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Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: rocket88] #2817034
02/18/19 06:18 PM
02/18/19 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rocket88
As a working Blues and Boogie-Woogie musician, recording artist, and teacher, who has played Blues professionally for decades with any number of greats and unknowns, I can tell you with certainty that in the real music world, that piece would be called on the Bandstand as a "G Major" Blues.

This is 100% correct.
Quote

The fact that the Blue note (the minor 3rd resolving to the major third) somehow makes the piece "major-minor" is irrelevant and not accurate...the best way of describing that movement is that it is a "passing tone".

But that's not what is happening in M9, where there is a strong F nat in the RH. We should not think too much about this, because it is meant to be easy, and stripped down. It is for almost beginners. But there is a D7 #9 feel: D A C// F# A F nat. I'm not trying to confuse anyone, but you will see that chord everywhere in Gershwin but also right up to this moment. It's in Come Together by the Beatles, for instance. When you have a very prominent m3 over what is obviously a major chord or 7 chord, that's what you have. It's fuzzy, because the basic sound is major, but there is a strong minor sound at the top.
Quote

A Blues that is considered a "Minor Blues" has the I section (Root Chord focus) as a minor chord, followed by the IV section (sub-dominant section also minor, and the V section (Dominant) as a major, usually a major 7th (dominant seventh).

A major 7th would be G B D F#. That is not a dominant seventh chord. I think that was a typo.

Then main chords are G7, C7, D7
Quote

And just because it resolves to a major does not make it "minor-major". It is minor.

A great example of a Minor Blues that follows that minor - minor - major 7th chord progression is Otis Spann's "Half aint been told". Have a listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iWBDOp9Aqw

Great tune, but their is no major 7th, which would be Emaj7. The chords are Am(7), Dm7, E7, with a B7 thrown in.

Last edited by Gary D.; 02/18/19 06:19 PM.

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Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: Gary D.] #2817038
02/18/19 06:29 PM
02/18/19 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.


A major 7th would be G B D F#. That is not a dominant seventh chord. I think that was a typo.





It was a brain lapse. Thanks for catching it.


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Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: rocket88] #2817062
02/18/19 07:09 PM
02/18/19 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by Gary D.


A major 7th would be G B D F#. That is not a dominant seventh chord. I think that was a typo.





It was a brain lapse. Thanks for catching it.

Thought so. smile

You were thinking minor minor major, major for the V.

I think maj7 vs 7 is the biggest problem for traditional players. I had a degree in music and aced every theory class I took, but FSU in those days was 100% traditional and looked down on anything else. I ended up in a dance band and had to teach myself slash chords and how to do the most basic improv with a group of players who all had a solid grounding in jazz.

We learned the usual I7 ii7 iii7 etc. No letters. So I thought C7 was C E G B. I knew nothing. Had to start for scratch. I'll never let that happen to my students. I use slash chords for everything, right back to Bach. They are way more flexible and cover so much more music. Roman numerals are useless even for Debussy.

What I'm fighting against, which you may know, is a kind of isolation, where jazz is one thing, country is another, traditional is another. It's not what I teach, and it's not what I believe in.


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Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: TimR] #2817066
02/18/19 07:16 PM
02/18/19 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Threads go where they will, so........

Interesting organ in Gary's link. I had heard of reversed color keyboards (sharps white, naturals black) but never seen one. Google tells me this was standard in the Baroque period; I didn't know that.

I am aware people use the term mixolydian talking about blues and jazz but I am not a fan. The Greek scale predates the blues by a couple millenia, and the church modes predate blues by a few centuries. The scales do not line up identically, and I object to the anachronism of the term. (But then, I'm not a fan of "perfect" for fourths and fifths for similar reasons, and I lost that argument years ago.)

When our church choir sings anything modal I can pretty well predict they will struggle with intervals. When you live within 4/4 and standard Western major tonalities it can be disconcerting. Phrygian throws them off every time.

