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The Black Notes

Postby The Bunk » Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:11 pm

Not sure if this has been discussed in depth already, so sorry if it has but...
Just heard a lovely (piano) ambient track based around two chords, F and Bb.
I've tried creating my own stuff using a similar concept but have usually gone for the easier option of C and G, or G and C etc and they just don't seem to have the same...I don't know what you'd call it, richness, depth, melody...? Ok it's still only one black note with the Bb, but is there something in the notes or group of themselves that makes some chords "work" like this?
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:43 pm

I don't know, but I tend to live around the black notes as part of my playing style, and use more conventional scales/chords reluctantly / less frequently (usually in attempts to get away from my more typical style).

I blame it on starting the beginning of my musical education with a Casio VL-Tone, on which the black notes were larger, higher, spaced wider apart and much easier targets than the white notes, so I tended to learn riffs and melodies based around them more often...
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby Forum Admin » Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:56 pm

The Bunk wrote:Just heard a lovely (piano) ambient track based around two chords, F and Bb.


I can while away hours on the piano noodling over Fmaj7 > Cmaj7 chord inversions. Whack the piano's sustain pedal down, don't release it, and I'm in ambient heaven. All the white notes, easy-peasy. :)

On guitar, open strings ring and sound different, of course, but on piano I'd guess it's got something to do with the harmonic overtones?
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby The Bunk » Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:56 pm

Forum Admin wrote:
The Bunk wrote:Just heard a lovely (piano) ambient track based around two chords, F and Bb.

I can while away hours on the piano noodling over Fmaj7 > Cmaj7 chord inversions. Whack the piano's sustain pedal down, don't release it, and I'm in ambient heaven. All the white notes, easy-peasy. :)


Nice, just tried that. Reminds me of Gymnopedie No. 1.

Problem I've also got is the black notes on my keyboard (Juno D) are tiny; add the fact that I play the keys like I'm wearing boxing gloves and it can be a mess. Or "Jazz" as they sometimes call it.

I'm just laying down a backing track using the F and Bb, just hitting (sometimes literally!) those two chords; it's surprisingly difficult to not get tempted into embellishing them over four minutes! Have to keep reminding myself that there will be other stuff going over the top of it.
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby Wonks » Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:08 pm

It's what MIDI editors and cut and paste are for.
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby The Bunk » Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:33 pm

Yep, just considered the obvious "cut'n'paste" route and will do that for the underlying stuff. Just kind of seems wrong. The fun in all this should be the playing, even if I do sound like Les Dawson at times.
But the other thing from previous posts is "don't just play major chords". Being a 3-chord merchant on the guitar, that took a while to realise ;)
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby Wonks » Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:56 pm

That should be 9-chord merchant. 3 chords in each position. :D
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby The Bunk » Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:01 pm

Wonks wrote:That should be 9-chord merchant. 3 chords in each position. :D

Of course! Not to mention SIX chords in ONE BAR of "Down, Down" alone!!! :D
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby Wonks » Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:16 pm

All the right chords, just not necessarily in the right order... :D
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:32 pm

Wonks wrote:All the right chords, just not necessarily in the right order... :D

You rang?

;)
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:39 pm

F to Bb is an interval of a 4th, C to G is a 5th interval and G to C is also a 4th.

So you'd need to stick with a 4th relationship to answer your query, cos it's the intervals that decide wot we perceive, as this, that, or the other.

I've often pondered wot you're, I think, are asking, that diff keys/intervals on a keyboard sound diff, when in fact they should sound the same, cos, say, a I III V I harmonic progression should say the same no matter wot key you're in, the laws of physics an' all dat.

However, equal temperament, not being er, actually equal is pos the culprit here, as all the compromises result in the individual notes not actually being an equal, relative, distant apart, the ratio/cents are diff, but are these diff's actually enough to sound diff/better.

I used to think so, but now i'm not so sure cos you become accustomed to a riff/sound, then trying another key directly after seems to relate, interval wise, to what you've just played, so would need to get the other voicing out of your head before moving on to judge accurately.

Er, I think

My point would be, are the discrepancies between each individual note in Equal Temp enough for humans to notice the diff in diff keys? or are they so small that we are physically unable to notice them and hence they all sound the same to us regardless?
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby The Bunk » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:21 pm

LdashD wrote:F to Bb is an interval of a 4th, C to G is a 5th interval and G to C is also a 4th.

So you'd need to stick with a 4th relationship to answer your query, cos it's the intervals that decide wot we perceive, as this, that, or the other.

I've often pondered wot you're, I think, are asking, that diff keys/intervals on a keyboard sound diff, when in fact they should sound the same, cos, say, a I III V I harmonic progression should say the same no matter wot key you're in, the laws of physics an' all dat.

However, equal temperament, not being er, actually equal is pos the culprit here, as all the compromises result in the individual notes not actually being an equal, relative, distant apart, the ratio/cents are diff, but are these diff's actually enough to sound diff/better.

I used to think so, but now i'm not so sure cos you become accustomed to a riff/sound, then trying another key directly after seems to relate, interval wise, to what you've just played, so would need to get the other voicing out of your head before moving on to judge accurately.

Er, I think

My point would be, are the discrepancies between each individual note in Equal Temp enough for humans to notice the diff in diff keys? or are they so small that we are physically unable to notice them and hence they all sound the same to us regardless?

You're talking to a Status Quo fan here.

:headbang: :
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby CS70 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:49 pm

I really can't play the piano, but I have a good digital one at home and I've dabbled with it. Since - unlike the guitar, and due to the black keys - chords don't transpose with the identical finger pattern, I find that playing different key in a (for me!) "natural", easy position tends to bring out different ideas, while on the guitar patterns stay more or less the same (with progressively smaller frets, but no big deal really) so the key doesn't really have a huge impact.

