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are modal interchange different with pitch axis?

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jeansen
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hi,got some question here...

1)how can we place any other chords ( borrowing chords) from outside the basic scale...n do something like modal interchange or even blues progressions( using all dominant)..are there any theory that can explain this?
2) when we throw out some of the borrowed chords, can the singers stay singing in the basic scale?
3) are modal interchange different with pitch axis?thx u


   
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NoteBoat
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1. There's a theory for just about everything. Here's why: if you do something unusual, like move from Dorian to natural minor in the year 1400, or build chords in all fourths in the year 1950, theorists start looking for ways to tie what you did into what's been done before. The resulting theory isn't song-specific, but a broad approach that not only explains what you did - it also predicts other things that CAN be done under the theory. So the results predict even more odd stuff - in the 1400 example, the result was the prediction of the Locrian mode; in the 1950 example, the development of quartal harmony was followed by quintal and secundal harmonic theories.

2. Maybe. It depends on your structure... and on whether or not they know it's coming.

By 'structure', I mean how the original chord and the substitution fit over the melody note. If the melody note is G, and the original chord is C, there's no problem using Cm, Am, Ebmaj7 etc - because the melody note will remain a chord tone.

If the melody note is the third (E), you're more limited. Am types will still work, but the Cm or Ebmaj7 will now conflict with the melody. Since singers are used to adjusting their intonation to match the accompaniment, they may drift 'into key'.

But a really good singer will be able to hit a chromatic pitch against a chord, and if they know you'll be doing subs they might still be able to handle it.

There are really two common uses for substitutions. First: reharmonizing a tune to get a variation. The key here is 're-harmonization'. What you end up with should harmonize the melody line, and if it does, there's no problem. The second use is to provide ideas for an improvisational soloist. That isn't typical of work with vocalists (outside scat), so if that's the mindset you have with your subs, you'll probably run into a problem or two.

3. Yeah, they're very different. Blame Satriani - he took a recognized idea from composers (pitch axis) and applied the same label to a concept that has little to do with it: parallel scales. So when people talk about 'pitch axis', we USED to know what they meant - now we have to ask if they listen to shred first :)

Here's the scoop on this stuff... this might get long, so bear with me.

Parallel scales - using the same tonic, you construct a melody using a different set of interval relationsihps to the root. So if you're in C, and the harmonizing chord is Cmaj7, you would expect a scale that has the tones C-E-G-B. You could use the Major scale or the Lydian mode without anyone batting an eye.

But you could also use a different scale - there's no reason you 'must' stay in the diatonic key. Maybe you like the sound of the b2 in Phrygian, so you create a scale that has Db. This might be an alteration - like a Lydian b2 scale - or you might actually use the Phrygian, and worry about how to resolve the Eb and Bb tones later on... either as they occur (which would result in chromatic additions to your scale) or by playing a dissonant phrase followed by an inexact repetition, like Eb-F#-G-Eb-F-G-E-F-G. Depending on how long you used each variation, you might be able to analyze the tune as using different scales: the Lydian b2, the Phrygian (or Aeolian), and then the major, all with the same keynote. These are parallel scales.

Unfortunately, Satriaini decided that the keynote was the 'axis' that you're working around, so he called this concept 'pitch axis' instead of 'parallel scales'. Hence the confusion.

Modal interchange - This is somewhat related to parallel scales. If you restrict your parallel scales to the diatonic modes, you find that each one neatly harmonizes into tertian chords. But you end up with different chords on each degree. Let's assume the original is in Cm, and the next chord will be Fm7, followed by a G7 - a basic I-IV-V in the harmonic minor.

Your keynote of C, harmonized to Cm. That doesn't define the scale all by itself -you get the same root chord in C Dorian, C Phrygian, or C Aeolian (natural minor) in addition to the harmonic minor scale that serves as the song's melody.

But each of these scales will give you different harmonizations on each degree. Looking at it in four part harmony, you have:

Aeolian - Cm7, Fm7, Gm7
Harmonic minor - Cm/maj7, Fm7, G7
Dorian - Cm7, F7, Gm/maj7
Phygian - Cm7, Fm7, Gm7b5

So when the iv chord comes up, playing F7 gives you a 'modal interchange' with Dorian; using the half-diminished for V is a modal interchange with Phrygian, etc.

In a way, you could view modal interchange as the harmonic equivalent of parallel scales.

