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DrMol

Medieval sounding scales

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DrMol    122
Does anyone know where I can find some good medieval sounding scales? It doesnt have to be tab or anything, just sounding good. And I dont want those church modes either. When I try and look up scales on the net, I can find some crazy ones, but most are a bit too forgein to really work. The best I think is Persian Major and Spanish Major, but what I really want is something Nordic. The only thing I could find is a reference to Wagner''s scales (Ride of the valkeries Wagner) can anyone give me a point in the right direction? Thanks a lot.

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BazTheHat    196
Have you checked out this website: http://www.oddmusic.com/gallery/hang/ it has loads of different scales on there.

I had a listen to the Persian scale, and it sounds quite arabic. Is that your intention, or are you after more western medieval scales? For western, I would strongly suggest either mixolydian or dorian. Yes, they are "church modes", but they were among the most popular during medieval times. For a more exotic feel, the phrygian or locrian modes are good, with the semitone at the beginning. For what it''s worth, these modes are also used a hell of a lot in jazz, too....

Hope it helps!

Barry Ryerson
Head of Audio Development
Ryerson Sound Solutions
URL:http://www.ryerson-sound.com

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jbadams    25712
Nordic ''ey?

I believe pentatonic scales are usefol for this, and instrumentation is rather important. Try to avoid basing the music on chord-progressions as you may for other styles, but instead focus on melody, and pay particular attention to rythm. Smaller chord structures than those used in other music are also good.

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DrMol    122
Awesome site! Even has timing which is really cool.

I also found a site, if anyone else is interested, with some pentatonic scales used in old Celtic music, ABCEFA sounds pretty good, if I''m not mistaken Tommy Iommi based a medieval sounding solo around it or something close, and Gaelic scales, although I think I might be missing something:
it gives the notes for one as ABCDEF-A but says its a TTSTTS, so I figure its ABC#DEF#G. Anyway, my version sounds pretty good.
I also thought that maybe playing it all an octave higher might have a more medieval sound but not sound too oriental.

I wanted to have one that sounded Mediterrain for a more southern feel and I think Persian sounds pretty good for that corsair type of feeling, the same with the Spanish scale. The Spanish 8 tone is also pretty good. I figured that smaller chords would work better, since most of the medieval stuff you hear today doesn''t sound very full. Didn''t the lute only have like 4 strings or something?

But like I said, the northern European stuff is what I am really looking for.
I tried some of those church modes, Lydian is pretty good, with some Locrian thrown in for those happier moments. Dorian isnt too bad either. Mixolydian is also really excellent, thanks for the tip.

Anyways, more comments welcome, and thanks for the help so far.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
If you''re looking for a medieval sounds, just make sure you''ve got good parallel 5ths and you should be fine.

Pentatonic scales should help too.

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Kylotan    10006
quote:
Original post by DrMol
I also found a site, if anyone else is interested, with some pentatonic scales used in old Celtic music, ABCEFA sounds pretty good, if I''m not mistaken Tommy Iommi based a medieval sounding solo around it or something close, and Gaelic scales, although I think I might be missing something:
it gives the notes for one as ABCDEF-A but says its a TTSTTS, so I figure its ABC#DEF#G.

I''m guessing he''s just using the natural minor (aeolian) there, maybe without the 4th for some reason, although your second scale is.. what... A mixolydian? (Not too good with my alternative modes, sorry.) 99% of Black Sabbath/Iommi stuff is almost certainly in the natural minor, with some diminished 5ths thrown in for good measure.

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Dude...all scales are, are guidelines...your ear tells you what you like...use your ear...and forget these exotic scales...they are bs... Harmonic Minor, Minor, Melodic Minor, Major, anything can sound medival really...just give it style

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Sil    151
Actually, knowledge of these so-called "exotic" scales really makes a difference in knowing what you want to compose vs. knowing what is possible to compose.

Also, both rhythm and melodically implied harmonies play a major role in what makes a piece of music sound authentic (as in music from a specific place and/or time period).

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
"Dude...all scales are, are guidelines...your ear tells you what you like...use your ear...and forget these exotic scales...they are bs... Harmonic Minor, Minor, Melodic Minor, Major, anything can sound medival really...just give it style"

Wow...your counterpoint must suck!

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Kylotan    10006
Pick any 3 notes and you're ready to go!

Or not.

If the scale is still based on the equally-spaced western system of 12 semitones then the principles are no different. You just have to think in terms of semitones and intervals rather than get stuck on the overly-specialised tonic-mediant-dominant style terminology. (One problem with modern music teaching is that it is obsessed with the harmonic minor and major scales, thus making it harder to teach people about the basics of intervals and harmony that are independent of the scale you use. But I digress.)

If the scale has a quite different tonality, then your work is gonna be a bit more difficult. It would help to know the frequencies of the notes so that you can calculate harmonious intervals for yourself.

Bear in mind that many of the scales mentioned above such as 'dorian' and 'mixolydian' are not exotic at all. Their intervals are used every day in popular and classical music. I'll leave it as an exercise to find out why is is technically true, and how the construction of chords there is no different to the major or minor scales.

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[edited by - Kylotan on February 4, 2004 5:27:33 AM]

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