Music Theory For Beginners Part 3 (Circle Of Fifths & Scales)


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jamiedonnelly93
04-28-2007, 07:35 AM
Music Theory For Beginners Part 3 (Scales and Circle of Fifths Explained!)

Hey guys, I hope you all made use of my last lesson and can now understand everything I have taught use so far. Anyway onto the subject, I got a comment last lesson from doomnight asking me if I was to do a lesson on how to move scales to different keys, and to do that we need the circle of fifths.

To Everyone who views this please leave a comment

First we’ll start of with scales. Scales are what basically make a song, every song is in a key which has different scales and without scales you wouldn’t have solo’s. Let’s compare this to cooking, if you start of cooking the better you are and more experience you have the more exotic things you’ll throw in, well this is just like guitar playing. Let’s use Marty Friedman for example; you all know who he is, the guitarist in Megadeth, shreds like a maniac and uses Japanese scales, well when he started of he wasn’t using these Japanese scales, he didn’t know every note on the fret board of by heart, he couldn’t recite the circle of fifths, but with practice he could. The circle of fifths isn’t easy to understand at first so do keep coming back to make sure you synthesis it all.

Right, there are loads of scales, Major, Minor, Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, Minor Pentatonic, Major Pentatonic, Major Blues, Minor Blues etc. and they can be mixed around and used if playing in one key. My favorite to do is in the key of A. It mixes the Minor Blues with the Natural Minor, below is a tab example of my favorite.

E|----------5------------------------------------------------------------5-----
B|-------5----8-5-6-5------------------------------------------------5-------
G|--7b(9)--------------------------------------4b(5)-7~~-----7b(9)---------
D|----------------------------------------------------------------------------7
A|----------------------5h6h7-------------------------------------------------
E|------------------------------5h7h8p7p5~~-------------------------------5

As you can see above the natural minor is interpreted into the blues minor and actually gets quite a dark feel to it, but you could still alter it with major scales to make it sound a bit happier. Although I didn’t do it above a good way to start doing this is to use the first 3 strings for one scale and the last 3 for another.

Another question I see cropping up in the forums is how do I know which scale to solo in over a certain chord progression, well it all depends. People who have started writing music on software such as Guitar Pro I have noticed just keep it in C Major (no sharps, no flats), thus meaning when it comes to solo they have a shit load of accidentals in their piece and become completely confused. Well, here’s how you know. Usually solo’s will start were the chord progression is on the root note (first note) of the scale, so for example if its in E Minor Pentatonic (Rock guitars favorite) you would start on either an E Minor chord or an E5 a.k.a the E power chord. Then you’d usually shift around the power chord according to the notes in the scale. If you didn’t already know the notes they are E (root), G, A, B, D, E (octave). Now this pentatonic has no accidentals but if you can understand those notes of the scale make up what chords go with the solo (use power chords for rock/metal) however, the only way to know if it’s going to fit with what is being played is to experiment. If theirs a solo you’ve written that you think is good (In E Minor Pent.) but doesn’t fit, shuffle the progression around a bit till it fits. A really easy song writing technique is to use blue’s patterns as the first chord being played in this case is the root chord, so you solo in A minor blues, but using what I taught you earlier you can adapt Major and Minor blues, using the first three strings for Major and the last three for Minor. The standard rhythm would be a A5 power chord (root note A on E string, 5th fret, E on A string 7th fret) and then hammer from the E to a F# (9th fret A string) so it would look like this

E|---------------------
B|--------------------
G|--------------------
D|--------------------
A|-7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9
E|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5

Then for your second set of chords move it up on string so you’ll now be playing a D power chord (root note D on A string 5th fret, A on D string 7th fret) to the same rhythm and style of the last pattern (the tab above) and will look like this

E|--------------------
B|--------------------
G|--------------------
D|-7-7-9-9-7-7-9-9
A|-5-5-5-5-5-5-5-5
E|---------------------

And to make it simple but nice to listen to (like the blues is) we’ll throw in one last chord the standard E power chord (root note E open E, B 2nd fret A string and moving the B to a C# or the 4th fret A string) and again in the same rhythm and style. In tab it looks like this

E|---------------------
B|--------------------
G|--------------------
D|--------------------
A|-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4
E|-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

Then simply over that chord progression you solo over in the Blues scale that we mixed (Major Blues and Minor Blues), hopefully you know how to adapt a solo from a scale so here is the scale below




E|------------------------------------------------5-8
B|-----------------------------------------5-7-------
G|-----------------------------5-7-8-----------------
D|--------------4-5-7--------------------------------
A|--------5-7-----------------------------------------
E|-5-8-----------------------------------------------

If you don’t know how to create a solo using a scale here’s an idea below

E|------------5-8------------------------------------------------------------------------
B|-----------------5h7p5h7p5h7p5b(7)~~-------------------------------------------
G|---------------------------------------------------------5b(7)b(8)~~~~~~~~~~~~
D|---------------------------------------------4h5h7------------------------------------
A|----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E|-5b(8)~~-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hopefully you now understand chord progression and how to mix two solos of one key to still sound good!

Next we’re going to talk about the ‘circle of fifths’

The Circle Of Fifths

The circle of fifths is an easy way to organize the 12 major keys into what are called ‘Key Signatures’ these determine what to solo over, for example most blues songs are in the key of A, but the key of A is divided into all them scales we now, the pentatonic, blues etc.

