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#1
A lot of times when I am improving I stick to the major/minor scale. If it is G major and am only hitting notes from G major/E minor and I try to focus on the intervals. With that I guess I play a lot of pentatonic to just because that will naturally happen. I am just curious if that is enough vocabulary to create good sounding leads or if I should be trying to adapt to new scales.

I Seem to struggle sometimes with getting variation and after a while, it can sound like I'm playing the same stuff. Almost like after i've had some time to cover a good portion of the fretboard, I lose all the dynamics and power because I have hit most of the notes all the way up the fretboard.

I don't know if that makes sense, but I wanted to get this in before I had to run to class. Thanks.
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I wanna know what some blues sounding chords I could use in the key of D Aeolian fifth mode of Melodic Minor.

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#2
I think all guitarists should at one point be aware of how to play most scales. You can never learn too many!
#3
You, sir/ma'am (too lazy to look at your profile), sound like you need some prog music to inspire you.

If you end up hitting most of the notes on the way up, either learn some more scales and modulate through them as you go up/down, or variate your intervals when you're playing (i.e. instead of 1 3 5 7, use 1 2 3 1 -> 2 3 4 2 -> etc., or something like that). Weird intervals always help.

Some good old syncopation always helps to spice up similar/same notes, too.

Also, major/minor scales and pentatonics will only get you through if you're in a generic rock band. You need others if you want to sound unique and not have people mistake you for every guitar player throughout the '80s/'90s.

In short, learn theory; it helps.
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#4
If you study and explore the major scale you will indeed realise that the theory behind it easily encompass 90% of whatever it is you want to play, usually more.

There's no need to learn myriad scales, most of them are nigh on useless from a practical point of view...the ability to effectively use the major scale is far more important. Also, note that "using the major scale" includes knowing when to make use of the notes outside the scale as well as the 7 scale degrees.

Ultimately it's all incredibly simple - it just boils down to "how will this note sound in the context of the other notes around it.". There's lots of ways to help you evaluate that but the major scale is the easiest and most well documented method.
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Last edited by steven seagull at Oct 3, 2008,
#5
No! How do you solo over a G minor progression with a major scale? Answer: You can't.

Learning the theory behind the major scale is vital, but there are a few other scales you'll need to know, and will use much more often, other than the major scale: Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, Minor Pentatonic/Blues, Major Pentatonic, Mixoblues, Dorian, Phrygian, and Phrygian Dominant.

Mixoblues: The Mixolydian scale combined with the blues scale...great for blues
Dorian: Great for blues.
Phrygian: Great for metal.
Phrygian Dominant: Also great for metal.

However, you're not going to use the three modes above, dorian, phrygian, and phrygian dominant, strictly modally. You're going to write a metal song that bounces between natural minor, harmonic minor, and phrygian, for instance. In that sense, it is really mere chromaticism. Don't worry if all of this is going over your head. If you're just getting the major scale then you aren't ready to learn about modes; it would be like taking multi-variable calculus without a strong background in algebra.

The others are simple enough that I don't feel the need to explain them.
#6
I guess I meant to include the minor scale as well - I was thinking more in terms of understand the basic fundamental principles of western music and in that respect major and minor kind of go hand in hand, like 2 sides of the same coin almost.
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#7
Quote by steven seagull
I guess I meant to include the minor scale as well - I was thinking more in terms of understand the basic fundamental principles of western music and in that respect major and minor kind of go hand in hand, like 2 sides of the same coin almost.
I wasn't responding to, nor did I even see, your post.
#8
Quote by bangoodcharlote
No! How do you solo over a G minor progression with a major scale? Answer: You can't.

Learning the theory behind the major scale is vital, but there are a few other scales you'll need to know, and will use much more often, other than the major scale: Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, Minor Pentatonic/Blues, Major Pentatonic, Mixoblues, Dorian, Phrygian, and Phrygian Dominant.

Mixoblues: The Mixolydian scale combined with the blues scale...great for blues
Dorian: Great for blues.
Phrygian: Great for metal.
Phrygian Dominant: Also great for metal.

The others are simple enough that I don't feel the need to explain them.

How would you write a song/chord progression that would use those scales
#9
You wouldn't write a song using Mixoblues.

Dorian: i7 IV7, so in A, you have an Am7 D7 vamp. However, mixing the A Dorian scale with the Am pentatonic over a Blues in A is really what I meant; that isn't modal playing.

