There are 4 proper guitar scales. The (Melodic) Major scale, the Harmonic Major scale, the Melodic Minor scale, and the Harmonic Minor scale. Please note that I only call the Major scale the Melodic Major scale because I have severe OCD, and it just makes sense.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothenberg_propriety
I actually read his book, and this wiki article is slightly incorrect, there arent 5 scales, that last one doesnt fit the criteria, thus there are only 4 proper scales.

Lets analyze these scales for a moment.

The (Melodic) Major scale:
1-2-3-4-5-6-7

The Harmonic Major scale:
1-2-3-4-5-b6-7

The Melodic Minor scale:
1-2-b3-4-5-6-7

The Harmonic Minor scale:
1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7

After your first look at these scales what do you notice? Well, the first two scales have a major 3 and the last 2 scales have a minor 3. It also looks like it would be safe to assume Melodic means the 6 is major, and Harmonic means the 6 is minor.

What other properties do these scales have?

Well, all 4 scales contain the same tonic, I, and the same dominant 7th chord, V. In the key of C, all 4 scales contain a C note, and a G7 chord (G B D F)

To me, this implies that the resolution of the V to the I is probably the most important aspect of music and that these scales just add flavor to that resolution.

I'm gonna pause here, and explain a random concept I've come across.

What happens when you symmetrically stack intervals? By that I mean stack a m2 on a M2 on a m3 on a M3 on a P4 on a P5 on a m6 on a M6 on a m7 on a M7? (yes I omitted the tritone) Well, it turns out you get the (Melodic) Major scale!!!

B C D F A D A F D C B : m2 M2 m3 M3 P4 P5 m6 M6 m7 M7
F E D B G D G B D E F : M7 m7 M6 m6 P5 P4 M3 m3 M2 m2

I thought that was pretty cool. I always like reasons for why things exist.

Now back to scales.

I think it could be important to analyze what kinds of chords are naturally formed within these 4 proper guitar scales.

Melodic Major:
CMaj7, Dm7, Em7, FMaj7, G7, Am7, Bm7b5

Harmonic Major:
CMaj7, Dm7b5, Em7, FmMaj7, G7, Abaug, Bdim

Melodic Minor:
CmMaj7, Dm7, Ebaug, F7, G7, Am7b5, Bm7b5

Harmonic Minor:
CmMaj7, Dm7b5, Ebaug, Fm7, G7, AbMaj7, Bdim

Obviously, I wanted to analyze the patterns I could find.

The 1st scale has an FMaj7, the 2nd has an FmMaj7, the 3rd has an F7 and the 4th has an Fm7. These 4 chords also correspond to Am7, Abaug, Am7b5 and AbMaj7.

The Harmonic scales have Bdim and Dm7b5 chords where as the Melodic have Bm7b5's and Dm7's.

The major scales have CMaj7's and Em7's while the minor scales have CmMaj7's and Ebaug's.

They all have a G7.

That's pretty much it for now. What does this all mean? Idk. I just wanted to make note of what I have analyzed and hopefully it helps out some fellow musicians. I wish someone made this chart/analysis for me back when I first started playing, it would have helped and definitely would have sped up my learning process.

I hope I didnt incorrectly label anything and provide false information.

It's up to you as a musician to take this knowledge and all the other knowledge you have and turn it into music that still speaks of what you know, music that explains itself without the need for an explanation.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
There are 4 proper guitar scales. The (Melodic) Major scale, the Harmonic Major scale, the Melodic Minor scale, and the Harmonic Minor scale. Please note that I only call the Major scale the Melodic Major scale because I have severe OCD, and it just makes sense.
I see the logic, but in fact that's not the origin of the names.
The "major scale" is both a melodic and harmonic scale anyway, in the sense it's used for both purposes.
The "minor scale" - normally "natural" - has "melodic" and "harmonic" altered forms, for the various musical purposes their names imply.
The much rarer "harmonic major" scale is so-called because of its partial resemblance to harmonic minor: b6 and major 7, differentiated by its major 3rd.

But the idea of those 4 as basic forms is quite common, because they all have different structures, and therefore different sets of modes.
I once had lessons with a UK bass tutor who had us practising those 4 scales up and down our instruments.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

The (Melodic) Major scale:
1-2-3-4-5-6-7

The Harmonic Major scale:
1-2-3-4-5-b6-7

The Melodic Minor scale:
1-2-b3-4-5-6-7

The Harmonic Minor scale:
1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7

After your first look at these scales what do you notice? Well, the first two scales have a major 3 and the last 2 scales have a minor 3. It also looks like it would be safe to assume Melodic means the 6 is major, and Harmonic means the 6 is minor.
Wrong! I.e., that's clearly a fact, but it's not what those terms mean.
This is one of those cases where lack of knowledge of theory leads to false assumptions.
The question is: do you care? Are you posting here to test your assumptions (and be corrected), or just to present your own private theories? If the latter, who do you think will be interested?

Anyway, in case you're interested in conventional terms....

"Major" - means the scale has a major 3rd
"Minor" - means the scale has a minor 3rd

(The major scale coincidentally also has major 2, 6 and 7, but the other intervals in the minor scale vary. In melodic minor, only the 3 is minor.)

"Harmonic minor" - means the practice of raising the 7th of the natural minor scale (aeolian mode) in order to provide a leading tone to the tonic. It's not really used as a "scale" in its own right in music much. But its V chord and vii chord are extremely common in traditional minor key music, and those are what imply the existence of it as a separate scale.

"Melodic minor - the practice of raising the 6th of harmonic minor so as to provide smoother melodic lines upwards to the tonic (to avoid the augmented 2nd between b6 and maj7). In the crude interpretation of classical theory, the scale is different on the way down: same as natural minor (b7 b6) because the raised notes are no longer needed.
In "jazz minor", of course, the raised 6th and 7th are is used in both directions, and the scale is exploited for harmonic purposes (harmonised into chords).

Music is not really written in harmonic minor, melodic minor, or harmonic major.
It's written in major keys, and minor keys (where the 6th and 7th degrees are variable).
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

What other properties do these scales have?

Well, all 4 scales contain the same tonic, I, and the same dominant 7th chord, V. In the key of C, all 4 scales contain a C note, and a G7 chord (G B D F)

To me, this implies that the resolution of the V to the I is probably the most important aspect of music and that these scales just add flavor to that resolution.
Good observation!
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

I'm gonna pause here, and explain a random concept I've come across.

What happens when you symmetrically stack intervals? By that I mean stack a m2 on a M2 on a m3 on a M3 on a P4 on a P5 on a m6 on a M6 on a m7 on a M7? (yes I omitted the tritone) Well, it turns out you get the (Melodic) Major scale!!!

B C D F A D A F D C B : m2 M2 m3 M3 P4 P5 m6 M6 m7 M7
F E D B G D G B D E F : M7 m7 M6 m6 P5 P4 M3 m3 M2 m2

I thought that was pretty cool. I always like reasons for why things exist.
It may be cool, but it's not the reason it exists!
Don't mistake pattern for causality...
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

What does this all mean? Idk.
Well, that's honest! Try studying some basic theory, and it will help you know what it all means. (Some of the above actually means nothing, really.)
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

I just wanted to make note of what I have analyzed and hopefully it helps out some fellow musicians.
Conventional concepts would help more.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

I wish someone made this chart/analysis for me back when I first started playing, it would have helped and definitely would have sped up my learning process.
I would also have taken you down some dead ends, as in fact it is doing now.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

I hope I didnt incorrectly label anything and provide false information.
Your information is not false, it's your assumptions and conclusions that are mistaken.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

It's up to you as a musician to take this knowledge and all the other knowledge you have and turn it into music that still speaks of what you know, music that explains itself without the need for an explanation.
Or indeed to reject it if it makes no sense and doesn't help make music.
It also looks like it would be safe to assume Melodic means the 6 is major, and Harmonic means the 6 is minor.

We already discussed this in the other thread and this is just not true. You could assume it's true if you named the major scale "melodic major". But that's not its name. In a major key both melodies and harmonies are taken from the major scale so having separate "melodic" and "harmonic" major makes no sense.

In a minor key this is not the case. Usually the harmonies are taken from the harmonic minor scale (hence the name). Melodic minor is used "melodically" (hence the name). It makes melodies smoother because it avoids that one and a half step leap between the 6th and 7th scale degrees. In common practice music melodic minor is mostly used over the V7 chord in a minor key.

This is why we need these two minor scales. Actually, I'm sure people started using them before they were even named that way. They are just different ways the minor key tends to "behave" and were named after their most common usage.

In other words, the 6th and 7th scale degrees in a minor key can be raised depending on the context (it mostly has to do with harmony). They are all part of the minor key, not separate entities.

Harmonic major has nothing to do with this (harmonic vs melodic minor). I guess it was named that way because it's close to harmonic minor.

BTW, do you guys know any examples of actual use of harmonic major? I mean, most of the time it's really just modal mixture - borrowing the b6 from the parallel minor. And this is obviously not diatonic.

And yes, V-I is important - it's pretty much the basis of tonal music. But that's not because of these four scales. Actually, melodic and harmonic minor are the result of V-I, not the other way around. People started raising the 7th scale degree in cadences and that's where it comes from. I would say cadences are the reason why we have melodic and harmonic minor scales.

^ Seems like jongtr was faster.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 8, 2016,
I'm not a quoting genie but I'll try to keep my response organized.

I am not discussing melodic and harmonic anything. To me, those are just names. For all I care I could have called scale no 1 the delta scale, scale no 2 the omega scale, terminology means nothing to me as long as everyone ends up in the same place. I am aware of the "official" terms for all of these subjects. Please try to not spend any time pondering why I use the names for what I am discussing.

Also, please refrain from saying the "minor scale" in any of my threads. There are a trillion minor scales in existence. A minor scale is any scale that has a minor 3rd. Don't assume I know what you are talking about when you say minor scale. There are 4 scales. The minor scale you are referring to is called the Aeolian mode of the Melodic Major scale.

However, I am aware of the comparison you are making between the Aeolian mode and the Melodic and Harmonic minor scales, I just dont want my thread to be ruined because of terminology debates. This thread is about concepts, not terminology.

I should be practicing these scales up and down the neck right now actually. I am still working on memorizing the scale patterns for the last 3. The Melodic Major scale is easy. there is a simple pattern of whole and half steps that is symmetrical all over the neck and makes identifying modes and playing them very easy, but that pattern isnt as recognizable when using the latter 3 scale formulas.

I dont have a lack of knowledge of theory and I'm not making any assumptions. I am just trying to present this information in a simple fashion for everyone and anyone to understand. The information produces music no matter what terms you use. If you wanted to learn about "official" terminology you can avoid my threads and go read a book and be bored. There is a lot of information out there and I am just trying to dig it up.

This is what irritates me. Here I am presenting all of this information, and the responses I get seem to have nothing to do with what I am talking about. No offence, but it irritates me to have to defend myself the same way every time.

Where in you "official" music book does it say these extra 3 scales can only be used in one way and all other ways are incorrect? Who says I cant shred these scales over whatever I want, whenever I want? Nobody. Why think of Harmonic minor as only one mode? Why only use it only for one purpose? There are many other purposes. You talk to me as if I am a beginner that hasnt ever heard of anyone playing Am to E7. I am aware of standard uses of these scales. This thread isnt about usage! I'm not gonna tell anyone how to do anything. I just wanted to analyze the patterns I found in the 4 proper scales.

Calling a scale a melodic scale because you think it sounds melodic is, to me at least, quite ironic, especially considering the shit I get for naming things what I name them.

Music can be written however the composer wants to write it.

Where does the (Melodic) Major scale, aka the Ionain mode, come from? I am pretty sure, after all my overtone research, that this interval demonstration is the actual proof of the scale's origin.

I'll try studying some basic theory (: cough cough

I dont want to come off as anything but a fellow musician trying to understand the world of music, but that isnt easy when my entire thread gets overlooked because everyone is too busy trying to tell me about "official" terminology. Alan Holdsworth is aware of "official" terminology, but that doesnt prevent him from doing his own thing and teaching it. Nobody cares when he does it, but if someone that isnt recognized worldwide does it, everyone loses their minds.

An example of the Harmonic Major scale? The first thing that comes to mind is using it to create mind melting fully diminished arpeggios resolving peacefully to the tonic. I.E. B fully diminished resolving to C major. What else are you gonna do with it lol
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers at #33870213
I dont have a lack of knowledge of theory and I'm not making any assumptions.

I think there's a contradiction somewhere.
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
I'm going to quote Xiaoxi here and say "modes and scales are dumb and useless". I think it's a proper fit to this thread.

Also, I never used the "minor scale" without being specific. I said "minor key".

Also, the context is important. You can play any scale over anything but what it will be called depends on the context.

I didn't say "melodic minor sounds melodic". The name "melodic minor" just comes from its common usage - it is used in melodies to avoid the augmented second in harmonic minor.

There are no incorrect ways of using a scale. But again, whether it's actually that scale depends on the context.

This is why I would like to hear (actual) music that actually uses harmonic major, not modal mixture.

Also, I was never even talking about the "proper" usage of a scale. I was just talking about their origin and common practices.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Quote by NeoMvsEu
I think there's a contradiction somewhere.

You would rather try to prove to everyone on UG that I have a lack of theory knowledge rather than to just ignore my post, or learn from my post? I am starting to really dislike internet forums. They are full of people that have nothing better to do.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
This is what irritates me. Here I am presenting all of this information, and the responses I get seem to have nothing to do with what I am talking about.

But what are you talking about? That these four scales exist? Yes, I am sure that a lot of people know that these scales exist. But knowing how to play these scale shapes do nothing to help your abilities as a composer.

I think all talk about scales is pretty arbitrary anyway, we have two keys, major and minor, and all the scales you mentioned are just slight variations of major and minor that hold little weight on their own. If you write a song using only the tones of a harmonic minor scale, you're still composing in a minor key, you're just borrowing a note from the parallel major.

But I'm all ears, so please enlighten me/us. What do you think we should learn from your opening post?
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
When the chord progression is Dm7 G7 CMaj7, I think D Dorian, G Mixolydian, C Ionian. I would also consider playing a Bm7b5 arpeggio or even the B Locrian mode over Dm7. Maybe the same would work over the G7 too, then I would always always resolve back to Ionian over the C. Maybe an Em7 arpeggio depending on the mood of the song.

After this thread I would have 3x as many options. Over the Dm7 I could play the 7th mode to the Melodic Minor scale, the Bm7b5 mode, over the G7 I could play and of the 4 scales starting on G. And over the C I would still probably use Ionian.

Stuff like that.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
When the chord progression is Dm7 G7 CMaj7, I think D Dorian, G Mixolydian, C Ionian. I would also consider playing a Bm7b5 arpeggio or even the B Locrian mode over Dm7. Maybe the same would work over the G7 too, then I would always always resolve back to Ionian over the C. Maybe an Em7 arpeggio depending on the mood of the song.

After this thread I would have 3x as many options. Over the Dm7 I could play the 7th mode to the Melodic Minor scale, the Bm7b5 mode, over the G7 I could play and of the 4 scales starting on G. And over the C I would still probably use Ionian.

Stuff like that.
Have you actually tried any of that? If not, try it, and let your ears decide.

There's a reason why the "common practice"is "D Dorian, G Mixolydian, C Ionian" - or, as most of us call it, "the C major scale". It just sounds right, because that's where all the chords come from - and it doesn't preclude sneaking in a few passing chromatics if you want to spice it up.

Aren't the minors talked here old theory that you use based on the Ascension or declension on the scale your playing? I seem to remember this.
song stuck in my head today

Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

I dont have a lack of knowledge of theory
Yes, you do. We all do. Nobody knows it all. But there seem to be several things you don't do that some of us do. (Only "seem", mind you, given what you go on to say...)
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
and I'm not making any assumptions.

"It also looks like it would be safe to assume..."

Of course, if we're being pedantic, I accept that's different from saying "I assume..."

Still, all we're doing is saying that the way it looks (from your angle) is misleading. It is not, in fact "safe to assume" what you said.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

I am just trying to present this information in a simple fashion for everyone and anyone to understand. The information produces music no matter what terms you use. If you wanted to learn about "official" terminology you can avoid my threads and go read a book and be bored. There is a lot of information out there and I am just trying to dig it up.
The way you see things clearly makes sense to you (and helps you), but that doesn't mean it's going to help anyone else.
In fact - from where I am (and maybe most others here) - it risks confusing beginners, not helping at all.

Conventions exist for a reason, which is that they've evolved as the best way of making sense of music, for the vast majority of people.
Not everyone, no doubt; maybe there is a minority somewhere who will appreciate your system. But you have to accept your threads will attract critical responses from the conventional camp. Sometimes what you say is plain wrong, not just an alternative viewpoint.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

Where in you "official" music book does it say these extra 3 scales can only be used in one way and all other ways are incorrect?
That's not the point. Music theory never says you can't do this or that. It just says these are the ways these scales are used, in the vast majority of music.
You don't have to follow suit. But learning theory is about learning common practices, to help you understand (a) what you're hearing when you listen to music, and (b) how to achieve those effects if and when you want. It's not about learning rules you have to follow.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

Who says I cant shred these scales over whatever I want, whenever I want? Nobody. Why think of Harmonic minor as only one mode? Why only use it only for one purpose? There are many other purposes. You talk to me as if I am a beginner that hasnt ever heard of anyone playing Am to E7. I am aware of standard uses of these scales. This thread isnt about usage! I'm not gonna tell anyone how to do anything. I just wanted to analyze the patterns I found in the 4 proper scales.
OK, but why tell us, and why phrase everything in a way that suggests you don't know all that?
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

Music can be written however the composer wants to write it.
Who's saying anything different?
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

Where does the (Melodic) Major scale, aka the Ionain mode, come from? I am pretty sure, after all my overtone research, that this interval demonstration is the actual proof of the scale's origin.
It's nothing to do with overtones. You need to study history, not science.

You can't understand why you speak English by studying how your vocal cords work, or how your ears process sound.
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

I'll try studying some basic theory (: cough cough
Good idea. Let us know how it goes. Seriously...
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

I dont want to come off as anything but a fellow musician trying to understand the world of music, but that isnt easy when my entire thread gets overlooked because everyone is too busy trying to tell me about "official" terminology.
We're dealing in words here, not sounds. So we have to define terms properly.
Otherwise we're in Humpty Dumpty territory...
'When I use a word... it means just what I choose it to mean'

Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

Alan Holdsworth is aware of "official" terminology, but that doesnt prevent him from doing his own thing and teaching it. Nobody cares when he does it, but if someone that isnt recognized worldwide does it, everyone loses their minds.
Maybe because he's proved, through the success of his music, that his angle works. He has an authority conferred by popularity.
In any case, are you sure "his thing" is essentially different from the conventions? (You probably know more than me on this point )
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers

An example of the Harmonic Major scale? The first thing that comes to mind is using it to create mind melting fully diminished arpeggios resolving peacefully to the tonic. I.E. B fully diminished resolving to C major. What else are you gonna do with it lol
An example of harmonic major used in an existing piece of music would be more valuable.
I don't know any offhand, but I'm sure they exist, and would be very instructive - to me at least - to hear some.
(I can think of part of one famous tune that could be interpreted as harmonic major... but it's debatable.)
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
I am starting to really dislike internet forums. They are full of people that have nothing better to do.
I'll include myself in that - at the moment anyhow - as long as you include yourself.
Jon's post is the truth.

Learn music theory. Actual music theory.

And for the record, Holdswoth's shit IS the conventional approach as far as the post-bop vocab goes. He's just very good at it, and doesn't use the same terminology. But he's playing the same stuff.

Even the most "out there" guitar player you can think of is not reinventing the wheel.
"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
As I wasn't aware of this specific way of looking at diatonic-ish scales, I'd like to say at the very least that it's kinda interesting to me in a detached way. I'll admit that I don't really understand the importance or usefulness of the propriety stuff except as an arbitrary groundwork, though I'll also admit that I might be trying to see it as more than exactly an arbitrary groundwork and hamstringing myself, so no worries. In practice though, all I'm seeing in the four scales in the OP amounts to the major and minor scales with a variable sixth degree for flavour -- and personally I'd say such a reduction is limiting compared to some of the more common approaches to handling scales and chords that crop up around here[1].

I won't lie: I think some of the resistance and small consternations you've encountered are mainly a result of conflicts with fairly entrenched terminologies and understandings of what those terminologies represent that are publicly espoused in various stickied or referenced threads in this subforum. If I recall correctly, both JRF's and Jet Penguin's large discussions of modal theory attend to why the common usages of 'harmonic' and 'melodic' in scale declension are as they are, as well as why plenty of other words and concepts have propagated through the last few centuries of theory, even if only in passing. By and away, the regulars around here have been talking with each other for long enough that they more or less know each others stances and terms and boundaries for a plethora of concepts, but if someone relatively new is afoot and using non-standard or idiosyncratic terms, definitions, etc., then it becomes more difficult to be sure of whether there's just a mistake in communication or something more involved going on.

In this case, it seems like you know that your departures from standard usage are in fact departures, and that you have a coherent understanding of your own usage of 'melodic' and 'harmonic' and so on. That's chill. It sounds like you have a fairly good internal representation of how the systems and analyses you prefer work. That's chill. I'll take a leap of faith, however, and say that from the OP, I wouldn't have immediately concluded the same way, because the clarifications about why and how you were using words and concepts and such came later. I believe that the aforementioned clarifications (or lack of them in the OP) are partly what jongtr is referring to as 'assumptions'.

The other 'assumptions' that I believe jongtr is talking about are, to your credit, not deliberately your fault. I think that the main issue probably stems from framing the start of the OP as, for instance, "There are 4 proper guitar scales." To anyone who's been around here a while, this statement smacks of either limited reading or counterproductive dogmatism. Now, as I said before, I think that in hindsight your reading is fairly good, and of course I've pointed out my own views about what I think of how dogmatic the ideas you've put forth seem, so again I'd like to stress that I think there's mostly just an unfortunate lack of initial context for why you were sharing the ideas presented in the first place. The reason Allan Holdsworth can think and teach his own methods and approach, aside from also probably understanding a lot of regular theory, is that he can couch his concepts appropriately as being idiosyncratic or non-standard from the get-go, and thus avoid and awkward conflicts of coming across as a Bearer Of Absolute Truth[2]. I use what I imagine would be a fun NeoMvsEu quip: you might could use some double modals. Cue rimshot.

Lastly -- and to me this is all-important -- if you have a method that works for you and produces music with which you are either comfortable or music which motivates you to improve and hone your own practice of making music, then there is no reason to do anything but carry on. I don't know the inside of motherfucking Ferneyhough's head or Coltrane's head or Holdsworth's head or the head of a proficient-but-unheard-of blugrass champion or any other head that produces Good Shit®, but if whatever's in there works and produces Good Shit® according to whose-ever head it is, then good.

N.B. For what it's worth[3].

Edit: N.B. II jongtr posted a better post while I was writing this post, and I'm also wrong about stuff now

--------------------------------------
[1] Realize that the reason I think my summary conclusion is limiting probably again has to do with not understanding the importance or relevance of Rothenberg propriety, since unless there's a strong reason for me to follow it (I don't currently believe that there is given my understanding), then I'd rather follow a chord-scale approach and free up the second, fourth, sixth, and seventh scale degrees of a given heptatonic scale for melodic and harmonic colour. Even if I were to stick with just a major or minor key and pick a scale variant and then only use notes of that variant, I'd still have at least sixteen options; allowing breaks from a fixed variant would grant me even more options, and that's still without doing fun things like actively using non-chord thirds and fifths for effect. The only hard caveat here is that taking the approach I've mentioned almost certainly breaks propriety.

[2] I don't necessarily think you come across this way, but if someone was feeling particularly uncharitable on any given day, then I imagine it's possible that they would think you do. Also B.O.A.T.

[3] I think your music sounds kinda neat.
You might could use some double modals.
Last edited by AETHERA at Mar 8, 2016,
Quote by Jet Penguin
And for the record, Holdswoth's shit IS the conventional approach as far as the post-bop vocab goes. He's just very good at it, and doesn't use the same terminology. But he's playing the same stuff.

Yeah, I can take the major scale and start calling it the watermelon scale or whatever, but that wouldn't mean that you couldn't explain and analyze it through conventional means.

And for the record, I think Holdsworth is a bit silly with his terminology, but whatever works for him I guess. He still knows his stuff inside and out.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
Last edited by Kevätuhri at Mar 8, 2016,
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
You would rather try to prove to everyone on UG that I have a lack of theory knowledge rather than to just ignore my post, or learn from my post? I am starting to really dislike internet forums. They are full of people that have nothing better to do.

Nobody's attacking you, but there is already an established way of looking at theory.

You can approach music any way you like, if it makes sense to you then great. Scale names are just convenient terms of reference, but you can play any note over any chord. How you play it (whether as a type of changing note, auxiliary note, passing notes, appoggiaturas, anticipations etc) how it's accented, it's rhythm are more important.

If it sounds good, fuck theory.
scales really aren't that big of a deal. once you transcend thinking about scales laterally you'll be in a much healthier place mentally when approaching music theory. for the first few years, everybody seems to want to think it's a process of constantly butting your head against a wall and trying to overcomplicate simple concepts or trying to centralize concepts that shouldn't be core focuses.

music theory really, really isn't complicated. it's simple stuff once you understand it's a few key tools, in conjunction with your ear, breaking down music actively. in the time it took you to write this post and read replies and defend it you could've gone and transcribed a piece and analyzed several aspects of it.

menial exercise isn't sexy so you postulate some arbitrary concepts, but you don't get muscles by thinking about how to lift weights.
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You win. I'm done here.
What's the difference between playing B locrian and D dorian over Dm7?

Also, if you are going to add accidentals, you don't really need to think every accidental as changing scales.

Also, guys, do you have any examples of actual usage of harmonic major?
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 8, 2016,
"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." -Sir Isaac Newton

There is a reason music theory is the way it is. It wasn't designed and used by idiots. If anyone wants to do something different, go ahead, but that will make it tough to see further, imo.

Music theory is named according to sound, and how sounds interact, as perceived by us. It's named according to how it works. It is a discovery. It is not arbitrary naming of things, and it is not named according to mathematics, or in depth analysis of conceptual relationships. They are sonic relationships, because in music, what matters is how things sound. That is what we want to wield.

Imo, jrcsgtpeppers, your desire and way of changing theory indicates that you don't understand the true power and purpose of theory. You appear to me to care more about being able to make shapes, make chords, and run scales, and name them according to visual, or mathematical relationships, and you are completely missing the point of theory, how it relates to making music, and why it is important.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Mar 8, 2016,
the music theory you lot go on about all day has absolutely nothing to do with sound though.
I think you (OP) should study George Russells' the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization and how his theory was accepted by some of the top musicians of the day (miles davis for one) when he presented it to them..I am not sure there is a forum for this topic but somewhere on the net you should find a group that will welcome your approach with open arms..and I would not be surprised if there are others that have similar view on scales and music in general...
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Mar 8, 2016,
He needs music history, not more balderdash.
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lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
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I am not discussing melodic and harmonic anything. To me, those are just names. For all I care I could have called scale no 1 the delta scale, scale no 2 the omega scale, terminology means nothing to me as long as everyone ends up in the same place. I am aware of the "official" terms for all of these subjects. Please try to not spend any time pondering why I use the names for what I am discussing.

Here's another contradiction: for all you care you could have called scale no 1 ... yet in your first post you claimed your OCD meant you had to use certain non-standard nomenclature.

To be honest, from your first sentence: "there are 4 proper scales", things didn't look good for this thread. The thread has achieved nothing.

My advice: just make some fucking music.
The OP seems to have been scared off (again)...

To be fair, there's some interesting issues underlying this, as I see it.

Conventional music theory is designed for (or rather from) conventional music. Music constantly progresses, and - as a result - theory evolves alongside it, although usually somewhat later. (No point in rewriting theory to take in every avant garde idea; wait until it becomes "common practice", when it makes sense to incorporate it.)
At the same time, theorists occasionally think up new concepts or ideas for how music might move forward. This is really the tail trying to wag the dog, but just occasionally the "dog" pays attention. But if that happens - if new theories catch on and produce new music - it's always because those theories spring from the old conventions, sprouting up from the cracks, as it were.
Eg, George Russell (of the notorious Lydian Chromatic Concept) was highly qualified in old school conventions. But he thought he saw an opening, a new angle which could allow jazz to escape the conventions of classical functional harmony (which "classical" music itself had already abandoned, of course). Sometimes, throwing a new light on stuff reveals a new perspective. Russell deliberately stood at a different angle to the scene, and drew it as he saw it from there (from the lydian angle, not the ionian one), which meant new terms were necessary - which tended to put off those happy with the old ones.

Then again, there's a significant minority of musicians who just can't get their heads around conventional theory. They find other ways of understanding conventional music, inventing their own terms, drawing their own patterns and connections.
Some of these end up believing they've discovered revolutionary new perspectives. Partly this is down to the new terms they've invented. They don't realise that the music they like, and want to play or write, is usually fully describable using conventional terms. They've invented something they call a "circular transportation device", and can't see that it's just a wheel. "Wheel?", they say, "what the hell's that? I don't get it! It makes no sense!"

E.g., there's a whole subculture of alternative notation systems, often linked to new keyboard designs, which spring from the (rational) observation that standard notation is tied to what they see as an archaic notion of diatonic scales (7 notes and 5 chromatics). Why not have a system which treats all 12 notes equally? ABCDEFGHIJKL? Or something like that.
They seem to forget that standard notation still IS useful (and the best system so far developed) for notating the vast majority of music that is in use today.
To adopt their system would mean throwing out the entire conventional system and starting again. And of course culture doesn't work like that. It sometimes appears to be dictated from on high (especially to rebels), but actually it always comes from the grass roots up - from the masses and what they like (or are prepared to accept).

Against that, one can argue that the system is self-perpetuating. As long as we have standard notation, and the "7+5" piano keyboard design, then we will fall into the rut of playing music that suits it. The tradition is all there, with an authoritative weight behind it too. Too easy to just bow down and follow.
Whenever we want to play music that doesn't suit the "system", that music is hobbled to some extent by the fact it can't be written down without looking stupidly complicated, because we have to bend the old system to fit. Same with theory - we have to hammer the old theory out of shape to fit the new music. So this "new music" can't quite get off the ground. (Nothing to do with any "conspiracy" on the part of the old guard. That's just the way things are.)

Standard notation is biased towards tonality - and tonality was supposed to have been exhausted over 100 years ago. (Of course, the other thing biased towards tonality is popular taste... )

The 20th century was full of avant garde composers trying to invent new ways of notating their non-tonal music. You had to be trained in each system before you could play the music. No wonder (let alone the dead weight of popular taste) that music remained underground, the preserve of a tiny number of dedicated enthusiasts.

So I sympathise with peppers to some extent. He is making music (easy to navigate to it if you want to check) not just trying to re-define theory. His music is bizarre (as you might imagine), but it's definitely "music". Where he seems to be lost is in making some kind of bridge between the sounds he's making, and conventional theory. Not to explain his own music, I don't think - but to try and approach conventional music from his own unconventional perspective. I think he's aware he's missing something, but can't quite get a handle on it.
From his angle, I suspect, we seem to be sitting on our stout castle walls and pompously throwing stuff at him, instead of going out to meet him. Then again, he does seem to be more interested in building his own ramshackle castle out there than in genuinely communicating....
Last edited by jongtr at Mar 9, 2016,
Music theory is not designed to make some sort of music. It is a discovery of how most human beings perceive the interactions of tones. There are some other styles of theory for other styles of music, and those sound a certain way also.

These tones sound this way. And we name them, and we name them intelligently, in a way that all fits together, using consistent nomenclature. The way it's organized is really smart.

We don't make music the way we make because somebody randomly created theory, and then everyone decided to follow the rules and it made music we have today, a completely arbitrary occurrence.

Humans perceive sound a certain way, in general. We named theory based on that, and our music is the way it is, based on that.

Can you develop different sorts of theory, sure, but if you do that, and you do it right, then it will result in different sounding music. And a lot of the time, that will result in music that most people don't like, like Miles Davis mentioned above, and witches brew, for example.

But theory is designed to make music. That's what it is for. If you want to change it to make a different sort of music, you can, but then you really need to change it in such a way that it would be wielded differently. Not just change the names of things because it suits your fancy better. That won't accomplish anything, except alienate you from everyone that uses conventional theory. And if you develop a different view on theory, and that is used to make music differently, and the resulting music is different, then cool, that's something a lot of guys want to do, but most human beings will not like that music.

Theory wasn't named according to math. It wasn't discovered in a lab, it wasn't created by scientists. It was discovered based entirely on how things sound to humans. That's it. patterns were discovered, and their relevance, and how they were used and how they interacted, prompted ways to organize them. Then, some people looked at that, and learned those things, and used those to sort of toy with it, with concepts they learned and knew. For instance dropping the idea of the key, by understanding how one chord might link to another, and by letting them float freely between modal pivot points. That's kind of a cerebral more modern approach to music that was possible because of the theory that was establish prior. You could say that was seeing further from standing on the shoulders of giants. But it didn't catch on. I don't like that music, personally. And I think the reason for both of those things is that the key matters a lot to us, in an innate fundamental sense. Music theory isn't really about math or vibrations, or tones, in a sense. It is more about human beings, and how we perceive those things. It is information about us.
you'd imagine the first time you listen to music not from europe or america this whole idea that whatever you learned in your guitar lessons is born of innate human nature would really be shattered
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Best,

Sean

Oh god. Your signature way of ending the posts made this one hilarious Just me? Okay... I'm still laughing though
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*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
Sean wins the thread. I'm closing it.
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