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Music Theory

Doing some much needed SFT’s. About 100 flavors that I haven’t played with yet. Aside from that, been practicing my scales, modes, arpeggios and diving deeper into music theory. I really struggle with it at times but it’s a necessary evil. I have about 3GB worth of mp3 backing tracks to play with so I can stay busy for quite a while. :guitar: :guitar:

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I just got reaper, Tz lolol… and learning what a scale is… and a new chord… :stuck_out_tongue:
but been digging out my garden. I think I am late on a few things… dang it!

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Reaper the audio workstation? I use that also.

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I am going… to make… some… NOISE!!! haha!!
yeah a buddy of mine hooked me up last night… wanted to play around.
I don’t play for others, just for me and that is more than enough. :slight_smile:

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The Greek scale-modes are worthy of study. Like the various chords derived from them, they change (in designated name, and resultant “emotional feel” evoked in the listener) when shifted (in physical 1/2-steps on instrument) relative to some (not invariably static) reference tone-pitch (the so-called “root”).

In the middle-ages, the “happy” sounding tone-intervals/chords (so-called “major”) were considered the “evil work of the Devil” - whereas the “serious” sounding tone-intervals/chords (so-called “minor”) were considered the (only) holy and acceptable expressions. Humans perceptions/preferences appear to be guided/shaped by the dominant cultural zeitgeist, as opposed to some common inborn musical “sense”.
:nerd_face:

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If you ever want to have any sidebars about that I’d be willing to hop in. I come from the school of “music ain’t nothing but sound” but yeah, I did have formal schooling back in the day and use to teach.

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I’m sorry my dear but I’ll have to challenge you on that. It was the minor scales with flatted 3rds and 7ths and their dark, moody tone that was considered the devil’s music. But it was the tritone that was actually named the devil’s interval.

https://www.npr.org/2017/10/31/560843189/the-unsettling-sound-of-tritones-the-devils-interval

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Interesting thoughts. Root and 2 whole-tones would indeed be a “tension causing” combination.

I would think of it (where “Maj” and “Min” refer to Cmajor scale reference; “Min” meaning flatted):

1, Maj2, Maj3; or

Min7, 1, Maj2; or

Min6, Min7, 1

I was (in my statement) referring to a discussion about “Minor” (flatted) 2 and 6 as well as 3 in scales/chords [as contrasted with “Major” (non-flatted)] 2, 3, and 7 with a fellow who had a Doctorate in Music History. Perhaps I did not fully interpret - and/or perhaps he did not fully explain - the information that he was communicating. I was referring to the mostly discussed Maj/Min 3 (as well as Maj/Min 7) distinction in musical scales/chords, as contrasted with a Phrygian mode (as a rotation of Cmajor):

1, Min2, Min3, 4, 5, Min6, Min7

:nerd_face:

The spacing between Min7 and the 1 is a whole-step - but between the 1 and Min3 is three half-steps ?

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Yes, I’d like that and thanx for the offer. Real quick…been hammering on the minor blues scale, which is just the minor pentatonic with an added b5 (devils interval). My issue is I’ve been doing it for so long and feel so comfortable with it that when trying to incorporate the Aeolian or Dorian modes (for a bit of color) I get jammed up and forget my intervals. I think it’s more of a rote memory thing though. LOL

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I wish I could draw the staff and add notes to it. I suppose if I learn a drawing app I might be able to. Using C as the root (1) for easy reference: C Db D Eb So yes, it’s a half step between each note totalling 3 half steps.

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The Aeolian mode is the natural minor scale (minor 3rd, 6th and 7th). It’s simply a major scale starting on its minor 3rd as the root. In other words, the A minor scale is also the C major scale. They both contain identical notes. The Aeolian mode (A minor scale): A B C D E F G. The C is the minor 3rd, the F is the minor 6 and the G is the minor 7. And of course, all the notes are natural so if you start on the C(b3 of the Am scale) you have yourself the C major scale. But they’re not going to sound the same to your ears because the tonic (root) changes depending on where you start from.

