Flattened 6th in Db Major?

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Flattened 6th in Db Major?

Post by hasser964 »

Hi guys,

Been lurking this forum for a while now because I’m early in my music theory learning stage.

I know the basic major, minor & pentatonic stuff but get confused when it goes further.
This track uses a flat 6th in the Db major scale: https://youtu.be/-y_BBYnQCMQ

What would that scale be and what kind of chord scale would work over the top of that?

The chords I've worked out so far have been Gbmaj7 inversion, Ebmin, Bmaj7/9 & I don't know the last chord.

Thanks :)))
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Re: Flattened 6th in Db Major?

Post by BJG145 »

A major scale with a flat 6th is the Harmonic major.
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Re: Flattened 6th in Db Major?

Post by Romy Schmidt »

hasser964 wrote:Hi guys,
This track uses a flat 6th in the Db major scale: https://youtu.be/-y_BBYnQCMQ

A flattened 6th is what we call in North-West Europe "Moll-Dur". You might call it a "borrowed chord". It is quite common.
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Re: Flattened 6th in Db Major?

Post by Ben Asaro »

As already stated, the Augmented 5th is quite common and is often used as a borrowed note. How much rub (dissonance) it produces depends on the inversion you are using and in what chord context.

Music Theory can get very murky when it comes to what something ‘should be’. The Aug5 could simply be borrowed for color as a passing tone or as a chord substitution.

Also, C#/Db, as a key, is considered an ‘enharmonic key’ and gets really tricky to resolve since it sits ‘outside’ the Circles of 4th and 5ths.
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Re: Flattened 6th in Db Major?

Post by GilesAnt »

The aug 5th is of course outside the major scale and normally used as a passing note or to add colour. The difference in the case above is that we are talking about a flattened 6th, which although enharmonically equivalent is actually part of this Harmonic Major scale and implies a different harmony (i.e. a minor sub-dominant rather than the normal major sub-dominant)

It is rather subtle of course but the two are slightly different.

Also C#/Db does not sit outside the circle of 5ths, you just have to travel round a bit further to find it.
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Re: Flattened 6th in Db Major?

Post by Ben Asaro »

You are totally correct, and I was over-simplifying bc it’s hard for someone not acquainted w music theory to grasp double sharps and flats. That’s what I meant, though probably should have said ‘outside the norm’. Enharmonic keys are on the circle, obv. :)

However, we don’t know if this is a Aug5 or Dim6 because there’s no context, just a guess in the OP. The video doesn’t state what key the piece is in or what the progression is. I admit, I’ve not done an analysis of the piece and can even verify if it’s in Db. :)
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Re: Flattened 6th in Db Major?

Post by GilesAnt »

I must admit we have no verification if the OP is correct or not with his harmonic analysis. I did listen and the music is quite complex, lots of passing and additional notes on top of a repetitive basic 4-bar harmony. Maybe I will listen again and see what the chords are.

At first listen I am sceptical that this does use the so-called Harmonic Major (a bit of a misnomer I think), but I can't be sure.
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Re: Flattened 6th in Db Major?

Post by merlyn »

I had a listen and what we've got here is Db major with a flattened 7th -- Db mixolydian which is a mode of Gb major.

The riff at the start uses eb - f - gb - ab - bb - cb in various combinations which is six notes from Eb aeolian (also a mode of Gb) -- the only note missing from the riff is Db so this has an Eb aeolian feel. Eb minor (the relative minor of Gb) is kind of a special key because Eb minor pentatonic is all the black keys on a piano -- think Superstition by Stevie Wonder. :)

If we take what you thought the chords were -- Gbmaj Ebmin Bmaj -- B is not in Db. Actually in Eb minor its Cb, but don't worry about that, just think 'B' if you want. Db is five flats, Gb is six flats.

You may be hearing the loop start in a different place from me -- I think it goes (roughly) Ebm7 Bbm7 Abm7 Bmaj7 (B6/9 is also good here).

Then a piano comes in and it's slightly different, then it changes and goes Cm7 Am7 Fm7 quick Bb9 (maybe sus?) -- this is not in any key. So why does it work? Well, the root movement is strong and outlines an F major arpeggio, and there is a common tone (C) in all those chords.
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Re: Flattened 6th in Db Major?

Post by Ben Asaro »

Nice analysis!
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