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Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 3: Extended Harmony

Electronic music theory, digital music theory, and dance music theory. Learn music theory with ableton live and more!
Jason Allen
1,814 students enrolled
By the end of this course, you will have improved your tracks by understanding how to build chords and melodies that work together.
Produce music using techniques outside of just major and minor keys
Understand and use the 7 musical modes
Find new harmonic ideas for your tracks.
Writing melodies for chord progressions
Writing chord progressions for melodies
Bass lines
How modes work
Producing with Modes
Pentatonic Scales
Chromatic Mediants
Creating music with music theory
Exotic scales


Welcome to the MUSIC THEORY FOR ELECTRONIC MUSIC Guide – Part 3!

In this class we learn how to work with the piano roll editor in a DAW to make harmonies, melodies, and whole tracks, and then we expand on those ideas and work with harmonic patterns (harmony) that is more rich than just major and minor. 

Production Techniques Through Theory

The most important part of this class is an extensive foray into using these techniques in actual tracks. I’ll be creating 9 tracks through this class, right along with you, each using a different technique so you can see exactly how I incorporate it right into my music.

Full Sessions

After each production project, I’ll give you the whole session of what I made using the techniques for you to play with. You can download it, expand on it, re-work it, and even release it as your work.

If Your Music is Missing Something, This is Probably It.

If you are finding that you are writing track after track, and while they sound good, there is something they are missing – then this it. You are missing the sense of harmony that professional producers have. In this class, I’ll arm you with all the tools you need to produce those tracks just like you imagine them.

Who should take this course?  
Anyone interested in producing their own music. This will get you up and running and give your tracks a unique sound in no time.

This course consists of video lectures, which all contain a session in Ableton Live 9. If you are using a different program (or none at all), no worries! This isn’t a class on how to use Ableton Live, and the concepts can be applied to any DAW.

Topics include:

  • Bass Lines

  • Modes

  • Producing with Modes

  • Pentatonic Scales

  • Chromatic Mediants

  • Producing with Chromatic Mediants

  • Exotic Scales

  • Producing with Exotic Scales

  • … And much more!!!

The course is a roadmap to finding the missing piece in your tracks, or just getting started making great tracks.

All the tools you need to make, produce, and start your music career are included in this course and the entire course is based on real-life experiences – not just academic theory.

Please click the “Take This Course” button so you can start making great tracks today.

** I guarantee that this course is the most thorough music theory course available ANYWHERE on the market – or your money back (30 day money back guarantee) **

Closed captions have been added to all lessons in this course.


Praise for Courses by Jason Allen:

⇢  “It seems like every little detail is being covered in an extremely simple fashion. The learning process becomes relaxed and allows the complex concepts to get obsorbed easily. My only regret is not taking this course earlier.” – M. Shah

⇢  “Great for everyone without any knowledge so far. I bought all three parts… It’s the best investment in leveling up my skills so far..” – Z. Palce

⇢  “Excellent explanations! No more or less than what is needed.” – A. Tóth

⇢  “VERY COOL. I’ve waiting for years to see a good video course, now I don’t have to wait anymore. Thank You!” – Jeffrey Koury

  “I am learning LOTS! And I really like having the worksheets!” – A. Deichsel

⇢  “The basics explained very clearly – loads of really useful tips!” – J. Pook

⇢  “Jason is really quick and great with questions, always a great resource for an online class!” M. Smith


Students who register for this course will receive ongoing exclusive content and discounts to all future classes in the series. 

Welcome & Overview


Welcome to the class!

Working with the Piano Roll Editor

A little review from Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 2, just to get us back into the swing of things.

Major and minor chords, scales, and keys

A little review from Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 2, just to get us back into the swing of things.

Diatonic Chord Progressions

A little review from Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 2, just to get us back into the swing of things.

Modes! New Harmonic Territories

Introduction to new harmonic ideas (more than just major and minor)

Say good bye to the plain old Major and Minor scales.

How Modes Work

There is a simple trick to remembering the modes. In this lecture, I'll walk you through 2 ways to remember them.

History of the Modes

There is a rich history to the modes, one that goes back 3000 years. 

The Ionian Mode

The first mode: Ionian, is just like the major scale.

The Dorian Mode

The second mode is Dorian - a type of minor scale.

The Phrygian Mode

The third mode is Phrygian, another type of minor scale.

The Lydian Mode

The fourth mode is Lydian - a type of major scale.

The Mixolydian Mode

The Mixolydian Mode is kind of our jazz mode.

The Aeolian Mode

The Aeolian Mode is just like our regular natural minor scale.

The Locrian Mode

The Locrian mode is a type of minor, but really a kind of diminished mode.

