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shredder567

is major scale enough ??

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I have only given the latest comments a superficial reading, given lack of sleep over the past few days, but I must ask; is any scale actually 'natural' or merely a human construct? In this instance, a construct of European origin.

The method of dividing up the octave in said fashion is by no means consistent throughout the world, and the resultant theory of our musical heritage (assuming we are of western origin of course) does not deal with music from India, Africa, China or the Australian Aboriginals, etc.

This is a part of our industrial and scientific background as westerners. We try very hard to make everything 'work' mathematically, it is part of our heritage. Which also goes to why some things sound 'out of tune' to our ears, Aboriginal Music and Indian Music that you spoke of particularly. This is because Folk instruments were not to a scientific standard but by an ear. Western Instruments have been subject to things like Bach and his Equal Temperment and Pythagoras and his octavial computations for millenia.

As to a 9th Chord Kirk, If it is a Major 9th Chord, isn't there a relative Minor you can play?

The other thing is, I always thought that the scale you used was based upon the music you were listening to and the sound you wanted to create over it.

Now take for instance a standard 12 bar blues. You really going to want to hit a bluesy sound, but the Pentatonic alone isn't going to cut that, you will want the Pentatonic Blues scale for that, an additional few notes.

If it was the same 12 bars, chord for chord, but played with distortion and a heavy crunch, we would term it metal or rock, then well you would like just stick with the Pentatonic.

The chords have not changed. Yet the scale you play has.

The improv still works through your system of Chord Shapes instead of scales, but that doesn't mean either one doesn't work or is better for everyone.

Remember the original part I questioned was the idea that Scales and Modes are meaningless in 'deeper' music.

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Hi, Fong. I meant a 9th, as in dom7 with a 9.

Above is a blues improv I played just thinking chords. Not pentatonic, not blues scales, not mixolydian ... none of those. I was seeking out a bluesy melody, coaxing it out of the chords as I went. I haven't checked, but I'm sure I played every one of the 12 notes available at some stage or other. I don't ever want to restrict myself to a scale or mode when in fact all 12 notes are there to be used. This is why a long time ago I stopped bothering with the notion of scales. Melody is what I'm interested in, and I find it outlined in the chords. Once you have an outline, you can then embellish till the cows come home.

Below is another, this time a jazzier tune. Again, all the lines came from the chords. I'm not sure how you'd negotiate such a progression thinking scales. Scotty_b said he'd do a modal approach, but if and when he does (Scotty?), I guarantee it will also be following the chords. So whether you consciously bring modes to mind after studying the chords and play them as modes, or simply let each chord be the mode, chords are boss. But, I'm always open to be proved wrong. I can load the backing tracks of those two tunes if you'd like to have a go in a scalar fashion.

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Nice playing Kirk.

Thing is I come from a Scaler point of view, but I am not constrained by the Scale I 'think' I am in.

I would say of the Jazz piece specifically, that what you employ is just called passing notes.

You don't need to write a mode or a scale to fit exactly what you are playing, that includes every note. You are probably playing in a simple Mode or Scale, but employing passing notes judiciously.

Chords are boss, but whether Scales and Modes are irrelevent in deeper music is highly questionable.

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Isn't it true that playing the 3 of a chord in the bass was also considered taboo back in those days?

Kirk - No, first inversion chords were common in Bach's day.

Scotty - I wasn't sure either about the use of pentatonic scales in India but this site lists load of them including the 'universal' one that I was referring to: A C D E G and its modes.

Fong - Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern musical systems were subject to scientific investigation and experiment too. The (to us) out of tuneness is due to how they chose to divide the octave. For example, the Arab system of equal temperament divides the octave by 24 rather than 12, resulting in quarter tones and exotic intervals such as the 'neutral second' (one and a half semitones).

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Below is another, this time a jazzier tune. Again, all the lines came from the chords. I'm not sure how you'd negotiate such a progression thinking scales. Scotty_b said he'd do a modal approach, but if and when he does (Scotty?), I guarantee it will also be following the chords.

Sorry - I haven't forgotten about it - to be honest I had a quick play along with it and I was having 'one of those days' where nothing seemed to work...and then I haven't done any recording since then.

Yes - I do typically reference the chords when I am playing, especially if I am the only soloist in the band. On some occasions in the jazz band I play more from a scalar/modal approach than at other times - to try and create some distinction between myself and the horn players I work with. If one plays a very melodic solo I would tend to try and play something different if I take the next one.

