Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/Scale and songwriting?


Dear Sir,

I read that there are at leat 500 different scales, representing different countries in the world.

So I suppose if you want your song to sound like a neapolitan love song or a Chinese folk song, you would need to use those particular scales of those countries.

However, that is the limit of my knowledge. Once you get the Neapolitan scale on your notebook, then how can you make the melody sound like a song from that area?

My sincere thanks,

Hi Janin:

what you state is quite true ..there are many "pitch sets" ( I like that term better than scales ) available throughout the world many of which do not conform to our Eurocentric 12 tone chromatic system .Many of these pitch sets  do not have  as many tones and /or do not necessarily conform to the western whole /half tone system. ( i,e, : Balinese Gamelan  and ?Arabic  -mid eastern pitch sets ) Many of these ehnic  systems are also monophonic and lacking the resources of western polyphonic harmony.

However, most pop music world wide is based on the western tonal system and one is pretty safe adhereing to that practice. That being said, one can simulate some world music features through the use of modal material and artificial scales.

A good source of information about these features is "Music of the Whole Earth " by David Reck.

hope this helps:

Phiol Kelly

Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting

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Phil Kelly


I`m a semi-retired professional music arranger with over thirty five years in all phases of the commercial music production business. I can try to answer questions regarding music arranging, theory, orchestration , and/or composition for most acoustic ensembles .( jazz band or orchestral ) I can try to offer suggestions about studio music recording procedures and some basic MIDI applications , too. In the course of my career I`ve worked with such artists as Doc Severinsen and the old Tonight Show Band, Bill Watrous, Buddy Greco, John Gary, Mel Torme, Julius LaRosa, as well as the Pop programs of the Fort Worth, Dallas, North Carolina, and Houston Symphonies, as well as library music material for ABC, ESPN, and NFL Films.

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