Back to the blues piece. When I listened, I heard blues in G. It didn't sound modal. (I'm not as quick looking at the score - too little theory in my background) For an example of mixolydian everybody would know, I found this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_uBTOqlrbA

Jazz uses these mode names everywhere, and with good reason. So when you argue against using mode names for common scales and concepts in jazz, you are bucking everyone in that area. That said, if you can hear everything and play everything, no one cares what labels you use.

Perfect 5ths and 4ths: I could start a 10 page debate, taking both sides. There are strong reasons for and against that terminology.

I'm on the fence. I know the terms, understand them perfectly but avoid them whenever possible. The main pro reason is that octaves, 5ths, 4ths and unisons are always tuned as close as possible without beats, in all tuning systems in Western music.


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Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: TimR] #2817085
02/18/19 07:44 PM
02/18/19 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR

I am aware people use the term mixolydian talking about blues and jazz but I am not a fan. The Greek scale predates the blues by a couple millenia, and the church modes predate blues by a few centuries. The scales do not line up identically, and I object to the anachronism of the term. (But then, I'm not a fan of "perfect" for fourths and fifths for similar reasons, and I lost that argument years ago.)

Tim, when I first looked seriously into music history, I discovered that what we get told about things like modes is an oversimplification to a ludicrous extent - close to an invention. I was actually quite annoyed.

So to the "Greek scales" from a few millenia ago, the time of the Greeks. They were nothing like what we know, or what gets put side by side with "church modes". The sense of Greek scales of the Greeks might be compared with Raga, and perhaps Arabic modes that I have just started to learn about. The actual Greek system consisted of several tetrachord packets of a P4 with two notes in between at given intervals. One of those configurations included a quarter tone. Two tetrachords stuck together will give you an octave and so something resembling a scale. These packets were thought to elicit moods, characteristics such as courage, and other attributes - rhythm patterns were to do the same thing - and both packets were combined to make the music .... much like Raga. ..... At some point, I think the Renaissance after Byzantium/ Constantinople was freed from Turkish rule, and old Greek writings came to the fore, the modes were rediscovered and then "translated" into the experimentation of that era. that gives us the "church modes" and the simplifications we get taught about. smile

We're taught about music history as though it were a solid progression from a more primitive thing to the relative perfection of now, as though telling the tale of a child growing to adulthood. In actual fact, real history is much more interesting and less linear. Music has always been in flux. There has always been experimentation. Systems kept getting developed, rebelled against, torn down, experimented with. And that goes on to this day.

The "modes" and alternate scales keep getting developed. At the time of the Renaissance type modes, harmony in the sense of chords had not been developed. They did seek to avoid dissonance, and once you permit the 3rd, and have 5ths, you end up with a chord. But chord progressions weren't invented, nor the idea of chords. You get the same mode now, but it interrelates with chords. A mode in its purest form, as I understand it, is when you take the diatonic notes of a major scale, and make the "Tonic" a degree other than 1.

The alternate way of looking at it is to say: Mixolydian = major scale with b7. You can see G Mixolydian two ways:
start on 5 of C major: G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G
play G major, flat the 7: G, A, B, D, E, F(nat), G
Same result but maybe handier device for a new context.

Sorry - it got long. This interests me, and I'm in the middle of relearning some things. smile

Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: keystring] #2817256
02/19/19 09:33 AM
02/19/19 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
The alternate way of looking at it is to say: Mixolydian = major scale with b7. You can see G Mixolydian two ways:
start on 5 of C major: G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G
play G major, flat the 7: G, A, B, D, E, F(nat), G
Same result but maybe handier device for a new context.

Sorry - it got long. This interests me, and I'm in the middle of relearning some things. smile


It's an interesting topic to me as well.

As I understand it (and I might not!) the blues scale is not a true mixolydian in that the flat notes (3rd and 7th) are not flattened a full semitone, but only about half way. Of course that isn't true on piano, as that option doesn't exist, but other instruments can do it.


gotta go practice
Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: Gary D.] #2817263
02/19/19 09:51 AM
02/19/19 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
I'm on the fence. I know the terms, understand them perfectly but avoid them whenever possible. The main pro reason is that octaves, 5ths, 4ths and unisons are always tuned as close as possible without beats, in all tuning systems in Western music.


