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Vampire Blues key signature


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#1 maz2

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 22:44

At the risk of revealing huge ignorance, I'm confused by the key signature of the Grade 1 piano piece, C3 - Vampire Blues. It has two flats - the piece has a c-minor, or c-blues tonality. It's late, I'm confused. Help!
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#2 HelenVJ

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 08:07

It's modal, innit. Cminor with flattened 7th ( aka Aeolian, just to show off). Interestingly, 'Late at Night' is the piece immediately preceding this one smile.gif
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#3 maz2

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 08:13

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 09:07 AM) View Post

It's modal, innit. Cminor with flattened 7th ( aka Aeolian, just to show off). Interestingly, 'Late at Night' is the piece immediately preceding this one smile.gif

Ah - of course!!! Thanks... I'm off to bed now... biggrin.gif
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#4 Stephen Barber

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 10:07

QUOTE(maz2 @ Sep 8 2011, 09:13 AM) View Post

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 09:07 AM) View Post

It's modal, innit. Cminor with flattened 7th ( aka Aeolian, just to show off). Interestingly, 'Late at Night' is the piece immediately preceding this one smile.gif

Ah - of course!!! Thanks... I'm off to bed now... biggrin.gif

Although I don't see why he hasn't put an Ab in the key signature??
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#5 HelenVJ

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 10:38

Yes, that would have been a nice ( and theoretically correct) touch smile.gif
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#6 maz2

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 11:23

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 11:38 AM) View Post

Yes, that would have been a nice ( and theoretically correct) touch smile.gif

... is it dorian? That might make sense...
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#7 ma non troppo

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 11:49

Is it not just based on a blues scale? I also don't see why he hasn't put the A flat in the key signature.....except for perhaps he thought it would be easier for players at this level. I actually think it may have been better not to use a key signature at all, as it isn't really in a key.
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#8 HelenVJ

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 15:08

QUOTE(maz2 @ Sep 8 2011, 12:23 PM) View Post

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 11:38 AM) View Post

Yes, that would have been a nice ( and theoretically correct) touch smile.gif

... is it dorian? That might make sense...


No it isn't! There are only 2 As that occur in the piece, which are flattened, thus making it Aeolian , OK?! But they are then immediately altered chromatically, so although technically the Abs should be in the key sig, they occur quite late in the piece. I'm quite glad they're written in, as the average Grade 1 player would almost certainly need reminding, (and the teacher would most probably write them in).
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#9 Stephen Barber

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 16:22

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 04:08 PM) View Post

QUOTE(maz2 @ Sep 8 2011, 12:23 PM) View Post

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 11:38 AM) View Post

Yes, that would have been a nice ( and theoretically correct) touch smile.gif

... is it dorian? That might make sense...


No it isn't! There are only 2 As that occur in the piece, which are flattened, thus making it Aeolian , OK?! But they are then immediately altered chromatically, so although technically the Abs should be in the key sig, they occur quite late in the piece. I'm quite glad they're written in, as the average Grade 1 player would almost certainly need reminding, (and the teacher would most probably write them in).

As far as I'm concerned it's in C minor with jazzy/blues alterations. The Ab is quite possibly not in key signature to make it easier for young pianists to read, as someone suggested.

I know nothing about jazz, but why try to put it into a mode?
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#10 maz2

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 17:39

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 04:08 PM) View Post

QUOTE(maz2 @ Sep 8 2011, 12:23 PM) View Post

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 11:38 AM) View Post

Yes, that would have been a nice ( and theoretically correct) touch smile.gif

... is it dorian? That might make sense...


No it isn't! There are only 2 As that occur in the piece, which are flattened, thus making it Aeolian , OK?! But they are then immediately altered chromatically, so although technically the Abs should be in the key sig, they occur quite late in the piece. I'm quite glad they're written in, as the average Grade 1 player would almost certainly need reminding, (and the teacher would most probably write them in).

...but I reckon those A flats are blue notes and don't indicate aeolian - they resolve straight onto A naturals.
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#11 Stephen Barber

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 20:40

QUOTE(maz2 @ Sep 8 2011, 06:39 PM) View Post

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 04:08 PM) View Post

QUOTE(maz2 @ Sep 8 2011, 12:23 PM) View Post

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 11:38 AM) View Post

Yes, that would have been a nice ( and theoretically correct) touch smile.gif

... is it dorian? That might make sense...


No it isn't! There are only 2 As that occur in the piece, which are flattened, thus making it Aeolian , OK?! But they are then immediately altered chromatically, so although technically the Abs should be in the key sig, they occur quite late in the piece. I'm quite glad they're written in, as the average Grade 1 player would almost certainly need reminding, (and the teacher would most probably write them in).

...but I reckon those A flats are blue notes and don't indicate aeolian - they resolve straight onto A naturals.

