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#1368201 - 02/07/10 09:34 PM Another Theory Question
LindaR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Northern California
Why is a minor scale not tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone semitone like its relative major. For instance why isn't the minor of major C---CDEFGABC, played as g minor---gabcdef#g and not a minor?

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#1368204 - 02/07/10 09:48 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5507
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
A minor scale has a minor third (3 semi-tones) as its first interval of a third - in A minor the interval is A natural to C natural. So the sequence of semitones is tone-semitone-tone to start.

The relative minor of a major scale is the scale with the same number of sharps and flats as the major scale. C major has no sharps and flats, A minor has no sharps and flats.

The relative minor of a major scale always starts on the 6th pitch of the major scales.

Hope that helps.

Cathy
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#1368210 - 02/07/10 09:53 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: jotur]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19736
Loc: New York
You mean you understood the question? smile
If you did, you're good. I tried and couldn't.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1368220 - 02/07/10 10:06 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: Mark_C]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
You mean you understood the question? smile
If you did, you're good. I tried and couldn't.


Words taken right out of my mouth.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
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www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1368225 - 02/07/10 10:14 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: Elissa Milne]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6098
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
I feel relieved.... I am obviously not the only one who didn't get it.... ha
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Music is my best friend.


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#1368234 - 02/07/10 10:19 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: ChopinAddict]
LindaR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Northern California
Gb Ab Bb C Db Eb F G, and minor eb f gb ab bb c d eb

Well I'm asking why is a minor based on key signature and the need for three kinds of minor scales rather than this tone semitone sequence. crazy

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#1368240 - 02/07/10 10:22 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
survivordan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 844
Loc: Ohio
It sounds to me like you created a random sequence of whole steps and half steps and asked: "Why aren't minor scales this way?". ????
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Working On:

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#1368254 - 02/07/10 10:35 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
currawong Offline
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Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5921
Loc: Down Under
Linda, I think it would be a better idea to listen to major and minor scales and work out how they are put together (in terms of tones and semitones aka whole and half-steps), rather than asking "why aren't minor scales like this, or this?"

Theory is just observation of what things are in music and what they do. It's kind of a non-question to ask why they aren't something else that they're not... if you follow ...
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1368264 - 02/07/10 10:47 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: currawong]
LindaR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Northern California
Maybe someone who knows music theory or sound physics can answer this question. cry

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#1368268 - 02/07/10 10:48 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: currawong]
jotur Online   blank
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5507
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Well, when I read her post the first question was why the minor scale doesn't - have a major third as its first interval of a third. So I tried to address that first.

Then another part listed the G major scale and called it a minor scale. So I thought there was some confusion there and I tried to explain how relative minor scales were defined.

Then I got smart enough to read some of LindaR's old posts.

Perhaps she was just attempting to pull our collective legs and I was the only one who fell for it smile

Cathy
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#1368277 - 02/07/10 10:55 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: jotur]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5921
Loc: Down Under
Yep, good try Cathy smile
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1368282 - 02/07/10 10:57 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5921
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: LindaR
Maybe someone who knows music theory or sound physics can answer this question. cry
What question exactly?
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1368290 - 02/07/10 11:07 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: currawong]
LindaR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Northern California
Nevermind, if anyone else has anything to add, fine. shocked

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#1368291 - 02/07/10 11:08 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
R0B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 1439
Loc: Australia
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Rob

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#1368308 - 02/07/10 11:29 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
MacMacMac Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 3802
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: LindaR
Nevermind, if anyone else has anything to add, fine. shocked
It might be useful to pick up a book on music theory. Knowledge of piano is really incomplete without a background in theory. Read a book on the subject and you'll have a lot of ah-ha moments, as so many things become clear to you.

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#1368317 - 02/07/10 11:44 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19736
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: LindaR
Maybe someone who knows music theory or sound physics can answer this question. cry

Linda -- I and probably many other people here fit that bill, and we really can't tell where you're coming from.

Believe me, it's not that we don't know. It's that we can't tell what you're really asking.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1368324 - 02/07/10 11:56 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: Mark_C]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
OK. Here goes.

MAJOR: means the pattern tone-tone-semitone-tone-tone-tone-semitone

Any scale that uses that pattern is a major scale no matter which note it starts on, or what key signature might happen to be in the music at the point that the pattern occurs.

MINOR: is a loose term that really only has one constant - that the pattern begins with tone-semitone-tone-tone. The ending can be 'natural' (semitone-tone-tone), 'harmonic' (semitone-augmented 2nd-semitone), or 'melodic' (tone-tone-semitone). Sometimes we even refer to the Dorian mode as being 'minor' because it starts with that minor pattern tone-semitone-tone-tone, even though it then ends with tone-semitone-tone.

