robbit10
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#1
When a chord progression is playing in the background (for example: Em, C, D | Key: Em), then which of these is better?:
- Sticking around in the E Minor, E Minor Pentatonic, G Major, and-so-on scales while the song is playing..
- Or, with every chord change, shift to the scale pertaining to that chord? So, for example: When the E minor is playing, play everything that fits with an Em chord, then when the C is playing, play a C major scale or A minor scale or something else that fits, then when the D plays, play D major or B minor or something else that fits.
Last edited by robbit10 at May 1, 2013,
mdc
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#2
Use Em scale for everything. If you want to outline the chords, then target chord tones by using arpeggios, not scales.
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#3
As the key is Em, everything you play will be heard relative to Em. Therefore the Em scale is the safest bet.
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#4
Yeah, if the progression is so simple, I see no point in changing scales. It just makes things over complicated. You can of course play accidentals but you don't need to change scale all the time. A chord progression is a big picture. And IMO if you change scale on every chord, it's harder to make it sound like a continuous melody that sounds good. Because then you need to think about connecting the scales and stuff like that. As mcd said, you can just emphasize the chord tones, you don't need to change scales to do that. Because E minor scale contains all the chord tones in that progression (and even if it didn't, you could still think it as E minor with accidentals - that's why thinking in keys makes more sense).

Try to learn how different notes in a scale sound like over different chords. Try to think more in music and not just in scales. Scales are a good tool to find the notes you are looking for but don't let them guide too much your playing. I mean, if you only think in scales, it turns your autopilot mode on and your playing starts sounding repetitive and boring because you are only playing from muscle memory and really not thinking about what you are playing.
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#5
Quote by mdc
Use Em scale for everything. If you want to outline the chords, then target chord tones by using arpeggios, not scales.


+1

another trick ... you can use the relative major, so if you start soloing in the first position in Emin penatatonic on the 12th fret, slide down to the 9th fret and start the 1st position there. That's fun and adds color to what you're doing.
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#6
Quote by TravisWright
+1

another trick ... you can use the relative major, so if you start soloing in the first position in Emin penatatonic on the 12th fret, slide down to the 9th fret and start the 1st position there. That's fun and adds color to what you're doing.

Em pentatonic is not just one position. It's all over the fretboard so you aren't really changing the scale, you are just changing the position.

Oh, and if you play in E minor and use the basic position but move it so that the lowest note is on the 9th fret instead of 12th fret, it's the same notes as in E major pentatonic. And that won't sound good over E minor. Though I'm not quite sure what you meant. If you meant that when you are playing in G major, you can use the notes in Em pentatonic, yes, that's right. And that's because E minor and G major are relative keys. But in that case the scale isn't called E minor pentatonic, it's called G major pentatonic.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 1, 2013,
rutle_me_this
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#7
Quote by TravisWright
+1

another trick ... you can use the relative major, so if you start soloing in the first position in Emin penatatonic on the 12th fret, slide down to the 9th fret and start the 1st position there. That's fun and adds color to what you're doing.


First, I'd like to thank Sean who earlier replied to my question. That was a great lesson; I really appreciate it.

Second, if you're playing a minor pentatonic scale and then go to the relative major pentatonic scale, for example E minor pentatonic to the G Major Pentatonic ... you're still playing the SAME notes. (And of course the notes of the E Relative Minor Scale are exactly the same as the notes of the G Major Scale.) But for the question posed, going back to the E Minor Pentatonic and G Major Pentatonic, the notes are:

G Major Pentatonic = G - A - B - D - E - G
E Minor Pentatonic = E - G - A - B - D - E

So when you switch from the E Minor Pentatonic to the G Major Pentatonic (or vice versa) you're still playing the SAME notes. So how are you creating a different feel or sound when over a chord progression you switch from the E Minor Pentatonic to the G Major Pentatonic (or vice versa), when ALL THE NOTES ARE THE SAME?

Last edited by rutle_me_this at May 1, 2013,
J-Dawg158
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#8
I liken using a different scale for every chord to trying to measure a mile with a ruler. If you do everything right then it WILL work out, but there are so much simpler methods, especially for purely diatonic chord progressions like in your example.
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#9
Quote by rutle_me_this

G Major Pentatonic = G - A - B - D - E - G
E Minor Pentatonic = E - G - A - B - D - E

So when you switch from the E Minor Pentatonic to the G Major Pentatonic (or vice versa) you're still playing the SAME notes. So how are you creating a different feel or sound when over a chord progression you switch from the E Minor Pentatonic to the G Major Pentatonic (or vice versa), when ALL THE NOTES ARE THE SAME?


This is a common misunderstanding, and it comes from the fact that you're playing with your fingers, rather than your ear. The scale is still, to you, a series of locations on the fretboard which are all pretty much interchangably "safe."

To understand the difference, you need to understand two things:

First, we hear notes in a context. They are not stand-alone things. For an example of this, loop an Em chord and play the two notes D-G (rest) D-G (rest) over it. Now loop a G major chord and play the same two notes over it. Notice how the notes SOUND DIFFERENT. This is because the context has changed from a minor context to a major context. Same notes, different sound.

Related to this is getting away from the idea that a scale is a collection of interchangable notes. Rather, they are a collection of notes which each have their own UNIQUE relationship to the tonic note. Change the tonic, and you change those relationships.

When I play a D-G in a G major context, I am playing a fifth and the tonic. That tends to have a very restful, relaxed feeling - moving towards the tonic, settling there. But when I play those notes over an Em chord, now I'm playing a minor seventh and a minor third. These are more dissonant notes, so the melody will likely feel "unfinished." (But if you add an E on the end of that progression, it will feel more resolved. Stick an E on the same melody in G major, and now it feels UNfinished!)

But it's the same notes! What's happened is that the function of each note changes because you change the context! This is what we mean when we talk about "functional" harmony - each note (and chord) has a function relative to the key center.

(It gets even more complicated when you deal with a chord progression, because X note over chord Y in key Z sounds different as the chords change, even as the key stays the same).

You need to develop your ears so that you can hear how each note relates to the tonic note, which will push you out of "playing by finger" - just shoving your fingers around in a shape of "safe" notes.
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#10
Quote by HotspurJr
This is a common misunderstanding, and it comes from the fact that you're playing with your fingers, rather than your ear. The scale is still, to you, a series of locations on the fretboard which are all pretty much interchangably "safe."

To understand the difference, you need to understand two things:

First, we hear notes in a context. They are not stand-alone things. For an example of this, loop an Em chord and play the two notes D-G (rest) D-G (rest) over it. Now loop a G major chord and play the same two notes over it. Notice how the notes SOUND DIFFERENT. This is because the context has changed from a minor context to a major context. Same notes, different sound.

Related to this is getting away from the idea that a scale is a collection of interchangable notes. Rather, they are a collection of notes which each have their own UNIQUE relationship to the tonic note. Change the tonic, and you change those relationships.

When I play a D-G in a G major context, I am playing a fifth and the tonic. That tends to have a very restful, relaxed feeling - moving towards the tonic, settling there. But when I play those notes over an Em chord, now I'm playing a minor seventh and a minor third. These are more dissonant notes, so the melody will likely feel "unfinished." (But if you add an E on the end of that progression, it will feel more resolved. Stick an E on the same melody in G major, and now it feels UNfinished!)

But it's the same notes! What's happened is that the function of each note changes because you change the context! This is what we mean when we talk about "functional" harmony - each note (and chord) has a function relative to the key center.

(It gets even more complicated when you deal with a chord progression, because X note over chord Y in key Z sounds different as the chords change, even as the key stays the same).

You need to develop your ears so that you can hear how each note relates to the tonic note, which will push you out of "playing by finger" - just shoving your fingers around in a shape of "safe" notes.

True. But rutle was right, there's no difference if you play G major scale or E minor scale over the same progression. Of course if the key changes, it sounds different.

But rutle's comment was a reply to TravisWright's comment that said if you play the relative major scale over the same progression, you get a different feel ("another trick ... you can use the relative major" and "That's fun and adds color to what you're doing."). And that's not true. Travis seemed to think in shapes - E minor pentatonic would only be one shape on the fretboard, same as G major pentatonic which is not true.

So @ rutle: There's no difference. E minor pentatonic is all over the fretboard and shares the notes with G major pentatonic. It won't sound any different, no matter what shape you use. You are still playing the same notes.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 1, 2013,
crazysam23_Atax
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#13
Quote by TravisWright
+1

another trick ... you can use the relative major, so if you start soloing in the first position in Emin penatatonic on the 12th fret, slide down to the 9th fret and start the 1st position there. That's fun and adds color to what you're doing.

Scales are not a bunch of shapes on the fretboard...

In fact, you really need to learn about chord construction, intervals, and harmony, I think. Stop thinking in terms of scales. Think in terms of keys. When you play lead melodies over a chord or a chord progression, your thoughts should NOT be "I can use this scale or that scale". Instead, your thoughts should be "I have potential 12 notes to use; how can I use them to get the feeling I want?". By understanding chord construction, intervals, and harmony, you can better understand how specific notes will sound over certain chords. Thus, you can use those tools to your advantage.

That bolded part is just wrong, but others already covered that.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 1, 2013,
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#14
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Stop thinking in terms of scales. Think in terms of keys.


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afromoose
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#15
Quote by rutle_me_this
First, I'd like to thank Sean who earlier replied to my question. That was a great lesson; I really appreciate it.

Second, if you're playing a minor pentatonic scale and then go to the relative major pentatonic scale, for example E minor pentatonic to the G Major Pentatonic ... you're still playing the SAME notes. (And of course the notes of the E Relative Minor Scale are exactly the same as the notes of the G Major Scale.) But for the question posed, going back to the E Minor Pentatonic and G Major Pentatonic, the notes are:

G Major Pentatonic = G - A - B - D - E - G
E Minor Pentatonic = E - G - A - B - D - E

So when you switch from the E Minor Pentatonic to the G Major Pentatonic (or vice versa) you're still playing the SAME notes. So how are you creating a different feel or sound when over a chord progression you switch from the E Minor Pentatonic to the G Major Pentatonic (or vice versa), when ALL THE NOTES ARE THE SAME?



The fact that it sounds like G major will have more to do with the underlying chord sequence. If you play the 5 notes over a chord sequence in which it sounds like E minor is the tonal backdrop or centre, then those notes will sound like E minor pentatonic. If you use them over a set of chords where G major sounds like the tonal centre, they will sound like G major pentatonic.

It's a good question.

If you're playing without accompaniment, so there are no chords, then you imply which note is the tonal centre (e.g. E or G), by which one you imply as being the tonal centre in the way you accent the different notes. In other words, if you centre your melodies around the E, it will sound like E minor. If you centre your melodies around the G, it will sound like G major.

A simple way is, play an octave of the scale ascending from the G, it will sound like 'My Girl'. Play an octave ascending from the E, and it will sound like blues. By starting and ending with different notes you imply them as the tonal centre (in the absence of any chords).

Hope this helps

Best wishes

Luke
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
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#16
I think that in improvisation we have to let our ears guide us to some melodies that we are all able to hear in any given chord progresions and to enter a scale pattern on a fretboard with the melodic idea of fealing we want to express.The best thing is to keep it simple and just play buy ear,play a few notes,if they feel good make a few melodies out of them and maby star developing a solo based on that,remember what you like,and record your self.When you have time anylize the theory behind this things that you like to play,melodies that sounds good to your ears.
robbit10
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#17
Thanks mdc, AlanHB, and MaggaraMarine for answering my original question

---

I seem to have set off a discussion about scales in general :P

Here's some information I will add. Let's see if it is correct. Here's how my guitar teacher explained it:
Every major root/scale has a relative minor root/scale. A relative minor scale contains the same notes as the major scale, but starts at a different note, which gives it the minor sound. To be more specific, it starts on the 6th degree of the major scale, which is the Aeolian mode.
(Notice I am using root, scale, and key interchangably here. I'm not sure which term is correct. Is a relative minor a key, a scale, or a root?)

A pentatonic scale is a 5-note scale, which leaves out some notes of the respectively named scale. Minor pentatonic is a minor scale with some notes left out, and major pentatonic is, likewise, a major scale with some notes left out. I'm sure it's actually more detailed than just "scale with a few notes left out", and if anyone would like to explain, please feel free to explain what makes a pentatonic scale a pentatonic scale.
Last edited by robbit10 at May 1, 2013,
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#18
Quote by robbit10
Here's some information I will add. Let's see if it is correct. Here's how my guitar teacher explained it:
Every major root/scale has a relative minor root/scale. A relative minor scale contains the same notes as the major scale, but starts at a different note, which gives it the minor sound. To be more specific, it starts on the 6th degree of the major scale, which is the Aeolian mode.
(Notice I am using root, scale, and key interchangably here. I'm not sure which term is correct. Is a relative minor a key, a scale, or a root?)

more important to the "minor sound" are two things:

1. you'll be in a minor key rather than a major key
2. the "starting on a different note" bit means that the interval locations are different - for example, in A minor the second to third degrees are B->C (a minor second), whereas in C major the second to third degrees are D-E (a major second), which makes the scale sound the way it does

a relative minor can refer to either a key or a scale
Quote by robbit10
A pentatonic scale is a 5-note scale, which leaves out some notes of the respectively named scale. Minor pentatonic is a minor scale with some notes left out, and major pentatonic is, likewise, a major scale with some notes left out. I'm sure it's actually more detailed than just "scale with a few notes left out", and if anyone would like to explain, please feel free to explain what makes a pentatonic scale a pentatonic scale.

the only specific is that they leave out the least consonant notes of the key, so your major pentatonic leaves out scale degrees four and seven:

C major pentatonic -> 1 2 3 5 6 -> C D E G A

and a minor pentatonic leaves out two and six:

C minor pentatonic -> 1 b3 4 5 b7 -> C Eb F G Bb
afromoose
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#19
I just want to give some overview on your question also.

When I first started learning jazz, I got the Aebersold Book 1. Inside, there's a big table with a list of chords down one side, and big load of scales down the other. There are about a hundred scales there or something, it's a very daunting list!

Being a newcomer to jazz, and not having a teacher, I was trying to learn from this book and it caused me no end of trouble.

I didn't realise, but there is a way of thinking in jazz education which is called the 'chord-scale' method. This idea is that for any chord that's playing, you have a choice of different scales which will work. The impression I got when I started learning jazz was that I would have to learn A LOT of different scales and be able to switch between them pretty fast.

I started learning some chord sequences, and I soon realised that the chords change pretty fast in jazz. So some questions started popping into my head like 'how the hell do jazz players change scale every two beats?' Logical questions, but usually being a beginner I chalked it up to me just not being totally insanely skilled like how I perceived a jazz musician to be.

Some other questions came up when I started trying to use this diagram to match chords and scales. For example, it told me that over a minor 7th chord, I had a choice of scales that included the Phrygian. When I tried this, however, in many contexts it sounded awful. I started to get more and more confused.

Eventually I asked some advice from some experienced jazz players, and I found out two things - first of all, many jazz players are really angry that the chord-scale method is taught at all, because it's a totally confusing and actually quite wrong way to think about soloing over chord changes. Second of all, the way to get started is KEYS and ARPEGGIOS

So a jazz player is more likely to look at a series of chords, and say, 'ah that's all E minor' or, ah, 'that's all Bb major', then they are to change scale over every chord.

They also usually think more in terms of chord tones, arpeggios, when making melodies.

So, my advice is steer clear of the idea that you should change scale with every chord. For some reason it's used in education but all the jazz people I've met don't think that way.

Maybe some other teachers swear by the chord-scale method and understand it better than I do, so I don't claim to be an authority on the subject. But I only started making progress with Jazz when I ditched the chord-scale system idea.
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
rutle_me_this
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#20
Quote by MaggaraMarine
True. But rutle was right, there's no difference if you play G major scale or E minor scale over the same progression. Of course if the key changes, it sounds different.

But rutle's comment was a reply to TravisWright's comment that said if you play the relative major scale over the same progression, you get a different feel ("another trick ... you can use the relative major" and "That's fun and adds color to what you're doing."). And that's not true. Travis seemed to think in shapes - E minor pentatonic would only be one shape on the fretboard, same as G major pentatonic which is not true.

So @ rutle: There's no difference. E minor pentatonic is all over the fretboard and shares the notes with G major pentatonic. It won't sound any different, no matter what shape you use. You are still playing the same notes.


I have read in the past on a number of occasions, and I'm paraphrasing, that if you have a chord progression and you want to have a "more country" sound, artists will often use the Relative Minor Pentatonic instead of the Major Pentatonic Scale. That for example, if they were playing a chord progression (say in the key of G) that they might choose to play a "lead" using the E Minor Pentatonic scale instead of using the G Major Pentatonic Scale. Now again, both "have" the same notes. But I distinctly remember reading and hearing about how the choice of that relative minor pentatonic scale over the major pentatonic -- E Minor Pentatonic instead of G Major Pentatonic for example -- would give the lead a more "country" feel. And every time I've heard this I would shake my head and say to myself, "the relative minor comprises the same notes of the major. So why would it 'feel' (as in sound) more 'country' to use the E Minor Pentatonic instead of the G Major Pentatonic, when again, we're talking the same notes?" That some how you get a more rock sound if you are using the major pentatonic, and a more country sound if you are using the relative minor pentatonic.

Why would something have a more country-ish sound if you used the relative minor pentatonic over the major pentatonic, again -- say one used the E Minor Pentatonic instead of the G Major Pentatonic -- over a chord progression? I know I've read this about this supposed difference in the sound you get -- one more rock, one more country-ish -- and this is the first time I finally figured I would ask, "What are they talking about, this different feel each creates -- when the notes are the same?" (I even recall reading how it was something groups like the Eagles often did in their songs.)


Last edited by rutle_me_this at May 1, 2013,
fearofthemark
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#21
Great question. You can do whatever you want. The chord-scale approach, used often in modal jazz does just that. Let's say you have a chord progression:

Em7 / A7 / Dmaj7 / - /

This is a common ii V I progression. With the chord-scale approach, you could follow a E scale over the Em7, a A scale over the A7, and a D scale over the Dmaj7.

If you wanted to stay diatonic to (using only notes in the key of) D major you would use the E dorian mode, A mixolydian mode, and the D ionian (major) mode over their respective chords. But that can be unnecessarily complicated. You don't really need to think of playing an entirely different scale every time the chord changes when you know the entire song is diatonic to D major. You can just play in D major and target the various chord tones you want to hit within that scale.

An interesting sound to try would be playing in A lydian dominant over the A7. It sounds like a mix between the lydian and mixolydian modes, with a sharp four that provides a leading tone to the V, and a flat 7 giving it a dominant quality.

You could also just forget about scales and focus on the chord tones. Play whatever notes in between, alterations, whatever the hell you want, as long as what you hint towards the chord underneath it can work. You'll just have varying amounts of dissonance, which is awesome if that's what you're going for.

you can focus on chord extensions. What if you made the A7 chord an A7b9 chord? It'll give it a really cool, dissonant quality that's not used very often in a major tonality. Even if you don't put the flat nine (in this case, a Bb) in the chord itself, using it in your melody will definitely hint towards it.

Using the whole tone scale over augmented chords is also an option. There are tons of things you can try musically and they don't all have to fit into one diatonic key. It's really all about tension and resolution. Too much tension and dissonance doesn't sound good, and too little is just boring. experiment.

Quote by afromoose
Eventually I asked some advice from some experienced jazz players, and I found out two things - first of all, many jazz players are really angry that the chord-scale method is taught at all, because it's a totally confusing and actually quite wrong way to think about soloing over chord changes.


Yes, it is totally confusing, but it is not at all "quite wrong." Great music has been and continues to be made using chord-scales. They describe certain sounds, tools in a toolbox, if you will, that can be drawn upon at a moment's notice if they're well practiced.

You're not going to blow through Cherokee improvising with chordscales after looking at it for five minutes. You can go through it following key changes and using chords and arpeggios. But chord scales can be helpful in composition and especially when you're playing over altered chords or if you want to access a specific type of sound.
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Last edited by fearofthemark at May 1, 2013,
rutle_me_this
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#22
Quote by afromoose
The fact that it sounds like G major will have more to do with the underlying chord sequence. If you play the 5 notes over a chord sequence in which it sounds like E minor is the tonal backdrop or centre, then those notes will sound like E minor pentatonic. If you use them over a set of chords where G major sounds like the tonal centre, they will sound like G major pentatonic.


Thank you afromoose.

That I understand. My focus was on what if you take the SAME chord progression? What's the difference between using the major pentatonic and using the relative minor pentatonic over that SAME chord progression.

Say we're in the key of G, and pick a chord progression. Now why would playing a lead using a G Major Pentatonic Scale give off a different "feel" or "sound" than using an E Minor Pentatonic Scale over that same chord progression?

Why -- again, playing over the same chord progression -- is the G Major Pentatonic said to give more of a rock feel and the E Minor Pentatonic a more country feel, when the notes of the former are the same notes as the latter?

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#23
Quote by rutle_me_this
Say we're in the key of G, and pick a chord progression. Now why would playing a lead using a G Major Pentatonic Scale give off a different "feel" or "sound" than using an E Minor Pentatonic Scale over that same chord progression?

if you're in g major, you're playing g major and not e minor, end of story
Quote by rutle_me_this
Why -- again, playing over the same chord progression -- is the G Major Pentatonic said to give more of a rock feel and the E Minor Pentatonic a more country feel, when the notes of the former are the same notes as the latter?

because you'll hear people say a lot of incorrect things and this is one of them
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#24
^^^ Honestly people say that because they are not using their ears. The same notes in the same context get the same result. Stick to your guns. That E note on the low E 12th fret is the same as the E on 7th fret A string. Ignore anyone who suggests that these are different scales/modes crap. You're right to question this - it's the same note.

You can take it further and say that the tonal center could shift if there is no chord progession, but the vast majority of songs have a chord progression, rendering the point useless in application.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#25
Quote by :-D
if you're in g major, you're playing g major and not e minor, end of story

because you'll hear people say a lot of incorrect things and this is one of them


So there's really no such a thing as using an E Minor Pentatonic Scale to play a lead over a chord progression in the key of G? (And it should just be called using a G Major Pentatonic Scale?)



(Just to add, I just recalled one of the many people I've read who talks about the distinction, someone name Fred Sokolow. So he and the rest of them are wrong in making this distinction I've been asking about?)
Last edited by rutle_me_this at May 1, 2013,
mdc
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#26
Quote by rutle_me_this
So there's really no such a thing as using an E Minor Pentatonic Scale to play a lead over a chord progression in the key of G? (And it should just be called using a G Major Pentatonic Scale?)


Yes

Play a G major chord. Now play Em pentatonic shape 1 over it... only it's not Em pentatonic shape 1, it's G major pentatonic shape 5. Get it?

(Just to add, I just recalled one of the many people I've read who talks about the distinction, someone name Fred Sokolow. So he and the rest of them are wrong in making this distinction I've been asking about?)

Yes
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#27
Quote by rutle_me_this
So there's really no such a thing as using an E Minor Pentatonic Scale to play a lead over a chord progression in the key of G? (And it should just be called, using a G Major Pentatonic Scale?)



you could use the e minor pentatonic shape, but approaching music this way is typically going to just sound forced, contrived, and/or dated (in my opinion). it's a fine stepping stone in terms of learning the fretboard, but you do need to understand that keys supersede scales.

this means that you can be using the e minor pentatonic scale in intention, but it's still the g major pentatonic scale, and at the end of the day, it's still just in g major. you'll want to pay attention to the context based on the sound, which means ignoring your finger movement (outside of fundamental techniques like avoiding fret noise and the like)

just learn to make the distinction for now, though - figure out where the song resolves, and determine your key, and learn how scales function within that range. just remember to take scales as more than patterns - it's a series of notes, not a series of numbers - and eventually you'll find yourself not caring which scale you're in.
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afromoose
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#28
Quote by rutle_me_this
Thank you afromoose.

That I understand. My focus was on what if you take the SAME chord progression? What's the difference between using the major pentatonic and using the relative minor pentatonic over that SAME chord progression.

Say we're in the key of G, and pick a chord progression. Now why would playing a lead using a G Major Pentatonic Scale give off a different "feel" or "sound" than using an E Minor Pentatonic Scale over that same chord progression?

Why -- again, playing over the same chord progression -- is the G Major Pentatonic said to give more of a rock feel and the E Minor Pentatonic a more country feel, when the notes of the former are the same notes as the latter?



Ok, I think this could get a bit confused if it goes on too long.

I think what may have happened is, someone has given you some advice for blues, and they've said, for a country sound, use major pentatonic, for a rock/blues sound, use minor pentatonic. So I'll try and write this really clearly!

FOR BLUES

In the blues, it's both major and minor (blues is odd). So you can use major pentatonic and minor pentatonic. The difference is, unlike your example, which uses 'relative' major and minor, these are 'parallel' major and minor. Which basically means the roots are the same. If it's blues in A, then you've got A minor pentatonic and A major pentatonic.


FOR DIATONIC MUSIC

Diatonic means 'in a major or minor key' (loose definition please don't pick me up! If you want further info on what diatonic means, just google it)

If you're in a single major key or minor key, you don't get to choose whether to use one or the other. Only one will work. If it's G major - you're stuck with G major pentatonic. If it's E minor - you're stuck with E minor pentatonic. No amount of wishful thinking is going to change the key.


I think part of the confusion may have stemmed from getting advice which applies to blues, which has a dominant sound at its centre and so is neither fully major or minor, and diatonic music, which is what everyone here assumes you're talking about because it's the basis of western music theory.
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
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#29
Quote by rutle_me_this

(Just to add, I just recalled one of the many people I've read who talks about the distinction, someone name Fred Sokolow. So he and the rest of them are wrong in making this distinction I've been asking about?)


Please can you let me know the title of the book? I have a feeling it's blues or jazz blues style that Fred would be referring to. I think getting some context on where this advice has come from would help answer the question.
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
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#30
Quote by fearofthemark

Yes, it is totally confusing, but it is not at all "quite wrong." Great music has been and continues to be made using chord-scales. They describe certain sounds, tools in a toolbox, if you will, that can be drawn upon at a moment's notice if they're well practiced.


Hi

I did say at the end of my post that I'm not an expert on chord-scale system, it's just my opinion it's not the best place to learn or start with jazz. I'm sure there are some useful applications, and the jazzers I know do apply it in isolation, they just don't start off that way and certainly would avoid teaching it that way to beginners completely.

I do think that for the level the OP is at, chord-scale is inappropriate. It's too advanced.
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
Sean0913
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#31
First of all I believe there's some transposition of terms going on here. Instead of thinking "relative" minor, think Parallel Minor/Major.

So we aren't talking C major - A minor...they are the same notes and those arguing against it, baffle me.

We are talking C Pent Minor, C Pent major....ahh, yes, there is a difference.

C minor, has C Eb F G and Bb as its notes

C Major has C D E G and A as it's notes

In a typical C7 F7 G7 blues, this can have some importance.

First, it helps to instantly know the notes of every single chord. In this case we have 3. I'll break down the notes of each chord, but understand I do this instantaneously, which really helps

C7 - C E G Bb
F7 - F A C Eb
G7 - G B D F

- in the following breakdown we are assuming the scales are all pentatonic...

Over the C7, we could try C Major, it has the E and no Eb

OR we could C minor this and I might use the Eb as a "color" note but not "rest" on it

The F7 sounds great with C min, because of the Eb, but there's no A, so I might want to add that note over the chord in my "lines"

G7 sounds great with C Major, and I might add an F and/or B, to play with some chord tones.

Best,

Sean
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#32
Quote by afromoose
Ok, I think this could get a bit confused if it goes on too long.

I think what may have happened is, someone has given you some advice for blues, and they've said, for a country sound, use major pentatonic, for a rock/blues sound, use minor pentatonic. So I'll try and write this really clearly!

FOR BLUES

In the blues, it's both major and minor (blues is odd). So you can use major pentatonic and minor pentatonic. The difference is, unlike your example, which uses 'relative' major and minor, these are 'parallel' major and minor. Which basically means the roots are the same. If it's blues in A, then you've got A minor pentatonic and A major pentatonic.


FOR DIATONIC MUSIC

Diatonic means 'in a major or minor key' (loose definition please don't pick me up! If you want further info on what diatonic means, just google it)

If you're in a single major key or minor key, you don't get to choose whether to use one or the other. Only one will work. If it's G major - you're stuck with G major pentatonic. If it's E minor - you're stuck with E minor pentatonic. No amount of wishful thinking is going to change the key.


I think part of the confusion may have stemmed from getting advice which applies to blues, which has a dominant sound at its centre and so is neither fully major or minor, and diatonic music, which is what everyone here assumes you're talking about because it's the basis of western music theory.



Quote by afromoose
Please can you let me know the title of the book? I have a feeling it's blues or jazz blues style that Fred would be referring to. I think getting some context on where this advice has come from would help answer the question.



OK, yes, I've been reading this stuff online and in books related to blues. One book is actually called Basic Blues. I think your explanation regarding "parallel versus relative" is where I have been mixing things up and where I needed clarification.
afromoose
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#33
Quote by rutle_me_this
OK, yes, I've been reading this stuff online and in books related to blues. One book is actually called Basic Blues. I think your explanation regarding "parallel versus relative" is where I have been mixing things up and where I needed clarification.


Great. Well that's good you got the answer to your question.
Luke Mosse Guitar Teacher in Bristol, UK
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#34
Quote by afromoose
Great. Well that's good you got the answer to your question.


Thank you for clearing it up for me!

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#35
Quote by rutle_me_this
I have read in the past on a number of occasions, and I'm paraphrasing, that if you have a chord progression and you want to have a "more country" sound, artists will often use the Relative Minor Pentatonic instead of the Major Pentatonic Scale. That for example, if they were playing a chord progression (say in the key of G) that they might choose to play a "lead" using the E Minor Pentatonic scale instead of using the G Major Pentatonic Scale. Now again, both "have" the same notes. But I distinctly remember reading and hearing about how the choice of that relative minor pentatonic scale over the major pentatonic -- E Minor Pentatonic instead of G Major Pentatonic for example -- would give the lead a more "country" feel. And every time I've heard this I would shake my head and say to myself, "the relative minor comprises the same notes of the major. So why would it 'feel' (as in sound) more 'country' to use the E Minor Pentatonic instead of the G Major Pentatonic, when again, we're talking the same notes?" That some how you get a more rock sound if you are using the major pentatonic, and a more country sound if you are using the relative minor pentatonic.

Why would something have a more country-ish sound if you used the relative minor pentatonic over the major pentatonic, again -- say one used the E Minor Pentatonic instead of the G Major Pentatonic -- over a chord progression? I know I've read this about this supposed difference in the sound you get -- one more rock, one more country-ish -- and this is the first time I finally figured I would ask, "What are they talking about, this different feel each creates -- when the notes are the same?" (I even recall reading how it was something groups like the Eagles often did in their songs.)



I think they are referring to the scale shapes: E minor pentatonic is the shape that starts on the 12th fret and G major pentatonic is the shape that starts on the 3rd or 15th fret. But I don't get it why you have to name the positions. It's the same scale all over the fretboard so calling one position G major pentatonic and the other E minor pentatonic is kind of confusing when you are really playing the same scale. If you are playing the notes in E minor scale over a G major song, you are playing the G major scale. They have the same notes and whether it's called G major or E minor scale depends on the key you are in.

So that information is misleading and pretty much BS. The shape you are playing doesn't change how your playing sounds like. Because you can play the same notes in every position. Of course people who think with their fingers rather than ears play different kind of licks in different positions and maybe the "minor pentatonic position" gives a more country sound than the "major pentatonic position" for them because the position kind of guides them to play certain licks.
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HotspurJr
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#36
Quote by robbit10


Here's some information I will add. Let's see if it is correct. Here's how my guitar teacher explained it:
Every major root/scale has a relative minor root/scale. A relative minor scale contains the same notes as the major scale, but starts at a different note, which gives it the minor sound. To be more specific, it starts on the 6th degree of the major scale, which is the Aeolian mode.


I think than rather than say that a relative minor and major "start" on different notes, it makes more sense to talk about them having a different tonic. Yes, we usually learn scales "starting" on the tonic, but the truth is that if I'm in a G major context, and I start on an E note, I'm STILL in g major, and it won't have a "minor" sound.

Rather than think of the tonic as where the scale starts, think of it as the gravitational center of the scale - the place all melodies want to return to (not that you always let them. After all, you might stop an apple from hitting the ground by catching it).

To me, changing this way of thinking about tonic instantly gets rid of all sorts of silly nonsense like the "use the relative major for a new sound" nonsense earlier in this thread.
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#37
Quote by mdc
Yes

Play a G major chord. Now play Em pentatonic shape 1 over it... only it's not Em pentatonic shape 1, it's G major pentatonic shape 5. Get it?

Agreed, except instead of thinking in terms of shapes, let's think in terms of notes and the intervals between the notes.

Quote by Hail
you could use the e minor pentatonic shape, but approaching music this way is typically going to just sound forced, contrived, and/or dated (in my opinion). it's a fine stepping stone in terms of learning the fretboard, but you do need to understand that keys supersede scales.

this means that you can be using the e minor pentatonic scale in intention, but it's still the g major pentatonic scale, and at the end of the day, it's still just in g major. you'll want to pay attention to the context based on the sound, which means ignoring your finger movement (outside of fundamental techniques like avoiding fret noise and the like)

just learn to make the distinction for now, though - figure out where the song resolves, and determine your key, and learn how scales function within that range. just remember to take scales as more than patterns - it's a series of notes, not a series of numbers - and eventually you'll find yourself not caring which scale you're in.

Mhmm. Mhmm. Mhmm.

Quote by MaggaraMarine
I think they are referring to the scale shapes: E minor pentatonic is the shape that starts on the 12th fret and G major pentatonic is the shape that starts on the 3rd or 15th fret. But I don't get it why you have to name the positions. It's the same scale all over the fretboard so calling one position G major pentatonic and the other E minor pentatonic is kind of confusing when you are really playing the same scale. If you are playing the notes in E minor scale over a G major song, you are playing the G major scale. They have the same notes and whether it's called G major or E minor scale depends on the key you are in.

So that information is misleading and pretty much BS. The shape you are playing doesn't change how your playing sounds like. Because you can play the same notes in every position. Of course people who think with their fingers rather than ears play different kind of licks in different positions and maybe the "minor pentatonic position" gives a more country sound than the "major pentatonic position" for them because the position kind of guides them to play certain licks.

Not only that, but by teaching scales in terms of shapes, we end up confusing a lot of newer players. I really wish guitar teachers in general would just scrap the "box shapes" method of teaching scales.
I didn't even properly understand scales until I got a guitar teacher who had some classical training and explained that it wasn't the shape that was important but rather the intervals of the scale. Before that point, it was seriously over-complicated for me (to the point I felt over-whelmed), because I thought I had to learn all these various shapes for each and every scale. Once that teacher taught me about intervals, it was like, "Oh, so as long as I know what intervals a certain scale has, I can play it anywhere without memorizing its box shape? ". Now, maybe some people enjoy box shapes, which is fine. But a lot of people get the same idea I had, that you need to memorize box shapes and "think with your fingers" as you put it.


A lot of guitar teachers do teach that what's important is the intervals of the scale, but it's still a common method to teach the "box shape" patterns.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 2, 2013,