Chords/Roman Numerals/Nashville/Modes Pt2

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I have already brought this up on another thread but wanted to use a simpler progression.

I'm wanting to know if the correct method for the nashville number system to always think of the major key being I chord, despite if its a modal track etc.

Eg

Em G D A     -    Im - bIII - bVII - IV   OR    IIm - IV - I - V

Cmaj7 /// Gmaj7 /// Cmaj7 /// Am7 / Gmaj7 /            I V I VI V     OR     IV - I - IV - II V


My personal though on this would to look and relate everything to the major key

Em G D A is in the key of Em starts on the IIm so I'm in E Dorian

Cmaj7 Gmaj7 Cmaj7 Am7 Gmaj7 starts on the IV and sound like Cmaj7 and is a lydian progression although by not having the D major present doesn't warrant hanging on that sharp 4! 



Just wanted to know your thoughts?




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  • vizviz Frets: 5329
    edited February 20
    The first one’s spot on. 

    The second one - edit - just read your post properly. The G7 is a G maj7, so also spot on.

    But like much of this stuff you could also just describe the second one as though it’s in C, and just note that the G chord has a maj7 whenever it occurs (Vmaj7).

    I personally prefer the home note being the I chord. The Nashville system is ultra-confusing, counter-productive and unnecessary, I hate it!
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  • thanks @viz How would you think about it in a modal context? As in choosing what mode you need to play? I suppose thats the advantage of the Nashville System its easier to see what mode you are in? or the very least play the major scale that belongs to the key centre then use your ear to hang on certain notes through a chord progression
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  • vizviz Frets: 5329
    edited February 20
    Well I just wouldn’t work like that. I wouldn’t shift my frame of reference, I’d alter the notes in a fixed frame. 

    The 1 chord just IS the tonic in my book, whether major, minor or modal. And the V is the dominant. I can’t think in any other way - the position and role of the chord is just what the roman numerals MEAN. 


    So if I want to play in D Dorian, my chords are i ii bIII IV V (I’ve chosen to majorise the dominant chord in this example), bvi(dim), bVII, i. 
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  • BlaendulaisBlaendulais Frets: 1092

    Em G D A is in the key of Em starts on the IIm so I'm in E Dorian






    Don't you mean is in the key of D and starts on Em so playing E dorian?
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 815
    viz said:
    ...I personally prefer the home note being the I chord...
    I completely agree. It seems illogical and against how things are heard to shift the frame of reference from the home note.
    It's not a competition.
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 815
    One thing that I struggle with is how to notate things in keys that are not strictly major Ionian or minor Aeolian.

    For example, take D Dorian. I'm torn between notating it with no sharps or flats and then writing Dorian against the key signature. Or notating it with a key signature with one flat to indicate a D minor tonality, then including accidentals to covert the Bb to a B natural.

    If anyone were to call the key for 'I Wish', I'm sure they'd call it in terms of the key for its home note minor key, even though it's essentially Dorian.
    It's not a competition.
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  • BlaendulaisBlaendulais Frets: 1092
    Convention says key signatures arent written for clearly modal music but accidentals used.  However i understand what you say when it comes to chord progressions
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  • vizviz Frets: 5329
    edited March 3
    Well, both options are possible. Check Debussy’s Sunken Cathedral for example.

    But like you say, accidentals is probably better (after determining major or minor of course - not suggesting A minor should have 3 sharps in the key sig!)) - it makes one notice the mode. 

    It also reinforces that there are 3 major modes and 3 minor modes. 
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  • vizviz Frets: 5329
    edited March 3


    If anyone were to call the key for 'I Wish', I'm sure they'd call it in terms of the key for its home note minor key, even though it's essentially Dorian.

    They would, and to go one further, I don’t think we even need to make the distinction between home note minor key and it being Dorian, which is a minor mode (i know you know that!); so I’d say that its home note IS D#, and it’s in D# Dorian. And I’d personally mark it 6 sharps in the key sig and add the sharp for B# as an accidental wherever it occurs. (Or mark the key sig as Eb and naturalise the C if you prefer)

    (Rather than saying it’s in Bb minor and confuse the hell out of everyone!)



