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Locrian Mode Comp 2014

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I will be hosting the next YA compilation this year, but I want something going on during the summer. In 2011 I tried to run a Locrian Mode competition. I'm going to try again this year and also try to give more information about what it is. It's also going to be a compilation instead of a contest.

 

What Is This?

Basically, this is a compilation project where each submission uses the Locrian mode in some way. One goal is to increase awareness of scales other than the Major/Minor we're all used to, another is to promote creativity through the "weirdness" of this scale, a scale which is generally thought to be hard to use.

 

Also a warning, a lot of videos on YouTube that come up for Locrian mode may teach this to you in a confusing or incomplete way. Learn the Locrian scale as a separate scale, not as a reassemblage of the notes of C Major. Doing this may cause some confusion when trying to write.

 

Locrian is a scale with the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th degrees flattened. Modal music is separate from modern Major/Minor ideas, and for most videos on YouTube, they are teaching you the scale, not the mode. When trying to research for this topic, I've found that there are a lot of definitions for what constitutes modal music vs anything else, so what that difference actually is may be hard to define.

 

If you've been writing music in major/minor, you've already been using modes in some way. Scales are just intervals. Both of these are the reason why all chords in a major scale are not major chords. Tonal center is an important aspect of scales, and is the reason why modal sections of normal songs go unnoticed- they don't emphasize a different tonal center, they imply a major or minor scale. This is the challenge for this comp: use the Locrian scale in a way that implies the Locrian scale.

 

Dates:
Submissions open - May 24th (Sat)
Submissions close - TBA
Release date - TBA

 

I'm based in CDT right now (UTC -5). The reason for the long amount of time before the submissions end is because most people will have to create a new piece of music for this. After submissions close, there will be a week before the release. This is to allow for exceptions and also to make sure I have a viable way of delivering the release.

 

Anyone up for making the artwork for the album, just send me a PM, otherwise I will create something myself. The compilation will most likely be titled "Locrian Mode Comp 2014" unless I or someone else comes up with something better.

Submissions:
Should include the name of the song artist as you want it written, the name of the song, and a link to the song download. Please submit the highest quality version you can, the file may be re-encoded. When submitting, send it as a PM to me (ghostofbox). Don't post your submission in the thread.

 

Your submission doesn't have to be very long, and you don't have to think very hard about it. If you can't quite get the hang of Locrian, some things that might help are to make it in a jazz style- the flat fifth usually fits well there, or to feature only a few sections in Locrian so that you can get rid of the "non-resolving" feeling you get. Personally, I love ending songs with the Locrian home chord, but you by no means have to.

 

The Locrian Sound:

The flat fifth is very important. The other features of the Locrian scale can be found elsewhere, but the tritone sets the most important relationship. If you avoid this interval, you are avoiding Locrian. The flat second is an important feature shared with the Phrygian scale, and the remaining flat third, sixth, and seventh are shared with Aeolian (other modes as well, but it is famous for being in the minor scale).

 

Be careful to not go "off the rails" into another mode or into Major/Minor territory. If you are trying to sound 100% Locrian, you will probably need to drone the root note or something to that effect. For most other types of entries, just make sure that the listener knows this is Locrian, regardless of the developments of chords or whatever.

 

Thread Rules:

1. Don't post your submission into the thread, as mentioned above.

2. You may post examples of Locrian-using music into the thread, even if it is your own, but don't violate rule #1 or I won't accept it as a submission.

3. Your submission must actually use Locrian; that's kinda the whole point.

4. Don't start a war on what constitutes a mode or modal music. I removed the categories for this reason.

 

Helpful Material:

Chromatic Scale in Half-steps
[ C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C' ]

Half-step Scale Degrees from Tonic to Octave
Ionian/Major: 2212221
Dorian: 2122212
Phrygian: 1222122
Lydian: 2221221
Mixolydian: 2212212
Aeolian/Minor: 2122122
Locrian: 1221222
Major Locrian: 2211222
Pentatonic: 32232

To construct a certain scale, choose a tonic note (any note) and then go up the scale by the specified number of half-steps.
Examples below.

C Major: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
F Pentatonic: F, G#, A#, C, D#, F
F Locrian: F, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, Eb, F
Major Locrian in B: B, C#, D#, E, F, G, A, B

 

Modal music:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_music

 

Locrian mode:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locrian_mode

 

Locrian scale on frets:

For standard-tuned guitar

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For instruments tuned in 5ths (violin, mandolin, tenor guitar, etc)

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I made these fret diagrams, and you are free to use them however you wish.