Pitch Axis - to understand the meaning of pitch axis, which is about 50 years older than Satriani, we have to start with melodic inversion. Let's say your original melody is the ascending major scale:

C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C

Inverting this melody means using the same interval steps in the opposite direction - since C to D is a major second, we'd go down a major second to Bb. That gives us the inverted melody with different tones:

C-Bb-Ab-G-F-Eb-Db-C

Now think of the original melody as a shape, a staircase going up. If you sketched that out, and held a mirror up to the page, you'd see the inversion shape. The 'axis' of the inversion - the point which is your starting place - is C in either case.

Now let's move the mirror so it's on the fourth, F. And we'll invert the melody with the mirror at this new point.

The first pitch, C, is a perfect fourth below our axis - so the inversion will be a perfect fourth above, at Bb. The next pitch is a minor third below F, so the inversion will be a minor third above, at Ab. Next comes a minor second below, so that becomes Gb, followed by the axis, F:

Bb-Ab-Gb-F

Continuing on, you get a major second, a major third, an augmented fourth, and a perfect fifth:

Bb-Ab-Gb-F-Eb-Db-Cb-Bb

You end up with an exact transposition of the original inersion, since we're dealing with interval steps. It's the same pattern as the root inversion, but a full step lower:

C-Bb-Ab-G-F-Eb-Db-C
Bb-Ab-Gb-F-Eb-Db-Cb-Bb

So in a way, you could say pitch axis as a compositional tool is just a combination of inversion and transposition.

But there's more... that was based on a 'vertical axis'.

What if you turn the mirror 90 degrees? That's using a 'horizontal axis'. Using F again, you can create two symmetrical fragments:

C-D-E-F-E-D-C
C-B-A-G-F-G-A-B-C

Here you've taken the notes up to F, and reversed direction once you get to the axis... or you've started from the right side, and used the pitches down to F and then reversed course (symmetry in retrograde)

As compositional techniques, these allow you to build melodies around a tonal center (F in this case) without being limited to the diatonic structure - starting from this simple scale we've used every chromatic note on one of the variations, but without resorting to the tone row or serial techniques of the Second Vienna School.

Credit Bela Bartok with these ideas. His thoughts on symmetry in music are often overlooked in favor of Schoenberg, Webern, and others.

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banre
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Wow, today is a good day! I almost understood that!

I'm being serious! It might be time to get your book, Noteboat :lol:

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Niliov
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Very good point about Bartok! He is known for his obsession with symmetry. One of his more well known pieces "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste" is a classic study in symmetry. Worth a listen, I reckon!


   
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321Barf
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Yup they are two different concepts altogether.Modal interchange borrows chords from a parallel mode but doesn't change keys to said parallel mode.Pitch axis keeps the same tonic/key center(root note),and does change the key signature.

Here is a bit of info on the subject of pitch axis taken from various magazine articles and other various sources along with various quotes related to the topic:

Joe Satriani introduced an important 20th Century composition technique to the rock arena, known as Pitch Axis.

This principle,or subtle variations of it,have been found in the works of some of the greatest composers of the post-romantic and neoclassical schools - notably Richard Wagner and Igor Stravinski - and in the compositions of jazz guitarists Allan Holdsworth and Pat Martino.

"pitch axis is key signatures evolving around one tonal center." ---- In case that's too technical it can be expressed as different scales played off one bass note. They both share the same primary note." - Joe Satriani

"It refers to the way in which a combination of modes can be used all in relation to one bass note." - Joe Satriani

"The principle is that any number of harmonic settings can be linked by the same tonal center."- Joe Satriani

"Ultimately, (a pitch axis composition) is going to have a bass note that's staying in one place. The fewer notes you use in that area, the freer you are in your harmonic and melodic area." - Joe Satriani

"As long as you keep the tonal center the same, then you're doing the pitch axis trick." - Joe Satriani

"The pitch axis theory is common and simple to apply on the guitar if you have a basic sense of music theory." - Steve Vai


   
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NoteBoat
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Derp, the key signature stuff is misleading.

There's no requirement in Satriani's approach that the key signature change - he's just using parallel scales.

Think about the difference between A harmonic minor and A natural minor - the harmonic minor has a G#. But you don't put that in the key signature.

The same thing is true of a modal change - if the chords are in an A root, the signature reflects that - in this case, A minor. Switching to A Dorian by using F# doesn't change the signature, because you are not in G, and you're not in E minor either. You'd just use accidentals in the melody line.

