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#1
Hi Guys, does anyone have a good way of remembering the notes in a scale, like 'every good boy deserves fun' type thing.
The pentatonic scale of E is E,G,A,B,D but because there are seven scales I can't get them fixed in my head easily. Any ideas?
#2
You remember the intervals first then go from there. So for a minor pentatonic it would be 1, b3, 4, 5, b7. Also, there are TWELVE pitches in the equal tempered scale NOT 7.
#3
Quote by GoldenGuitar
You remember the intervals first then go from there. So for a minor pentatonic it would be 1, b3, 4, 5, b7. Also, there are TWELVE pitches in the equal tempered scale NOT 7.


You misunderstand me, I meant if I were to ask you to name the notes in a scale ie E,G,A,B,D is there a saying or ryme for it.
Also I meant there a 7 notes A,B,C,D,E,F,G
#4
There isn't really a rhyme or an acronym or anything. Like goldenguitar said, the best way to remember it is by memorizing the intervals, since those can be applied to the scale starting on any root note.

And no there are not 7 notes. There are 12: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G and G#.
#5
Point taken about the 12.
Still memorizing the number intervals will not help me remember the the notes in alphabetical form.
#6
Quote by duncanjames10
Still memorizing the number intervals will not help me remember the the notes in alphabetical form.

You're right, but learning to recite the first seven letters of the alphabet in different combinations is a totally useless skill

Knowing that over, say, a V7 chord, your fifth, major seventh, major second and fourth are the tones in the chord can actually be applied practically to guide your playing. Everything in music is relative, and learning to think of things in absolute terms rather than said relative ones is of no benefit.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Aug 22, 2015,
#7
Quote by duncanjames10
Point taken about the 12.
Still memorizing the number intervals will not help me remember the the notes in alphabetical form.

Yes it will. All minor pentatonic scales have the same intervals - root, minor third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth and minor seventh. Now, if you want to know what notes there are in the A minor pentatonic scale, you start with A, and figure out the rest of the notes by using that formula.

This way you can build any minor pentatonic scale. Of course it's also good to memorize them, but if you don't remember the notes in A# minor pentatonic, it's really not that big of a deal - you can always figure it out by using the formula.

But yeah, let's build the A minor pentatonic. A is our root. Minor third from A is C. Perfect fourth from A is D. Perfect fifth from A is E. Minor seventh from A is G. Am pentatonic = A C D E G.

Let's build the F minor pentatonic using the same method. F is our root. Minor third from F is Ab. Perfect fourth from F is Bb. Perfect fifth from F is C. Minor seventh from F is Eb. Fm pentatonic = F Ab Bb C Eb.

It's so easy.


Another way would be using the circle of fifths. It works better for diatonic scales (major and minor), not really for pentatonic scales. All diatonic scales have all the seven letters in them - A, B, C, D, E, F and G. You need to remember four things - C major has no sharps or flats, same with A minor, the first sharpened note is F and the first flattened note is B.

Modulating a perfect fifth up adds a sharp to the key signature (or takes away a flat from the key signature) and modulating a perfect fifth down adds a flat to the key signature (or takes away a sharp from the key signature).

The next sharpened note is always a fifth higher. The next flattened note is always a fifth lower.

OK, so if we want to figure out the notes in the key of D major, we need to know how many fifths we need to go up/down from C. C -> G -> D. That's two fifths, which means there are two sharps in the key signature. What are those sharps? F# is the first sharp, the second sharp is a fifth higher - C#. So now we know the notes of the D major scale.

D E F# G A B C#

What about the key of Bb minor? Well, we already know it's a flat key, so we need to figure out how many fifths lower Bb is to A. (Why not C? Because we are talking about minor keys, and the minor key without sharps and flats is A minor.) A -> D -> G -> C -> F -> Bb. That's five fifths, which means there are five flats in the key signature. What are those flats? Bb is the first flat, and the next flattened note is always a fifth lower. Bb Eb Ab Db Gb. Now we know the notes of the Bb minor scale.

Bb C Db Eb F Gb Ab


But I would suggest learning the formula of the major and minor scales, and whatever scales you are going to learn.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#8
Thanks meggaramarine I very much appreciate the effort you have gone to writing that but you might as well be talking French, it is way too advanced for me.
I have learned the basic shapes for 1st possition, 3rd possition pentatonics etc but thought if I knew the names of the notes off by heart it would beneficial in some way.
I haven't been playing long and figured if I could say 'there's a C, there's a C and there's another, I know this because they are in my scales of A,C,D,F and G' it would help me to know all the notes possitions over time. Do you get what I mean, there are a lot of notes on a guitar and not instantly recognisable like a piano.
#9
i absolutely hate when people claim they want to learn music theory but don't want to put the work in

why don't you, yknow, study? we all did it. you're not special

learn the notes on the fretboard. do you know why they're not easily recognizable like on a piano? because you haven't put the work in to interpreting the notes

there are 12 notes. this means 12 intervals that can be place into a given 7-tone scale. root, m2, 2, m3, M3, P4, +4/-5, P5, m6, M6, m7, M7, 8ve. a major scale is root, 2, M3, P4, P5, M6, M7. there's no quick and easy way to teach you how to know the M3 of a given root, or the 5th, or whatever. you just have to learn it. it's that simple. sit with note cards and break it down or do whatever you need to do.

