Messiaen's Mode 6 and the Neapolitan Scale

Messiaen's Mode 6 is a symmetrical scale that can be made by adding two notes to the Whole Tone scale. Adding one of these gives us Neapolitan, so I thought it was probably time to look at the other one.

Modes and Fretboard Geometry

This post came about because of a reader's request by email, referring to an unfulfilled promise at the end of this venerable post. There I said I wanted to get round to writing about how the abstract picture of modes can translate into something concrete on the fretboard.

The Half-Hole Hypermode

There are only three octatonic ("half-whole") diminished scales, and two have reasonably well-known applications over everyday chords. What about the third?

Some Anti-Romantic Melodists

Samuel Andreyev has just done a nice video about Hindemith that reminded me of how much I like him. He's also a great antidote to all the misty, smeary, billowy late-Romantic/Impressionist stuff I've been listening to lately so I thought it would be worth doing a round-up of some good things in the same vein.

Trichord and Tetrachord Subsets of the Diminished Scale

Yesterday I posted some initial thoughts on the "whole tone dominants" -- those altered dominant chords that are subsets of the whole tone scale. The obvious other thing to do, particularly with my current obsession with Scriabin, is to look at the "octatonic dominants" that come out of the half-whole (or whole-half) diminished scale. Caveat: this post is a bit of "primary research" -- not very exciting as at stands, but with potentially useful applications.

The Shock Of The New, Even When It's Old

I've been spending a lot of time watching classical music videos on YouTube recently, and something I find very hard to ignore is the comments. People hate classical music, at least if it's less than 100 years old. Modernism remains deeply traumatic. It gives me hope.

Scriabin's "Extase" Chord and Some Relatives

Early twentieth century harmony was characterised by (among other things) the whole-tone scale. Here I consider one idea, from Alexander Scriabin's Poem of Ecstacy, involving some chords that will be familiar to jazz musicians but in a somewhat different context, and of course expanding the idea to see where it takes us.

Parking the Orbiter and Inserting into Randy's Revenge

Here are two things I just figured out about the Earthquaker Interstellar Orbiter and Fairfield Circuitry's Randy's Revenge. I don't usually do gear posts here and maybe they're obvious to everyone else but I see some confusion about the former online and the latter took me a bit of effort to work out.

Triple Diminished Ideas

Here are some ideas based on my very imperfect understanding of Yusef Lateef's "triple diminished" approach to 12-tone improvisation. I'm not sure how he improvised with it in real time (though it seems from what I've read that he did) but the results certainly sound interesting and usable.

Minor 3-Major 2 Patterns

The common pentatonic scale has only two kinds of interval between its notes: each pair is separated by either a minor third (three frets) or a major second (two frets). Of course, this scale counds very familiar, not only because of its use in rock music but also from its very different uses in music by the likes of Debussy and Ravel. So it's interesting to look at what happens when we navigate the total chromatic using those two intervals.