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#2199718 - 12/18/13 01:08 PM Question about minor keys
Punchslap Offline
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Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
I'm yet to dive into seriously practicing or studying the piano so I guess there an easy answer to this(I do know basic music theory though).

I've noticed that there seems to be much focus, on the minor key. Why is this? Why aren't we only visualizing the minor key as any other mode or scale starting from another degree?

Does it have something to do with fingering(which fingers go on which piano key when playing a scale), are the fingerings different even if the scales happen to be their relative minor or major key?

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#2199729 - 12/18/13 01:38 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
Goof Offline
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Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 357
Loc: UK
Could be an interesting topic BUT what exactly do you mean by "much focus on the minor key".
As the key signature is the same as the relative major, other than playing and listening, I battle to deceide which "scale" to park into my memory!

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#2199776 - 12/18/13 03:42 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
KarelG Offline
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Registered: 11/18/11
Posts: 145
Loc: Czech Republic
I've not noticed that much focus here on minor keys, but perhaps the thing is that you do have 3 minor keys relative to one major key and two of them are probably a little bit more difficult to play than the relative major. May it be the reason? If not, then sorry, just practising g# melodic minor got me blind on that... :-)
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#2199799 - 12/18/13 04:30 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
piano_primo_1 Offline
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Registered: 06/25/09
Posts: 293
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA
This is from “LenMus” or “Phonescus” which is a free software, music theory study program (the older version also has a score writer)

Music in minor keys
a major key sounds bright and cheerful, a minor key is described as sounding more solemn sad, ominous.
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#2199811 - 12/18/13 05:27 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
TwoSnowflakes Online   blank
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I'm not sure what you're asking, but I think if you are simply asking if fingerings change or why they do, well, yes, they do. They have to.

I suppose you could play A minor in the natural mode and use fingering from c major. It would be weird, and also kind of throws off the natural phrasing assistance of always having your tonic landing under fingers used to handling them. The hand naturally likes to stop playing when it has run out of fingers, and it would be odd to start a minor on your third finger.

But then what are you going to do about the other two modes in a minor: harmonic and melodic?

I suppose you could play harmonic minor differently than the natural minor mode in the same key. But and what do you do with melodic minor, which switches to natural on the way down? Now you're introducing fingering for the natural minor that is one way when you're playing natural minor, and another way for the way down on melodic minor mode. Now you've got to have a fourth fingering for "natural mode down when up is melodic."

Doesn't make a lot of sense.

But maybe you're asking why is there focus in general on the minor? I haven't noticed it being over emphasized OTHER than the fact that it's not as intuitive as major mode and what's called "minor" is really a grouping of three modes, and one of which (melodic) that introduces a different way down as up. Fun when playing that two hands, contrary motion!

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#2199815 - 12/18/13 05:41 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: KarelG]
Goof Offline
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Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 357
Loc: UK
I would say that once you get used to playing black notes as well as white notes, THEN! and yes it is a big THEN you must work out the smoothest fingering to use: be it for a piece or a scale.
For a new piece I write in the fingering in pencil, bar by bar. Then its learn one hand and then the other and then together. Perhaps whilest doing the first page have a look further on as well- just for interest.
As far as scales go think/work out the patern in tones and half-tones. E.g. major is: tone, tone, half-tone, tone , tone ,tone, half-tone. And that is the same for every major scale, no matter the key.
Gee I wish my teachers had told me this sixty years ago!

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#2199946 - 12/19/13 12:48 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
Punchslap Offline
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Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
I am talking about the minor key that contains only the diatonic notes, as the major scale.
Learning the Circle of Fifths in the major keys, is obvious. But it's apparently popular to learn all the minor keys too I've come to understand; but that makes sense now as there apparently are different fingerings for them.
But what about the other modes? Like mixolydian or Phrygian(these are scales, just like the minor one I mean), we haven't created separate fingering for those have we(I've barely seen them mentioned at all, that's what I meant with that we "focus" more on the minor scale, relative to the other mode scales)? I think I'm trying to figure out of there is something special with the particular minor scale that is 3 semitones down from its relative major.

