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I was thinking this morning - is there a key I haven't written anything in?

I came up with A-major. I don't think I have ever written anything in this key.

Also it made me think of why we chose certain keys when we write: what is it to do with? I have certainly written a few pieces in A-minor. With orchestral I tend to write in C/D so you can use all the lovely low stuff to its full capacity.

There is also, I suppose, a certain flavour (or flavor to americans) (or flava to teenagers) of each key and I wonder if in the inception of a composition that is the instinctual response of the composer to match the initial idea to its most effective (or opportunistic) key for overall impact.



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Chris. Okay, I admit the definitions of 'diatonic' and 'tonal' were inaccurate, although partly true, and quite partly wrong too.

But if you look at the rest of my 'poem', can't you see that it was presented as a joke. I even stated that it wasn't true (word for word) that all blues/rock solos were pentatonic.

Sometimes I am quite serious about my knowledge of theory and harmony, but please understand that I have a sense of humour as well.....lol

Cheers,

Simon

Chris Alpiar said:
You should be wary of using emphatics like "All". Claiming all rock and blues solos are pentatonic is pretty silly. As for Diatonic, lets look at the textbook definition:

di·a·ton·ic (d-tnk)
adj. Music
Of or using only the seven tones of a standard scale without chromatic alterations.
[Late Latin diatonicus, from Greek diatonikos : dia-, dia- + tonos, tone; see tone.]
dia·toni·cal·ly adv.
dia·toni·cism (--szm) n.

1. (Music, other) of, relating to, or based upon any scale of five tones and two semitones produced by playing the white keys of a keyboard instrument, esp the natural major or minor scales forming the basis of the key system in Western music Compare chromatic [2]
2. (Music, other) not involving the sharpening or flattening of the notes of the major or minor scale nor the use of such notes as modified by accidentals

This means, to be diatonic to the key of C, there are no sharps or flats, ever. It is being WITHIN the key of C major, within the modes that make up C major, based on C Ionian scale and created from modes derived from such exactly. V7 - I Maj is diatonic to a major key (or a major tonality). V7 b9 - I Maj is not. iii - vi - ii - V7 - I is totally diatonic; III7 - VI7 - II7 - V7 - IMaj7 is not as many of those Major 3rds and Dominant 7s are not within the major key of the tonic. These can be from any Major or Minor key as Simon said tho, so a diatonic piece in A minor (natural, harmonic or melodic) is just as viably diatonic as a piece in C Major. But ALL the notes must be from that tonality, that key, that scale

Tonal:

ton·al (tnl)
adj.
Of or relating to tones, a tone, or tonality.
tonal·ly adv.

tonal [ˈtəʊnəl]
adj
1. of or relating to tone
2. (Music / Classical Music) of, relating to, or utilizing the diatonic system; having an established key Compare atonal
3. (Music / Classical Music)
a. (of an answer in a fugue) not having the same melodic intervals as the subject, so as to remain in the original key
b. denoting a fugue as having such an answer Compare real1 [11]
tonally adv

Tonal music means to have tonality, to have a tonic and be recognizable as a tonal center. It does not have to be diatonic, as long as it has tonality. Meaning it can modulate, superimpose, etc, as long as the tonality of the piece is made (relatively) obvious to the ear

If you are going to preach musical jargon as if you are the expert, something I think is an excellent way of creating your unique persona, you really need to brush up my dear Simon :p



Simon Godden said:
''Tonal'' means major and minor.

"Diatonic" just means a seven note scale basis, including major, minor, modal and synthetic. Just as:

All tonal music is diatonic, but not all diatonic music is tonal.
All wholetone music is hexatonic, but not all hexatonic music is wholetone.
All symmetrical 8-tone music is octatonic, but not all octatonic music is symmetrical.
All blues/heavy rock guitar solos are pentatonic, but not all pentatonic scales refer to blues/heavy rock (actually, that's not true at all, but it's a great example).
All twelve-tone music is dodecatonic, but not all dodecatonic music is twelve-tone (what??????).
All science-fiction music is nonatonic, but not all nonatonic music is scientifically fictional (now you're really being stupid).
All Xenakis' music is enneakaidecatonic, but all enneakaidecatonic music is written by Xenakis (right, I'm calling my solicitor).


Adrian Allan said:
How about very clever modulation which sounds very natural too, but is still diatonic ? eg. diminished chords relating distant keys. I like that sort of stuff because it can be quite unexpected and not at all boring, but still retain a (shifting) sense of key.

Or maybe I'm confusing Diatonic with "tonal" - I must look up these definitions.

Yeah, I think by diatonic you mean just sticking in that key without accidentals at all - so we're not even talking Mozart, but far less ambitious

A definition
based on the standard major or minor scales consisting of 5 tones and 2 semitones without modulation by accidentals
I absolutely agree Chris, and if you look at the discussion "Music Theory = Intuition", I have curtailed a civil disagreement about music theory with Tombo Rombo to the private message forum for exactly those reasons (I still don't know how he and wiki can associate the ''chromatic mediant" with chord VI).... :?)

Chris Alpiar said:
No worries Simon, I have a sense of humor as well, and I am not blue in the face in rage or anything even remotely like it :-)

BUT, when posting "absolutes" and "definitions" of our art and or craft online in a public forum, it is our job to make sure of the accuracy. Because with potentially tens of thousands of non-members and member lurkers reading, it is so very easy to create disinformation and skew the reality of the definition. SO, if you say ALL something IS something and you are not making a very obvious joke, it is our duty to the world, especially to actively growing and learning musicians and composers, out of the love we share for the music, to be as accurate and truthful as possible.