Does this address the fundamental issue in your question? Or is your question about something else? Now that you know how the naming of patterns works, can you think of a way to rephrase your question so that someone can actually address your concern?
_________________________
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www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1368334 - 02/08/10 12:18 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
edt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 210
the first question you want to ask is

"What is a major key and what is a minor key?"

There are 12 semitones, and a scale should have at least 2 notes in it, and anywhere from 2 to 12 notes (12 notes is the chromatic scale), and some scales are different on the way up from the way down. What I'm saying is there are a lot of possible scales.

there is the diatonic, chromatic, whole tone, pentatonic, diminished, phrygian dominant, arabic hungarian, the greek scales, mixolydian, lydian phyrgian, dorian hypolydian, hypophrygian, locrian, harmonic, etc., those are just named ones, there are a few thousand possible scales.

What makes it major? A major scale uses the major third interval and the minor scale uses the minor 3rd interval. That is the definition of major and minor.

It might seem strange, but no other notes matter for whether a scale is minor or major, not the 6ths the 7ths or 5ths, those will affect other tonal qualities, all that matters is that 3rd.

When are writing a piece of music, find some major key signature that lets the performer feel most comfortable in it. That's all there is to it. Because there are thousands of possible scales, we keep it simple and use the major diatonic keys for all our music, no matter what the real scale is. Makes it easier to learn how to play music. Usually a C minor piece is easiest to write in E flat, so that's what we usually write C minor in.

It's possible to write a piece in the "wrong" key signature. You could call it C minor (aka E flat) but the ear says the piece is in D minor. That's ok.

When you are writing don't worry too much about what key it really is in, just write what you feel, and let your ear always guide you.

Also sometimes it's ambiguous, you can't tell if a piece is minor or major because the composer never really makes clear where the root is, and without knowing which note is the root, you can't count up from it to figure out which is the 3rd. So you just write it in some key signature which makes the piece easy to play.

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#1368338 - 02/08/10 12:28 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: edt]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19736
Loc: New York
I don't think we need to work quite that hard without knowing exactly what the question is.... smile
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1368340 - 02/08/10 12:33 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
....but just for fun smile let me try with Linda's rephrased question......

Originally Posted By: LindaR
Gb Ab Bb C Db Eb F G, and minor eb f gb ab bb c d eb
Well I'm asking why is a minor based on key signature.....

It's not. It is what it is, and the key signature is part of a "language" that reflects what it is. In this respect it's no different than major, or anything else.

Quote:
...and the need for three kinds of minor scales rather than this tone semitone sequence. crazy

There's no "need" for 3 kinds of minor scales. There just ARE 3 different kinds of minor scales. They are different types of expression.

(Let's see if that helps......)
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1368363 - 02/08/10 01:10 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: Mark_C]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
thats weird question..i dont even understand it.it took me along time to get it but keep studying books on scales and youll learn..basicall major and minor scales have different orders of steps or tones semitones to get that major and minor sound..its just the way it is lol
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music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#1368385 - 02/08/10 02:54 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: Mark_C]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3763
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Believe me, it's not that we don't know.


For some reason, this line made me laugh out loud.

This whole thread is rather absurd. In all seriousness, though, it does show the importance (and difficulty) of asking the right question, carefully. Sometimes the very act of formulating a meaningful question clears up the misunderstanding. I don't know if that's what's going to happen here, though.

-Jason
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Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1368394 - 02/08/10 03:34 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19736
Loc: New York
.....yes, and to take it further (although maybe to get more "philosophical" than we want) smile ......many other discussions and arguments are only over what we mean by a word or a phrase, but without the arguers realizing it. Just define what y'all really mean, and that'll solve it immediately.

Sometimes anyway. smile

Back to this thread: Will anything get clarified here? Definitely not until Linda realizes that it's completely unclear what she's asking. It's like, she herself knows exactly what she means (I guess), but she doesn't realize that she's not finding the words to let us know.
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"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1368395 - 02/08/10 03:39 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: Mark_C]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
In the most basic theory we learn, the minor key has the same key signature as its relative major. B minor and D major both have two sharps. We commonly think of those two sharps as signaling D major, and we get the feeling that B minor is derived from it, rather than getting the feeling the two sharps starts with B minor, and D major is derived from it. After all, for the harmonic and melodic minor, we have to tweak it with accidentals to make it fit. The major key needs no tweaking. So the question sort of makes sense.

The reason we have ended up with this is historical. Music went through various permutations and for a while there were church modes. If you take the white keys of a piano as a model, from C to C gives you a certain arrangement of tones and semitones. If you go from D to D, you get a new arrangement. E to E ditto. Each of these are modes. We thought melodically before we thought harmonically. Each of the modes has a different kind of flavour to it. We can feel that in the difference between the "sad" minor scale and the "happy" major scale (generally speaking). We kept two of those modes: the Ionian (major) and the Aeolean (minor).

