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Jehannum
Bant
Join date: Feb 2011
2,447 IQ
#81
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Memorizing at least the major and minor scales is the first step of learning theory. Language like this that implies scales are useless and not party of music theory is not going to help beginners.


Brilliant mis-representation of what I said. You should become a journalist.
Hail
i'm a mean bully
Join date: Jan 2010
431 IQ
#82
i think it's very good to imply that scales are useless. if beginners are anything like i was, they'll do it anyway trying to understand why we get so upset, then after a couple months of grinding scales they might think about what we said and start learning proper musical analysis now that they have basic technical skills down and a frame of reference to learn intervals (rather than coming on here "hey guys i'm bored what scale should i learn next")

believe it or not, people don't listen to everything they hear on the internet. that's why we resort to extremes a lot to get peoples' attention - only a small trickle of it will actually register if they're not incredibly involved in the thought in the first place. if we were in a 1-on-1 teaching situation, obviously we wouldn't be pedants like we are here, needlessly bickering over little bits and pieces because we would be authorities rather than all of the participants being, more or less, equally ignored by the people trying to learn.
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Last edited by Hail at Dec 6, 2012,
Macabre_Turtle
UG's UGer
Join date: Oct 2006
640 IQ
#83
Quote by Jehannum
Brilliant mis-representation of what I said. You should become a journalist.


No, sir. I did not mis-represent what you said. I know what you said, and I agree with it. I was simply pointing out that it would be incredibly easy for a beginner to misinterpret. Surely you can see how a beginner could read that and say "oh, scales are bad then. Okay."

EDIT: Hail, I find scales useless as well, as I personally think about the intervals and not the scale when I write. But for a beginner, they are useful. They basically help you learn what said intervals sound like. I know what a aug 4th/dim 5th sounds like because I learned the blues scale as a beginner. I know what a major 7th in a minor key sounds like because I learned the harmonic minor scale as a beginner. I find this to be a successful way to learn.
Last edited by Macabre_Turtle at Dec 6, 2012,
J-Dawg158
UG's Resident Dhampyr
Join date: Nov 2008
154 IQ
#84
I myself have reached a point where I no longer think in scales, but I came down the long and winding road of thinking "modes" were patterns, and you changed scales over every chord, and all of that bullshit that was such a waste of time, but it seems to me that if I hadn't learned little tid-bits from all of those experiences I would have never been able to put everything into it's proper place. While I agree that scales get to a point where they are pretty much useless after learning the major scale and how to relate other intervals to it to get different sounds, I don't believe you should lead with that notion. It's one thing to take someone out to sea in a ship and giving them bearings before you kick them out into the water as opposed to blindfolding them and dropping them out of an airplane where they have no idea where they are or where they should go.

I do agree with you Hail that after the first 4 or 5 posts nobody is really helping TS anymore, and it's a toss up as to whether the first ones did any good or not.
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Jehannum
Bant
Join date: Feb 2011
2,447 IQ
#85
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
No, sir. I did not mis-represent what you said. I know what you said, and I agree with it. I was simply pointing out that it would be incredibly easy for a beginner to misinterpret. Surely you can see how a beginner could read that and say "oh, scales are bad then. Okay."


Oh, I see. Well, my comments weren't addressed to beginners in general (if there is such a thing) but to the OP who, when he talked about theory, mentioned only "learning scales" as though that's the only part of theory he knew. In any case, 'beginner' doesn't always mean 'naive person'.
Sleepy__Head
A cornucopia of trivia
Join date: Jul 2011
54 IQ
#86
The point of learning scales is:

To develop finger coordination;
To enable you to play scale-passages more easily;
To assist you in recognising keys;
To cause you to learn a certain number of patterns so that you can perform more complex musical tasks.
Quote by Hail
oh shut up with that /mu/ bullshit. fidget house shouldn't even be a genre, why in the world would it deserve its own subgenres you twat
57Goldtop
Piano Player in Disguise
Join date: Jan 2011
1,473 IQ
#87
A lot of good points in this thread. Unfortunately I fall into one of those "ignorant" or "lazy" categories as some have mentioned.

I'm primarily a pianist. I grew up taking piano lessons every single week for 10 years. I love playing the piano now, but as a kid it was a CHORE to run through all those finger exercises, etc. So when I picked up a used guitar at the age of 16, the LAST thing on my mind was running through scales, etc. to learn the mechanics. I was already getting that every week on the piano. The guitar was my fun instrument, my stress reliever, my noise maker. And at 16, that was all I cared about. So I taught myself some chords, picked up a good amp and some effects, and just jammed. I was happy.

Fast forward to now... I've been actively playing the guitar for over 17 years. I sound pretty good for someone who's never taken a lesson. I consider myself more of a rhythm guitarist, but my fingers move around the fretboard pretty quickly. And I have a good ear so I can pick up things pretty quickly.

But the problem is that half the time I have no idea what I'm playing! I have trouble jamming with other people because I can't define or describe what I'm doing on the guitar. It's a huge pain.

