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#1149188 - 02/06/06 11:26 AM How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
pianojerome Offline
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Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Why is it that since the Middle Ages, almost nobody of significance has written any music in modes other than major or minor? Really, major and minor are only two of many modes, and yet they seem to be the only two in popular use.

Actually, the pentatonic scale has been used quite a bit in 19th and 20th century music. The use of the whole tone scale has really been limited to the impressionist composer, to guys like Debussy.


How about the lydian, dorian, phrygian, and mixo-lydian modes? Do you ever compose music using these modes or others?


Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and others each wrote 24 preludes, 1 in each of the major and minor modes. Why not write 24 preludes, 1 in each of the lydian and phrygian modes? Why not write 48 preludes, 1 in each of the dorian, mixo-lydian, whole-tone, and pentatonic modes?
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#1149189 - 02/06/06 03:35 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Ted Offline
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Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1518
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
I once tried writing a set of small pieces, each of which was based on one of the 352 partitions of the octave (chord types excluding inversions). The trouble is that I don't have the sort of brain capable of sticking to a pattern or structure or of following arbitrary rules. I think it comes from being primarily an improviser rather than a composer. In the latter, it seems to me, you have to constantly "work with tweezers" at the conscious level. With improvisation, you take every risk and fly off on every conceivable tangent. Usually this means using many keys and patterns both simultaneously and consecutively.

As most of my written compositions are just recollected improvisations, what keys, if any, they are written out in, is largely a matter of convenience after the event. Playing a group of short improvisations, each of which uses one key or pattern, was a good exercise my teacher used to give me when I was young, but once I memorised all these positions I stopped doing it.

But yes, I agree that the keyboard admits of many patterns other than major and minor scales on which sets of pieces could be based.
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#1149190 - 02/06/06 04:55 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
signa Offline
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Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i think major/minor had advantages over those modes, which was the reason that mode stuff were out of favour around late of 18th centry or something, as i read.

i don't have any desire myself to write anything in modes than major/minor keys.

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#1149191 - 02/06/06 05:15 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
8ude Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
I started writing a piece in Locrian mode, but dropped it after a while - it got a bit tough as you don't have the 5th of the scale to work with - rather Locrian's got a built-in tritone. Maybe I'll pick it up again, but the piece was somewhat of a novelty - I don't have a whole lot of interest in composing in these modes, at least at this point in time.
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What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#1149192 - 02/06/06 08:19 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
i don't have any desire myself to write anything in modes than major/minor keys.[/b]
 Quote:
I don't have a whole lot of interest in composing in these modes, at least at this point in time.[/b]
But why? All of the other modes (out of these 7) do have the perfect fifth - locrian is the only mode that doesn't have it. But you could also definately take advantage of the built in tri-tone in locrian, which major and minor modes don't have.

Is it possible that the only reason why people have no desire to work outside of major/minor is because a long time ago it was arbitrarily decided that major/minor were more conveniant than the others, and the only "acceptable" ones to use?


It seems to me like a juicer has decided that he will only make juices out of apples and peaches. A long time ago, juicers used all sorts of fruits, but during the last 400 years or so, they only used apples and peaches. So he has no desire - and he doesn't like to try - to use other fruits like oranges and raspberries and kiwis and grapes and bananas in his juices. He'll only use the traditional apples and peaches, claiming that they are inherently better and more conveniant, when really he is just blissfully ignorant to the huge variety of fruits out there, and the vast assortment of unique tastes and textures, to make his juices more diverse and pleasing. He has all of these recipes for making jucies with apples and peaches, but he won't really try to make his own recipes for grape juice or pineapple juice because it's not something that's really familiar to him.


Or maybe I'm wrong, but I don't know.
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#1149193 - 02/06/06 08:28 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
Could someone please give me a short lesson in the different modal scales? I kind of forgot.

Maybe they're not used in composing as much because no one knows enough about them.

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#1149194 - 02/06/06 08:44 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
OK, modes.

The first one you know. For example, C Major (= "C ionian") goes C D E F G A B C. The order of the intervals is W W H W W W H (W=whole, H=half).

Imagine you were to use the same key signature but start on the 2nd note: D E F G A B C D. The order of the intervals here is W H W W W H W. That's the dorian mode, so if you use those same intervals beginning on C, you get C D Eb F G A Bb C, which is "C Dorian."

