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#1
Hey guys

I got a couple of questions about scales, keys and their uses. If someone could help that'd be great.

1) if I'm in a key of say, A major, can I technically use any scale thats in A? So A major/minor and the pentatonics too?

2) When soloing over a progression of chords in a key, those chords will be made from the scale of the same key right? So if I stick to one scale in the same key then the chords will also be chord tones to hit in that scale (obviously there'll be differences for the relative minors)?

3) How do I learn to actually use scales? I tend to run up and down them at the moment and I dont like the sequenced sound. I like the solos of Slash and Angus Young that just dont sound like scales at all.

Currently I'm working on learning by ear a lot as well as practicing my intervals to recognise them by ear and leading into doing the same with scales too.

Any help and advice would be great.
#2
1) No
2) Only if the chord progression is purely diatonic. Which is mostly not the case in a lot of music. Better way is to know the notes in the chords, and play chord tones and or possible extensions of notes that are in the chords. But this is an over simplification of that idea. Ideally you should be playing whatever sounds good to you, know what notes clashes with what chords and what works. That way you can do what ever you want, e.g. play sequences that clash with the chord progression, or sequences that don't.
3) You don't use scales to play music. They are simply there to give you a framework to look/ work over material.

Keep up the ear training, it'll do you wonders if you do it right.
#3
Quote by LTaces
Hey guys

I got a couple of questions about scales, keys and their uses. If someone could help that'd be great.

1) if I'm in a key of say, A major, can I technically use any scale thats in A? So A major/minor and the pentatonics too?

2) When soloing over a progression of chords in a key, those chords will be made from the scale of the same key right? So if I stick to one scale in the same key then the chords will also be chord tones to hit in that scale (obviously there'll be differences for the relative minors)?

3) How do I learn to actually use scales? I tend to run up and down them at the moment and I dont like the sequenced sound. I like the solos of Slash and Angus Young that just dont sound like scales at all.

Currently I'm working on learning by ear a lot as well as practicing my intervals to recognise them by ear and leading into doing the same with scales too.

Any help and advice would be great.



I'm not sure what you mean "technically". You can use anything that works for you. If you use something, and you can pull it off, and it works, that's the standard. Don't limit your understanding by thinking that each chord or key has specific rules and only these things are "allowed". People can play a scale against the perfect chord, and they still can't make it "work", so the scale isn't the thing, it's what you do with it.

In answer to your second question, sometimes, but not always. Understanding what is happening with music as a whole, and certainly having the basics of Diatonic theory and harmony can help greatly.

In answer to your third question, don't limit yourself to playing things up and down. Learn to use notes as options. I tell our students at the Academy, that music that is scale minded and going up one scale and back that scale, tends to sound like a lot of running up and down stairs. Its exercise but you really aren't getting very far, and worse of all, how long do you want to run up and down stairs until you start to get bored?

My advice: learn music, learn theory, commit yourself to the process, invest into your development and don't limit yourself by constraining everything to just "what is free out there?" because many times the things that are free, are worth exactly what they charge: nothing.

Best,

Sean
#4
Quote by LTaces
Hey guys

I got a couple of questions about scales, keys and their uses. If someone could help that'd be great.

1) if I'm in a key of say, A major, can I technically use any scale thats in A? So A major/minor and the pentatonics too?

2) When soloing over a progression of chords in a key, those chords will be made from the scale of the same key right? So if I stick to one scale in the same key then the chords will also be chord tones to hit in that scale (obviously there'll be differences for the relative minors)?

3) How do I learn to actually use scales? I tend to run up and down them at the moment and I dont like the sequenced sound. I like the solos of Slash and Angus Young that just dont sound like scales at all.

Currently I'm working on learning by ear a lot as well as practicing my intervals to recognise them by ear and leading into doing the same with scales too.

Any help and advice would be great.


1) I wouldn't say any scale, but there are a number of options depending on the context. Best to keep it simple at 1st.

2) If they are all diatonic chords, which they often are, yes. Many times though there are altered chords included, in which case you'd have to understand where those are coming from. For example if a progression includes a borrowed iv from the parallel minor, the melody will often reflect the change in scale.

