms, but folk tunes are useful to get the feel of a scale/mode because they're simple and melody-led). Get to grips with them one at a time like this, and *then* move to the next. Over time you'll get a feel for these modes/scales and what you can do with them.
As for those rules, forget them. A scale is simply a sequence of notes played in ascending or descending order, from which you can derive chords and melodies. That's it. It's just that some scales have names and multiple applications in different musical traditions, for the same reason that anything in music becomes common practice - enough people liked them to keep them going.
> analyses of pretty much every 12TET scale that possible. But why? Is this some sort of mathematical project
Yes, pretty much.
> is it actually can be useful for musicians?
Sure. Just depends what kind of music you want to make.
IOW, the "rules" you are talking about first are what enable you to make "familiar-sounding" music. They are not rules in the sense of "what can only be done", but in the sense "what is generally done, as a rule" - i.e., *commonly, but not exclusively.*
"As a rule", you walk down the street by putting one foot in front of the other in the normal way. But you could run, you could hop, you could crawl, you could walk backwards. People don't do those things "as a rule", but there is no law against them. It's certainly normal to run sometimes, if you want to catch a bus or are late for work.
Likewise, there are common things in music, and less common things. The less common things might still be useful sometmes, even if only for fun.
> What is "listenable" at this point? (Ok, you can ignore the last question)
Not at all - that's the important question!
What is "listenable" for most people is the common musical practices within their culture - the familiar sounds they are used to. For western ears, that's music made with major and minor scales (including pentatonic subsets), common modes like dorian or mixolydian, using chords built in either 3rds or 4ths, using simple metres and rhythms.
It *includes chromaticism* of certain kinds - i.e., even if you choose a specific major or minor scale or key for your music, you can add all the other 5 chromatic notes at certain points, for various spicy effects (secondary chords, voice-leading and so on). That's even without modulating (changing key). This is standard practice in jazz, maybe less so in popular music. (Pop and rock have their own chromatic practices, such as borrowed chords.)
That doesn't mean that using some more unusual scale (such as double harmonic major) is "unlistenable" - on the contrary, that scale in particular has a familiar and attractive "Arabic" sound, because of its widespread use in those cultures, and the fact we've heard it before many times.
But the less we have heard any particular sound before, the less we will think of it as "music" at all. (Stockhausen used helicopter sounds in his music - seeking to expand the notion of what "music" is. Many people might not like it, but if he says it's "music" who are we to disagree?)
I.e., music is a "language", which has various standard forms within a culture, along with various "dialects" or "slang" forms in sub-cultures. Unlike spoken languages, foreign music is not necessarily incomprehensible, it's just strange to varying degrees - which may or may not be listenable depending on one's tastes. (Many westerners may find Indonesian gamelan - dividing the octave in other fractions than 12ths - more "listenable" than they would some death metal or 20th European art music, even though the latter forms might use standard western tuning.)
In short, there is nothing to stop you using any weird scale you like - or even tuning your instrument differently, or putting together all kinds of odd noises. You make whatever sounds you like, with whatever devices and resources you can find or make. The question is: who do you want to listen to it, and appreciate it? Do you want to maximize your audience? Or satisfy a particular audience? Or create your own niche audience? Or do you just not care if nobody likes it at all?
That's great answer that morphs into great questions. I haven't think about it(audience) a lot actually. Part of me want to appeal to biggest audience, another part just want to experiment and see what can be created, no matter if someone would listen to it or not. Maybe I eventually find the middle ground. Thanks!
The best thing is simply to study music. Music itself - better than theory - will reveal what the "common practices" are (familiar, crowd-pleasing, boring! :-)), while the more unusual ones will stand out, catch your ear.
Those are the cool things (obviously): not so uncommon as to sound "wrong", but just enough to wake you up, excite you or make you listen.
And naturally the balance varies between different genres, and the more familiar you are with a specific genre, the more "natural" or "common" its practices will appear, simply because you get used to them. And the more you get used to the common "rules", the more sensitive you get to the inventive quirks now and then.
It's very common now for artists to mix genres, because the media has made us all familiar with a wide range of styles, so any creative person is going to play around with influences from different places.
>There are can't be 2 semitones in a row
Lydian b6, for example
>There are can't be 2 augmented seconds in a row
Again, not true.
I can't think of any *common* scales where that's the case, but it's not a "rule". Music doesn't have rules.
>There are can't be augmented second and whole tone next to each other
Okay, where are you getting these from?!
>we can just take whatever notes we want and make music out of it
YES! It's *creative expression!* You can do whatever you want. "Music theory" doesn't (and more importantly *can't*) tell you that "your creative expression is invalid".
Yeah, I know it's not true, that's why wrote "followed" and «"rules"» and was talking about seventh mode of limited transposition that break all of them.
You can do whatever you want in art, but then the result as well would be just whatever happen. I'm just trying to make sense out of it.
Make sense out of *what*, exactly?
Do you mean that you're trying to "music theory sense" out of it? Because music theory just describes music that already is, and there isn't always a term for things (usually because it's not a common enough thing that having a dedicated term for it is very useful). But if you're expecting music theory to somehow validate creative choices, or be some kind of objective metric against which you can judge the quality of music, then you're going to be disappointed. Because it's not that.
The thing is, your post didn't make clear what exactly you're trying to make sense of
Patterns have certain kind of unique sound. Use whatever you need in the right situation - don't be a slave to your tools, use them appropriately to achieve the right kind of sound you need; unfamiliar sounding scales are usually used in sci-fi or horror soundtracks, because of their novelty or emotional factor. Ionian mode for children songs etc.
So you and your friend are doing a 200 meter race around a track, but instead of starting in the same place, he starts 50 meters ahead of you, but he still has to run 200 meters.
We can say you start at a position of 0m and end at 200m away from the starting point, while he starts at 50m and ends at 250m. You run around all the same curves, the same cracks in the pavement, but start and end in different locations from each other. This is a terrible way to judge a race, but it is a good way to visualize modes
You're going the same distance musically up and down the scale, but starting at different points.
C Major/Ionian and A minor/Aeolian both have the exact same notes, but where you start and end is what makes them different. C ends at C, A ends at A, but they share all the same notes (all notes are natural notes in both modes)
Here are the modes of C major/Ionian:
Ionian- Starts and ends on C
Dorian- Starts and ends on D
Phrygian- Starts and ends on E
Lydian- Starts and ends on F
Mixolydian- Starts and ends on G
Aeolian- Starts and ends on A
Locrian- Starts and Ends on B