Now imagine you were to start on the 3rd note: E F G A B C D E. The order of the intervals here is H W W W H W W. That's the phrygian mode, so if you use those same intervals beginning on C, you get C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C, which is "C Phrygian."

and so on. The rest of the modes are lydian, mixolydian, aeolian (minor), and locrian.
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#1149195 - 02/06/06 10:40 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
i guess modes going away for good reason, and it's just like technology nowadays: why bother with cassette if we have CD, why bother with VHS when we have DVD, why use public phone if we have cell phone ourselves? yes, everyone knows major and minor, so what's the point going back to modes which many people have to check dictionary or something to know? yes, it's convenience and advantage of major/minor key music which occupy the majority of music pieces. music is music, and unless there's some good reason (such as academic experiments/research as you'd do at school) for the need to compose music in some mode, i don't see the necessity of that.

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#1149196 - 02/06/06 11:09 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Well, here is a reason why we might explore modes, as composers have begun to do during the first half of the 20th century: because for so many years we have been using major and minor modes, and where do we go from here? The solution that many have come up with, for innovation, is to go atonal, but why go atonal when there are still soooooo many ways of writing tonal music that is entirely different from anything written before?

I don't quite agree with your technology analogy - I don't believe that major and minor are inherently better than the other modes. Of course, I know close to nothing about modes, so maybe I am wrong. But they seem to me like different fruits, like in my analogy before. Is that a good analogy? Major and minor are like apples and peaches, and the other modes are like different fruits - not better or worse, but just different. Yes, the locrian mode doesn't have a perfect fifth, but it has a tritone, which major doesn't have, and that's what makes it so unique! Lydian has BOTH a perfect fifth AND a tritone! Yes, people have to check dictionaries to learn about modes, because most people just haven't used them before. They aren't familiar with them.

But I don't see them as somehow inherently inferior, and I think that a wonderful way for composers to explore and to be innovative would be to explore these "unknown" modes - to start composing in these various modes and to really bring out the beauty and strengths of each and every one, just as for the last several hundreds years people have been so well composing music in the major and minor modes.

Remember, other cultures have used other modes aside from these, predominantly various forms of pentatonic scales in the East. It may be that in the West we have used predominantly major and minor modes, but other cultures have naturally and intuitively produced wonderful music that does make use of other modes. Debussy even used the whole-tone mode a lot, which is not major or minor, he composed extremely beautiful music. One reason his music is so beautiful, and so innovative, and so impressionist, is because of this wonderful mode (which, incidentally, like Locrian, does not have a perfect fifth and does have a tritone) that was hardly used before in Western classical music.

If you want to stay in the realm of Western classical music, really consider what Debussy did. Why can't we do the same thing with the lydian mode that Debussy did with the whole-tone mode? We should make these other modes popular. Compose and use them in our compositions so that people will know about dorian and mixolydian as they know about major and minor, without always having to look them up ignorantly in the dictionary, because some of their favorite compositions will be the "Sonata in F Dorian" or the "Piano Concerto No. 3 in G Mixolydian", and with the growing repertoire, they will learn in the very beginning that C Major has 0 flats, C Minor has 3 flats, and C Phrygian has 4 flats, and C Lydian has 1 sharp!
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#1149197 - 02/07/06 01:30 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
signa Offline
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Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
PJ, if Bach, Beethoven and many others chose major/minor for majority of their compositions, then there's good point of it, and i will stick with Beethoven's choice for better or worse ;\) ! the point of inovation is not just going back to modes so that you feel like doing something new, which is not that new anyway if modes was mainly used before Baroque era.

a lot of modern composers explore something new, whether it's mode or serilism or atonal stuff. does it mean their music better than those in major/minor? no, not really! there're always someone who's interested in something obscure or remote, which is not always a bad thing. some people feel such need to do so (like you), and some just don't see the point (like me). again, i would only say: music is music and it's not that important whether it's written in modes or major/minor or even atonal.

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#1149198 - 02/08/06 08:37 AM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
I'm not opposed to writing in modes or listening to works written in modes. It was explained to me once that our ears get used to hearing music in a "Western style" from an early age and so anything that deviates from this sounds strange. However, someone who grew up listening to other forms of music or modes then they sound perfectly fine to them. In short, a lot has to do with what we are accustomed to listening to.

I only have written in these other modes for various assignments but it was pretty fun. And if it weren't for that, I probably would have never even heard of them nor been interested.

For the argument that modes are "ancient" and don't have a place in music today, what about Gregorian chant? That made a comeback and became popular in today's music realm.

