Page 2 of 2
#41
MaggaraMarine 

Thanks, I'm going to try the relative and parallel pentatonic thing with Scarborough Fair.

UPDATE I just tried it with my version of Scarborough Fair, which is in F# Dorian. The pents that seem to work well with it are C#m/E and F#m/A, so "parallel" wins. I'm guessing that I could work up a passably interesting arrangement using these two scales.
Last edited by Tony Done at Aug 15, 2017,
#42
Tony Done I think that somehow we have been cheated. It is misleading to consider only major scale and minor scale. A scale is a set of notes starting from the root note. Usually in the Western World we have diatonic music, a scale of seven notes that has this pattern of consecutive intervals: tone (T), tone, semitone (S), tone, tone, tone, semitone, but you can start in any point. It can be TTSTTTS or it can be STTTSTT. A good way to consider this is to use the notation that refers to the intervals from the root. For example, you can have a scale that is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 or you can have 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7, and in both cases you can start in any note you like, that would be the root. It is confusing to consider a mode as the major scale but starting in a note that is not the root of this major scale, just the same it is absurd to think of A minor as C major starting in A. 
A minor is a scale that has this pattern: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 starting from A, and C major is a scale that has this pattern: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 starting from C. And yes, the notes are the same but the scale is different, the root is different. And this minor and major scales are just modes, modes that we all know, but there are others, and they are also used. We have for example dorian mode: 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 and it has no sense to say it is a minor scale with a raised 6, or even worse, minor scale with a borrowed 6 from the major scale. That is confusing. Dorian mode is a seven scale with diatonic pattern: TSTTTST. And there is a lot of music, for example Carlos Santana, done this way. In rock music with its roots in blues, it is the default mode the mixolydian. It is a bad theory to consider this mode as the major scale with a b7 instead of the 7. You have for example all those songs in E, and the basic scale is E F# G# A B C# D, and you hear the chords E A D (major triads) and this sound that you get is not the major scale, it is mixolydian, and it's everywhere in rock music (Led Zeppelin, AC/DC....). And very often you hear also the b3 note, and the b5, and even other notes, to have a richer sound, but the basic is this. 
And you have flamenco music here in my country (Spain) : 1 b2 b3 3 4 5 b6 b7 (phrygian with 3 and also sometimes other notes), and it would be wrong to think of it as a minor scale but starting in the fifth degree or dominant. If you have a tune with this phrygian mode and the root is E you have this scale E F G A B C D. The root is E. It has nothing to do with the C major scale, and it has nothing to do with A minor. It is what it is, and it has his peculiar sound, and you have E chord, a major chord, and so in the scale you also have G#.
So when you study a tune, figure out the root and the rest of the notes, the chords, and sometimes you will see that it's not minor (aeolian) nor major (ionian), it is something else.
#43
I agree; it is a musical mistake to think of the major scale as the basis from which other scales are formed by changing the major scale. That method suggests using something that you do not intend to play and do not want to hear in order to construct something you do want to play and hear... terrible idea when what you are wanting to do is hear and play what you do want to hear and play; especially when playing with others.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#44
Tony Done 

Sure.

I tend to organize them in major or minor forms.  So major scale with a raised 4th, minor scale with a lowered 2nd, etc.  

Also grouped conceptually from bright to dark (Lydian ending on Locrian)

As for your comment that "  the basic chords associated with it are those of the C major scale"

In my opinion, the flaw would be assuming that the chords in C can be applied wholesale, without an assessment on how you'd make them work for D and NOT C.  

This comes down to function.   So my question to you is, HOW do you take chords in C and make them feel resolved to Dm?  That is the fundamental disconnect that I often find.    Chords in the Key of C have specific functions; they can be leading towards the tonic, or away from the tonic.   So, the challenge is, take the chords in C as you say it, and manipulate the functions so that they do NOT resolve on C, but emphasize the tonal center of D.

A more complete understanding of chord functions, and how things resolve, will reveal that the choices are not a free for all extraction of any chord from C major, but a carefully considered selection, that honors the monotone expediency of the D note, while expressing the natural 6 and minor 3rd characteristic notes, while avoiding the V7-I resolution tendencies that would indicate a resolution back to C.    

And yes, I understand that b3 is not the characteristic tone in Dorian, but it does enhance the minor tonality.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Sep 15, 2017,
#45
dorianblues 

Oh, I don't only think in terms of diatonics, a lot of what I play ends up with both major and minor 3rds, for example, so it has a blues sound. I also sometimes use what I think of as flamenco-like chord sequences, for example my arrangement of "Hotel California" borrows from the Gypsy Kings version.

Sean0913 

I think that the idea of CM chords for D dorian is a good starting point, at least for what I play. For example I play "Scarborough Fair" as slide or lap steel in an open major tuning, so I know that if I start from the 2nd fret, a lot of the harmonies I want are going to be found in the same slide barres and slants as if I was playing a piece in the open major key.
#46
Quote by dorianblues
and it has no sense to say it is a minor scale with a raised 6


It is a bad theory to consider this mode as the major scale with a b7 instead of the 7

Why? I mean, that's what Dorian and Mixolydian sound like. Dorian is a minor sound (because of the minor tonic triad) but instead of the minor 6th that the normal minor scale has, it uses a major 6th. Same with Mixolydian. The only note that makes it different from the regular major scale is the 7th. I don't see why pointing this out is confusing or wrong.