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  • fishfingersfishfingers Frets: 32
    Having attempted quite a bit of transcribing of solo fingerstyle music recently, this thread seems very pertinent (at least, from my novice perspective!)

    When notating modal music, is the best approach to use a key signature which reflects the parent scale? A signature without sharps or flats would therefore be appropriate for pieces in F lydian, G mixolydian, E phrygian etc?


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  • vizviz Frets: 5329
    edited March 10
    There are 2 schools of thought. 

    I subscribe to the ‘no’ school. I prefer to key-sig it to the parent major or minor, and add modal colour through accidentals. 


    C Major: 0 sharps or flats. 
    D Dorian: 1 flat (Bb), and naturalise it as an accidental. 
    E Phrygian: 1 sharp (F#), and naturalise it as an accidental. 
    F Lydian: 1 flat (Bb), and naturalise it as an accidental. 
    G Mixo: 1 sharp (F#), and naturalise it as an accidental. 
    A Aeolian: 0 sharps or flats. 
    B Locrian: chances are this is really in C major or G Mixolydian, but if not, I’d signature it as though it were B minor (2 sharps), and naturalise them both as accidentals. 



    And if C were the key-note, it’d be:

    C Major: 0 sharps or flats. 
    C Dorian: 3 flats, and naturalise the Ab. 
    C Phrygian: 3 flats, and flatten the D to Db. 
    C Lydian: 0 sharps or flats, and sharpen the F to F#.
    C Mixo: 0 sharps or flats, and flatten the B to Bb. 
    C Aeolian: 3 flats. 
    C Locrian: 3 flats, and also flatten the D to Db and the G to Gb.


    The other way is perfectly possible too but look how counter-intuitive it is:

    C Major: 0 sharps or flats, like A minor. 
    C Dorian: 2 flats, like Bb major or G minor. 
    C Phrygian: 4 flats, like Ab major or F minor. 
    C Lydian: 1 sharp, like G major or E minor.  
    C Mixo: 1 flat, like F major or D minor. 
    C Aeolian: 3 flats, like Eb major. 
    C Locrian: 5 flats, like Db major or Bb minor.
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 815
    edited March 10


    I agree with @viz . But I can see the argument for the other way to reduce the number of accidentals.

    For charts I generate, I like to write the mode against the key if it's not a straight major (Ionian) or its relative minor.
    It's not a competition.
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  • fishfingersfishfingers Frets: 32
    viz said:
    There are 2 schools of thought. 

    I subscribe to the ‘no’ school. I prefer to key-sig it to the parent major or minor, and add modal colour through accidentals. 


    C Major: 0 sharps or flats. 

    D Dorian: 1 flat (Bb), and naturalise it as an accidental. 

    E Phrygian: 1 sharp (F#), and naturalise it as an accidental. 

    F Lydian: 1 flat (Bb), and naturalise it as an accidental. 

    G mixolydian: 1 sharp (F#), and naturalise it as an accidental. 

    A Aeolian: 0 sharps or flats. 

    B Locrian: chances are this is really in G Mixolydian, but if not, I’d signature it as though it were B minor (2 sharps), and naturalise them both as accidentals. 



    But the other way is perfectly possible too. 
    Thanks. So, taking a "Major/Minor" approach means that the minor modes are dealt with as though they were all Aeolian and receive the key signature of the relative major of the tonic, while the major modes get the major key signature of the tonic note; and accidentals within the music are used to represent the notes that characterise the specific mode of the piece?
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  • vizviz Frets: 5329

    Thanks. So, taking a "Major/Minor" approach means that the minor modes are dealt with as though they were all Aeolian and receive the key signature of the relative major of the tonic, while the major modes get the major key signature of the tonic note; and accidentals within the music are used to represent the notes that characterise the specific mode of the piece?
    Precisely. 
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 815
    edited March 10
    The Phrygian mode (which is essentially minor) is a tricky one because in real world examples (in my experience) it seems to be intimately associated with the Phrygian dominant (which has a major 3rd). When I want that flamenco or Spanish sound, I'm often mixing the two, sometimes playing a b3 and sometimes playing a natural 3 (which would be G or G# in the key of E).