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#1149199 - 02/08/06 05:58 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2789
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
PJ, if Bach, Beethoven and many others chose major/minor for majority of their compositions, then there's good point of it, and i will stick with Beethoven's choice for better or worse ;\) ! the point of inovation is not just going back to modes so that you feel like doing something new, which is not that new anyway if modes was mainly used before Baroque era.

a lot of modern composers explore something new, whether it's mode or serilism or atonal stuff. does it mean their music better than those in major/minor? no, not really! there're always someone who's interested in something obscure or remote, which is not always a bad thing. some people feel such need to do so (like you), and some just don't see the point (like me). again, i would only say: music is music and it's not that important whether it's written in modes or major/minor or even atonal. [/b]
Signa,

You have a point, as long as time stands still, or as long as you're not interested in performances. The reality is that performers are somewhat prejudiced against what is termed pastiche. If you don't bring something to the table that is uniquely your own you'll be ignored. The reality is that functional tonality was so completely explored by so many excellent composers of the 18th and 19th centuries that there's a strong perception that there isn't anything new left to find there. Whether that's actually true or not doesn't matter. YMMV.

With regard to the extended harmonic and rhythmic techniques of the 20th century it's a very different story. My view is that many composers aimed to shock audiences and were unconcerned about beauty. Their interest was exploring these techniques as part of the "modern world" and when they wanted to connect with a more mainstream audience they opted to included elements of jazz or wrote for movies. This isn't to say there isn't a great deal of beautful music from the 20th century, Alban Berg's Violin Concerto is just one example of a ravishingly beautiful piece written using 12 tone technique. But there's much beautiful music yet to be written using these techniques. I'm well aware of the Schoenberg quote about music yet to be written in C and there may be great music yet to be written in C, but nobody will care.

These days the cliquishness of the 20th century is gone (I hope) and we're free to mix polytonality with 12 tone technique (though you'd be better off juxtaposing them) or symmetrical harmony with quartal harmony or making up new scales or using odd scales (like Egyptian or Hungarian or whatever) not just limiting yourself to the standard modes. Simply put, the sky is the limit. The question is do you wish to toil in the shadows of the great composers of the past by staying with major and minor modes? That would be like prospecting for gold in Pennsylvania, you might find some, but the significant fields were found and mined out long ago.

To be sure I like major and minor modes too, though I usually like to spice things up one way or another. I've always been one of those who sought unconventional harmonies, but dissonance for the sake of being shocking doesn't interest me. Like most composers I want people to listen to my music and be inspired and/or uplifted.

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#1149200 - 02/08/06 06:56 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
"If you don't bring something to the table that is uniquely your own you'll be ignored." - Steve

I find the opposite to be true today. If youíre too far removed from the norm the record companies don't know what to do with you (as far as marketing).

Best, John
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#1149201 - 02/08/06 09:28 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2789
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny-Boy:
"If you don't bring something to the table that is uniquely your own you'll be ignored." - Steve

I find the opposite to be true today. If youíre too far removed from the norm the record companies don't know what to do with you (as far as marketing).

Best, John [/b]
Johnny, we're obviously talking about two completely different things. I was talking about getting classical performers to play your music. When you refer to record companies you're obviously talking about popular music. I would agree record companies wouldn't know what to do with music composed in anything but major or minor mode (though some heavy metal and progressive rock does get a bit experimental in this area).

BUT, it seemd pretty clear to me that Pianojerome was asking specifically about music composed within the classical tradition. He mentioned Debussy, Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and others. So your comment about record companies with it's obvious implications toward popular music seems to me to be a bit out of place in this discussion. But that's just my opinion.

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#1149202 - 02/08/06 09:43 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
Well, Johnny does have a point, even within the realm of classical music. How many classical pianists perform Beethoven's music, and how many perform Berg's music?
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#1149203 - 02/08/06 09:46 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Chandler:
To be sure I like major and minor modes too, though I usually like to spice things up one way or another. I've always been one of those who sought unconventional harmonies, but dissonance for the sake of being shocking doesn't interest me. Like most composers I want people to listen to my music and be inspired and/or uplifted. [/b]
I agree. I don't agree with the notion that one should be different for the sake of being different, but I do believe that there is a lot of beautiful music to be written, well, differently than the ways that classical music has been written in the past.

In fact, Beethoven and Chopin and Debussy and Bartok all felt the exact same way, because they all wrote music that was quite different stylistically and structurally than the music before them. Imagine if they had all said, "Meh why should we write differently than Bach or Mozart"!

