#1
id like to know why a lot of songs u can have a major blues but can solo over it with a minor pentatonic scale. for example you have a 12 bar blues in E major... (this example is from "Malted Milk" by Robert Johnson)


it would be: E7-E7-E7-E7
A7-A7-E7-E7
B7-A7-E7-B7
and then you have the beginning of the solo wich is in E minor pentatonic with a feiw major pentatonic notes thrown in:

I----------------------------------------------7-6-5-------------------------I
I------5-7b(8)-7b(8)-7b(8)rb7-5---5~~------5-5-------7b(8)--7b(8)rb7-5---5~~-I
I--4/6--------------------------6-----4/6------------------------------6-----I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------I


ive heard about the "real blues scale with the format of 1 2 b3 3 4 b5 5 6 b7

i think this has something to do with it. but if anybody has anything on blues theory please post it here. many thanks
#2
that's not the blues scale i've heard of. The one that i've been taught by all music teachers goes 1 3b 4 5b 5 7b 8.
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#3
thats the secret of blues, dissonance.
you can also add major notes for flavour as you say, a good idea is to take apart the chords and find the extra notes you can use over each chord.

Don't be afraid of chromatic runs either, the only notes you can't really use are the minor 2nd and the raised 5th
#4
ya. the blues scale i use is exactly what u said, 1 b3 4 b5 5 b7 sorry just knd of a typo. so could any of u explain how a "turnaround" works.like i know it happens at the end of the twelve bar when u go from V7 to the tonic thus starting the twelve bar again. but what are some good turnarounds and how do u create them?
#5
The resolution perceived by the movement of the Dominant 7th chord to the I chord is a result of the tritone notes in the Dominant 7th chord pulling a half step each to the primary notes of the I major chord. In this case, the third of the Dominant chord - the leading tone - wants to pull up to the Tonic (the root of the I chord) and the flat seven of the Dominant chord - the Sub-dominant - wants to pull down a half step to the Mediant, or third of the I chord. Therefore, if you want to create a strong "turnaround" in the blues, make sure to outline or make heavy use of either the Leading Tone up to the Tonic or the Sub-Dominant down to the Mediant.

Now regarding your question on why the minor pentatonic or blues scale works over a major 12-bar blues progression: keep in mind that theory is not rules. We use theory to understand and learn about music, not to tell us how to write music. The music (ie what sounds good to us) comes first and the theory is an afterthought. Once a person's ear is trained to hear and accept a certain movement or interval or chord progression, etc, it doesn't necessarily have to make sense in terms of the basic theory we've come up with to explain the majority of music out there. There are ALWAYS exceptions. Hell, some Eastern music uses quarter-tones, something we are not trained to hear or brought up listening to. A lot of times, this music sounds "off" or "wrong" to us, but to someone who grew up listening to it every day, it sounds completely normal.

PS - and you'll also notice that if not used correctly, the minor pentatonic scale can still sound "bad" over a major blues progression if you, for example, hang on the b3 for a long time over the I major chord.
Last edited by PSM at Aug 14, 2008,
#6
Quote by PSM


Now regarding your question on why the minor pentatonic or blues scale works over a major 12-bar blues progression: keep in mind that theory is not rules.


Yeah, theory doesn' explain the blues all that well, but it can help to understand
it.

At first glance it seems odd to play a minor scale over a major chord. It's something
that appears to defy the rules. But if you look a bit to theory and what the
pentatonic scale contains (or doesn't contain), it can help you use it.

So you have a b3 from the scale played against a 3 from the harmony. First thing
to note about the pent minor is it does NOT have a 3 and arguably the 3 is the most
important note you could play in the melody to reflect the harmony. Instead of
considering the b3 as such, it might be more helpful to consider it as functioning as
a #2. It's a note you can use, but you probably don't want to sit on it. It leads
nicely down to the 2 (#2-2-1 I'd say is a very blues cliche-ish thing to do) and
also up to the 3 (#2-3-1 is also very bluesy). Even though I might be playing
minor pent over a major, I still generally make liberal use of the 3. It's nearly
unavoidable.
#8
thanks evrybody. that helped alot. and another question. how do u make a solo be more than just a waterfall of notes going up and down the scale. like ive heard something about "phrasing" and on how at the end of each phrase its good to end it on the root note of the scale. can anyone tell me a little more about this
#9
Quote by HarmonicMan
thanks evrybody. that helped alot. and another question. how do u make a solo be more than just a waterfall of notes going up and down the scale. like ive heard something about "phrasing" and on how at the end of each phrase its good to end it on the root note of the scale. can anyone tell me a little more about this

One of the best ways to make a solo sound like it BELONGS in a song, as opposed to just a "waterfall of notes going up and down the scale", as you say, is to start off learning the melody of the song on the guitar (if the solo is played over the same chord progression), and then slowly develop that melody into, making little changes here and there that sound good to you. Start off copying it note for note, though, and THEN develop. This will give you a better feel for the song.

Another big thing to keep in mind when soloing is to LEAVE SPACE. Every beat and every measure does not need to have a note being played on it. Don't be afraid to leave space in there to let things sink into the listener's ear and create a little tension or longing.
#10
how about this explanation: the minor 3rd doesn't sound too bad over a dominant chord because it's a 5th below the 7th... it clashes with the major 3rd but actually relieves some of the tension created by the tritone in the dominant chord

further evidence to support this theory can be found by playing a standard diatonic chord sequence and throwing a minor 3rd in over a standard major chord... it sound crap... try playing round D - Bm - G - A a few times then throw in an F natural over that D... it doesn't work... so the dominant 7 chord must be the key to a minor 3rd working in a major blues

thoughts?
#11
Quote by PSM
Therefore, if you want to create a strong "turnaround" in the blues, make sure to outline or make heavy use of either the Leading Tone up to the Tonic or the Sub-Dominant down to the Mediant.
.


Two things, he shows the use of a dominant 7th chord E7(E-B-D-G#) wouldn't the flat seventh be a minor note? And second are there any other ways to create turnarounds besides using the half-tone resolutions to the tonic or sub-dominant?
Last edited by farcry at Aug 14, 2008,
#12
Quote by inflatablefilth
how about this explanation: the minor 3rd doesn't sound too bad over a dominant chord because it's a 5th below the 7th... it clashes with the major 3rd but actually relieves some of the tension created by the tritone in the dominant chord

further evidence to support this theory can be found by playing a standard diatonic chord sequence and throwing a minor 3rd in over a standard major chord... it sound crap... try playing round D - Bm - G - A a few times then throw in an F natural over that D... it doesn't work... so the dominant 7 chord must be the key to a minor 3rd working in a major blues

thoughts?


As I've said before, I find it better to think of it as a #2 rather than a b3. Over a dominant chord, the blues pentatonic implies an altered scale, not "minor".
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