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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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20. The Seven Diatonic Modes

Once you have grasped the key system, which includes the major and minor scales, together with the cycle of fifths, which defines all of the keys in which they occur, you are in a really good position to start exploring some fascinating alternatives to that system. The key system, which in the West we have all been musically educated into, is only really pertinent to the classical music period between, say, 1720 and 1870. Its retention in today’s popular music is largely due to the strong influence of the music of that period upon both audiences and songwriters. It did, after all, give rise to a music that used elements that still appeal to us as listeners today—a strong, distinctive melody line; a nice, clear bass ...

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