Our ears are so used to minor and major keys that we are going to compare everything to those sounds. If you heard a song that used the Dorian scale but you didn't know what "Dorian" is, you would most likely just call it "minor" (and you wouldn't even be incorrect since the tonic triad is still minor).
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
#47
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Why? I mean, that's what Dorian and Mixolydian sound like. 

Interesting. I'll add a disclaimer her, I am not a lead player, I'm a cowboy chord fingerpicker, so I'm not presenting myself as any kind of authority on this, I'm just probing to get some insights as to how others think about this. I see Mixolydian, for example, as diatonic major that resolves to, and often starts on the fifth, so I would expect G Mixo to resolve to G and work with CM chords as a starting point. Am I missing something here?
#48
Quote by Tony Done
Interesting. I'll add a disclaimer her, I am not a lead player, I'm a cowboy chord fingerpicker, so I'm not presenting myself as any kind of authority on this, I'm just probing to get some insights as to how others think about this. I see Mixolydian, for example, as diatonic major that resolves to, and often starts on the fifth, so I would expect G Mixo to resolve to G and work with CM chords as a starting point. Am I missing something here?

The difference here is parallel vs relative modes.

The normal example is parallel/relative minor.

Parallel major and minor - same tonic, different quality
C major C D E F G A B
C minor C D Eb F G Ab Bb

Relative major and minor - same set of notes, different starting point. Relative minor is the minor scale contained in the major scale
C major C D E F G A B
A minor A B C D E F G

The general rule is that you always call the scale for the tonic when you're talking about the harmony of a whole piece or chord sequence. If you're getting into nitty gritty chord/scale stuff you might name the mode for the chord, but in that case it's understood that those "modes" are really just extended chord tone options that resolve somewhere else.
Last edited by cdgraves at Sep 15, 2017,
#50
Quote by Tony Done
Interesting. I'll add a disclaimer her, I am not a lead player, I'm a cowboy chord fingerpicker, so I'm not presenting myself as any kind of authority on this, I'm just probing to get some insights as to how others think about this. I see Mixolydian, for example, as diatonic major that resolves to, and often starts on the fifth, so I would expect G Mixo to resolve to G and work with CM chords as a starting point. Am I missing something here?

As I said earlier in the thread, "Scarborough of Fair" sounds really close to E minor. There's just one note in the melody that doesn't fit the natural E minor scale. If we ignore that note, it sounds like regular E minor stuff. That's really the only note that makes it sound like E Dorian instead of just regular E minor.

Dorian sounds really close to minor, and if somebody didn't know about modes, they would just call "Scarborough of Fair" an E minor song (instead of E Dorian).

But yeah, I was just asking dorianblues why he thinks this way of thinking (comparing modes with a minor tonic triad to the minor scale and a major tonic triad to the major scale) is "confusing".
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
#51
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Our ears are so used to minor and major keys that we are going to compare everything to those sounds. If you heard a song that used the Dorian scale but you didn't know what "Dorian" is, you would most likely just call it "minor" (and you wouldn't even be incorrect since the tonic triad is still minor).

Yes, I agree. I did not want to be dogmatic. If you are used to the sound of minor and major keys it is logical to consider them as a starting point to other modes. I just wanted to emphasize that a scale has a root ("home") and a set of notes that are related to this root, and that it is useful to have in mind this relation in terms of "intervals". So, to continue an example shown above, the notes of C major are the notes that you use in D dorian, but then the note G is the fifth (5) in C major, but in D dorian this note would be the fourth (4). 
The same if you are using chords (harmonizing the scale with triads), all the chords in all degrees of the major scale can be used in other modes (scales), but the degrees are different. In C major you have the Em triad (notes E G B, using the degree notation IIIm or iii) and this chord in D dorian would be IIm. The confusion I was refering is in not seeing clearly which one is the root. For example, some 20 years ago, with my spanish guitar and cassetes and total ignorance of music (I don't know too much today) I tried to learn and tab the song "Solitude" by Black Sabbath. And I figured out that the notes were F G A A# C D E and the chords Gm and F, just to chords repeated. And in those days I just thought in terms of minor and major scales, so I had two choices: F major or D minor, so I supposed that the song was F major. BUT CLEARLY THE ROOT IS G. That's the starting point, the scale is rooted to G. So it's not a IIm - I progression, but a Im - bVII progression. And it's Dorian. Just this. 
Something similar happened to me with flamenco, I had for example those tunes (bulerías, soleares) and I could see clearly that the root was, say, D. Then, because I didn't know what mode phrygian was, I assumed that it was a minor scale and then I would think that this tune was in G minor (to complicate things, the D chord was major, but that's another thing). So to me in those days, knowing only minor and major was a problem and somehow misleading. Later on I discovered that this was called Phrygian Dominant (phrygian adding the third 3)
Yes, with mixolydian it is easy: major scale with b7 instead of 7; and dorian: minor scale with 6 instead of b6. 
Tony Done 
I've listened to your soundclick.com  version of You gotta move, it's very good. I agree with you and I also use a lot b3 and 3, and bending notes freely that go from 2 to 4, so sometimes it is b3, or b3 (+1/4), or 2 (+1/4). In blues this is very common. Today my guitar pro transcription of the guitar solo of Waiting by Santana has been approved, and you have clearly in bar 14 the three notes b3 (+1/4), 2 (+1/4) and 1 repeated fastly.
Quote by Tony Done
I see Mixolydian, for example, as diatonic major that resolves to, and often starts on the fifth, so I would expect G Mixo to resolve to G and work with CM chords as a starting point. Am I missing something here?