So he's basically taken his simplified version of pitch axis and simplified it still more to avoid transcription conventions :)

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slejhamer
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I almost understood that! ... It might be time to get your book, Noteboat :lol:

Or time to enroll in Berklee... :P

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321Barf
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Derp, the key signature stuff is misleading.

There's no requirement in Satriani's approach that the key signature change - he's just using parallel scales.

Think about the difference between A harmonic minor and A natural minor - the harmonic minor has a G#. But you don't put that in the key signature.

The same thing is true of a modal change - if the chords are in an A root, the signature reflects that - in this case, A minor. Switching to A Dorian by using F# doesn't change the signature, because you are not in G, and you're not in E minor either. You'd just use accidentals in the melody line.

So he's basically taken his simplified version of pitch axis and simplified it still more to avoid transcription conventions :)

Well you'd definately know better than me.I'm not too sure about some of the terminology that gets used in talking about this kind of stuff.In my previous post the stuff in black is just my attempt to explain it or frame it.The stuff in red is from various magazine articles and it includes actual quotes from Joe Satriani such as this one:

""pitch axis is key signatures evolving around one tonal center." ---- In case that's too technical it can be expressed as different scales played off one bass note. They both share the same primary note." - Joe Satriani

Here's another quote:

"It refers to the way in which a combination of modes can be used all in relation to one base note. That base note defines the overall 'key' and the modes played over the top create a mixture of different tonalities, instead of new key centers." - Joe Satriani

I think,from what I can grok from the last two quotes is that he is using "tonal center" and "key" and "key center" synonymously? He is using all of those terms to describe the same base note or primary note or keynote or central pitch isn't he? I think the confusion arises from the fact that a key has a tonic designation to describe it's central pitch and a mode has a final.I think also that tonal vs. modal becomes confused with tonality but that tonality is referring to the major or minor quality,not to the central pitch.

Help me out.

"The principle is that any number of harmonic settings can be linked by the same tonal center. Say you're in C major ( C D E F G A B C ) for four bars and C minor ( C D Eb F G Ab Bb C ) for the next four. The major and minor keys share the same tonic, C, and this note provides a pivot point on which to shift harmonies. You could then take four bars in, say,
C Phrygian ( C Db Eb F G Ab Bb ) and then four in C Mixolydian ( C D E F G A Bb ). Now a series of four distinct harmonies are adjoined, all of them revolving around
the same key center, C. Thus, one pitch provides an axis point for the scales and chords of a variety of harmonic situations. " - Joe Satriani

^Here I am taking all of his talk of using the same root note as a pivot on wich to shift harmonies as meaning that a mode is an independent harmony and shifting modes = shifting harmonies.That is to say,they are synonymous.

I'm sure I screwed something up in my clumsy way.As I said,some of the terminology is more than a little confusing to me when differentiating between major and minor keys vs. modality.

Maybe you could help clear up some of the confusion over some of the terms used?

It can be rather difficult to sort out what's the proper terminology to use where with some of this stuff.

:?: I'm a little confuse-ed :cry:

Untangle me Tom. :)


   
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NoteBoat
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The confusion sure isn't your fault - Satriani uses conflicting terms. Just as using 'pitch axis' to describe something that isn't, he's using other terms in ways they're not typically used.

So I'll take the red statements one by one...

"pitch axis is key signatures evolving around one tonal center." ---- In case that's too technical it can be expressed as different scales played off one bass note. They both share the same primary note."

As I mentioned, the key signature doesn't change. What he's trying to say in the first part is that if you use the same tonal center, but the scale pattern you use is a different diatonic mode, you are using the same accidentals that would be found in a different key signature. The second part of his statement is correct in concept - his theory is actually parallel scales: any two different scale patterns that share the same keynote.

But there's an error in the second part too... calling it a 'bass note' isn't correct. A 'bass note' is the lowest note that occurs in two or more simultaneously sounded pitches, like an interval or a chord. When a chord is played in root position, the bass note is the key note - but that doesn't make the two terms synonymous; inverting a chord places a non-keynote as the bass note. What Joe is talking about is keynotes, but he's using the wrong term.

"It refers to the way in which a combination of modes can be used all in relation to one bass note."

Same problems. They don't have to be modes - unless you're talking about the ancient sense, where mode = scale. But you don't usually hear people - other than theorists - talking about the harmonic minor mode, or the whole tone mode. And again he confuses bass note with keynote.

