#1
Hey everyone!

I finally have some free time while sitting under a solid 5 feet of snow, so I figured now was as good of a time as any to dive into our next topic: Using Pentatonic Scales.

Now granted, everyone knows the basic pentatonic stuff all too well, and we've spent a previous JTJ on why a pentatonic scale works, but this thread will be about getting some extra mileage out of patterns and licks we all already know.

Although any 5 note scale is pentatonic by nature, we are going to mainly deal with the major and minor pentatonic scales. I'll put a short section at the end showing some new scales to goof with as well.

But First, A Review:

1. A pentatonic scale has 5 notes (duh). The two we deal with are:

Major: 1 2 3 5 6 = C D E G A

Minor: 1 b3 4 5 b7 = C Eb F G Bb

2. The reason a pentatonic scale "works" in improvisation is because it reduces the entire chord progression to the tonic triad, generalizing the key center. When you improvise over something like this:

Cmaj7 - G7 - F#m7b5 -Fmaj7 -Fm7 - Bbmaj7 - C

with a C major pentatonic scale, you are just playing over this progression instead:

C

Which leads us to point #3.

3. As we all may know, we tend to use only the pentatonic scale of the key we are in. We don't change pentatonic scales over every chord; this is unnecessary and confusing. Playing a blues with a different pentatonic for every chord wouldn't sound very much like Hendrix, would it?

WOULD IT? (Evil laugh)

Expanding Pentatonics with "Pentatonic CST"

Turns out. It would.

Due to the lack of tritone and other unstable tones, the pentatonic scale is an extremely stable and strong sound. As such, it is going to retain its musical identity regardless of the harmony we use it over. So our first step is going to be to throw rule #3 out the window, and create some kind of pentatonic CST, so we can apply the scales to chords instead of keys. Check this:

If we get a major chord, we use a major pent.:

Gmaj7 = G major pent.

Minor chords take a minor pent.:

Bbm7 = Bb minor pent.

Dominant chords take a major pent, NOT a blues scale. A blues scale is used to generalize the the key center, not the chord. So:

A7 = A MAJOR pent.

Now obviously, obviously, we have all seen how well a blues scale works over a 7th chord, and you can use that too. However blues scales (see JTJ#2) generalize the key center, and right now we are trying to mess with the progression, so we use the "vanilla" major pent.

This leaves one more chord type, m7b5. I'll come back to it later. But for now, we have a "vanilla" (and hopefully obvious) pentatonic sound for each chord. Here's an example, with the resultant scales.

C - A7 - Dm - G (how original)

C major pent. - A major pent. - Dm pent. - G major pent.

Now granted, this won't give you a mind blowing sound, but its certainly more interesting than ripping C major blues licks over the whole damn thing.

Everyone up to speed? Let's kick it up a level...

Superimposing Pentatonics to Extend Harmony

The pentatonic sound is so powerful and strong that it retains its identity over any harmony. Because of this, we can use DIFFERENT pentatonics over roots to extend each chord.

This is a very different sound than simply using a full blown extended scale because the pentatonic identity is so strong our ears will hear it as a cohesive unit over the chord, not just frilly colorful extensions.

Lets take a Cmaj7 chord:

Cmaj7 would take the vanilla C major pent, giving us this:

Cmaj7 = C D E G A = 1 2 3 5 6

Let's bump it up a 5th (the strongest of all root relationships), and use G major pentatonic:

Cmaj7 = G A B D E = 5 6 7 9 3

How cool is that? If you like John McLaughlin, that's basically his signature move. Let's go up one more fifth, to D:

Cmaj7 - D E F# A B = 9 3 #11 13 7

That gives us a sweet Lydian sound, perhaps a little Steve Vai action?

Now, let's use the same principle over a minor chord.

Dm7 = D minor pent = D F G A C = 1 b3 4(11) 5 b7

Dm7 = A minor pent = A C D E G = 5 b7 1 9 4(11)

Dm7 = E minor pent = E G A B D = 9 11 5 13 1

So, again, we go up a fifth each time, gradually extending the harmony. Note that on the last iteration, the chord type becomes specific. The major chord becomes Lydian sounding, and the minor chord becomes Dorian sounding.