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#2199973 - 12/19/13 03:15 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
piano_primo_1 Offline
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Registered: 06/25/09
Posts: 293
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA
Originally Posted By: Punchslap
- Yesterday at 01:08 PM Question about minor keys
Punchslap
Full Member


Originally Posted By: Punchslap
#Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 43 I'm yet to dive into seriously practicing or studying the piano so I guess there an easy answer to this(I do know basic music theory though)

I don’t know ,because there are about 5 questions.

1.
Originally Posted By: Punchslap
#I've noticed that there seems to be much focus, on the minor key.

Which minor key?

2.
Originally Posted By: Punchslap
#Why is this?

I thin k it is to create different kinds of music.

3.
Originally Posted By: Punchslap
#Why aren't we only visualizing the minor key as any other mode or scale starting from another degree?

That’s what I do, what do you do?

4.
Originally Posted By: Punchslap
#Does it have something to do with fingering (which fingers go on which piano key when playing a scale),

Sure,
5.
Originally Posted By: Punchslap
#Are the fingerings different even if the scales happen to be their relative minor or major key?

Of course because of the patterns - One Pattern is the same for major scales One Pattern is the same for minor scales
Not all fingering is the same. but the major and minor PATTERNS stay the same.
You have to know if it is Natural, Melodic, or Harmonic.
I have texts that define the patterns differently than popular books do (the minor ones)
Ex: Minor Harmonic is
1t > 2s> 3t> 4t > 5s> 63s> 7s> 8 and
Originally Posted By: Punchslap

I'm trying to figure out of there is something special with the particular minor scale that is 3 semitones down from its relative major.

ALL RELATIVE minor scales are 3 semitones downs from it’s major Not just one particular one.The reason you should know if it is Major or Minor is because of the sound that it evokes in a listener.

Major scale patterns are generally melodic and rhythmic.
Minors are more emotive and sad.
Modes system id’s were generally used for chants.
I see on the internet, guitarists are using the mode system to identify the sound of their playing

All modes appear to be relative to the Ionian C MAJOR scale pattern, but begin on a different note (tone).
You still can transpose them from from the original base tone to a different tone and result in that mode
EX: all music in the key of C and its scale patterns are in Ionian mode. Major or minor relative.
The example I remember from a book was that “Scarborough Fair” by “Simon and Garfunkel” it is written in Dorian mode beginning on the base note “D” on an ending on the tone ”D”. (with the Dorian scale pattern starting on the 2nd tone. “D”.
I guess it could be thought of as the scale of C major with the Final Bass Note being the mode note you are playing

Ex” the scale of C Maj with DFA being the tonic chord if the mode is Dorain
Or use E as the final base note and EGB as the tonic but use the Dorain scale pattern not Phrygian and still have Dorain mode


I remember modes by the mnemonic
I
don’t
follow
lonely
men
and
laugh

Ionian I T-T-s-T-T-T-s C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C
Dorian II T-s-T-T-T-s-T D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D
Phrygian III s-T-T-T-s-T-T E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E
Lydian IV T-T-T-s-T-T-s F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F
Mixolydian V T-T-s-T-T-s-T G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G
Aeolian VI T-s-T-T-s-T-T A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A
Locrian VII s-T-T-s-T-T-T B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B


Take a look here: Cause I don’t quite fully understand modes .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_mode

to correct something I texted on another of your posts :
The key signature with one flat is F major not F flat major.

I think it takes quite some time to figure this all out.
I really get confused with timing sigs and tempos now, like mapping out a beat on scores
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#2200000 - 12/19/13 05:04 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
piano_primo_1 Offline
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Registered: 06/25/09
Posts: 293
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA
One other thing if you took Cmajor and put in in the Dorain mode all b's and e;s would be flat But it would be have to be noted as “Dorain mode” somewhere on the score because it would be following the dorian scale pattern which is the C major pattern starting on d
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#2200183 - 12/19/13 01:31 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: piano_primo_1]
lautreamont Offline
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Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 16
I think the question is, "Why is the minor mode used so often and the other modes are neglected?"

For some of them, it's to do with the structure of the scale.
For example, BCDEFGAB has no perfect fifth for the tonic note, which doesn't lend itself to an easy sense of tonality.