My basic playing approach is more using arpeggios and the chromatic scale these days. I was looking at some old charts I had written out about ten years ago, and notes I had scribbled on them for ideas over the chords. My playing was much more 'fusion' influenced then, with deliberately not resolving , and playing far more chord extensions and chromatic lines through everyone. It was the influence of Mike Stern , Scott Henderson and Carl Orr. I really don't play like that much now - perhaps that is a good thing!

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Nice playing Kirk.

Thing is I come from a Scaler point of view, but I am not constrained by the Scale I 'think' I am in.

I would say of the Jazz piece specifically, that what you employ is just called passing notes.

You don't need to write a mode or a scale to fit exactly what you are playing, that includes every note. You are probably playing in a simple Mode or Scale, but employing passing notes judiciously.

Chords are boss, but whether Scales and Modes are irrelevent in deeper music is highly questionable.

I didn't see this response, Fong. Sorry for the tardiness in getting back to you.

From your previous posts, I was under the impression you knew all about which scales/modes to use, which is why I asked. Sorry about that. You suggest I'm "probably playing in a mode" and "just using passing notes" ... I'll say it once again: I'm doing my best to create melody. After 46 years of playing, I know where to find it: in the chords. So I can in fact tell you exactly what I'm doing -- no probably's about it: I'm outlining the evolving melody using chord tones. Embellishments, like getting from one chord tone to anther via passing tones, is mere detail.

I think if one were to analyze what I played in terms of scales/modes, I'd be using several. To me, though, it would be irrelevant information.

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I don't think I explained myself well there Kirk.

When I said you were playing a 'simple' mode, I did not mean through out the piece. I meant, over each chord, you were playing a simple mode with some passing notes.

Now your piece is very long and quite complex, so I will show a simpler example.

You play just 2 notes.

C D

What scale or mode are you in?

You do not really know, until you have the chords.

If you play C major. Then you are playing the Major Scale, the Ionian Mode.

If you add one more note and play.

C C# D

and play the same chord.

You are still playing the major scale, the Ionian Mode, with a passing note.

You can make it more complex and say the two notes you play over the C Major Chord:

F G

Now if my brain is working right, you are playing in the Lydian Mode. If you play:

F F# G

You are still in Lydian, but you have used a passing note.

Now what you were doing over the Jazz chords is far more complex then that, and would take some serious Theory head to work out, but I get the feeling that after they had spent the time working it out, they would only be talking modes with passing notes.

One of the reasons I have never really been any good at Jazz playing is my inability to think fast enough through the scales/modes.

I would also like to add that the other day, after this thread, I tried playing chord shapes that I knew over a simple Amajor Bmajor chord progression...just back and forth didn't want anything too difficult.

I would say it certainly changed my lead playing a little bit because it opened up a different way of thinking about the fretboard, and how I could move around on it.

I would say both have their place, both work theory wise, both are good for lead playing and you really should learn both.

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I would add, that is just my understanding of it.

I always understood that the 'mode' you were in is completely dependant on the Chord you are playing over.

C D F & G are ALL in the C Major Scale/Ionian Mode.

If you look at the mode chart I created earlier in this thread, you will note that ALL of the Modes for C have no sharps or flats and ALL of them include

C D F & G

So on that basis, how can you possibly tell which one you are playing in?

The only way to know in this situation is to know the root note of what you are playing over.

If the Root note is C and you are starting from the F, then you are in Lydian, because effectively you are treating that F as your root, your starting position.

That is my understanding of Modes. Though I make no promises that I am not wrong, as I said before I am self taught and I have taught myself other stuff that proved to be wrong.

I would love for someone to confirm or correct me here as it would help my own understanding.

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Fong, if you're in the key of C, and you're playing over the F chord (the IV) you're not playing Lydian, even if you're including the #4 in your lines ... you're still just playing the Ionian mode; equally, if you're playing over the G chord, the V chord, and you're including the F in the line, making it G7, you're not playing the Mixolydian mode, you're still just playing the Ionian mode. The same goes for all the other chords of C -- Dm, Em, Am, Bm7-5. As long as you're in the key of C, you'll just be playing the Ionian Mode.

However, if you're playing a Blues in C, for example, and you play chord tones over an F7 chord with a, 2, 4 and 6 thrown in to the lines, then you're playing the Mixolydian over that F7 chord.

That's my understanding, anyway; someone who really knows, like monk, can hopefully confirm that and explain exactly what playing modally is.

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Fong, if you're in the key of C, and you're playing over the F chord (the IV) you're not playing Lydian, even if you're including the #4 in your lines ... you're still just playing the Ionian mode; equally, if you're playing over the G chord, the V chord, and you're including the F in the line, making it G7, you're not playing the Mixolydian mode, you're still just playing the Ionian mode. The same goes for all the other chords of C -- Dm, Em, Am, Bm7-5. As long as you're in the key of C, you'll just be playing the Ionian Mode.

However, if you're playing a Blues in C, for example, and you play chord tones over an F7 chord with a, 2, 4 and 6 thrown in to the lines, then you're playing the Mixolydian over that F7 chord.

That's my understanding, anyway; someone who really knows, like monk, can hopefully confirm that and explain exactly what playing modally is.

Thats not quite what I said Kirk.

I said if you are playing a C Major Chord, always, and you BEGIN on the F note, and treat it as your starting position, then you are playing in the Lydian mode, because you are treating the scale you are playing as if the F is your root, instead of the natural C.

I believe this to be correct only because of the logic of it.

If it did not work like that, then you could not play any other Mode but Ionian over the C major chord, because ALL the modes have ALL the same notes as the Major/Ionian Scale. The Lydian mode of C doesn't have any different notes then the Ionian or the Mixolydian, the only difference is how you play them, and how you play them depends on which note you treat as your start or root.

That was my understanding of it, but obviously now I am a bit worried that perhaps my understanding is wrong, but yeah hopefully someone can come along and put me out of my misery one way or another.

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Beginning on whatever note is irrelevant, Fong. So long as you're playing lines over any chord within the key using the notes from the I chord, you'll be playing the Ionian mode over all of them. I understand what you're saying, and logically, yes, you're playing lines with #4s or b7s when playing over the IV and V chords respectively (therefore Lydian/Mixolydian), but in the context of the piece of music, you're just playing the Ionian mode.

Playing "modally" is a whole other kettle of fish.

Monk? we need your expert way of explaining this!

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This ties in with another thread where I've been discussing something similar with Monk and Scotty.

Kirk is right. In tonal music, technically, you're still playing in the Ionian mode throughout, because the mode is determined by the KEY and note set of the song, not the ROOT of the current chord.

This is the original use of modes from medieval melodies up to the modal jazz explorations of Miles Davis and his contemporaries and successors.

The fact that F Lydian has the same notes as C Ionian is just a coincidence. But it's a coincidence that has been exploited in the rock world because, as Monk and Scotty pointed out in that other thread, it offers a convenient way of planning out your path through the chord tones.

The downside of that approach is that, without enough information, it can lead guitarists into misunderstanding what modes actually are, and into thinking that they're playing in a mode, when in fact they're not, or at least not the mode they think it is.

It's a bit like using a capo. If playing alone, I can play a song in G and I can then stick a capo on fret 3 and play it as before. It's perfectly fine and very convenient to think of it still in G, especially if I'm reading from a chord sheet, but I know I'm actually now playing in Bb.

It's the same with modes. Thinking of our notes as belonging to F Lydian when we play over F major in the key of C may offer some help in knowing where we are and where we're going - but it's not actually F Lydian at all, it's C Ionian.

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This ties in with another thread where I've been discussing something similar with Monk and Scotty.

Kirk is right. In tonal music, technically, you're still playing in the Ionian mode throughout, because the mode is determined by the KEY and note set of the song, not the ROOT of the current chord.

This is the original use of modes from medieval melodies up to the modal jazz explorations of Miles Davis and his contemporaries and successors.

The fact that F Lydian has the same notes as C Ionian is just a coincidence. But it's a coincidence that has been exploited in the rock world because, as Monk and Scotty pointed out in that other thread, it offers a convenient way of planning out your path through the chord tones.

The downside of that approach is that, without enough information, it can lead guitarists into misunderstanding what modes actually are, and into thinking that they're playing in a mode, when in fact they're not, or at least not the mode they think it is.

It's a bit like using a capo. If playing alone, I can play a song in G and I can then stick a capo on fret 3 and play it as before. It's perfectly fine and very convenient to think of it still in G, especially if I'm reading from a chord sheet, but I know I'm actually now playing in Bb.

It's the same with modes. Thinking of our notes as belonging to F Lydian when we play over F major in the key of C may offer some help in knowing where we are and where we're going - but it's not actually F Lydian at all, it's C Ionian.

Fret--

I get all this. This makes sense. Aside from the fact that modern folk and rock have stolen or misconstrued the concept, what name do we give what we're hearing? It may be strictly speaking the Ionian mode, but we definitely hear something different when we play the major scale intervals from a different starting point other than the root.

Steve

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Fret--

I get all this. This makes sense. Aside from the fact that modern folk and rock have stolen or misconstrued the concept, what name do we give what we're hearing? It may be strictly speaking the Ionian mode, but we definitely hear something different when we play the major scale intervals from a different starting point other than the root.

Steve

Hi Steve, the effect you're referring to is a tonal rather than a modal effect. In the key of C, if you play the notes of the C scale based on the note F (over the chord F) you're hearing subdominant harmony, i.e., the IV chord.

If there's no accompanying harmony, the notes you're playing can still imply that subdominant harmony and tonality. It's a very different effect to that created by the Lydian mode as it appears in modal music.

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...It's a very different effect to that created by the Lydian mode as it appears in modal music.

Right, since you're saying that modal music requires the underlying key and the modal chord progressions that go with it. Correct?

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That's right, Steve. But it's not so clear cut when the music is more chromatic and the key isn't so well defined or shifts around a bit. Monk mentioned that a guitarist might solo in the Dorian mode over a long vamp in D minor7. I don't remember if he mentioned what that chord is in relation to the key, (e.g. chord ii or vi or whatever) but it doesn't matter, because the operative word is "long". If it's long enough, the root of that chord will start to be heard as a new tonal centre. So in that case the solo really is in the Dorian mode, because it's relating to the new temporary key centre D and the true Dorian mode quality will be free to emerge. But if it's just passing through Dm7, then it won't cause us to lose sight of the original key so there would be no justification in calling the few notes of the solo during that brief Dm7 as belonging to the D Dorian mode.

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That's right, Steve. But it's not so clear cut when the music is more chromatic and the key isn't so well defined or shifts around a bit. Monk mentioned that a guitarist might solo in the Dorian mode over a long vamp in D minor7. I don't remember if he mentioned what that chord is in relation to the key, (e.g. chord ii or vi or whatever) but it doesn't matter, because the operative word is "long". If it's long enough, the root of that chord will start to be heard as a new tonal centre. So in that case the solo really is in the Dorian mode, because it's relating to the new temporary key centre D and the true Dorian mode quality will be free to emerge. But if it's just passing through Dm7, then it won't cause us to lose sight of the original key so there would be no justification in calling the few notes of the solo during that brief Dm7 as belonging to the D Dorian mode.

That's seems very clear to me now, thanks. So tell me if this is correct: the chorus of the song Norwegian Wood, even though we hear it as Mixolydian is actually just Mixolydian in passing and not considered modal. But the song LA Woman might more correctly be caste as a Mixolydian modal rock song.

Steve

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That's seems very clear to me now, thanks. So tell me if this is correct: the chorus of the song Norwegian Wood, even though we hear it as Mixolydian is actually just Mixolydian in passing and not considered modal. But the song LA Woman might more correctly be caste as a Mixolydian modal rock song.

Steve

The intro and verses of Norwegian Wood are in D Mixolydian mode. The middle section "She asked me to stay..." is in D minor. It's a good example of a modal song containing different modes for different sections.

Another one is Hey Jude. It's strongly major throughout until the last "Na na na..." section which is Mixolydian. (C - Bb - F - C). As with Norwegian Wood, the change of mode is striking.

I'm ashamed to say I don't know LA Woman :oops:

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...I'm ashamed to say I don't know LA Woman :oops:

You'd know it if you heard it. A classic by the Doors.

I see your hair is burnin'

Hills are filled with fire

If they say I never loved you

You know they are a liar

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Hi Folks,

I saw this earlier but didn't have time to answer before I had to head out to teach.

I will post a more in depth answer shortly, but now I'll try to clarify a few points in short form.

So What from Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue album is a 32 measure AABA tune. The A sections can be considered as either Dm7 or D Dorian. The B section is Ebm7 or Eb Dorian.

While the rhythm section played Dm7 (actually Dm quartal voicings), the soloists played using the D Dorian & Eb Dorian modes. So for 16 measures Miles chose his notes or crafted his melodies from D Dorian mode. Then he moved to Eb Dorian for 8 bars. Then back to D Dorian for 8 bars. Then he begins the next 32 bars.

What Kirk is saying is that he knows what key he's playing in, what the chords are and that's how he thinks. If C is playing and he begins his melody on a E note, he isn't thinking E Phrygian, he's thinking 3rd of C chord.

Hope this helps. I'll post more in depth shortly.

Regards,

Monk

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After writing two pages on Tonal and Modal Music, I paused and realised nobody wants to read a book. So, I'll cut to the chase.

There are two types of Western music: Tonal and Modal.

If you want to improvise in modal music, it's probably easier to use Modes.

If you want to improvise in tonal music, it's easier if you understand chords and key centers.

If you try to improvise in tonal music using modes, it'll be frustrating & difficult. More so than it needs to be.

If you try to improvise in modal music with chords, it will be just as easy as using modes.

If someone tells you need to learn modes in order to learn to play tonal music, they're either lying or they don't know what they're talking about.

More important than scales, modes or technique is the ability to hear. A musician has to be able to hear chord changes, melodies, chord quality, riffs & licks, key changes in order to REALLY play.

Regards,

Monk

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After reading this entire post, I just have one question to the entire subject...........huh??????????????????

LOL!, hb:dunno:

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I realize that I'm a little late here (and I'm kicking myself for missing a good conversation), but I've just been so damn busy. Wanted to clear up a few things from an ealier post:

There are 3 symmetrical scales.

Chromatic, Diminished & Whole Tone.

The Major, Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor are asymmetrical as are the Major and Minor Pentatonic.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about how scales relate to learning an instrument. Scales are primarily a device to train a beginner how to develop dexterity and how to locate the notes in each key. Ask anyone who has ever had piano lessons. They first learn the 5 finger pattern in C. Then they add the rest of the scale and learn to play Mary Had a Little Lamb orTwinkle,Twinkle Little Star.

Modern rock is predominantly a scalar music. You can learn to play a lot of rock with pentatonic & diatonic scales. But if you ever decide to move into other types of music, scales won't cut it. Neither will modes.

The information needed to improvise competently and intelligently is found in scales but is not the scale itself.

Regards,

Monk

I shouldn't have termed scales all scales as symmetrical. I did mean that in a different sense, but you're right: musically, the intervals are different. What I meant was, you can build symmetrical patterns based on the simple framework of the major scale to get anywhere up and down the neck. Visually symmetrical, tonally, not.

And yeah, I know what you mean. But I tend to approach playing through chords- at least if I'm making a long line of straight eighths or sixteenths- by using the sounds I want to hear in that chord in their own scale. These target tones would receive emphasis on the beat, whereas other ones I'd play as passing tones, à la Joe Pass. In other words, if I'm playing through a chord with a lotta hair on it, say for example, AMin6/9#11, there are a lot of bases I want to cover. In this instance, I would find it easier to modify a Dorian Scale and give it that sharp eleven, so as to bring out the quality in the line, whereas other tones (the 13, the 9, minor 3, etc.) already naturally occur in that scale.

I just find it easier to revert to that muscle memory than to stretch my brain to fit all these extensions into odd fingerings. Of course, if I'm trying to produce a melody, those chord tones take the forefront in my mind. I won't go into too much detail, as I'd most likely be reiterating things that have been said and said again, but for the aesthetic of the music I want to play, I've invariably had to conclude that scales really free up your brain.

Here's a video of Pat Martino playing some of the stuff I'm talking about:

YouTube - pat martino

Anyway, sorry for posting a novel. You clearly know all this stuff already, I just didn't want to misrepresent myself. Keep on pickin' guys :winkthumb:

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"After writing two pages on Tonal and Modal Music, I paused and realised nobody wants to read a book. So, I'll cut to the chase.

There are two types of Western music: Tonal and Modal.

If you want to improvise in modal music, it's probably easier to use Modes.

If you want to improvise in tonal music, it's easier if you understand chords and key centers.

If you try to improvise in tonal music using modes, it'll be frustrating & difficult. More so than it needs to be.

If you try to improvise in modal music with chords, it will be just as easy as using modes.

If someone tells you need to learn modes in order to learn to play tonal music, they're either lying or they don't know what they're talking about.

More important than scales, modes or technique is the ability to hear. A musician has to be able to hear chord changes, melodies, chord quality, riffs & licks, key changes in order to REALLY play."

So, I don't understand.

You say there are two types of music, tonal and modal. Now, as far as I can tell, all western music is modal music, although most use the ionian mode to make chord progressions. but what on earth is tonal music?

My guess, and I think it is wrong, is that tonal music is music played in the ionian mode. If that is the case, then I REALLY don't understand the rest of what you said.

"If you want to improvise in modal music, it's probably easier to use Modes.

If you want to improvise in tonal music, it's easier if you understand chords and key centers.

If you try to improvise in tonal music using modes, it'll be frustrating & difficult. More so than it needs to be.

If you try to improvise in modal music with chords, it will be just as easy as using modes."

So here you are basically saying that if you learn improf using chord tones, you've got all your bases covered. But then you say that

A. modal music is easier to improvise using modes.

B. Modal music is just as easy using chords

can't have it both ways. Which is actually easier?

Please explain what tonal music is, and how it is different from modal music.

P.S. I actually WOULD like to read a book on this stuff.

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