Phrygian: Em and F without the barre. In metal, however, it is very common to use the b2 note or b2 powerchord (F5 in Em), but it is a mere chromatic tone; that isn't modal playing.

Phrygian Dominant: Same progression as above but replace Em with E. Metal guys like to just fool around with this scale and use it for some chromatic tones. Arch Enemy's "Enemy Within" is a good example of how metal mixes the (major!) phrygian dominant scale with parallel minor scales.

Natural Minor and Harmonic Minor are often used together. A typical minor progression would be Am G F E7. Over the first three chords you would play A natural minor; over E7, play A harmonic minor. An E major (and in this case, dominant as well) chord replaces the Em chord of the A natural minor scale because E7 leads back to Am much better tham Em. It's the same idea as using E7 to pull the ear towards A major, except the chord is Am.
#10
The truth is it will be uncommon to use anything much more then major/minor and your modes in most western music. However, the more scales you know, the more options you have tonally.
#11
Quote by steven seagull
If you study and explore the major scale you will indeed realise that the theory behind it easily encompass 90% of whatever it is you want to play, usually more.

There's no need to learn myriad scales, most of them are nigh on useless from a practical point of view...the ability to effectively use the major scale is far more important. Also, note that "using the major scale" includes knowing when to make use of the notes outside the scale as well as the 7 scale degrees.

Ultimately it's all incredibly simple - it just boils down to "how will this note sound in the context of the other notes around it.". There's lots of ways to help you evaluate that but the major scale is the easiest and most well documented method.

I bolded parts I thought should be emphasized.


I honestly couldn't have said it better. When you want to do some "outside" playing (non-diatonic notes / notes not in key), just think of the major scale with an alteration.

Saw your improvising over a I-IV-V (because I'm too lazy to think of a different progression) and you use the tonic's major scale to solo over all 3 chords but on the third chord you want to make it more exotic, then you could add little alterations. Since it's a major chord you could mess with it and use a b3 and bend the note up to the 3 or rape the b7 to make it all dominant-like.
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Last edited by metal4all at Oct 3, 2008,
#12
Quote by rollininrhythm
The truth is it will be uncommon to use anything much more then major/minor and your modes in most western music. However, the more scales you know, the more options you have tonally.
QFI: Quoted for inaccuracy.

Modal music isn't so common, and when you're writing in a minor key, the natural minor-harmonic minor interchange is very common, to the point that many people consider the chords in say, the key of A minor, to be Am Bdim C E(7) Dm F G, chromaticism be damned.

I say E(7) because E is the triad and the rest of the chords are triads, but the dominant 7 on top of the E make for such great tension and release.
#13
Quote by bangoodcharlote
QFI: Quoted for inaccuracy.

Modal music isn't so common, and when you're writing in a minor key, the natural minor-harmonic minor interchange is very common, to the point that many people consider the chords in say, the key of A minor, to be Am Bdim C E(7) Dm F G, chromaticism be damned.

I say E(7) because E is the triad and the rest of the chords are triads, but the dominant 7 on top of the E make for such great tension and release.
A great example is Bach's Bouree in Em. I made a little thing in Notepad that shows all of the accidentals in the song and just about all of them are from parallel minor scales. I made it in a hurry but you get the basic idea: http://rs478.rapidshare.com/files/146098782/Usage_of_more_than_one_minor..txt
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#14
I am just curious if that is enough vocabulary to create good sounding leads
Definately
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#15
Quote by metal4all
I bolded parts I thought should be emphasized.


I honestly couldn't have said it better. When you want to do some "outside" playing (non-diatonic notes / notes not in key), just think of the major scale with an alteration.

Saw your improvising over a I-IV-V (because I'm too lazy to think of a different progression) and you use the tonic's major scale to solo over all 3 chords but on the third chord you want to make it more exotic, then you could add little alterations. Since it's a major chord you could mess with it and use a b3 and bend the note up to the 3 or rape the b7 to make it all dominant-like.


don't forget about the minor scale too

basically what I meant to say is don't be in a hurry to learn scale after scale after scale without first exploring the possibilities that the most important ones have to offer. I think a lot of people view memorising a fingering pattern as "learning a scale" when in fact it's only a tiny step in the process.