Could be just that?
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby Guest » Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:33 pm

The Bunk wrote:
LdashD wrote:F to Bb is an interval of a 4th, C to G is a 5th interval and G to C is also a 4th.

So you'd need to stick with a 4th relationship to answer your query, cos it's the intervals that decide wot we perceive, as this, that, or the other.

I've often pondered wot you're, I think, are asking, that diff keys/intervals on a keyboard sound diff, when in fact they should sound the same, cos, say, a I III V I harmonic progression should say the same no matter wot key you're in, the laws of physics an' all dat.

However, equal temperament, not being er, actually equal is pos the culprit here, as all the compromises result in the individual notes not actually being an equal, relative, distant apart, the ratio/cents are diff, but are these diff's actually enough to sound diff/better.

I used to think so, but now i'm not so sure cos you become accustomed to a riff/sound, then trying another key directly after seems to relate, interval wise, to what you've just played, so would need to get the other voicing out of your head before moving on to judge accurately.

Er, I think

My point would be, are the discrepancies between each individual note in Equal Temp enough for humans to notice the diff in diff keys? or are they so small that we are physically unable to notice them and hence they all sound the same to us regardless?


You're talking to a Status Quo fan here.

:headbang: :


I don't mind the Quo, some good stuff in their repertoire, but hey maan it ain't as difficult as it sounds and certainly so cos i'm in/was in, the the same boat as you dude, i ain't no academic prof.

Try this, C maj all the white notes, C To C, count 'em, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, the 8 being the octave, same note as the fundamental C, ok, play jus' the 1 3 5, no movement eh, now add the 2 and or 4, heyy now we got movement, now run up to the 7 and stay there, keep hitting the 7, go on, keep hitting it, now, hit the fundamental C, phew, that's a resolve eh, now we can start all over again eh, also see how the 7 has a strong drive to the fundamental/root C, that's voice leading maan, same for me, you, Beet'oven, 'endrix you name it dude. The 5th is the strongest relationship between any two notes/intervals our ears luv it, big time, try it.

With your query you've already demonstrated your discerning ability with regards voice leading, quality of melody etc or similar, so don't knock it, I understood all this stuff without actually having learnt it by, just like you, playing it and letting my ears decide, so you also know dude, you jus' cain't articulate it yet, don't matter cos like moi, you knew it anway.

The amount of chords you use to achieve a half decent piece of music is irrevelant, less is more, more or less.

Intervals are just the aesthetic gaps between the individual notes, each note/interval, as you've already dicovered with your query, is diff from another, they all say something diff.

In C try a 2 then a 3 then a 4 etc & so on against the fundamental KEY NOTE in this case C, you just leap and step through the intervals, basically, the 1 3 5 you jump to, t'others you step through, try it, the shortest route is usually the best...
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby The Bunk » Tue Jun 07, 2016 6:59 pm

Thanks LdashD...I've actually been a little self-deprecating (or at least I think I have!) in summarising my ability although I am certainly no wizard on the pianner. But creativity is certainly not a strong point in my composing. Other than tweaking around with a sometimes left-field type version of an original.
Yep, less is more, I always find that to be the case. It's just often very difficult to keep that in mind when actually recording and putting it all together!
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby francisdw » Sat Jun 11, 2016 8:09 am

In psychology, there's a theory of processing in the mind that may apply to this situation. It's called "Schema Theory." Summarizing lazily here, but what it's getting at is that the sum of our experiences creates categories, hierarchies, and scripts for processing information and allowing us to make judgements, assumptions, and anticipate the future.

The sum of our musical listening experiences can be processed the same way. While most of us don't have a mechanism for remembering exactly what key something is in, we do produce a relative ranking of key energies based on the relatives differences in 1:1 hz comparisons between each note in each scale. Additionally, we associate types and "colors" of songs with levels of energy. Most of us are familiar with early beginning songs in C Major? Notice how C Major typically and correspondingly feels sort of shallow, and lacks depth of emotion or nuance? How about songs in G Major that have a sort of strong edge? While F Major really produces more of a warm happiness than C Major shallow pluck? In general, across the repertoire, keys with more flats have mellower sound and meaning to them. Its only possible because we have heard songs of that quality usually associated with those keys. But really, since it's the sum of our experiences that produces these expectations, you could say that songs are this way, arbitrarily, simply because they are!

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Re: The Black Notes

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:18 pm

Surely if all that was true then the C=432hz thing would also be valid?
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby zenguitar » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:18 am

Sam Spoons wrote:Surely if all that was true then the C=432hz thing would also be valid?


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

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Re: The Black Notes

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:55 am

:bouncy:

I don't think C maj "typically and correspondingly feels sort of shallow, and lacks depth of emotion or nuance" to me none of that comes from the key the song is written in (well not if we assume major keys only for the purpose of this discussion) but from the chord changes, melody and, above all, the performance.

'Beginner songs' (any specific examples Ward?) may sound shallow and lacking the above but not because they are in C or G or whatever but because they are commonly played by beginners so are necessarily simple and the players performance lacks nuance. Many of those same songs played by an accomplished performer have depth, emotion and nuance in spades.
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Re: The Black Notes

Postby The Bunk » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:25 pm

Good points there Sam, and I will also throw in the fact that, as a "slightly better than beginner" pianist, most of the stuff I have played has, as you've suggested, leant (not exclusively, mind) towards the white key stuff. It may now be that just hearing different keys/tones is as much as anything refreshing to the ears.
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