What happens if we go up fifths again (and again?) We'll get there....

What About Dominants?

We have a different solution. Because a dominant chord is unstable (thanks tritones) we re going to bump it up a tritone. So:

G7 -> G major pent -> G A B D E -> 1 2 3 5 6

G7 -> Db major pent -> Db Eb F Ab Bb -> #11(b5) b13 7 b9 #9

Look at that. A fully altered dominant. If you were too lazy to memorize your altered scales, this gives you the same sound.....

So, by going up fifths, we can extend the harmonies of the chords. Here's a little table and example, before we move on:

Major chords:

Major pent off root, fifth, or ninth:

Amaj7 = A, E, or B major pentatonic.

Minor chords:

Minor pent off root, fifth, or ninth:

Cm7 = C, G, or D minor pentatonic.

Dominant chords:

Major pent off root, or b5:

B7 = B or F major pentatonic

Check this simple progression:

Dm7 - G7 - C

Am pent. - Db major pent. - D major pent.

Insanity. Note the rising half steps of the pentatonic scales used. this is a big deal.

COOL. Ready for the next level?

The Aforementioned Next Level: "Breaking" A Progression

Since I can't mention it enough, pentatonic sounds are so strong they will never lose their identity as a coherent pentatonic scale over any harmony. Pentatonic scales are used to generalize harmony, or extended them through superimposing them, as we have seen.

Turns out, we can do both at once, and it's awesome.

The overachievers among you may have asked what happens if we keep going up fifths. The answer is exactly what you expect. The chord will become increasingly more extended until we are a tritone away (the furthest distance) and then begin to close the gap as we come back around the circle of fifths to the vanilla sound.

Now that might be cool party trick, but what interests us more is the application of such an idea, fifths be damned. Think on this:

Because pentatonics are so strong, we can connect them in any way, with any root movement, over any chord. This gets heady, but bear with me.

Let's take a Cmaj7 chord.

I can rip my hotshot rock licks with C major pentatonic all day. But what if I kept climbing up by half step. Playing a lick in Db, D, Eb, and so on until I got to the G pentatonic, ending with a jazzy pentatonic lick.

What if I moved them around in Thirds? Fourths? Whole steps?

What if I did it at complete random but connected each lick chromatically?

The pentatonic scale is so strong it makes the chords sound wrong. This is a great strategy for playing "outside," because you shatter any notion of CST. You are now in the territory of coming up with a motive, and sequencing and developing it at different pitch levels.

Before we talked about playing to a chord progression, or generalizing it to one chord. You are now beginning to destroy the progression completely, by thinking about patterns instead of chord tones. You don't have to start or end on anything consonant, you are just moving things around like a weird guitar Rubik's cube. The music is now held together by the strength of the pentatonic motive and the logic of your development.

This is a hard one to conceptualize. What I recommend you do is put on a one chord vamp and start playing in the "vanilla" pentatonic scale, and experiment with moving things around by half steps. You can repeat the same lick, or perhaps shift in the middle of a lick. you can use a different lick completely at a different pitch level.

When that gets comfy, increase the interval to whole steps. Keep going until you get to perfect fifths. the trick to the wider intervals is to NOT just slide up the guitar, but create flowing phrases. This is where knowing all the pentatonic shapes comes in handy.....

That's it. That's what you do with a pentatonic scale. However, there are other considerations I want to talk about briefly...
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#2
The 1235

We can extract this pattern from a pentatonic scale: 1235.

In major : C D E G

In minor: C D Eb G

This pattern is more powerful than a pentatonic scale, as it outlines a triad. This can be used in the same way as the pentatonic, including "breaking" progressions. the fewer amount of notes allows some more flexibility, and they sound great if you "spam" them at different pitch levels a la Coltrane. Try this over C7:

C D E G - F# G# A# C# - C

The dashes separate the 8 eighth notes into two 1235s, one for C and one for F#.

You can also sequence these and permutate them (try 3521...)