It's nice to be able to analyse music and understand it from different angles such as key based vs modal, and it can make you a more potent musician. However, when it comes to actually playing more often than not the simpler you can keep things the better. Note that I don't mean playing simply - you can create incredibly complex music using the most basic, fundamental theory.
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#16
Thanks for the input so far, I should clarify a bit tho.

I am not just learning the major scale, in fact I know the major and minor quite well which is why I am wondering if I should keep using it or begin to try different things.

A lot of you are saying I should be using other stuff such as the Harmonic Minor, some different modes. My problem with that is, I am talking about improvising over a song or chord progression that I didn't create. I am not talking about writing songs.

If it is in a major key, anything besides the natural major, minor is going to sound off. That is my humble opinion from my experience. I try to use the blues scale, but when ever I hit the blue note, it just sounds well, out-of-key.

I think some of my best playing has come when I don't think about a single scale for the whole piece, but I think about what chord I am playing over and think of the notes of that.
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Quote by aerosmithfan95
I wanna know what some blues sounding chords I could use in the key of D Aeolian fifth mode of Melodic Minor.

Quote by szekelymihai
try looking for Cm, or any of those complicated jazz chords
#17
Quote by bshizzle911
Thanks for the input so far, I should clarify a bit tho.

I am not just learning the major scale, in fact I know the major and minor quite well which is why I am wondering if I should keep using it or begin to try different things.

A lot of you are saying I should be using other stuff such as the Harmonic Minor, some different modes. My problem with that is, I am talking about improvising over a song or chord progression that I didn't create. I am not talking about writing songs.

If it is in a major key, anything besides the natural major, minor is going to sound off. That is my humble opinion from my experience. I try to use the blues scale, but when ever I hit the blue note, it just sounds well, out-of-key.

I think some of my best playing has come when I don't think about a single scale for the whole piece, but I think about what chord I am playing over and think of the notes of that.
The blues scale over a major progression??? Madness!! The blue note is a b5 or tri-tone (3 tones or whole steps away). It is very dissonant so it needs a place to resolve; so if you hang on that note, of course it's gonna sound out of key.

If you're improvising over a song in a major key, use the major scale. If you're improvising over a song in a minor key, use the minor scale. Out of scale notes are great to use when you know how to use them so don't feel restricted with 7 notes. In a minor key, using the nat6 and/or nat7 is great (because those intervals are derived from the Melodic and Harmonic scales. it's basically borrowing notes from another scale to add flavour). In a major key it's fun to steal notes like the #4 from the Lydian scale or the b7 from the Mixolydian scale. The chord you're playing over makes a big difference too, so look out for notes that may clash with chord tones and look for notes that will compliment them
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#18
Quote by metal4all
The blues scale over a major progression??? Madness!!
While I agree that, in general, the blues scale shouldn't be used over a pure major progression, A D A E, it should be noted that a 12-bar blues such as A7 A7 A7 A7 D7 D7 A7 A7 E7 D7 A7 E7 is considered a major blues and the blues scale is appropriate.
#19
Quote by bangoodcharlote
While I agree that, in general, the blues scale shouldn't be used over a pure major progression, A D A E, it should be noted that a 12-bar blues such as A7 A7 A7 A7 D7 D7 A7 A7 E7 D7 A7 E7 is considered a major blues and the blues scale is appropriate.
Thanks for pointing that out I should have put that in there. Blues lets you do whatever the hell you want. The tonic can be a dominant chord yet it's still a major key. Those crazy blues guys.
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#20
Quote by bshizzle911
Thanks for the input so far, I should clarify a bit tho.

I am not just learning the major scale, in fact I know the major and minor quite well which is why I am wondering if I should keep using it or begin to try different things.

A lot of you are saying I should be using other stuff such as the Harmonic Minor, some different modes. My problem with that is, I am talking about improvising over a song or chord progression that I didn't create. I am not talking about writing songs.

If it is in a major key, anything besides the natural major, minor is going to sound off. That is my humble opinion from my experience. I try to use the blues scale, but when ever I hit the blue note, it just sounds well, out-of-key.

I think some of my best playing has come when I don't think about a single scale for the whole piece, but I think about what chord I am playing over and think of the notes of that.

