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Bongo Boy
05-15-2002, 02:15 PM
Can't thank Guni enough for taking the time to do this document. It's a wonderful thing to make sense of something that really doesn't seem to be explained in a lot of places. Had a few questions tho.

1. I understand the rules you've outlined for determining the note name for the 4th interval, and understand how to apply the rules. But re: the "2 note names must occur between the root and P4 note" restriction, why is this restriction needed?

To ask it another way, if A# and Bb are equivalent (I'm assuming these are truly two names for EXACTLY the same thing), then why was the 'grammatical' distinction ever made? Are there circumstances where the distinction is important and therefore the convention for interval naming was adopted?

2. If the 4th and 5th intervals are perfect and perfect ONLY, then why would anyone ever make reference to a "P5" or a "P4"? I see why the need to discuss 'perfect intervals' as a topic unto itself, and as a family or class of intervals. But why ever refer specifically to the "perfect 4th" or the "perfect 5th"? Is that not redundant? I mean, there are no other kind of 4th or 5th intervals, right?. Is this common practice in everyday verbal dialog?

Thanks again for such a great resource.

Bongo Boy
05-15-2002, 06:37 PM
...and I also wanted to verify:

1) The rules for naming intervals apply for absolutely ANY root interval chosen?

2) A diminished major is always a minor, and an augmented minor is always a major?

3) If the answers in 2) above are 'yes', is this a case where, while it may be true, it's also a fact of utterly no practical value or meaning?

I know these are really dumb-*** questions, but I just want to nail the lid down on this wacky bizniss.

EricV
05-15-2002, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by Bongo Boy

To ask it another way, if A# and Bb are equivalent (I'm assuming these are truly two names for EXACTLY the same thing), then why was the 'grammatical' distinction ever made? Are there circumstances where the distinction is important and therefore the convention for interval naming was adopted?


Hi Bongo Boy...

I´ll leave most of those answers to Guni, since he wrote the article you´re referring to, and I liked the way he explained all the stuff there.
But about the question you asked ( the one I quoted above )... that used to confused me too, until someone taught me that system...
Well, one rule when naming intervals and i.e. listing the notes in a given key, there are two rules that are the cause for things like the distinction between A# and Bb...
1. Do not mix up #´s and b´s. If you look at the circle of fourths / circle of fifths, you´ll see that each key has either b´s or #´s ( flats or sharps ), despite the key of C Major, which has none.

And since you shouldn´t mix up #s and bs, the Bb is named Bb in the key of F ( as an example ), while in the key of B, it is A#... on the fretboard, it is the same note, but regarding to the key you´re in, it is named differently, which is an organisational thing.

The second rule would be: Each note should appear only once.

That means, you shouldn´t write down the Fmajor scale ( example ) like this:
F-G-A-A#-C-D-E-F
Instead, name every note only once, and to do so, you´ll need to use a b instead. So this is how it looks the right way:
F-G-A-Bb-C-D-E-F

Of course there are exceptions to that rule, and in some rare cases, you´ll even see double accidentals ( i.e. Gbb or A## )...
I hope this makes sense, and I hope I didn´t confuse you even more.

Warm regards
Eric

NP: Planet X- Live From Oz

EricV
05-15-2002, 08:07 PM
Before I forget about it... I wanted to add something for all of you, since Guni just published that article about intervals.

Here is a helpful tool called the "chord clock".
What you do is: Print out those two graphics, cut them out and connect them. Do so by putting a hole through the middle of both circles, put the small one on top of the big one and put in something like those small clamps that are sometimes used to close envelopes... the purpose is to connect those two circles so you can still turn the small one.

Once you´re done, you can use it as some kind of a flash card to learn about intervals... If you turn the clock i.e. to the note C, you can immediately see the interval between the C and all the other notes...

Hope this helps
Eric

http://www.ericvandenberg.com/ibreathe/clock1.jpg

http://www.ericvandenberg.com/ibreathe/clock2.jpg

Bongo Boy
05-15-2002, 09:56 PM
...we owe so much to those who have gone before us

Guni
05-16-2002, 11:35 AM
First a note about the interval article. My idea is that we all see it as an 'in progress' paper and not as an article 'written in stone'. So, as you bring in more input the article will grow.

