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#1
I understand the relative minor and major relationships. As far as I can see I shouldn't be using an A minor scale over an A major key or chord. Please any help or advice is much appreciated
#2
In keys you can use any note you want, including notes outside the key's parent scale.

Notes that are in the key's parent scale are called "diatonic". Notes that are outside are called "accidentals".

The most common accidentals in major keys are the b3 and b7 notes.

If you play the minor penatonic in a major key, the scale functions as the major scale with b3 and b7 accidentals.

Basically it's not about whether you "should" or "should not" be playing certain notes - you can play any note you want. It's more about whether you like the sound of the notes or not.
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#3
It depends on the notes you hit against the notes of the chord. If any of the notes you hit are the same as the notes of the chord then you get a unison with that note plus the harmonies of the other notes of the chord+bass guitar.
#4
thanks for you insight. I'm just beginning to try and learn about soloing over backing tracks.

ive learnt from friends that phrasing licks around the note that the key of the chords are in is a good way to start sounding better.

so for this A major key would it still be a good idea to base the licks around the A note and emphasise on the accident notes in the a minor scale?

sorry I sound so dumb. I find it very overwhelming haha
Last edited by tallguy97 at Mar 3, 2014,
#5
The song you are playing might not strictly be using the major scale (Ionian mode) but more likely the mixolydian mode. These two scales are almost identical. See scale degrees below

Major - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Mixolydian - 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7

OR as notes

C major - C D E F G A B C
C mixo - C D E F G A Bb C

Petatonic minor uses this b7 as well. Cool thing about mixolydian songs is pentatonic minor and major sound good for solos.

YES always base licks around the root note of scale if just starting to explore these scales in solos. Pentatonic minor will give you a blues sound. Pentatonic major will give you a country twang.

AC/DC never wrote a song in a major scale it is always Mixolydian.
#6
How did you know it was an acdc song haha. But yeah thanks for help starting to see it more clearly
#7
My answer would simply be 'because blues.' It's a stylistic features of the blues to play stuff with a minor tonality over a major or dominant chord (that minor 3rd in the blues scales). That feature has also carried over into other styles of music, like rock.
#8
Quote by tallguy97
I understand the relative minor and major relationships. As far as I can see I shouldn't be using an A minor scale over an A major key or chord. Please any help or advice is much appreciated


When you play a minor pentatonic scale over a Major chord you get an altered dominant sound. b3 = #9. So A minor pentatonic over an A Major chord = A7#9

As mentioned above this comes from the blues where most if not all of the chords are dominant 7ths.

regarding accidentals… they are generally not just random notes outside of the key but are actually based on specific relationships. (secondary relationships, borrowed chords, upper extensions, altered notes…..)
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 3, 2014,
#9
Quote by Rhys Lett ESSM
AC/DC never wrote a song in a major scale it is always Mixolydian.

Or more correctly, they wrote songs in major keys and used the non-diatonic chord bVII, and Angus often uses the non-diatonic note b7 in his solos.

@TS:
It's important to make sure that you're not just picking "random notes" when using accidentals. As the user above me mentioned, the reason why the minor pentatonic works over a major chord is due to the relationships between the A major chord and the non-diatonic notes.
When playing non-diatonic notes over chords, we have to consider the sound of the notes over the chord. So, if we're playing an Amajor chord and decide to play a b2 note (in this case, Bb), how is it going to sound? Well, since there's no other notes to balance things out, adding a Bb to the Amajor chord will sound terrible. The point is, try to make sure that things "balance out" when you play non-diatonic notes over a diatonic chord. We always have to keep our Amajor chord in mind here, because it's the harmony we're using as our base.

Note: If you don't understand diatonic vs. non-diatonic, then try these:
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/43
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/46
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/50
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/53
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 3, 2014,
#10
Quote by Rhys Lett ESSM
AC/DC never wrote a song in a major scale it is always Mixolydian.


This is incorrect. Learn more about keys.
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#11
Quote by UnmagicMushroom
My answer would simply be 'because blues.' It's a stylistic features of the blues to play stuff with a minor tonality over a major or dominant chord (that minor 3rd in the blues scales). That feature has also carried over into other styles of music, like rock.