*** Progression not for the sake of progression, but for the sake of finding new ways of creating beautiful music.
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#1149204 - 02/08/06 10:24 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
"So your comment about record companies with it's obvious implications toward popular music seems to me to be a bit out of place in this discussion. But that's just my opinion"-Steve

No matter what the genre the big boys in the music industry are only thinking profit - and most aren't ready to take any risks - their jobs are at stake (welcome to the real World).

Be it classical or hip hop; the industry looks at it as how many sales is it going to generate? They donít want anything too different Ė theyíre afraid to take risks.

Classical music, whether performance or CD sales, isn't immune to the Music Industry's machinery. The farther away one gets from mainstream classical music the smaller the audience, the smaller the profits.

Best, John
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#1149205 - 02/09/06 10:03 AM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2789
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Well, Johnny does have a point, even within the realm of classical music. How many classical pianists perform Beethoven's music, and how many perform Berg's music? [/b]
Name one composer from the 20th century that composed music that sounded like Beethoven. I'm sure there were a few, but nobody plays them, why? Because Beethoven wrote Beethoven better than anyone from out time could. You won't get recorded if nobody plays it. There are plenty of performers who play Ravel, Prokoviev, Debussy and Shostakovitch. There are even some intrepid performers who play Boulez, Babbit and Ligetti. But nobody plays new music that sounds like old music, unless they wrote it. You're getting too far ahead if you're worried about record companies, worry about performers first, because you won't get published much less recorded if you haven't been performed.

Regarding record companiers, Naxos has recorded plenty of 20th century music, including the piano music of Samuel Barber. Apparently they make money at it because they keep doing it. The release last year of the William Schumann Violin Concerto (awesome piece) being another example. There are plenty of smaller labels that specialize in new music. I wouldn't worry about recording, but performances are hard to get.

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#1149206 - 02/09/06 11:36 AM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
I think that although we find other styles such as contemporary, Modern, 20th Cent. - whatever you want to call them interesting to listen to and most people listening like the idea of something new, different, unique, and unusual, and are fascinated by these sounds (even I enjoy composing occasionally in the style of Modern music), deep down no matter how you slice it, most people gravitate toward the familiar in which Western music tends to sound more familiar to our ears.

I have always felt people find comfort in familiarity and "pleasant" sounds and so it's no suprise that people prefer traditional sounds as in major or minor over other "obsure" sounds. I think especially in a stressful world where there are a lot of insecurities in life in general, at least music is the one thing people can fall back on to find peace, happiness, relaxation, comfort which is why I think most would prefer "traditional" sounding music.

In college, I had a hard time understanding why professors where encouraging students to "push the envelope" and drilling Modern music composers into students head almost to the point of an imbalance toward this extreme and this was 10 years ago and by the way those students talk in college now, this is still the case. The only explanation I can find for this is that many professors teaching in the colleges today came out of the 60's era and tend to push the thinking that stems from that era in their teaching - excuse the stereo-typing. Does anyone have a better explanation?

I don't understand what's wrong with allowing students and teaching students and pushing students toward more traditional styles without criticizing them for it. I grew tired of the 'weird' and 'unusual' in the student composition recitals/performances I attended as that seems to be all there was. Then the traditional sounding styles become the new and unusual and breaking the norm. I think a lot of students/composers are rebelling against and growing tired of this drive to create the unusual, unique, push-the-envelope Modern music style and gravitating back to traditional sounds.

I wrote a paper once in a music course about how I think people find comfort in familiarity in music, etc. I don't think this went over to well with the X-60's professor. \:\)

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#1149207 - 02/09/06 12:21 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
A very interesting perspective Sara - I agree.

I'd also like to add; there's still a lot more new music to be composed in the traditional styles, contrary to what some believe.

Best, John
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Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1149208 - 02/09/06 02:05 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny-Boy:
I'd also like to add; there's still a lot more new music to be composed in the traditional styles, contrary to what some believe. [/b]
Indeed. But the problem may also be that modern composers give up too easily, rather than that they don't even believe there is anything new to be composed using the traditional forms and tonality.

I remember reading Chopin's lamentations about how incredibly difficult it is to come up with unique music... I would say that after Chopin had composed, say, half of his output, it wasn't any easier for him to come up with something new within the bounds of traditional tonality and forms (which were what he used, in one way or another) than it is today for anybody to do the same.

And if it was that difficult for Chopin, who was a staggering genius, how difficult it must be for many of today's composers?