Pentatonic Harmony

In the same way as these scales work melodically, they work as chords too. If we take a C major pentatonic scale:

C D E G A

And follow a "tertian-like" pattern of stacking every other note (yes they aren't all thirds, sue me)

We get some sweet three note chords:

C E A = Am

D G C

E A D

G C E = C

A D G

Not all of those are tertian, but they work. If we grab four note chords, we can name them all.

C E A D = D7sus2

D G C E = Em7#5 AKA C major 1235 (more on this bad boy in the comping thread)

E A D G = A7sus4

G C E A = Am7

A D G C = D7sus4

Again, because of the strength of the pentatonic scale, you can use any of these harmonies anywhere the pentatonic scale fits, chord tones be damned. Because these are from C major/Aminor, you could use any one as a substitute for:

Cmaj7
Fmaj7 -> Cmajor pent is up a 5th
Bbmaj7 -> Cmajor pent is up a 9th AKA 2 Fifths

Am7
Dm7 -> Am pent is up a 5th
Gm7 -> Am pent is up a 9th

F#7 -> C major pent is upa b5 (Tritone)

In fact, you could play any collection of pitches from the scale (even if its not a full or "real" chord) and they would substitute for these chords thanks to the strength of the pentatonic motive.

Other Pentatonic Scales

There are some more "exotic" 5 note collections. The theory and application of these is the same as everything I've ranted about above, let's check them out. (Someone get RonaldPoe in here )

Everything is off C. Transpose at will, my friends.

The Kumoi Scale

This is also often called the MM pentatonic, for obvious reasons.

C D Eb G A

Uses: Any chord you would use C MM over.

This is the scale you would use over a m7b5 chord. Am7b5 comes from C MM, so you would use this scale over Am7b5 (and Cm/maj7, and B7alt, and F9#11, and Ebmaj7#11, blah blah....)

The Hirajoshi Scale

A long time favorite of metalheads thinking they know about modes, or Japanese court music

C D Eb G Ab

Uses: It's basically an odd-duck substitute for C Aeolian. Although that D natural would give you a totally wicked Abmaj7#11 sound, perhaps even when it's not called for.......(evil laugh)

The major b6 Pentatonic

Sorry, no cool name on this guy.

C D E G Ab

Use: This one's actually weird. It's a MM-ish substitute for Mixolydian, the pentatonic equivalent of Mixo b6. As such, you could use it over dominant chords, or any chord from F MM. An odd duck indeed.

The Pelog scale

Derived from the Javanese word for beautiful (don't take that to the bank, a professor told me that once ) This scale (An approximation anyway, they don't use 12TET) is found in Javanese Gamelan music. Which, by the way, is amazing.

C Db Eb G Ab

Use: If the Db and Ab didn't give it away, this is the pentatonic equivalent of a Phrygian scale. Use it anywhere you would use phrygian. A surprisingly uncommon scale, considering it's ease of use.

And finally:

The All Tone Flatted Pentatonic

By far the dumbest name here, this is almost never used, but I like it so whatever.

C Db Eb Gb Ab

Uses: This is tricky. The 5 on this one is flattened, so (if you read my mode thread) we can't establish C as the root easily. The P5 on this one is between Ab and Eb, so this scale, despite having a C root, actually sounds like a demented Ab mixolydian/blues scale.

Don't believe me? Try it. The old guys in your classic rock band will give you some looks.

That's It.

Sorry I haven't included a GP file, but I figure that everyone here knows a good amount of pentatonic licks that they can just plug in and play over different roots that they are used to. That's all this really is.

Experiment with it, especially the 1235 and chordal sections. Take your classic rock/metal/whatever licks and transpose them into the exotic scales, its awesome.

And please please PLEASE discuss. If people bring questions/progressions to work on, I have ZERO problem tabbing some stuff out.

I leave you with two examples:

Behold Herbie Hancock's brilliant use of pentatonics to "break" the chord progression. Listen to how he slides the same motives around at different pitch levels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvRkGglLe-U

Now check out John Mclaughlin and Carlos Santana rocking out on two Maj7 chords.