Eric, you did a wonderful job in ansering Bongo's questions and I am thinking of adding these 2 rules. Well, I had them in there but somehow it didn't reallty fit as the article doesn't really cover the construction of scales (maybe it should with the c major example)..... I'll have another thought about this ........

Hey Bongo, I think these are great questions and actually show that you understand the topic:


Originally posted by Bongo Boy
...and I also wanted to verify:

1) The rules for naming intervals apply for absolutely ANY root interval chosen?

2) A diminished major is always a minor, and an augmented minor is always a major?

3) If the answers in 2) above are 'yes', is this a case where, while it may be true, it's also a fact of utterly no practical value or meaning?

I know these are really dumb-*** questions, but I just want to nail the lid down on this wacky bizniss.

1) yep

2) well, yeah you could see it in this way ...

3) your observation are 100% correct but are of no real practical value (except that you have a clear understanding of how this stuff works.)

Guni

szulc
05-17-2002, 02:46 AM
I felt the need to chime in on this..
Following are some excerpts from my book "Escape From The Cage{d}", which may be helpful in your understanding of music theory.

CHROMATIC SCALE
The chromatic scale is an even (actually logarithmic) distribution of twelve unique tones throughout the octave.
An octave is the unit given to a doubling of frequency, since notes which are multiples of two times the frequency sound similar.
The distance between two adjacent tones in the chromatic scale is called a Half Step (H), and the distance of two Half Steps is called a Whole step (W).
To our ears, two notes which are separated by exactly one or more octaves have the same note value. We therefore give them the same note name ie. C.
Now since the chromatic scale is composed of twelve tones, we must have twelve note names.
The names chosen for these notes are A, (A sharp, B flat), B, C, (C sharp, D flat), D, (D sharp, E flat), E, F, (F sharp, G flat), G, (G sharp, A flat).
Notice that the notes in parenthesis are enharmonic, (different names for the same tone) in other words, A sharp and B flat sound the same.
The chromatic scale sounds the same no matter where you start to play it, because all of the tones are equally spaced. The chromatic scale is therefore atonal (having no tonal center, or tonal magnetism, some would call this pan-tonal since it has all possible western music tones)

MAJOR SCALE FUNDAMENTALS
If you are familiar with a piano keyboard, you will notice the keys which are white have unaltered letter names (A, B, C, D, E, F, G), and the black keys are the sharps or the flats.
The white keys on the piano form the C major scale (starting on C [C, D, E, F, G, A, B]), the arrangement of half steps is 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1 or W, W, H, W, W, W, H.
It is this arrangement that gives the major scale its sound (tonality), and tonal magnetism (tendency for a particular note to follow another ie. the root following the seventh. This really has to with the concept of tension and resolution. Within a major scale, the seventh tone has tension which is best resolved by following it with the root, thus tonal magnetism.).

KEY CENTER / KEY SIGNATURE
Now since the chromatic scale has twelve unique tones, and each one can be the starting note of a major scale, we must have twelve unique major scales.
Looking at the interval spacing, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, we can make it 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1 by raising (sharping) the fourth degree (fourth scale tone) a half step, now the fifth degree becomes the new root (note from which the new major scale takes its name and begins on).

By a similar, but inverse, process we can make the interval spacing 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 1, 2 by lowering (flatting) the seventh degree a half step, the new root becomes the fourth degree.

Notice in the first example we sharped the fourth degree and started on the fifth degree, and in the second we flatted the seventh and started on the fourth.
This produced two new major scales which each differ from the first by one altered (sharped or flatted) tone.
These two processes can easily be shown to be inverses of one another by observation of the intervals (sharping the fourth tone F in C major we get G major, by flatting the seventh tone F# in G major we get C major).
By continuing each of these processes seven times starting with C major, we can build a structure called the circle of fifths which contains all seven sharp scales, all seven flat scales and C major. Notice that this adds up to fifteen and we know there should be twelve, this is due to enharmonic spelling of three of the scales (C flat=B, G flat=F sharp, D flat=C sharp).
When building the scales it is important to remember the guidelines ; each letter name must be used exactly once ; only one type of accidental (sharps or flats) allowed per scale ; no note can have more than one accidental.