    So would a flamenco/Spanish sounding piece in E, be notated as essentially E major (Phrygian dominant) or essentially E minor (Phrygian)?

    There's an interesting parallel with the harmonic minor scale and the natural minor, where the 'Phrygians' respectively could be regarded as the 5th mode of those scales. And often when I'm composing or improvising (e.g. Smooth by Santana) I'll use both the b7 or the natural 7. So in the key of Am we come back to the use of G and G# as mentioned earlier in the context of the relative 'Phrygians'.


    It's not a competition.
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  • vizviz Frets: 5329
    edited March 11
    The Phrygian mode (which is essentially minor) is a tricky one because in real world examples (in my experience) it seems to be intimately associated with the Phrygian dominant (which has a major 3rd). When I want that flamenco or Spanish sound, I'm often mixing the two, sometimes playing a b3 and sometimes playing a natural 3 (which would be G or G# in the key of E).

    So would a flamenco/Spanish sounding piece in E, be notated as essentially E major (Phrygian dominant) or essentially E minor (Phrygian)?

    There's an interesting parallel with the harmonic minor scale and the natural minor, where the 'Phrygians' respectively could be regarded as the 5th mode of those scales. And often when I'm composing or improvising (e.g. Smooth by Santana) I'll use both the b7 or the natural 7. So in the key of Am we come back to the use of G and G# as mentioned earlier in the context of the relative 'Phrygians'.





    Interesting. I like your thinking. Here’s my view:

    Note           Relative effect on minor tonality

    3rd                50%
    6th                25%
    7th                15%
    2nd               10%

    So on the basis of those made-up numbers:

    Phrygian: 100% minor
    Aeolian: 90% minor
    Dorian: only 60% minor
    even Mixolydian: 15% minor

    Phrygian dominant (on the tonic) scores 50%, so on the fence.

    Mixolydian b6 (on the tonic) swings to 60% MAJOR, which sounds right to me. Rachmaninov wrote a lot of music in Mixo b6 and it has a major feel (just).

    Harmonic and melodic minor (when used on the tonic) score 75% and 50% minor respectively. 

    Then we have other hybrids: harmonic major scores 25% minor; neapolitan major scores 60% minor (even though it’s called major this feels right to me); the beautifully palindromic snake-charmer scale (1312131) scores 35% minor. 

    ————————


    As for the Phryg Dom and Mixo b6 in their typical V positions (in classical music) they’re as per Aeolian, because they only exist fleetingly to cadence to the minor tonic. Maybe they score half points for their raised notes, so instead of 90% minor they get 83.5% and 78.5% respectively. 



    Viz: successfully squashing art with pseudo-science since 1990.  
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  • vizviz Frets: 5329
    edited March 12

    Been thinking about this all day lol. Here are the relative weightings, from the perspective of the impact they have on major tonality:


    Note           Relative effect on major tonality

    2nd:                 10%
    3rd:                  50%
    6th:                  25%
    7th:                  15%



    And here are the 16 scales, from most major to most minor:


    MMMM: Ionian. 100% major

    mMMM: Ionian b2: 90% major

    MMMm: Mixolydian: 85% major

    MMmM: Harmonic major: 75% major

    mMMm: Mixolydian b2: 75% major

    mMmM: Snake Charmer: 65% major

    MMmm: Mixolydian b6: 60% major

    MmMM: Melodic minor ascending: 50% major

    mMmm: Phyrgian Dominant: 50%

    mmMM: Neapolitan major: 40% major

    MmMm: Dorian: 35% major

    MmmM: Harmonic minor: 25% major

    mmMm: Dorian b2: 25% major

    mmmM: Neapolitan minor: 15% major

    Mmmm: Aeolian: 10% major

    mmmm: Phrygian: 0% major



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