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-   -   Pitch-Axis Theory (http://metaltabs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24106)

Adagio 2005-09-09 01:49

Pitch-Axis Theory
 
Hi,

Im interested in your views on Pitch-Axis. Do any of you use it in your compositions? Im not a devout metal fan, my main influences being Joe Satriani, JS Bach and Rusty Cooley, and of course Megadeth!. So it would be very interesting to see it used in the context of numerous forms of metal.

powersofterror 2005-09-09 09:34

Never heard of it.

Amon rA 2005-09-09 10:06

pitch axis theory explanation

fairly simple technique, which i constantly find myself using, not because i know loads of theory, but because don't use any when writing songs.

h4x5k8 2005-09-09 10:45

Haha, Ive done the pitch access theory without even noticing it then, didnt know it was an actual technique or theory. I wonder if you it would sound good if you did differant quanity tonal scales. Like if you played E maj. then E min. then E phryg. (All 7 tone scales) Then E penatonic (5 tone)

blizzard_beast 2005-09-09 13:13

So what it's basically linking up different modes and scales in the same key. Surely everyone does that?

davie_gravy 2005-09-09 13:44

Interesting. I knew I could play parallel modes in a key, but have never heard an application of it. Time to try new things.

Adagio 2005-09-10 01:24

Ok here we go. This is what pitch axis is all about.

Itīs actually called the "Pitch Axis" technique. Itīs not really a playing technique, itīs a composing technique. It was used by composers way before Satriani started to use it, but he was the first one to use it in the context of rock music, thatīs why many people refer to it as "Satrianiīs Pitch Axis technique". So he didnīt invent it, but he introduced many guitarists to it. The ideo of the PItch Axis technique basically is to take different scales and modes, starting from a common tonal center, and use them in the context of i.e. a solo. You could i.e. take the note A as your tonal center and then use different modes and scales ( and chords ! ) based on the note A ( i.e. playing a solo consisting of: One bar of soloing in A major, then A phrygian, then some hybrid scale or whatever based on the note, all over a strict pedal tone... A ) Some Satriani songs are composed that way... i.e. the famous tapping-break in "Satch Boogie"... Satch said that his best pitch-axis-composition was the tune "Not Of This Earth".

Hereīs a quote from some feature about Satriani and the pitch axis-technique: "It has an impressive name, but pitch axis theory need not be complicated or intimidating. This compositional method is grounded on a simple idea, so the level of complexity or sophistication depends purely on application. The principle is that any number of harmonic settings can be linked by the same tonal center. Say you're in C major ( C D E F G A B C ) for four bars and C minor ( C D Eb F G Ab Bb C ) for the next four. The major and minor keys share the same tonic, C, and this note provides a pivot point on which to shift harmonies. You could then take four bars in, say, C Phrygian ( C Db Eb F G Ab Bb ) and then four in C Mixolydian ( C D E F G A Bb ). Now a series of four distinct harmonies are adjoined, all of them revolving around the same key center, C. Thus, one pitch provides an axis point for the scales and chords of a variety of harmonic situations.

The Angry Hobbit 2005-10-24 13:53

ive been doing that for a while..... linking modes in one key is the only way i can solo the whole neck.

Amadeus 2005-10-24 14:19

So that's what it's called? Myself I've just called it "Roundabout", since I simply try to write a song while running around the same note. No, I have never studied any musical theory in an organised fashion. As a matter of fact, I think about three quarters or thereabouts of my knowledge of musical theory and vocabulary comes from - you guessed it - you guys.
Yea, I've used it quite much of lately - including on your song l'b'xxx, I'll have something soon - and I really like it. You never really have to be afraid of not finding anything at all for a solo or an ending and it still leaves you quite a lot of room for creativity.

YJM04 2005-10-24 19:48

everyone does that. it just sounds cool. and is easier than looking for a parcil /perfect(1,4,8 of scale)higher. cuz parcils always have a good harmony becuase their perfect intervals

Unanything 2005-10-28 13:47

I heard the Satch mention it in an interview in a guitar magasine once. Sounded interesting, and I'm on a conquest through the world of music theory at the moment. This is my next stop. Thanx.

xsyorra 2005-11-25 14:44

Thanx for the description! I'm not up on theoretical names and such.......mostly because I never really studied more than what makes up scales, chords, keys, and modes. My working knowledge of theory trancends my book-learning, which explains why I've never heard of the term, Pitch-Axis.