The principle is that any number of harmonic settings can be linked by the same tonal center."

The statement is true. But it's confusing - because he doesn't use this to change harmonies (and maybe this is the source of the original confusion in this thread - modal interchange is a changing of a set of harmonies based on the same tonal center). He uses this technique to change melodies against a constant harmony, or against a harmonic background of limited scope, like a vamp.

"Ultimately, (a pitch axis composition) is going to have a bass note that's staying in one place. The fewer notes you use in that area, the freer you are in your harmonic and melodic area."

Not true. There's a term for a compositional technique where the bass note doesn't change: pedal point. Joe's theory has nothing to do with that... and again he's confusing 'bass note' and 'key note'.

"The pitch axis theory is common and simple to apply on the guitar if you have a basic sense of music theory."

Parellel scales are common; they've been used for hundreds of years. They're simple to apply, too. But it's hard to get a basic sense of theory if you keep using the wrong names for things!

"It refers to the way in which a combination of modes can be used all in relation to one base note. That base note defines the overall 'key' and the modes played over the top create a mixture of different tonalities, instead of new key centers."

More use of bass note where he means key. Bass notes do not define the overall key - and key itself is a confusing concept, especially when combined with his statements about changing key signatures. Better to think in terms of 'tonality' and 'modality'.

Tonality is defined by the set of tones. Using the notes ABCDEFG sets a tonality of C - because those are the notes used in the key of C.

Modality is defined by the tonal center of the set of tones. If you used A as the tonal center of that set, you'd have Aeolian modality.

Using Joe's concept does provide different tonalities, because using parallel scales changes the set of tones used. And he's correct that the key center remains the same. But by talking about keys and bass notes he makes things a bit muddy.

"The principle is that any number of harmonic settings can be linked by the same tonal center. Say you're in C major ( C D E F G A B C ) for four bars and C minor ( C D Eb F G Ab Bb C ) for the next four. The major and minor keys share the same tonic, C, and this note provides a pivot point on which to shift harmonies. You could then take four bars in, say,
C Phrygian ( C Db Eb F G Ab Bb ) and then four in C Mixolydian ( C D E F G A Bb ). Now a series of four distinct harmonies are adjoined, all of them revolving around
the same key center, C. Thus, one pitch provides an axis point for the scales and chords of a variety of harmonic situations. "

Here he's using the terms 'harmonic setting' and 'harmonies'. But he's talking about melodies - scales are melodic, and he doesn't get into harmonization at all. At the end he mentions being able to use the same axis point for chords - which would be harmonies, and would be synonymous with modal interchange (which isn't something I've heard him talk about in these or any other quotes on his theory).

The confusion isn't your fault - he expresses himself badly. He takes terms that CAN mean the same thing (mode/scale, key/bass) and uses them as if they ALWAYS mean the same thing.

If I say my car wouldn't start, I could replace 'car' with the broader term 'vehicle' and you'd know exactly what I mean - you can always substitute a broader term. But you can't just pick any other term under the broader umbrella - if I tell you my donkey cart wouldn't go, I might be trying to say exactly the same thing. Some people might even get it. But it sure wouldn't be clear.

In the first post you made, there's also a reference to the use of this theory by Wagner and Stravinsky. I sure don't see it... Wagner is noted for broadening music chromatically, for the development of new harmonies (like his 'Tristan' chord), and for the extensive use of leitmotifs in opera... although like many composers, his compositions used parallel scales, it isn't a dominant technique anywhere in his body of work. The same is true of Stravinsky; he did use parallel scales, but his compositional contributions are in other areas, like ostinato lines with additive variations. And his late works were serialist, which have absolutely nothing to do with parallel scales - they're based on a chromatic scale.

If you want to really stretch the historical point, the use of parallel scales in composition dates to at least 1600, maybe earlier - it was common for early composers to end a minor key piece on the parallel major - the 'Picardy third'. But I guess it sounds better to say he's furthered the work of Stravinsky than it does to say he's ripped off a technique from Bach :)

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321Barf
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I don't think it said anywhere in those quotes that he 'furthered' the work of Stravinski. :lol:

He's trying to explain that parallel modes in say A all have A as their root note.That's all he is trying to convey by saying that they all share the same base note or primary note.

because he doesn't use this to change harmonies (and maybe this is the source of the original confusion in this thread - modal interchange is a changing of a set of harmonies based on the same tonal center). He uses this technique to change melodies against a constant harmony, or against a harmonic background of limited scope, like a vamp.

