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Old 02-16-2013, 09:33 AM   #1
danyal92
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theory quesiton

im learning scales. i want to know how to differentiate between a major and its relative minor key e.g Gmajor and Em. Is the tonal centre the only difference? can i solo the Em pentatonic over a Gmajor backing track.
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:51 AM   #2
EmilGD
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If you're playing Em pentatonic over G Major, you're essentialy the playing G Major scale.
And you can play whatever you want over anything, it depends on if it sounds the way you want it to sound.
The key is defined by which note the music wants to resolve to (where it feels "at home").
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:17 AM   #3
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Yeah, G major and E minor scales share the same notes. So if you play Em pentatonic over a G major song, you are actually playing G major scale.
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danyal92
im learning scales. i want to know how to differentiate between a major and its relative minor key e.g Gmajor and Em. Is the tonal centre the only difference? can i solo the Em pentatonic over a Gmajor backing track.


If you change tonal centre then all the other notes change in their relative position to the tonic. That's why you get the difference in sound between major and relative minor even though they have the same notes.

You can't solo Em pentatonic over a G major backing. You'll actually be soloing in G. The harmony is what defines the key.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:28 PM   #5
mdc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danyal92
im learning scales. i want to know how to differentiate between a major and its relative minor key e.g Gmajor and Em. Is the tonal centre the only difference? can i solo the Em pentatonic over a Gmajor backing track.

If you learnt on a horn or some other instrument where shapes didn't exist, you'd of had this sussed years ago.
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:23 PM   #6
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Yes, the only difference is tonal center (modality applies to all scales, you just don't see it much with pentatonics).

Worth noting, however, that you will never play a scale that isn't also the key you're in. When you play "Em" over G major, you're playing G major. When you play Bm over G major, you're playing G lydian. And so forth.

If you try to play Em as Em, it will not sound good, because your melodies will resolve to E, not G. That's why your scale usage and key have to line up, so they share tonality. The two scales may contain the exact same notes, but they function very differently.

Last edited by cdgraves : 02-16-2013 at 07:26 PM.
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