But to answer your question about getting jammed up…it happens to all of us. As a musician you have to find ways to stretch yourself, to get out of the same rut. I could quote famous musicians all night. There are many ways of thinking about it. Music is purely sound and often times we get hung up in theory and practicing scales/arpeggios. Can you hear in your head what you want to play? Can you sing it? If you can sing it you can play it. Learn everything you can and when it comes time to playing forget it all (and just play), make music. Music is an art not a technique. But for practicality sake, the only way to learn a new scale is to practice it and then use it to write a song or create a lick. Improvise with it over some changes. What good is a new pair of shoes if you don’t walk in them and break them in? Put that bad boy to good use! :wink:

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The most exciting rhythms seem unexpected and complex,
the most beautiful melodies simple and inevitable.
-W. H. Auden

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I like to think and track in terms of movements in 1/2-steps from a reference Root.

A “minor Pentatonic” (5-tone) scale with an added (3 contiguous whole-steps) tone (might) be:

3 2 2 2 3 (also describable as Min3, 4, 5, Maj6, Min7 intervals relative to Root)

The 7-tone Dorian (rotation of Cmajor-scale starting at a Root of D rather than C):

2 1 2 2 2 1 2

… contains all of those (Pentatonic scale) tones within itself.

The 7-tone Aolean (rotation of Cmajor-scale starting at a Root of A rather than C):

2 1 2 2 1 2 2

… differs in that it “flats” the 6 interval.

The 7-tone Phrygian (rotation of Cmajor-scale starting at a Root of E rather than C):

1 2 2 2 1 2 2

… differs in that it “flats” the 2 (as well as the 6) interval.

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A “minor” scale (5-tone or 7-tone) has a flatted 3. The above three (7-tone) scale-modes use a flatted 7, in addition to (normal) 4 and 5 intervals. From a reference of the 7-tone Dorian scale-mode structure, flatting the 6 results in Aolean scale-mode, and (additionally, further) flatting the 2 results in Phrygian.

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Note the (physical) symmetries that exist within the patterns (of movements in 1/2-steps) that center around the 5th interval of Dorian (an A note) when the various modes are shifted successively (by 5ths moving down, or by 4ths moving up):

Root Note

C (Ionian) --------------- 2 2 1 - 2 - 2 2 1

G (Mixolydian) --------- 2 2 1 - 2 - 2 1 2

D (Dorian) ------------- 2 1 2 --[2]-- 2 1 2

A (Aolean) -------------- 2 1 2 - 2 - 1 2 2

E (Phrygian) ------------1 2 2 - 2 - 1 2 2

.

Pentatonic (5-note) scales are selectively “abbreviated”, so to speak, versions of the 7-tone scales.

(In my personal thinking and perceptions), Dorian (D-based root) mode is sort of a an (“emotional”) “neutral”. The major 3 of the Mixolydian (G-based root) and Ionian (C-based root) imbues a certain “major” (based on the 3-interval) feel, whereas the minor 6 (of the Aolean), as well as the additional minor 2 (of the Phrygian) modes combine with their (minor) 3 intervals to suggest a more somber, “serious” (evil ? :wink:) feel. I used this system to start out with a Dorian scale-mode “base”, flatting the 3, 6, and 2 as so desired. Not much of a user of the major 7 interval - I almost always prefer the minor (flatted) 7 interval. With 7-tone scale-modes in mind, using 5-tone Pentatonic scales only differs in regards to which intervals are (selectively chosen to be) omitted from 7-tone scales (ie, the 2 and 6).

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Yes I always hears songs in my head. In fact I sometimes wake up with a song, which can be annoying!
But I also hear what I would imagine the solo could sound like, or fills where a break would be. But that’s moving towards technical territory. A balls-out scale run sounds killer in my head, but applying it to the fretboard is never quite as easy.

