#1
I haven't posted anything in a really long time, but i'm pretty bored, so I thought I'd share something I kind of stumbled upon today. Maybe it's more common knowledge to those versed in their theory than i think, but it was kind of a helpful concept to me.

Basically it's a way of looking at playing over key centers moving through the cycle of fifths (or fourths if you prefer) ie, C - F - Bb - Eb - Ab - Db - Gb. Harmonic motion of a fourth is pretty common in blues, rock, and especially jazz so being able to modulate your soloing smoothly is a handy thing to know how to do. For the sake of efficiency, it's beneficial to remain in one position, and this is a way to keep your bearings through the changes by comparing parallel modes.

The whole thing is based around a cycle of modes:

Dorian - Aeolian - Phrygian - Locrian - Mixolydian - Dorian... etc.

What you would do is pick a key center to begin on, in this case C, and start on either the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, or 7th degree, and play in position the corresponding major scale mode. From there on, all you have to do to play through the changes to Fmaj, Bbmaj, and so on, is go to the next mode in the cycle, pedalling on the same root. The only catch is when you get to mixolydian, the 5th degree, you need to move the root up one half-step, in this case to Db.

So if you started on the third degree of the scale (the phrygian mode) in the key of C, you would play through the changes:

E Phrygian (C major) - E Locrian (F major) - F Mixolydian (Bb major, root moves 1/2 step up) - F Dorian (the root remains 1/2 step up, Eb major) - F Aeolian (Ab major) - F Phrygian (Db major)

... and so on and so forth.

Anyways, like I said, there are probably some out there who will read this and be like "yeah no kidding!" but hopefully someone out there will be able to take something useful from an old-times poster ha. You're probably not gonna need to continuously cycle through the circle of fifths in most songs probably, but like Michael Brecker said, you practice these exercises in all the keys, then you forget it, and sooner or later it shows up in some form in your playing. Gotta strive to learn more every day!
Get baked, study theory.

Quote by :-D
Why are you bringing Cm into this?
#2
I think thats just over-complicated things :S

surely it would make more sense, and cement things in your head about which key you've modulated to, to stay strictly on the major scale? that way you can actually HEAR the key change?

It would be easier in terms of shapes on the guitar though - but yeah - nice concept though, kudos
Quote by BlitzkriegAir
1. Get drunk
2. play pentatonic scales fast
3. throw in some divebombs and pinch harmonics
4. Get killed onstage
5. become legendary guitarist instantaneously


Quote by Holy Katana

How dare you attack the greatness of the augmented sixth?
#3
It took me a little while to figure out what you were saying, since your wording was a bit vague at times. I've never really thought of that. I guess it's interesting, but only useful when you're moving the key center up a fourth.
#4
I understand what you're saying but if you cycle fourths diatonically then this would be a bit unnecessary.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#5
One day when you figure it all out, you'll realize how much time you wasted trying to come with crappy formulas that beat around the bush when it's all there in your face. Remember this.
#6
Quote by Pillo114
One day when you figure it all out, you'll realize how much time you wasted trying to come with crappy formulas that beat around the bush when it's all there in your face. Remember this.


i do have a fairly solid understanding of theory, as well as it's musical applications, and all i meant to show here was a method of organizing modes so that you can transfer through key changes without changing position on the neck. If you've found a system that works better for you to learn the ins-and-outs of this kind of theoretical stuff, i'm glad for you, i only meant to explain one supplementary way of seeing things.

your negativity serves no purpose, many guitarists have found that positional study (such as the CAGED system or the system taught by Jimmy Bruno in the JBGI) has helped them tremendously (i am one of them). if you disagree, that's totally fine, but please consider that different approaches work for different people, and condescension and insulting language serve only to discourage your fellow musicians.

you can always learn more about the guitar, and music in general.. an exercise like this takes very little time to run through and is certainly not going to be detrimental to your understanding of the way the neck works.
Last edited by Instrumetal at Sep 5, 2010,
#7
It's not being negative, Me and probably everyone else went through the same things to realize that it's much more simpler. I wont deny you the logic of it, but it defeats versatility and practicality once you reach a certain point

If you want to apply modes to the circle of fifths you could also stack them from lydian as the brightest down to locrian.

Lydian, Ionian, Mixolydian, Dorian, Aeolian, Phrygian, Locrian.

That's why some people consider lydian as the "real" major and Dorian as the "real" minor. Looking at the modes like that you can also see how the intervals slowly evolve from lydian to locrian one interval at a time.

