View Full Version : Pitch Axis Theory
12-03-2010, 08:38 AM
I get the mechanics of it:
I kinda understand what's going on, but I have a question.
Is pitch axis theory a totally different way to write a tune i.e. does a tune written with pitch axis concepts sound different than "standard" (nebulous concept here) methods OR is it just to a different way to approach music in a standard way? Meaning can a I-IV-V7 or iimin7-V7-IMaj7 cadence be rewritten using pitch axis (chords with same root I... to I... to I... etc?). Or does pitch axis imply a totally different thing altogether?
12-03-2010, 08:50 AM
My understanding of it is that there are modes that correspond to certain chords. You can play a melody using those modes that will "suggest" those corresponding chords.
The way I've played with it is similar to the "Not of This Earth" example on Wikipedia. I'll create a vamp that either uses a single note played as the bassline, a single triad power chord, or a simple 3 note progression in a single key. I'll mess around until I get some interesting sounding chords over that and then experiment with the modes to create a melody that implies a chord progression.
EDIT: Just wanted to clarify that the modes used to imply the chord progression via the melody in my example are all in the same key as the vamp. So all the chords would have the same note as the root. Example # 2 on Wikipedia gives a better idea of how you can use pitch axcess far more elegantly than my simplistic example. :)
2nd EDIT: To answer your question, I think it could probably apply to all of your examples.
12-04-2010, 12:42 PM
I wrote a "country" tune -trying to emulate Johnny Cash and WIllie Nelson- and I mixed Dorian and regular minor using the same key, ie. the root chord is the same.
Turns out the song is basically a rip-off of "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel. So that song must be doing the same thing.
It sounds awesome to switch between the two tonalities, by the way. I don't know if it is the same idea as Satriani's pitch axis theory but when I used the idea to put together a song, it really made sense.
12-04-2010, 06:00 PM
I suppose a classic example would be the jazzy shift of the Imaj7 to Imin7. Where you play Ionian then with the same root Dorian (or something minor). Like Dmaj7 to Dmin7 cadence.
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