Sunday, February 27, 2011

Modes: It's All Greek To Me!! Part 7

Locrian Mode (VII): A natural minor scale with the 2nd and the 5th lowered a half step

B (the tonic)
C (a minor 2nd)
D (a minor 3rd)
E (a perfect 4th)
F (a diminished 5th)
G (a minor 6th)
A (a minor 7th)
B (upper-octave)

Good To Know!!! *The distinctive degree here is the diminished 5th. This makes the tonic triad diminished, so this mode is the only one in which the chords built on the tonic and dominant scale degrees have their roots separated by a diminished, rather than perfect, fifth. Similarly the tonic seventh chord is half-diminished.

  • Tonic triad: Bdim or B°
  • Tonic seventh chord: Bm75 or Bø
  • Dominant triad: FM
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: FM7, a major-seventh chord type. By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 6.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Modes: It's All Greek To Me!! Part 6

Aeolian Mode (VI): A natural minor scale

A (the tonic)
B (a major 2nd)
C (a minor 3rd)
D (a perfect 4)
E (a perfect 5th)
F (a minor 6th)
G (a minor 7th)
A (upper octave)

  • Tonic triad: Am
  • Tonic seventh chord: Am7
  • Dominant triad: Em
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: Em7, a "minor-seventh" chord type. By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 7.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Modes: It's All Greek To Me!! Part 5

Mixolydian (V): A major scale with the 7th lowered a half step

G (the tonic)
A (a major 2nd)
B (a major 3rd)
C (a perfect 4th)
D (a perfect 5th)
E (a major 6th)
F (a minor 7th)
G (upper-octave)

  • Tonic triad: GM
  • Tonic seventh chord: G7 (the "dominant-seventh" chord type in this mode is the seventh chord built on the tonic degree)
  • Dominant triad: Dm
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: Dm7, a "minor-seventh" chord type.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Modes: It's All Greek To Me!! Part 4

Lydian (IV): A major scale with the 4th raised a half step

F (the tonic)
G (a major 2nd)
A (a major 3rd)
B (an augmented 4th)
C (a perfect 5th)
D (a major 6th)
E (a major 7th)
F (upper-octave)

Good To Know!!! *The single tone that differentiates this scale from the major (Ionian), is its fourth degree, which its an augmented 4th above the tonic.*

  • Tonic triad: FM
  • Tonic seventh chord: FM7
  • Dominant triad: CM
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: CM7, a "major-seventh" chord type. By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 2.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Modes: It's All Greek To Me!! Part 3

Phrygian (III): A natural scale with the 2nd lowered half a step


E (the tonic
F (a minor 2nd)
G (a minor 3rd)
A (a perfect 4th)
B (a perfect 5th)
C (a minor 6th)
D (a minor 7th)
E (upper-octave)

  • Tonic triad: Em
  • Tonic seventh chord: Em7
  • Dominant triad: Bdim
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: B75 (or Bø), a "dominant-seventh-flat-five" or "half-diminished seventh" chord type. By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 3.
  • Modern minor scale has a minor 3rd, 6th, and 7th. The minor 2nd in addition here makes the scale Phrygian, not Aeolian (natural minor).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Modes: It's All Greek To Me!! Part 2

Dorian (II): A natural minor scale with the 6th raised a half step

D (the tonic)
E (a major 2nd)
F (a minor 3)
G (a perfect 4th)
A (a perfect 5th)
B (a major 6th)
C (a minor 7th)
D (upper-octave

  • Tonic triad: Dm
  • Tonic seventh chord: Dm7
  • Dominant triad: Am
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: Am7 (a "minor seventh" chord type). By contrast, the "dominant seventh" type in this mode is found on scale-degree 4. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Modes: It's All Greek To Me!

Question: What is a Mode
Modes are scales that are formed by taking the notes of an existing scale but starting from a note other than the original keynote. This results in each mode having a unique tonality. The most common modes played on the guitar are those of the major scale, particularly the Dorian, Lydian and Mixolydian.