He does change harmonies.You can imply changes by superimposing them over the keynote or even over the a simpler harmony (isn't this what all of those jazz dudes are always on about?).When you change modes in parallel manner but keep the 'root note' the same,you are changing the harmony.The root note stays the same.This is simply changing chord types.You change tonalities(major,minor,etc.) and modalities(specific tensions and colors,or color tones).

Plus anytime you change modes you are changing the harmony because if you change modes you change your melodic set of notes and those notes do harmonize with the key note or base note in different ways and create different harmonies and harmonizations against the common root note shared by each of the parallel modes.

A mode itself when arranged in typical tertian fashion produces one big 7 note harmony in the form of some type of thirteenth chord of which itself becomes the melodic resource.I would say that modes are chords and as such have "root notes" and that the other notes of the mode are all harmony notes of that static harmony.

If you change from AMaj13(#11) to Am13 you've switched from A Lydian to A Dorian.All of the tones of each of those chords are those respective modes themselves, and the melodic and harmonic source of each respective chord.They don't however provide melodic sense or sense of rhythm.That's up to the individual.

-

I get confused over the terms in general,not just how Satriani uses them,but how every single different person seems to define them differently or throw out more such confusing terms,often giving multiple confusing terms to define the same thing within a single explanation.I find that the proper terminology to use is whatever terms conform to whoever it is you are talking to at any one moment.When you come to agreement with one person and think you've got the terms defined,and then you talk about things the next day with someone else using those same terms then suddenly you aren't using proper terminology with this new person. :x arghh,this is frustrating !!!!

But aside from that where am I going wrong here?


   
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NoteBoat
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I think where you're going wrong is by considering the melody to be part of a chord.

Maybe that's a guitar-based thing... because guitarists like to equate fingerings with chord names.

It seems to me you're working at two points:

1. Melody vs. harmony

Playing a different mode over a chord doesn't change the harmony at all - your melody at any given time either consists of a chord tone or it doesn't. Melody notes aren't sticking around long enough to establish a harmonic effect.

Take a tune with stable harmony and variable melody, like "Girl from Ipanema". The first two measures use Fmaj7, and the melody is G-E-E-D-G-D-D-D-C-G. Only the two E notes and the C are chord tones; the other seven melody notes aren't. But you wouldn't analyze this series as Fmaj9-Fmaj7-Fmaj7/13-Fmaj9-Fmaj7/13-Fmaj7-Fmaj9.

Compare that to a piece of music with stable melody and variable harmony - like "Don't Get Around Much Anymore". It's got a solo melody line to start, with no chord: E-D-C-G-F-E.

Now the melody is holds that E note, and the band plays chords: C-Dm7-D#º7-C. The E note is non-harmonic to the Dm7 and D#º7. But that doesn't change the chords to Dm9 and D#º7(b9) - because here the chords are transient, played over the stable melody note.

Now you could take a momentary slice of either tune and identify the simultaneous sounds as being D#º7(b9) or Fmaj7/13 - because that's exactly what the notes add up to any the given point in time. Your ear doesn't parse out harmony vs. melody; it just hears the total picture.

But in ananyzing the songs we make a neat division: some things are harmony, others are melody, and each is viewed as a discrete part. If the note is held, the chords are harmony without considering the melody note part of the chord; if the chord is held, the moving single notes don't change the analysis of the chord progression. If both are simultaneous, we consider the melody note to be a chord tone.

2. Chords as modes

I don't think you can support that. We have common terminology for chord names, and Am13 = A-C-E-G-B-D-F#. Yes, A is the root, and yes, those tones can be re-arranged to form the A Dorian scale, which also has A as the root.

But that ignores tonal center, which is functionally a melodic concept. The tune could just as easily be in E Phrygian, which would make the Am13 the iv chord - they work out exactly the same. Tonal center is larger than a chord; it's an organizing principle for a section or an entire piece, and it won't change with the chord. Here the chords are the transient part of a larger picture; Am13 is the harmonic source, but the melodic choices made from that source can go in more than one direction.

In most cases, the tonal center matches up neatly with the harmony... but that's not always the case. You can have pieces with a melodic tonal center that's not supported by the harmony - the harmony moves around a different (or more commonly, an ambiguous) center.

