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Zaterlord 02-12-2013 12:24 PM

Writing solos
 
I've tried to start writing solos and a problem for me is knowing which scale I can use.

Another thing is that I don't really understand modes. Because if they contain the same notes they should sound the same.

AeolianWolf 02-12-2013 12:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaterlord
I've tried to start writing solos and a problem for me is knowing which scale I can use.

Another thing is that I don't really understand modes. Because if they contain the same notes they should sound the same.


you don't have enough experience, and there are gaps in your theory knowledge.

get more experience playing other solos and analyzing them, work on your ear, and study theory from the ground up from a correct resource.

next.

Zaterlord 02-12-2013 12:49 PM

What would be a good place to learn theory from.

I can't find any lesson showing which scales should be used over a riff that doesn't fit in any scale.

EmilGD 02-12-2013 12:51 PM

And to the following "Where do I start and what resource?"-question:

Try starting with the lessons at musictheory.net. Make sure you properly understand them, don't rush it, and do them with your ears aswell.

EDIT: Forget scales for now, okay? They only serve to confuse you right now. You have 12 different notes to choose from, use whatever sounds right to you. Play the riff and try to hear some sort of melody in your head, then play that.

Zaterlord 02-12-2013 01:01 PM

Thanks, I'll try that

HotspurJr 02-12-2013 01:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaterlord
I've tried to start writing solos and a problem for me is knowing which scale I can use.


The quick and dirty answer is to use the scale that corresponds to the key of the song. So if the song is in A minor, you'd use the Am scale.

There are exceptions to this, the biggest one being the use of the minor pentatonic over a major key, which gives a blusey sound and is very common in rock and blues. So for example you might you the E minor pentatonic over a song with the chords from the key of E major.

Emil's response is correct in that you have access to all 12 notes at all times. However, I don't think that's a good way to learn - it tends to be confusing and discouraging. Whereas using the minor pentatonic and major scales tends helps you feel like you're creating music and thus you have more fun while you're learning.

That being said, you DO really compose with your ear. You want to develop your ear so you always know what the note you're about to play is going to sound like, before you play it. This takes time. But the real way to write a good solo is to hear it first, not to think about what scale notes are available.

And, really, forget modes. Your realization (it's the same notes, so it usually sounds the same) is ABSOLUTELY, 100% CORRECT. There is a place for modes, but it's really small and irrelevant to the vast majority of contemporary music. It's not something you need to be worrying about any time soon, despite the fact that some guitarists seem to think they're really important and obsess about them.

AeolianWolf 02-12-2013 01:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaterlord
What would be a good place to learn theory from.

I can't find any lesson showing which scales should be used over a riff that doesn't fit in any scale.


that's not really "from the ground up".

why do people pick and choose from the advice i give? i say everything i say for a reason.

CarsonStevens 02-12-2013 01:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaterlord
I can't find any lesson showing which scales should be used over a riff that doesn't fit in any scale.


I'm willing to bet your riff fits into a scale, you just don't know which one.

AeolianWolf 02-12-2013 02:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarsonStevens
I'm willing to bet your riff fits into a scale, you just don't know which one.


i don't know if i agree with that. i've seen many that don't fit into scales. and i'm not talking about useless bullshit like phrygian #3.

keys, however...i'd be willing to bet quite a large sum of money on that one.

francesco18 02-12-2013 02:19 PM

Why don't you mouth trumpet a lead/melody you'd like to hear over a backing track and then try to find it on your guitar ? Who cares what scale is it in ?



mouth trumpet > scales

fearofthemark 02-12-2013 03:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
that's not really "from the ground up".

why do people pick and choose from the advice i give? i say everything i say for a reason.


You can't work from the ground up if you don't know what/where the ground is. The misconception that music is based on riffs and scales is common (especially with guitarists) and seems to throw a lot of people off. A lot of people also don't know the difference between a key and a scale, and are then resistant to information that challenges the incorrect information they've already learned.

CarsonStevens 02-12-2013 03:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianWolf
i don't know if i agree with that. i've seen many that don't fit into scales. and i'm not talking about useless bullshit like phrygian #3.

keys, however...i'd be willing to bet quite a large sum of money on that one.