Ionian (I)

*Identical to the modern major scale, and begins on C. 

C (the tonic),  
D (a major 2nd above the tonic),  
E (a major 3rd above the tonic),  
F (a perfect 4th),  
G (a perfect 5th),  
A (a major 6th),  
B (a major 7th),    
C and the upper-octave to complete the scale

  • Tonic seventh chord: CM7
  • Dominant triad (in modern tonal thinking, the next-most important chord root after the tonic): G
  • Seventh chord on the dominant: G7 (a "dominant 7th" chord type, so-called because of its position in this—and only this—modal scale)

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Playing Five Beats To The Measure" by Sara Fishko

Lalo Schifrin's music for Mission Impossible is among the most celebrated themes in TV history, and one of the most appealing things about it, whether you're aware of it or not, is that it's in 5/4 time. Written for that iconic television series in the 1960's, the piece contains five beats to the measure, instead of the more typical three or four. (Count and you'll see — 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5.)

You would think by now, in our sophisticated world, 5/4 time would be commonplace. But in Western music, it's not — and it never was. In fact, pianist and writer Stuart Isacoff says that in the world of musical rhythms, things started out much more ambiguous than they have become.

"There was a time, if we look back to medieval music, where you have endless streams of notes that form vague contours," Isacoff says. "People tend to need some kind of an anchor to feel that there's some kind of organization happening rhythmically in the music."

Michael Beckerman, head of the music department at New York University, points to Tchaikovsky, who wanted to try something a little different when writing in the 1890s.

"You know, we have Tchaikovsky's example," Beckerman says. "The famous so-called 'waltz' from the Pathetique symphony, which is, of course, anything but a waltz."

Tchaikovsky wrote the second movement of his celebrated 6th symphony in 5 with a three–note figure, a triplet, which acts as a kind of diversionary tactic. But if you count it, you hear it: five, plain as day. Like other forms, time signatures and musical devices, 5/4 time works as a means of personal expression; Tchaikovsky made it sound like Tchaikovsky.

James Reese Europe, a Harlem musician working in the early 20th century, used it in a piece he wrote for a famous dance team of the era, Vernon and Irene Castle. Isachoff says the piece, titled "Castles Half and Half," is part fox trot, which is in 4, and part waltz, in 3.

When a restless Frederic Chopin began experimenting and improvising, he produced a classically Chopin-sounding sonata movement that can be counted in five.
But if there was a moment when the 5/4 time signature exploded into the public consciousness, it was certainly the Brubeck moment: Dave Brubeck's excursion into 5 made his name and his fortune, in the jazz hit "Take Five."

With "Take Five," Isachoff explains "we have 3 and 2, but it has a hotness to it. What we have in Brubeck is a complicated rhythm, and it's a rhythm that arises when you put 2 against 3. So that if you have one hand playing 2 and the other 3, that gives it a different swinging lilt, and therefore we end up with this pattern."
You would think that might have opened the floodgates for the use of 5. But you'd be wrong. Still, there's no question that it heightened the awareness of it, in a lovely and playful way. Beckerman says that some did follow suit.

"I remember when I was a kid there was a group called The Pentangle," Beckerman says. "They had a tune called 'Light Flight' and it made them stand out in some ways from other groups because of taking that kind of metrical chance."

But 5/4 is still an oddball thing that musicians and listeners love to collect and admire. Gustav Holst's piece, "Mars, Bringer of War," from The Planets is another well known example. These days it has even become fashionable to make a statement in 5 by adding a beat to something written in 4: Richard Rodgers' song "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" was reinterpreted by jazz pianist Brad Mehldau into a sort of lopsided jazz waltz — in 5/4 time.

In western music, Beckerman says, 5/4 time is less than a tradition, more than a gimmick. He cites bands including Radiohead, which have written songs that incorporate odd time signatures, such as "15 Step" from In Rainbows, which is in 5 as well.

