martedì 6 febbraio 2018

Composing Music 4.

Someone suggested that I was having a bit of a laugh when I wrote the 'Theme from Richard's Bass Bag'* melody.
This is certainly not true. I admit that, on its own, the melody does sound a bit unusual. When the chords are added it all fits into place. I will attempt a solo guitar version of it over the next short while and post it on this bass bagging blog.
Robert wrote a tune HERE that sounds really nice. I told him that his score was enharmonic. He got a bit upset and did a horrible recording of my melody. Fortunately he deleted that post.
I think he thought I was saying his piece was unharmonic. This is where it pays to understand music terminology and theory. 
I think I'd better try to explain the term enharmonic. I'm going to keep my explanation simple.
In western music (the music that originated from Europe) we have 12 evenly spaced notes to work with (these even distances are man made). Think of the white and black notes on the piano.
There are 7 different white notes - A B C D E F G and 5 black notes.

Each black note has two names. This is because, when the 12 evenly spaced notes were 'made', some notes were sort of squeezed together into the same pitch. These double named notes are - A#/Bb   C#/Db  D#/Eb   F#/Gb   G#/Ab.
# = sharp and b = flat.
It is fair to say that western musical theory is based around the major scale. This scale is a series of notes that have an order of going to the next note up or missing one out and going to the one after that. In music we call these steps tones (miss one note out) and semitones (go directly to the next one).
 The series in a major scale = tone, tone, semitone, tone, tone, tone, semitone:
C D E F G A B C.
A major scale can start on any one of our 12 notes, and the pattern is maintained by changing the notes.
For example, if you start on A you will use A  B  C#  D  E  F#  G#  A.
Start on Eb and you would get  Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb.
Notice that each scale uses each letter name only once - except for a few weirder scales, that's a 'grammatical rule' in music notation. The other 'rule' is that a major scale will only use either sharps and flats - they won't be mixed up. This certainly helps a performer read something that is written down. The number of sharps or flats a scale needs is called a key signature. When you start on a different note, you are using a different key.

Let's look at a simple chord progression in Eb major. (minor chords come from minor scales that have a different arrangement of tones and semitones)

Eb major      C minor      F minor      Bb major. Each of these chords are made up of three notes.

Eb major = Eb G Bb      C minor = C Eb G     F minor = F Ab C     Bb major = Bb D F

If these were written for piano, the notes for any chord will probably be mixed up. Lets imagine a bass line (left hand on the piano) where each chord gets 8 sounds:

| Eb Bb G Bb Eb G Bb Bb | C G Eb G C Eb G G | F Ab C C F Ab C Ab | Bb D F F Bb D F F |

This is easy for a musician who understands music theory to read and he won't have much trouble identifying the chords.

Now imagine if it was written like this (using some enharmonic note names - eg. A# instead of Bb):

| Eb A# G  Bb D# G A# Bb | C G D# G C D# G G | F Ab C C F G# C Ab | A# D F E# A# D E# E# |

Complicated and hard to read!

I guess you could call this bad musical grammar.

This is what I noticed in Robert's piano score when I said, "Your score is enharmonic."
He implied I was critisising his music (for being unharmonic?) when, in fact, I was criticising how it was written down.

Okay, that's it for today.

* the original bass bagging site

5 commenti:

Robert ha detto...

Robert gives him a hug and says let us not fight.

THE CURMUDGEON ha detto...

You lost me after "I think I'd better try and explain"

THE CURMUDGEON ha detto...

But it's fun watching Richard and Robert fight.

Richard (of RBB) ha detto...

I'm not fighting, I'm just explaining. Ah, you guys! Always looking for action! Go practise an instrument!

Robert ha detto...

Actually I understand but it's such a minor (no pun intended) point I think he must be in contact with the Holy Ghost.