To conclude, it seems to me that people give up too easily: it's just *so* much easier to come up with something "new" by breaking forms or employing new scales or modes (I wonder if modern composers who use micro intervals, for example, actually think they are expressing some ideas and feelings through their music, or would they concede that they are just trying to sound "new", exotic or different? At least it's hard to believe in the former, since there is no really established musical vocabulary or symbolism of any kind in the western classical music tradition for the use of scales which contain micro intervals: going outside the tradition is to become meaningless and incomprehensible inside the tradition... Could one say that the composers we consider the best have at most stretched the boundaries of their traditions, but never broken them or gone totally outside?).

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#1149209 - 02/09/06 03:29 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
I think there are a lot of new compositions (and melodies) waiting to be enhanced by today's technology. I've composed many of the following type tracks.

"Deep Blue Mysteries"
http://www.artistcollaboration.com/~johnny-boy/Deep%20Blue%20Mystery.mp3

I think there are ways to bring traditional serious music up to the 21st. Century without sacrificing quality.

Best, John ;\)
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1149210 - 02/09/06 11:20 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Now that I found a listener, here's another piece from my "Night Tracks" album. I'd be happy if you get two listens out of this one Steve.

"Trolls"[/b]
http://www.artistcollaboration.com/~johnny-boy/MP3-Trolls.wma

Best, John
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1149211 - 02/10/06 12:16 AM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
Steve, i somewhat agree with you to a point, especially when you're talking about some new compositions. i guess that i've said it before in the debate about the similar subject with snap_apple that new music seems loosing the direction nowadays, and some composers on one hand rejecting the traditional way and looking for either obscure language or seeking some shock value in their compositions just so that they'd be called modern composers, and on the other hand blaming public for not understanding or lack of interests in their compositions.

the point is that if no one else but the composer himself can connect to the music, then the music will not be liked or accepted by public or at least most people. it's just like someone talking to you in Greek, and you don't understand a word of it and of course you don't see the point of even listening to it. so you'd simply ignore it and stop listening all together. that's what happens to many modern pieces. frankly, who cares how genius such a composition is? to me, it doesn't tell me anything, and i wouldn't want to hear it again.

but i have to say that some modern composers do use some traditional ways to compose, especially some composers who write film scores, like John Williams. well, i wouldn't say i like all his work though, except the score for Schindler(?)'s List, since most of his film scores sounding like 'propaganda' stuff to me. i do like John Corigliano's 'Red Violin' film score though, which's integreted well with traditional composition techniques and yet sounds melodic and lyrical.

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#1149212 - 02/10/06 10:42 AM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2789
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by signa:
Steve, i somewhat agree with you to a point, especially when you're talking about some new compositions. i guess that i've said it before in the debate about the similar subject with snap_apple that new music seems loosing the direction nowadays, and some composers on one hand rejecting the traditional way and looking for either obscure language or seeking some shock value in their compositions just so that they'd be called modern composers, and on the other hand blaming public for not understanding or lack of interests in their compositions.[/b]
Well I think you've perhaps missed my point. I believe that initially much of modernism was intended as a breaking point. The world changed significantly at the turn of the 20th century and people were looking forward to the fruits of industrialism. Composers wrote music that reflected this new world. But industrialism had a darker side, more efficient warfare and this showed the world unspeakable horrors. The dissonance of the music depicted this. Minimalism was like disco an attempt to ignore reality. And now at the turn of the 21rst century many are seeing the potential for armageddon and saying let's pull back from the brink. We're not all that different so let's find common ground. In music common ground is beauty, but beauty isn't just chords based on thirds (functional harmony). Quartal harmony can be beautiful, augmented and diminished harmony can be beautiful, polytonal harmony can be beautiful, even clusters can be beautiful. But if you limit you experience and thinking to functional harmony you'll never really know what can be done with these extended techniques.
 Quote:

the point is that if no one else but the composer himself can connect to the music, then the music will not be liked or accepted by public or at least most people. it's just like someone talking to you in Greek, and you don't understand a word of it and of course you don't see the point of even listening to it. so you'd simply ignore it and stop listening all together. that's what happens to many modern pieces. frankly, who cares how genius such a composition is? to me, it doesn't tell me anything, and i wouldn't want to hear it again.[/b]
I agree completely, much of the music of the 20th century was crap, what I sometimes refer to as a horde of rats attacking a pile of musical instruments. I have little need for music in which the composer has sought to destroy any discernable rhythmic pulse or tonal center. My music, like most music, utilizes both, but I enjoy a freedom of tweaking the rhythmic pulse, extending the harmony or changing the tonal center at will, sometimes smoothly and almost imperceptibly, other times suddenly for dramatic effect.
 Quote:

but i have to say that some modern composers do use some traditional ways to compose, especially some composers who write film scores, like John Williams. well, i wouldn't say i like all his work though, except the score for Schindler(?)'s List, since most of his film scores sounding like 'propaganda' stuff to me. i do like John Corigliano's 'Red Violin' film score though, which's integreted well with traditional composition techniques and yet sounds melodic and lyrical. [/b]
John Williams writes for the dramatic needs of the film, not for his own expression. Maybe Schindler's List appealed to you more than Harry Potter or Star Wars.

I'd like each of you to put my music to the test. The 3 links in my sig link to various pages, the first two are classical the 3rd is more spiritual rock. In all of these pieces I did everything (even playing drums). If you want to hear a virtuoso piano piece listen to my Rhapsody (at Soundclick). If you want to hear a lament listen to In Such a Small Place. The rock stuff is intended for more commercial appeal, but even there I take the harmony to some distant places briefly. Ask yourself if the harmony is really all that difficult to digest?

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#1149213 - 02/10/06 04:01 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
The Rhapsody was impressive Steve. That was my favorite.

Best, John
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1149214 - 02/10/06 04:44 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2789
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny-Boy:
The Rhapsody was impressive Steve. That was my favorite.

Best, John [/b]
John,

I'm glad you liked it. I've been working hard for 6 months to learn the Rhapsody (well not that hard I'm lucky if I can practice an hour a day). I can play my way through it now, but not without mistakes and only at about half to 2/3rds tempo, but it's a fun piece to play and it's done wonders for my technique). If you're interested in the score it's on Finale Showcase, just search for me and you'll find it. If I remember I'll upload the latest version his weekend.

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#1149215 - 03/02/06 02:14 AM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Rob Mullins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/04
Posts: 318
Loc: LA CA
Hi,
Hey Jerome, cool question.
My theory teacher when I was a kid was George Russell who's basic idea is that the lydian scale is the true natural basis of all music. His proof for it is conclusive in his book "The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization" which is still in print and I hear costs a fortune.
After working with George's ideas for 25 years and playing jazz pop classical and rock music for a few hundred thousand people and teaching 7 or 8 hundred music students, I came to the conclusion that the average person is just not musically sophisticated enough to be able to tell the difference in complex use of the other modes, and they generally tend to think that anything they can't distinguish as major (happy sounding to them) or minor (sad to them) must be flled with wrong notes since it "doesn't sound right." Truly, simple major and minor songs will always be the most popular because music is distributed on lowest common denominator mentality. If people could really hear what was happening with music, my teacher George would have been made an international hero years ago, everyone in the world would respect Frank Zappa as a gifted classical composer, and Kenny G would personally visit the home's of all people he sold music to with a refund and apology letter.
I did find that George Russell's class answered so many questions for me that college became unnessessary and I left college to begin my recording career after reading his books and spending a summer with him in New York.
_________________________
Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
28th album on sale now.

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#1149216 - 03/04/06 03:53 PM Re: How do you feel about composing in modes other than major or minor?
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Music is subjective. Itís an emotional roller coaster ride. Each individual decides for themselves what music ignites their emotions. There is no universal accepted criterion to judge music.

One can analyze music until the day donkeys fly but itís irrelevant. Man invented theory and harmony and man can change it at will.

I find the best way to compose is from the heart (emotionally, not analytically). When I compose, I tune into all my emotions Ė and I sure as hell wonít allow another personís theory to alter its natural course.

There comes a time in a composerís life when all theory books should be disposed of Ė and get on with the business of creating music.

My intention was not to offend anyone but rather to convey a message that I feel very passionate about.

Best, John
Never miss an opportunity to share your music.
"Quagmire"
http://www.artistcollaboration.com/~johnny-boy/MP3-Quagmire.mp3
"Captured in Eternity"
http://www.artistcollaboration.com/~johnny-boy/WMA-CAPTURED-INSTR.wma
"Still in My Heart"
http://www.artistcollaboration.com/~johnny-boy/Still%20in%20My%20Heart.mp3
"Deeper Blue"
Lyrics: Cal Francis DiFalco
http://www.artistcollaboration.com/~johnny-boy/DB%20Mix.wma
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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