Locking yourself in shapes is the worst thing you can do though. While they serve as a learning tool and the only way to play tiil a guitarist reaches an advanced level. After a while you'll slowly start weaning yourself out of them because they'll slowly start limiting you as you vocabulary increases.

It might work for rock and pop, but for jazz it wont get you far. There are a lot of chromaticisms, substitutions and alterations on jazz that a set system like that would crumble. I mean it would work if you were playing strictly diatonic, but what about the other 5 notes? Your fingers will stick to the pattern and even though you know you can play anything you wont be able to until you get out of the patterns.

It's not you though, as it's the biggest problem with chord scale theory as well. Even though it looks practical on paper it's not while you play on top of limiting you to the above. The chord scale theory was invented in the 70s and 80s by academic people as a way to simplify things and bank on jazz education. That's why the musicians in the 40s and 50s never talked about scales until kind of blue when the modal thing became popular. It was all about chords and chordal improvisations.

One day you'll be playing a basic blues with all the 12 notes and you'll realize, shit whats the point of applying a scale or pattern to every single chord when you can play every note?
#8
One day you'll be playing a basic blues with all the 12 notes and you'll realize, shit whats the point of applying a scale or pattern to every single chord when you can play every note?


Well speaking personally I have already reached that level, I just think that in the early stages of learning theory and key centers and whatnot, patterns such as the one i mentioned can be useful in the organization of diatonic notes.

That said, thank you for clarifying your point. I didn't even realize the 'descending order of brightness' thing and it's similarity to what i wrote (is that from The Lydian Chromatic Concept?). That said, the way you presented your point in your second post does come off as amiable and informed, whereas your first one seemed very patronizing and insulting, you might want to watch that.
#9
Quote by Pillo114
One day when you figure it all out, you'll realize how much time you wasted trying to come with crappy formulas that beat around the bush when it's all there in your face. Remember this.


I can corroborate this. Once I finally got a good stronghold on tonality, approaches like this became useless to me.

Not trying to belittle you TS. I'm just reminiscing in a way with Pillo
i don't know why i feel so dry
#10
Quote by Instrumetal
Well speaking personally I have already reached that level, I just think that in the early stages of learning theory and key centers and whatnot, patterns such as the one i mentioned can be useful in the organization of diatonic notes.

That said, thank you for clarifying your point. I didn't even realize the 'descending order of brightness' thing and it's similarity to what i wrote (is that from The Lydian Chromatic Concept?). That said, the way you presented your point in your second post does come off as amiable and informed, whereas your first one seemed very patronizing and insulting, you might want to watch that.


As harsh as it sounded people just have to snap out of it and zoom back. I went through the same thing, altering the modes around one note throughout the changes and I thought it was great but after a while you start feeling limited because the train of thought is like this:

Ok change to F dorian, change to F lydian change to so and so"

You're focusing so much on the patterns that you're not paying attention to the music.

It's not directly in the Lydian Chromatic Concept but it's the common logic. The concept is not bad but people misinterpret it in the sense that they just apply the chord scale the book says and thats all. the whole point of the concept was to prove that each chord was a single entity and a universe by itself and that you could stack different levels of tonal gravity from strictly diatonic (the modes) up through other scales up until you reached the fully chromatic level.

Thats where the modal jazz came to be. The ability to expand a single chord to the extreme and explore every little bit of it. Playing Dorian for Dmin7 would be the most basic thing you could do, but why stop there?

There's this diagram on that book called the river trip. It's basically the river of changes moving along through the tune with chords being little stopping stations. Coleman Hawkins boat would stop on each stations because of the way he played outlining every chord. Lester Young's boat skips some because of the way he "ignores" chords by applying a single scale to a whole thing (think blues). Coltrane is on an airplane, still following the river but vertically much further out. And lastly Ornette coleman is in outer space as he improvises on the form and melody of the tune and not strictly on the chords.

Ideally you dont necessarily want to be Ornette in most cases but I think looking at it by layers really does help and you should strive to look at it all in an all-inclusive way.

Which brings it back to the blues thing. If you can play a blues in F using all 12 notes, if someone came up to you and told you, you have it wrong man you're supposed to play the F blues scale what do you say?

I think the level of expansion is most noticeable on the blues thats why I brought it up. Because you start with the pentatonic as a beginner, then find that the accidentals sound kinda nice too, then you start adding the 6ths and end up using everthing by the end realizing you can play everything.

So if you can do that with the blues, why can't you just do it on a regular tune?

And about the harshness, it might have been interpreted as that but what? If everyone agreed with you for the sake of being nice you would never get better in music.