INTERVALS
We call the distance between two notes an interval. Intervals are named for the distances which occur in the major scale from the root to any scale tone. All the intervals from the root in the major scale except the unison, octave, fifth, and fourth are called major intervals (2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th), these exceptions are called perfect.
Perfect intervals are so called because any perfect interval which is inverted (bottom note is now on top and vise versa) remains perfect (perfect fifths become perfect fourths and vice versa, octaves remain octaves, unisons remain unisons).
Guni I know this is not in agreement with your explanation here, but this is how I learned it.

Minor intervals are flatted versions of major intervals, diminished intervals are flatted perfect intervals, augmented are sharped perfect intervals.
Non-perfect intervals change their prefix (major or minor) when inverted (minor sixths become major thirds, major sixths become minor thirds, minor seconds become major sevenths, major seconds become minor sevenths and of course vise versa).

I hope this gives a concise explanation of the circle of fifths and scale degree naming conventions.

James

Guni
05-18-2002, 03:01 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by szulc
Guni I know this is not in agreement with your explanation here, but this is how I learned it.
[QUOTE]

Hi szulc,

Thanks for this lengthy reply. This might be really helpful to some of us. I think that it is good to see things from as many different point of views as possible, as there are no real standard ways of learning these things.

Thanks

Guni

nateman
10-09-2002, 11:38 PM
howdy, folks! i'm a new fella here, but i ran across this old thread while browsing, and i wanted to add a few comments and see what the big brains think. ;) some of the points i'd like to make may well have been brought up in other places, but what's redundancy without a little repetition! Bongo Boy has probably already figured this stuff out based on his more recent posts, but i wanted to add a little more commentary for other new folks who might read this.

here goes nuttin'...



1. I understand the rules you've outlined for determining the note name for the 4th interval, and understand how to apply the rules. But re: the "2 note names must occur between the root and P4 note" restriction, why is this restriction needed?

To ask it another way, if A# and Bb are equivalent (I'm assuming these are truly two names for EXACTLY the same thing), then why was the 'grammatical' distinction ever made? Are there circumstances where the distinction is important and therefore the convention for interval naming was adopted?


to some degree, it is a matter of historical precedence. at one time, musical instruments were not well-tempered beasts, and A# and Bb were not necessarily the same thing. furthermore, on fretless stringed instruments, you can play A# and Bb and not be playing the same exact pitch.

on a well-tempered instrument like the guitar, one reason to maintain the distinction is so that you talk the same language as the crazies out there playing other instruments. ;) another reason that has struck me and made me work to maintain these dinstinctions is that it can help you remember scales and intervals if you know your key signatures; your musical alphabet forwards, backwards, and around both ends; your musical alphabet math; and the patterns of sharps of flats that get added as you walk through the keys.

say you know that the key of D major has two sharps and you know that the first two sharps that get added are F# and C#. then these interval naming conventions help in a couple of ways...

example 1a: calculating intervals. what's the sixth of D major? it will take you five tonal steps to get there from D going up, or two tonal steps going down. so first, walk up five letters from D (EFGAB) or down two letters from D (CB), and this puts you at B. since that's not C or F, either of which would need to be sharped, you've already got your answer: B is the major sixth of D.

example 1b: calculating intervals. what's the third of D major? up two letters from D (EF) or down five letters from D (CBAGF) gets you to F. you know it has to be sharped based on the key signature, so the major third of D is F#.

if you get to a point where you can quickly do that kind of letter math (like "D + 5 = B"), which is sort of like imagining the C-major scale as numbers, and you can remember the key signatures, you can quickly figure out intervals. if you didn't maintain the one-interval-per-letter rule, it would take more memorization to come up with those because you'd have special cases to consider.

example 2: scales. using D major again, you can relatively easily blurt out the scale forwards or backwards by walking from D to D through the letters (DEFGABCD, DCBAGFED), remembering that C# and F# are the oddballs. up: D-E-F#-G-A-B-C#-D. down: D-C#-B-A-G-F#-E-D.

don't know if this will help anyone, but it has been useful to me. someone once stated to me the two basic rules that Eric and James outlined, and that's when some of this stuff started to click a lot better for me.




