Whats the difference: tonal center vs. root

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LeColportage's picture
LeColportage
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Last seen 5 years 9 months ago

Whats the difference: tonal center vs. root

I don't think I really understand the difference between tonal center and root, both of which can be selected from the "edit" menu. Why is "tonal center" disabled? When I change the root of a palette, doesn't that also change the tonal center anyway? I'm confused.

LeCo

supertonic's picture
supertonic
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Last seen 4 years 2 months ago

The menu item is disabled for standard palettes, i.e. those that resemble traditional major/minor keys. In that case, it won't make any sense to declare a tonal center different from the root. The palette's root is also the tonal center at the same time.

For alternative palettes, however, this can be different. Those consist of a collection of arbitrary scales. They no longer imitate a "key". Hence, it is your decision in which tonal context you want to look at the scales. Depending on your choice, the chords take over different harmonic functions with regard to the tonal center.

A possible situation might be: "What can I do with the C.wholetone-halftone scale, assuming I am composing in the context of F Major?

[img]xxFxx/cgn/images/altpalette1.gif[/img]

Switching the tonal center to D results in:
[img]xxFxx/cgn/images/altpalette2.gif[/img]

You'll get different functional meanings for the chords.

LeColportage's picture
LeColportage
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Last seen 5 years 9 months ago

Thanks! Looks interesting. I still wonder, however, what is it good for in particular.

BTW. Where do I find the above palette?

LeCo

andre's picture
andre
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Last seen 8 hours 10 min ago

Where do I find the above palette?

Locate the scale in the catalog ("Window >> Catalog"). It's listed in the vertical scales section. Double-click and there you are :)

supertonic's picture
supertonic
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Last seen 4 years 2 months ago

I still wonder, however, what is it good for in particular.

Depends on how inspired you get by listening to the particular chords in sequence. There are countless possibilities to play around with Harmony Navigator. One of them is simple "Click & Listen" (trial and error). This works fine for everybody. Using one or two standard palettes is sufficient for most pop songs.

Another approach is to look at the meaning and relationship of chords and scales in order to find refreshing and original progression ideas. Of course, that's only useful for Jazz etc. You won't need palettes like the one shown above for a pop song.

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