You're probably right. I just know from my own experience that back when I first started writing music, I simply wasn't capable of writing anything "out there" enough that didn't fall squarely into standard major-minor stuff, maybe with a chromatic in there because I didn't know what notes were in a key.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fearofthemark
A lot of people also don't know the difference between a key and a scale, and are then resistant to information that challenges the incorrect information they've already learned.


That's kinda what I was thinking when I wrote my last response, which probably puts me into that category myself sometimes. :D

cdgraves 02-12-2013 07:31 PM

Solos come last. Write your chords first. The notes in the chords will dictate your "safe" choices for melodies.

Also do not utter the word "modes" until you can play all 12 major scales in your sleep. Unless you plan on playing a lot of late-era Coltrane or Phish tunes.

AeolianWolf 02-12-2013 08:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by fearofthemark
You can't work from the ground up if you don't know what/where the ground is. The misconception that music is based on riffs and scales is common (especially with guitarists) and seems to throw a lot of people off. A lot of people also don't know the difference between a key and a scale, and are then resistant to information that challenges the incorrect information they've already learned.


i love how people enjoy arguing with me so much that they forget to actually think.

the ground is assuming that everything you know is incorrect - the same thing you started with. abandon everything and relearn it from a reliable source. it seems very logical to me - but perhaps the kind of logic that is lost on most people, which is why i didn't waste any time, got to work learning my craft, and now have results that show for it.

if you want to waste time being philosophical about it, go ahead. it's not going to get you results any faster.

D..W.. 02-12-2013 09:28 PM

Look for the Crusades by Josh Urban. 13 (I think) articles from start to finish, great information. If you read them, read as far as you want but DON'T skip. If you stop halfway fine but don't look at number 2 and think 'I know this' and skip it. Even if you finish reading and see that you really did know it, chances are you'll avoid a lot of confusion that way. And that way you will really be starting from the ground up, as AW suggested. :)

Do forget about modes for the time being, but yes, they sound the same when played over the key they were derived from. As in E Phrygian and G Mixolydian sound like C Major when played over a C Major Progression. When they sound different is when played over the key they are technically in. As E Phrygian over an E Major progression. It won't always sound 'good', but it does work over certain progressions (there are lists out there, but focus on simpler things for now, until you have strong understanding of the basics).

They're pretty overrated. I would focus more on being able to hear a melody in your head and play it (a melody over something, that is. It's easy to think of cool riffs on their own, much harder to come up with something by thinking of what would sound good over those chords or that riff. At least, until you get better at it, it takes practice).

cdgraves 02-12-2013 09:55 PM

Thread Starter: Ignore the following

Quote:
Originally Posted by D..W..
Do forget about modes for the time being, but yes, they sound the same when played over the key they were derived from. As in E Phrygian and G Mixolydian sound like C Major when played over a C Major Progression. When they sound different is when played over the key they are technically in. As E Phrygian over an E Major progression. It won't always sound 'good', but it does work over certain progressions (there are lists out there, but focus on simpler things for now, until you have strong understanding of the basics).

They're pretty overrated. I would focus more on being able to hear a melody in your head and play it (a melody over something, that is. It's easy to think of cool riffs on their own, much harder to come up with something by thinking of what would sound good over those chords or that riff. At least, until you get better at it, it takes practice).


that's a way to use modes, sort of. "out" playing is something one should do only briefly for dramatic effect, like going totally chromatic or wholetone. Actual modal music (the modern kind) builds the harmony around a mode rather than around a tonic/dominant relationship.

Listen to something like "Footsteps" by Wayne Shorter, "Chameleon" and "Maiden Voyage" by Herbie Hancock, all of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew and In A Silent Way... there's plenty of modal jazz that really demonstrates the concept when you listen to it side-by-side with music based on harmonic changes.

The whole point of "modes" as a harmonic concept is that they displace functional harmony, which is/was a much more radical departure from tradition than just borrowing some non-diatonic notes.

I don't see much of a point in "rating" musical concepts - musical ideas are as good as the player/composer using them.


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