For other scales, like GABCDEFG, it might be due to the fifth tone's basic chord. The character of DFA is a departure from GBD, and while it can be used for good effect, often the fifth and its chords are used as a way of reinforcing the tonic. So when the fifth's chord is used in this mode, the mood is different than that of the tonic, not exactly a shining reinforcement, which, when structuring a piece that you want to be consistent, might be problematic.

Compare to C major, with its major chord for its fifth tone, and A minor, with a minor chord for its fifth. Subtleties like this allow for eccentricities when composing in the lesser used scales, and accidentals or other scale degrees to take on more structural purpose than in the major or minor modes.

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#2200222 - 12/19/13 02:41 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: lautreamont]
peterws Online   content
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Registered: 07/21/12
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Loc: Northern England.
Minor keys. Something to do with depression I think. . . or nostalgia, which everybody knows isn`t what it used to be . . .
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#2200251 - 12/19/13 03:17 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: peterws]
Goof Offline
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Registered: 05/05/12
Posts: 357
Loc: UK
If you really wish to get serious read the book "The Math Behind the Music" by Leon Harkleroad!!

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#2200358 - 12/19/13 06:50 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
Michael Martinez Offline
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Registered: 11/22/12
Posts: 415
Loc: California
It seems you're only asking about fingering? Or you also want to know about theory?
I can't really tell you about the fingering, I just really play whatever fingers seems to suit at the moment.

But about theory, well.. the relative minor is what it is, right? It's a similar tonality to the key itself, except when you focus on the key's vi and iii tones, you have a minor sound instead of major. But many of the chord progressions that are used to established the major tonality (IV V I, IIm V I) can also be used to establish the tonality of the relative minor.

But that's only one minor scale. There's four other popular ones: the so-called Dorian and Phrygian, which are both diatonic, and the melodic minor and harmonic minor, which are not.
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#2200389 - 12/19/13 07:39 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
keystring Online   content
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Punchslap, you are probably studying along a certain book or course of studies which goes in a certain direction. But other people reading this didn't necessarily study the same things, so it's hard to tell what you are referring to. Some guesses just from what you have been writing:

One thing to get a handle on early are key signatures. Music is written in major and minor keys, and they share key signatures. For example, one sharp can be for the key of G major or E minor. A key signature of one flat can be for the key of F major or D minor. You will see that E is a minor 3 down from G (or a major 6 up from it); D is a minor 3 down from F. There are known as the relative major and relative minor of each other. If you are wondering "why the scale which is a third down, and none other?" this is why.

One way of explaining it is to begin with the diatonic minor: in other words C major, and A natural minor (the Ionic mode). The key of C major and A minor share the same key signature. One way of looking at it is that if you know C major, you can get A natural minor because you're playing the same notes but starting 3 down or 6 up.

In actual fact, minor keys more often have the harmonic or melodic minor because of considerations of harmony. So your A minor probably has a G# much of the time, shown by an accidental in the key of A minor. Theory books often introduce the melodic and harmonic minor by starting with the natural, and adding the accidentals as add-ons.

Music often modulates from the relative minor to the relative major (from A minor to C major), and also along fifths (from C major to G major). So the order in which things are taught often tries to mirror what happens in music.

Another way of looking at major and minor scales is along the same tonic: C major and C minor, for example. Often a composer changes moods by shuttling. In this case you can look at a scale differently. You can see that to change a major scale into a minor scale you can do the following:

C major: lower the 3rd degree. You get C melodic minor
C major: lower 3rd degree & 6th degree. C harmonic minor.
C major: lower 3, 6 & 7. You get C natural minor.

That is a different angle.

I don't think that in the beginning we think much in modes: (Dorian, etc.) because we're trying to get at the most common things in music which would be major and minor keys.

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#2200401 - 12/19/13 08:01 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: keystring]
malkin Offline
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Registered: 04/18/09
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Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Funny that modes should pop up-- we had a great laugh a few nights ago, joking about modes that aren't, but could have been

Dorian and Ionian are, but Corinthian, Galatian, and Ephesian are not.
Phrygian is but Boilian is not.
Lydian is as is Mixolydian, but neither Shakolydian and Stirolydian are.
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#2200404 - 12/19/13 08:06 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
Polyphonist Offline
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Locrian is, but I have yet to hear of Kyrian.
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#2200412 - 12/19/13 08:21 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Polyphonist]
malkin Offline
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Locrian is, but I have yet to hear of Kyrian.