This is what I was trying to explain with my bad English from Spain. Mixolydian is somehow the deafult scale if you are dealing with black music. There are academical studies that explain how the "black people" tried to adapt african scales to the western music. And the origins of their music were not diatonic, to start with the scale was constructed in another way, not divided in 12 semitones. So you have the root, the fifth, the fourth, but the third is in between our b3 and 3, (that's why in blues many piano players play chords with b3 and 3 at the same time, to get this b3 (+1/4)... yeah it's the Hendrix Chord). And something similar with 7, an african note very usual is b7 (+1/4), it's in between b7 and 7.
Anyway, if you are dealing with mixolydian (Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, Frank Zappa, etc. etc.) treat it as a scale, with its root and dominant (the fifth degree), and b7. If it is G mixolydian then G is the root, and it does not start on the fifth, the fifth (5) is D, and C is the fourth, and F is b7. G mixolydian is not C major starting in G. The notes are the same, but you have to see that the tune is in G, G is the root, and this G mixolydian has its dominant, and it's the note D. And you can use the chords of C major, but they will have, so to speak, different meaning. Let's see if I can explain. If you have the typical blues progression of twelve bars, then the chords would be (remember, in G mixolydian): G G G G C C G G D C G D (I  I  I  I  IV  IV  I  I  V  IV  I  V) .  The root is G and that's why resolves to, and often starts in this note, because it is the root. You will find everywhere music (black rooted) in mixolydian, especially in E (because of the standard tuning in guitar). That's why I say it is better to keep in mind: mixolydian is this scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7. And to enrich it and keep things interesting, adding b3, b5, and more.
#52
Quote by MaggaraMarine
As I said earlier in the thread, "Scarborough of Fair" sounds really close to E minor. There's just one note in the melody that doesn't fit the natural E minor scale. If we ignore that note, it sounds like regular E minor stuff. That's really the only note that makes it sound like E Dorian instead of just regular E minor.

Dorian sounds really close to minor, and if somebody didn't know about modes, they would just call "Scarborough of Fair" an E minor song (instead of E Dorian).

But yeah, I was just asking dorianblues why he thinks this way of thinking (comparing modes with a minor tonic triad to the minor scale and a major tonic triad to the major scale) is "confusing".


I'm very slow writing in English and I was writing the entry above when you posted this question. I refer to what I've just posted. I really don't want to be dogmatic. It can be confusing for example if you have a tune in G, with b3, so you assume it's minor (natural, aeolian), and you hear chords G and C. Then you could assume that those chords are minor triads, but in G dorian the C (IVth degree) would be a major chord, and you would have the typical progression Gm C. For example "Evil Ways" by Carlos Santana. If you have a good ear you would hear Gm C and there's no problem, and it's OK to think of it as a G minor but with 6 (note E) instead of b6. The confusion would be to play Cm chord.
#53
Quote by dorianblues
I'm very slow writing in English and I was writing the entry above when you posted this question. I refer to what I've just posted. I really don't want to be dogmatic. It can be confusing for example if you have a tune in G, with b3, so you assume it's minor (natural, aeolian), and you hear chords G and C. Then you could assume that those chords are minor triads, but in G dorian the C (IVth degree) would be a major chord, and you would have the typical progression Gm C. For example "Evil Ways" by Carlos Santana. If you have a good ear you would hear Gm C and there's no problem, and it's OK to think of it as a G minor but with 6 (note E) instead of b6. The confusion would be to play Cm chord.

OK, but if you know that the G Dorian scale has an E instead of an Eb (that "minor with a major 6th" implies), then there should be no confusion and you would not play a Cm chord instead of a C major chord. So I don't see why "minor scale with a major 6th" would be confusing in any way (and at least the way I understood it, you called it "confusing" in your first post).


Now when it comes to your previous post, I would hardly call the "blues scale" and the Mixolydian mode the same thing. I don't think the "blues scale" even is a 7 note diatonic scale (that Mixolydian is). I wouldn't really call the basic 12 bar blues progression "Mixolydian" either.

But yeah, I agree with you when it comes to treating G Mixo and C major as separate things. The tonic of C major is C, the tonic of G Mixo is G. G Mixo is a lot closer to G major than C major when it comes to how it sounds.
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
#55
Quote by MaggaraMarine
OK, but if you know that the G Dorian scale has an E instead of an Eb (that "minor with a major 6th" implies), then there should be no confusion and you would not play a Cm chord instead of a C major chord. So I don't see why "minor scale with a major 6th" would be confusing in any way (and at least the way I understood it, you called it "confusing" in your first post).


Now when it comes to your previous post, I would hardly call the "blues scale" and the Mixolydian mode the same thing. I don't think the "blues scale" even is a 7 note diatonic scale (that Mixolydian is). I wouldn't really call the basic 12 bar blues progression "Mixolydian" either.

I agree. I just wanted to focus on the fact that we can understand modes as different scales, and that is a way of understand this. I have reread my post and it sounds too doctrinal. The other approach of Dorian (minor with major 6th) leads to the same thing, and it can be a better way of understanding. My apologies.