Check out how McLaughlin uses multiple pentatonic scales over the same chord, using the scale a fifth higher than the chord. Listen to how it gives his rock playing a huge amount of extra mileage:

Also worth noting is Larry Young's entirely pentatonic organ solo. So dissonant, so beautiful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB25LcL2pRA

If nothing else, check the last one out. Some of the finest guitar playing EVER laid down. Truly liberated musically, their command of the instrument and creative concepts has allowed them to bypass their "filter" and really channel their pure expression.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#3
Triple post for questions. I really broke the character limit this time.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#4
Deep!

I have "Love Devotion Surrender" and back in my fusion days it was a constant source of ideas to push the envelope of what could work and where guitar can take you. This is a great example of a place where key signatures melt away and all 12 notes are fair game. The secret sauce is knowing when and where to use them.

These days I'm less interested in pushing the outer boundaries because I found that often the works of Miles, Coltrane, Mclaughlin and others would go so far outside they would simply lose the listener. I have more appreciation now for the ones who know how to explore the universe while still keeping the listener grounded. Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Robben Ford and Carlos seem to accomplish this by pressing outside scales and intervals to create tension but always resolving to a familiar pattern or theme that holds the listeners interest. A common practice among the great classical composers Mozart, Beethoven, JS Bach as well.

my2C
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#5
Totally, there's a huge difference between playing outside with logic (like the Herbie and Mclaughlin solos here) and attempting to combine all possibilities into a super scale and just playing chromatically.

The trick to having a good outside solo is for the lines to still have some sense of development and direction. You want to try to have a line be a clear succession of ideas, not multiple conflicting ideas at once. That takes away from clarity and makes the lines mushy.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#6
Here is an example where Robben bends our ears a bit and opens up the harmonic possibilities while still keeping close the the theme and groove. He is always having a conversation with the listener and they are part of his musical experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU0QeqvFoe4
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#8
I've stickied all of your "Jet Talks X" threads. I'm gonna have a lot of catching up to do when I finally get back to my guitar

Quote by JetPenguin
The Hirajoshi Scale

A long time favorite of metalheads thinking they know about modes, or Japanese court music

Hey, I'm one of those (Although I admit I don't know much about modal playing...)
I always used one variant of these japanese scales (which is called, well, the japanese scale ) C Db F G Ab (Which is a fifth up the Hirahoshi scale) My guess is if the Hirajoshi is a thingy for the Aeolian, the japanese would be for the Phrygian scale? Like the Pelog? Or am I overthinking and it is just the hirajoshi a fifth above? What is life anyway?

Also, I always played the japanese scale over one or two chords, because if I tried to add more I couldn't make it work. One time I tried to write a invention using it and it was a dissonance fest. Teacher didn't like it
Last edited by Lersch at Feb 10, 2015,
#9
I was never really much of a Santana fan, but I guess I'm going to have to check that out!
#10
Well here's the thing.

Your japanese scale: C Db F G Ab

If I just re-order those real quick...

F G Ab C Db - F Hirajoshi (same scale )

F Hirajoshi works where F Aeolian works.

And: F Aeolian = C Phrygian

Therefore, the "mode" of F Hirajoshi built off C works over C Phrygian.

So yes, technically it works, but I would add that the scale you have (F Hirajoshi off C) would work better over a Cm chord in the key of Fm.

If you were actually in a Phrygian context (a modal vamp, or a long V minor chord) you would want to use Pelog to make the Phrygian sound really "pop" out.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#11
I made a couple of observations (connections in my head) as I was reading and felt like sharing. Nothing here really contradicts anything you said, it's just pointing out some o the ideas I picked up on...

Pentatonic scales based each of the notes in the key of C major...

C D E G A C (CMaj Pent)
D F G A C D (Dm Pent)
E G A B D E (Em Pent)
F G A C D F (FMaj Pent)
G A B D E G (GMaj Pent)
A B D E F A (Am Pent)
B D E G A B (Optional Bdim Pent)

The pentatonic scales built off every diatonic triad in a key are also diatonic to that key. Thus by taking the most elementary approach described in Jet's post of building a pentatonic off each chord in your progression...if the chords are all diatonic then you will stay diatonic. Of course Jet takes this merely as a starting point and launches into some funky shit but I thought it was worth pointing out.