That's what I'm talkin' about!
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#2200415 - 12/19/13 08:25 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
Polyphonist Offline
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There is Dorian though. grin
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#2200419 - 12/19/13 08:32 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Polyphonist]
malkin Offline
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Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
There is Dorian though. grin


Yes, but not Windownian.
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#2200425 - 12/19/13 08:44 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
Polyphonist Offline
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Speaking of which, recently I've been having a hard time financially. The stalks are down and they've cut my celery.
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#2200526 - 12/20/13 03:18 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
Punchslap Offline
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Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
Some of you managed to elaborate on my actual question. But I think I'll have to clarify:

I know how the natural minor scale relates to it's relative major and vice versa. You can make up so called modal scales based on other degrees on the diatonic scale; three of these contain a minor third as one of their intervals between the root note and the third note.

All of these examples refer to the Aeolian mode, the natural minor scale.
- In the book Scales, intervals, keys, triads, rhythm and meter by John Clough, he illustrates the series(same as the circle, but not a circle; but a line) of fifths in the "minor" keys after the major one.
- A lot of members are talking on here how they are learning the circle of fifths for the minor keys.
- On the wikipedia page showcasing the Well Tempered Clavier by Bach, it says "He gave the title to a book of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys", note the mention of "minor keys".

^point of this is simply showcasing the focus on the natural minor scale by some people, instead of simply mentioning it's major relative.

I am not talking about the harmonic or melodic minor scales.

Considering that we use the natural major scale(Ionian mode) as our "base" scale or whatever, I find it weird that anyone would mention a key signature by it's natural minor relative.

I know that the quality of the sound of each scale differs, but so does all the modal scales. Why is it that the natural minor scale that is 3 semitones down from the major scale gets so much attention relative to the other modes?

I'd understand it's would be good to learn the circle of fifths(for the sake of piano playing) if there are different fingerings(even though they are the same key and contain the same tones) starting on either scale. But then why aren't we learning the circle of fifths for all the other scales you can create from the diatonic scale?

Edit: I appreciate all of your efforts to help me though grin


Edited by Punchslap (12/20/13 03:23 AM)

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#2200529 - 12/20/13 03:23 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
keystring Online   content
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The only keys we have are major and minor keys. They are not major and minor scales, they are major and minor keys. Scales and keys are not the same thing. Unless I misunderstood.

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#2200534 - 12/20/13 03:34 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: keystring]
Punchslap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
Originally Posted By: keystring
Punchslap, you are probably studying along a certain book or course of studies which goes in a certain direction. But other people reading this didn't necessarily study the same things, so it's hard to tell what you are referring to. Some guesses just from what you have been writing:

One thing to get a handle on early are key signatures. Music is written in major and minor keys, and they share key signatures. For example, one sharp can be for the key of G major or E minor. A key signature of one flat can be for the key of F major or D minor. You will see that E is a minor 3 down from G (or a major 6 up from it); D is a minor 3 down from F. There are known as the relative major and relative minor of each other. If you are wondering "why the scale which is a third down, and none other?" this is why.

One way of explaining it is to begin with the diatonic minor: in other words C major, and A natural minor (the Ionic mode). The key of C major and A minor share the same key signature. One way of looking at it is that if you know C major, you can get A natural minor because you're playing the same notes but starting 3 down or 6 up.

In actual fact, minor keys more often have the harmonic or melodic minor because of considerations of harmony. So your A minor probably has a G# much of the time, shown by an accidental in the key of A minor. Theory books often introduce the melodic and harmonic minor by starting with the natural, and adding the accidentals as add-ons.

Music often modulates from the relative minor to the relative major (from A minor to C major), and also along fifths (from C major to G major). So the order in which things are taught often tries to mirror what happens in music.

Another way of looking at major and minor scales is along the same tonic: C major and C minor, for example. Often a composer changes moods by shuttling. In this case you can look at a scale differently. You can see that to change a major scale into a minor scale you can do the following:

C major: lower the 3rd degree. You get C melodic minor
C major: lower 3rd degree & 6th degree. C harmonic minor.
C major: lower 3, 6 & 7. You get C natural minor.