3) Well there are fundamentals, and then there is music. You need both. Learn your scales up and down, but don't use the metronome to gauge how fast you are. You only need to know the scale. For music, learn music….. if you like Slash and Angus, then learn their solos. Make the connection to your fundamentals (scale knowledge), and you'll have the answer to your question regarding "how to use scales".
#5
Cool thanks for the replies.

Im trying to get to grips with how music works together as a whole and how the fretboard connects together and fits into it all too. I want to eventually understand how it all works and be able to use it.

Im going through Troy Stetinas Fretboard Mastery book on theory so hopefully everything will start to make more sense the further I get!!
#6
Quote by LTaces
1) if I'm in a key of say, A major, can I technically use any scale thats in A? So A major/minor and the pentatonics too?

Actually, you could really use any scale or any combination of notes. We tend to use A major-based scales (Amajor scale, Amajor pentatonic, etc.) in the key of Amajor, because they're most likely to sound good.

2) When soloing over a progression of chords in a key, those chords will be made from the scale of the same key right?

Well...kind of. It's more correct to say that the chords were made from the 7 notes of the key signature.
The key is actually more important than any scale. Of course, you can have chords that aren't formed from the key signature; these are called non-diatonic. (See below.)

So if I stick to one scale in the same key then the chords will also be chord tones to hit in that scale (obviously there'll be differences for the relative minors)?

If, for example, you play an Amajor-based scale over a chord progression that is in the key of Amajor, then yes. There will be chords tones involved in that scale. The caveat is non-diatonic chords. If you don't know what diatonic/non-diatonic is, go through these lessons:
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/43
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/44
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/46
http://www.musictheory.net/lessons/49

3) How do I learn to actually use scales? I tend to run up and down them at the moment and I dont like the sequenced sound. I like the solos of Slash and Angus Young that just dont sound like scales at all.

A scale is simply a collection of notes. If you want to break out of the sequenced sound, then it would help if you start thinking of melodies. (You can, if you wish, use a scale as a basis for your melody/solo.) Most blues-based players like Slash and Angus Young base their solos off of a simple melody. Then, they expand that melody, embellish, and so on.

Currently I'm working on learning by ear a lot as well as practicing my intervals to recognise them by ear and leading into doing the same with scales too.

Good. Keep doing that.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 13, 2014,
#7
Ok, a few more questions as I'm pretty confused.

If I can just play what sounds good or what I can get away with then whats the point of learning theory?

Where does theory fit into it all?
Whats the most important parts of theory to learn?

I know my intervals and am practicing them to know the sounds and am learning what I want to by ear so how much will theory actually help me?
#8
Quote by LTaces
Ok, a few more questions as I'm pretty confused.

If I can just play what sounds good or what I can get away with then whats the point of learning theory?


Theory helps you learn sonic concepts. Theory itself doesn't matter - the concepts do.

eg, knowing what a V7-I is, theoretically, helps you learn what it sounds like. Can you imagine how hard it would be to realize that all V7-Is were essentially the same thing if you didn't have, say, a way of talking about scale degrees? Theory gives us the tools to talk about this stuff and break it down into manageable chunks to learn it.

Your goal with study should be to get the SOUNDS into your head. You do not know a theoretical concept until you can hear it in practice.


I know my intervals and am practicing them to know the sounds and am learning what I want to by ear so how much will theory actually help me?


Probably quite a bit, so long as you keep the above in mind, and learn theory in the context of things you can hear.
#9
Ah ok, so theory is more a description of the sounds of music and naming them?

I was treating it more like an analysis or instructional manual of what to do.

So you could use theory to explain how you want to make a certain sound but its not a set in stone set of rules that have to be followed?
#10
^^^ Yes, music theory describes why certain notes sound how they do in different contexts. It's not a set of rules, but purely a description.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#11
Quote by LTaces
Ah ok, so theory is more a description of the sounds of music and naming them?

I was treating it more like an analysis or instructional manual of what to do.

So you could use theory to explain how you want to make a certain sound but its not a set in stone set of rules that have to be followed?