If we begin a major scale in a particular key, then we have to raise or lower some of the "white notes" by a semitone - always the same ones. Since it repeats, the key signature was invented. The one that is 3 notes down from the other (minor to major) will have the same sequence of notes, just starting down three (or up six), like the old modes - which they are. That is why they share a key signature.

If we stay with the natural minor scale (the old Aeolean) we don't need accidentals. However, with the natural minor scale, the 7th note is a whole tone away from the tonic. Melodically, when you play a major scale,the 7th note pulls you to the tonic because it is a semitone away. That pull is weak in a natural minor scale. Therefore the 7th note is raised, which gives you the harmonic minor. Another reason for the harmonic minor is the type of chords you get. The dominant chord is crucial: it is a major chord, and it contains the 7th note, which will pull strongly to the tonic in V-I. This helps "tonality" in music: the sense that we have the tonic as a home base. If you did not raise the 7th degree note, you would not have this.

The problem with the harmonic minor is that melodically it is "bumpy". There is a gigantic 1 1/2 interval between 6 & 7, and then a tiny semitones between 7 & 8. It lurches, and "sounds Middle Eastern". So to make it smooth (and other reasons I'm sure - I haven't gone that far yet) the 6th is also raised for the ascending scale so that you have pile of whole tones for a while. That makes it sound smooth.

As someone pointed out, the reasons are musical. So to understand listen as you play or listen to music, and if you recognize a certain type of scale, find what kind of effect it has. What mood does it give? How does it transport you or the music?

That's what I can come up with.

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#1368437 - 02/08/10 07:40 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: keystring]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Linda, for the love of God, tell us if you have any idea what anyone here is talking about!
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1368496 - 02/08/10 09:06 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: Elissa Milne]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11657
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Linda, for the love of God, tell us if you have any idea what anyone here is talking about!

Elucidation of sorts:

There can be a time when an untaught person picks up patterns in music without quite understanding them or having the complete concepts and terminology. Questions come across strangely. Some of us have been there ourselves.

I guessed that maybe Linda was seeing some patterns in music, and she is wondering why they are written as they are. A textbook type answer might not be comprehensible if the concepts and terms aren't there to understand it. So I expanded, in case my guess was right (it might not be).

Condensation of the same:
If Linda is asking why major & relative minor keys share a signature:
- history: church modes etc. The fact that there is history. There was a time that I didn't know that. Music might have been the same for thousands of years.
- Since major & minor scales are actually modes, the idea that they are. They are not just arbitrary combinations of intervals: there is a certain mood or character to them.

Linda seemed to be asking why minor scales are presented as having three forms: natural, harmonic, and melodic. She was told that this is just how they happen to be. The harmonic minor has a raised 7th which has musical reasons. The melodic minor has musical reasons too. The important thing is to get the idea that there are musical reasons, by seeing some examples, and then start exploring (listening!). That is an alternative to be just looking for patterns of intervals and being stuck there.

That was the gamble. I saw a few knowledgeable answers but wondered if they would be understood, given the framing of the questions.



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#1368510 - 02/08/10 09:27 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: Elissa Milne]
TrapperJohn Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 3573
Loc: Chocolatetown, USA
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Linda, for the love of God, tell us if you have any idea what anyone here is talking about!


For the love of God I swear she doesn't care...

But, I see what she's asking - it should be obvious to even the most casual observer - she's asking a question similar to this:

"Why isn't a young dog called a kitten instead of a puppy?"

She likes puppies and also the name "kitten", so she wants the latter to refer to the former. It's that simple - she just wants to re-arrange reality to fit her personal preferences. Let us know how that works out...

The ultimate question then becomes: Is she a major or a minor pain?

JF
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Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.

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#1368582 - 02/08/10 11:39 AM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: TrapperJohn]
LindaR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/08
Posts: 160
Loc: Northern California
Okay thanks everyone, these insights help. I'll keep reading. I hope I didn't take up too much time. heart

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#1368629 - 02/08/10 12:49 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: LindaR]
edt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 210
I understand where lindar is coming from. I used to have these sorts of questions. She'll figure it out, and then have a new puzzler.

I still ask the same sorts of questions, ones that don't seem to make sense, but now I ask them about jazz chords, like why do there have to be tensions in every single chord and how come you aren't allowed to play a maj dom 7 unless it's inverted and and and . . .

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#1368656 - 02/08/10 01:22 PM Re: Another Theory Question [Re: TrapperJohn]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19736
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: John Frank
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Linda, for the love of God, tell us if you have any idea what anyone here is talking about!

For the love of God I swear she doesn't care...
But, I see what she's asking - it should be obvious to even the most casual observer - she's asking a question similar to this:
"Why isn't a young dog called a kitten instead of a puppy?"....

C'mon. smile
I don't think that's quite fair, although I must admit I was tempted to write some funny stuff too.

She has some question in mind, and yes, it's probably a non-question question, but I think sometimes we probably all have some of those.....
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