That is a different angle.

I don't think that in the beginning we think much in modes: (Dorian, etc.) because we're trying to get at the most common things in music which would be major and minor keys.



Good explanation. It makes sense with the modulation thing, but then why are we leaving out all other modal scales(as they also contain "different sounds"?

To me it would make more sense by only utilizing the "base" scale that we already have, the major scale or Ionic mode. And then you would simply visualize the minor scale along with all the other modes whilst still referring the major scale.

As for the melodic and harmonic minor scales though; wouldn't it make more sense to still refer to the major scale and write the accidentals where they are supposed to be without referring to the natural minor?

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#2200535 - 12/20/13 03:37 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: keystring]
Punchslap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
Originally Posted By: keystring
The only keys we have are major and minor keys. They are not major and minor scales, they are major and minor keys. Scales and keys are not the same thing. Unless I misunderstood.


I guess my question could come down to: why do we have minor keys when we could just refer to the major key with the same notes?
You gave an explanation about modulation in one of your other posts, but then why the natural minor scale instead of say, the Phrygian mode/scale?

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#2200546 - 12/20/13 04:47 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
piano_primo_1 Offline
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Registered: 06/25/09
Posts: 293
Loc: Pittsburgh,PA
I would think the reason is this:

The major scale pattern is different from the minor scale pattern; and in addition has a different feel and sound to it.
Originally Posted By: Punchslap

I know that the quality of the sound of each scale differs, but so does all the modal scales. Why is it that the natural minor scale that is 3 semitones down from the major scale gets so much attention relative to the other modes?


Function- , I think the modes are more aural and “ancient” and hard to learn without knowledge of notation and of the “base scale”.
Music creation and composition, at least I’ve read, was pretty well limited, previous to the learning of notes and scales (not modes) .
Originally Posted By: Punchslap

Considering that we use the natural major scale(Ionian mode) as our "base" scale or whatever, I find it weird that anyone would mention a key signature by it's natural minor relative.

It’s not , because to recreate the composition, you would need to know if was a relative minor to use the correct final base note . Otherwise you would have to figure it out by “ear”.
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#2200572 - 12/20/13 08:53 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: keystring]
SoundThumb Online   content
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Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 341
Loc: San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
The only keys we have are major and minor keys. They are not major and minor scales, they are major and minor keys. Scales and keys are not the same thing. Unless I misunderstood.


Keystring, I think this might be the exact answer to the OPs question. However, when you say the only "keys" we have, do you mean the only key signatures? So for example, the key signature with no sharps or flats is either C major or A natural minor. All the other un-natural minors and modes require accidentals on top of the these two key signatures. (Please note, this is really a question, not an answer because I share the OPs confusion.)

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#2200622 - 12/20/13 11:13 AM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11708
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We have two types of KEYS: major keys and minor keys (example: C major, A minor, both having the same key signature).

We have many kinds of SCALES. Typically we learn to play harmonic minor, melodic minor, and natural minor scales. We tend to learn them around the same time that we play music in minor keys, so I think the two concepts get mixed up. There is no such thing as a "melodic minor" key, for example.

I'm thinking that they way it's presented also creates a confusion. Typically it starts with the idea of C major scale, the A natural minor scale being like C major a third below, and then key signatures are explained via scales. I think this creates a false association, where we mix up scales and keys. frown (Never thought of it before).

So (thinking about it).
Western music is an interlocking structure, somewhat like we have hearts and lungs, and the circulatory and respiratory systems work together while being separate: they intermesh. The Western music has tonality, structures of harmony (chords that move somewhere). It took a many hundreds of years to develop.

In our system we tend to have music that is based on a major key, where the tonic also starts off a major scale of you play from degree 1 to degree 7 diatonically - or minor. We have the typical diatonic notes of that key. The SIGNATURE for the KEY then ensures that we play those diatonic notes, so that we don't have to use accidentals all over the place. Within the music itself we can and do digress to non-diatonic notes that aren't part of the signature. Music in a minor key will have more accidentals, because of the melodic minor and harmonic minor, which are standard in minor keys, but the signature doesn't allow for it.