2. If the 4th and 5th intervals are perfect and perfect ONLY, then why would anyone ever make reference to a "P5" or a "P4"? I see why the need to discuss 'perfect intervals' as a topic unto itself, and as a family or class of intervals. But why ever refer specifically to the "perfect 4th" or the "perfect 5th"? Is that not redundant? I mean, there are no other kind of 4th or 5th intervals, right?. Is this common practice in everyday verbal dialog?


perfect fourth and perfect fifth intervals are used in the major scale and the minor scales and lots of other places, but there are times when they are modified. this is usually (in my experience) in triad/chord construction or modes. in those cases, there may be references to augmented fourths/fifths or diminished fourths/fifths. therefore, it is possible that just saying "fourth" or "fifth" may be ambiguous in some cases.

you are definitely correct, however, that it can be redundant as well. for example, saying "F is the perfect fourth of C major" could be seen as over-emphasizing the point. if it's well established that you are talking about the key or scale of C major, it is not strictly necessary to use the word "perfect" to describe the fourth or fifth intervals unless you really want to drive the point home or you are referring to it after having referred to an augmented or diminished fourth for some reason.

in fact, once you establish the scale you are talking about, you can even be a little more lax with words like "major" and "minor"...but not too lax. if you start getting vague about stuff and junk, people won't know what you mean about the things and the other things!




2) A diminished major is always a minor, and an augmented minor is always a major?

3) If the answers in 2) above are 'yes', is this a case where, while it may be true, it's also a fact of utterly no practical value or meaning?


Guni's response was "yeah you could see it in this way," and i think it's worth elaborating on that. i don't know if Bongo Boy meant to ask it the way he did, but i haven't seen any examples i can think of where people referred to an augmented minor or a diminished major. typically, the interval itself is referred to as being augmented (a half-step above the major or perfect interval) or diminished (a half-step below the minor or perfect interval).

so, a diminished major sixth would technically be a minor sixth and would probably always be referred to as a minor sixth, and therefore the term "diminished major sixth" would not be of practical value. but a diminished sixth is another animal that might be of practical value...just not to me. ;)

this actually leads into another area where the interval naming rules come into play. if, for whatever reaon, you wanted to distinguish between a perfect fifth and a diminished sixth, you could do it by the name. for example, G would be the perfect fifth of C, and Abb would be the diminished sixth of C. they are the same pitch on the guitar, but the different names denote that they are derived from different intervals.

hopefully i didn't misstate anything and provided some tangible value to at least one poor soul out there. :D

cheers,
nathan

NP: Inspiral Carpets / Life

Bongo Boy
10-10-2002, 12:06 AM
I think it's great you brought this one back to life. Aleternate or simply re-worded explanations are, for me, one of the best ways to get to understand something.

Many times I've thought I understood something quite completely--come to find out I understand a particular explanation quite completely, but not the whole topic, really. It's good to know, for example, that two names are equivalent from a strict definition point of view, but not used interchangeably because of convention or even common slang. This is just an example.

What's unfortunate, in a way, is that I already care less about the topic than I did when I posted it because I think I understand it. Of course that's not true, and it highlights the challenge of retaining a beginner's mind! Your thoughts help me do that.

szulc
10-10-2002, 01:41 AM
2) A diminished major is always a minor, and an augmented minor is always a major?
Technically this is not a true statement for the following reason:

The term diminished is used only in conjunction with PERFECT intervals and the term augmented is used only in conjunction with PERFECT intervals.
Minor intervals are flatted versions of major intervals, diminished intervals are flatted perfect intervals, augmented are sharped perfect intervals.