That's arguably the best way to approach things - you can have a basic scale outline and know which key you're in but ultimately what actually matters most is simply how the next note sounds. You can use theory to help you anticipate that, or experience and usually a bit of both
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#21
even penatonic scales are really major scales without playing some of the notes. if you want to think of modes as complete different scales, go for it. but the fact is its just another major scale revolving on a different root note.

the only time i use anything that wouldnt fit into a major scale is with a harmonic minor jam our band does, and blues accidental notes
#22
Quote by metal4all
The tonic can be a dominant chord yet it's still a major key.
That makes sense, but why you play minor scales over major (dominant) chords is weird. I understand it and do it all the time, but it's still a weird idea.

Quote by Peaceful Rocker
even penatonic scales are really major scales without playing some of the notes. if you want to think of modes as complete different scales, go for it. but the fact is its just another major scale revolving on a different root note.

the only time i use anything that wouldnt fit into a major scale is with a harmonic minor jam our band does, and blues accidental notes
QFI.

The bolded points need to be clarified, especially the first one.

The second point is just wrong. D Dorian=/=C Ionian; it's D Dorian and that's that.

The third is opinion to some extent, but if you're playing over a minor progression thinking you're playing the relative major scale, you're wrong.

No argument is necessary. Please just clarify what you meant because I recall you being pretty good with theory; this may merely be an issue of poor phrasing.
#23
The bolded points need to be clarified, especially the first one.

C major - C D E F G A B
C major pentatonic - C D E G A
The major pentatonic is clearly the major scale without some of the notes.

The second point is just wrong. D Dorian=/=C Ionian; it's D Dorian and that's that
I can't see anything wrong. He didn't say relative modes are the major scale - he said they're the major scale revolving around a different note. Which is pretty much the definition from wikipedia: The modern conception of modes describes a system where each mode encompasses the usual diatonic scale but with a different tonic or tonal center.
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#24
Quote by Ændy
I can't see anything wrong. He didn't say relative modes are the major scale - he said they're the major scale revolving around a different note. Which is pretty much the definition from wikipedia: The modern conception of modes describes a system where each mode encompasses the usual diatonic scale but with a different tonic or tonal center.
It does sound like that's saying "it's the same as the major scale it's derived from, just starting on a different note." Saying they're the same IS wrong (as we know). Saying a mode of C major, for example: D Dorian, is the same as C major, just with a different' root is saying C Ionian = D Dorian.

Maybe it's just the phrasing. The way I read it it does sound weird.


And Sue, there's nothing wrong with using minor scales over dominant chords I'm a Maverick!


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#25
Quote by m4a
D Dorian, is the same as C major, just with a different' root is saying C Ionian = D Dorian.
No it's not. You're ignoring the second half of the sentence.
Saying 'D Dorian, is the same as C major' is saying 'C Ionian = D Dorian'

'D Dorian, is the same as C major, just with a different root' has the qualifier that makes it correct.
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#26
Quote by Ænimus Prime
No it's not. You're ignoring the second half of the sentence.
Saying 'D Dorian, is the same as C major' is saying 'C Ionian = D Dorian'

'D Dorian, is the same as C major, just with a different root' has the qualifier that makes it correct.
" D Dorian is the same as C major, just with a different root."

A b3 and b7 completely disagree with that. Considering JUST notes, yes. Considering the scale itself (which IS kinda what's in question), no.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


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#27
I don't take back anything in my statement, I never said A minor is the same scale as C major, i just said they contain the same notes. Revolving those selected notes over a different note changes the scale completly. Maybe I should have said revolve those set of notes over a different note instead of that scale. The notes contained in the penatonic major are all in the full major scale (obviously), it could still be labeled as a major scale run, just because you dont use all of the notes in the scale doesn't mean you still aren't using that scale


I was also trying the point out how diverse the scale is, saying I use the major scale and its theory in almost all of my music.. which is really what he was asking
Last edited by Peaceful Rocker at Oct 4, 2008,
#28
Quote by Peaceful Rocker
I don't take back anything in my statement, I never said A minor is the same scale as C major, i just said they contain the same notes. Revolving those selected notes over a different note changes the scale completly. Maybe I should have said revolve those set of notes over a different note instead of that scale.

I was also trying the point out how diverse the scale is, saying I use the major scale and its theory in almost all of my music.. which is really what he was asking

You DID kinda word it really weird.

"if you want to think of modes as complete different scales, go for it. but the fact is its just another major scale revolving on a different root note."


There it sounded like you're saying modes aren't completely different scales.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


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#29
a few years ago trying to read theory lessons on this site I was completly lost with the concept of modes, it wasen't until I started looking at each mode in a scale viewing website where I notied the simularities, and put them together myself to understand how they work.