i know music and arts are supposed to be fun or whatever but you're playing a video game trying to beat a level 50 boss with level 20 characters. find some literature, take your time, learn what the notes and intervals mean. this isn't an overnight lesson. it'll probably take you years to get it down, but if you don't take the initiative to start the process, you'll never learn how to play more than power chords in a classic rock cover band
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#10
Quote by Hail
i absolutely hate when people claim they want to learn music theory but don't want to put the work in

why don't you, yknow, study? we all did it. you're not special

learn the notes on the fretboard. do you know why they're not easily recognizable like on a piano? because you haven't put the work in to interpreting the notes

there are 12 notes. this means 12 intervals that can be place into a given 7-tone scale. root, m2, 2, m3, M3, P4, +4/-5, P5, m6, M6, m7, M7, 8ve. a major scale is root, 2, M3, P4, P5, M6, M7. there's no quick and easy way to teach you how to know the M3 of a given root, or the 5th, or whatever. you just have to learn it. it's that simple. sit with note cards and break it down or do whatever you need to do.

i know music and arts are supposed to be fun or whatever but you're playing a video game trying to beat a level 50 boss with level 20 characters. find some literature, take your time, learn what the notes and intervals mean. this isn't an overnight lesson. it'll probably take you years to get it down, but if you don't take the initiative to start the process, you'll never learn how to play more than power chords in a classic rock cover band


I also hate people that want berate newbies to music, asking questions on here is part of the learning right ? the study ? You sound a pretty unpleasant person I have to say and although it is easy to be insulting and rude whilst sat at your keyboard it is likely I would kick your ass for talking to me like that if we were face to face.
As I said I have not been playing long and have actually come quite far without the likes of you and your attitude.
If I didn't love my guitar and pleasure it brings me I would feel completely deflated and give up now.
So, to the folks that want to chat politely and help me, thank you I appreciate it,
Hail you can take your bully attitude and f*ck off.
" m2, 2, m3, M3, P4, +4/-5, P5, m6, M6, m7, M7, 8ve. 2, M3, P4, P5, M6, M7"
Did you understand that when you were new and had only just learned your first few pentatonic scales, I doubt it.
Help in recognising the notes is all I was asking for.
#11
OK, so your problem is really not learning what notes are in which scales. Your problem is learning what notes are on the fretboard.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#12
Quote by MaggaraMarine
OK, so your problem is really not learning what notes are in which scales. Your problem is learning what notes are on the fretboard.


Yes, thank you it is. I figured if I new the scales off by heart as I am practicing the notes on the fretboard would become apparent.
#13
Quote by duncanjames10
Yes, thank you it is. I figured if I new the scales off by heart as I am practicing the notes on the fretboard would become apparent.


I'm currently going thru the same thing.

Sort of...

Saying it would very likely take several months, my instructor assigned me to pick a major scale mode, beginning with the Ionian.

Staying with that mode for a week, I am to write out the scale notes notes daily, using the WWHWWWH formula, (W=whole step H=half step) in a different key each day, using just the 7 major notes, (so the excercise fits in the 7 day week, there are your 7 notes ) and to spend time each day playing those scales up and down.

I arbitrarily started with "G" in the ionian mode on day 1. Those notes, as you probably know are G-A-B-C-D-E-F# and right back to G.

Day 2 Key of "A". Work out and write down those notes. A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G# and back to A. Same fingering pattern, different notes. Day 3, Key of "B" and so on. And label those notes accordingly. I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii.

Week 2, same thing, but in Dorian mode. Then over the following weeks, same thing moving on to Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian then beginning all over again in Ionian.

Also along with the above, because I'm wanting to learn Blues guitar, I am to write out the notes each day, each key that comprise the I-IV-V progression and play those chords in different rythmns. Additionally he has me randomly choosing 3 other notes, x 2 ( except for the vii notes, for now ) and experiment with them too.

So in "A" I'm playing the I-IV-V chord progression, A-D-E and playing around with a B-E-F# and a A-C#-E. Mix 'em up, fool around.

I've been at it for 9 weeks. I actually started week 10 Ionian yesterday. I can see where this is heading, ( where i think you want to go) and am seeing varied results already.

