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Guitar scales
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Oskar



Joined: Jul 29, 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Gov, that's what I meant! I tend to go for spontaneous compositions, or possibly extemporising, rather than improvisation. Firstly, because I don't feel that I'm really making up a completely NEW piece of music thete and then, secondly, because I wouldn't claim to be a jazzbo, although I DO approach most pieces as if they're not set in stone.
Your example of a passage starting in D major, moving to G-ish, I reckon I'd try for the same general thing. I'd probably veer from regular D major scale to mebbe either an E minor scale or an A7-ish scale, or mebbe even something like an F# major thingy, just to scare myself.

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GovernorSilver



Joined: Apr 26, 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Oskar wrote:

Your example of a passage starting in D major, moving to G-ish, I reckon I'd try for the same general thing. I'd probably veer from regular D major scale to mebbe either an E minor scale or an A7-ish scale, or mebbe even something like an F# major thingy, just to scare myself.


F# major triad sounds awesome over D tonality! One way of looking at it is using the iii triad in major scale harmony and raising the 3rd of that iii triad so that it's a major triad instead of a minor triad. It's particularly nice for leading to the IV triad (G major triad in the key of D). I got that idea myself from Lyle Mays' solo in this version of "San Lorenzo", which utilizes this concept over E tonality:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-kzNJB9fVA

Triads are really powerful "building blocks" for improvisation. You only have to think about 3 notes, which is easier to adjust on the fly (raise/lower the 3rd, 5th) and to build melodies around. They can be especially striking when used in unexpected places, such as the aforementioned F# major triad over D bass note.

The best news for those who are worried about how much study is required for triads: There's only 4 of them! I supposed you could try learning loads of scales, but all scales contain triads, and there will never be more than those 4 varieties of triads.

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Acoustic Interloper



Joined: Jul 07, 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Antimon wrote:
My thought with the first post was show-and-tell of a scale that I've found by playing randomly. I liked the other scales that were posted - mostly because it's good to try something else. I tend to get "stuck in a rut" with the guitar, i.e. if I play randomly I end up playing the same stuff I always play. It's good to force yourself into unknown territory sometimes.

I agree. Structured exercises often uncover new harmonic, melodic and rhythmic territory. I periodically work through some structured jazz exercises just to get ideas. I usually wind up abandoning the exercise after it opens my hearing up to something new. Left to my own devices, it's hard to stay out of a rut.

The piece I played on Saturday was based on the scale G A Bb C# D F F# G, which I originally conceived of as a bridge spanning a river, with the 2-1 semitone intervals on the bottom end and the 1-1 on the top anchoring the bridge to the banks, with the 3-semitone leaps joining at the 1 semitone anchor on an island in the middle. When I started using it in 2005, I wanted to find as many ways to combine those notes into something interesting as possible, without going outside that framework (other than a few passing chromatic notes during a melodic run). Among other things, Gmin, Bbmin and Dmin chords show up in that scale, along with Dmaj. The presence of 4 tension-inducing half steps, along with playing these against in-scale pedal points, made for an interesting raga-on-banjo in the original piece. Found out later there is a match to this scale in India; I forget the name.

Nice SS2011 set by the way, Stefan!

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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Bloody hell, I wish I knew what you lot were talking about!

How do you get into all this stuff? Any time I look at any music theory books my mind goes numb.

I have tried but I seem unable.

I recently got http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exploring-Jazz-Guitar-Introduction-Improvisation/dp/1902455908 which came with a CD to practise the info he is trying to impart, every time I try to read the book and try a bit I end up just jamming over the tracks on the CD enjoying myself.

My problem I think is that I enjoy playing the guitar but hate 'learning' it, I have just bumbled along for years with no understanding at all!
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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Actually that is a bit untrue, I used to love those Tab books. I spent hours on the Joe Satriani and pink floyd ones leaning all the songs and solos.

