I think you are right, harmonic functions of chords, depending on from which scales they are formed can be a matter of opinion concerning tension and resolution.
The function of a particular chord is not necessarily set in stone but as a general rule it can be helpful to think of the chords in terms of their most commonly agreed upon functions.
Thank you for the link to that article. That was very useful.
It will help me to figure out the harmonic functions of chords formed from each of the scale degrees in each of the seven traditional modes.
I have laid out the main chords for each scale degree of ‘D Dorian’ below ( derived from C Major, good one to choose for an example ).
D DORIAN HARMONIC FUNCTIONS :
i - tonic - ( minor ) - D F A ( 0 3 7 )
ii - supertonic - ( minor ) - E G B ( 0 3 7 )
III - mediant - ( Major ) - F A C ( 0 4 7 )
IV - subdominant - ( Major ) - G B D ( 0 4 7 )
v - dominant - ( minor ) - A C E ( 0 3 7 )
vi - submediant - ( dim ) - B D F ( 0 3 6 )
VII - leading tone - ( Major ) - C E G ( 0 4 7 )
In the article on the website you gave me the link to it was stated that from the second degree of ‘D Dorian’, a diminished triad would be formed.
ii E minor (E, G, B . Minor would have a diminished triad here.
I think this is a mistake, see above. Should be normal minor ( 0 3 7 semitones ).
Also one of the things you said I think there was a small mistake :
For example in Dorian, making a triad on the second scale degree results in a minor chord, whereas in Ionian mode it would be diminished.
In Ionian, making triad on the second degree it would be also minor, not diminished ( see opening post ).
( ‘Ionian’ is the Major scale )
To work out all the main chords in any mode ( and whether they are Major, minor or diminished ) I will just start from whatever scale degree - skip a scale degree - add note - skip a scale degree - add note.
I guess these kinds of traditional ideas about the harmonic functions of the chords do not really apply to scales outside of the seven traditional modes.
For example, diminished scales have 8 scale degrees each. The convention seems to be to consider the scale as if it had ‘two submediants’ or two ‘6th degrees’. Anyway, for some scales outside of the traditional modes this harmonic function stuff seems completely subjective as you said. I dont know if this kind of traditional music theory really applies anymore in the case of weirder scales so, as many people already say, ‘use your ear’ might be a better rule in those cases.
Anyways, I think it is useful to know something about the traditional rules before deciding to break them or not ( or in what particular way to break them ). Also its interesting to consider why people came up with those rules in the first place ( when people were still confused a lot of the time but also very sure of themselves in the 17th century and earlier …and in modern times too ).
Thankyou for your help, that was very useful.
To be perfectly honest, in my opinion, there were a few really good chiptune artists ( like bubblyfish and lobat ), they each had a couple of really nice songs. But after them there was a ‘horde’ of total shit chiptune people. Why were they shit? Because they had no understanding of harmony ( or tables, or table based sound design ). If you like chiptune stuff, listen to some of stranger tunes by bubblyfish ( million mile away is nice, there were a few others), she obviously understands harmony. I like that kind of chipmusic, doesnt even really require drums. Harmony is one of the main things that makes for a good chiptune. Listen to the harmonies in all the epic earlier computer game soundtracks.
Using the rules of music theory to write a tune, generic songs ( like ‘Major scale only - no key change - boring ass sound design - no use of tables’ chiptune can be made pretty quick, without too much trial and error…and interesting songs should be much easier to think about and quicker to write too ( more inversions, better use of arp commands, more key changes, borrowed chords, crazier table structures that are still staying in key etc. )
I would say to write good chiptunes you need a strategy for your harmonies even more than in other forms of music because the sounds are so basic. But I often think when I hear chiptunes ‘that could be better with a little filtering and reverb, put that ish through a kaoss pad yo’.