In no special order, I am:

A) Learning the finger patterns (7 and once you start grasping those, the 5 sharps/flats filling out the rest of your 12 notes will become more self evident). I'll add that my instructor has told me to start each scale mode and in each key on the low "E" string, play it up, back down to where I started on the 6 string and rather than end there, play back up to the key note. You'll see what I mean in week 2 with the Dorian. Basically, for example, in the key of "A" I'd start with the low E, 7th fret play the pattern up, back down to low E 5th fret and up again to the "D" string 7th fret, that being actually the 1st "A" played in that pattern, and ending there. You'll hear that it doesn't sound quite right, beginning a key of A scale on the B note and even worse if you end on the B. But playing back up to the A was, for me, something of an AHA! moment.

B) Sort of a continuation of )A, but I'm starting to get a handle on the same notes are on different strings/frets at a glance. I can see that at some point it will become automatic.

C) I'm learning to move away from seeing scales and their modes as simply patterns. I'm seeing them now more as each key being a mostly 4 but at times, a 5 fret wide 6 string box containing the notes I need in a given key. This allows me to solo over a chord progression using the proper notes, rather the the trial and error approach I'd been doing.
Trying to guess which notes fit and being a half tone off way too often. Flip side of that is, I've also learned that as long as I know what key the chord prog is in, that as long as I am in the right "box" for that key the very worst I can do in playing an "off note" is be only a half tone off. And that's a neat thing sometimes, in that I can intentionally hit a "bad note" and immediately slide up or down 1 fret to the right note. Something else to play with.

D) I'm catching myself hearing little things I hadn't noticed before, so my ear is developing.

E) In experimenting with the different keys and chord progressions and the notes within, I'll have little AHA! moments in that I'll hear myself play a few notes/chords and realize that they are part of this song or that. Most significantly, I heard early on, a few chords the I knew right away were part of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay". Expanding on those chords over the course of a few weeks, I got to where I can now play a recognizable and passable version of the whole song. Working now on figuring out the whistling part and converting it to a guitar solo. I have the rythmn recorded in my looper to use to play over.

When I started this excercise it seemed like a really big hill to climb and I kinda dreaded doing it. Once I jumped in and noticed right off that I was going to learn a lot, quickly, it's actually a blast! I feel less often like I'm stuck. It's like evey new thing I start to get a grasp of make something else suddenly make sense, which I can begin exploring, and damn! I'm not stuck anymore.

Sorry if I've been a bit long winded. I've tried to relate this as I would've needed it explained to my own thick skulled self. Not that you're thick skulled too.
Last edited by Atomic Wedgie at Aug 23, 2015,
#14
Sean0913 is an expert on this. Maybe send him a PM.


How I learned the notes on the fretboard (well, I'm still not that great at naming them, but give me a couple of seconds and I can name any note on the fretboard) was by playing chords. I'm good at the note names on the two lowest strings, because that's where the chord roots usually are. I guess I also learned where the notes are by playing the bass.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#15
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Sean0913 is an expert on this. Maybe send him a PM.


How I learned the notes on the fretboard (well, I'm still not that great at naming them, but give me a couple of seconds and I can name any note on the fretboard) was by playing chords. I'm good at the note names on the two lowest strings, because that's where the chord roots usually are. I guess I also learned where the notes are by playing the bass.


Good point.

I should have noted in my post that the excercise I'm doing, which I described in some detail, requires knowing the notes along the low E string.

If this guy has gotten into E and A shaped barre and power chords, he should know his bottom 2 strings.
#16
Quote by Atomic Wedgie

Saying it would very likely take several months, my instructor assigned me to pick a major scale mode, beginning with the Ionian.





i don't understand why anyone would introduce modes to a beginner. it's not that it's a hard topic - it's that it's absolutely worthless in pretty much all of music. by the time you learn all your modes back and forward you could've learned intervals and theory the right way

it's just the major scale. don't complicate it so much. there's the major scale, and your minor scale. within those are your pentatonics. if you learn those, your intervals, your notes, and your chords, you can do anything you have any reason to do on a guitar
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Last edited by Hail at Aug 23, 2015,
#17
Quote by Hail


Okay... I'm relatively new. Did I mis-speak? If so, sorry. I was only trying to explain something as I understand it. If I understand wrongly, I'd love to be corrected.

#18
Quote by Hail


i don't understand why anyone would introduce modes to a beginner. it's not that it's a hard topic - it's that it's absolutely worthless in pretty much all of music. by the time you learn all your modes back and forward you could've learned intervals and theory the right way

it's just the major scale. don't complicate it so much. there's the major scale, and your minor scale. within those are your pentatonics. if you learn those, your intervals, your notes, and your chords, you can do anything you have any reason to do on a guitar

I don't think it was meant like that. Obviously it's incorrect, but the word "modes" is pretty widely thrown around as equivalent of "positions".
Quote by Atomic Wedgie
Okay... I'm relatively new. Did I mis-speak? If so, sorry. I was only trying to explain something as I understand it. If I understand wrongly, I'd love to be corrected.


The word "modes" refers to quite specific methods of making music using "scales" created by using the same intervals as another scale but with a different tonic. Referring to the different positions of the major scale as the modes is technically incorrect but quite common.
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Aug 23, 2015,
#19
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I don't think it was meant like that. Obviously it's incorrect, but the word "modes" is pretty widely thrown around as equivalent of "positions".


yeah but that's the part that's wrong. it gives off a misconception of how keys work and makes it a lot harder down the line

i mean it's easier to learn the dorian scale than to learn the boring basics, cause everyone wants to dunk before they can dribble, but that ain't how you win games
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#20
@ Atomic Wedgie

Well, some people like calling the different 3 note per string positions with mode names (and I think that's the case here), and I think this causes a lot of confusion. Technically, when played out of context from the lowest note to the highest note, they are actually modes. But in real life you always play in context, and the position you are playing in doesn't change the mode/the key you are playing in.

In other words, they are not modes. You are just playing the major scale in different positions, and that has nothing to do with modal music or modes.

D dorian is not in the key of C major. D dorian is a whole different thing. The tonic of D dorian is D, and it sounds way closer to D minor than C major. It just happens to use the same notes as C major. The same goes with the other modes. A minor scale is a mode of C major scale too, but it sounds way different. You wouldn't say A minor is in the key of C major either.

But in the beginning modes can be confusing, and I wouldn't learn them as the first thing. Understanding keys is way more important, at least when it comes to contemporary music (and most music from the last 400 years).


I don't care how you refer to the different scale positions. Call them whatever you want. But I think it's important to understand that they have nothing to do with modal music. They are just positions of the major scale, and changing the position you are playing in doesn't change the sound, because every position of the same scale has exactly the same notes in it.

How to change the key/mode you are playing in? You would need to change the chords you are playing over. If there are no chords in the background, it's about what notes you emphasize. It's about the "implied harmony".

Playing in any position over C-F-G7-C progression will sound like playing in C major. But if your chord progression was for example Fmaj7#11-G/F and it didn't move anywhere from that, you would be playing in F lydian.

If you want to learn the different modes, I would suggest learning them all starting with the same note. So learn C major, C dorian, C phrygian, C lydian, C mixolydian and C minor, and compare the sounds. That way you'll understand how they differ from each other (and you'll also notice the similarities between them - mixolydian and lydian are close to major, dorian and phrygian are close to minor).


But yeah, let's just not mention modes in this thread again. We don't want to turn this into a mode thread. If you are interested in modes, read the Jet Penguin's and JRF's threads about modes.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#21
Thanks Atomic Wedgie I appreciate you going to such lengths. It's nice to hear you saying about those 'Aha' moments as I have had numerous in the last year and the feeling is excellent when something suddenly becomes clear. I have only recently started to learn the pentatonics and was baffled by the notion of playing E in the same area as A, untill Aha! possition 3. I love my guitar, along with women, motorbikes and beer in no particular order.
#22
Quote by MaggaraMarine
@ Atomic Wedgie

Well, some people like calling the different 3 note per string positions with mode names (and I think that's the case here), and I think this causes a lot of confusion. Technically, when played out of context from the lowest note to the highest note, they are actually modes. But in real life you always play in context, and the position you are playing in doesn't change the mode/the key you are playing in.

In other words, they are not modes. You are just playing the major scale in different positions, and that has nothing to do with modal music or modes.

D dorian is not in the key of C major. D dorian is a whole different thing. The tonic of D dorian is D, and it sounds way closer to D minor than C major. It just happens to use the same notes as C major. The same goes with the other modes. A minor scale is a mode of C major scale too, but it sounds way different. You wouldn't say A minor is in the key of C major either.

But in the beginning modes can be confusing, and I wouldn't learn them as the first thing. Understanding keys is way more important, at least when it comes to contemporary music (and most music from the last 400 years).


I don't care how you refer to the different scale positions. Call them whatever you want. But I think it's important to understand that they have nothing to do with modal music. They are just positions of the major scale, and changing the position you are playing in doesn't change the sound, because every position of the same scale has exactly the same notes in it.

How to change the key/mode you are playing in? You would need to change the chords you are playing over. If there are no chords in the background, it's about what notes you emphasize. It's about the "implied harmony".

Playing in any position over C-F-G7-C progression will sound like playing in C major. But if your chord progression was for example Fmaj7#11-G/F and it didn't move anywhere from that, you would be playing in F lydian.

If you want to learn the different modes, I would suggest learning them all starting with the same note. So learn C major, C dorian, C phrygian, C lydian, C mixolydian and C minor, and compare the sounds. That way you'll understand how they differ from each other (and you'll also notice the similarities between them - mixolydian and lydian are close to major, dorian and phrygian are close to minor).


But yeah, let's just not mention modes in this thread again. We don't want to turn this into a mode thread. If you are interested in modes, read the Jet Penguin's and JRF's threads about modes.



Thanks for the reply. I used the unmentionable word as it's the word my instructor used as he layed out for me what he wanted me to do. I am aware that moving from one area to another is also termed "positions" and I assumed, it appears along with many others, that the two terms were synonomous and interchangeable.

I'm just past 3 years in, trying to learn. Two years of one on one lessons. At different times, during those two years, my instructor has tried a few different approaches in trying to get me to grasp some of the theory side, with little success. He says he is lacking in his ability to paint the verbal picture just so, so I get it. I say I have a thick skull.
The tact we're taking this time seems to be clicking exponentially better than any of the previous approaches he's tried. It's an expanded effort to get me to know the fret board, as well as ear developement, muscle memory, to instill some, hopefully, automatic awareness of what notes may be used to solo over different given chord progressions and where and how to find those notes.

Had my instructor explained it to me in the way I explained it, however clumsily and ineloquently to the OP'er, I think I would have started getting a handle on things much sooner.

While it did bother me, early on, that maybe learning all these scale positions or unmentionables was too much all at once, I've gotten over that feeling. So far I can only do the Ionian and Dorian without having to look at the scale chart as I go, and I'm close with Phrygian. With that it clicked for me that while I can play key of A solo notes at the 5th fret, I can move up 2 frets and with different fingering and the shifts and find those same notes, and again 2 frets up with the Phrygian fingering. This was a huge AHA moment for me and my thick skull and almost right away made other thing make sense, that I'd been stuck on and frustrated by, which in turn appear to be gateways to even more.

The repetition of writing out the notes/intervals of the major scale every day, while staying in the same key for a week but playing in a different unmentionable each day really is making things stick in my head that just didn't before.

When replying to the OP'er, I didn't mean to step on anyones toes, imply I had any expertise and certainly not appear to be speaking with any real authority. Only trying to give a different perspective to a fellow student who asks for help in learning more of one aspect of playing, ( learning the notes on the fret board is at the root of what he asked about ). Being some 2+ months down a similar path, myself, and with what has clicked for me being still fresh, I was just sharing my experience in hopes the different angle, if you will, would be helpful. I wasn't aware, until after I posted, the the OP'er was concerned with the notes in the minor Pentatonic scale and therefore perhaps has not yet started with the Major and the intervals, et al.

That said, judging from his reply back to me, I believe something of what I said made sense for him. Which really is all I was aiming for. I would've killed, early on, to have someone, ANYone, point out something from an angle I'd been too thick-headed to have considered and have it make some sense.

Learning the notes on the fretbord, beyond the Low E and A strings was one of the main driving factors leading my instructor to tailor the regimen I related, to me. Nothing else, nothing maybe more conventional got through to me. We tried a handful of other ways unsuccessfully and it just kind of evolved to what I'm doing now. And damn! It is working.
I'm learning the notes, and all the other stuff, the scale stuff, the unmentionables, the ever increasing finger dexterity from playing the unmentionables, the seemingly accellerating ear developement, the ability to play longer before needing a short rest, finding chord progressions to play around with that wouldn't have otherwise occurred to me to try yet and the arpeggios in those chords I'm discovering and a host of other seemingly little things. All those things are happy by-products at this point because my main motivation remains, in whatever fashion works for me, the learning of the notes. I'm thrilled to learn these other things as a result.

As my instructor fondly and often says, different strokes for different folks. What works for this guy is useless for that guy. And I seem to be "that guy". The guy who, when shown things in such a way that most of his other students get right away, just can't grasp. He tells me it's in large measure because of my compulsion to overthink things. Make them much more complicated by doing so. I can't help it though. I can't not do it, hard as I try. I am and always have been to compelled to get the firmest possible grasp of something in order to know how to deal with it. I just can't help it. Drives me and my instructor nuts, but I just can't not do it. And so, we arrive at the point I'm at now, which I happily acknowledge is probably not conventional and likely not the best path for most students.

But it works for me.
Last edited by Atomic Wedgie at Aug 23, 2015,
#23
Quote by K33nbl4d3 at #33563784
The word "modes" refers to quite specific methods of making music using "scales" created by using the same intervals as another scale but with a different tonic. Referring to the different positions of the major scale as the modes is technically incorrect but quite common.

it's also the reason we get so many threads from confused beginners who, through no fault of their own, have started learning guitar by seeing the word "modes" attached to a completely incorrect explanation of what's going on
#24
Exactly. It's an unfortunate by-product of our tendency to organize scale formations on the guitar with regard to their modal names.
"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
#25
Quote by duncanjames10
Hi Guys, does anyone have a good way of remembering the notes in a scale, like 'every good boy deserves fun' type thing.
The pentatonic scale of E is E,G,A,B,D but because there are seven scales I can't get them fixed in my head easily. Any ideas?


Hi Duncan.

You really will find life a lot easier, with way less to remember, if you learn intervals. There are a few hand shapes to learn (these can be mastered easily in a few minutes practice a day over a week or so), and you'll visually start seeing them everywhere (scales, chords). Intervals define a "musical distance" (semitones) from one pitch to another ... so, for example, a "b3" is the symbol for an interval formed between (pitches at) any fret and another 3 frets higher on the same string (this is one way to play it). Hence do you needn't worry about pitch names too much.

The octave in particular makes fretboard navigation easier ... again, a small set of patterns to locate the same named pitch (but in different octaves). Know this pattern, then you'll start finding the same named pitch more easily.

Also, burn the following into your brain ...

Between E and F, and between B and C, there is no fret gap on same string (they are one semitone apart). All the others (ignoring sharps and flats) do have a one fret gap in between (2 semitones, aka a tone).

So, on E string, going up from fret 0 (open string)... F must be next fret (no gap) (1st fret). G must be 3rd fret (gap). A must be 5th fret (gap). B must be 7th fret (gap). C must be 8th fret (no gap). D the 10th fret (gap). E the 12th fret (gap)

It all starts over again.

The top E string is identical.

E is also found by octave at the 2nd fret, 4th string (the D string). Apply the same logic from that 2nd fret. F must at 3rd fret (no gap). G at 5th fret. etc.

Observe that any pitch on the 6th string can be found again, an octave higher, on the 4th string, just 2 frets higher than the pitch on the 6th string.

That's 50% of the neck covered.

Try the same for yourself, using the 5th string (A).

The octave above A can be found at the 2nd fret, 3rd string (G string). Notice G -> A is a gap there. So, now do the same from the 2nd fret.

Observe that any pitch on the 5th string can be found again, an octave higher, on the 3rd string, just 2 frets higher than the pitch on the 5th string.


That's 5/6th of the guitar neck done.

Finally, do the same with the 2nd string (B string). B->C is no gap. 1st fret must be C. etc.
cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 24, 2015,
#26
Hi Jerry Thanks for your good advice.
This thread has started to go a little wayward, not that it hasn't been interesting and gratefully recieved but intially I just wondered if there was a rhyme to remember the notes in any of the scales. I have recently learned most of the pentatonic scales using 1st, 3rd etc positions, which has opened a whole new world to me and felt the desire to also know the notes by name (it's only polite) and note just by interval (I'm not a number I'm a free note)
I think I will write them down daily untill I remember them by rote.
I do like the 2 strings 2 frets correlation and will take note and add it to my small but growing arsenal. Cheers
#27
Quote by duncanjames10
Point taken about the 12.
Still memorizing the number intervals will not help me remember the the notes in alphabetical form.

You do NOT need to do this. All that matters is the intervals. If you have the intervals down, you should be able to play that scale in any key.
#28
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
You do NOT need to do this. All that matters is the intervals. If you have the intervals down, you should be able to play that scale in any key.


I can play the scale in any key.
I must be missing something here as I don't really understand what people have against learning the note as well, not instead of. Surely knowing the notes as well as the intervals will be beneficial at some stage, if nothing else just as a feeling of satisfaction.
#29
once you understand how intervals work, you can apply that knowledge to learning the note orders quickly.
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#30
Don't the wrong impression - you should learn scales (and chords) in every form of their organization: intervals, note names, physical position, etc.

What's important is that you aren't just playing a memorized pattern, or a memorized set of note names. It's really important to understand why, say, D major contains two sharps, and also know how to play the scale anywhere on your guitar.

At the end of the day, scales are concepts, not music in themselves. They are a very convenient and consistent way of organizing notes, and they fit easily into 99% of all music you'll ever hear.

Being tools, though, you need to know how to use them, and that takes practice. Scale practice is excellent for developing technique and keeping your fretboard knowledge active. A good player never has to stop and think "Where are my G major notes up here?". Liken to how you can navigate your own house in the dark, from familiarity alone. Having that basic familiarity with your instrument frees up your mind and your creativity to focus on more interesting stuff like phrasing, technique, and form, which are what really comprise the musicality of anything you play.

That last thing you should be doing is fumbling to find in-key notes, when you could be putting that effort into making every note sound full and meaningful.
Last edited by cdgraves at Aug 24, 2015,
#31
Quote by duncanjames10
I can play the scale in any key.
I must be missing something here as I don't really understand what people have against learning the note as well, not instead of. Surely knowing the notes as well as the intervals will be beneficial at some stage, if nothing else just as a feeling of satisfaction.

There are memory tricks for this. Most of them revolve around the circle of fifths.

The circle of fifths works like this...

First some preliminary knowledge
Chromatic scale:
flats
C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A Bb B C

sharps
C C# D D# E F# G G# A A# B C

Major scale step pattern:
W W H W W W H

^I'm assuming you know and understand this.

So C major = C D E F G A B C

If we build a new major scale off the fifth degree of this scale then the notes are almost he same with only one difference.

Major scale of G = G A B C D E F# G

If we build a major scale off the fifth scale degree of this scale then it will be the same again with one more difference...

D Major Scale = D E F# G A B C# D

A pattern starts to emerge. Each time we have the same notes but the seventh degree of the new scale is sharp.

Then you just remember the fifths:
C-G-D-A-E-B...

Each place along the circle has one more sharp than the last.
C=0
G=1
D=2
A=3
E=4
B=5
F#=6
C#=7

The order of sharps follows a circle of fifths starting on F

F-C-G-D-A-E-B

Some people use a memory trick like "Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle"

So combining this what are the notes of B major? well it has five sharps and those sharps are F C G D A so the B major scale is B C# D# E F# G# A# B.

The same thing works in reverse.

For example going from G major G A B C D E F# G to C Major C D E F G A B C we note that the F# is the note that changes. It is the fourth in the C major scale.

So when going in the other direction the fourth of the new scale is flatted.

And because we are going backwards around the circle of fifths we are actually moving up by fourths...G up to C is a fourth.

So from C we go to F. F will have on flat and it will be the fourth scale degree
F G A Bb C D E F

The fourth of the scale becomes the next scale Bb and the fourth of that new scale is flat (E).

So we can list out the circle of fourths
C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Cb

Each one has one more flat than the last...
C=0
F=1
Bb=2
Eb=3
Ab=4
Db=5
Gb=6
Cb=7

The order of flats is B-E-A-D-G-C-F. This is exactly the opposite of the order of sharps so you can remember it with the same memory trick but in the reverse order...Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles' Father.

This will tell you quickly what notes in a scale are sharp or flat.

Note also that Db is enharmonic with C#, Gb is enharmonic with F#, and Cb is enharmonic with B. Thus all of the above goes full circle hence the name the circle of fifths which can then be represented visually in an actual circle.



Personally I never found all of that useful. I just learned the step pattern of the scale and the chromatic scale and the intervals. Then I would know all the names of all the intervals from any given note. If you can do that and know the intervals of a scale then you know all the scales.

If you know that a major scale is a root major second, major third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, major sixth, major seventh and octave and you know all those intervals from any given note then you will know all the names of the notes in the major scale.

Similarly if you know the major pentatonic scale is a root, major second, major third, perfect fifth, major sixth, and octave then you will know all the notes in all the major pentatonic scales.

If you know that the minor scale is 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 (aka root, major second, minor third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, minor sixth, minor seventh, octave) and you know the all intervals from any given root then you will know all the notes of any minor scale starting on any root.

Similarly as someone said before when you know your intervals you start to see them everywhere. The chords you create suddenly have all these intervals and when you have an add6 chord you will know what a major sixth is from the chords root so can add it.*

*-the key thing of course is applying the notes to the fretboard. It's all well and good to know that a major third above C is E but if you don't know where to find them on the fretboard it is useless knowledge.

My approach to fretboard knowledge was the CAGED system. Some people don't like it and that's cool but whatever approach you take - play the note, say the note, sing the note. Lock in it's place on the fretboard, it's name, and it's sound all at the same time.

If you're going to do it by rote then play it say it sing it. And do the same thing for some melodies. Take a simply melody (nursery rhyme simple) and play it in as many places as you can on the fretboard in the same key. Each time play the notes and just listen, then play through and say the notes looking at where you are placing your fingers and mentally tell yourself where it is on the fretboard and the note name. Then play it again and sing through the notes.

If you are practicing intervals, play the interval and listen, say the interval, sing the interval.

Whatever you do - Good luck
Si
#32
Quote by duncanjames10
Hi Jerry Thanks for your good advice.
This thread has started to go a little wayward, not that it hasn't been interesting and gratefully recieved but intially I just wondered if there was a rhyme to remember the notes in any of the scales. I have recently learned most of the pentatonic scales using 1st, 3rd etc positions, which has opened a whole new world to me and felt the desire to also know the notes by name (it's only polite) and note just by interval (I'm not a number I'm a free note)
I think I will write them down daily untill I remember them by rote.
I do like the 2 strings 2 frets correlation and will take note and add it to my small but growing arsenal. Cheers


Duncan,

I get where you're coming from now (rhymes to remind of the pitches in a scale in a given key).

The sort of rhymes you're after haven't been commonly made up ... I guess the main reason being you'd have to learn 12 rhymes for one scale in 12 different keys. And then another 12 for a different scale. Imagine this for 28 different 7-note scale types, and the various pentatonics, and for all the chords. Most people's heads would explode. Mine definitely would!!

Which is why we all remember intervals. We remember a scale name is shorthand for a unique combination of intervals. Ditto, names of chord types.

The simplest approach is to separate awareness of where different pitches can be sounded on the guitar (the pitch names), from awareness of intervals (as in scales and chords).

Use the former to locate the key note (e.g. Bb for Bb minor pentatonic). and use the latter knowledge (that minor pentatonic means use intervals (1. b3. 4, 5, b7) located at the distances from the key note (1, 3, 5 etc semitones away).

Use the knowledge of interval shapes to quiclkly find these.

This way, you're briefly considering pitch names, to orientate yourself, and that's it.