It can be an analysis, but rarely an instruction manual. I see that as a myth, like "theory has rules that must be followed". That's a justification by those too lazy to learn theory to not learn it, and you can always tell those guys, because that same laziness shows up in their playing.

Best,

Sean
#12
When I studied theory in school, most of the so-called "rules" were actually referred to as "common practice." They described what was most commonly done as the conventions of western music were crystallized (largely at the time of J.S. Bach). But the point is that the "rules" aren't really rules at all--they are just descriptors of the most common things that happen in music. And most of the (popular) music we hear these days still basically adheres to common practice because that's the stuff that tends to sound "good" to most peoples' ears. At the same time, you can get creative by bending and breaking these "rules" of common practice. At the risk of sounding like a cliché, though, I think you want to know the rules before you go all willy-nilly breaking them.
#13
Quote by LTaces
Ok, a few more questions as I'm pretty confused.

If I can just play what sounds good or what I can get away with then whats the point of learning theory?

Where does theory fit into it all?
Whats the most important parts of theory to learn?

I know my intervals and am practicing them to know the sounds and am learning what I want to by ear so how much will theory actually help me?

It allows me to know that when you say we're playing in the key of A Major, I can play in the relative keys of C# Major, D Major or E Major - without a thought.
#14
Quote by AngryHatter
It allows me to know that when you say we're playing in the key of A Major, I can play in the relative keys of C# Major, D Major or E Major - without a thought.


Sorry mate, but this is completely incorrect.

Those keys are not relative to A major, and if you're in the key of A major you are in the key of A major, not those other keys you mentioned.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
I wouldn't say that what AngryHatter is saying completely incorrect, actually, although the terminology is not quite right (and I think perhaps he meant to say C#m, not major--although that could get interesting in a whole different way). If you're in A, you're in A, but it's totally valid to "think" in those other enharmonic keys. You can get some interesting sounds by "thinking" in C#m over an A chord, or in other words, superimposing a C#m over the A. It's all the same notes, but it does bring out different ideas to think about things in that way.
#16
^^^ Those other keys are not enharmonic. They are chords that are diatonic to A major.

As for outlining the notes of these chords in the key of A major, that's just using the A major scale.

If you're seeking to use notes from outside the A major scale in the key of A major, that's called "using accidentals".

If you wish to approach each chord as its own "key", this is a chord scale theory approach which doesn't change the fact that the key is A major, and usually results in the A major scale with accidentals, or just the A major scale.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#17
Quote by Lephty
I wouldn't say that what AngryHatter is saying completely incorrect, actually, although the terminology is not quite right (and I think perhaps he meant to say C#m, not major--although that could get interesting in a whole different way). If you're in A, you're in A, but it's totally valid to "think" in those other enharmonic keys. You can get some interesting sounds by "thinking" in C#m over an A chord, or in other words, superimposing a C#m over the A. It's all the same notes, but it does bring out different ideas to think about things in that way.

Those other keys are not enharmonic to A major.
#18
Quote by AlanHB
Sorry mate, but this is completely incorrect.

Those keys are not relative to A major, and if you're in the key of A major you are in the key of A major, not those other keys you mentioned.

I'll return my degree.

A Major - A C# E, so I may use the chords of the triad without a second thought.

The relative is F# Major since relative keys are the major and minor scales that have the same key signatures.

Anything else?
#19
You are right, I wasn't being entirely precise with my terminology--but A major (ionian) and C#m (phrygian) are enharmonic (unless I have the definition of "enharmonic" wrong). The same notes. Regardless--if you play a C#m arpeggio over an A chord, it sounds good.
#20
^^^ Your definition of enharmonic is just fine, it's just that none of the keys you have mentioned are enharmonic. They have different notes and key signatures.Lets get a handle on keys before talking about modes. If you outline a C#m arppegio over an A major chord, it will function as an Amaj7 arpeggio.

Quote by Angryhatter
Anything else?


Yes. The relative key is F# minor, not F# major. If you use the notes of the F# minor scale in the key of A major, you are just playing the A major scale.