Not that I had any idea what the scales or keys were of course!
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Acoustic Interloper



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

BobTheDog wrote:
Bloody hell, I wish I knew what you lot were talking about!

How do you get into all this stuff? Any time I look at any music theory books my mind goes numb.

I have tried but I seem unable.

I'm better at sampling these books than actually working through them. I am having just that trouble with Kyma X Revealed right now, slogging through it. I think I am going to change approaches and just hook the Pacarana up as an outbound effects processor to Ableton Live and start using it that way. Come to think of it, that's how I use ChucK, too. Basically, these things are all shims for stuff that I want to do. I ultimately don't give a crap about the theory, I just want to get my head into a certain space, and if I can get some collaborators or audience in there with me, all the better. The books help with this effort sometimes. If not, they go into a pile.

I sort of attack the whole business as a math problem. There are lots of math-oriented papers I can't stand to read. I do like the Musimathics books. I also like reading essays by people like Steve Reich.

Two of my favorite jazz books are Hellmer's Jazz Theory and Practice (and I can't find my copy right now, grumble grumble) and Halberstadt's Metaphors for Musicians. I don't do exercises, I just go looking for ideas. I was playing around with a diminished scale from the former book a couple of nights after George W. got reelected for his second go, and wound up writing Opposing Force the same night. The main chord in that piece is G-C#-D. Try strumming that for something to set your teeth on edge. (My son Jeremy is the bassist on this recording.) When Mosc heard it he said something like, "That's a good one to play when your feeling tense." I never really thought about dissonant scales all that much before looking through that book.

RE the above post, see attached photo. There are 2 frets from the G to A, and 1 fret to the Bb at the left side of the bridge. There is 1 fret from F to F# and 1 to G at the right side. The arches are 3 frets each, with a fret between C# and D in the middle.

All four of the 1-fret intervals create tension, just like the C#-D interval in that G-C#-D chord. The pedal points just refers to leaving some open "drone" strings (typically a G and D on the banjo) as I move the other strings up and down that "bridge minor" scale. They are not really drones because I never let them sustain, but they go severely out of harmony when I am playing notes like the C# or F-to-F# transitions. They have precisely the opposite effect of drones, because they are static notes that don't fit at places in the scale. My wife goes nuts when I play this stuff, by the way, because I sometimes set it up with false harmonic bait. One piece starts out against a Minor Pentatonic scale, very sweet with a tender touch of the minor, and then I break into a chromatic run (dissonance #1) against pedal points in the original sweet scale (dissonance #2), with dissonance #3 being the fractured listener expectations in going from sweet harmonic playing to chromatics within the space of two notes. Listening to free jazz cultivates a taste for that sort of thing.

I agree that working through this stuff in a disciplined manner would be a drag. Happily, I am an engineer, not a scientist or a formal musician. I basically just plunder the theory for ideas.


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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the explanation, still totally Greek to me though Wink

What I am going to do though is take your notes G A Bb C# D F F# G and once I have worked out where they are on the fretboard (no I am not joking) I will play with them a few days and then re-read your explanation to see if that helps in any way!
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Acoustic Interloper



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

BobTheDog wrote:
Thanks for the explanation, still totally Greek to me though Wink

What I am going to do though is take your notes G A Bb C# D F F# G and once I have worked out where they are on the fretboard (no I am not joking) I will play with them a few days and then re-read your explanation to see if that helps in any way!

Have fun Very Happy

My parents, who were very poor, managed to pay for a few months of guitar and later banjo lessons when I was a teenager, so I did my part by working through the exercises and theory in those days. I cannot read music at real-time playing speed, however. My daughter used to be able to do that on piano and classical guitar. She's probably a little rusty, but she is playing and writing music again.

Take care.

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Antimon



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I love reading all this! Smile

When I'm angry I sometimes like to play "false" chords on the guitar, and try to pick new ones out. They can be tricky to find. One thing I found out early on is you can take the classic three finger chords (e.g. E A D C G with two or three open strings) and move the fingers up one fret. Twangngggg!