BTW, no these are are "American" definitions, these are universal in the western music tradition ;-)
Very noble of you to move our discussion to the next thread over...er, I mean the private message forum ;0)

Here are a couple more links, just for fun:

chromatic mediants in Beethoven

http://books.google.com/books?id=qgJvBQOT98QC&pg=PA215&lpg=...

A Czechoslovakian theorist

http://publib.upol.cz/~obd/fulltext/Musicologica%206/musicol6-13.pdf

Guitar Dudes

http://guitarsecrets.com/music_definitions.htm

One Clark Ross, a Canadian

http://www.clarkross.ca/432_ChromaticHarmony.pdf

From the SMU website

http://www.chacha.com/question/what-is-a-doubly-chromatic-mediant-r...

I have looked but have found no site that claims the English view this term differently from the rest of the world. Hey cheer up! We all get things wrong!





Simon Godden said:
I absolutely agree Chris, and if you look at the discussion "Music Theory = Intuition", I have curtailed a civil disagreement about music theory with Tombo Rombo to the private message forum for exactly those reasons (I still don't know how he and wiki can associate the ''chromatic mediant" with chord VI).... :?)

Chris Alpiar said:
No worries Simon, I have a sense of humor as well, and I am not blue in the face in rage or anything even remotely like it :-)

BUT, when posting "absolutes" and "definitions" of our art and or craft online in a public forum, it is our job to make sure of the accuracy. Because with potentially tens of thousands of non-members and member lurkers reading, it is so very easy to create disinformation and skew the reality of the definition. SO, if you say ALL something IS something and you are not making a very obvious joke, it is our duty to the world, especially to actively growing and learning musicians and composers, out of the love we share for the music, to be as accurate and truthful as possible.

BTW, no these are are "American" definitions, these are universal in the western music tradition ;-)
I know this isn't exactly on topic but I've been trying to figure out if what I have is "imperfect" pitch. I have very good tonal memory and can recognize practically any note on the piano played individually. When notes are played I just know it is and I kind of see the piano key in my head. If it's a violin song, I see the fingering of the note. This pseudo-synesthesia only happens if I concentrate really hard at what I'm listening to. I can recognize all the intervals from 1sts to eights (I can tell when a dominant 7th chord is being played by the interval, etc).

Since I have no formal musical theory education, everything I learn is either by wikipedia or self-observation. I listen to a lot of non-Western music, notably Japanese and Korean music so I can recognize certain chords independent of the key they're in. Even in Western music, I like categorizing chords based on my experience with them (this chord is a so-and-so chord [I don't know the technical terms for all the chords I categorize] ). For pitch, I have blind spots in the sense that there are some keys that I can hear out really easily (C major, D major, G major -- the basic majors), but it gets difficult to figure out keys with many accidentals. I can hear music when I read sheet music but it's not like I can hear 4-part counterpoint, just basic stuff.

Although I cannot describe F major as being more pastoral or C major as being more optimistic, I am very sensitive to the major/minor quality of chords. Since I have limited experience with the piano (2 years), I don't always know what key I'm playing in. I am extremely fascinated by transpositions though because whenever I transpose a song into a lower interval, it sounds more "soulful", "romantic", "soft", or "dark", while the higher keys are very "bright", "serious" or "innocent." When I listen to a song, I am usually drawn in immediately simply one chord I liked was played -- I don't know if this happens to anyone else.

So this has been bothering me for the many years of my short life (19 years) so far because it's like I have absolute pitch sometimes and sometimes I don't. Anyone have an answer?
From what I've read of your post Norman, it would appear that you have tonal relative pitch (as I have). I think if anybody has perfect pitch and they study music, they would know for definite whether they had it or not. It's like if you're dreaming, you think everything that is going on is real. However, when you're not dreaming, you are absolutely sure that you are not dreaming, and everything most definitely is real.

Nevertheless, it also sounds as if you have a potentially good ear and that sort of aural quality is very much welcome when one wishes to be a composer.

Cheers,

Simon

Norman Tran said:
I know this isn't exactly on topic but I've been trying to figure out if what I have is "imperfect" pitch. I have very good tonal memory and can recognize practically any note on the piano played individually. When notes are played I just know it is and I kind of see the piano key in my head. If it's a violin song, I see the fingering of the note. This pseudo-synesthesia only happens if I concentrate really hard at what I'm listening to. I can recognize all the intervals from 1sts to eights (I can tell when a dominant 7th chord is being played by the interval, etc).

Since I have no formal musical theory education, everything I learn is either by wikipedia or self-observation. I listen to a lot of non-Western music, notably Japanese and Korean music so I can recognize certain chords independent of the key they're in. Even in Western music, I like categorizing chords based on my experience with them (this chord is a so-and-so chord [I don't know the technical terms for all the chords I categorize] ). For pitch, I have blind spots in the sense that there are some keys that I can hear out really easily (C major, D major, G major -- the basic majors), but it gets difficult to figure out keys with many accidentals. I can hear music when I read sheet music but it's not like I can hear 4-part counterpoint, just basic stuff.

Although I cannot describe F major as being more pastoral or C major as being more optimistic, I am very sensitive to the major/minor quality of chords. Since I have limited experience with the piano (2 years), I don't always know what key I'm playing in. I am extremely fascinated by transpositions though because whenever I transpose a song into a lower interval, it sounds more "soulful", "romantic", "soft", or "dark", while the higher keys are very "bright", "serious" or "innocent." When I listen to a song, I am usually drawn in immediately simply one chord I liked was played -- I don't know if this happens to anyone else.

So this has been bothering me for the many years of my short life (19 years) so far because it's like I have absolute pitch sometimes and sometimes I don't. Anyone have an answer?

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