Agreed and that’s what my initial comment about all this was based on. But even with a metric fuck-ton of backing tracks at my disposal, improvising can only go as far as my knowledge of theory.

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I get that. Well, most of it.
But let me ask a question if I may. No disrespect intended, but why do I get this feeling that your reply was copied from somewhere and pasted here? Maybe I’m wrong but it seems WAY too structured (even for you) to be an off-the-top impromptu response. Are you a player with that kind of musical education?

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(At least my) “ears” operate on (mysterious perceptual) results - as opposed to (any/all) “academics”.

Start with a “neutral” Dorian mode, deciding on whether the 3 might better be Major (un-flatted, as in Mixolydian, Ionian modes), deciding on whether the (Major or Minor) 2 should be included at all, then deciding on whether the (Major or Minor) 6 should included at all pretty much covers it. The 3, 4, 5, and (I personally prefer Minor, flatted) 7 are the dominant tone-intervals to be included in “abbreviated” 7-tone (ie, “Pentatonic”) scales. Chords can/may benefit from including somewhat more of the various tones (associated with the particular modal-rotation being used). Dropping-out (scale) tones is optional.

My knowledge of what I have presented is entirely original in nature. I have a box filled with charts and diagrams that I created (which approached scales and their associated chords in terms of perceived “emotional impressions”). Spent ~20 years playing guitar (rhythm and blues, primarily melody, I am a rather lousy “rhythm” guitarist), and entirely “rolled my own” thinking about these things. Never found “theory” as presented to be useful - but after reading “Improvising Jazz” by Jerry Coker, and paying attention to how the (rest of the) world described things, I (finally, in the end, after creating my own analytical approaches and playing for a long time) learned how to speak something of the more “classic” languages about scales, chords. “Classic” musical theory seems byzantine, convoluted, and painful.

If the apparent structure perceived is a surprise, try spending a very long time in thought about such subjects. In the end, “academics” go “right out the window” once the mysterious “ears” are involved.

https://forum.e-liquid-recipes.com/t/conspiracy-theories-was-it-a-accident-or-planned-hunan/240015/455

I assure you, sire, that all of my “cleans” are of the most “spank-a-licious”, as well as original, in nature.

:innocent:

Axe and original Magic Box prototype (built into a mic-case):


Fender Stratocaster, 1981
Original color: Olympic White
Final color: Nicotine Gold … :stuck_out_tongue:

.

Has anybody acquired this (perhaps invaluable, when the “guys” get down together) little gem yet ?

Source:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/attachments/so-much-gear-so-little-time/220573-best-piece-gear-ever-guitar-pedal.jpg

:star_struck:

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Bravo! Good for you. Modes were something I never took to exactly. I’ve studied them and get them but they just never imprinted. When I was with a 17 piece big band a lot of the members used modes and would chat about which they used when and what not and I found I did the same thing just at a more intuitive level for me using key steps within a given scale. The down side was that I could not join in the conversations not having memorized the names of the different modes. Now that I’ve stepped back a little playing rock and roll, everything is by ear only. Funny though, the theory is sill there as I’m playing away.

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I truly empathize with you TZ. Any musician who has had the benefit of a mentor appreciates the practice tips. It’s difficult to help without being in the same room because it also entails physical observation. Not that different from an athlete in training with a coach to guide your movements. Without knowing you and your prior experience I’m willing to share what I’ve learned along the way regarding instrumentation, composition/arranging and songwriting. Use what you can, throw out the rest. It’s a 2-way street. I’ll learn from sharing with you (it will force me to jog my memory, lol) and hopefully you can pick up something useful.

The reason I explained the relationship between Aeolian and Major scales is because once you learn one you automatically get the bonus of learning a second. Am = Cmaj. As a matter of fact, once you learn your major scale you now have easy access to the corresponding modes. Just like you, the first scale I ever used to improvise on was the pentatonic scale. This is so common among guitar players because of the nature of the instrument. Also because of the popular music most of us grew up on. I discovered that pentatonic scale while playing along to a Rolling Stones song, lol.