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Acoustic Interloper



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Antimon wrote:
One thing I found out early on is you can take the classic three finger chords (e.g. E A D C G with two or three open strings) and move the fingers up one fret. Twangngggg!

Yeah, I used to do that as a youngster, and everyone told me it was wrong. I do it all the time now on the banjo; usually the fretted strings are in key with the open strings, but sometimes not. Those open strings are the pedal points. They work especially well with fast-picked arpeggios.

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GovernorSilver



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think Andy might like Robert Conti's books/DVDs for jazz studies. I have the Source Code series. Conti's mantra is "No Modes, No Scales" - his idea of jazz studies is to have the student learn jazz lines and how to apply them, instead of a ton of scales/modes. His written lessons are in both tab and standard notation. One of the Source Code books has exercises - most of these were taken from violin etudes, because Conti was envious of the speed of his violin-playing buddy and wanted to match that speed (which he eventually did). I admittedly have not gotten far into his method because I got into practicing sax etudes on guitar, and more and more bowed strings. His books and DVDs are at http://www.robertconti.com/.

I love the John McLaughlin instructional DVD set This Is The Way I Do It, even though McLaughlin is a believer in scale exercises. His exercises though are melodic and not boring to me. I can hear them in his playing now, but because I'm such a fan, I don't think of his soloing as recitals of exercises - he brings too much passion and excitement into his playing. It's here: http://www.abstractlogix.com/xcart/product.php?productid=17686

I am also a fan of Jon Damian's book The Guitarist’s Guide to Composing and Improvising, though it has no tab. It has "homework assignments", if you will, instead of exercises - each forces the reader to utilize creativity in some way or another:
http://www.jondamian.com/media/books/the-guitarists-guide-to-composing-and-improvising/

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Acoustic Interloper



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've got to say that I love the modes. To me Major Phrygian is like going on vacation in a foreign land and picking up a new language wih relatively modest effort.

One of my big musical revelations in life was listening to modal jazz starting around 2000, beginning with Kind of Blue, and realizing that modal jazz and modal Appalachian folk music were harmonically the same thing. Developed my current style of banjo playing by fusing those 2 things with 3-finger up picking that I hadn't even used much since my bluegrass days in the 70's. Learning modes opened me up.

Minimalism was another revelation. Percussive / pointillistic sounds, very akin to what one can do with a banjo.

This year I've taken to perceiving the pointillistic notes coming out of a banjo as the unit impulse of signal processing.
Quote:
A unit impulse (for present purposes) is just a vector whose first element is 1, and all of whose other elements are 0. (For the electrical engineer's digital signals of infinite extent, the unit impulse is 1 for index 0 and 0 for all other indices, from minus infinity to infinity).

ref.
Of course a banjo note is more tonal than that, but nevertheless, it is high in harmonic and non-harmonic overtones that make it amenable to some interesting downstream signal processing. 40 years of playing these things, and still figuring out what they are. That's probably true of any reasonably complex, decent quality instrument.

What makes the "work" palatable for me is that I don't care at all whether I sound like somebody else's jazz or bluegrass or electro or whatever. It's just all grist for the mill.

Love mcLaughlin, by the way. Wrote a piece in 2003 for the banjo inspired by listening to him on In a Silent Way. Miles brought out the best in his musicians.

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D.Miñoza
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

E!-----!-----!-----!-----!-----!-----!--1--!-----!-----!--4--!-----!-----!--4--!
B!-----!-----!-----!-----!-----!--1--!-----!-----!--4--!-----!
G!-----!-----!-----!--1--!-----!-----!--4--!-----!-----!-----!
D!-----!-----!--1--!-----!-----!--4--!-----!-----!-----!-----!
A!-----!--1--!-----!-----!--4--!-----!-----!-----!-----!-----!
E!-(1)-!-----!-----!--4--!-----!-----!-----!-----!-----!-----!

Dimin arpeggio

cool shape



~

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