The system we have is cobbled together by history. We went from modal music with no concept of chords or harmony, and not the idea of tonality (as a loose expression) that exists now, to what we have now. (And music has moved on from there as well). One thing grew from the other.

(wrote too much (sigh) ) frown

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#2200719 - 12/20/13 09:26 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1032
Loc: western MA, USA
It's set up this way to help musicians make sense of actual music. Try playing Greensleeves (aka What Child Is This) and you will quickly discover that often, but not always, you need to raise the sixth and seventh degrees of the scale. Starting on A, you'll need a fair number of F#s and G#s, and also quite a few G naturals. And C won't sound like the home note, A will. So it's useful to think about an A minor key distinct from C major, and it's convenient to learn a couple different scale patterns to get used to navigating the shifting sharps at the top of the scale.

Sure, you could learn Greensleeves pretending it is in C major but you'd have to deal with the presence of frequent sharps, not to mention E major chords, which don't normally go with C major.

As for the Phrygian mode etc., it makes sense to think that way if you're playing music structured in that way. People do write in the other modes (Bartok) but not as often as major and minor.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2201000 - 12/21/13 02:22 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: Punchslap]
Punchslap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
Originally Posted By: pianonewbie1
I would think the reason is this:

The major scale pattern is different from the minor scale pattern; and in addition has a different feel and sound to it.
Originally Posted By: Punchslap

I know that the quality of the sound of each scale differs, but so does all the modal scales. Why is it that the natural minor scale that is 3 semitones down from the major scale gets so much attention relative to the other modes?


Function- , I think the modes are more aural and “ancient” and hard to learn without knowledge of notation and of the “base scale”.
Music creation and composition, at least I’ve read, was pretty well limited, previous to the learning of notes and scales (not modes) .
Originally Posted By: Punchslap

Considering that we use the natural major scale(Ionian mode) as our "base" scale or whatever, I find it weird that anyone would mention a key signature by it's natural minor relative.

It’s not , because to recreate the composition, you would need to know if was a relative minor to use the correct final base note . Otherwise you would have to figure it out by “ear”.


Any scale degree could be the center of tonality, can't they(I guess that what the teachings of modal scales insinuate)?

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#2201002 - 12/21/13 02:28 PM Re: Question about minor keys [Re: keystring]
Punchslap Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/07/13
Posts: 57
Originally Posted By: keystring
We have two types of KEYS: major keys and minor keys (example: C major, A minor, both having the same key signature).

We have many kinds of SCALES. Typically we learn to play harmonic minor, melodic minor, and natural minor scales. We tend to learn them around the same time that we play music in minor keys, so I think the two concepts get mixed up. There is no such thing as a "melodic minor" key, for example.

I'm thinking that they way it's presented also creates a confusion. Typically it starts with the idea of C major scale, the A natural minor scale being like C major a third below, and then key signatures are explained via scales. I think this creates a false association, where we mix up scales and keys. frown (Never thought of it before).

So (thinking about it).
Western music is an interlocking structure, somewhat like we have hearts and lungs, and the circulatory and respiratory systems work together while being separate: they intermesh. The Western music has tonality, structures of harmony (chords that move somewhere). It took a many hundreds of years to develop.

In our system we tend to have music that is based on a major key, where the tonic also starts off a major scale of you play from degree 1 to degree 7 diatonically - or minor. We have the typical diatonic notes of that key. The SIGNATURE for the KEY then ensures that we play those diatonic notes, so that we don't have to use accidentals all over the place. Within the music itself we can and do digress to non-diatonic notes that aren't part of the signature. Music in a minor key will have more accidentals, because of the melodic minor and harmonic minor, which are standard in minor keys, but the signature doesn't allow for it.

The system we have is cobbled together by history. We went from modal music with no concept of chords or harmony, and not the idea of tonality (as a loose expression) that exists now, to what we have now. (And music has moved on from there as well). One thing grew from the other.

(wrote too much (sigh) ) frown


There's no such thing as writing too much.


Yes, I can see if it somehow implies that there is more frequent use of the accidentals that characterize the other minor scales then I can see the point.

But still, I personally would prefer to only have to bother with major signatures. From what I've read, it seems like more of a tradition thing.


Edited by Punchslap (12/21/13 03:06 PM)

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