+1

It's a very common feature of blues (and any other types of music with a blues influence).

Alan's quite right in that you can use any notes you want if you think they sound good- but in this specific instance the simpler answer is probably "It's blues (or blues-based)".

Quote by crazysam23_Atax

@TS:
It's important to make sure that you're not just picking "random notes" when using accidentals.


Agreed. Although a lot of people (me included) will say, "You can use any notes you like", there are definite situations where they're more likely to sound right, etc. etc.

Quote by Rhys Lett ESSM

AC/DC never wrote a song in a major scale it is always Mixolydian.


Uh-oh. I'd probably get your flameshield out.
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#12
Quote by Dave_Mc
Alan's quite right in that you can use any notes you want if you think they sound good- but in this specific instance the simpler answer is probably "It's blues (or blues-based)".


But most blues is based in a major key. It's almost like saying a b2 is fine in this song because "metal". These are common features of their respective genres, but it's not a theory based answer.
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#13
Quote by Rhys Lett ESSM
AC/DC never wrote a song in a major scale it is always Mixolydian.

Even if you were right and AC/DC songs were in mixolydian (that they are not), there are still songs that are in minor or major keys like You Shook Me All Night Long, Money Talks (both in major, I IV V kind of progressions), Live Wire (it does use the major 6th accidental but the chorus uses i, bVI and V chords) and She's Got Balls (minor, uses bVI and bVII chords in the chorus).

But I would say AC/DC songs are not modal. They are just bluesy and borrow notes from the parallel minor. Using b3 and b7 accidentals is really usual, especially in "bluesy" songs (and that's one thing that makes them sound bluesy). Also, occasionally using the major 6th isntead of a minor 6th in a minor song is also really common in rock music. As I said, Live Wire does this in the verse but the chorus uses b6.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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#14
I don't know that it fully "works" in the "key" of A. For example, a common issue is the change to the IV chord.

A Minor Pent is based upon the Natural Minor scale with problem notes left out. The intervals would be 1 b3 4 5 b7 In A Minor, that would be A C D E G

Now the IV in A Major is a D major chord. D F# A Three of the 5 notes in this scale are not chord tones at all, and would not be stable notes.

The C over D is a b7, wanting to resolve to D so you'd want to be aware of that.
The E would be a 9th wanting to resolve to D
The G would be an 11th in D, and may create a clash against the F# in the D Major chord, so, you have some potential problem notes if you don't understand what you're up against. Because the major 3rd is present, it's not the function of a suspended 4th

This isn't a simple matter of carpet bombing licks...it gets a little tricky.

I'd advise you to create some soloing strategies to acknowledge and address any changes to the IV when playing any minor pentatonic over a parallel major key progression.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Mar 4, 2014,
#15
Quote by AlanHB
But most blues is based in a major key. It's almost like saying a b2 is fine in this song because "metal". These are common features of their respective genres, but it's not a theory based answer.


Yeah, absolutely, I don't disagree. (and lol at the metal example)

I just figured when he was asking a fairly simple question that a fairly simple answer might be useful.
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#16
It works because the Major Pentatonic Scale and the Minor Pentatonic Scale contain the same notes. If you take the Am Pentatonic position 1 box and move that box up 3 frets you'll be seeing the Major Pentatonic Scale position 1. You can also combine the boxes to make a hybrid of the two scale shapes by moving Pentatonic Minor Scale shape 2 up 3 frets and play those notes on top of Pentatonic Minor Position 1.

Hope that makes sense. I'm going to post a link to a YouTube video explaining things better and demonstrating things better than I have lol. Will have to do it in a separate post because my phone freaks out when posting links so apologies in advance for the DP!
#18
Quote by arv1971
It works because the Major Pentatonic Scale and the Minor Pentatonic Scale contain the same notes. If you take the Am Pentatonic position 1 box and move that box up 3 frets you'll be seeing the Major Pentatonic Scale position 1. You can also combine the boxes to make a hybrid of the two scale shapes by moving Pentatonic Minor Scale shape 2 up 3 frets and play those notes on top of Pentatonic Minor Position 1.