Any non-perfect interval that is lowered is called flatted and any non-perfect interval which is raised is called sharped. Major and Minor are equivalent to these terms but not Diminished and Augmented, which are reserved for Perfect intervals.

Bongo Boy
10-10-2002, 03:26 AM
Originally posted by szulc
The term diminished is used only in conjunction with PERFECT intervals and the term augmented is used only in conjunction with PERFECT intervals.

Maybe it's fair to say this is true in the case of common usage and in any practical applications--but in books, at least, I see augmented used to qualify both perfects and majors, and diminished with both perfects and minors.

I'm not sure any of this matters too much, though, since I think the underlying idea that's being communicated is the raising or lowering of an interval by a semi-tone, and everyone would understand one another using either terminology (given they'd seen the terms used in any of the ways we've just talked about).

szulc
10-10-2002, 12:43 PM
You do not refer to Minor 4th, Minor 5th, Minor Unison or Minor octave. ( Or for that matter Major 4th, 5th, unison or octave)

Only 2nds, 3rds, 6ths, and 7ths are prefixed with major or minor.
Major being the case for the interval taken from the Major scale from the root, minor being the major scale interval flatted 1/2 step.

Minor interval become major intervals when inverted. M3 inverted = m6

Perfect intervals are Perfect interval when inverted. P4 inverted = P5.

Raised Major intervals are named by the next higher interval. raised M3 = P4 or raised M2 = m3 or raised M6 = b7 or raised M7 = Octave.

Lowered Minor intervals are named by the next lower note.

Perfect intervals have no Major or minor quality.
Lowered Perfect intervals are called Diminished.
Raised Perfect intervals are called Augmented.

Lowered 5th = Augmented 4th
Lowered 4th = M3 (Called Major 3rd, not minor or diminished 4th)
The one exception to this is raised 5th which is commoly called minor 6th. This could also be called Augmented 5th, but other than in altered chords it rarely is.

jesus
10-10-2002, 02:28 PM
Hi folks,

Maybe it's a matter of language but in spanish you can speak about a diminished second for instance.
In my opinion the rules are as follows:

- For perfect intervals:

diminished --> perfect --> augmented

That is, a perfect interval flatted a half step is a diminished interval, and raised it gives you an augmented interval. Example: Gb is a diminished fifth of C, G is a perfect fifth of C and G# is an augmented fifth of C.

- For non perfect intervals:

diminished --> Minor --> Mayor --> augmented

So Bbb is a diminished seventh for C (think of chord Cdim7), Bb is a minor seventh of C, B is
a mayor seventh of C, and B# is an augmented seventh for C.

I think, that we must take care with the enharmony, which applies exclusively to the sound,
but harmonically the function of the notes could be different. Thus, despite Bbb is enharmonically the same as A, its harmonic function is different,
that's the reason of Bbb is a diminished seventh for C and A is a mayor sixth, but the sound is the same. Tecnically speaking, A does not belong to a
Cdim7 chord, since it has no sixth degree, but the same sound or pitch (named as Bbb) does belong it, since Bbb is the seventh degree (is B note).

See you. Jesus

nateman
10-10-2002, 05:13 PM
it may be a matter of technicalities vs. practicalities.

like Bongo Boy, much of my learning has come from reading books and asking questions...and many of the people i ask have also learned in non-traditional ways.

many books and a lot of the on-line lessons out there definitely talk about being able to augment or diminish any interval, as Jesus showed. as for how often one does that, that's usually not discussed in the beginner material.

James is probably correct that such things are rarely done in the real world (i certainly never do it), but i think it's fair to say that it's still technically possible to make those alterations and distinctions.

Guni
10-10-2002, 05:35 PM
Originally posted by szulc The term diminished is used only in conjunction with PERFECT intervals and the term augmented is used only in conjunction with PERFECT intervals.This is just not correct. Jesus really explained it well in the post above.

Overall, using the correct terminology is important for the purpose of communication - weather you talk with another musician or write down music on paper. We here on iBreathe are all like minded people - most of us play the same instrument - we know how it feels to hold the guitar, that Bbb equals A on the fretboard, that Bbb major is the same fingering as A major, etc.....

