Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Darker Melodies for New Age Piano?

A new student recently asked me about creating a 'darker' sound on the piano.

Traditionally, New Age piano is known for pleasant, consonant harmonies with very little or no dissonance. And that's the way it is for most New Age piano pieces.

Most of them are created in Major keys and stay there. But ... we can also create a 'darker' sound using something called 'modal' playing.

For example, in the video 'Gone, but Not Forgotten,' I use something called the Aeolian mode.

Based on the Aeolian scale, it's simply the white notes A to A. That is, if we start with a A minor chord and build our chords using this scale, we get a dark minor sound. This is also called 'tonality,' a very important concept in music because the sound you get is very much based on how you define it from the beginning.

Another way of looking at this is if you want a 'darker' sound, try playing around with some of the minor keys and modes.

In the video 'Gone, but Not Forgotten,' 3 chords are used ... A minor 7, F Major 7, and D minor 7. I use an ostinato pattern between the hands and improvise.

By the way ... in keeping with my philosphy of not trying to 'come up' with material, I created the music as I always do and then, came up with the title, i.e., I thought this music would work well for the picture and theme of the video!

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