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 on: Yesterday at 06:18:59 
Started by ModTomIT - Last post by ModTomIT
A Short Text on the Octatonic Major-Minor Scale for Trackers
by ModTomIT

The major-minor scale is an interesting one. While in Western music most of the time there are only five notes or (more commonly) seven notes in an octave, the major-minor crams eight notes into the scale. This has some advantages and disadvantages. The first is, well, more notes to play and thus more harmonic relationships to exploit. The disadvantage is that playing the scale can sound meandering (and thus, bad) more than with the other scales.

The Major-Minor scale is: Half-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step, half-step, whole-step. If its in the “key” of C, then it goes (with all sharps and no flats for trackers ;))

C, C#, D#, E, F#, G, A, A#

One thing you’ll notice really soon is the geometric repetition of form in the scale as it repeats a basic pattern four times. If you play this on a guitar or mandolin, for instance, you’ll notice the scale has the same finger pattern after every 3 notes. This makes it really easy to learn on stringed instruments, and if you have a guitar or a cello or something I really suggest you learn the basic pattern on the fingerboard.

So, note that this scale is the same every four notes. We’ll call an instance of this sameness a “unit” of the scale, for ease of learning. Each “unit” is the same, only at a different place in the scale. This means that C Major-minor, D# Major-minor, F# Major-minor, and A-Major-minor are the EXACT same scale.

So stop. Look what you have on any given note. A minor third. Every single note on this scale has a minor third ahead of it, and thus a minor third behind it. Since 3-semitones times 2 equals 6 semitones, or a tritone (diminished fifth), every note also has a tritone behind it, and ahead of it. This is one property you can exploit when constructing melodies on the scale, but you are limited in what chords can be used in a consonant manner (because, you know, the diminished fifth is a very dissonant interval).

Let’s look at the four notes at the beginning of each “unit” of the scale. What do we have on each? A fifth, a minor-third, and a major third. This property is where you can get some interesting chord action going. So in C-Major-minor, on C, D#, F#, and A, you have a major triad AND a minor triad. This allows you to create very exotic and complex moods and longer chord progressions with your music! You can change a chord from minor to major in the middle of a bar, play a chord progression in all minor chords, and then the same chord progression but with all major chords. The third of the chord is a way of playing chord melodies that are rich and exotic.

I should add that you may definitely want to ignore the traditional prohibition against parallel fifths (ie, power chord progressions) as having fifths playing on the four roots of the “units” with one instrument allows another instrument to fill in with melodies containing both major and minor thirds and other intervals.

Due to the repeating nature of the scale, complex melodies can be repeated transposed up or down 3, 6, or 9 semitones without modification except for changing their relative position. This can be a cheap composing trick though, so use it tastefully.


Next to the root of each “unit” is a note which has a fourth connected to it. This can be used in creating chord inversions. Say you’re playing in C-Major-minor, you go to C#, and then F# is played with C# to create a fourth dyad. Keep in mind that F# is the root of a “unit”! This allows you to play third inversions of chords that would start at F#, thus allowing triads to be played at any part of the scale, albeit, in a strange manner.

Minor seventh chords are available at the root of each “unit”.

All in all, the octatonic scale is an underused, cool scale that can lend emotional ambiguity and obscurity to a piece; using it creates a playful interplay of light and darkness, which can be used to great effect. I hope you enjoyed and learned something from this!

[Comments, corrections, and suggestions for additions welcome.]

 on: August 11, 2017, 08:39:15 
Started by fuzion_mixer - Last post by fuzion_mixer
It's still a WIP, so don't worry. I realised myself that the chords are...well...weird, but it sounds nice. Even then they are lacking expression and should be more complex rather than the same 4 chords playing over and over again.

...the chords sound off-key, though they may just not be tuned properly.

I'll take the tuning into consideration...maybe due to me wearing earphones everything sounded flat (note-wise) to you. Either that or, like you said, it's not tuned properly.

I can also barely hear anything over the chords.

That I realise myself too. I'll try to manually EQ the whole song to shape the 'triangle' sound once I complete it.

 on: August 11, 2017, 05:05:23 
Started by fuzion_mixer - Last post by nikku4211
In my opinion the chords sound off-key, though they may just not be tuned properly. I can also barely hear anything over the chords.

 on: August 11, 2017, 00:43:40 
Started by Dmac9244 - Last post by Saga Musix
Hm, there is one explanation I can think of that matches the ~1.25 semitones: MilkyTracker was rendering at 44.1kHz but the audio interface was set to 48kHz, or vice versa. This may happen under certain circumstances with some audio drivers if two applications are trying to access the audio interface at the same time, but with different mix rates. For example, you might have had your browser open and it was previously used to play a video with 48kHz audio, and then you wanted to play something in Milkytracker which was configured to render at 44.1kHz.

 on: August 10, 2017, 21:12:37 
Started by Dmac9244 - Last post by Dmac9244
Thanks, but what you just said should prove that there was a problem with either my computer, my keyboard, or MilkyTracker. I did not have perfect A440 tuning with the generated samples. Everything was about 1.25 whole tones flat. I corrected it by moving everything 1.25 semitones sharp, but when I just went back in, everything was 1.25 semitones sharp. I just untransposed and un-fine tuned everything, and it's OK now.

There was some problem with my computer. I don't know what it is/was, but I can't really reproduce it, and I don't know why it's happening.

 on: August 10, 2017, 17:07:20 
Started by fuzion_mixer - Last post by fuzion_mixer

Upcoming on the YouTube link. Title of the video says itself. Let me know your critiques

 on: August 08, 2017, 18:51:39 
Started by fuzion_mixer - Last post by Saga Musix Should be available in the next MilkyTracker update.

 on: August 08, 2017, 07:48:28 
Started by ZedFox - Last post by ZedFox
ah, that's cool, thanks anyway!  :P

 on: August 08, 2017, 00:13:25 
Started by ZedFox - Last post by Saga Musix
I cannot help you with these specific tunes but people including me have already started to identify a few other tunes from that video in this thread over at Demozoo:

 on: August 08, 2017, 00:09:47 
Started by Dmac9244 - Last post by Saga Musix
MilkyTracker's instrument transposition and finetune have nothing to do with scientific tuning, they just change the playback speed of your sample. It entirely depends on the sample content what your instrument sound like. Just as an example, imagine that you are recording someone playing a single tone on a flute, and the recording frequency is 44.1kHz. This recording frequency has in fact nothing to do with how they play the flute - they might play it a bit sharp or flat, but no matter what the recording frequency is still 44.1kHz, and if you imported this sample into MilkyTracker, it would be imported as Finetune -28 (these are not cents but 128th of a semitone) / relative note F-5.
If you create chip samples in MilkyTracker, you will have almost perfect A440 tuning with a loop length of 64 or multiples of that and a finetune/transposition of 0.

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