OK so I chose to learn the natural minor scale first, I'm currently working on transposing it to all 12 keys all over the fretboard, but I decided to do a little reading on what's next.

I've known for a while that all majors have a relative minor etc but I never understood quite how it worked out.

Now that I know that, say, the relative major for A minor is C major, if I'm improvising in A minor and my friend starts playing a progression in C major, as long as I change the note (A to C) that I resolve to, and obviously I'd choose different notes to suit the new chord progression, do I need to re-learn an entire set of scales or can I just change how I solo with A minor and have different notes to resolve to?

This stuff is sweet, hopefully that made any sense^
They are relative keys because they are the same scale, just with a different starting note. It's all that mode junk. So no, A minor works over a C major chord progression. Your root note, or the note you resolve to, should usually change. In Am, A and E are good resolution notes, whereas in C major, C ang G are good notes to end on. I don't really know how you would go about changing the feel of it so that you would resolve to a different note, so that's all I've got for ya.
Quote by -TM-
OK so I chose to learn the natural minor scale first, I'm currently working on transposing it to all 12 keys all over the fretboard, but I decided to do a little reading on what's next.

I've known for a while that all majors have a relative minor etc but I never understood quite how it worked out.

Now that I know that, say, the relative major for A minor is C major, if I'm improvising in A minor and my friend starts playing a progression in C major, as long as I change the note (A to C) that I resolve to, and obviously I'd choose different notes to suit the new chord progression, do I need to re-learn an entire set of scales or can I just change how I solo with A minor and have different notes to resolve to?

This stuff is sweet, hopefully that made any sense^
Actually, what you've said is completely right.

I came in hear expecting you to say "I just realized that A minor and C major have the same key signature so I can use one over the other," which is not true. You seem to understand very well the idea of different roots and how they resolve differently and how they have different qualities.

It's essentially the same idea as modes (as the guy above me alluded to). Take all 7 natural notes and resolve to to G and you have G mixolydian. Do the same with F and you have F lydian.

Of course, it's never just that simple, but that's the essence of modes.

Quote by afrigginprodigy
They are relative keys because they are the same scale, just with a different starting note.
Not quite. Starting note has nothing to do with it. You could start a C major riff on A and you could start an A minor riff on C. It's all about how you use the notes to form a tonal center.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jul 31, 2010,
Quote by food1010
Actually, what you've said is completely right.

I came in hear expecting you to say "I just realized that A minor and C major have the same key signature so I can use one over the other," which is not true. You seem to understand very well the idea of different roots and how they resolve differently and how they have different qualities.

It's essentially the same idea as modes (as the guy above me alluded to). Take all 7 natural notes and resolve to to G and you have G mixolydian. Do the same with F and you have F lydian.

Of course, it's never just that simple, but that's the essence of modes.

Damn that's actually pretty awesome how this works.

Maybe I have an untrained ear or something but whenever playing a minor scale I've noticed that resolving to the third note (instead of always the first note) also sounds pretty good, like in G minor resolving to Bb sounds good, is there any reason for this?

And for minors which degrees tend to sound good to be resolved to and also which scale degrees for majors tend to sound good?

Keep in mind that I'm *just* starting to get a hold of this stuff.
Bottom line is that you don't really "solo with relative majors/minors" - knowing that they're realtive scales is simply an easy way to work out what key you're in and therefore what scale you can use over the chords.

The chords you're playing over and what they resolve to determine the key - so yes, if you change the resolution by changing the chords round then you can change the key. Knowing relative scales just makes it easier to find things.
Actually called Mark!

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Bottom line is that you don't really "solo with relative majors/minors" - knowing that they're realtive scales is simply an easy way to work out what key you're in and therefore what scale you can use over the chords.

The chords you're playing over and what they resolve to determine the key - so yes, if you change the resolution by changing the chords round then you can change the key. Knowing relative scales just makes it easier to find things.

Yeah okay thanks, this is sort of what I meant I have a bad time trying to find words.

Question on modes (like the modes of the major scale):

So do modes work in a similar manner to the relative major/minor thing? Like is mode A the same notes as mode B (I don't know any actual modes so I'll use letters) but you control/differentiate the tonal centers/resolving notes and then it can give the same group of notes a different "feel" depending on where you choose to resolve to and what not?
Quote by -TM-
Damn that's actually pretty awesome how this works.

Maybe I have an untrained ear or something but whenever playing a minor scale I've noticed that resolving to the third note (instead of always the first note) also sounds pretty good, like in G minor resolving to Bb sounds good, is there any reason for this?
The reason is your ear is accustomed to hearing the major resolution. The more you play/hear music in minor keys the more natural the resolution will feel. Hell, I tend to prefer to resolve major songs to the relative minor.

Quote by -TM-
And for minors which degrees tend to sound good to be resolved to and also which scale degrees for majors tend to sound good?
"Good" is subjective. Generally you're going to want to resolve to chord tones of the tonic, although you don't "have to" do that.

