Music theory thread

Love Nation

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Hey people! This thread is for music theory. Feel free to ask questions or give some advices, tipps and tricks and inspirations. You can also upload some midi-files or even music sheets.
 
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Love Nation

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For starting, i will copy something about pentatonic from my tracks thread and upload some midi files as example:



"I love to use the pentatonic scale for composing tracks. Its very simple and there is a special trick to start it easy. Its a coincidence, that the black keys are exactly the pentatonic scale, when you use the key 'E flat' as keynote. Try this out:


Accompaniment: Make a pad with two notes sounding together, only using the black keys. Spacing between them is a quint. That means, you pad is made of the two notes E flat / B flat. Then switch to other quints on the black keys and come back to E flat / B flat, when the loop starts again.
Example of a 4 bar loop:
2 bars: E flat / B flat
1 bar: G flat / D flat
1 bar: D flat / A flat

Melody: Make a melody, but remember to add much huge reverb and delay :) Play or draw with the mouse some random notes, but only using the black keys.
Example for a 4 bar loop, most simple:
2 bars: E flat - G flat - A flat - B flat
1 bar: G flat - A flat - B flat - D flat
1 bar: D flat - E flat - G flat - A flat


This way, you can make a track with for example 5 different melodies, and all the melodies will always perfectly match together!
For melodies, you can also add additional notes: The white key F matches good to the pentatonic scale. The white key A is good for a blues mood. The white key C is good for a happy mood. There are many more possibilities to add or replace notes for different moods.
For accompaniment, you can also add additional notes to get different harmonic moods. But sometimes, i just make for example harmonies with 4 notes sounding together, using trial and error.
If you want to make a track using a different keynote: Just make the track on the keynote E flat. Then transpose everything to the wanted keynote."
 

Love Nation

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This harmonic mood style is my favourite style. But its a bit limited, when you want to make many tracks. I used it in following tracks of my tracks thread: Heaven, Meteor, Stratosphere, Galactic Birds and Laniakea. The tracks Meteor and Laniakea are made with the harmonic example above. I add the midi-files of the track Meteor as illustration
 

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Gagi

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Thanks for creating this! Hopefully it helps someone and starts a discussion.
 
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Love Nation

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Youre welcome! Yes would be nice to have a discussion. Me and also many others know music theory, but sometimes i feel limited in harmonies and maybe others too. Its always good to get some inspiration.
 
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Love Nation

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As you see in the midi file 'Meteor harmony-pad', i added a third note to the pad, so the pad becomes a harmonic progression. In this specific harmonic style, its mostly the same system: The key note harmony is always minor and all other harmonys are mostly major.
Adding minor note to get key harmony: The minor note is the third note above the bottom note (G flat in Meteor)
Adding major note to get other harmonies: The major note is the fourth note above the bottom note (B flat / F in Meteor)

You can do that also in a reverted way to get another mood style, but then you have to use another scale key for the melodies. I will explain that another day.

You can also add a fourth note to the harmonies or replace the minor / major note with it, for getting a more complex mood. I case of Meteor, that would be:
Key harmony: Add the fifth note above the bottom note (A flat)
Other harmonies: Add the third note above the bottom note (A flat / E flat)

In the melody of Meteor, i used polyphony and different advanced versions of the melody, instead of many different melodies. That way, its easier to mix the track, because you dont have so many different synths. I used that style in Meteor and Laniakea. The polyphony was a bit trial and error, but its good to try out quints and quarts for that. They often work good.
 

Love Nation

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Love Nation

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Chord progression - Rearrangement, Transposition and Enhancement


I like the harmonic mood style mentioned above, but there are not infinite possibilieties for chord progressions at it. One possible chord progression there is my alltime favourite. The problem is, i cant make 10 tracks with the same progression, it would be boring. But i made 3 tracks with it, and they all sound different. I think that many people would not recognize immediately, that that are more or less the same chords. The songs are galactic birds, stratosphere and heaven. There are some possibilities in music theory to make the same used chords sound different.
First of all, you should use different scale keys for the tracks. And then there is rearrangement, transposition and enhancement.

I will use the scale key E. Its easy, because with E, you only have to use white keys for the melodies, using the minor pentatonic scale. All the added melodies will match together, even when you create them independently.
I already talked about pentatonic above, but i always mean minor pentatonic. As you can see in the resource of #7, there is also a major pentatonic scale existing.

The melody notes of the minor pentatonic scale are: E - G - A - B - D (also G flat matches good here)

Here my favourite chord progression in a 4 bar loop, its very simple and nothing special in its basic form :

2 bars E minor: E - G - B
1 bar C major: C - E - G
1 bar D major: D - G flat - A


Rearrangement:
You can rearrange the chord progression to get a different chord progression, still containig the same chords. I dont know statistically the exact number, but there are many possibilities to rearrange 3 chords. For example rearrange them backwards. Or just mix them in any way. Then also rearrange the mixed progression backwards, and so on. Also give some chords more bars than others. Or make an 8 bar loop instead of a 4 bar loop.
Here an example:

1 bar: C major
1 bar: E minor
2 bars: D Major


Transposition:
With transposition, i dont mean to transpose the whole chord. I mean to transpose single notes of a chord, one octave up or down. In Ableton, just select the note and press shift and arrow up or down for that. This is a poweful tool, in my opinion. There are also many possibilities, here is one of them. Its the same progression as in the basic example above:

2 bars: E minor
1 bar: C major transposed E - G - C
1 bar: D major rearranged G flat - A - D

A chord with 3 notes has 2 possibilities to be transposed in that way. A chord with 4 notes has 3 possibilities to be transposed, and so on. So when you have, as in the basic example, 3 chords containing 3 notes each, then there are also many posibilities to get a new progression. And when you combine that with rearrangement, then you get really a lot of possibilities.


Enhancement:
With enhancement, i mean to add one or several different chords to the progression or to replace a chord with a different chord. There are really many possibilities for the basic example above. For that, you can use following chords for example:

G major, B minor, B major, A minor, A major (the A major chord gives a more happy mood here)

Here a very simple example:
1 bar: E minor
1 bar: C major
1 bar: A minor
1 bar: D major


So, when you make a track with a very nice chord progression and want to make another track with the same mood, just mix all these tools together and you will have infinite possibilities. And always remember to add much huge reverb and delay to the melodies :)
 

Love Nation

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Chord progression - Cheesy mood style

I talked above about my favourite style, minor pentatonic melodies, with minor key chord and mostly major chords as other chords. There is another mood style possible, using minor pentatonic melodies, but with a major key for the chords. I used that in my track white hole, even though i didnt use so much melody in that track.

Chords: I used the key chord C major and 3 other chords. 2 of them were also major, one was minor. Thats the difference in this 'cheesy' mood: The key chord is not minor. I added a fourth note to the chords, like i mentioned in #6 and also transposed some notes of the chords, like i mentioned in the #9. Theese two things were a little bit of systematic trial and error, for getting the best result. I also used different transposed chord versions for different synths.

Melodies: There is not a real melody in the track, just a quints / quarts up and down. You can use the minor pentatonic scale for real melodies, but not with the key note C. Insted use the minor pentatonic scale with the key note A. That means the key of your minor pentatonic melodies shoud be 3 notes below the key note of your key chord.
Here that would be the notes: A - C - D - E - G
If you want to use the blues scale, just add the note E flat

Dont want to write so much, so i will add some midi files. You can try, as an exercise, to find the basic chords from the midi chord files. For that, retranspose the chords to the basic stance and remove the added fourth notes. Then you can make your own progression of it, like i explained in #9, if you want.
 

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