Musical Light Spectrum: Brightness and Darkness

Musical brightness and darkness is something that has been on my mind lately. This idea of a ‘musical light spectrum’ is really interesting. I call it a spectrum, but it’s actually cyclical and doesn’t necessarily work with absolutes. Brightness and darkness are relative ideas.

The concept of brightness and darkness in music theory is applied to chords, scales, and harmony in general.

In this article, we’ll discuss the idea of musical light: brightness and darkness!

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Chords of the Harmonic Major Scale

The Harmonic Major Scale is probably the least know of the 4 main heptatonic scales (Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor, Harmonic Major). As we’ve done with the other scales listed above, in this article we’ll look into the chords of the Harmonic Major Scale!

We’ll look mostly at triads and seventh chords but will stray away from tertian harmony to in order to include some other interesting chords of the Harmonic Major Scale.

Let’s get into it!

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Chords of the Harmonic Minor Scale

Inspired by my Chords of the Melodic Minor Scale article, I would like to present chords based on harmonizing other heptatonic scales.  In this article, we’ll discuss the chords of the Harmonic Minor Scale!

More specifically, we’ll look at the triads and seventh chords. We’ll also look at a cool application of these chords and how they relate to the Harmonic Minor’s modes.

So, without further ado, let’s build the chords of the Harmonic Minor Scale!

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How Many Possible Chords Are There In Music?

How many possible chords are there in music? This is a question I remember thinking about when I started learning music theory but have never answered. Until now!

Warning: This is some pseudo-intellectual shizz! But still, it might be fun to do some math and discuss the chords of music.

This article will run through the calculations to answer our question: How many possible chords are there in music?

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Chords of the Melodic Minor Scale

When thinking diatonically in functional harmony, we harmonize and build chords based on the Diatonic Scale (Major Scale and its modes). This creates strong and common chord progressions. But what happens if we build chords based upon the Melodic Minor Scale?

Well, it wouldn’t be considered “functional harmony,” but the chord progressions would certainly sound interesting. Learning the chords of the Melodic Minor will also aid tremendously in the practical application of the scale. And that practicality shows up in soloing, composition, and general thinking of chord-scale relationships.

This article will offer some important “triads” and seventh chords of the Melodic Minor Scale and how we build those chords!

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Understanding Tertian Triads and Seventh Chords

Tertian harmony describes music and chords constructed with thirds. Based on the diatonic scale, and the basic concept of intervals, these thirds are either minor (an interval of 3 semitones) or major (an interval of 4 semitones). Tertian harmony forms the 4 triads of music as well as 8* of the most common seventh chords.

*There are 8 tertian seventh chords, but only 7 that contain four distinct notes. We’ll get to this later in our matrices.

A closer look at Tertian Harmony

A common way of describing tertian harmony is with the scale degrees of the Diatonic/Major Scale.

So let’s look at the C Major Scale to get a better idea of what tertian harmony is:

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Triads and Pseudo-Triads of Music

The most basic chords in music are called triads. A triad is made of three notes, hence the name. It’s a tertian chord, meaning that it is built from stacking thirds. Therefore a triad consists of a first, a third, and a fifth scale degree. This article will discuss the 4 triads of music, their inversions, and what I call the “pseudo-triads.”

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Composing With Modal Arpeggios

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about modes, modal composition, and modal arpeggios. Studying modes and modal composition has been fulfilling and inspiring in my musical journey. And I’d like to share a concept I’ve been using in my music. What I call modal arpeggios!

What Is a Modal Arpeggio?

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Composing with Musical Intervals

Intervals are the basis of harmony and harmony is important to us as musicians, composers, and music producers. This article will discuss what intervals are and tips on how to use them in compositions.

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Diatonic Thinking when Composing and Producing

When learning music theory, the term diatonic will undoubtedly come up. Let’s discuss what it means and how was can think about it when composing and producing our music!

What does diatonic mean exactly? When I was first told about diatonic playing, I thought it meant picking a scale and playing only the notes from that scale. Which it does, but you can only pick one scale when you’re playing diatonically. The diatonic scale.

The diatonic scale is defined as a heptatonic scale (having 7 notes) with 5 whole tone intervals and 2 halftone intervals, in which the halftone intervals are spaced as far apart as possible (three whole tones and two whole tones separated by half tones) . This doesn’t give us much choice in creating diatonic scales… We are left with only one scale with the following intervals:

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The Only Musical Scale You Need To Know

Learning every musical scale is a daunting and tedious task. Learning the notes; what chords they form; and how they sound are all part of the process. Learning to play those notes in all octaves is another challenge for the producers among us who play instruments.

But what if there was a single scale you could learn that you could then build all the other scales around?

Well, it turns out there is, and chances are you already know of it!

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