Here's the thing. Aminor pentatonic and Amajor pentatonic do NOT contain the same notes. Stop thinking of scales as "positions" or "box shapes". A scale is a collection of notes, not a position/box shape on the guitar.
Guitar is hardly the only instrument that uses scales, as ALL instruments can use scales, obviously. It's limiting (and somewhat irritating to people like me) to think of a scale in a wholly guitar-centric manner. Basically, scales are a fundamental concept of music in general, not just a fundamental concept of guitar playing. If you want to think of scales as positions or box shapes, fine*; but you're missing the part of the picture that actually answers TS's question. You can read through this thread, if you wish to see all of that.

*After all, it can be helpful to some players to divide up the guitar that way, right?


As far as minor and major pentatonic go, here's the intervals: 1, b3, 4, 5, b7 is the minor pentatonic; 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 is the major. So, the Aminor pentatonic contains the notes A, C, D, E, & G. The Amajor pentatonic contains the notes A, B, C#, E, & F. Obviously, those are NOT the same notes. Therefore, we cannot say that, in A, the major and minor pentatonic are the same. In this instance, since we are in the key of Amajor, the b3 (C) and b7 (G) function as non-diatonic notes.

I do recommend you read the rest of this thread; I'm not trying to be a dick. I just think you might learn something.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 4, 2014,
#19
Quote by arv1971
It works because the Major Pentatonic Scale and the Minor Pentatonic Scale contain the same notes. If you take the Am Pentatonic position 1 box and move that box up 3 frets you'll be seeing the Major Pentatonic Scale position 1. You can also combine the boxes to make a hybrid of the two scale shapes by moving Pentatonic Minor Scale shape 2 up 3 frets and play those notes on top of Pentatonic Minor Position 1.

Hope that makes sense. I'm going to post a link to a YouTube video explaining things better and demonstrating things better than I have lol. Will have to do it in a separate post because my phone freaks out when posting links so apologies in advance for the DP!

TS, this is an example of how you need to actually learn your scales as notes and intervals instead of just box positions on the guitar fretboard.
#20
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Stop thinking of scales as "positions" or "box shapes". A scale is a collection of notes, not a position/box shape on the guitar.


Those collections of notes certainly do create shapes on an instrument, and can be found in positions on the guitar. There's nothing wrong with recognizing that.

These kinds of mistakes are more indicative of a lack of foundation. A lot of people skip that foundation and then make mistakes when piecing together random information they find on the internet. It doesn't stop them from giving advice though.
#21
Quote by GuitarMunky
Those collections of notes certainly do create shapes on an instrument, and can be found in positions on the guitar. There's nothing wrong with recognizing that.

I'm not getting into this here. If you want to have a civil discussion about this topic, PM me. I have reason why I dislike thinking of scales on guitar as shapes or positions. But discussing it here isn't going to help TS. So...PM me. Or don't. Either way.
#22
The shapes are for very early beginners, and strictly as a means of visualizing the concept of Position on the neck. The sole purpose is to familiarize a student with what notes are "correct" for a given location of the index finger. Basically showing when it's appropriate to move your hand up or down to hit a note. But there certainly aren't any steadfast rules about that.

There's also a use of the word "shape" that is more or less synonymous with Voicing (the specific arrangement of notes in a chord/arpeggio/scale/interval).
#23
Quote by cdgraves
The shapes are for very early beginners, and strictly as a means of visualizing the concept of Position on the neck. The sole purpose is to familiarize a student with what notes are "correct" for a given location of the index finger. Basically showing when it's appropriate to move your hand up or down to hit a note. But there certainly aren't any steadfast rules about that.

There's also a use of the word "shape" that is more or less synonymous with Voicing (the specific arrangement of notes in a chord/arpeggio/scale/interval).



The shapes are useful at practically every level. Pick any well known guitarist, watch them play…. you'll see them play in positions…. through shapes.

Definitely not a beginner thing to use shapes and I argue that the biggest problems with guitarists and shapes is the premature learning of them.


