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Ideas for moving beyond the major scale

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Liam  
10 Feb 2010 21:56 | Quote
Joined: 10 Feb 2010
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Ok, so Ive been practicing like mad over the past 3 months while Ive been traveling through Central America (especially since Ive had to busk in order to make money for food...long story). Ive finally become very comfortable with the Major scale, as well as the barre chords (to my understanding also called the triads?) that fall in this scale. Im also starting to get comfortable going between the barre chords of the Major scale and the individual notes that comprise the scale (though not completely comfortable yet).

I noticed when I started learning scales that the pattern of notes that comprises the Major scale is the same pattern for many of the other scales, only moved up or down the fret board. For example, E Mixolydian is the E Major scale moved up 5 steps, which would make it the same as A Major. This lead me to mainly learn the basic pattern of the Major scale and just moving it to match the key Im playing in. I can rather easily pick up on what key a song is in, and improvise with the Major scale in it. However, Im realize this is limiting me to the Major scale, though it is the easiest way for me to find the key by ear for me at this point.

Though I know that the Mixolydian, Lydian, Minor, Dorian, Phrygian, and Locrian scales all follow the same pattern (a pattern which Im rather familiar with), I still seem to be falling into the habbit of playing only the Major scale in each key I play in. This may also be in part because I started learning music on a clarinet in grade school and high school band, whose music tends to revolve around the Major scale, which is also why I quit playing it about 8 years ago. It seems to me that the major difference between the different scales is the root note.

Does anyone have any ideas as to how I might be able to practice applying the basic scale pattern to different scales within the same key? The only real way I can think of is to play along with a song that stays in the same key for a while and intentionally play in a different scale until my mind becomes comfortable with the differences in how it sounds. I hope what Im asking makes sense to anyone. Im very happy with how much progress Ive made in just 3 months, but I would really like to expand my limitations.
btimm  
10 Feb 2010 22:48 | Quote
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I could be wrong here, but I am pretty sure traids are power chords, right? Because power chords aren't in fact chords?
Guitarslinger124  
12 Feb 2010 07:14 | Quote
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btimm says:
I could be wrong here, but I am pretty sure traids are power chords, right? Because power chords aren't in fact chords?


A triad, is a chord comprised of three notes... hence the name triad. Power chords are also refered to as Fifth Chords, because a 5th chord is a root and its' fifth. So, no, a power chord is not a triad.



@Liam - The major scale or Ionian scale is called so because of the intervals they are used to make it. Scale intervals are the distance between any two notes or degrees in a scale. For example, in the key of C major, the first mode is C Ionian. The note in this scale are C D E F G A B and C. Each note in the scale corresponds to a degree.



C - 1st degree
D - 2nd degree
E - 3rd degree
F - 4th degree
G - 5th degree
A - 6th degree
B - 7th degree


An interval is the distance between any of those notes. There are two basic intervals, "whole step" and "half step". A whole step is the equivalent of two frets on the fretboard, a half step, one fret. Check out some of the lessons by jazzmaverick or Afro_Raven. They got some good info on this stuff.

As far as going further than the major scale, or Ionian scale, here you go. There are seven modes in every major key. Take C major. Each note in that key is the root note for a mode in that key.

The modes in any major key, in order, are Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. Now, sticking with C Major, you have C Ionian (also known as the C major. Now you go from there:


C Ionain
D Dorian
E Phrygian
D Lydian
G Mixolydian
A Aeolian (a.k.a. A Natural Minor Scale)
B Locrian


All the modes in any major key will have the same notes. The notes will always go in order of the Alphabet. Each mode will start with the root note of that mode, i.e. D Dorian will start with D and note C even though it is in the key of C major.


C Ionian C D E F G A B
D Dorian D E F G A B C
E Phrygian E F G A B C D
F Lydian F G A B C D E
G Mixolydian G A B C D E F
A Aeolian A B C D E F G
B Locrian B C D E F G A


All of the above notes are in the key of C major, thus, they all contain the same notes.

Learning how to play the modes is easy. Learning how to comprehend the modes is a little harder. Becasue I'm at work with not much better to do, I've taken the liberty of sorting out the intverals for each mode so you can go ahead and build your own.



W= whole step H= Half step
(Numbers will refer to the degrees in each scale)
Ionian W W H W W W H
/ / / / / / /
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1


Dorian W H W W W H W
/ / / / / / /
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

Phrygian
H W W W H W W
/ / / / / / /
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

Lydian
W W W H W W H
/ / / / / / /
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

Mixolydian
W W H W W H W
/ / / / / / /
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

Aeolian
W H W W H W W
/ / / / / / /
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1

Locrian
H W W H W W W
/ / / / / / /
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1




And... Just to show you what the hell all of the above is, here is an example:



Key of G Major
G Ionian Scale
(Remember, the numbers refer to the degree in the scale)

W W H W W W H
/ / / / / / /
G A B C D E F# G
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1



I hope all that helped clear some stuff up for you. Sorry if that was a bit much, I tend to get carried away. Don't hesitate to ask questions because teaching is the best way to learn!

Good luck
Feel free to check out any of my lessons!
Rock on!



Phip  
12 Feb 2010 08:02 | Quote
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@Guitarslinger,
Very nice! That should be converted to a lesson actually.
Phip
btimm  
12 Feb 2010 08:31 | Quote
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I apologize for my incorrect information. I read that somewhere (not on this site) and was mistaken. Thanks for clarifying that for me guitarslinger124!
Liam  
12 Feb 2010 13:12 | Quote
Joined: 10 Feb 2010
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@ Guitarslinger

While yes that is good information, thats what I understand at this point. The problem for me is that when Im improvising, its hard for me to distinguish weather or not Im playing say a C Ionian, or a F Mixolydian (since they both have the same pattern with a different root note). This may stem from the fact that Ive been on the road for the past 3 and a half months and have only been able to play with myself, not even with other recorded music.

Perhaps I simply havent learned the scales in relation to the root note, but have rather simply learned the patterns of intervals. Does this sound like it might be the problem?

The other thing Ive considered (especially after your response), for example in the Key of E (sorry if this is a long one):

Say Im playing a simple E -> A -> B chord progression. All these chords lie on the E Ionian scale.

When I play the E chord, the "suggested" notes to play over/after it would be the ones in that region of the fretboard (where the root note of the E chord starts the E Ionian)

When I play the A chord, the "suggested" notes to play over/after it would be the ones in that region of the fretboard (where the root note of the A chord starts the A Lydian, but is also the a different section of E Ionian)

When I play the B chord, the "suggested" notes to play over/after it would be the ones in that region of the fretboard (where the root note of the B chord starts the B Mixolydian, but is also the a different section of E Ionian)

If this is the case, than Im already aware of this. When I was working on barre chords, I learned the scale they make along the Ionian scale (which I learned in all positions on the fretboard), and integrated the scale with the chords that can be made out of a scale. Although, if this is the case, this information does shed light on playing chord progressions with chords that dont all fall on the same scale, which might be my hangup.

However, Im more curious if someone else is playing that same E -> A -> B chord progression, would it make theoretical sense for me to play an E Mixolydian scale pattern (again in all positions of the fretboard) throughout the entire chord progression.

Maybe Ive just been going in a really odd direction in learning since Ive only had myself to teach me over the past months. Thats why Im asking this to make sure I dont develop any bad habbits. I hope its not too hard to interpret what Im asking here.
Guitarslinger124  
13 Feb 2010 06:51 | Quote
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Truthfully Liam, it all depends on what sound you are going for. If E mixolydian sounds good to you then play it.

Liam says:
C Ionian, or a F Mixolydian (since they both have the same pattern with a different root note).


Well first of all, C Ionian and F Mixolydian do not have the same pattern. However, lets say you can't decide whether you want to play C Ionian or A Aeolian. They both are in the same key and share the same notes. You need to look at your chord progression and then pick the scale that will complement the progression better.

Also, don't feel like you have to stay in the same key. For example, I like to play D Aeolian in a G major progression because I think it sounds really cool. And that is all me. That's the way I hear it and that is the most important thing. What you hear is the key.

But if you play it by the book just to get an idea, just check out your chord progressions. If you are playing E-A-B, you are right, E Major is the most obvious key. So check out all the modes in that key, E Ionian, F# Dorian, G# Phrygian, A Lydian, B Mixolydian, C# Aeolian and D# Locrian. Or you may want to think a little outside the box and play E Mixolydian. It's all really about what youwant.
Liam  
14 Feb 2010 16:22 | Quote
Joined: 10 Feb 2010
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My bad Guitar, I meant to say G Mixolydian. And thanks for the help, it gives me a good idea of where to go from here.
Guitarslinger124  
14 Feb 2010 23:49 | Quote
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Hate to bust your bubble, but G Mixolydian and C Ionian don't have the same scale pattern either. They do however, share the same notes because they are both in the same key, but they don't share the same pattern... If they did then they would be the same scale!

I'm glad I could be of help to you!

Rock on!
Liam  
16 Feb 2010 13:16 | Quote
Joined: 10 Feb 2010
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Lol, that's the fascinating part about trying to learn about/teach music online. There's so many different ways to look at/describe it, that symantics can just make things dificult. From my perspective, having the same notes is the same as containing the same pattern (even though it has a different pattern if you look at them both from each of their root notes). The mind and how it learns things are just too interesting to me lol.

Anyways, thanks again for the help. Even in the past two days it's taken me in an interesting direction and has even given me a different perspective on chord progressions oddly enough lol. Thanks ^_
Guitarslinger124  
16 Feb 2010 14:57 | Quote
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Truthfully man, I look at it a similar way as you. I don't pay much attention to any of the stuff I was just explaining to you when I'm playing. I know what I like, I know how to make those sounds and that's all that matters to me. And I think it's great that you are so open minded to all of it. G'luck!

Rock on!


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