... but when you deal with other instruments this view of music theory changes a hell lot. Guys playing a cello for example will tell you that there are differences in playing an A and a Bbb. Imagine you hand out your parts to an orchestra. The violins have an A in their score, the cellos a Bbb and the basses play G##. You'll hear the clash and you will have to interrupt and sort out the problem.

We have to see the different situation we can find ourselves in as musicians and determine how to bring accross what we want. In a small ensemble (guit, bass, drums) you'll do fine with 'not so distinctive' terminology. A and Bbb is no problem.

I remember a handwritten piece by John Scofield for his quartet, that was really full of mistakes - wrong accidentals, chords, etc ... he commented it with something in the line of: "Well, when I write down ideas I just bring them to paper without being accurate - kinda writing in my slang. As soon as other musicians are involved I rework 'the language'."

So, it's all about making a musician's life easier ....

Imagine you gotta sightread that: dbb d fb e# f## Bbb cb c

Guni

szulc
10-11-2002, 02:44 AM
OK, I will admit some people use the terms Diminished and Augmented differently than I do, maybe I was taught incorrectly.
But I am doing it consistently.

I was told that you call it m2 not A1, m3 not A2, P4 not A3, A4 but more commonly D5, A5 but more commonly m6, m7 not A6.

The part I have a problem with is Bbb being different than A

... The violins have an A in their score, the cellos a Bbb and the basses play G##. You'll hear the clash and you will have to interrupt and sort out the problem.
Are you implying the strings use microtonal scales?

We are all talking about Equal Temperment here, Right?
On a piano the key between E and D is D# or Eb, if a violinist doesn't play the equal tempered equivalent of this along with the piano HE is going to sound out of tune, not the piano.

When I played violin I played equal temperment. The sound of my Bb was identical to the sound of my A#, which matched the piano I had at home. Granted it was tuned to 435hz A but it was in equal temperment. When I played fretless bass I always played in equal temperment.

Are you trying to say that non-fretted stringed instruments do not play in equal temperment? If this is true orchestras would sound terrible.

The other implication is that CEbGbA is functionally different than CEbGbBbb. What does this mean? Why isn't this called Cm6b5?

What purpose does it serve to have all of these redundant and counter intuitive names for the identical intervals?

Bongo Boy
10-11-2002, 03:23 AM
The part I have a problem with is Bbb being different than A. Are you implying the strings use microtonal scales?

I'd like to hear more on this one, myself. What's up?


What purpose does it serve to have all of these redundant and counter intuitive names for the identical intervals?

The engineer in me really likes the thrust of this question--but actually I'm very surprised at how structured music theory seems to be (so far). I was expecting it to be much more of a nightmare; in fact, I was thinking I would have to abandon reason altogether just to be able to communicate with musicians. :D

It's a joke, ok?

nateman
10-11-2002, 03:50 AM
James said:


The part I have a problem with is Bbb being different than A. Are you implying the strings use microtonal scales?


i don't know the mechanics (or "musics"?) of it, but my guitar books tell me the same thing Guni said: in some non-guitar cases A# may be different from Bb, A may be different from Bbb (read "BUH buh buh" ;) ).




James said:


What purpose does it serve to have all of these redundant and counter intuitive names for the identical intervals?


i've been able to come up with two justifications. this is based on my down-home back-country ways and may differ from normal conceptions of reality.

the first thought i had on the matter is maybe you want two notes in a chord or scale formula that would otherwise have to be derived from a single interval. say you wanted a chord with these notes in it: C, F, Gb, G. why? who knows...but pretend you wanted it. the formula for those notes would be 1, 4, b5, 5. but if you write it C, F, Gb, Abb, then you can say 1, 4, b5, bb6. you don't have to reference the fifth twice. it looks stupid, but it seems possible to me.

the second thought i had is that you might have a particular pattern of modifications you make to a scale or chord for a desired effect. say you want to always flatten a particular interval (let's take the sixth again) by a half-step to modify the sound in a certain way, regardless of it's previous major/minor nature. in that case, you would could sometimes end up with a diminished sixth. of course, now you might end up with the same tone twice in a row unless the fifth is also diminished.

both of these are obviously manufactured examples, but they're things that occur to me that could be done and might make it important to maintain those distinctions.




