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2. Defin­ing a mu­si­cal scale with a set of notes

Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Music Theory Made Easy -

1 Get­ting all the notes in your project to con­form to the same mu­si­cal key is one of the most use­ful skills you can learn when cre­at­ing mu­sic, We start by defin­ing the C ma­jor scale – that’s all the white notes played from C to C, ie, C DE F GA BC. This run of notes will prob­a­bly sound very fa­mil­iar to al­most any­body with even a smat­ter­ing of mu­si­cal knowl­edge. 2 If we move the same pat­tern up the key­board and play it from F in­stead of C, we land on the F ma­jor scale – so

Bb that’s F GA C DE F. We’ re no longer stick­ing to the white notes, as this rule ap­plies only to C ma­jor, and no other ma­jor scale. What mat­ters here is the pat­tern cre­ated between each step of the scale. For these ma­jor scales, the pat­tern between the notes is 2-2-1-2-2-2-1. 3 Now we’ll con­struct a mi­nor scale. Sim­i­larly, if we use all the white notes from A to A, we end up with the A mi­nor scale–A BC DE F GA. Again, it’s the pat­tern of jumps between the notes that makes the scale mi­nor, and in this case that pat­tern is 2-1-2-2-1-2-2 – the ‘all white notes for A mi­nor’ rule is just a handy way of re­mem­ber­ing how to for­mu­late it. 4 Let’s get our heads back into C ma­jor again, draw­ing the scale in for the Low Synth part. So the point of the mu­sic ‘be­ing in C ma­jor’ is that ev­ery in­stru­ment only uses notes from this scale. In Able­ton Live, we can use the Fold func­tion to make all un­used notes dis­ap­pear, which can make work­ing with scales eas­ier. 5 So we can pro­gram any pat­tern of those white notes into the Low Synth, and it’ll be play­ing in C ma­jor. Above, we’ve set up some chords to play. As long as ev­ery note played is in the same scale, things will tend to sound pretty good to­gether. No­tice how our chords are spaced out between scale notes and don’t use ad­ja­cent notes at the same time. 6 We move to the High Synth part and Fold the pi­ano roll to the C ma­jor scale again. Once more, we can draw in prac­ti­cally any notes from those avail­able, and when played to­gether with the Low Synth chords, the in­stru­ments will be in key. Any­thing you pro­gram will sound rea­son­able… maybe not per­fect, but it’ll at least be in key.

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