The terminology of music is actually pretty standard, although I agree it's much mis-used, and often by people who should know better. Inexpensive music dictionaries, like the Harvard Brief Dictionary of Music, cover the basic terms pretty well. If you find a real disagreement over terms, the definitive source is Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians... at 29 volumes and several thousand dollars per copy, it's best to take a trip to the library for that one :)

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321Barf
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Here the chords are the transient part of a larger picture; Am13 is the harmonic source, but the melodic choices made from that source can go in more than one direction.
But A is the root note of Am13 and of A Dorian.A is the keynote (for lack of a better term), or more accurately (I think),A is the root note.That's how we know that C is the minor third and E is the 5th and G is the minor seventh and so on...

But in order to be in A Dorian you would need to play melodically using the notes of A Dorian or Am13,otherwise what's the point of having a mode called A Dorian(?),if you aren't in A and the tonality isn't minor(?),and it's characteristic color tone isn't the major sixth? Then what's the point? Without that it seems rather abstract.Something has to define it as being "A Dorian" after all...

The tones(all of the tones) of A Dorian or Am13 relate intervallically to the root note A,both melodically and harmonically.That's how we know that it's in A,that's how we know that it's minor,and that's how we know that it's Dorian.

Those same notes are the same exact set of notes as the G Major scale.But they are A MINOR in tonality and specifically Dorian in character because of the fact that their extension notes are 9,11,and 13.If we aren't talking about a m7 chord with the specific extensions 9,11 and 13 then we are talking about some other scale or mode altogether.Either it is or it isn't Dorian.

Intervals can be melodic intervals or harmonic intervals.

A minor third interval can be a melodic interval or an harmonic interval.

Or am I just completely crazy?

The chords don't have to be transient or part of a larger picture.Whole tunes have been written with just one chord.That's kind of the point.

In both A Dorian and in Am7 the root,minor third,perfect fifth and minor seventh are the same (A C E G),and the extensions are 9,11,and 13.

Dorian is spelled: 1 , 2(9) , b3 , 4(11) , 5 , 6(13) , b7

^Play the scale in thirds and you've got an Am13 arpeggio!

What are the most important notes in an Am13 (since we guitarists don't have 7 fingers and can't finger a 7 note chord) ???

b3,b7 and 13 over the root,or... Am7(13) or Cmaj7#11/A

Those are the essential notes for Am13 or A Dorian.

And from the notes of Am13(A Dorian) we can build Am,Am7,Am9,Amadd9,Am6,Am6/9,Am11,Am13,etc-etc.-
- not to mention hybrid chords/slash chords and so on and so forth.

B will still be either the 2nd or 9th whether played melodically or harmonically.

Chords as modes

I don't think you can support that.
I think I can...
We have common terminology for chord names, and Am13 = A-C-E-G-B-D-F#. Yes, A is the root, and yes, those tones can be re-arranged to form the A Dorian scale, which also has A as the root.

But that ignores tonal center, which is functionally a melodic concept. The tune could just as easily be in E Phrygian, which would make the Am13 the iv chord - they work out exactly the same.
So a ii-V-I in G isn't a ii-V-I in G? <- That doesn't set up a G tonal center? (seems harmonic enough to me)

If I had an Esusb9 followed by an Am13 I would think E Phrygian and A Dorian respectively.
Tonal center is larger than a chord; it's an organizing principle for a section or an entire piece, and it won't change with the chord. Here the chords are the transient part of a larger picture;
But entire sections and entire pieces have been written around one chord.That chord doesn't have to be a transient part of a larger picture.As you say the melodic choices can go in more than one direction:
Am13 is the harmonic source, but the melodic choices made from that source can go in more than one direction.
But as you say the melodic choices can go in more than one direction.But A Dorian "IS" a specific direction,is it not?

People have either written sections of tunes or whole tunes in Dorian mode or they haven't.I'm pretty sure Miles Davis has.But I guess I could be wrong.


   
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NoteBoat
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I was careful in choosing E Phrygian, because that's also a minor mode; I thought you'd see that, but here you are comparing A Dorian (a minor 'tonality') with G major - I'm not. I'm comparing it to a different minor 'tonality' using the identical notes.

Notes in E Phrygian:

E-F-G#-A-B-C-D-E

Notes in A Dorian:

A-B-C-D-E-F-G#-A

Same tones.