Using Modes

A word about analysis projects in this class

Analysis projects have to work a little different this time.

Producing with Modes

This is how I use modes when working on a track.

Example Track Using Modes

Lets dive in, and just start producing a track!

[DOWNLOAD] Full Session

Here is my full Ableton Live set from the previous lesson.

Example Track Using Modes

Lets take another approach to working with modes this time.

[DOWNLOAD] Full Session

Here is my full Ableton Live set from the previous lesson.

Pentatonic Scales

What are Pentatonic Scales?

These work differently than major and minor scales, and very differently than modes.

Uses of the Pentatonic Scales

You can use these all over the place - they are extremely versatile. 

The Major Pentatonic Scale

Up first: The major Pentatonic scale. It might sound familiar.

The Minor Pentatonic Scale

The minor Pentatonic scale is the "guitar scale".

Using Pentatonic Scales

Example Track with Pentatonic Scales

In this video, I'll make a track using Pentatonic scales.

[DOWNLOAD] Full Session

Here is my full Ableton Live set from the previous lesson.

Example Track with Pentatonic Scales

This time lets use a different pentatonic scale, and take a different approach.

[DOWNLOAD] Full Session

Here is my full Ableton Live set from the previous lesson.

Chromatic Mediants

What are Chromatic Mediants?

These are an altered chord that I hear all over modern electronic music.

Example Track with Chromatic Mediants

Lets make a track using some Chromatic Mediants!

[DOWNLOAD] Full Session

Here is my full Ableton Live set from the previous lesson.

Example Track with Chromatic Mediants

Another approach to Chromatic Mediants.

[DOWNLOAD] Full Session

Here is my full Ableton Live set from the previous lesson.

Creating with Advanced Harmonies

Ok, We Have Tons of Options Now. What Do I Do?

Do you ever summer from "too many options"? If you do, you are like most producers.

Tip 1: Work Backwards

You need to find a way to free yourself from the theory. This is my favorite tip for doing that.

Example Track Using the "Work Backwards" Technique

Lets explore that idea by putting together a quick track.

Tip 2: Map out a Mode or Scale and Explore it

You can use some built-in tools to your DAW to make a "map" of they sounds you want to use.

Example Track using "Mapping"

Lets explore that idea by producing a short track.

Tip 3: Find the "Essence" of the scale, mode, or key.

Every scale is a group of sounds that evoke a certain "essence". If you can harness the "essence", you can work quickly with any genre.

Exotic Scales

What are Exotic Scales?

These scales are labeled as "Exotic" mostly because they are of non-western origin. 

The Algerian Scale

First up: The Algerian Scale

The Arabian Scale (Diminished Scale)

Up next, the Arabian Scale - sometimes called the Diminished Scale.

The Major Arabian Scale (Major Locrian Scale)

Up next, the Major Arabian Scale, sometimes called the Major Locrian Scale.

The Japanese Scale (Hon Kumoi Shiouzhi)

The Japanese scale, this version is called the Hon Kumoi Shiouzhi scale.

The Japanese Scale

The Japanese Scale.

The Balinese (Pelog) Scale

Next, lets look at the Balinese (Pelog) Scale.

The Egyptian Scale

Next up, the Egyptian Scale.

The Whole Tone Scale

The Whole Tone Scale was very popular with french impressionists.

The Spanish Gypsy Scale

Next up, the Spanish Gypsy Scale.

The Hungarian Scale

Next, the Hungarian Scale.

The Hungarian Gypsy Scale
The Persian Hungarian Gypsy Scale

Next up: The Persian Hungarian Gypsy Scale.

The Persian Scale

This one is just called the Persian Scale.

The Chinese Scale

The Chinese scale, seems like it deserves a more complex name.

The Oriental Scale

Next up: The Oriental Scale.

The Neapolitan Scale

The Neapolitan Scale comes up all over modern music. Keep your eye out for it.

The Hindu Scale

Next up: The Hindu Scale

Raga Hanumatodi

A few Ragas to close this section.

Raga Todi

Last one! The Raga Todi.

[DOWNLOAD] Ableton Live Set with All Scales Mapped Out

Here is a session that has ALL of these scales in it for you to download and play with.

Wrap Up

A Few Parting Words

This is only the beginning!

Bonus Lecture: Discount Offers & Mailing List

You've come this far, maybe you are willing to keep going...

Bonus: Student Question: Making the Chord Progression from the Exotic Scales

I've received this question a few times, so I thought it was time to make a video walking through the answer. The question is if you can make a diatonic chord progression from the exotic scales. The answer is yes, but it will be weird. 

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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