It's important to understand D dorian contains the same notes as the C major scale. The way the scales are used are obviuosly entirely different

reguardless, the answer to the threadstarters question is a big fat yes, but just because you're figuring out the major scale and making music doesnt mean you should stop learning
#30
I think 20th century pop music clearly shows that you can get a lot of mileage out of the major scale (and the I IV V progression for that matter). Beyond that, plenty of pieces by incredible composers are entirely in major scales. It doesn't hurt to expand your musical knowledge however. You can still write in all major scales after you've learned how to use other scales. There is however, a great chance that going down that road will vastly improve your overall compositional ability .
#31
If you're only gonna know one scale, then the major scale would be the best one.
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#32
Quote by bangoodcharlote
QFI: Quoted for inaccuracy.

Modal music isn't so common, and when you're writing in a minor key, the natural minor-harmonic minor interchange is very common, to the point that many people consider the chords in say, the key of A minor, to be Am Bdim C E(7) Dm F G, chromaticism be damned.

I say E(7) because E is the triad and the rest of the chords are triads, but the dominant 7 on top of the E make for such great tension and release.


Im sorry if modal music isnt that common anymore. But it was, especially in the classical genres, so if your a pianist (which he might be), hed do well to at least understand the concept of modes.

EDIT: Btw, if you wanna get technical, more or less all standard jazz music is modal. Dominant chords=mixolydian scale, ftw.
Last edited by rollininrhythm at Oct 5, 2008,
#33
Quote by metal4all

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#34
Why does everyone think sarah palins hot? Like, shes not an uggo, but with a few strokes of a keyboard, and a couple clicks, I could find girls 10x as hot willing to get naked and have sex with strangers for me.
#35
Use your ear. Don't just play random notes within the key, think in your head and play it. More than likely you will be playing in key that way, and any outside notes that sound fine in your head will sound fine in real life.
#36
Quote by rollininrhythm
Im sorry if modal music isnt that common anymore. But it was, especially in the classical genres, so if your a pianist (which he might be), hed do well to at least understand the concept of modes.
Church modes predate modern theory. I don't know where I said one should not learn modes, but if that is what someone took from my post, I apologize for the misleading wording. Once you understand the basics, absolutely learn modes.

Quote by rollininrhythm
EDIT: Btw, if you wanna get technical, more or less all standard jazz music is modal. Dominant chords=mixolydian scale, ftw.
Dominant chords=do whatever the hell you want, really. There are chromatics thrown all over dom7 chords; A7 hardly implies A Mixolydian and more likely than not, would have a blues scale or an altered dominant scale played over it.

Quote by rollininrhythm
Why does everyone think sarah palins hot? Like, shes not an uggo, but with a few strokes of a keyboard, and a couple clicks, I could find girls 10x as hot willing to get naked and have sex with strangers for me.
She's considered good looking for a woman of her age, and I tend to agree. I would also imagine that she was pretty hot when she was in her 20s.

Perchance you can find many attractive, extremely slutty girls, but how many of them have been governor of a state and have a legitimate shot at becoming Vice President of the United States of America?
#37
Btw, if you wanna get technical, more or less all standard jazz music is modal


Modal jazz is modal, but that's about it. Modal music utilizes non-functional harmony, whereas jazz harmony tends to be extremely sophisticated regarding the buildup and release of tension. Most jazz harmony is at least rooted in the diatonic scale, and the melody tenbds tyo follow the chords very closely.

Dominant chords=mixolydian scale


Mixolydian would be a fairly rare choice over a dominant chord.
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#39
Quote by Myung-trucci
I think the mixolydian scale sounds good over dominant chords...


In what context? If it's actually the V chord in a progression, you're just playing the major scale. Besides, mixolydian is uninteresting. Lydian dominant avoids the horrible clash between the fourth and third, and the altered scale is just...more interesting. Mixolydian is actually rarely played over dominant chords.
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#40
Quote by Archeo Avis
In what context? If it's actually the V chord in a progression, you're just playing the major scale. Besides, mixolydian is uninteresting. Lydian dominant avoids the horrible clash between the fourth and third, and the altered scale is just...more interesting. Mixolydian is actually rarely played over dominant chords.


As a mainly jazz bassist, I have bolded the above statement for inaccuracy.
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