September 24th, 2006, 08:04 PM
How come some scales sound good in one direction, but not in the other? For instance, when I'm playing blues in A major, it sounds great to go up from A to C to C#, but terrible to go down from C# to C to A.
It's not just a blues thing. Other scales are like that, too. Is there a reasonable explanation, or is it just because it is?
September 24th, 2006, 08:21 PM
Here's my off the cuff of my head thought - Since the ear "wants" to hear the C#, it being the chord tone, the C - C# move releases tension; while the other direction, you move from repose to its lower leading tone. The effect is stronger than when you move from A - C, the ear still wants the C#, but not as badly as when it had it already. Or not.
September 24th, 2006, 08:52 PM
I think Leon's right - the blues feel creates the need for some natural melodic tension.
Country, on the other hand, because it is very "major" sounding tends to create a need for resolution, so anything resolving to the tonic sounds right to the ears.
Some of the music theory guru's on here may have a more technical explanation for you.
September 24th, 2006, 09:46 PM
And C - B - A sounds fine; the C - B releases the tension a little, and going to A releases it completely.
September 25th, 2006, 10:05 AM
I like that: "move from repose." Thanks, gentlemen - sounds right to me. I think you've answered it for any one-way scale.