A lot of people skip the foundation and try to learn the shapes with the fanciest titles in a vain attempt to be awesome. They don't listen, they don't have any knowledge, and they can't play any songs, but they can run up and down the locrian mode with full on distortion over a Steve Vai sounding backing track. Ultimately they realize they sound like shit….. discover theory, or some bastardized version of it that they piece together from random advice/info they find on the internet, then start blaming the shapes (not their approach) for how bad they sound and/or their lack of knowledge. by that time they've become experts and decide it's time to start giving advice and arguing with people online.


anyhow, plenty of shapes in this guys playing, nobody thinks of him as a beginner…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rs3t18_uH4w
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 6, 2014,
#25
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
^
And this is why I didn't want to get into this. You guys are massively off-topic now.



this is what got us into it……

Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Stop thinking of scales as "positions" or "box shapes". A scale is a collection of notes, not a position/box shape on the guitar.


I've seen that pretentious notion regurgitated so many times here, that I often feel compelled to point out that it's nonsense.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 6, 2014,
#26
Quote by GuitarMunky
this is what got us into it...

If people had PM'ed me, then it wouldn't have mattered.


I've seen that pretentious notion regurgitated so many times here, that I often feel compelled to point out that it's nonsense.

If you say so...
#27
^^^ So do you guys have the self control between yourselves to end that little tangent? You are free to create a separate thread where this can be discussed if you wish to continue.
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#28
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ So do you guys have the self control between yourselves to end that little tangent?


sure, if you have the self control to not be condescending.


Quote by AlanHB

You are free to create a separate thread where this can be discussed if you wish to continue.


If somebody makes a thread and/or statement implying that recognizing shapes and positions on your instrument is in any way detrimental I'd probably chime in.
#30
Quote by AlanHB
This is incorrect. Learn more about keys.


I think its Mixolydian correct than major. Care to provide examples of why incorrect?

Use the Thunderstruck lead riff as example to start you off. Mixolydian all the way!
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#31
Quote by tallguy97
I understand the relative minor and major relationships. As far as I can see I shouldn't be using an A minor scale over an A major key or chord. Please any help or advice is much appreciated


It generally doesn't. It does in blues, I think because of just the specific chords in blues, and how they work, and how you can make dom7s with all of them. I mean, you could point to a number of contributing factors as to why, but I have not found one big reason the minor pent works so amazing for blues.

But it does. A lot of different stuff works amazing for blues. It's just very versatile. But most songs in major keys will not work well with minor pent like blues does.
#32
Quote by Rhys Lett ESSM
I think its Mixolydian correct than major. Care to provide examples of why incorrect?

Use the Thunderstruck lead riff as example to start you off. Mixolydian all the way!


From memory Thunderstruck starts with a B maj arpeggio, then an E min arpeggio. This would be a V - i progression in E minor, and not anything in mixolydian.

Also check page one of this thread, magarramarine and crazysam addressed you on this point.
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#33
Quote by cdgraves
The shapes are for very early beginners, and strictly as a means of visualizing the concept of Position on the neck. The sole purpose is to familiarize a student with what notes are "correct" for a given location of the index finger. Basically showing when it's appropriate to move your hand up or down to hit a note. But there certainly aren't any steadfast rules about that.

There's also a use of the word "shape" that is more or less synonymous with Voicing (the specific arrangement of notes in a chord/arpeggio/scale/interval).


I'm not an early beginner, and it's all shapes to me.

I am all pattern based. I agree, major and minor pent are the same shape. But A major pent, and A minor pent are not the same notes, but the same shape. the distinction is important to know and understand, but I look at everything as shapes, and shape relationships.

So, for me, A minor pent, and A major pent are different in how they fit into or relative to the key I'm in, because that's how I use them.

For me, theory is only useful for letting you make music, so that's all I care about. I don't know what notes are in A major pent, or A minor pent, but I could play them on my guitar. For me, all the shapes and positions are all to be able to play any idea s easily as possible, and be able to see and understand the sound relationships and where they are positioned on your fretboard. So, I don't know what the intervals are in major pent, nor in minor pent, nor in mixolydian, or anything like that, and I don't care. I know the major scale pattern, I know that's all the modes, aside from which degree happens to be the tonic, and that's all I need for what I do.