Now I'm going to drift the thread even further, so feel free to ignore and/or do course correction. <g>

I try very hard to play in tune in the ensembles I play with, and I work on improving my ear. On the piano tuner forum here, there was a discussion some time back on guitar tuning, and three of the frequent posters gave their recommendations for an approach. Today is day 10 of me tuning a guitar carefully every day using Bill Bremmer's system. I have two more systems to go.

His system has a series of steps, but basically you start by putting the guitar into equal temperament with an electronic tuner. Then you narrow the thirds to a beat of 6 Hz, and widen the 4ths just slightly sour, to a beat of about 1 Hz. When I started googling guitar tunings, I found quite a few references to the idea that tuning the 4ths beatless did not give an overall good result.

My purpose is to improve my listening skills, but also I'm really irritated by poorly tuned guitars, and want to be able to assist when necessary.

I'm not disagreeing with Gary on octaves and 5ths but maybe there's room for discussion on 4ths? In a held chord, on an unfretted instrument, I'm pretty sure our ear will make us pull it beatless, but I think that's true of thirds as well.


gotta go practice
Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: TimR] #2817422
02/19/19 01:56 PM
02/19/19 01:56 PM
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Gary D. Offline
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by keystring
The alternate way of looking at it is to say: Mixolydian = major scale with b7. You can see G Mixolydian two ways:
start on 5 of C major: G, A, B, C, D, E, F, G
play G major, flat the 7: G, A, B, D, E, F(nat), G
Same result but maybe handier device for a new context.

Sorry - it got long. This interests me, and I'm in the middle of relearning some things. smile


It's an interesting topic to me as well.

As I understand it (and I might not!) the blues scale is not a true mixolydian in that the flat notes (3rd and 7th) are not flattened a full semitone, but only about half way. Of course that isn't true on piano, as that option doesn't exist, but other instruments can do it.

Other instruments CAN do it, but I assure in general you don't do it on trumpet and other valved instruments, and it's not done all the time vocally. Plus you can't avoid teaching a concept because pitches are bent. Are you not going to teach a major scale because it is not always EQ?

You make things complicated by starting with subtleties. But you can't teach that way. You just can't. You can't start out teaching trombone with about 30 positions, because many of them are shaded by advanced players. You teach 7 positions plus #3 and #2, because they are terribly necessary. You don't TEACH things like b4 just because upper D with 4th position is too high. You don't teach players to always lip up that same D, in 1st, because you are playing a 5th to G. These things come later.

If you are playing Renaissance music and for some reason you are in the key of B, your upper D# will have a lot of beats with 3, and you learn over time to edge 3 out for that note, in that system, for that piece. You just move it out until the beats go away. But you can't teach it as a separate position for D#/Eb.

You can't say this:

Bb C D Eb F G Ab Bb

Is not Mixolydian just because singer A or player B edges the Bb lower, although it often happens. If you throw in Db/C# as a passing tone, you can say that it's not Mixolydian, but a jzz player is going to call it an altered Mixolyidan scale, adding a passing tone because it's a handy way to label it.

Bb C Db Eb F G Ab Bb is going to be labeled Dorian.

Just Google this:

dorian blues


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Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: maire] #2817646
02/19/19 08:35 PM
02/19/19 08:35 PM
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maire--please, pretty please, come back after the exam to let us know how this question plays out!


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Re: What key is this piece in? [Re: maire] #2817777
02/20/19 06:19 AM
02/20/19 06:19 AM
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I'd say that if this is the ABRSM exam, the question of key won't be raised at all.

Their examiners don't go in for 'catching' students out or expecting them to know more than what the syllabus requests - in fact, they're quite lenient with the lower grades (1-3).

But this student might be doing an Irish music exam board's syllabus?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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