What degree do you have?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#22
^^^ Cool stuff. Do you understand that it's just the A major scale?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#23
By way of credentials...
I am a position player after the Larry Coryell "school."

Any key signature yields me at minimum three positions and then using any IV, V, etc I can go anywhere on the neck.

Just to mess with the band, instead of using my middle finger to anchor the root I'll start on a different finger...on noes, modes.
#24
Quote by AngryHatter
Just to mess with the band, instead of using my middle finger to anchor the root I'll start on a different finger...on noes, modes.


So by starting on your middle finger it changed the harmonic context of the song.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#25
Middle finger is on the root - always.
By starting the position on another finger I am playing modes.
#26
Quote by AngryHatter
Middle finger is on the root - always.
By starting the position on another finger I am playing modes.


So lets say I have a song in A major and I improvise a one note solo which is A. An A note and nothing else.

You are saying that if I play that A note with my middle finger, I'm playing the A major scale.

And if I play that same note with a different finger, I'm using one of the modes.

Is this correct?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#27
I am not following that at all.
Middle finger on the root of whatever I am playing.
If you play a one note solo, you have played - a one note solo. An A.
Not a scale, a note.

If I play a major scale, in the key of A, my middle finger is on the fifth fret, first string.
The scale is then eight notes.
If I then start that same position with my next finger, pinky in this case (on the B - 7th fret first string) I am now playing in modes.
#28
facepalm

Music is not positions on your fretboard. It doesn't matter in which position you are playing. It doesn't change the music. If you are playing the same notes - let's say A B C# - in two different positions, you are not playing in different modes. What you play is always related to the backing track you are playing over. If your backing track is Bm7-E7-A, you are always in A major. And you are always playing the A major scale if you are playing the notes A B C# D E F# G# in any order. It doesn't matter if you play C# E A G# D F# B or whatever.

A major and F# major aren't relative keys. A major and F# minor are. They have the same key signature and F# minor and A major scales have the same notes. That doesn't mean they are the same.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
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Ibanez BL70
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Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 16, 2014,
#29
Quote by AngryHatter
I am not following that at all.
Middle finger on the root of whatever I am playing.
If you play a one note solo, you have played - a one note solo. An A.
Not a scale, a note.

If I play a major scale, in the key of A, my middle finger is on the fifth fret, first string.
The scale is then eight notes.
If I then start that same position with my next finger, pinky in this case (on the B - 7th fret first string) I am now playing in modes.


So if I just played a B note instead you say it would then be in a mode? Does it have to be your pinky?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#30
Quote by AngryHatter
I am not following that at all.
Middle finger on the root of whatever I am playing...
...If I play a major scale, in the key of A, my middle finger is on the fifth fret, first string.
The scale is then eight notes.
If I then start that same position with my next finger, pinky in this case (on the B - 7th fret first string) I am now playing in modes.

@AngryHatter : I am thinking that you mean something like this?
youtube.com/watch?v=Hn2uEBvekcE
#31
^^^ That dude in the vid is talking trash.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#32
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ That dude in the vid is talking trash.


FYI: Kurt Rosenwinkle ain't just "some dude"...
#33
Quote by AngryHatter
By way of credentials...
I am a position player after the Larry Coryell "school."

Any key signature yields me at minimum three positions and then using any IV, V, etc I can go anywhere on the neck.

Just to mess with the band, instead of using my middle finger to anchor the root I'll start on a different finger...on noes, modes.

Let me give you some advice, credentials mean nothing.
#34
Quote by tonibet72
FYI: Kurt Rosenwinkle ain't just "some dude"...


Kurt Rosenwinkle in the vid is talking trash.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#37
Quote by AngryHatter
I'll return my degree.

A Major - A C# E, so I may use the chords of the triad without a second thought.

The relative is F# Major since relative keys are the major and minor scales that have the same key signatures.

Anything else?

Has this guy really been arguing this kind of misinformation for half the thread?
#39
^^^ I'll have a listen when I get home. However being soundcloud I can''t see your fingers so I won't be able to tell whether you think it's modal or not.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
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