So what makes it Phrygian or Dorian? The chord? Not a chance... songs have lots of chords, but that doesn't mean they have lots of modes (although you'll find no lack of websites that say exactly that, they're wrong)

What makes it one flavor or the other is where your tonal center is - the tonal center of the melody. And that depends on the shape and structure of the melody, which doesn't have to match that of the chord.

Write a melody in A Dorian, and play it over your Am13 chord. Now play the identical melody over Dm13 - has the melody changed? No. So it has a different sound because it's combined with a different harmonic background - but chords can't define a specific modes, because the Am13 contains all the tones of seven different modes. And that's why I don't think you can support your view.

The concept of tonal center IS abstract. A couple years ago I had a long discussion with Alex, and posted a number of examples I'd composed to show that the first note, last note, most frequent note, etc. do not define a tonal center. The shape of the melody does. Unfortunately, I don't find that thread any longer - probably purged for space.

But when you say 'play melodically using the notes of A Dorian', that's exactly the same as playing melodically using the notes of E Phrygian, or G major, or any other related mode. You have to actually have a melody before you can see the tonal center - it's not in the notes, and it's not in the chord.

Yes, intervals can be melodic or harmonic. But you've got a bunch of intervals in any scale - look at the C major scale. There are minor thirds between D and F, between E and G, between A and C, and between B and D. The scale doesn't sound minor when you play those, even if you're playing in thirds: C-E-D-F-E-G etc.

A ii-V-I in G defines G as the center of the harmony. That doesn't mean it must be the center of the melody... and in fact, modal tunes usually do NOT have a dominant chord in them. You mention Miles - his tune "So What" is Dorian; it has only m7 chords, and those are only on ii and iii. If the song did have a dominant 7th, it would be G7 (or G#7 when he modulates) - that would point to a tonal center of C, not D, which would conflict with the tonal center of the melody. That's why I said it's common for a modal harmony to be ambiguous.

If you follow Esus(b9) with Am13, what makes you so sure you're in A Dorian? The E isn't a dominant chord, and you have F natural in it with the b9 - which conflicts with the F# in the Am13. So you could just as easily be in A melodic minor or A Aeolian, with the F# in the chord being a temporary chromatic change. Again, that's the trouble with modes and harmony - you can't get an authentic cadence. Put in a 7th chord, and you're establishing either the major or the harmonic (or melodic) minor.

Yes, Dorian is a specific direction. And if you've written a melody that's in A Dorian, it's in A Dorian. But it would still be in A Dorian even if you changed the chords!

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321Barf
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I was careful in choosing E Phrygian, because that's also a minor mode; I thought you'd see that, but here you are comparing A Dorian (a minor 'tonality') with G major - I'm not. I'm comparing it to a different minor 'tonality' using the identical notes.

I wasn't comparing A Dorian and G Major at all. (but they do use the same set of notes)

If you were careful in choosing E Phrygian then why did you list E Phrygian Dominant below?

E Phrygian has the same notes as A Aeolian(Natural Minor).
E Phrygian Dominant as you've listed below has the same notes as A Dorian?
No,no it doesn't either:
A Dorian is A B C D E F# G A
E Phrygian Dominant is E F G# A B C D E

Notes in E Phrygian:

E-F-G#-A-B-C-D-E

Notes in A Dorian:

A-B-C-D-E-F-G#-A

Same tones.

So what makes it Phrygian or Dorian? The chord? Not a chance... songs have lots of chords, but that doesn't mean they have lots of modes (although you'll find no lack of websites that say exactly that, they're wrong)

What makes it one flavor or the other is where your tonal center is - the tonal center of the melody. And that depends on the shape and structure of the melody, which doesn't have to match that of the chord.

Write a melody in A Dorian, and play it over your Am13 chord. Now play the identical melody over Dm13 - has the melody changed? No. So it has a different sound because it's combined with a different harmonic background - but chords can't define a specific modes, because the Am13 contains all the tones of seven different modes. And that's why I don't think you can support your view.

The concept of tonal center IS abstract. A couple years ago I had a long discussion with Alex, and posted a number of examples I'd composed to show that the first note, last note, most frequent note, etc. do not define a tonal center. The shape of the melody does. Unfortunately, I don't find that thread any longer - probably purged for space.

But when you say 'play melodically using the notes of A Dorian', that's exactly the same as playing melodically using the notes of E Phrygian, or G major, or any other related mode. You have to actually have a melody before you can see the tonal center - it's not in the notes, and it's not in the chord.

