I think you're looking at some topics here that you're not quite ready to approach... you've got a quick mind for putting pieces together, but being able to understand and use them depends on some tools you haven't yet acquired.
Yes, you can modulate through the cycle of fifths from any point to any other, even going through all 12 tonal centers, if you feel so disposed. Â Yes, you could use pitch axis theory to take your melody in unexpected harmonic directions. Â However, when (in another thread) you asked what pitch axis theory was, I guess I assumed you were already familiar with basic music theory and harmonyâ€¦ they really are prerequisites to comprehending more advanced topics in theory and harmony.
Most music is composed just as you're working on itâ€¦ you have a sound you like, and that's that. Â Theory should NEVER be a consideration in compositionâ€¦ it can provide some useful tools if you get â€˜stuck' for generating new ideas, but if you used theory exclusively in composition, your music will end up sounding more mechanical than inspired.
Theory has its place in the editing process, to some extent. Â When you've finished a first draft, there will be spots that could use improvement, and an analysis of the music at that point may point out some possible revisions. Â But for the most part, theory is just that, theory â€“ and the music always came first. Â Theory is an effort to categorize what has occurred in sound, and to organize it so that its elements can be used again in a different context.
Our most brilliant pieces of music â€“ on all instruments â€“ â€˜broke' the rules. Â Many of Beethoven's works used forms that didn't exist before himâ€¦ Stravinsky used harmonies that hadn't ever been heard beforeâ€¦ Gershwin scored for things that had never been considered instruments (like a manual typewriter)â€¦ Jazz musicians built new harmonic structures, like Quartal harmonies.
The thing is, every single one of the people considered a musical genius KNEW how to do it the â€˜right' way â€“ then they followed their own path in a very deliberate manner. Â I would strongly urge you to learn the fundamentals of traditional theory and harmony, and be able to apply them, before venturing into modes, pitch axis theory, etc. Â It will be far less confusing to you in the end.
Looking back, this entire thread has sprung from basic elements of theory, namely scales and chord progressions, that you're still learning about. Â You've got a great curious mind, and I'll bet you're a pretty decent guitarist, but you're probably applying something (modes) in a way it doesn't belong, and that's thrown you way off course.
You've started with a G#minor scale, and built a chord structure that works under it. Â So far, so good. Â The chords in my analysis, moved up a half step for the transcription error, are now C#minor to C#major. Â The basic question now, is: what key are you in?
You're assuming G#minor, because you started from that scale. Â Minor keys are more complex, because you have any of three versions to work with. Â You can have:
G#-A#-B-C#-D#-E-F#-G# (natural minor)
G#-A#-B-C#-D#-E-Fx-G# (harmonic minor)
G#-A#-B-C#-D#-E#-Fx-G# (melodic minor)
C# minor occurs naturally in both of the first two. Â C# major occurs naturally in the melodic minor â€“ and the melodic minor (except in some jazz) becomes a natural minor going down, with C# minor naturally occurring.
Now it comes down to tonal centerâ€¦ although you're playing notes from a G# minor scale, you may actually have a piece in either C# minor (moving to a parallel major key) or in F# minor (F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-E-F#, etc.), which will have C# minor in the natural minor scale, and C# major in the other two. Â The thing is, I'm not so sure you're in G# -- and I say that after having re-read how you came about these chords.
I'm guessing you're using G# Â as a mixolydian mode. Â That would give you G#-A-B-C#-D#-E-F#-G#. Â This would neatly explain the ability to use your second chord (containing A natural), and after I transcribe your four chord progression up a half step, I get:
Every note except E# is in the G# minor mixolydian scale, and that note occurs during a key change (in my analysis) to a relative major, right where you'd expect to have a â€˜wrong' keynote on the third â€“ it is, after all, what separates major sounds from minor ones.
As far as the chord progression goes, there are three notes common to the first, second, and third chords (C#-E-G#) which pretty firmly establish a C#m key feeling, and two notes common between the third and fourth chords (C#-G#), which are certainly the strongest notes in C#major. Â On the other hand, only one of the four chords (the third) contains a G#m triad.
I really do applaud your effort to take on some hard theoretical concepts, Alex, but I think you'll be best off learning the workings of basic chord progressions before doing this sort of analysis. Â Don't stop PLAYING things you aren't ready to analyze yet, just defer thinking about them until the foundation catches up Â :)
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