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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Experimenting with Exotic Scales

Such scales are well worth experimenting with, especially if you want to suggest the atmosphere and influence of faraway and exotic places. To use exotic scales to their full potential, though, you shouldn’t always think about harmony in a limited chordal sense. Many exotic scales have the character of musical modes—that is, they suggest certain types of moods and atmospheres. Consequently, they often work best in the melodic dimension, where there is a different kind of harmony at play—the harmony of the interval.

Pure modal music often employs drones and such to fix the pitch of the tonic in the listener’s mind. Indian music is a good example. The sitar upon which much of the music is played has a series of ...

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