#1
Up until not so long ago I usually just tried to cover songs I'd like to hear when playing guitar. But lately I've been making my own music which is so much more pleasing.

I've read a lot about some theory, but there are some items that confuse me still, most recently song structure. I'll give you an example:

I want to write a full song (guitar only atm). I've been writing a lick in E Aeolian. It's about 1minute long and it sounds, to me, really good, but I've hit a stop. It feels like I can't really go on in that lick anymore, like it's reached its end.

If I understand things correctly, do I continue in my song with the next rhytm part and move on to E Locrian and abandon E Aeolian? And when progressing from Aeolian to Locrian to first move up to the root note (as a transition between the two modes) ?

I could really use some input as on how to procede with this. It would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance for reading my post though.
#2
What genre of song?
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
#4
oh my god i give up lol
Quote by theogonia777
Hail killed MT

Quote by jongtr
I want to be Hail when I grow up.
#5
Quote by Hail
oh my god i give up lol


? I've read most of the sticky and browsed posts here, but if you feel I missed a certain post or part of a post I would be much obliged if you'd point me in the correct direction. That would help me as well and I will thank you for it.

A post like that however helps me jack squat.
#6
there aren't modes in blues. get back into reality and learn the fundamentals of theory.
Quote by theogonia777
Hail killed MT

Quote by jongtr
I want to be Hail when I grow up.
#7
Aeolian mode as a scale is identical with the natural minor scale.


Last I read the natural minor scale is used in blues. As I've only written a lick up until this point I guess it's used like that. But as I said I could use some input on the whole. Plus it sounds good to me, isn't that the most important thing?
#9
I looked through that one, it's an amazing thread with a lot of information. But I feel I need to put my question differently as this isn't about modes at all. It's about writing a song.

I've written a lick using a certain mode, but after writing a lick of about 1minute long I feel like I've hit a dead end. How do I continue? (theory-wise)
#10
If your problem is structural it's hard to give specific advice. Write a big letter B on the next line and see what your fingers come up with. See what your voice wants to do. Sit at a keyboard and let your left hand go Ouija board with the bass line.

Structure is about making decisions and then making those decisions work. Theory helps you solve little problems ("how do I make this key change sound smooth?"), but it's really up to you to decide whether you want to go louder or softer; faster or slower; major or minor...

Really just do a quick subjective analysis of your A section - note the feel, mood, rhythmic pulse, tonality, tempo - and then decide how your B section is going to contrast or reinforce those qualities.

RE: Blues

Don't mix modes and blues.

To sound convincing with the blues, start by playing only the notes from the chords. That is, over the A7 play notes from A7; over D7 play notes from D7 and so on. Once you can do that confidently, add in the blue notes (b3 and b5) over each chord. Make to sure to really nail that dominant sound on the turnaround.

You can also do a minor blues where the I and IV are m7 chords, but make sure to keep the V dominant.

If you don't know what those terms mean, go back and review your basic chord spelling and roman numerals.
Last edited by cdgraves at Feb 6, 2013,
#11
"this isn't about modes. this is about writing a song. with modes"
Quote by theogonia777
Hail killed MT

Quote by jongtr
I want to be Hail when I grow up.
#12
Quote by Valix
Blues

I'm interested to know how much blues music you have in your collection?
#13
To cdgraves: Thank you very much for that post. Both parts really help me a lot. I'll try it that way and see what I come up with, cheers!

To Hail: Yes, you like to be condescending, I get it. Just saying I'm wrong without telling me why doesn't make you smart. I hope you're not this way to everyone "less-smart" than you on this forum.

To mdc: I have quite some BB King, SRV, Albert King and Eric Clapton in my collection. I saw a video on youtube a while back with someone playing blues and he talked about a scale he was using to do so, which led me to the natural minor scale. I read that as a scale it was the same as aeolian, which is why I was thinking modally for a moment
#14
You're making something simple far more complicated than it needs to be. The blues can be complex but at heart it's just the same chord progression repeated over and over, often with short instrumental breaks between sections.

Try this for starters. Chord Progressions For Songwriters
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
#15
Quote by Valix
How do I continue? (theory-wise)

Study blues solos. It's evolved over decades, and they didn't know theory. They learnt by ear and copying each others licks and phrases, and you should do the same.
#16
Quote by Valix

To Hail: Yes, you like to be condescending, I get it. Just saying I'm wrong without telling me why doesn't make you smart. I hope you're not this way to everyone "less-smart" than you on this forum.


after a year of dealing with dumbasses on the same questions it becomes quite a comfy position to be in if you ask me
Quote by theogonia777
Hail killed MT

Quote by jongtr
I want to be Hail when I grow up.
#17
Quote by Valix
Up until not so long ago I usually just tried to cover songs I'd like to hear when playing guitar. But lately I've been making my own music which is so much more pleasing.

I've read a lot about some theory, but there are some items that confuse me still, most recently song structure. I'll give you an example:

I want to write a full song (guitar only atm). I've been writing a lick in E Aeolian. It's about 1minute long and it sounds, to me, really good, but I've hit a stop. It feels like I can't really go on in that lick anymore, like it's reached its end.

If I understand things correctly, do I continue in my song with the next rhytm part and move on to E Locrian and abandon E Aeolian? And when progressing from Aeolian to Locrian to first move up to the root note (as a transition between the two modes) ?

I could really use some input as on how to procede with this. It would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance for reading my post though.

As far as the bit in bold goes, what is it in your current knowledge and understanding of music that brought you to that potential conclusion. That's not a dig, it's a genuine question.

It does look like your understanding of theory is somewhat incomplete and possibly incorrect, understanding where and why you went wrong will help people point you in the right direction, even Hail can be helpful, he just believes in tough love.

One thing I'll often said round here that i'll repeat is that that theory is descriptive, not prescriptive, it isn't a set of cookie cutter shapes for you to cement together when composing, it's simply a way to understand what you've written and describe it to other musicians. You should always be using your ears to decide what to play and whether or not it's "right".
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
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...it's a seagull

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#18
Quote by Valix
To mdc: I have quite some BB King, SRV, Albert King and Eric Clapton in my collection. I saw a video on youtube a while back with someone playing blues and he talked about a scale he was using to do so, which led me to the natural minor scale. I read that as a scale it was the same as aeolian, which is why I was thinking modally for a moment

I'm dead sure none of those guitarists gives modes even the briefest of thoughts when they play/compose. Stop thinking about theory and rather play what you hear in your head. Theory is good, but not the way you're currently using it, get a solid understanding of functional harmony.
Quote by Xiaoxi
The Byzantine scale was useful until the Ottoman scale came around and totally annihilated it.
#19
To Sleepy_Head: Thanks for the link, I'll have a read.

To mdc: I don't really like to copy other people when making my own music, but it's a good idea to break others' solos down and see how they went about on doing it, cheers.

To steven seagull: Yeah, I guess I'm too hung on theory being prescriptive instead of being descriptive at the moment, I'll try to change that way of thinking.

Well, I know that when one would play the modes in the correct order, in the key of C for example, that the notes would make up the C major scale. That made me believe that if you progress through modes you'd have to respect that order, locrian being next in my case.

Why I thought I needed to progress from one mode to another: I believe playing in one mode or scale even is too difficult for someone like me. Satriani can do it, but he's .. yeah Satriani :p
#20
Quote by Valix
To Sleepy_Head: Thanks for the link, I'll have a read.

To mdc: I don't really like to copy other people when making my own music, but it's a good idea to break others' solos down and see how they went about on doing it, cheers.

To steven seagull: Yeah, I guess I'm too hung on theory being prescriptive instead of being descriptive at the moment, I'll try to change that way of thinking.

Well, I know that when one would play the modes in the correct order, in the key of C for example, that the notes would make up the C major scale. That made me believe that if you progress through modes you'd have to respect that order, locrian being next in my case.

Why I thought I needed to progress from one mode to another: I believe playing in one mode or scale even is too difficult for someone like me. Satriani can do it, but he's .. yeah Satriani :p

Yeah that's not really how it works at all.

The one thing you need to get fixed in your mind about modes, before worrying about anything else, is this - modes are about how things sound. Where you start playing, what order you're playing in, what shape or pattern you use - none of that has any bearing on whether or not you're using modes. It also doesn't follow that doing somethinf different from a physical point of view will change the sound - remember there's only 12 notes on the guitar and they repeat multiple times, so you can play the exact same sound in several places.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#21
Quote by Valix


Why I thought I needed to progress from one mode to another: I believe playing in one mode or scale even is too difficult for someone like me. Satriani can do it, but he's .. yeah Satriani :p


satriani really doesn't know a whole lot about theory.

you don't have to play within a scale - you just have to play within the key, which you kinda have to try to not make tonal music intuitively. you can play any of the 12 notes you like at any given time - how it sounds is based on how each note, each movement, each rhythm, each timbre plays a role between the melody and the harmony.

this is why we emphasize an ability to internalize music (through learning by ear). scales are just presets of notes that will inherently sound "okay" over any given backdrop, but unless you're in a situation where your hands have to move faster than you can think (which should never be the case) you should base your choice of notes on intuition like everything else.

you don't memorize every combination of accents, do you? or every ensemble make-up? your rhythm and tone come from instinct and from constantly listening. your note choice should be no different - and should honestly be less important. you could play all the "wrong" notes over a chord and make it sound good with interesting rhythm and with a musical intent.

learning music from the ground up involves learning music. scales aren't music - they're sequences of numbers that attribute music to memory. i suggest, outside of learning your triads, dominant/subdominant/tonic, and similar fundamental basics, you don't even learn music theory until/unless you have a personal drive to learn more about it.

instead, you should focus on learning music - in context. theory gives you some tools to understand what's happening in the music, just like a cookbook will give you basic ideas of what to look for in a recipe, but if you don't have the palate to appreciate what you want done, you're just masturbating.

if you've never eaten risotto before, why in god's name would you try to prepare it for someone? if you haven't sat and learned music rather than sequences out of proper context and cadence, no matter how cleanly you play, or how cool you'll sound using big words to describe it, you're never going to be able to produce any sort of authentic expression of yourself - because there will be no vehicle to express it.

without your ear being the guide in everything you produce, you have no artistic input in the matter. you may as well just join a symphony and play verbatim - but something tells me you don't have that kind of discipline, either.

don't forget that music is an artform. to not appreciate the creative process, to attribute it to a bunch of big words you read on the internet (out of context), it's a personal insult to people whose appetite for music has a profound effect on their lives and potential careers, at least in my eyes.
Quote by theogonia777
Hail killed MT

Quote by jongtr
I want to be Hail when I grow up.
#22
Quote by Hail
if you've never eaten risotto before, why in god's name would you try to prepare it for someone?

Lol I cooked this literally 10 minutes ago, for myself. Fucking delicious. Like a true pig, I didn't bother plating up, straight outta the pan, mate.
#23
I also just had risotto lol. Made a twist and used a fair bit of oat in it. Just as good and much healthier!


Also just realized I'm in Hail's sig, which is cool, except the paradox that I can never be truly certain that it's not because he's making fun of me
Quote by Xiaoxi
The Byzantine scale was useful until the Ottoman scale came around and totally annihilated it.
#26
Quote by Xiaoxi
The Byzantine scale was useful until the Ottoman scale came around and totally annihilated it.
#27
Quote by Valix

If I understand things correctly, do I continue in my song with the next rhytm part and move on to E Locrian and abandon E Aeolian? And when progressing from Aeolian to Locrian to first move up to the root note (as a transition between the two modes) ?

I could really use some input as on how to procede with this. It would be much appreciated.


So you've got a lick in E minor, and you're not sure how to continue it.

That's a fine songwriting problem. It's a normal one. Don't muck it up by talking about modes, and ignore all the chatter about modes, here and elsewhere.

You have an e minor lick, and you don't know what to do next.

So here's what you do:

You play the lick. You listen to it. You play it again. You listen to it. You play it again ...

... and you listen to the silence after it. What you're listening for is the sound you want to hear next.

When you hear that sound in your head - and not before - try to find it on your guitar.

The better your ear is, the easier this usually goes, so develop your ear. But don't think about scales or keys or modes. Just think about that sound you want to hear next.
#28
Quote by HotspurJr


... and you listen to the silence after it. What you're listening for is the sound you want to hear next.

When you hear that sound in your head - and not before - try to find it on your guitar.

The better your ear is, the easier this usually goes, so develop your ear. But don't think about scales or keys or modes. Just think about that sound you want to hear next.

Quote by theogonia777
Hail killed MT

Quote by jongtr
I want to be Hail when I grow up.
#30
You're problem isn't that you dont know enough scales or theory. You're problem is that you haven't internalized it. In terms of written theory, you have far more than you need to write a good blues tune. You just aren't letting your ear do the work.

The best think you can do is to transcribe as much blues music as you can. You will very quickly see how simple it really is. I7 IV7 V7 with a blues scale will get you very far if you know how to use it. What you learn by transcribing is articulation, dynamics, phrasing, tone, etc. All of these elements are things that should be intuitive, meaning you don't consciously think about them. You should just be able to hear an idea in your head and let it flow.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#31
Quote by mdc
I'm interested to know how much blues music you have in your collection?


A whole wall-full of CDs. One shelf for each mode.
#32
Quote by TheHydra


there's actually a better part of the DVD that's not on youtube that i was considering linking or uploading but i couldn't find it and i'm lazy

where he actually plays over a simple progression using almost exclusively the 5 "out" notes, using interesting phrasing and focusing on the rhythm, then plays perfectly diatonically but with lackluster phrasing, &c.
Quote by theogonia777
Hail killed MT

Quote by jongtr
I want to be Hail when I grow up.
#33
Quote by Hail
there's actually a better part of the DVD that's not on youtube that i was considering linking or uploading but i couldn't find it and i'm lazy

where he actually plays over a simple progression using almost exclusively the 5 "out" notes, using interesting phrasing and focusing on the rhythm, then plays perfectly diatonically but with lackluster phrasing, &c.

I've pieced together a lot of the DVD on Youtube but I still haven't seen all of it. I have seen him demonstrate that concept in a different workshop video though.

For extra challenge mode, try it on a cheap shitty keyboard with no dynamics (or a harpsichord, if you happen to have one laying around). Just you, the notes, and their lengths. It really makes you appreciate having dynamics when they're no longer available.
Last edited by TheHydra at Feb 7, 2013,
#34
i used to plug that DVD a lot, definitely worth a watch

but since i talked to scott fernandez (who's good friends with overlord evan brewer) he said anthony wellington (and wooten, but not as bad) is a total douche, and that the two of them reject anybody who doesn't accept their musical philosophy. it's a real shame, it kinda makes the DVD hard to watch, but it hits a lot of great points on the head.

forreal though just torrent buy the DVD set and give yourself 3 or 4 hours (it's as long as those old VHS pornos) to sit through it. very important things covered in the realm of musicality rather than bassmanship
Quote by theogonia777
Hail killed MT

Quote by jongtr
I want to be Hail when I grow up.
Last edited by Hail at Feb 7, 2013,
#35
Damn, the full thing's 3-4 hours long? Now I'm really interested. Their stuff about timing was enlightening enough on its own (aside from the poor choice of wording on "modes of rhythm", though I don't exactly fault them for not knowing those were already an entirely different thing). I'm definitely gonna legally purchase from a legitimate establishment as soon as I can.

Also: sucks to hear that about Victor. I like his solo stuff, but I can't say I've listened to the Flecktones very much. Him and Anthony seemed like nice enough guys.
Last edited by TheHydra at Feb 7, 2013,
#36
Quote by TheHydra
Damn, the full thing's 3-4 hours long? .


Anybody know the name of the full DVD?
#38
Quote by Valix
I've read a lot about some theory, but there are some items that confuse me still, most recently song structure.


A basic and effective way to structure a song is to use three separate sections that are each 8 bars in length. So you would have Section A, Section B, and Section C, each one consisting of an 8 bar chord progression. Then you can label them as the verse, chorus, and bridge and start putting them together. For example, Section A might be your verse, B would be the chorus, and C would be the bridge. Then you can organize your song like this:

A, A, B, A, B, C, B

or this:

A, A, B, C, A, A, B, C

Or any other way that you like. You can also add a brief intro or outro, but generally you want to keep it to 4 bars or less.

This is a very basic way to structure a song, but it's also very common because it works so well. You can and should deviate from this pattern, but if you're having trouble with song structuring, relying on the basics is a good way to get started.

If you're trying to write blues music, you should look into the 12 bar blues for a starting point.