So why not just play the major scale and be done with it?

Well, essentially, at this point you would be playing the diatonic major scale, but it's the approach to creating melodic ideas that can be helpful. It can act as a door to incorporating outside tones in meaningful ways, not just in the way that Jet outlined above but as a first step toward modal CST which I'm pretty sure Jet has covered before.

We all know the power of chord tones. The pentatonic scale as based on a particular chord is made up of five tones, three of which are chord tones. The remaining tones are at least a whole step away from a chord tone (no minor seconds). In this way you tend to avoid accidental dissonance by clashing a chord tone with a minor second. It's relatively safe against the harmony.

However, by changing the pentatonic to match each chord root you are learning how to use the entire major scale over a progression in a pretty safe way. It's a good approach to finding safe ground in a completely diatonic setting.

It also gives you immediate options over non diatonic chords (such as that A7 in the C A7 Dm G example Jet used)

Once you can get the pentatonic thing down you can fill in those minor thirds gaps in the pentatonic scale and start fleshing out the scales to bring in more tones. The major pent could become a major, Lydian, or Mixo chord scale etc over a given major chord.

Some of those options will be diatonic to the key but not all of them. If you know your safe ground (the pentatonic) over a given chord you can start to branch out into using modes as a kind of CST approach. I'm sure that one of Jet's previous jazz talks has covered the use of modes in a CST setting. I'm just tying the two together.

Of course this post takes the idea of going outside the diatonic expectations by approaching it from a bit of a different angle. Instead of filling in the minor thirds of the pentatonic we are using different pentatonics against a single chord to branch into some notes that challenge the harmony a bit more while still staying melodically cohesive.

Also I find it interesting that if you cover the pentatonic on the root and fifth you also cover the pentatonic on the third since it will be the relative minor of the fifth in a major chord, and the relative major of the root in a minor chord.

It's like targeting chord tones but by building a pentatonic scale off each chord tone. That's not quite the approach set out above...but at the same time it kind of is...I think.

That pentatonic off the b5 of a dom7 chord though? It seems more like....we want to achieve a pentatonic that encompasses a fully altered dominant so working backwards we would use the b5 as our starting point. Less of a "viola" we magically have an altered dominant and more of a our goal is to achieve fully altered pentatonic and it works out that in order to do that we build a major pentatonic off the b5 over a dom7 chord. There is no other sensible reason to start on the b5.

There's a lot there though...I haven't tried it all out yet. :p

===
Quote by GoldenGuitar
I was never really much of a Santana fan, but I guess I'm going to have to check that out!

Neither am I. I tried to check it out but just couldn't stick it out.
Si
#12
Bingo.

The real reason for "not just playing the major scale" and familiarizing ourself with the different pentatonic patterns is due to the fact that pentatonic scales remain a cohesive unit regardless of whatever harmony they get played over:

When I play a G major scale over Cmaj7, it sounds like C Lydian, not some time of G scale.

When I play a G major pentatonic over Cmaj7, it sounds like G major pentatonic. We still hear it as a unit over the C root.

This is what allows us to launch into all that other stuff, the pentatonic strength allows our lines to retain a musical identity as they distance themselves from the root.


As for the altered dominant pentatonic, I think of the whole thing sideways. Using what we've talked about above, the dominant sound for G7 would be a Db major pent.

Db major pent would also be the vanilla pentatonic sound for Db7.

Db7 is a tritone substiution for G7. Since both these sounds are derived from MM, and all MM sounds are subs for each other, playing the pentatonic scale a tritone away allows us to imply G7 alt. Which, incidentally, is the same sound as Db7#11.

Also, I'm not that into Santana either, but the Mclaughlin/Young solos are too good to pass up!
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#13
And even if we are staying strictly diatonic and using a pentatonic based on the root of each chord we aren't really distancing ourselves from the root. We are still safe. One could argue "oh well you're just using the C major scale", and yes we are but we are doing it in a very deliberate way. We are using a specific method with which to choose our notes that strongly outlines our harmonic progression, uses the full spectrum of the major scale, but does so in a way that is secure and sensible.

