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Chord Borrowing or Modal Interchange is a simple harmonic technique which involves borrowing...

Music Theory Tutorials

Music Theory - Using Chords from Different Scales

Chord Borrowing or Modal Interchange is a simple harmonic technique which involves borrowing chords from a parallel scale or mode. In this video Jor van der Poel shows how to use two different scales (Major and Minor) which can both be used as a source for new spicy chords.

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Music theory is an essential aspect of music education that involves studying the principles and practices of music. It covers various topics, including rhythm, melody, harmony, and form, and is important for musicians, composers, and music enthusiasts. One of the critical components of music theory is chords, which are groups of notes played together to create harmony. In this article, we will discuss using chords from different scales in music theory.

Scales are a series of notes played in a specific order. There are different types of scales, including major, minor, pentatonic, and blues scales. Each scale has a unique set of intervals, which determine the distance between each note. Chords can be created by selecting specific notes from a scale and playing them together.

Using chords from different scales can add depth and complexity to music compositions. For example, using chords from the parallel minor scale in a major key can create a melancholic or darker mood. In contrast, using chords from the parallel major scale in a minor key can create a brighter and more uplifting feel.

One technique for using chords from different scales is borrowing chords. Borrowing chords involves taking a chord from a scale that is not part of the key and incorporating it into the composition. For example, borrowing the IV chord from the parallel minor scale in a major key can create a minor IV chord, which adds tension and interest to the harmony. Similarly, borrowing the VI chord from the parallel major scale in a minor key can create a major VI chord, which can add a sense of resolution and stability to the composition.

Another technique is modal interchange, which involves using chords from different modes of the same key. Modes are scales that start and end on a different note of the same scale. For example, the C major scale has seven modes, including Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian. Using chords from different modes can add a unique flavor to a composition. For example, using the IV chord from the Lydian mode in a major key can create a sense of tension and suspense, while using the bVI chord from the Aeolian mode in a minor key can create a sense of relief and comfort.

In addition to borrowing chords and modal interchange, there are other techniques for using chords from different scales, such as chromatic mediants and the Neapolitan chord. Chromatic mediants involve using chords that are a third apart and share the same quality. For example, in a C major key, the chromatic mediant chords are E-flat major and A-flat major. The Neapolitan chord is a major chord built on the lowered second scale degree of a major key. For example, in a C major key, the Neapolitan chord is D-flat major.

In conclusion, using chords from different scales is an effective technique in music theory that can add depth and complexity to compositions. Techniques such as borrowing chords, modal interchange, chromatic mediants, and the Neapolitan chord can help create unique and interesting harmonic progressions. As a musician or composer, understanding music theory and its principles is essential to create compelling music.

You can also use this technique to completely modulate to a new key, a neat thing to be able to do!

Chapters

0:00 Introduction
0:55 Harmonising the Scale
2:18 Building a Diatonic Progression
3:12 Modal Borrowing – Example 1
3:58 Modal Borrowing – Example 2
6:47 Modal Borrowing – Example 3
8:54 Final Result

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