#1
I was noodling about last night playing over a chord progression and suddenly found that you could play a four note chromatic and it sounds all in key, I was pretty surprised, I'm still learning and never though this was possible. Thinking back (can't remember exactly) was noodling in A minor pentatonic and C major (just now understanding the uses of a relative key), A minor being the relative key of C major. The four chromatic notes were D, D#, E, F (where the two scales cross over) just incase anyone else was interested

anyone else ever come across anything like this while playing and it suprised you, like you discover something new yourself then finally understand the theory behind it?
#2
theory is a guideline NOT an enforced law, so basically i play what comes to heart but still when in doubt i try to stick to some little guides.

Check erotomania - dream theater the whole intro is like 8 chromatic notes
#3
Quote by Helpy Helperton
I was noodling about last night playing over a chord progression and suddenly found that you could play a four note chromatic and it sounds all in key, I was pretty surprised, I'm still learning and never though this was possible. Thinking back (can't remember exactly) was noodling in A minor pentatonic and C major (just now understanding the uses of a relative key), A minor being the relative key of C major. The four chromatic notes were D, D#, E, F (where the two scales cross over) just incase anyone else was interested

anyone else ever come across anything like this while playing and it suprised you, like you discover something new yourself then finally understand the theory behind it?

I'm a little confused by two things:

1. How were you playing in A minor and C major? If you're talking about playing them over the same progression, you're playing one or the other (whichever is suggested by the tonal center), not both.

2. What do you mean that D D# E F is where the "scales cross over"?
#4
@ martindecorum i'm not sure you understood where i was coming from, i can play 8 chromatic notes too, but they won't fit over a chord progression resolving to C. I also think that too many people say, "theory is guidline not enforced law" because they can't be bothered to learn theory. Was just putting something out there that maybe people who do like theory and learn it might throw something else back and get a bit of discussion going.

@ smiley face dude, one major point here is that I am still learning, so bear with me if something was slightly out of place. Only way I can describe it was that I was playing A minor pentatonic, then changed note selection using the 4 note chromatic to move to C major. Not sure how to describe, as for the chord progression I'm not sure what it was. What I meant by 'cross over', I really meant the patterns of the scales (the 2 common patterns for a min pent and c maj are beside each other).

just to reiterate i'm still learning, just wanted to point out something i found and just enjoyed talking about the (basic) theory i know.
Last edited by Helpy Helperton at Jun 9, 2008,
#5
i know what you mean helpy, although :-D is right, you can't play in both C major and A Minor at the same time. what you could say is that when the Blue note from the A minor blues scales (#4/b5) is added to the A Aeolian scale you get a chromatic run of four notes from D to F.
#8
Quote by Helpy Helperton
@ smiley face dude, one major point here is that I am still learning, so bear with me if something was slightly out of place. Only way I can describe it was that I was playing A minor pentatonic, then changed note selection using the 4 note chromatic to move to C major.

I get what you're saying, but I'll just try and make this clearer for you, hopefully it helps. When you were playing "A minor pentatonic", you were either playing A minor or C major depending on what the tonal center was. After that little chromatic run, you didn't change keys unless the harmony behind you did. Regardless of your new note selection, if nothing about the progression changed, you're playing in the same key.

Does that make any sense?

EDIT: I wouldn't look into modes until you've got the theory behind diatonic harmony down first, or else you may get very confused.
#9
just to hammer :-D's point home. A minor pentatonic and C Major pentatonic may both have the same content, i.e. notes, but which scale you are playing again depends upon the underlying harmony. if the underlying progression is in A minor and you are playing (what you believe) to be a C major pentatonic scale shape, you are actually playing A minor pentatonic. I doesn't matter if it has the same notes or you know it as the C maj Pentatonic shape, the tonal center is A minor and you are playing A minor pentatonic.

i would advise looking into diatonic harmony, just as :-D recommended, and i would also recommend not thinking about scales as shapes. Again, scales are notes, not shapes, and their definition depends upon the harmonic context and tonal center.
#10
Yeah that does help (both :-D and sisuphi), i only really recently tried getting round the shapes (guess it went into my head pretty good when first learning) but yes thanks I do understand, and will look into diatonic harmony. I understand that the different modes exist, and that they all use the same notes but center around a different note, but i'll steer clear of these for now. Back to the drawing board
#11
^ also, when playing chromatic runs (especially faster ones) your mind automatically assumes the first and last are most important, so in your case, both notes are in key, so it sounds like you're in key.

Play the notes really slowly over a single C major chord and it won't work as well, believe me.
#12
no, i wouldn't post having just played it fast once and said hey that sounds nice lets post on UG lol, i played it slow and messed arounf with it and was suprised just at how well it fits
#13
don't get me wrong, the box shapes are a great learning technique for before you actually know the theory behind them. because of the way guitars are constructed there are inevitably patterns all over the fretboard which give the player quick reference to what they are playing. the point is to understand what these patterns are doing and what they mean. don't "go back to the drawing board" synthesize your understanding of the instrument with any new knowledge that you pick up.
#14
Incorporating chromaticism into my solos is something I've been working on recently. Where the chromatic notes fall is very important. The weaker the beat, the better you can get away with it. In 4/4 the strong beats are 1 and 3. So it would sound better (rather it's easier to make something sound good) if the out of key notes were on the 2, 4 or if they didn't fall on the beat at all.

Of course this is can be very hard to work out when improvising. What I've been working on lately is picking a target note before playing a chromatic run and just going for it, focusing on making the target note the last note of the run and having it fall on a strong beat. The target note should be diatonic and sound good over the chord being played/implied. I think my method needs some refining but it's got me some good results so far.
#15
Well three of your notes are in key so they wouldn't sound weird, i don't know about the D#.

Can you give us the chord progression and which chord you were playing over at the time? For example if you were switching from Dm to C then the D# might have sounded good as a passing tone (i think) between the roots if each chords.
Last edited by 12345abcd3 at Jun 10, 2008,
#16
sorry can't remember the progression, i'll have a go at figuring it out later on, another thing I don't write down any stuff that I come up with, might have to start doing that to. Thanks everyone for the input.