The way you describe it as "distancing ourselves from the root". This makes me think of reharmonization and chord substitutions. Maintaining the same harmonic function but suggesting different harmonic colours to achieve that function. But through the melody and not be actually changing the underlying harmony. A kind of melodic reharmonization (look at me making shit up).

Thus that tritone susbstitution explanation helps satisfy my uneasiness about that b5 pentatonic issue a great deal.

Definitely given me some food for thought and ideas to think about. I'm off to play with music now.
Si
#14
Totally. the only thing I would add is that when we begin to add chromatic planing into the pentatonic scales (see the aforementioned next level), we are not actually implying a new harmony, like we are when we use MM, or a diminished scale.

Melodic re-harmonization is a real thing (what is melody after all, but liquid harmony), but we aren't swapping new chords as much as we are leaving them behind. Executing a good series of "wrong" notes in this way actually makes the harmony sound like a mistake, not vice-versa.

We are actually destroying and breaking down the harmony that is already there. There isn't another chord being implied, we are actually leaving the logic major/minor system and heading to the logic of motivic development. We are no longer grounded in a single scale system or chordal center, and our melody consists on multiple "planes."

To use the great "improv is like a painting analogy":

Think of a solo like a painting.

A solo that stays "inside" the entire time (or perhaps the music of Bach) would be like a Renaissance painting in all its exactness.

A highly chromatic solo that implies advanced chord changes (Romantic-era music and bebop) would be closer to an Impressionist painting, with its less exact lines open to interpretations.

This idea of chromatic planing with pentatonic would be like a Picasso. It, like the music of Stravinksy, is governed more by logic of development than the logic of the old system it is derived from.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#15
Quote by Jet Penguin


But First, A Review:

1. A pentatonic scale has 5 notes (duh). The two we deal with are:

Major: 1 2 3 5 6 = C D E G A

Minor: 1 b3 4 5 b7 = C Eb F G Bb

2. The reason a pentatonic scale "works" in improvisation is because it reduces the entire chord progression to the tonic triad, generalizing the key center. When you improvise over something like this:

Cmaj7 - G7 - F#m7b5 -Fmaj7 -Fm7 - Bbmaj7 - C

with a C major pentatonic scale, you are just playing over this progression instead:

C

Which leads us to point #3.

3. As we all may know, we tend to use only the pentatonic scale of the key we are in. We don't change pentatonic scales over every chord; this is unnecessary and confusing. Playing a blues with a different pentatonic for every chord wouldn't sound very much like Hendrix, would it?


Overall, great post, but I have to respectfully disagree with point 2.
Using a pentatonic scale over a progression does not change, generalize, or reduce the progression in any way. Those chords are still there and still function in the same way. The scale just colors the melody differently.

For example if you play C Major pentatonic over a I - IV progression, the I is still the tonic, and the IV is still subdominant. The notes that were chord tones / non-chord tones are the same regardless of wether you use the full Major or Major pentatonic.

Quote by Jet Penguin


Dominant chords take a major pent, NOT a blues scale. A blues scale is used to generalize the the key center, not the chord.


I don't agree with this either. The blues scale is just another color. The key center is dictated by the chord progression.

For example, if you have the progression I - vi - ii - V, and you played

(I Major blues) to (vi minor blues) to (ii minor blues) to (V Major blues)

It would still clearly sound like I - vi - ii - V. Nothing about the key center changes, you'll just have a melody that's colored differently than if it was played strictly diatonic/Major.


Anyway, I think you made a great post, and it's obvious you put alot into it. Best stuff I've seen at UG by far. Modes thread was great also.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Feb 10, 2015,
#17
I like this thread (it's very interesting), thanks JetPenguin. Are you saying pentatonic scales can simplify and change the chord progression (even complex ones). Also would C Pelog work over C Major?
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#18
@Munky:

My wording was a little off on that one. I don't meant that a pentatonic scale reduces or simplifies the progression. It works more like this:

All the chords in that progression revolve around/point to a tonic triad. The pentatonic scale embellishes the tonic triad, so you can use it to generalize the harmony, playing to the key center instead of the specific chords, because both the scale and the chords revolve around the same thing: the key center. JTJ #2 has a more in depth explanation.

