A Man. A Plan. A Canal. Panama. This is one of my favourite palindromes (and one of my favourite The Fall Of Troy songs). But there are other palindromes in music as well. In this article, we will discuss palindromic scales and mirror modes.
Try reversing or “mirroring” the order of intervals in any given scale. Reversing the order of intervals in a palindromic scale will produce the same scale. Otherwise, we will end up with a new ‘mirror scale‘ that is on the opposite side of the brightness/darkness spectrum.
This idea of the bright/dark spectrum of scales adds another layer of thinking in the way we write and improvise with these scales.
With that brief primer out of the way, let’s get into the article on palindromic scales and mirror modes!
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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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