Root key


I’ve wanted to study some of the Indian classical music… That stuff is so different… There’s gotta be a way to make it easier to listen to while still keeping the spirit.


Lots of bands have incorporated it over the years. Only one that springs to mind atm are the beatles. might be good to start looking from there.


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Yeah, fuck it.


in any key you can play all the keys, unles it’s a scale of limited transposition. One can always modulate between keys, and you’re a fucking idiot if you ignore theory. it’s not “the rules”, it’s a recorded history of how (mostly western) music has evolved. You’re an even bigger fucking idiot if you’re against theory and you ‘do what sounds right’. because: that’s fucking theory.

if you’re really against theory, then just do what doesn’t sound right. there’s a theory for that too though, so in short, you’re royally fucked, pissface.


Not really sure you get the situation. It’s one thing to do what sounds right to you, the person who knows what you’re trying to make, and it’s another thing to do what sounds right to a bunch of mostly dead people, who don’t know what you’re trying to make.
You can extrapolate (intrapolate?) it to using tried techniques for specific genres, and the former situation generally leads to making something more or less original, whereas the latter tends to lead to making cookie cutter stuff.


I think the debate comes from the view that ‘western conventions sound the best.’

I remember being talked down on here by I think a graduate of music who tried to tell me that non-12 tet tuning systems should not be explored because they sound bad, and tried to imply that I was new to music theory. College kids.


music theory happens as soon as you hit a key on a (music) keyboard, or as soon as you use a drum. it’s beyond 12 tone. consider odd or even harmonics, or the concept of inharmonic partials.


As an aside, the study of timbre could be viewed more generally under the area of mathematics called Fourier analysis which has applications to the field of electrical/electronics engineering called signal processing which in turn can appear in the form of digital audio signal processing (DASP).


Theories never ‘happen’ man.


music theory does. give me any one of your tunes and I’ll throw in some roman numerals


my ears tell me what note is ok with another note (in the same way they tell me which note is completely not ok with another note), without me having to delve into musical theory or find the root key or ask someone else. Call it a gift or whatever, but I reckon this gift is kind of a minimum requirement for making music tbh.


your ears tell you what sounds good because you’ve been conditioned to believe certain notes are sonorous/consonant. music theory is not rules, it’s a written history of what’s been done. Beethoven broke the rules and theorists later came along and called it “romanticism”.

Debussy started using 9ths and 13ths in his harmonies and later other artists expanded on it, and theorists came along and called it jazz.

If you heard music written in slendro or pelog, it wouldn’t sound as sonorous to your ears, though it would still work within the context of the scales available in slendro or pelog.

my main point is if you’re writing something that sounds remotely pleasing to your ears then it’s based on the musical practices of (likely) western art music through the centuries. knowing what you can do with more extended theory knowledge only gives you a greater toolset, but it’s not necessary. To say that you just trust your ears but hating on music theory is a contradiction.


I didn’t say I hate music theory, but I am saying that i trust my ears. I don’t need to analyse what I am playing in detail, or consult any musical theory reference, because my ears tell me in real time whether certain notes go together or not.


i gotcha. forgive me saying that you were ‘hating’—not really fair. I don’t consult theoretical shit when i’m making tunes either, but i do think about how i can take shit further based on my (limited) knowledge of music theory. shit like, changing keys to create an emotional response.

there’s a lot that theory is shit for, like rhythms that weren’t based on typical time signatures of the common practice era, or polyrhythms. it just gets a little frustrating to me when people say they trust their ears, when that doesn’t come from within anymore than being able to make grammatical decisions comes from any sort of ‘gift’.

I don’t believe in gifts or talent either. I’ve been called talented at times, but usually by people who don’t know what a DAW is or glaze over when I try to explain a 2 pole filter.

your knowledge of synthesis is similar, as is all of ours. Bob Moog is primarily responsible for the modern subtractive synthesis workflow. I was messing with an original arp owned by a friend and I’ll be damned if I could figure out the signal flow for the first 15 minutes.

‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ etc… all that shit :slightly_smiling:

edit: how many times can i put the word shit in a post?


I disagree. Some people literally don’t have a musical ear, like they sing out of tune, or they make music with glaringly obvious discordant notes. I know people who’ve been listening to and making music for as long as I have, but who still struggle with this. Maybe it’s not a gift but I do believe some people find it easier than others to hear when things sound right or not, and I’m not convinced you can learn it - you either have it or you don’t imho.

Comparing it to grammar doesn’t work for me either, grammar is literally just learning stuff, learning about apostrophes and i’s before e’s and all that.


Just having an ear for music might be enough, but imo shit becomes a lot easier when you can tell where the problem is, just by looking at the piano roll AFTER you noticed that something sounds wrong.


No, you’re ears tell you what’s good because it relates to the irrational number phi = 1.61801… like the rest of the arts.

Phi (or phi^0+phi^-1) as a ratio of frequency sits between the sixths, its inverse, phi^0+phi^-3 sits between the thirds, following the pattern, phi^0+phi^-5 sits between the seconds, and its inverse sits between the sevenths. These are all of the intervals within an octave that are called major or minor in western theory. Sharpening or flattening these ratios gives you an increasingly happy or sad sound consistent with the minor/major western nomenclature.

If I asked you to sing an emotionally neutral note, then an optimistic, happy, excited, pessimistic, sad or depressed one, the ratio between those notes will be one of these kinds of manipulations of phi.

Remember the “rule of thirds”?
2/3 ~ 1/phi

Is that conditioning or innate biology?

If you have never heard this before, it’s because I discovered it myself for what I intend to be a journal article. I realise now that what I should look at is also expressing these ratios as integer multiples of phi brought down into the first octave.


Nope, it takes training. That’s why aural training is taught at university.


It matters imo because the key you compose in affects where all your elements lay on the spectrum. For example, If you put your sub beneath D, it will sit around or below 30hz which is not optimal considering most speakers cant play anything below 50hz.

It all matters depending on what you are playing your tunes on, for example, if your end game is laptop speakers (because you visit the growl thread) then you would want your sub to actually be somewhere around F3.

The reason F min is so popular is because the low-end will translate across a wider range of devices, but if you are a leet system producer, you are searching that D# root for your sub to merc that 38hz punani. Thats truhed bassweight territory.