And yes, the blues scale is not the Mixolydian mode. The blues scale has more posible notes. I only wanted to clarify this G mixolydian thing about the root note. The blues is much more. For example, it is common to include V chord (major, with the notes 5, 2 and 7; that is, if the scale is in E you have B chord with B F# and D#, that usually resolves in E). And you have of course the note b3, and it is very "blues" to bend it a quarter tone. And there is also in some blues the use of b2 major chord (see for example the great version of "I can't quit you baby" by Led Zeppelin, or "When my Heart beats like a hammer by B.B.King). And of course you have b5. And all those bends with the guitar... infinite possibilities. You can use (like the great guitarists do) all these notes and so it is "blues scale": 1, b2, 2, b3, 3, 4, b5, 5, 6, b7, 7... And also the note b6 (see Voodoo Chile)... Or you can just use only minor pentatonic.
#56
Visualising in a fretboard sense is quite easy when you practice them in parallel as well as series.

The more useful skill in my opinion is being able to sing them over a chord. Being able to sing the three major modes over a major triad, the three minor modes over a minor triad, and the locrian over a diminished is really going to give you a much better sense of the relationship between the chords and the modes. At the end of the day that's all we are trying to do. Play the right thing for the right chord.
#57
Always hated that clam at the 0:25 mark in "Solitude" (the G major chord)...

I have lost track of the positions about this issue in this thread. I will say that I have always thought of Dorian, Mixo, etc. as their own distinct sounds, not as sounding derived from minor and major... pretty much in the same way that major and minor each have their own distinct sound and do not sound derived from each other until you have gone to the trouble to configure and manipulate them as inversions of each other to force them to do so.

Back when I played pop and rock, there were mostly major and minor chords. Now days I've abandoned any perspective of seeing everything through major tinted glasses because performing jazz and blues I don't play a single simple straight major or minor chord during an entire four hour show... they just don't exist in this music. I don't even know how to describe my soloing... I could call things pents, shifted pents, Dorian, Mixo, etc., but the way I use Lydian Dominant, augmented, and diminished, they overlap each other to a degree that I really just end up using all the chromatic pitches that sound good for how the song goes.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
Last edited by PlusPaul at Sep 18, 2017,
#58
Quote by PlusPaul
Always hated that clam at the 0:25 mark in "Solitude" (the G major chord)...

I must have missed something here.  You mean the jazz standard?  Which recording? (or which bar in what key?)
#59
Quote by jerrykramskoy
jonriley64 

Out of interest, where do you think altered scale etc come from, if not modes of melodic minor?  I've never heard that before, and that sure as hell is not what's taught in UK (if you study jazz at music school).

I don't really get your reply at all, I'm afraid.  Altered scale works wonderfully over functional altered dom7 chords.  Just adds more tension.

As does locrian nat9 over a functional m7b5 ... it's just adding more colour.

Have you  experimented and applied the above (or say HM5 over functional 7)?

I use all the above mentioned a LOT in those contexts.  And also when the harmony underneath is static, just to lead back to that static chord (with appropriate scale choices to suit arriving back at that static chord).

Jerry, I just realised I never replied to these (very good) questions...

I did study jazz in the UK, although only at weekend workshops and summer schools.  But - as I said - I heard and read all the stuff about melodic minor re the altered scale in particular.  It was intellectually interesting (I trusted Mark Levine's convincing authority), but I could never make sense of it enough to apply it in practice.  
It wasn't until I realised that the altered scale was all about chromatic voice-leading on to the next chord, that I found I could use it successfully (with musical logic).  
It's only one small leap from there to realise that the scale is simply the essential chord tones (R-3-7) plus all the possible alterations.  It's derived by altering the 5th and 9th in either direction, for precisely that voice-leading purpose.  It's not "just" for "adding more tension" - of course it does that, but the point is the resolution of that tension.  It gives you the maximum number of half-step moves (including the 6 and 9 as target notes on the tonic).
The melodic minor link is an irrelevant coincidence.  Useful if you know all your melodic minor scales, of course!  IOW, for those who are well practised with melodic minor, it's a handy shortcut (although for the lazier player it tends to lead to scale running, ignoring the function).

Locrian nat9 on a m7b5 is different.  That comes from the "avoid note" principle.  It doesn't assist the functionality of the m7b5.  It's a chromaticism, but a non-functional one.  It could certainly lead up to the 7th of the V, but the m7b5 already contains that note.  Better voice-leading would be achieved with the b9 (resolving down to 5th of V), but of course that's an avoid note on a m7b5.  So the raised 9th is chosen (whenever it is, which is not that often IME) because it's more consonant with the rest of the chord.  It adds an attractive richness to the chord, and is less tense than the b9.
Again, the melodic minor link is coincidence - unless the chord happens to be vi in a minor key.

Same applies to lydian dominant.  In most applications, it's simply the scale you get by adding the remaining scale notes of the local key to the chord tones.  It doesn't derive from melodic minor.  (The only common application where that doesn't work is when the chord is bII in a major key.  But then the 9th of the bII is a kind of common sense extension or passing note.)

The tension against a static chord (resolving back to it) is a different issue.  IOW, the altered scale is an "inside" sound on the chord itself (no "avoid notes", right?).  The point is the "outside" sound relative to the following chord.  But in modal harmony - or in functional harmony where there is long enough on one chord - then outside sounds are achieved by applying avoid notes, as chromatic approaches to chord tones.  Notes a semitone below a chord tone will usually work both ways.  #11, maj7, M9 on m7 or m7b5, #9 on dom7 - all work as consonant extensions as well as chromatic approaches upwards.  (Most of them are actually non-functional, in that they add nothing to the chord's main function, and may even distract from it.)
Last edited by jonriley64 at Sep 18, 2017,
#60
Quote by jonriley64
I must have missed something here.  You mean the jazz standard?  Which recording? (or which bar in what key?)