My goal over the next couple years is to bridge the gap between my playing ability and my theory knowledge. But to all the beginner players out there, take my advice - spend the time to learn all that stuff NOW. Because when you have a career, a family, financial responsibilities, etc... it's a lot harder to spend the time and energy on stuff like that. It's also a lot harder to erase all the bad habits and bad techniques that come from self-taught playing. Two years ago I learned that I had been holding the pick wrong for 15 years. I never knew because nobody had ever told me the right way to hold it. I felt like an idiot! And it actually took me a while to re-learn how to play holding the pick the right way.

I understand why it might seem useless or boring to learn the fundamentals (I used to think like that too). But in the long run it's not worth it to ignore that stuff. Someday you're going to get to a point where you want to continue growing as a musician, but your lack of knowledge will start to hold you back (that's where I am right now).
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Last edited by 57Goldtop at Dec 6, 2012,
StephenSatchel
Banned
Join date: Dec 2012
10 IQ
#88
Scale shapes are good. Even better when in context to the chord shapes they are built around. But then these chords are built around their root notes. Logically then, notes are the best starting point. Learn where all your notes are on the fretboard and build chords around them based on the scale shape for the position. Best thing I've found to really learn where all the notes are is a small iPhone app called GuitarDrills.

GuitarDrills
Hail
i'm a mean bully
Join date: Jan 2010
431 IQ
#89
Quote by StephenSatchel
Scale shapes are good. Even better when in context to the chord shapes they are built around. But then these chords are built around their root notes. Logically then, notes are the best starting point. Learn where all your notes are on the fretboard and build chords around them based on the scale shape for the position. Best thing I've found to really learn where all the notes are is a small iPhone app called GuitarDrills.

GuitarDrills


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Sleepy__Head
A cornucopia of trivia
Join date: Jul 2011
54 IQ
#90
Isn't that the general nature of adverts though?
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fearofthemark
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Join date: Dec 2008
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#91
Try improvising a solo over any jazz standard without knowing any scales, and you'll see the point of scales.

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Hydra150
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Join date: Nov 2006
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#92
Quote by fearofthemark
Try improvising a solo over any jazz standard without knowing any scales, and you'll see the point of scales.


Am I allowed a knowledge of harmony, to have a bunch of arpeggios under my fingers, and have working ear?
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Xiaoxi
Registered Luser
Join date: Nov 2007
2,748 IQ
#93
Quote by fearofthemark
Try improvising a solo over any jazz standard without knowing any scales, and you'll see the point of scales.

I have to disagree, and think scales especially in this context is the most hindering to actual understanding.

Yes, we could go through every chord and pinpoint corresponding chord scale for each, but this is information that is unusable in real time. Your mind simply cannot process these scales in that way when you're grappling with them on the spot. And the other thing is that each scale lays out all 6-9 available notes (depending on the scale), but we would never use every note ever. Listen to any solo, it is almost always targeting the chord tones and extensions while using chromaticism in between. And the greatest players are thinking in phrases, not scales. This is a much simpler, efficient approach than trying to conjure in your mind what the next scale is and the positions of the notes relative to the physical instrument. Especially in a chart like this with many, rapid chord changes, that becomes impossible. The first thing you should be doing is identify the key of a phrase of harmonies, and then training your inner ear to prepare for the next key, and so on.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Dec 14, 2012,
fearofthemark
UG Fanatic
Join date: Dec 2008
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#94
Quote by Hydra150
Am I allowed a knowledge of harmony, to have a bunch of arpeggios under my fingers, and have working ear?


Sure, but if any musician has a working knowledge of tonal theory and harmony but doesn't know the notes in a major scale, it's news to me.

Quote by Xiaoxi
I have to disagree, and think scales especially in this context is the most hindering to actual understanding.

Yes, we could go through every chord and pinpoint corresponding chord scale for each, but this is information that is unusable in real time. Your mind simply cannot process these scales in that way when you're grappling with them on the spot. And the other thing is that each scale lays out all 6-9 available notes (depending on the scale), but we would never use every note ever. Listen to any solo, it is almost always targeting the chord tones and extensions while using chromaticism in between. And the greatest players are thinking in phrases, not scales. This is a much simpler, efficient approach than trying to conjure in your mind what the next scale is and the positions of the notes relative to the physical instrument. Especially in a chart like this with many, rapid chord changes, that becomes impossible. The first thing you should be doing is identify the key of a phrase of harmonies, and then training your inner ear to prepare for the next key, and so on.


Very true, but when I improvise a solo, I don't think on the spot "oh the altered scale would be appropriate over this altered chord, this one would be good with lydian b7, etc." and just run up and down a shape I memorized on the fretboard until the chord changes. You're right, that would be terrible and extremely difficult. But practicing and understanding the different scales helps me get chord tones and extensions under my fingers. If I improvise something using melodic minor, for example, I'm not thinking of some scale shape I spent hours practicing. but having memorized that scale shape, I understand how/why the leading tone is used so often in a minor tonality, and can instantly tell where each chord tone and extension is of any specific chord, in any place on the fretboard. Scales help me speed up my thinking, not slow it down.

