#1
I've been trying to break free of "patterns" by focusing on horizontal movement (over the major and major pentatonic G scales); but -- and maybe it's just me -- my root seems to change. I tend to toss up a little "melodic improv" over scales (I don't know how else to describe it? It's not a defined melodic movement) to try and break up the monotony of the scales I play, and a few times I ended up feeling far more resolved on a different note.

The last time it happened, I caught myself resolving on an E -- which tells me I jumped into G's little minor friend. I've read that Major scales shouldn't overuse their sixth to avoid reverting to the key's relative minor, but that was applied to chords... I'm not exactly sure how I even manage to do it playing scales.

I'm not very experienced, but shit, I might as well start knocking out these little nuances sooner rather than later so I can develop a solid technique. Any advice on keeping my root note as... well, my root?
Last edited by freakstylez at Oct 27, 2009,
#2
That's what modes are, the key isn't really changing. They aren't really detrimental to your playing at all. Landing on the seventh will give you a very uneasy and unfinished feeling for example. Learn the sound characteristics of all 7 modes and use them to your advantage.
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#3
Oh, I know 100% that it's another mode (sorry, I've been wording things like shit all night) and not another key. D'oh. I'd just like the peace of mind that after a long stretch of soloing madness, my root note will bring it all home should I want it to.

From the sounds of it, it will just come with time and playing. Guess I'll just wait and see if it ever becomes a problem -- and if I learn to improv correctly, it shouldn't. If my root won't resolve quite right, hopefully I can follow my ear to a note that will.

Anyway, thanks.
#4
Are you resolving on a different note or is the phrase suggesting a chord change?

For example if you played G Em C D D7

And your "melodic improvisation" seems to resolve to G on the first chord E on the second chord C on the third chord and D on the final two chords the tonal center will still be G but your improvisation will tend to flow along with the chord changes. You might even hear this chord change suggested without the chords underneath creating a kind of tension and release in your melodic improvisation. Nothing wrong there.

The question is - does the "resolve to E" make the G sound like a minor third when you hit the G? Does it make the B sound like a fifth? Or does the resolve to E feel like you've resolved to the sixth? It's kind of funny. You can resolve a phrase to a different note other than the tonic but when you look at the whole picture it it sounds as though you've raised the tension like a chord change rather than a key change.

Or it could just be a key change.

Some songs change key as though it's no big deal at all - one line in the verse is in one key the next is in another key and the next is in another key.

Don't worry too much what really matters is how it sounds.

-Word
Si
#5
When I say "resolve to E", I mean G -- the root of my scale and the note I started on -- no longer sounded "final" when I tried to finish the scale on it. My ear was expecting something else to give the scale closure, which the E accomplished.

The truth is, I know a fair bit of theory now, but don't have enough practical playing experience to apply it in all its glory. This thread is probably useless in the grand scheme of things, but I find I often walk away from "pointless" threads with something gained.

So yeah, this is off-topic, but I appreciate the responses I get around here. It's the first and only time I've really talked to others about music (I'm self taught and don't know many musicians) and for someone who's almost completely new to theory (this shit was foreign to me less than three or four weeks ago) and relatively new to guitar (I can't even play a whole song start to finish yet... lol), I feel like just reading forum threads/posts and the different links/resources you guys share has made me somewhat competent.
Last edited by freakstylez at Oct 28, 2009,
#6
A lot of where you resolve to will be determined by the chord progression, what progression, if any, were you playing over?

If you weren't then an easy way to make you solo resolve to G is just to have a chord progression in G, for example G C Em D. The D-G (V-I) movement makes it resolve especially well to a long G chord at the end.

If you changed key to E minor then most likely it wasn't strongly in either key (and because of the ambiguity probably didn't sound great).

This is because (as you probably know if you know a fair bit of theory) minor keys are usually made minor by a natural 7th (present in the V chord), in the case of E minor a D#. If you play a solo with no nat7 and lots of b7 then it won't resolve to the minor key as much, although it is possible.

You can also use this leading tone to make sure that you stay in a major key. By using the 7th a lot (followed by the tonic) and imply lots of perfect of plagal cadences it helps to keep it in key.
#7
If you weren't then an easy way to make you solo resolve to G is just to have a chord progression in G, for example G C Em D. The D-G (V-I) movement makes it resolve especially well to a long G chord at the end.

If you changed key to E minor then most likely it wasn't strongly in either key (and because of the ambiguity probably didn't sound great).


This chunk of your post basically described what I was doing. What are some ways to "play a chord progression" in a solo? The first thing that comes to mind are arpeggios -- would that be a good starting point? Add bigger runs, add more notes, give it a bigger range, etc, until I'm comfortable playing it? Then expand on it and maybe look into playing in that note's mode (like D mixolydian in the case of G Major) for the duration of it's progression, and then bring it back to Major/Ionian when it comes time to resolve?

You don't really have to answer all that, I like to ask questions for my own sake sometimes. :P

However, I'm a bit confused about your paragraph on minor keys. I thought minor keys had a flatted 7th, with the harmonic minor having a 7th? To add to the confusion, there shouldn't be a D# in the E minor scale, should there?
#8
Quote by freakstylez
This chunk of your post basically described what I was doing. What are some ways to "play a chord progression" in a solo?

There are basically two ways, you can imply a chord progression or you can just have someone playing a chord progression while you solo. The second option is easier because you will have the tonality fixed so it will usually make your solo sound a lot better (and you usually will be playing over backing when performing anyway).

To imply a chord progression you can accent the notes of the chord, and play them more often (arpeggios are good too, but too many just become boring). You should be able to hear the chord progression that should go underneath. Although this is harder, it's a very useful thing to do and can make your solos stand out more.

Quote by freakstylez
Then expand on it and maybe look into playing in that note's mode (like D mixolydian in the case of G Major) for the duration of it's progression, and then bring it back to Major/Ionian when it comes time to resolve?

Don't think about modes, in this context they're not very useful.

Quote by freakstylez
However, I'm a bit confused about your paragraph on minor keys. I thought minor keys had a flatted 7th, with the harmonic minor having a 7th? To add to the confusion, there shouldn't be a D# in the E minor scale, should there?

In a harmonic minor scale there is a natural 7th, not a b7. The b7 in E minor is D, so to get the natural 7th you sharpen it giving you D#.

Minor keys are really a combination of the three minor scales, natural, harmonic and melodic. You can se different parts of each scale at different times eg. (in Em) you might use a D (b7, from the natural minor scale), a D# (from the harmonic) and a C# (from the melodic) at different times.

Basically, to make something resolve nicely to a minor key you can use the natural 7th from the harmonic minor scale. It is particularly useful in the V chord of a perfect cadence (V-i).