Sorry, I was referencing dorianblues' post #51  - "Solitude" on Black Sabbath's third album Master of Reality.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#61
jonriley64 

I agree with your thought on the independence of scales from derivation. I found (invented/discovered) Lydian Dominant before Melodic Minor or the Altered Scale. I don't "play" either the melodic minor or altered scales, but they come out as inversions or modes of Lydian Dominant... but I don't really "play" Lydian Dominant either because of the way it overlaps with augmented, diminished, and whole tone...
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#62
jonriley64  I found Mark Levine's book to be the least helpful of the various jazz books I've used (which are many!)

The majority of jazz theorists agree that the modes of the ascending melodic minor scale yield altered, locrian nat 2, lydian dominant, etc.  So, I personally think the melodic minor link is highly relevant as being tyhe source of these.  Not only that, but, playing the related parent melodic minor scale, emphasising its tonic, also sounds really nice (e.g. F mel min against E alt chord) as does playing E altered scale against E alt chord (different emphasis).  I use both approaches.

When I referred to tension, I was assuming therefore that resolution is the usual course of action (but I guess I should have stated that). 

I also am entirely enamoured by chord-scale theory ... there's loads of other stuff that can be done wrapped around the chord tones.
#63
Quote by jerrykramskoy
jonriley64  I found Mark Levine's book to be the least helpful of the various jazz books I've used (which are many!)

The majority of jazz theorists agree that the modes of the ascending melodic minor scale yield altered, locrian nat 2, lydian dominant, etc.  So, I personally think the melodic minor link is highly relevant as being tyhe source of these.  Not only that, but, playing the related parent melodic minor scale, emphasising its tonic, also sounds really nice (e.g. F mel min against E alt chord) as does playing E altered scale against E alt chord (different emphasis).  I use both approaches.

When I referred to tension, I was assuming therefore that resolution is the usual course of action (but I guess I should have stated that). 

I also am entirely enamoured by chord-scale theory ... there's loads of other stuff that can be done wrapped around the chord tones.

Well, I can't say I care for "the majority of jazz theorists".  (I agree about Levine, naturally.)
Of course, melodic minor "yields" those scales, but that's not where they come from originally.  At least, they make a lot more sense when derived from context.  
If there are jazz musicians who use melodic minor modes in this way, good for them, and I guess I just haven't heard their music.  

I'm no jazz expert, by any means - this is only my $0.02 -  and my taste in jazz has a huge hole in the 1970s and 80s (and various smaller holes elsewhere).  Maybe that's where the melodic minor merchants all reside.  I may well have heard musicians using those scales, but interpreted it in other ways. In any case, I'm pretty sure the way the scales work is nothing to do with their melodic minor connection.  

As for emphasising the F of F melodic minor over an E7alt, that's just emphasising the b9.  No need to think "F melodic minor", if only because the sound  you're getting is not F melodic minor.  It's E altered.  I don't see the point of calling a sound by a different name.  It's perfectly possible to think about emphasising different chord tones without needing to name the scale after the note you're emphasising!  It's meaningless.  (It's the same as people talking about "playing D dorian mode" over a G7   .)

I'm with PlusPaul on lydian dominant.  It's one of those "common sense" scales you can discover without reading any jazz theory or knowing the scale name, just from adding scale notes to certain chromatic chords.  It's a no-brainer, basically.  (You get melodic minor of a minor iv chord in major in much the same way - which is lydian dominant of the bVII.)  
And I've developed a similar view to him about the relation with the altered scale.  Maybe the tritone sub came first?  Lydian dominant is the obvious scale for a bII chord in a minor key (adding remaining diatonic scale notes to the chord tones), and when  you set it over a V bass note, it becomes the V altered scale.  

However, I will admit that a melodic minor perspective is useful for certain licks or superimposed arpeggios on a V7alt.  There, I said it!

BTW, I assume there is a "not" missing from the first part of your last sentence? (I hope so anyway )  I certainly agree about "loads of other stuff that can be done wrapped around the chord tones."  I actually find scale thinking (beyond the scale of the key) is inhibiting and distracting.
Last edited by jonriley64 at Sep 19, 2017,
#64
jonriley64 Yup ... a "Not" is definitely missing!  Slight change of meaning there :-)

There IS a difference between F mel minor (as I stated, where the F tonality is emphasised through the use of the Fmmaj7 chord tones, versus playing E altered, where the emphasis is around the E (don't take "is" too literally).

I don't understand what you mean by " in any case, I'm pretty sure the way the scales work is nothing to do with their melodic minor connection.   ".  I sense that you understand me to be talking about a piece of music written in melodic minor, or in a mode of melodic minor ... I am not.  That is rarely done ... though guys like John Schofiield did write tunes at least partly in Lydian Augmented.  Start bringin in chroamticism, and the whole thing starts becoming a moot point ... but you can still see plenty of evidence of Lydian dominant being derived from melodic minor ... e.g, in you have a G7, then players will often play G dom7 pentatonic and A dom7 pentatonic (as come from D melodic minor).

So, I don't buy that these scales magically appeared by mucking around with the original modes of the major minor system ... though of course, chromaticism would easily lead from Mixolydian to Lydian Mixolydian (as the b5 is a great sound, either as a passing note).
#65
Quote by PlusPaul
Always hated that clam at the 0:25 mark in "Solitude" (the G major chord)...