The truth is, you're not going to understand the difference between a major third and a minor third if you don't know what a third is.
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Last edited by fearofthemark at Dec 14, 2012,
Hail
i'm a mean bully
Join date: Jan 2010
431 IQ
#95
scales lose their meaning after you understand keys and intervals (and by extension chord/arpeggio construction, consonance, and dissonance). if you don't have a firm grasp on these concepts, no matter what your approach, your intuition, note choice, and phrasing will inherently suffer. jumping chord scales works for some people, but it shouldn't be assumed that it's an area of personal comfort if you don't know the fundamentals inside-out, or it'll become a crutch. you can't shoot 3s if you can't dribble the ball.
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Sleepy__Head
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#96
Quote by Hail
scales lose their meaning after you understand keys and intervals (and by extension chord/arpeggio construction, consonance, and dissonance).


Scales don't lose their meaning after you understand keys and intervals any more than chords do. Scales and chords are just different ways of organising the set of pitches in the key.
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oh shut up with that /mu/ bullshit. fidget house shouldn't even be a genre, why in the world would it deserve its own subgenres you twat
Hail
i'm a mean bully
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#98
Quote by Sleepy__Head
Scales don't lose their meaning after you understand keys and intervals any more than chords do. Scales and chords are just different ways of organising the set of pitches in the key.


that's not a whole lot of meaning compared to "these are the notes you're allowed to play" where scales start off. considering any number of combinations of pitches are available at any given time in any given key, the value of acknowledging them lowers.

however, as i said in that same post, if you have a grasp on the fundamentals, you can think in whatever's comfortable and gets you the best results. it's important not to confuse that, however, with running up and down scale shapes like many people think is appropriate and effective when they muscle their way into the subject without an understanding of functional harmony.
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Xter
Plays Guitar Way To Much
Join date: Oct 2008
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#99
Quote by Sleepy__Head
Scales don't lose their meaning after you understand keys and intervals any more than chords do. Scales and chords are just different ways of organising the set of pitches in the key.


I'm going to side with Hail on this. They really do lose their meaning once your ear is developed and you understand theory quite well and the idea of tension/release. I have only meant a single musician who had an excellent ear but relied on those scales every day, day in, day out. Sadly his playing suffered from following this because he would often incoporate the same runs, the same melodic ideas, the same everything over and over with a small twist. His playing was not real exciting after a bit, and was limited to the major and minor scale patterns. He rarely used accidentals.

Once your ear knows the intervals and you have that link in your mind to the fretboard, you can imagine about any line, any note choice, any sound you want and play it instantly on the spot with a harmonic background you never heard. AKA: Your ear = Endless Improv. as long as you can hear something in your head to play.
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Sleepy__Head
A cornucopia of trivia
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#100
Well now: I didn't get to where I am today without a resolute unwillingness to back down from an impending squabble!

Quote by Xter
They really do lose their meaning once your ear is developed and you understand theory quite well and the idea of tension/release.


What makes tonality isn't chords -vs- scales, it's the selection of tones that enables you to build specific scales and chords - i.e. the key - plus the way we tend to hear those tones resolving both in relation to the tonic, and in relation to each other.

The reason scales can indicate a root progression is because if you alter the selection of tones available you can use that to imply a change of key - introducing an F# into a line that was previously all C-majory could indicate that the piece has modulated to G or Em, for example.

I agree scales don't necessarily indicate tonality if they're being used for colouration, but you could say the same of substitute chords - a bII chord, for example, doesn't necessarily indicate you've left the tonic.

And there's a world of difference between a terrible musician who exclusively relies on one device, and that device being useless. If all I can cook is baked beans that says more about my limited cooking abilities than it does about the objective merits of baked beans.
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oh shut up with that /mu/ bullshit. fidget house shouldn't even be a genre, why in the world would it deserve its own subgenres you twat
20Tigers
1
Join date: Jun 2008
640 IQ
#101
If you look at a massive number of songs you will see that certain collections of notes appear over and over again in both melody and harmony with an alarming consistency.

It makes perfect sense to me that studying those groups of notes and their relationships would make a good primary starting point when learning about and understanding music.

That, to me, is the point of learning scales.
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OMFGITSNEAL
Registered User
Join date: Sep 2011
16 IQ
#102
Well, scales relate to key signitures and modes, therfore learning scale enables you to play better in different key signitures and modes.

If your just the standard guitar player, you don't really need to bother, but if you ever plan on reading down charts, or reading music, you might want to learn your scales. It's a bit more relivant for horn players, as myself
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Hail
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Join date: Jan 2010
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#103
Quote by OMFGITSNEAL
Well, scales relate to key signitures and modes, therfore learning scale enables you to play better in different key signitures and modes.


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Sleepy__Head
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Join date: Jul 2011
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#107
I think you'll find that's spelled "wrong".
Quote by Hail
oh shut up with that /mu/ bullshit. fidget house shouldn't even be a genre, why in the world would it deserve its own subgenres you twat
Hail
i'm a mean bully
Join date: Jan 2010
431 IQ
#108
Quote by 20Tigers
^English is not everyone's first language though so allowances can be made.


if that's a dig at me rather than trying to be a good moderator, i think i'm starting to like you
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Hail killed MT

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