For most music, knowing minor pent relative to major key, is not even useful. But for some stuff like blues, it is.

Obviously anyone can play any notes in any key, but patterns exist because all notes are not all equal and fit together in sort of different classes of sounds. Playing an accidental through a major scale, which is a note found in minor pent, but not major scale, and playing minor pent is not the same thing. In the one case, you would be playing that note more of a passing note, and in the other case, that scale becomes your sort of home, in the pocket sound, and the other notes become sort of accidentals out of that sound, even if they are notes in the major scale.

That's why scales exist. If it wasn't for that, theory would look more like this; "There are 12 notes"
#34
Quote by AlanHB at #33749998
From memory Thunderstruck starts with a B maj arpeggio, then an E min arpeggio. This would be a V - i progression in E minor, and not anything in mixolydian.

Also check page one of this thread, magarramarine and crazysam addressed you on this point.

Page one? Only if you're using 20/page...

After the Em part it pretty much establishes itself in B. But the lead riff is undoubtedly V/iv to iv, temporarily tonicizing E minor.

Quote by tallguy97 at #32413369
I understand the relative minor and major relationships. As far as I can see I shouldn't be using an A minor scale over an A major key or chord. Please any help or advice is much appreciated

dom7#9 is a paradigm in blues-influenced stuff.

---
Also, this thread is a year old. Why the bump, Rhys?
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Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#35
Quote by NeoMvsEu

After the Em part it pretty much establishes itself in B. But the lead riff is undoubtedly V/iv to iv, temporarily tonicizing E minor.


Yeah I'm not completely sure I agree with your reasoning, but as we seem to agree that it's not in mixo it's all g.
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#36
Quote by AlanHB
Yeah I'm not completely sure I agree with your reasoning, but as we seem to agree that it's not in mixo it's all g.


I say it resides in B mixolydian with the E minor being a borrowed chord from a parallel key.

This fits the OP of understanding how the minor pentatonic fits over a song that sounds major.
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#37
Quote by NeoMvsEu

Also, this thread is a year old. Why the bump, Rhys?


I haven't logged in for a long time and saw it in my list of messages. Just trying to get an understanding of why this suggestion would be wrong?
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#38
Quote by AlanHB at #33750225
Yeah I'm not completely sure I agree with your reasoning, but as we seem to agree that it's not in mixo it's all g.

No, it's in B... listen beyond the first minute?
Quote by Rhys Lett ESSM at #33750242
I say it resides in B mixolydian with the E minor being a borrowed chord from a parallel key.

This fits the OP of understanding how the minor pentatonic fits over a song that sounds major.

bVII-IV-I all around with blues #9, it's definitely in B. But I gotta agree with MM; this is actually pretty functional harmony and thus can not be modal. It's blues-based B major. Check this stickied thread out, under the "Modal or Not" subheader in the third post.
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Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#39
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Even if you were right and AC/DC songs were in mixolydian (that they are not), there are still songs that are in minor or major keys like You Shook Me All Night Long, Money Talks (both in major, I IV V kind of progressions), Live Wire (it does use the major 6th accidental but the chorus uses i, bVI and V chords) and She's Got Balls (minor, uses bVI and bVII chords in the chorus).

But I would say AC/DC songs are not modal. They are just bluesy and borrow notes from the parallel minor. Using b3 and b7 accidentals is really usual, especially in "bluesy" songs (and that's one thing that makes them sound bluesy). Also, occasionally using the major 6th isntead of a minor 6th in a minor song is also really common in rock music. As I said, Live Wire does this in the verse but the chorus uses b6.


One day you guys might accept the possibility of using a mode (like Mixolydian) to write a song, that has chord progressions from the mode, and not just one or two chords in a groove!! Now stepping of soap box :-)
#40
Quote by Rhys Lett ESSM at #33750342
I haven't logged in for a long time and saw it in my list of messages. Just trying to get an understanding of why this suggestion would be wrong?

Quite frankly, from your responses, you and Alan seem like petulant teenagers trying to prove each other wrong and yourselves right.
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
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