Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


Is Locrian even usable?

Posted by caters 
Is Locrian even usable?
June 29, 2019 08:40PM
I myself have thought about this. I never use Locrian because it just does not feel right. The closest I ever get is Phrygian and even then, very rarely. But there seems to be a bit of controversy surrounding Locrian. When I grew up, I heard of there being the 3 major modes and 4 minor modes. Under this model, Locrian is minor. That makes some sense, especially when you look outside the I, IV, and V chords. But what if you look at the I, IV and V? I'm going to use C Locrian for ease of illustration here.

I ---------- C, Eb, Gb ------- C diminished
IV -------- F, Ab, C ---------- F minor
V -------- Gb, Bb, Db ------- Gb major

Yeah, the only primary triad that actually sounds like part of a minor scale here is the IV which is minor. The I suggests that the Diminished scale would be used here(which Locrian is just 1 note away from) and the V suggests a totally different key. The V does not want to resolve to C, instead it wants to resolve to Db, suggesting that the tonality is actually Db major. It gets even worse when you get to 7th chords. Let's try to extend the C chord to a 7th. Here is what you get if you stick to alternating scale degrees:

C, Eb, Gb, Bb, Yeah, it is a half diminished 7th. And one thing I find commonly with half diminished 7ths is this:

vii halfdim7 -> viiĀ°7 -> I

C half diminished again suggests the key of Db. So looking at it through the minor scale lens doesn't really work.

Okay, so let's try looking at it as a diminished mode. Well, this itself has a problem. It suggests that the diminished triad can be tonicized. It can't. The tritone destroys any sense of tonicization because it just has to resolve. So it can't really be viewed as a diminished mode either.

So if it isn't a minor mode, isn't a diminished mode, and certainly isn't a major mode, than is it really even a usable scale?
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login