You often hear players navigate a II-V-I using only the pitches of the tonic triad and chromatic neighbor tones. If you analyze this by degrees over the chords, it starts to break down. Although at first glance it may look like they are playing insane "numbers" such as major 3rds on the II chord or #1s on the I chord, they are actually generalizing the whole progression, playing to the key center instead of targeting specific chord tones from each harmony.

Let me know if that makes sense.

I also agree wholeheartedly that blues scales, or any scales for that matter, are simply different colors to be used whenever. The reason I suggested the major pent. instead of the blues scale, as 20Tigers pointed out in his post, is that this gives us the most "vanilla/inside" sound possible, which would make it the logical jumping-off point for more complex ideas later.

Also thanks! Glad to see I'm not just doing this to test myself

@Ronald:

They don't simplify and change the progression, they allow you to generalize the harmony and play a coherent line that revolves around the key center, not the chord progression. Anytime you see a progression that stays in one key, no matter how complex, you can generalize it with the tonic pentatonic scale. See JTJ#2 and the first half of this post for more info.

Technically, C Pelog could work over C major (they have the same root), but this won't allow you to delineate a C major harmony. The 3rd (this case Eb) really suggests a C minor harmony, and the Db and Ab lock it in as Phrygian.

So short answer: No, it's Phrygian.

Long answer: Yes, go crazy.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#19
Quote by Jet Penguin
@Munky:

My wording was a little off on that one. I don't meant that a pentatonic scale reduces or simplifies the progression. It works more like this:

All the chords in that progression revolve around/point to a tonic triad. The pentatonic scale embellishes the tonic triad, so you can use it to generalize the harmony, playing to the key center instead of the specific chords, because both the scale and the chords revolve around the same thing: the key center. JTJ #2 has a more in depth explanation.



I guess I see it differently. To keep it simple…..

If I was to use Major pentatonic over a I - IV progression I would hear the notes as:

1,9,3,5,6/13 over the I chord

5, 6/13, 7, 9, 3 over the IV chord.

So for me the approach is pretty much the same as using the Major scale, but with less choices (like theres no 7th for the I chord).
shred is gaudy music
#20
Of course, you'll actually find it's a similar concept, seeing as the pentatonic for the I chord is the same as the pentatonic up a fifth for the IV chord.

The real thing to take away is to think about it on a chord by chord basis, instead of key by key. This gives you more possibilities to jump off of.

Or not, its just a different technique/approach. I do it both ways all the time, and so do many players.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#21
Quote by Jet Penguin
Of course, you'll actually find it's a similar concept, seeing as the pentatonic for the I chord is the same as the pentatonic up a fifth for the IV chord.

The real thing to take away is to think about it on a chord by chord basis, instead of key by key. This gives you more possibilities to jump off of.

Or not, its just a different technique/approach. I do it both ways all the time, and so do many players.


sure, me too. I see it all as the same thing.... I'm in this key... but I'm using this particular scale over this one chord to bring out some different colors. Not unlike using an altered scale over a dominant for an altered sound.
shred is gaudy music
#22
Bingo. We're trying to expand everyone's palette, there are so many unexplored creative facets to guitar improv. Even players as "out there" as Tosin Abasi have a relatively limited harmonic palette compared to the average jazzer. Guthrie being a rare exception.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#23
Quote by Jet Penguin
Bingo. We're trying to expand everyone's palette, there are so many unexplored creative facets to guitar improv. Even players as "out there" as Tosin Abasi have a relatively limited harmonic palette compared to the average jazzer. Guthrie being a rare exception.


yes, good stuff, and I appreciating you letting me disagree without making it a big huge silly argument.
shred is gaudy music
#24
Well thanks, and same to you. I only start stuff when there's misinformation going around.

Multiple approaches and styles are fine, but this instrument is hard enough; we don't need falsities flying around everywhere.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp