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TOPIC: Scales the primordial soup of music

Scales the primordial soup of music 13 years 2 months ago #1205

Reading the previous thread on scales I want to throw my 2 cents in.
When learning scales use numbers not letters. Why? The letters change the numbers dont. Numbers also equate to patterns under your fingers. It's less of a learning curve. As you progress from the major scale (root,whole,whole,half,whole,whole,whole,half step) to other scales all that is necessary is to compare the new scale to the major. You will see a few changes instead of learning a new order of letters. Make sense?
It's really not that difficult and it expands your music vocabulary. Learn as many scales as can fit in your brain. Practice them by trying to figure out melodies of songs you know. Start with nursery rhymes. After all melody lines are built from scales. This will help you practice scales in a musical context.
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Re:Scales the primordial soup of music 13 years 2 months ago #1206

Bob, you have touched on one of the apparent paradoxes of guitar that can be an enigma for some (including myself) We are told to learn scales by number. Chord progressions are given numbers. Root positions are given numbers. Chords are built by numbers. Scales are given numerical systems to figure out their positions on the fretboard (R2212221 for the major scale...pentatonics have their own system, as do numerous others). Here's the paradox--the numbers still have to be mentally converted to a letter to get the note value. Using the key of G as an example. To build a G chord i would use the 1st (G) 3rd (B) and the 5th (D). But if i play G7, i have to play the 7th, F#. So the chord is raised to the 7th, to include 1st (G) 3rd (B) and the 7th (F#). It would seem impossible to divorce letters from numbers. I guess this is where the curve gets wide, my brain tells me that musical notation uses an alphabetic value that can be raised or flattened by the appropriate accidental. Our guitars are given alphabetic values for the strings, but to play them we have to have numeric assignments for certain functions to play them!
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Last Edit: 13 years 2 months ago by Dave2311. Reason: emoticons were inserted, but not selected in my text
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Re:Scales the primordial soup of music 13 years 2 months ago #1207

Not so fast ... a G7 chord does not have an F# in it. There are various forms of sevenths chords and a G with a 7 is a major seventh not a G dominant7 otherwise referred to as a G7 Chord.

Quite simply, if you know enough about mapping the scale patterns on the fingerboard, the letters (except for knowing the root) becomes redundant and serves to complicate things.

In a perfect world, it would be nice to know both but your brain can only quickly process so much information.
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Re:Scales the primordial soup of music 13 years 2 months ago #1218

Bob, you're right. I was playing around with the G major scale, instead of playing it in order up and down, i was just messing around with random notes, when my wife yelled out "hey, i want you to play that song". I repeated what i played, and completely stumbled on to the intro for the tune "lean on me". She heard it before i did, i apparently fell into one of those zones where i wasn't really paying attention. So i kept working on it, and your right, you can work within the confines of a scale, and do some pretty neat stuff. Now i have more appreciation for what Dave does coming up with these tunes.
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Re:Scales the primordial soup of music 13 years 2 months ago #1222

Dave, Dont you just love "aha" moments. The next thing to do is to follow the melody line using the chord progression for that song. If you can do this you learn so much so quick.
Back to scales and patterns. When playing I think about the chord progression and octave shapes of the scale I want to play. That is about all I can do under the pressure of keeping time, chord changes etc. The patterns take over after hours of repeative practice. Academically I like to know what I'm playing, that waht practice is about.
If you play multiple generes of music keeping in mind what notes get altered or left out can be daunting. Patterns are all very similiar and the muscle memory can take over. Important rule of lead playing, you are never more than one fret away from playing a correct note.
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