I forgot to quote before, I've been working hard in a guitar pro tab of "Blues for me" by B.B. King, trying to get all the accuracy I can. Now it has been submitted.

I like your point of view. And I have checked this 0:25 mark with Transcribe and it is true... there is a B instead of A#, I had not realized until now. Do you just listen to it and you notice that there is a sound that does not fit? I´m curious, it is one of those tunes I've listening from long time ago
#66
Quote by jerrykramskoy
"where the F tonality is emphasised through the use of the Fmmaj7 chord tones"


- OK, you're talking about a superimposed arpeggio, not just emphasising F.  I did say that I think the melodic minor angle is useful for thinking of arps in that way.  Personally I like Fm and Gm triads, or Gm pent or Fm6/9.  

What I meant by "the way the scales work" is in relation to the key of the moment.  IOW, the E altered scale works as precisely that, as a dominant scale in key of A minor.  
Locrian natural 2 works in relation to the chord and key of the moment, not as the melodic minor scale it resembles.

I don't deny that the melodic minor link is useful for accessing the pitch collections, and building superimposed arps.  But notes work musically in relation to chords and key, not in relation to some other scale they happen to resemble.

It's news to me that some musicians actually write in scales like lydian augmented, or that they actively think about "melodic minor harmony" (beyond the melodic minor of the key).  I'm not surprised - it's interesting news - but I'd imagine it's the kind of music that wouldn't make much sense to me.  I'd very much like to hear examples though.

I do know that I've never heard any jazz where an understanding of melodic minor assists in understanding how the music works - except on minor tonic chords.  I would like to hear some jazz where melodic minor concepts offer better interpretations than conventional tonal or modal ones.  (I'm guessing it would come from that period of jazz which is blank for me...)
"Lydian dominant being derived from melodic minor ... e.g, in you have a G7, then players will often play G dom7 pentatonic and A dom7 pentatonic (as come from D melodic minor)."

But I'd just see that as introducing a #4 into the scale.  And in what context is that G7 used?  What function?  


"So, I don't buy that these scales magically appeared by mucking around with the original modes of the major minor system ..."

OK, that's where we have to agree to differ.  I guess it's not about facts, but perspectives. 

As I understand it, chromaticism was introduced into diatonic harmony for various reasons, both in classical music and in jazz.  (Nothing to do with modes, btw, - except that chromaticism of a kind did exist in the modal era.)  Secondary dominants, augmented 6ths, neapolitan chords, borrowed chords.  None of them implied different scales.  In jazz, the augmented 6th translates as tritone subs - again, not implying any different scales, just as a way of introducing chromatic voice-leading between the diatonic chords of the key.  (Even harmonic and melodic minor are not separate scales from natural minor - outside of theory books, that is.  In practice, in actual music, they are just expressions of the variable 6th and 7th in the minor key; temporary alterations of natural minor, if you like.)

The scales come later.  When jazz musicians want to improvise on a chromatic chord, they need a whole scale, not just the chord tones.  The obvious simplest method is to add notes from the scale of the key.  That's how you can get lydian dominant from a bVII or IV7 chord in major, and from a bII7 chord in minor.  IOW, if you do just play the chord tones and fill in with diatonic scale notes, you're playing "lydian dominant" without even realising it.  Why would you need to know?  You can almost get the altered scale that way too (although harmonic minor is the most obvious solution).  

The problem with that method is when you hit "avoid notes" - those pesky notes a half-step above chord tones.  Many soloists wouldn't care, because they sound fine in melodic lines.  It's when pianists (and maybe guitarists) start wanting to add extensions to the chords that it becomes an issue.  You want to reduce the avoid notes, and ideally remove them altogether, so any note in the scale can become an extension.  
That's how one can easily arrive at either the altered scale or HW dim (or lydian dominant) on a V7 chord.  It's how a jazz musician arrives at melodic minor on a tonic minor chord (with no implication of any further harmonic use).
  
Still, it's surprising from that perspective that lydian dominant is so rare on V7 chords.  It would seem obvious to fix the solitary avoid note in mixolydian by raising it a semitone.  
Functionally, however, it seems other alterations are more attractive: b5 and #5 for a start (moving to root and 3rd) - and b9 and #9 to complete the set of chromatic leading tones to the tonic chord.  (The difference between #4 and b5, of course, is there is no P5 if there is a b5.)  Once you have that pitch collection, you can make the b5 the bass note, and you have a tritone sub. 
 
This process seems obvious to me, a highly likely practical origin of the "altered scale".  Nothing to do with melodic minor, except that - magically! - it's enharmonic with the 7th mode of MM.  So - if you know your melodic minor scales intimately - that can seem like a great short cut, easier than memorising all those alterations.  

In short, my perspective is always from the chords:  what are the chord tones, and what is this chord doing here? Where is it going?  I don't really think in scales at all (beyond the scale of the key, that is). The only time I think in modes is when the music is modal.
Last edited by jonriley64 at Sep 21, 2017,
#67
jonriley64 I guess the distinction lies between the theoretical concepts (e.g. melodic minor and modes thereof, chords thereof ...) and the application and approach to music that someone undertakes.  Neither one invalidates the other.

When I improvise, I'm not thinking scales etc ... I'm (vaguel) thinking out what to emphasise against what's currently going on, what are good landing notes, how to inject a bit of bite (tension), or remove it, and so on.

You are making very strong statements that deny how a lot of these scales are derived (as taught widely) ... your prerogative!   You obviously have a way of perceiving how music comes together as makes sense for you.  And it makes sense to me.  I understand what you mean by "works" now too (thanks).