Quote by -TM-
So do modes work in a similar manner to the relative major/minor thing? Like is mode A the same notes as mode B (I don't know any actual modes so I'll use letters) but you control/differentiate the tonal centers/resolving notes and then it can give the same group of notes a different "feel" depending on where you choose to resolve to and what not?
The modes of the C major scale are as follows:

C ionian (C D E F G A B)
D dorian (D E F G A B C)
E phrygian (E F G A B C D)
F lydian (F G A B C D E)
G mixolydian (G A B C D E F)
A aeolian (A B C D E F G)
B locrian (B C D E F G A)

See how that works? The definition of the word "mode" (in context of "the modes of the major scale") is essentially the same notes, but centered on a different tonic.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jul 31, 2010,
Quote by food1010
The reason is your ear is accustomed to hearing the major resolution. The more you play/hear music in minor keys the more natural the resolution will feel. Hell, I tend to prefer to resolve major songs to the relative minor.

"Good" is subjective. Generally you're going to want to resolve to chord tones of the tonic, although you don't "have to" do that.

Thanks a lot man, can you also address my question on modes in post #6?

And how do you multi-quote people haha?
Quote by -TM-
Thanks a lot man, can you also address my question on modes in post #6?

Quote by -TM-
And how do you multi-quote people haha?
Manipulate the "quote" tags. I usually just copy and paste the ones from the original quote and move them around.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Quote by -TM-
Yeah okay thanks, this is sort of what I meant I have a bad time trying to find words.

Basically the knowledge of relative scales will help you understand music and also help you compose, however from the practical point of playing it's somewhat redundant in that whether a scale's relative to something or not doesn't really influence matters - you see a lot of misguided information about "playing the relative minor" etc and it's incorrect.

If you're looking to improvise over something then there'll usually be an established tonic which is going to dictate the root of any scales you want to use over it, that's an important part of the puzzle which often gets overlooked when people first start trying to learn scales.
Actually called Mark!

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...it's a seagull

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Quote by -TM-
So do modes work in a similar manner to the relative major/minor thing? Like is mode A the same notes as mode B (I don't know any actual modes so I'll use letters) but you control/differentiate the tonal centers/resolving notes and then it can give the same group of notes a different "feel" depending on where you choose to resolve to and what not?

This is a confusing way to look at it. Modes are their most pure when looking at the step pattern that it is made of.

Major is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 obviously
Dorian - 1,2,b3,4,5,6,b7
Phrygian - 1,b2,b3,4,5,b6,b7
Lydian - 1,2,3,#4,5,6,7
Mixolydian - 1,2,3,4,5,6,b7
Aeolian - 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7
Locrian - 1,b2,b3,4,b5,b6,b7

Experiment with these modes all with the SAME root note and you will understand how each mode feels. Don't worry about relative modes and scales until you have a firm grasp on the individual scales themselves.
Oh yeah.

Quote by hildesaw
A minor is the saddest of all keys.

EDIT: D minor is the saddest of all keys.
Last edited by hockeyplayer168 at Jul 31, 2010,
Quote by steven seagull
Basically the knowledge of relative scales will help you understand music and also help you compose, however from the practical point of playing it's somewhat redundant in that whether a scale's relative to something or not doesn't really influence matters - you see a lot of misguided information about "playing the relative minor" etc and it's incorrect.

If you're looking to improvise over something then there'll usually be an established tonic which is going to dictate the root of any scales you want to use over it, that's an important part of the puzzle which often gets overlooked when people first start trying to learn scales.

Alright thanks man.

Quote by food1010
The modes of the C major scale are as follows:

C ionian (C D E F G A B)
D dorian (D E F G A B C)
E phrygian (E F G A B C D)
F lydian (F G A B C D E)
G mixolydian (G A B C D E F)
A aeolian (A B C D E F G)
B locrian (B C D E F G A)

See how that works? The definition of the word "mode" (in context of "the modes of the major scale") is essentially the same notes, but centered on a different tonic.

The modes really aren't as complicated as they seem then. And I finally "get" why Aeolian is a mode/the natural minor scale.

Sweeet
Quote by hockeyplayer168
This is a confusing way to look at it. Modes are their most pure when looking at the step pattern that it is made of.

Major is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 obviously
Dorian - 1,2,b3,4,5,6,b7
Phrygian - 1,b2,b3,4,5,b6,b7
Lydian - 1,2,3,#4,5,6,7
Mixolydian - 1,2,3,4,5,6,b7
Aeolian - 1,2,b3,4,5,b6,b7
Locrian - 1,b2,b3,4,b5,b6,b7

Experiment with these modes all with the SAME root note and you will understand how each mode feels. Don't worry about relative modes and scales until you have a firm grasp on the individual scales themselves.

I'm still trying to adequately transpose the minor scale into all 12 keys so I'll start practicing this stuff at a later time, I was just looking ahead.

Thanks though
Quote by hockeyplayer168
This is a confusing way to look at it. Modes are their most pure when looking at the step pattern that it is made of.

Major is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 obviously
Dorian - 1,2,b3,4,5,6,b7
...

It may be even more instructive to present parallel modes in the order that shows how they descend down the chain of fifths/fourths...

Lydian 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7
Ionian 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (P4 shows up)
Mixolydian 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 (b7 being two stacked P4's)
Dorian 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 (b3 being three stacked P4's, octave reduction assumed)
Aeolian 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 (b6 being four stacked P4's)
Phrygian 1 b2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 (b2 being five stacked P4's)
Locrian 1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7 (b5 being six stacked P4's).

Then, a P4 above the b5 is a b1...
b1 b2 b3 4 b5 b6 b7
...which is enharmonic to the Lydian mode (change the b1 to 1 and it's 1 2 3 #4 5 6 7), an augmented prime lower the the original one and the pattern repeats.