By the description, Pitch-Axis is the basis of my sound. I teach it to all my students, though not in that technical of a description. I usually introduce the concept in a way of fundamental key-changes.

Unanything 2005-11-25 15:59

A[---------------------------]
F[--------------4-5-4h5p4---]
C[-------5-6-3------------5-]
G[5-6-3---------------------]
D[-3-3-3-3-3-3--3-3------3-]
A[--------------------------]

Is this pitch axis? Oh, this is my riff. There is a Bb harmonic minor scale with an F bass note.

davie_gravy 2005-11-25 16:59

pitch axis would be to playing Bb harmonic minor, or Bb natural minor, or Bb phrygian, or any mode at that fact as long as the home tone is Bb.

Rattlehead 2005-11-25 17:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unanything
A[---------------------------]
F[--------------4-5-4h5p4---]
C[-------5-6-3------------5-]
G[5-6-3---------------------]
D[-3-3-3-3-3-3--3-3------3-]
A[--------------------------]

Is this pitch axis? Oh, this is my riff. There is a Bb harmonic minor scale with an F bass note.
No. You stay in the same scale for that whole riff.


This would be an example:
A[------------------------][------------------------]
F[------------4-5-4h5p4---][------------3-5-3h5p3---]
C[------5-6-3------------5][------5-6-3------------5]
G[5-6-3-------------------][5-6---------------------]
D[-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3------3-][-3-363-3-3-3-3-3------3-]
A[------------------------][------------------------]


The first bar is unchanged (I didn't bother figure out the timing or make the note durations add up ... is this 5/8?). The second bar is the exact same thing except I changed the major 3 to a minor 3 (I turned the A into Ab) - the scale is F phrygian. I put an Ab in near the beginning (replacing your Bb) so that the 'listener' (in this case, you listening to yourself play, heh) can hear a drastic change in the scale early in the bar.
Now this combination of a mode change only flattened one note, (and it probably sounds like crap but I don't have my bass handy to write a good riff) but if you were to play, say and F major for the second bar instead, then you might get a cool transition!
What makes this different than a scale change you might hear in a song is that these changes occur frequently (here once per bar) and thus there is constant change from one to the other (or if you want more than two, through your list of modes with F as the root, like in Satriani's songs).

By the way, do most bare tone (damn I have no idea how you spell this, what I mean is a 6 string designed to have B as the lowest note) have the 3rd interval between the first and second string or do you just tune that way for some strange purpose? It seems odd that it would be tuned that way, inconvenient for chords and such. (or do you own a 7 string and you just didn't bother tab the high 'D' string since it wasn't used?)

If you do have a 6er and do tune the 3rd between the two first strings, why?

Unanything 2005-11-26 10:43

I am intended on getting a 7-string and having a major 3rd between the 1st and 2nd strings allows me to play other higher-tuned 6-string music without awkwardnesses, and also play 7-string music without needing to go near the heads.

I get the idea now.
I remember the Satch' said he used it to identify scales as well. However though, :confused: .

I have a solo in 49:16 time that goes down the harmonic minor, the root note determined as it follows each degree up the A Phrygian Dominant. Is that pitch axis or do you have to revolve each scale used around a single root note?

Rattlehead 2005-11-26 13:55

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unanything
I am intended on getting a 7-string and having a major 3rd between the 1st and 2nd strings allows me to play other higher-tuned 6-string music without awkwardnesses, and also play 7-string music without needing to go near the heads.

That seems like a complicated explanation but I get it now. Makes good sense too. :)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unanything
I have a solo in 49:16 time that goes down the harmonic minor, the root note determined as it follows each degree up the A Phrygian Dominant. Is that pitch axis or do you have to revolve each scale used around a single root note?

Exactly it has to revolve around the same root note for it to be considered a use of pitch axis.

49:16 time? Like 7 bars of 7:16? :eek: What is your tempo?!? quarter note=?

Funny timing is often easy for me but when the "funny" factor is a 16th note it gets complicated.

Unanything 2005-12-01 15:08

Yeah, I love it. Although in actual songwriting, you have to place weird times carefully to retain their effectiveness.


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