The moment you step foot into a formal music school you will be asked to learn all your major scales across and up and down the fretboard. You’ll also be learning the corresponding chords to those scales. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that the beauty and horror of the fretted instrument is that you have five middle Cs as opposed to the piano’s one. This makes sight reading very difficult on the guitar. Many guitarists suck at it and I’m just as guilty. Idk where you want to go with your guitar but if you ever get a studio gig they’re not going to throw guitar tablature in front of you.

I encourage you to learn your C major scale in first position (not open position). Start on middle C with your 2nd finger (bird finger) on the 3rd fret of your A (5th) string and go across the fretboard until you reach C above middle C. Don’t stop there. Continue playing until you reach the A note with your pinky on the 5th fret of the high E (1st) string. Then go back down the scale to middle C and continue descending until you reach the F at the 1st fret on the low E (6th) string.

Once you get the hang of the C major scale in first position (no open strings) you can play it using hammer-ons while ascending and pull-offs while descending. Get creative, use flourishes, bend notes, have fun!

Then I can show you how you consequently know all the (Greek) modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian.

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I’m all for education (I offered you a guitar lesson above) but don’t get too hung up in theory and technique. Some of our most famous musicians didn’t read a note of music or have formal training and that didn’t get in the way of their improvising. Go slow. Scat out a 4-5 note riff then play it back on your instrument. It’s good practice. In school it was called Ear Training class. Listen to a favorite riff you have problems playing. First try to sing the first 3-4 notes then transfer to your instrument. It has to start in your brain first.

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Note the (physical) symmetries that exist within the patterns (of movements in 1/2-steps) that center around the 5th interval of Dorian (an A note) when the various modes are shifted successively (by 5ths moving down, or by 4ths moving up):

Root Note ---------- Physical Movement

C (Ionian) --------------- 2 2 1 - 2 - 2 2 1

G (Mixolydian) --------- 2 2 1 - 2 - 2 1 2

D (Dorian) ------------- 2 1 2 --[2]-- 2 1 2

A (Aolean) -------------- 2 1 2 - 2 - 1 2 2

E (Phrygian) ------------1 2 2 - 2 - 1 2 2

.

Translating the “G-Matrix” from 7-tone to 5-tone (“Pentatonic”) involves combining half-steps next to whole-steps into 3 half-step jumps:

Root Note -------- Physical Movement

G (Mixolydian) --------- 2 2 - 3 - 2 3 [ called-out as 1, 2, maj3, 5, maj6 ]

D (Dorian) -------------- 3 2 - 2 - 3 2 [ called-out as 1, min3, 4, 5, min7 ]

A (Aolean) -------------- 3 2 - 2 - 3 2 [ called-out as 1, min3, 4, 5, min7 ]

.

Where the (presently referenced) “root” exists being sussed-out (often by feel, from some experience playing), the basic (physical movement) patterns are relatively simple. If and when the (intended to be perceived as) “root” tone is frequently changing within a piece, then knowing the resultant (shifted Cmaj) scale/chord tones implied could indeed help. What sounds “right” in the moment (at some particular intended to be perceived as the current “root”) is immediately discover-able by discreetly “trying it out”.

The (maj/min) 3s and 5s being (usually) consistent (along with 4s), the questions (for me) rapidly come down to: whether a (maj/min) 2 is helpful; whether a (maj/min) 6 is helpful; and whether an included 7 will be major or minor. That’s about it (in relatively simple cases of playing bass-lines, melodic scales).

I have found that the prettiest and most elegant schemes on paper (on speculations) can “die a very early death”, the moment that one sets about playing such on their instruments(s), and the “mind’s ear” renders immediate perceptual impressions. Timbre, acoustics, and perceptual processes can contribute largely to the “net” mysterious aesthetics - in addition to “tempo”, and the chosen 12-step scale “tone(s)”

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