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Lesson: Composing Music With Composite Keys

Music-CompositionI love to create music. Still, music composition, hasn’t been a major focus for most of my life. It’s something I do intermittently. As I grow older, I find myself wanting to create more and more: to fill a need for self-expression, to influence others in a positive way and, to hopefully leave something of value behind when I’m gone. Oh yeah, and to generate new income streams!

When I do sit down to write music, I like to do something fresh. There’s an overwhelming amount of music in the world today. My ears grow weary of the generic, worn out combinations of I, IV, V, and VI minor chords. It seems that people used to be a little more creative with their chord sequences but, hey, that’s a rant for another blog post!

What I want to share with you today is a concept that I used on Summer Song. The bass line and the melody in the verse are in two different keys yet, it’s done in such a way that it works!

While I’m sure you could create something really intricate using this approach, my example is pretty simple. The bass line is in the key of F. It starts on the 6th, or D, and descends an octave down the scale to D.

D-Aeolian

The melody is in the key of D. It begins on the 3rd, or F#, and descends down an octave.

F#-Phrygian

When you combine the two, you get double-stops in 10th intervals. Note that (except for the G/E interval) they are all major.

Composite-Keys
Now, take the notes and do something more interesting with the rhythm. Here’s the transcription from the first half of the first verse from Summer Song. I’ve added the chords which are all major triads – pretty simple harmony. The roots and fifths of the chords (as played on the keyboards) are all in the key of F but, the twist is, the melody is in the key of D!

Summer-Song-Verse

 

 

 

Again, this is a pretty simple, straightforward application of the concept but a good place to start. We’re just basically descending diatonically down both of the scales. I think the idea has a lot of potential and I’d like to explore it further in some future compositions.

Try it for yourself and let me know what you come up with. I’d love to hear it!

God bless. See you soon,

Mike

Download my latest single Summer Song! Available now at CD Baby and wherever digital music is sold.

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