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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Toward the end of the 1800s, however, composers started to feel restrained by the key system, and they began to experiment outside of it. One very valuable source of experimentation was looking back to what composers were doing before the key system established itself. At that time, composers were using a more complex set of scales that today we call modes. With a different kind of sound to major and minor scales, they enabled composers to write some very fresh, original, and inspiring music.

Seeking alternatives to the major/minor system, composers also looked to the music of their own native traditions—that is, folk music. Through incorporation of folk elements into classical scores, some highly individual and often very national ...

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