Who taught you, or where did you pick up,  the concepts you present, out of interest?  

I suggest though that you are at odds with how Jazz is widely taught.

Check out John Schofield, especially early albums (Blue Matter, Electric Outlet).  It is very clear that his ideas are coming from the perceived occurrences of mel minor chords relative to the tonal centre, along with a lot of stuff derived from half-whole scale.

Oh ... the G7 example was a groove, as opposed to a functional dominat.
#68
Quote by dorianblues
And I have checked this 0:25 mark with Transcribe and it is true... there is a B instead of A#, I had not realized until now. Do you just listen to it and you notice that there is a sound that does not fit? I´m curious, it is one of those tunes I've listening from long time ago

I noticed the first time I played the record as a teenager, couldn't believe they let it stay.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
#69
Quote by jerrykramskoy
jonriley64 I guess the distinction lies between the theoretical concepts (e.g. melodic minor and modes thereof, chords thereof ...) and the application and approach to music that someone undertakes.  Neither one invalidates the other.

When I improvise, I'm not thinking scales etc ... I'm (vaguel) thinking out what to emphasise against what's currently going on, what are good landing notes, how to inject a bit of bite (tension), or remove it, and so on.

You are making very strong statements that deny how a lot of these scales are derived (as taught widely) ... your prerogative!   You obviously have a way of perceiving how music comes together as makes sense for you.  And it makes sense to me.  I understand what you mean by "works" now too (thanks).

Who taught you, or where did you pick up,  the concepts you present, out of interest?  

I suggest though that you are at odds with how Jazz is widely taught.

Check out John Schofield, especially early albums (Blue Matter, Electric Outlet).  It is very clear that his ideas are coming from the perceived occurrences of mel minor chords relative to the tonal centre, along with a lot of stuff derived from half-whole scale.

Oh ... the G7 example was a groove, as opposed to a functional dominat.

I agree my statements are "strong", and I don't intend to be confrontational.  I realise melodic minor modes and melodic minor harmony is widely taught, but I'm not sure it's widely taught that scales such as altered and lydian dominant are literally (or historically) derived from melodic minor.  If you know of sources that state that, I'd like to see them.  Obviously the connection is useful, as I said.  There's no real need to talk about derivation.  (Similarly, we can learn about modes by beginning from the major scale, without saying the modes "derive from" the major scale, any more than we need to go into the history of scale development.)

My experience is obviously what's led me to my current viewpoint, so hopefully the following will explain where I'm coming from.
  
I mostly taught myself guitar, and have played in around 40 different bands of all kinds over the last 50 years (the vast majority either amateur or semi-pro).  My first band actually played a very simple kind of "jazz", a few old 1920s tunes, alongside blues and folk tunes.  I was improvising (crudely of course) from the start, just messing around with chords the way I heard people do it on records: getting it to sound right without any real theoretical underpinning. (I could read music from the start, and I knew about major scales, but that was about it.  My theoretical understanding came largely from songbooks, although I did also read a little Rudiments of Music book in the early 70s.)  
Then I was in a Hot Club style band in the mid 70s, faking my way through some Django licks.  Again, copying what I heard, as well as I could.
I caught on to "modern jazz" in the late 70s thanks to a close friend who was a pro tenor player and bandleader.  (It really meant nothing at all to me before, until I saw it live and in action, played by people I knew.  With hindsight I guess it was broadly a kind of fusion style; lots of funk influence.)

Around the same time, I began reading more and more on music theory, musicology, music history, acoustics and psychology.  (Thanks mainly to the library at the art college I was then at.) 

Finally (feeling it was time I "grew up") I started going to jazz classes around 1989 (group workshops in London, and various summer schools after that, for the next 20 years or so - on either guitar or bass).  
Naturally I got introduced to jazz chord-scale theory, which was all interesting and made a lot of sense - at least as an intellectual system with its own internal logic.  I read Mark Levine and was impressed.  The concept of a chord and scale being more or less the same thing was a kind of mini-epiphany - I liked the fluidity that suggested.  It opened stuff up.  
However - whenever I improvised, I stuck to the habits I'd developed over the previous 20+ years (in folk, blues and rock as well as early styles of jazz).  I worked from the melody and the chord tones (which I regarded as common sense), ignoring all this jazz theory I was learning.  Even though I felt a bit stupid or ignorant in not being able to apply the concepts, I felt I knew what I was doing, and I generally got compliments on my solos.  Certainly none of the tutors ever picked me up on anything I was doing wrong.  I felt my technique and my ear were lacking - both too slow - but not my understanding of what improvisation was about.  
(My tutors over those years - some of whom you may have heard of - included John Etheridge, John Parricelli (great!), Steve Berry (ditto), Pete Churchill, Dave Cliff, Julian Arguelles, Rufus Reid, Roland Perrin, Terry Seabrook, Simon Purcell, Dudley Phillips, Geoff Simkins, Julian Siegel, Chris Batchelor, Mark Lockheart... and many more I forget.  Funnily enough I don't remember any of them going on much about melodic minor harmony, although altered and lydian dominant cropped up quite often.)  
These were not generally advanced classes, I should say.  I'd call them intermediate in level.   Technically I was roughly average, fitted in OK in that respect. I found that I knew more theory than most of the students (decades of reading), but less about jazz in general,   (My jazz record collection is embarrassingly small.)