There's only one problem with all of that and that's that you are comparing E Phrygian Dominant,the fifth mode of Harmonic minor,with A Dorian when before you were talking about E Phrygian and A Dorian.You were comparing apples and oranges so why did you bring bananas into it? E Phrygian Dominant (E F G# A B C D E) and A Dorian (A B C D E F# G A) are different sets of notes.

Yes, intervals can be melodic or harmonic. But you've got a bunch of intervals in any scale - look at the C major scale. There are minor thirds between D and F, between E and G, between A and C, and between B and D. The scale doesn't sound minor when you play those, even if you're playing in thirds: C-E-D-F-E-G etc.

Okay,I think you're driving at something here...
A ii-V-I in G defines G as the center of the harmony.
Yeah,that's what I said too.I'm glad we agree.
That doesn't mean it must be the center of the melody...
How many tonal centers are you thinking in at once? Are we talking about bi-tonality here or what,'cause that's way over my head.
and in fact, modal tunes usually do NOT have a dominant chord in them.
Yes,of course.Though I see people all of the time who always insist that dominant chords can be used to set up a modal tonal center and I can't say that I agree with them.That seems a little strange to me.
You mention Miles - his tune "So What" is Dorian; it has only m7 chords, and those are only on ii and iii. If the song did have a dominant 7th, it would be G7 (or G#7 when he modulates) - that would point to a tonal center of C, not D, which would conflict with the tonal center of the melody. That's why I said it's common for a modal harmony to be ambiguous.
okay...
If you follow Esus(b9) with Am13, what makes you so sure you're in A Dorian? The E isn't a dominant chord, and you have F natural in it with the b9 - which conflicts with the F# in the Am13. So you could just as easily be in A melodic minor or A Aeolian, with the F# in the chord being a temporary chromatic change. Again, that's the trouble with modes and harmony - you can't get an authentic cadence. Put in a 7th chord, and you're establishing either the major or the harmonic (or melodic) minor.

Esusb9 is a phrygian chord and Am13 is a Dorian chord and they are unrelated chords.The iv chord in Phrygian would relate to Aeolian,not Dorian.Therefore they're from different parent scales.E Phrygian uses the notes from C Major and A Dorian uses the notes from G Major.
Yes, Dorian is a specific direction. And if you've written a melody that's in A Dorian, it's in A Dorian.
okay,good
But it would still be in A Dorian even if you changed the chords!
Okay,so you are saying the melody is A Dorian and so now it can be reharmonized?

The melody notes are in A Dorian so now what?
The chords need to harmonize with those notes,right?

So you are saying that an A Dorian melody can be harmonized in ways that I'm probably not too aware of using substitute or synonym chords??


   
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NoteBoat
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Sorry, it was late when I wrote that... the G#s in the scales should be F#s:

E-F#-G-A-B-C-D-E = A-B-C-D-E-F#-G-A

Yes, E Aeolian and A Dorian; same note sets. Or B Phrygian will work just as well.

Yes, you can think in two tonal centers at once, one for the melody and one for the chords. Either one can be ambiguous, which makes the other determine the piece. It's most common for:

- both to be strong, and on the same key note or
- melody to be strong, chords ambiguous

but they can both be strong and opposing (bitionality) or both ambiguous.

I have to disagree that Esus(b9) is a 'Phrygian chord'. Whether the chord is the iv in Aeolian or the V in Dorian, or some other degree in some other mode doesn't matter; it's not dominant, so it doesn't define a key. And since a 'sus' chord lacks a third, it's harmonically unstable... even with a melody in A Dorian, you might view the chord as:

i6(add 9) - in fact, this would be likely, since a suspended fourth wants to resolve down to the third, the chord wants to 'resolve' to an Am type

ii7/11 - although it lacks a third, and could therefore be major or minor, the resolution to Am13 would give it a clear minor sound in the progression

bvi7/11 - here the chord has both the third and flatted seventh, so in isolation this is probably what you'd hear. You wouldn't identify it as bvi, but your ear would pick out the third between F-A.

Single chords don't define keys (ever, really - even a single dominant chord could be part of a secondary dominant chain), and two-chord combinations don't define keys unless it's an authentic cadence with a dominant chord type, V7-I/V7-i. Other V-I root motions can suggest a key, but they're at least a bit ambiguous:

E-A could be V-I or I-IV

Since the E sus lacks a third, you can't tell if it's V-i in Am (harmonic minor) or vi-ii in C major.

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