 

My submission for the 2011 comp: Two Wizards Fighting

 

 

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Added some fret guides for locrian scale to the helpful material, in case anyone saw the post before then. Includes guitar and instruments tuned in 5ths.

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So, submissions will open this Saturday. I know this board is kinda slow moving, so I'm not going to call it off yet. Unless there's just absolute vocal disinterest, it will continue as planned.

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Cool, I'll be submitting as well if I get the chance. I don't think it will be a problem since it's not a competition, but if people don't want me to I won't.

AIso, if anybody's confused about rules or categories, Locrian, or whatever, you can post here or send me a PM, whatever you're comfortable with. I added a bit of info to the first post, nothing major (I swear that's not a pun), but tried to bring some clarity.

 

EDIT: Actually, I think I'm going to remove categories. After more research, I've decided that the definition of what constitutes "modal music" vs anything else can sometimes be on a scale from vague to extremely specific. So, part of this comp will be discovering what Locrian mode means to you.

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I'm by no means an expert on this subject, by the way. But I don't think anybody thinks of music in the same way. If I explained how I actually think about time signatures, you all would probably think I'm crazy, but the end result is that I can write music in 13/8 without thinking too hard. As far as Locrian goes, I have to be consciously aware of what I'm doing, and although I have some cool riffs right now, I'm nowhere near a complete song.

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i didn't get it either but knew it's not for me unless i have loads of time to look into it, which i don't

but i like the idea of guidelines for a comp, something restrictive. i'll try and think of other ideas for other comps.

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It's basically just a scale, all the other stuff is just about why it's different. But I understand. Last time I did this (2011) I got one entry other than my own, so I'm hopefully already doing better this year.

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I wish you the best of luck with this. Given how difficult it was for me to get people to submit anything at all, I don't envy your position here with the restrictive guidelines, but it is certainly worth giving the idea a shot, as it will encourage people to produce something new rather than submit an old song, since I doubt that anyone here has composed anything exclusively in the Locrian mode before. It will also give people an incentive to experiment with their sound a little and create something a bit different to what they are used to.

 

My advice, given my recent experience, would be that you should perhaps not be so rigid with the dates. I have a feeling that come July you will still be waiting for most people to submit a song and so I would hold off on setting any deadlines right now and wait until you have received at least half of the compilation before deciding on a release date. I originally expected the Total Troll compilation to be finished by mid to late April, but I did not get anywhere near finished with it until well into May, and that was without any of the restrictive guidelines or a recent compilation to review.

 

There is also a possibility that you will receive some entries that don't fit the guidlines adequately, and that will result in delays also. Perhaps if enough people struggle with Locrian mode it might be worth changing the guidelines so that people have to contribute a song in an unusual mode of their own choosing instead, any mode other than major or minor, there are lots to choose from, this could add some extra variety actually.

 

I will attempt to contribute a song, though as a non-musician it will be difficult for me; I don't quite know where to start with Locrian mode, but I will try and get something of my own in before the 5th of July.

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Ad Hoc, thanks for all the advice! If it looks like I need to move the dates, I will, I just needed something so people have an idea of when. If this one is successful, I might do another next year for another mode, something like that. I'm starting with Locrian because it will produce some interesting music that doesn't sound like anything else. Also, getting this together will prepare me for how to deal with the comp this Autumn.

 

Lonely Loser, yeah, if the backing track is in Locrian. XD

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Submissions open today. This is more of a formality, as most tracks are probably not finished yet (mine definitely isn't). However, if you finish between now and the close of submissions and you just don't want to worry about it, feel free to PM it to me. May your every tritone be equidistant!

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Anybody got something to report? I was going to do my song with recorded instruments, but I decided to do a chip style song. I might still transition into real instruments, but the percussion uses a pretty cool technique where the drum sound actually comes from interrupting the bass synth, and I can only get that sound from chip style afaik.

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All right, I don't want to leave the submission date up in the air, but I can't have a compilation until I have songs for it, so I'll just leave it open for now.

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Yeah, I think you were just asking too much of people. Creative types want freedom and tend to switch off when presented with long lists of complicated rules and regulations, especially when knowledge of music theory is involved, which in this day and age is not something that many musicians possess to any great extent. I think a more straightforward compilation where people just submit a new song is always a better bet here.

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