"I think it's also an idea, a throwing down a gauntlet in certain places and styles," says Beckerman. "It was cool to do 5's and 7's, and I think that persists and lingers today. And it's sort of a way of making a certain kind of point about where you stand."

It's also a way of saying "I'm not going to get stuck in 3's and 4's like everybody else."

By: Sara Fishko

David Brubeck: Bringing 5/4 To The Masses!!


*To Hear The Original Radio Broadcast, CLICK HERE!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Active Listening With 5/4 Time Signatures

Lately I have been listening to a lot of music with my headphones on. If I happen to be in a quiet environment I can leave my Ipod on at a relatively low volume because there no outside, auditory interference. By doing this I can Actively Listen to music. Recently I have found myself trying to figure out the time signature of certain songs are in. I try to count along, tapping with my fingers on my leg. I am getting better at identifying songs and their time signatures.

So here are 5 five songs in a 5/4 time signature!

"Take Five" Dave Brubeck Quartet

 "Fifteen Step" Radiohead

"5/4" Gorillaz 

"The Grudge" Tool

"What Do You Like: Blind Faith

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Odd Time Meters: Foundation For Awesome Songs

*What is an Odd Time Signature and Meter?
Odd time and meter is simply a meter that is asymmetric, or a meter that has uneven groupings. Odd time can be expressed anytime that 5,7,10,11,13, and 15 are the top value in a time signature. The bottom of the signature can be any rhythmic value; it's the top number that determines if it's symmetric (simple) or asymmetric (odd).

Examples of Odd Time: 

*5/4 Example From "Vicarious" by Tool

 *7/8 Example From "Lateralus" by Tool

*11/8 Example from "Rosetta Stoned" by Tool

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sub Divisions In Compound Time Signatures And How To Count Them

*Subdivisions in Compound Time Signatures:

After the first subdivision of the beat, the rhythms in a compound time signature are subdivided pretty much like rhythms in simple time signatures. For example, in 6/8, the dotted quarter note is subdivided into three eighth notes. Each eighth note is subdivided into two sixteenth notes. Sixteenth notes are subdivided into thirty-second notes. Below is a chart that shows how dotted quarter notes are subdivided into eighths and then sixteenths in 6/8:

*Helpful Ways To Count Eighth-Notes In Compound Time:

*Helpful Way To Count Sixteenth Notes in Compound Time:

Sixteenth notes can be counted by adding "and" between each number. This is similar to how eighth notes are counted in simple time signatures. Using this approach for 6/8, would result in the count "one and two and three and, two and two and three and."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Difference Between Simple and Compound Time Signatures

*Subdivision of the Beat:

A simple time signature subdivides each beat into two parts. It is also possible to have a time signature where each beat is subdivided into three parts. These are known as compound time signatures. 6/8, 9/8, and 12/16 are examples of compound time signatures.

*What the Numbers Mean:

In a simple time signature, the top number gives the number of beats per measure, while the bottom number tells you which kind of note gets the beat. Compound time signatures don't work this way. The meaning of the numbers in a compound time signature are explained below.

*The Top Number:

The top number represents the number of subdivisions in a measure. For example, if the subdivision is an eighth note and the top number is six, there would be six eighth notes per measure. Don't confuse this with the beat. The top number in a compound time signature must be divided by three in order to determine the number of beats per measure. Dividing the '6' in 6/8 by three equals two. This means that there are two beats in each measure of 6/8.

*The Bottom Number:

The bottom number represents the note value that subdivides each beat. This number can be used to determine the kind of note that gets the beat by adding three notes of this value together. The resulting note will always be a dotted note of some kind. For example, the bottom number in 6/8 time is '8', which represents an eighth note. If you add three eighth notes together, they equal a dotted quarter note. The dotted quarter note is the note that gets the beat in a measure of 6/8 time. 6/8 means that there are two beats per measure with the dotted quarter note getting the beat.

6/8 time explained