Firstly the circle is quite daunting but if you tackle it correctly then you shall be able to understand it very simply. If you didn’t all ready know the major scale is divided into a pattern of tones and semi-tones the order is this

T-T-ST-T-T-T-ST

So that would be like this for C Major

Between C and D there is a tone (2 frets), between D and E there is a tone (2 frets), between E and F there is a semi-tone (1 fret), this is because there is no E# between them whereas between C and D there is C# and D# between D and E. Between F and G there is a tone (2 frets) between G and A there is a tone (2 frets) between A and B there is a tone (2 frets) and between B and C there is one semi-tone as there is no B#

Now going back to key signatures however many accidentals there are that’s how many are written in the clef (bass or treble). But wait there you might say where does the fifths come into all of this? Well the fifths part is in reference to the scale you are on. The fifth of that scale gives you the name of the next scale and adds one accidental to it. So working from C Major again going up a fifth of the scale is G, so G is the root of the scale, G Major is the next scale with one more accidental than the last.

C – D – E – F – G – A – B - C

So the G Major scale looks like this

G – A – B – C – D – E – F# - G

Between G and A there is a tone (2 frets), between A and B there is a tone (2 frets), between B and C there is a semi-tone (1 fret) as there is no B#, between C and D there is a tone (2 frets), between D and E there is a tone (2 frets), between E and F# (first accidental) there is a tone (2 frets), between F# and G there is a semi-tone, this is because there is only one fret between the natural (G) and the accidental (F#). Now when writing in the key signature you put a sharp sign (#) on the F line in the treble clef (top line of the treble clef).

So to determine the next scales we must go up a fifth of the scale which is D, so this scale has two accidentals and is in the key of D Major.

Here are all of the keys in major

C Major: C – D – E – F – G – A – B
G Major: G – A – B – C – D – E – F# - G
D Major: D – E – F# - G - A – B – C# - D
A Major: A – B – C# - D – E – F# - G# – A
E Major: E – F# – G# – A – B – C# – D# – E
B Major: B – C# – D# – E – F# – G# – A# – B
F# Major: F# – G# – A# – B – C# - D# - F natural
C# Major: C# – D# - F natural – F# – G# - A# - B – C natural

Sorry the lesson isn’t longer, sorry it doesn’t touch upon the minor circle of fifths and sorry for the delay, I’ve been at school and have to balance school work with UG, but anyway I hope this helps.

jamiedonnelly93
04-28-2007, 07:45 AM
I Hope This Makes Sense Guys, Comment!

millerdrr
04-28-2007, 10:51 AM
Pretty good, once again.

rockguitar84
04-28-2007, 12:09 PM
Good job, except you wrote the major scale pattern as T-T-ST-T-T-T-ST, when it should be T-T-S-T-T-T-S.

jamiedonnelly93
04-28-2007, 12:12 PM
Good job, except you wrote the major scale pattern as T-T-ST-T-T-T-ST, when it should be T-T-S-T-T-T-S.

yeah i know, i make all of this on Microsoft word and it looked neater as ST than S, but it still says Tone Tone Semi-Tone Tone Tone Tone Semi-Tone

rockguitar84
04-28-2007, 12:55 PM
Oh sorry that was stupid. I understand what you did now. :bonk:

Johnljones7443
04-28-2007, 02:04 PM
Most of it is good, but you are incorrect in saying there is no E# or B#, as a result - you're C# Major scale is written incorrectly.

The correct way to write out the C# major scale would be C# - D# - E# - F# - G# - A# - B#, this gives every note the correct function within the scale (Root - major second - major third - perfect fourth - perfect fifth - major sixth - major seventh), the way you write it gives the incorrect function to two notes, your major third the way it's written as F implies the note functions as a diminished fourth, which it isn't, and the way you've written the major seventh as C implies it's function as a diminished octave.

Other than that slight hiccup, good stuff mate.

:cheers:

jamiedonnelly93
04-29-2007, 08:54 AM
Most of it is good, but you are incorrect in saying there is no E# or B#, as a result - you're C# Major scale is written incorrectly.

The correct way to write out the C# major scale would be C# - D# - E# - F# - G# - A# - B#, this gives every note the correct function within the scale (Root - major second - major third - perfect fourth - perfect fifth - major sixth - major seventh), the way you write it gives the incorrect function to two notes, your major third the way it's written as F implies the note functions as a diminished fourth, which it isn't, and the way you've written the major seventh as C implies it's function as a diminished octave.

Other than that slight hiccup, good stuff mate.

:cheers:

Theoretically though their are no E# and B#, and when writing them in the clefs which i was talking about you wouldnt do it that way. I see were your coming from though. And I'm not trying to be a smart arse by replying

hurlyz
04-29-2007, 09:48 PM
Most of it is good, but you are incorrect in saying there is no E# or B#, as a result - you're C# Major scale is written incorrectly.

The correct way to write out the C# major scale would be C# - D# - E# - F# - G# - A# - B#, this gives every note the correct function within the scale (Root - major second - major third - perfect fourth - perfect fifth - major sixth - major seventh), the way you write it gives the incorrect function to two notes, your major third the way it's written as F implies the note functions as a diminished fourth, which it isn't, and the way you've written the major seventh as C implies it's function as a diminished octave.

Other than that slight hiccup, good stuff mate.

:cheers:That's right dude! Think about diatonic scales/keys... other than that it's really good! :)