Bongo said:


The engineer in me really likes the thrust of this question--but actually I'm very surprised at how structured music theory seems to be (so far). I was expecting it to be much more of a nightmare; in fact, I was thinking I would have to abandon reason altogether just to be able to communicate with musicians. :D


that's no joke! ;) i'm an engineer, too, and although music theory is well-structured, it has too many special rules for me too really "like" it. the lack of an accidental between B and C and between E and F being the most basic special rule that comes to mind. :confused: let me have a crack at the big book of music theory for a couple of weeks and i'll hammer out something that makes sense. ;)

cheers,
nathan

NP- Heatmiser / Dead Air

nateman
10-11-2002, 03:53 AM
i guess i also wanted to add that James's arguments made sense to me regarding how a mix of well-tempered instruments and fretless instruments would sound bad together if the not-well-tempered instruments actually do play A# and Bb as different notes. i'm interested to hear anyone's thoughts on that!

jesus
10-11-2002, 06:49 AM
Is Bbb the same as A? Yes, they do, but only in pitch, they sound the same, forget microtonal issues, they do the same for a guitar, for a violin, for every equal-tempered instrument.
But, harmonically speaking they are different, since in terms of harmony they could have a different function. For example for Gb minor chord
Bbb is the minor third, and it must be written in a score as Bbb, not and never as A, since the chord is set-up by adding thirds to the root:
the third to G is B, and the minor third to Gb must be Bbb, not A, since A is the fourth note counting from G. It is only a convection for notation, since when you are writting music or analysing a score you need this convection in order to work properly, when you think of music theory you often gets an abstraction out of the sounds , you forget temporaly the sounds and think of harmonic relationships among the notes. If you found in a score a Cdim7 chord, for instance, you expect to see the diminished seventh, that is Bbb, and in classical written music you expect that the seventh must resolve going down in the next beat. What I would like to say is that notation rules are useful, and I agree with Guni, especially when several players join to play together, independently of the fact that the sound of Bbb and A is the same.

Greetings

szulc
10-11-2002, 10:57 AM
Why not use f# minor F# A C# then? And forget all this double accidental nonsense?

Gb minor is the relative minor to Bbb major?
I was taught proper Major scales do not have double accidentals.
F# minor is the relative of A major, which lacks this problem.

Music is about sound and emotion. It is difficult to see how all of this redundancy serves us.

jesus
10-11-2002, 11:08 AM
Why dont use F# minor F# A C#

You can really use it, it only depends on the key signature, if we think of E mayor key for example,
which key signature contain 1 sharp, you can see F# minor as the second degree, and since the key signature contains sharps you must use sharps in all the chords you build within this framework, but imagine that we are in Db key, and we think of the third degree, which would be Gb minor (Gb Bbb
Db), since the key signature contains flats, you must use only flats for your chords. This is what I mention on harmonic function of notes and chords.

szulc
10-11-2002, 11:21 AM
the iii in Db is Fm F Ab C. Gb (Gb Bb Db) Major is the IV

jesus
10-11-2002, 12:02 PM
Right James, sorry for the mistake, but anyway,
it is not important for the concept I was trying
to explain.

szulc
10-11-2002, 12:47 PM
Minor Scale use the same key signature as the relative major.
So Am uses the C key signature.

If all properly written Major scales use at most single accidentals, why would we ever need double accidentals?

I think the point that is trying to be made here is :

If you were ever to play in Gb minor or some other heavily accidental laden key and needed to double flat or sharp a note to make the notation of a chord be composed of thirds and not seconds or fourths, using these double accidental could be justified.(Which would mean you were not really diatonic to that key anymore anyway, since no Major scale that is written properly has more than single accidentals)
But in the interest of keeping the original key signature ( maybe the chord is just visited briefly), you bastardize (obfuscate) the spelling to make the chord make sense as thirds.

