Author Topic: A Dorian Scale Question  (Read 2086 times)

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Offline Jayson

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A Dorian Scale Question
« on: October 13, 2014, 05:20:45 PM »
I am new. I apologize if this is not the best place for this topic; if not, please move as needed.

I have a piece which I am transcribing out from Ableton (midi editing software) to sheet music manually (because I want to get better at writing music properly instead of relying on shortcuts from programs).

I'm not entirely proficient on proper sheet annotation of scales once I wander a bit beyond basic major and minor notations.
Further, this specific piece has a run that confuses me a bit as to how to properly name the scale in the first place.

So it's a two part question:
1) Clarification of the nomenclature of the scale I'm using
2) Education on how to notate that scale on the clef correctly (assume piano treble clef for this)

The notes I have in proper form are:
A, B, C, D, E, F#, G, which would be A Dorian

But the actual full list of notes, improperly are:
A, B, C, D, D#, E, F#, G

I don't know what to call this when the extra D# is involved.   :-[

So that's the first question.
The second part is how that's exactly notated on the clef correctly; whatever scale that actually is.


Thank you all for any help possible,
Jayson
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 07:06:07 PM by Jayson »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 03:55:35 AM »
Hi, Jayson, and welcome!  And (so far as I can tell) this is absolutely the right "zone."
 
My sense is that, since the Common Practice system of key signatures and the old "church" modes are something of an imperfect fit, there is some flexibility in notation.  My own inclination (no obligation on your own part) is to notate A Dorian with a "key signature" of "G Major" (i.e., F#).  Some performers whose "sense of key center" is mentally tied to the Common Practice signatures, may prefer you to notate with a key signature of A Major (i.e., F#, C# and G#), and cancel the C# and G# with naturals as you go.  Personally, I find that latter proposal a bit clunky, visually.
 
Nomenclature for scales/modes becomes trickier with increased chromaticism.  I'd say, if the D# is only an occasional altered tone, simply call it A Dorian . . . after the model of (say) a short C Major piece which in one or two phrases uses F# in a secondary dominant, to momentarily suggest G.
 
If (as may well be) that D# is a more powerful presence than in my analogy . . . one could not simply call it A Dorian, nor could one simply call it "A Dorian with raised fourth degree" — since the fourth degree appears as both normal and raised by half-step.

I'm not certain what the "right" verbal solution might be . . . "A Dorian plus raised fourth degree"?  I wonder if our Luke has a suggestion . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 06:26:53 AM »
Karl is quite right: and depending on how often the D# is used, you might end up with the ear hearing  more of an E minor harmonic scale.

I like "A Dorian + D#" as a solution.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 06:31:10 AM »
"One likes to label everything"   8)    0:)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

kishnevi

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 06:37:54 AM »
If you need a label...Augmented Dorian or Modified Dorian are probably the least clumsy descriptors.

Offline Cato

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 06:38:11 AM »
"One likes to label everything"   8)    0:)

Heh-heh!  Order out of chaos!  ;)

Maybe Jayson is synaesthetic and will call it the Chartreuse Scale!
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

kishnevi

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 06:47:21 AM »
Just don't call it Dorian Grey.

Offline Cato

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 06:55:49 AM »
Just don't call it Dorian Grey.

Now there is a sharp idea!  0:)
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

- Brian Aherne introducing Rosalind Russell in  My Sister Eileen (1942)

Offline Jayson

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2014, 06:49:24 PM »
Haha, good fun.

Thanks everyone for the ideas.
I think, indeed, I'll call it A Dorian add b5 and for staff notation, the idea of marking on F# and just noting the D# inline sounds very sensible; it only appears a couple times so that's not a huge issue - it's just important to include it sonically. :)

Thank you all for the help! :)

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2014, 04:16:22 AM »
Cheers, Jayson!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Jayson

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2014, 04:10:07 PM »
Since everyone was so helpful, I thought I would be a bit courteous and share a tiny part of the piece I'm working on.
This is just a duet of classical guitars which will open the piece - which I'll be replacing the current idea I had previously of opening with a solo piano (you can hear the current virtual composition model here).

Classical Guitar Duet

Thanks again for all the help everyone!
It'll be an adventure to transcribe this over to sheet music properly. :)

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: A Dorian Scale Question
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2014, 04:20:40 AM »
Thanks! . . . logistically, it will be tomorrow before I can see to this, but I look forward to it, Jayson!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot