#1
Whenever scales are mentioned someone usually says to not simply memorize the positions but to really understand the scale.

What does it mean to "understand" the scale? Other than the interval construction of it, how to build arpeggios/chords off of it what else is there that a noob can/should understand?
#2
well basides that you should also know the positions
the notes that are in the scale
#3
To understand scales, you should know the notes that compose it and how to construct them. Also knowing how each degree functions/sounds or the qualities of the chords that form from each degree. That way you're more in control and if you're improvising, you can take what you hear in your head and play it far more easily and can avoid randomly playing notes from the scale shapes and hoping it sounds good.
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#4
How it sounds and how those sounds can be manipulated.
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#5
You should internalize the sound of the scale. Like the A minor scale. Listen how it sounds when you resolve on A notes either going up or down , across the neck or whatever. Make sure you resolve on A notes because it will make whatever you are playing sound like its in A minor.
#6
Quote by steven seagull
How it sounds and how those sounds can be manipulated.
Exactly. You need to be able to hear how the scale and each of its notes within it function.
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#7
Quote by food1010
Exactly. You need to be able to hear how the scale and each of its notes within it function.


ideally, you should also know the notes in said scale and how they (as well as other notes outside the scale) function harmonically. however, there's a general hierarchy:

knowing & hearing > only hearing > only knowing > neither (i.e. relying on patterns)

you are best equipped if you know and can hear, but if you only choose one, being able to hear and not know is generally better than knowing and not being able to hear.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#8
Write out all the chords in a particular key. Example:

C major, D minor, E major, F major, G major, A minor, Bmin7b5.

Go to the 6th chord in the key, or A minor. That's the relative minor to C major. You can solo with both A minor and C major scales (and their corresponding pentatonics), and it will sound good. There are also modes that correspond with each chord in the key, but that's for later.
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#9
Quote by ward70morris
Write out all the chords in a particular key. Example:

C major, D minor, E major, F major, G major, A minor, Bmin7b5.

Go to the 6th chord in the key, or A minor. That's the relative minor to C major. You can solo with both A minor and C major scales (and their corresponding pentatonics), and it will sound good. There are also modes that correspond with each chord in the key, but that's for later.


not if the progression is in C major. if it's in C major, you use C major. if it's in A minor, you use A minor.

using "A minor over a progression in C major" is the same thing as using the modes incorrectly - i.e. playing D dorian, G mixolydian, and C ionian over a Dm-G7-Cmaj progression. i think you fell into that trap because you say that modes "correspond with each chord in the key". i can see why you think that, but modes run deeper than that, and it's really not true (and somewhat restrictive) to think of it like that.

modes are separate entities from the parent scale. you only use modes when the harmony reflects them.
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#10
Quote by AeolianWolf
not if the progression is in C major. if it's in C major, you use C major. if it's in A minor, you use A minor.

using "A minor over a progression in C major" is the same thing as using the modes incorrectly - i.e. playing D dorian, G mixolydian, and C ionian over a Dm-G7-Cmaj progression. i think you fell into that trap because you say that modes "correspond with each chord in the key". i can see why you think that, but modes run deeper than that, and it's really not true (and somewhat restrictive) to think of it like that.

modes are separate entities from the parent scale. you only use modes when the harmony reflects them.
Exactly. In the case of Dm G7 Cmaj, if you were to play D dorian, G mixolydian and C ionian, then that would mean you are changing keys every chord change. As long as C is still tonicized, it's all still C major.

Quote by AeolianWolf
ideally, you should also know the notes in said scale and how they (as well as other notes outside the scale) function harmonically. however, there's a general hierarchy:

knowing & hearing > only hearing > only knowing > neither (i.e. relying on patterns)

you are best equipped if you know and can hear, but if you only choose one, being able to hear and not know is generally better than knowing and not being able to hear.
Yes, of course! I should have said that.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#11
Quote by ward70morris
Write out all the chords in a particular key. Example:

C major, D minor, E major, F major, G major, A minor, Bmin7b5.

Go to the 6th chord in the key, or A minor. That's the relative minor to C major. You can solo with both A minor and C major scales (and their corresponding pentatonics), and it will sound good. There are also modes that correspond with each chord in the key, but that's for later.


Make sure that you know that each scale and mode is it's own seperate scale.

If you are playing A minor over C Major, you are still playing C Major, you may think you're playing A min, but you're not... Same with all of the modes. If you play any of the modes corresponding to C maj, but your tonal center is still on C, you're just playing C Major.
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#12
Quote by ward70morris
Write out all the chords in a particular key. Example:

C major, D minor, E major, F major, G major, A minor, Bmin7b5.

Go to the 6th chord in the key, or A minor. That's the relative minor to C major. You can solo with both A minor and C major scales (and their corresponding pentatonics), and it will sound good. There are also modes that correspond with each chord in the key, but that's for later.
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How do you figure out all the chords in a particular key? I've just been looking at the circle of fifths and using the chords right beside the key I want it to be in.

How would I know when to use a Bmin7 with a flat 5 lol...?


And thanks guys, for the most part isn't this just common sense? I mean isn't the whole point of learning a scale to understand the sounds it creates and how those sounds work together to manipulate them better? ...
#13
Quote by -TM-
Whenever scales are mentioned someone usually says to not simply memorize the positions but to really understand the scale.

What does it mean to "understand" the scale? Other than the interval construction of it, how to build arpeggios/chords off of it what else is there that a noob can/should understand?



Is it people overcomplicating things to make themselves seem higher up the pecking order?

Is telling someone they need to 'understand' the scale a way to talk down to and patronize them?

For me learning a scale is learning it on every string up and down the neck. Understanding it is knowing it's interval structure and knowing what sound and flavour it gives.
#14
http://www.igdb.co.uk/pages/guitar-scales.htm

I highly suggest starting with major scale. I always started all scales in Key of A (5th fret root on low E) However, if you want to understand these scales, I recommend starting at key of C (which are white keys on a piano).

Then major pentatonic. Then start on minor, which can be challenge if you've been in major for awhile. Your brain will adjust and memorize I promise.
Last edited by c_foster88 at Jul 7, 2010,
#15
Quote by c_foster88
http://www.igdb.co.uk/pages/guitar-scales.htm

I highly suggest starting with major scale. I always started all scales in Key of A (5th fret root on low E) However, if you want to understand these scales, I recommend starting at key of C (which are white keys on a piano).

Then major pentatonic. Then start on minor, which can be challenge if you've been in major for awhile. Your brain will adjust and memorize I promise.

I actually started on the minor scale first, this site seems to be very good so I've been following it:

http://www.streetmusician.co.uk/scales/

The whole 7 patterns instead of 5 definitely helps build the connection in your mind.
#16
Quote by Benjiinsanity
Is it people overcomplicating things to make themselves seem higher up the pecking order?

Is telling someone they need to 'understand' the scale a way to talk down to and patronize them?

For me learning a scale is learning it on every string up and down the neck. Understanding it is knowing it's interval structure and knowing what sound and flavour it gives.


not to mention knowing the notes. as a MUSICIAN, if someone explained to you where the notes lie on a keyboard and told you to play a scale, you should be able to play that scale (regardless of technique, of course).

but yes, more important than anything is knowing the sound and being able to hear what you're going to play before you play it.
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#17
Concentrate on scale degrees, and how they work within a song. Focus on the 1st 3rd 5th and 7th because they are chordal degrees in a scale. Maybe you could learn different modes that go with that scale like mixolydian or dorian.