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If anyone feels like a puzzle and has time, I'd love some help.  I don't have the theory background to be able to define what I'm doing here other than "it's jazzy."  

I believe I've got a bit of Dorian in there.  Probably some harmonic minor and melodic minor.  And some stuff that can just be considered chromaticism and notated however it makes the fiddle-y bits easiest to read.  If I could confidently pin down a key or mode for the major sections, I'd be able to figure out which accidentals are sharps vs. flats, but right now I'm not too confident.  (Hides head in shame from all the pianists here.)  I would love any guidance you can send my way!

(Also, if any string players want to nit-pick my slurring decisions, please let me know!  I used to play violin, but it's been about 15 years.)

Thanks!

-pateceramics

 

Pussy Cat March.mid

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I played the midi file in Quicktime and Wow! it sounded more like psycho cat! Very out of tune. But I want to give it a fair shot. If you put up an MP3 I will take a look at it later.

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Thanks, Ken!  See attached.  I don't know why, but when I add the file as a midi, my midi player defaults back to the standard "piano" instrument, even though I had another one selected for this.  The default sounds terribly plunky and flat.  See if this is better.  Although, I know MP3s aren't always playing all the way through depending on your browser.  

I've found a double harmonic scale in one section at the end, so that's one thing that's in there.  (Aka gypsy major scale, aka arabic scale.)  Now I'll have to see if I just have it at the end, or if it crops up other places...  As long as I know what I've got, I can be sure my enharmonic spelling is correct.  (:  Isn't it interesting that all these things are there in the part of our minds that handle music, and come out when we sit down to write a tune, without us knowing the proper names for them?  Just existing in the world and hearing music every day stuffs you with all sorts of knowledge in spite of yourself.  

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Okay, now I've figured it out.  The double harmonic scale was the missing ingredient.  It's all over the place in there.  (:  Mixed in with melodic minor and harmonic minor and occasionally natural minor.  Let's play with all of the minor things!  

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Thanks, the sound is much better. I was going to say that it indeed sounds basically minor. I don't know too much about exotic scales, what they consist of and how to recognize them. So the strangeness I heard in the melody sounded like odd but consistent choices and sounded formal inasmuch as you made it formal through repetition and transposition, basic songwriting skills. The F-F# or D#-D sounded to me like blue notes in the blues scale, which is not exotic to me because I've been playing it my whole life. So a C blues scale would be C Eb F F# G Bb C. It was in that context that I heard it. Except that you were in Dm! Then you went to Cm and that really threw me, but it is a classy modulation and went well with the walking bass.

Normally you wouldn't write F-F# in a melody if you could write F-Gb instead, etc. But because F# is essential to a D major chord you probably wrote it the best way. I wouldn't change it, or any of the other accidentals. I think I would have ended it with a D in the bass, not F. Just for finality. But it's a really nifty weirdo piece. The whole thing is a sort of Alfred Hitchcock blues jam.

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Thanks Ken!  Yes, this isn't the most exotic of exotic scales.  It's apparently common to a lot of cultures.  (Once I figured out what it was, I went and looked it up.)  And I agree, it's very bluesy!  It's common with quarter tones as well as straight like this.  If I were to put it in C minor, it would be C Db E F G Ab Bb C.  I think I did that right. 1/2 step; step-and-a-half, 1/2 step; whole step; 1/2 step; step-and-a-half; 1/2 step.  It's perfectly symmetrical around the middle, so it has that fun augmented 2nd not once, but twice.  So some of the C#s are leading tones for D harmonic or melodic ascending minor, and some are giant steps for A double harmonic minor.  And some of the F#s are for D double harmonic minor, and some are for A melodic minor ascending.  Fancy pants!  Makes it really easy to flick back and forth between a feeling of A minor and D minor, of one type or another.  I didn't change the key signature every 2 bars to keep my score clean, but if you wanted to, you really could.  The nebulous key feels nice and cat-like.  (:  Thanks for your advice.  I changed a few things to make it internally consistent and I'll call it good enough!

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Overall, I think you're pretty close on the spellings. A couple of things I'd look at for readability:

Outlining triads: Musicians read by "chunking" notes together by easily identifiable patterns. A-C#-E is automatically recognized. A-Db-E is not, despite being enharmonically the same.

Also, I think in m. 24-25 spelling the triad out in the bass would match the harmony more clearly. The bass sounds pretty clearly like an A major triad progressing to D minor, a classic V-i relationship. The neat thing is the superimposed Eb chord in m. 24. It's a nice bitonal moment that functions kind of like a blue note on steroids.

Spelling scales: In m. 83-84, the violin scale will probably trip up a player on first reading. G-Gb-E-D# doesn't look like a scale, while G-F#-E-D# is readily identifiable as E minor. In general, one note name per scale step is preferred where possible.

That said, I'm digging the piece over all. It's got a really light-footed, feline quality.

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