I understand this convention as a construct but why not just forgo the need for the chord to be represented as thirds since it is non-diatonic to this key anyway and keep the notation simple.

It is, in general , more difficult to keep track of many accidentals than just a few when reading. If you are moving to a parallel minor key Gb to Gb minor I could also see how this could be justified.
This really get back to the whole problem with notation being 'white key biased', it basically an artifact of historical use and not really of practicality.

I will accept this because of tradition not because it it logical.(because it is not)

szulc
10-12-2002, 02:42 AM
Is it not true that Properly written Major Scales can contain at most single accidentals on any given note?

If so then doesn't it follow that the relative Minors of these are the only Properly written Minor Scales?

If this is true then C#, F#, B, E, A, D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb are the properly written Major scales and A#, D#, G#, C#, F#, B, E, A, D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab are the properly written Minor scales.

If this is true doen't it mean that properly written music should not be written in Gb Minor but instead F# minor?

None of these would have bb's or ##'s. Now with Harmonic minor, melodic minor or exotic scales there could be some justification for double accidentals.

jesus
10-14-2002, 10:06 AM
Hi, first of all, excuse me James for writting very brief last friday, since I had to go out.
I think you are right, you cannot find double accidentals in any diatonic chord, however it is
possible to find, eventually, some non-diatonic chord that uses a double accidental. So, definitively, forget the Gb example.

greetings. Jesus

Jeansen
09-11-2005, 03:21 PM
hi, just wanna ask:
when you're talkin about minor intervalsl, like C Db Eb F G Ab Bb C
and we call the Db as the MINOR 2ND.
you're actually talking about phrygian modes right?

my first question : why phrygian?why not aeolian as the relative minor from Cmajor scale..?

2nd question: how about the aeolian modes: C D Eb F G Ab Bb C ? Can i call the D as the minor 2nd cause the modes sounds minor? if i can then what's the different with the major 2nd? thx u :)

Apple-Joe
09-11-2005, 04:15 PM
1) C Db Eb F G Ab Bb equals C Phrygian. Correct. What distinguishes C Phrygian from C Major, is the b2, b3, b6 and b7 intervals. The again, the difference between C Phrygian and C Aeolian (C natural minor) is the D which is natural in C Aeolian, while it is, as you see, lowered by a semitone to Db, in C Phrygian. So, the only difference between the Aeolian mode and the Phrygian mode, is the value of the second.

2) The D note in C Aeolian would not equal a minor second. A minor second intereval = a semitone/half step. A major second interval = two semitones/two half steps (a tone/whole step). By this, you understand that describing the distance between C and D as a minor second is wrong; it's a major second. On the other hand, you could say that the mode sounds minor because it has a minor THIRD interval. (There is a minor third interval in both the Aeolian and the Phrygian mode - the difference is, as you see by now; the value of the SECOND!)

- And by the way. I just read through 98.5 % of this thread, and let me say it's a wild discussion. It was an interesting read; the discussion is very focused/concentrated. I almost lost myself to "another world" while reading - I got carried away.

Jeansen
09-12-2005, 09:40 AM
hi, thx u a lot apple Joe
now my next question: Guni have said that the perfect intervals means that it doesn't contain any major or minor..now my question is: are 4th and 5th always stayed perfect? how about the Locrian modes? the 5th interval of this modes doesnt perfect isn't it? so how do you call it?
thx u..sorry for my poor english.. :p :)

Apple-Joe
09-12-2005, 09:50 AM
hi, thx u a lot apple Joe
now my next question: Guni have said that the perfect intervals means that it doesn't contain any major or minor..now my question is: are 4th and 5th always stayed perfect? how about the Locrian modes? the 5th interval of this modes doesnt perfect isn't it? so how do you call it?
thx u..sorry for my poor english.. :p :)

The interval between the root and the fifth of the Locrian mode is a DIMINISHED FIFTH. This is practically the same as an AUGMENTED FOURTH, but learn the theoretical differences. This has already been covered in the discussion.