There are 4 A flats and 2 A naturals. The left-hand A flats are in C harmonic minor; at the point where there are 2 right-hand A flats they are jazzy flattened thirds (the key here is F major).

As far as I'm concerned it's in C minor - I don't understand all the angst about modes. (I don't know anything about jazz, so if I'm missing something could someone explain to a jazz virgin.)

And if it has to be in a mode, how do you explain the last chord?

I wonder if Mr Wooding cares!
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#12 maz2

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Posted 08 September 2011 - 21:08

QUOTE(Stephen Barber @ Sep 8 2011, 09:40 PM) View Post

QUOTE(maz2 @ Sep 8 2011, 06:39 PM) View Post

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 04:08 PM) View Post

QUOTE(maz2 @ Sep 8 2011, 12:23 PM) View Post

QUOTE(HelenVJ @ Sep 8 2011, 11:38 AM) View Post

Yes, that would have been a nice ( and theoretically correct) touch smile.gif

... is it dorian? That might make sense...


No it isn't! There are only 2 As that occur in the piece, which are flattened, thus making it Aeolian , OK?! But they are then immediately altered chromatically, so although technically the Abs should be in the key sig, they occur quite late in the piece. I'm quite glad they're written in, as the average Grade 1 player would almost certainly need reminding, (and the teacher would most probably write them in).

...but I reckon those A flats are blue notes and don't indicate aeolian - they resolve straight onto A naturals.

There are 4 A flats and 2 A naturals. The left-hand A flats are in C harmonic minor; at the point where there are 2 right-hand A flats they are jazzy flattened thirds (the key here is F major).

As far as I'm concerned it's in C minor - I don't understand all angst about modes. (I don't know anything about jazz, so if I'm missing something could someone explain to a jazz virgin.)

And if it has to be in a mode, how do you explain the last chord?

I wonder if Mr Wooding cares!

Yes, sorry - I really must pull myself together: what I have learned today is that I should probably avoid getting into conversations about key signatures with the young lad who's got to tackle all those tricky rhythms for his Grade 1! Thanks all.
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#13 Kevin_Wooding

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 14:23

Way too late to respond, but hopefully better late than never!

It’s a blues influenced piece; think away from the concepts of modulation and familiar key signatures and more toward the colour effect of scale tones when placed over a changing chord structure.

Vampire Blues is sixteen bars long (if repeated it would skip the final bar) and the chord structure goes as follows:

Cm7 Cm7 Cm7 Cm7
Ab7 Gm7 Cm7 Cm7
F7 F7 G7 G7
Ab7 Gm7 C7 C7

The predominant scale used is the C minor pentatonic - C, Eb, F, G, Bb, C, with the added blue note of F#. In this scale neither Ab nor A exist, hence the omission of Ab from the key signature. Both Ab and A are not part of the tonality from the main chord scale, and would sound ‘off’ if used at the wrong time (most of the piece).

When the Ab appears in the left hand at bar 5 and 13, this is a new chord: Ab7. The F# now serves as the 7th of the scale... it could have been notated as a Gb, but we’re really still focusing on the C minor blues pentatonic key centre in the right hand. The G natural is briefly out of bounds but the melody stretches up to it in the next bar (and down to it from the Ab in the L.H.)

Bars 9 - 12 we again see changes of chord and now also scale; 9 and 11 are exactly the same but transposed. The scale for each two bar phrase is F7 blues and G7 blues respectively:

Major Pentatonic:
F G A C D F
G A B D E G

Blues:
F G Ab A C D Eb F
G A Bb B D E F G

In the F7 bars the Ab is a blue note... and again not part of the tonal centre of the piece.

Bars 15 and 16 deftly illustrate the ambiguity of this style of music and why it’s a bit of a puzzle to apply conventional music theory and key signatures. While the piece as a whole has a C minor feeling to it, bar 15 has both Eb and E in equal employment, and the last chord an E natural (C9#11).

Help! It’s never going to be straightforward because the scales from the blues use notes that don’t fit the usual system.

At a pinch even the Eb from earlier points in the piece could be heard as a blue note, bent off from E natural. It’s a bit of a stretch for the ears but... try a C7 in the L.H. for the first four bars and see if you can get used to it!

Kevin Wooding
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#14 ma non troppo

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 21:51

Oooh! Are you THE Mr. Wooding?

If so, let me tell you that your piece was so popular a choice that I was glad when the syllabus changed. That's a back handed compliment by the way. ;)
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#15 Dorcas

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 22:03

rofl.gif 

 

I reported this thread revival to the mods!!!! I thought it was so weird that someone would revive it at this point.  Oh migosh.  Well, it could be worse, I could have kicked the Queen on the shins. 

rofl.gif 


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