Then around 10 years ago, as I began surfing music and theory sites, I started finding - amongst all the BS about modes! - critiques of Levine's approach.  The first was a trombonist, Ed Byrne, promoting what he called a "linear" approach  Soon after it was Robert Rawlins, with a very pointed and erudite attack on Levine (leading to his own rather boring Jazzology book).  Later there were youtubes of Hal Galper (of course) - excitingly inspirational - and Mulgrew Miller.  The occasional other quote from a jazz veteran added to this new (to me) outlook, which  you could sum up as "anti-CST", or "pro-linear".  
This was an even bigger epiphany than Levine, because what they were all saying aligned exactly with how I'd instinctively always approached improvisation.  I might have been stumbling blindly along (teaching myself), but it seemed I had been stumbling along the right path all along.  It was like the lights all came on, to show that I was standing right where I ought to be.
I looked back at Levine's book and realised the musical excerpts he used in his book - which had given it enormous authority at first - were no real evidence of his theories at all, because most of them could be interpreted in other ways.  (I'd read other books in the interim, btw, such as Paul Berliner's Thinking In Jazz.)

So I wouldn't want to dismiss any alternative approaches to improvisation, and certainly not any alternative systems of making music (beyond keys and the usual modes).  If I sound "strong" in my statements, it's because I feel like my feet are firmly on the ground, and my view is supported by enough other experienced musicians. (Enough for me, that is.)   I accept that others may see my viewpoint as rather narrow: it works for me, so why would I care about other methods, that seem unnecessarily complicated?  It feels to me like my approach is simple and direct - straight to the heart of what music is about.  
But then I have to admit that my taste is for simple music anyway.  I'm not drawn to jazz which is fast or difficult, any more than I am to classical music (or indeed rock music) which is similarly complex.  Giant Steps, e,g, means nothing to me.  I get it, but I don't get it, if you know what I mean - yes, it's clever, I see what he did there, but so what?  Give me Monk any day - I get that (at least it feels like I do).  

YMMV obviously - which I think is really what it's all about.

I like what I've heard of John Scofield, btw, so I'll try and check out the albums you mention - especially if you can think of specific tracks (or even specific parts of those tracks) which illustrate the melodic minor basis of them.  I'm not sure I'd trust my ear to recognise it unassisted.
#70
Hi Jon(?) ... great post.  I love hearing these kind of learning /  playing experiences.

First, to address sources about melodic minor:  below are a few...  I haven't got time to respond right now properly to the post you've put a lot of thought into, but I will tomorrow, promise!

Jazz harmony:  Andy Jaffe  (pretty much at the start of the book, and in several other areas)
How to improvise: Hal Crook
Jazz guitar chord syste: Scott Henderson (mostly based on melodic minor chords built off the various members of the scale).  Great voicings with multiple applications.
Jazz Theory Resources, Vol 2: Bert Ligon
The Berklee book of jazz harmony: Joe Mulholland and Tom Hojnacki
#71
jonriley64 100% agree about not knowing to need the derivation of modes (especially from major) ... no-one questions why we have major scale, or why we have minor pentatonic, say.  They just use them, and so it should be with modes ... knowledge of derivation is useless an indeed confusing ... that said it is a useful aide-memoire to realise the same distribution of chord types exist across the modes, just "shuffled around"

There is a lot of similarity in our musical interests (theory, psychology and so on).  I have been fascinated by music and cognitive psychology for may years now, and the obvious impilcations for musicians and song writing etc (i.e. structure rather than random, repetition, credence to listener's expectations ..., but also the brain's limitations (especially around rhythm, tempo)

Of your teachers, I recognise a few of the names, and knew one of them (John Etheridge).  Hap Galper is great.  I think the concept that any note can be played against any setting and the issues come down to how resolution occurs (or not), should be preacghed far more widely.  And of course, chord tones, and the simple awareness of pitch hierarchy and their tendencies.  A lot of freedom results, alot of unnecessary concern vanishes, and it's great fun.

That said, guys like Jerry Bergonzi, while playing very freely, also promotes chord-scales sort-of, in as much as how to get some extremely musical results.  His jazz courses are very good.  But he's certainly not precious about chord-scales.

My playing started at age 9 swapping a rusty bicycle for a beat-up near stringless acoustic guitar, said deal occurring in the bushveld outside of Johannesberg (my Dad was working there for a couple of years).  Self-taught, with usual help from friends, and scratching my records to pieces at 16 rpm, etc.  Went through usual route of rock, blues, then metal, then got disillusioned with industry.  Stopped guitar for a few years, then cam back to with a vengeance in my early 30's, and that's when I really got into music properly, studied it etc ...  my main study was with one of the top UK guitarists (jazz, rock), who was head of Jazz and Rock at the Guitar Institure in London (Shaun Baxter) ... I spent many years with him ... great guy, great friend, and an amazing player.

Had more than my fair share of serious hand injuries and ulnar nerve injury, which have stopped my playing for long periods.  More or less recovered now, but I'll never get back the technique I did have (which was virtuoso level).  Doesn't matter though ... I continue getting more musical, continue writing, continue exploring and learning new stuff.  Currently, I'm concentrating much more or rhythmic concepts, and far less concerned about notes.  Unlimited mileage there!

As for Giant Steps comment, shouldn't the follow up "so what" be "So What"?  :-)

I will get back to to you on the Schofield examples.  been awhile since I listened to these, and I'm currently up to my ears in work.  Realistically, some time late next week.
Page 2 of 2