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Have some questions...like everyone else

Music Theory
gilcarleton  
22 Apr 2012 20:18 | Quote
Joined: 29 Feb 2012
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I have been learning scales for the first time in my many years of playing. Honestly, I am amazed that most of the melodies I want to play can be played with only 7 notes of the major scale. If you know what you are doing, maybe you can answer a few questions for me.

It seems that the major scale is the best scale for melodies and the pentatonic scale is better for more of a free form style. Am I right?

If I am playing in the key of G and playing in the G pentatonic scale, can I change to the G major scale and everything work out? I mean will it still sound in key?

One more. Again I am in the key of G and my backup is playing the D chord, can I play a D scale and have it fit. I just wonder if I can play in the scale of the chord that is being played rather than the key that the song is in.

Thanks for the help. I just have a hard time figuring out which scale I can or should be in since I currently do not have anyone to practice with, it is hard to figure out on my own.
Empirism  
22 Apr 2012 23:09 | Quote
Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Finland
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gilcarleton says:
One more. Again I am in the key of G and my backup is playing the D chord, can I play a D scale and have it fit. I just wonder if I can play in the scale of the chord that is being played rather than the key that the song is in!


In Jazz forexample, there is important you to know what chord is played to be improvise from that scale, so yes you can change the scale from G to D.

Major is not a "best" scale for melodies than any else, while I dont fully agree with the pentatonic being "better" to free form like any else, its still dont have semitones or tritones and therefore its not fight with other notes on "any combination"... maybe not best explanation but others can fill the rest with better explanations... meanwhile you should check the following lessons, understanding these will DEFINATELY, help you on your way.

http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/lesson.php?id=13

http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/lesson.php?id=143

-Emp
Guitarslinger124  
24 Apr 2012 18:47 | Quote
Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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Licks: 42
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gilcarleton says:
Honestly, I am amazed that most of the melodies I want to play can be played with only 7 notes of the major scale


Well, I certainly hope so! Considering the Major/Ionian scale only has 7 notes. ;)



I've broken this post in half


Right, so it seems to me, that you not fully grasping the concepts of scales and modes; or the difference between the two.

Instead of linking you to a million lessons, I've brought the lessons to you:

A Quick Glance at Modes

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.




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) as the first mode in the key. Now you go from there:




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


You ask, what determines the order of the modes or what determines which note in a key will be the root note of a mode? The answer is simple. Each note in a key corrosponds with a degree.
Degress are the numbered order of the notes in a key/scale. So, take C major:



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



All the modes in a 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 not 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 modes 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. I've sorted 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




Go ahead a practice building your own scales now. Remember, while it might be easier just to memorize the patterns or pictures of every mode, it is very good practice and a helpful learning aid to memorize the intervals for every mode as well.





gilcarleton says:
If I am playing in the key of G and playing in the G pentatonic scale, can I change to the G major scale and everything work out? I mean will it still sound in key?


First, are you playing the G Major Pentatonic or the Pentatonic minor?

Since you are talking major - so will I talk major.

Let's start to answer your question by building some scales that are relevant to your question:



G Pentatonic Major
G - 1st Degree
A - 2nd Degree
B - 3rd Degree
D - 5th Degree
E - 6th Degree


You'll note that I skipped the 4th and 7th degrees. That is because pentatonic scales are, 1) Built from other scales (The G Ionian Scale in this example) and 2) Pentatonic denotes a scale made of 5 notes.

That being said, let's take a look at G Ionian:


G Ionian/Major Scale
G - 1st Degree
A - 2nd Degree
B - 3rd Degree
C - 4th Degree
D - 5th Degree
E - 6th Degree
F# - 7th Degree


Now, you should be able to see clearly where you got your G Pentatonic Major from.

This really has little to do with what key you are in. You can maneuver into G Ionian from Gmaj Pentatonic simply because they are the same scale...

Now if you were using G Pentatonic Minor it is sorta the same in that you can maneuver easily into another scale, however, it wouldn't be G Ionian.

From Gmin Pentatonic, you can slip into G Aeolian. Now G Aeolian is very different from G Ionian. G Aeolian belongs to the key of A# Major.

Take a look:


A# Major:
A# - 1st Degree
C - 2nd Degree
D - 3rd Degree
D# - 4th Degree
F - 5th Degree
G - 6th Degree
A - 7th Degree

If you read through the above lesson, this next step should make sense:

A# Ionian - A# C D D# F G A
C Dorian - C D D# F G A A#
D Phrygian - D D# F G A A# C
D# Lydian - D# F G A A# C D
F Mixolydian - F G A A# C D D#
G Aeolian - G A A# C D D# F
A Locrian - A A# C D D# F G

No we are going to isolate G Aeolian and compare it with G Pentatonic Minor:

G Aeolian - G A A# C D D# F
G Pentatonic Minor - G A# C D F


You can easily see how they match up.
Guitarslinger124  
24 Apr 2012 18:50 | Quote
Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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gilcarleton says:
One more. Again I am in the key of G and my backup is playing the D chord, can I play a D scale and have it fit. I just wonder if I can play in the scale of the chord that is being played rather than the key that the song is in.


Again, I think you are being more vague than you're intending. So I'll clarify. When you say, "G" or "D" you are implying major chords or scales. So that is what I'll go with.

The simple answer:

Yes, you can overlap G and D major. Here is a little chart that should help you:



G Major Scale:
Scale | I | ii | iii | IV | V | vi | vii |
Corresponding Chord | G | Am | Bm | C | D | Em | F#dim |
Degree | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |


At this point, take a look at the following lesson, it should clear the rest up for you. I would have copied and pasted it, but I can't type more than 10,000 characters, so I'll just link it.

Music Theory: Stack 'em and Smack 'em

I hope all this helps!

Rock on!

gilcarleton  
24 Apr 2012 20:45 | Quote
Joined: 29 Feb 2012
Karma
I know it may be a surprise to you but before I began studying theory I would look at my fretboard and just know that the notes I wanted were there somewhere. It really did amaze me at how short of a distance I needed to go to find the melody.

I am going to copy what you have written into a Word file and print it out. Thanks for the help.

Gil
Guitarslinger124  
25 Apr 2012 14:04 | Quote
Joined: 25 Jul 2007
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Glad I could help!

Rock on!
FiniteZer0  
25 Apr 2012 17:04 | Quote
Joined: 27 Jan 2010
United States
Lessons: 4
Karma: 1
Yes you can play a G while your friend play D. What you are doing is called a polychord, which in a nutshell is two different chords played at once. It's pretty cool stuff!


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