Take a look at http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/music_theory/drastically_cut_learning_time_with_intervals.html

then http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_2.html

then http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/the_basics/drastically_reduce_learning_time_with_intervals_part_3.html

cheers, Jerry
#33
Jerry,Si,Cd thank you for you time and patience. Having just had the eurika moment of the pentatonics I hadn't stopped to consider the vast number of other scales that are going to come my in the future and indeed it would be complete overkill to have a rhyme or similar for them all.
Would you think that having ascended to the giddy heights of initial understanding of the pents that as my familiarity grows the other scales or 'modes' and I use that word in complete ignorance, will come intuitively?
I have noted and loved these hurdles of understanding from learning all the open chords, minors and 7's etc to the huge mindblast of bar chords and now scales up and down the neck, it's all fantastic and very exciting.
Years ago a fella I worked with said his guitar was the last thing he thought about when going to sleep and the first thing he thought about in the morning and I thought
'really dude'.....now I know!
#34
Think about talking. It's the same way we can have this (granted, written) conversation without planning out every word in advance, more or less improvising our responses.

The reason we can do this is the hundreds of thousands if not millions of sentences we've had as practice until now. This works the same way. If you keep practicing (with mindfulness, of course) it will eventually hit the point where it just "happens".
"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
#35
Good analogy, when you see Bonamasa, Santana, Gilmour etc it's just flowing through them with their eyes shut. One day I will be as good as them, well nearly, and I won't stop trying untill I am.
#36
Quote by duncanjames10
I can play the scale in any key.
I must be missing something here as I don't really understand what people have against learning the note as well, not instead of. Surely knowing the notes as well as the intervals will be beneficial at some stage, if nothing else just as a feeling of satisfaction.

But knowing the notes comes as a function of knowing the intervals. You shouldn't have to sit there and go (on the fly), "Oh, shit! The key just changed from A to E! The notes in E are E,G,A,B,D!". Rather, regardless of key or key change, you know that the intervals are 1, b3, 4, 5, b7. If the tonic changes, the intervals do NOT; the only difference is that you have a new tonic.
#37
^Absolutely.
"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
#38
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
But knowing the notes comes as a function of knowing the intervals. You shouldn't have to sit there and go (on the fly), "Oh, shit! The key just changed from A to E! The notes in E are E,G,A,B,D!". Rather, regardless of key or key change, you know that the intervals are 1, b3, 4, 5, b7. If the tonic changes, the intervals do NOT; the only difference is that you have a new tonic.

That's absurd.

First, if you know the notes of the scale off the top of your head then it's knowledge that is instantly recalled as quickly as you change keys. There is no "oh, shit!" moment nor would someone even think through the sentences you wrote out.

I could do the same thing with your suggestion...

How do you find the new tonic if you don't know where the notes are? And if you don't know where to start the 1 b3 4 5 b7 from then you're screwed...you kind of need to know the notes on the fretboard first for that to work.

Let's say you're lucky and happen to know where all the E's on the fretboard are. As you're playing the key changes from A to E. All of a sudden you then have to think "Oh shit! the key just changed from A to E. Okay, E is there...my interval structure is 1 b3 4 5 b7 [mentally draw map of intervals against that root note in your head] so there's my G note that I want to play...ooops I missed it. What? We just changed key to F#m oh shit..."

At least if you knew all the notes on the fretboard and all the notes of the scales off the top of your head then a key change from A to E is directly accessible. It would seem that finding the root and mapping out an intervals from a root note is a mentally longer process that requires starting from the root.

See anyone can be facetious.

I think we can agree the goal is having knowledge that is instantly accessible. You are comparing knowledge that is not at that stage with knowledge that is at that stage. It's not really a comparison between learning notes and learning intervals.

Ideally it's the sound anyway. You can know NONE of the notes, scales, or intervals and still make magnificent music because you understand the sound you are hearing and the sounds your instrument can make.

Ultimately it comes down to what Jet said in his previous post...mindfulness and time.
Si
#39
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
But knowing the notes comes as a function of knowing the intervals. You shouldn't have to sit there and go (on the fly), "Oh, shit! The key just changed from A to E! The notes in E are E,G,A,B,D!". Rather, regardless of key or key change, you know that the intervals are 1, b3, 4, 5, b7. If the tonic changes, the intervals do NOT; the only difference is that you have a new tonic.

Speaking as one addled by perfect pitch, I can say notes first, intervals second for me. And both were trained into my head.

(might be why movable do was such a devil :'D )
#40
Now this is interesting because it is how the thread started, more or less.
I figured if I was to learn the notes in the scale alphabetically, as well as the intervals, I could at any stage know where all the Cs are or all the Ds are and thus know where I can start a run from. Too keep it simple lets restrict the notion to the pentatonic because as Jerry rightly pointed out there are loads of scales. Of course once you know all the notes I'm guessing it doesn't matter what scale you play as the notes are the notes, they don't change.
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