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Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by rough eye, Dec 15, 2020.
hope you like it and find it helpful.
well anyway, i contend that once you have the chromatic, whole tone, diminished, and the 28 modes you have access to pretty much every scale possible. the pentatonic, being halfway between diatonic scales and arpeggios, are within the modes.
A better question, IMHO, is how many USEFUL scales are there? I used to study with jazz teacher that said, "It's better to know 10 chords and how to use them than 100 chords that you don't know how to use."
Kind of like these people that say you need to know every scale and chord in every key. Well, yeah, in theory. When I was a music major and when I was playing for a living I had time to practice like that. Today, I concentrate on the keys I actually use. Maybe it's just me, but to spend the time to learn the key of C#, up and down the fretboard, with all associates chords, when I play in E, A, G, D, F, Bb and C about 90% of the time doesn't make sense.
Nice compendium Rough eye.
Slightly tangential but related ...
Anymore, I only think of there being one 'minor' scale, with the tendency of tones 6 and 7 to be either natural (raised) or lowered.
* I'm not referring to exotic or synthetic scales.
** I also don't think of Phrygian as a traditional type of minor scale.
This is just "my thing" and my way of categorizing that I find simplifies things a lot.
I have an instructional video from Joe Pass. I could swear he's stoned in the video, but there was one tidbit I really liked. He said that he thinks of chords as essentially being major, minor, dominant, diminished, or augmented. If you look at scales from the perspective of notes that are chord notes or extended chord notes or outside notes, then that helps you classify the almost limitless scales into something that you can wrap your mind around pretty easily.
I once took a free improvisation jazz theory course in college. It was led by a mad professor, Bill Cole, who got tenure partly because of seminal work he did on the music of John Coltrane. This cat had also spent a great deal of time exploring the rhythms and harmonies of various African tribes, traveling extensively throughout Africa and spending time jamming with musicians.
This class was in either 1982 or 1983, right around the time of the controversy discussed in the Wiki. But we did a lot of free jamming and I even got to sit in with Ornette Coleman. We learned about a lot of very different scales that sound like a cat scratching its claws on a blackboard to our ears because they are not even in the western 12 tone system. We listened to all kinds of music-- gamelan, you name it, and jammed with it, too. I was very happy to have a Charvel with Floyd Rose so I could get all kinds of notes between the frets. It was mostly pretty atonal and cacophonous, to be honest. But it certainly opened my mind up a bit to other ways of thinking about harmony and rhythm. The double reed Ghanian atenteben he played was pretty ear-piercing and wild. Kind of like when an alto sax player starts playing all those crazy harmonic ghost notes about two octaves beyond the range of the instrument. Stuff that makes bebop sound like Twinkle Twinkle.
I actually found this YouTube video of him playing. The jams were sort of like this. Not only boring to listen to, but for me boring to participate in. Without any predetermined harmonic structure you are stuck playing fairly primitively and modally for the most part, IMO. Might be good as an ambient soundtrack for a weird movie scene, I guess. Bill's instinct was always to take it further and further outside and overpower any pleasant sounding stuff before it started sounding too nice. That's him sitting on the stool to the right. This one actually sounds like it had some planned parts in it.
Anyway, it was pretty easy to earn credit by taking this course. Way easier than organic chemistry.
I think I'd rather take advanced calculus.
But thank God for people that push the envelope. They pushed it too far for me, but to each his own.
Yeah, it was pretty painful.....
i agree - it's what you know and can use that count. main thing in the video is i wanted to simplify it, and say there aren't really that many scales. the grimoire is way too complicated and cryptic to be of much use, imo.
but as with anything, the scales and modes are only a tool to use to get our ears bigger, so when we hear an "out" note we can say what it is and reproduce it. the goal being anything we hear someone play, or hear in our mind we can just make that song happen. of course, remembering is a whole other story
i'm a HUGE fan of Joe Pass.
Chris Buono has a course on Truefire called "Modes that Matter". It is quite different from the usually truefire fare. Bit like sitting down with a much more skilled musical big brother who sets you straight on which modes you are most likely to use, and what are some of their aural characteristics that you would lean on in given playing session.
He picks things apart with a parallel structure analysis (how does this differ from a major scale?) which I found waaaay more useful for opening up my ears than someone telling me "D dorian is just starting the C major scale on the second note". Well, yah, but not helpful, thanks.
Anyway, my way of saying I really agree with this, and "Modes that Matter" was the a-ha moment that got me there:
What I find more useful are "nugget" videos: here is ONE idea you can actually use. Here is an example of applying it in a basic way. Here is an example of applying it in an intermediate way. Here are a couple ideas for extending it.
I was thinking the other day. ..... given a song in any key ... are there any notes that are more than a half note off to "fit" one scale or another for that key? If so, consider it "attack" and slide up or down and you are ok!
how many useful scales? Well that’s a question that has as many answers as there are scales.
Just an example - if I am making an acid house track (aka the blues/roots music of EDM), then diatonic scales, even standard pentatonic scales, are probably not going to be as useful to me as some of those slonimsky scales which could probably generate thousands of basslines appropriate for the genre.
Similarly, a lot of wes' dorian and minor licks can be "hacked" by using some japanese scales.
I agree with @teletail about the better question is how many useful scales are there.
The Slonimsky book was a source for scales and ideas when I was was studying music in college. There's a lot of scales in there but most of it is pretty fringe stuff. It might be a good reference if you're an academic or doing film scoring and need to create mood.
But if you throw in Harry Partch music, Javanese Gamalon music, ragas from Indian classical music and the whole microtonal world, there are seemly endless scale possibilities.
i don't believe every player needs to learn every possible combination of notes. as for myself, i went through things and picked out stuff that really resonated with me, particularly when it came to the Slonimsky book. But, if i ever get bored i can always go back and play through s few things and see what else i'd like to play with.
and that's the point of everything really - play with it, twist it around, see how it makes you feel.
let me guess, 2,048
one time i sat down and figured out every scale pattern for 5 tones and 2 semi tones , I discovered that they repeat them selves , then ir dawn on me there were 13 scales for each pattern , and that was the end of that exercise , I lost interest , now i just ask what key we are in and go from there, because I dont know every ones approach but how many of us think about scales when we improvise?
What if someone calls a tune in ...
obviously you didn't watch the video
no just kidding.
.....'good to have other colours in our paintbox" ...
Good start: Major, minor, harmonic minor, melodic minor (and their modes), whole tone, diminished, pentatonic (with modes), blues scales.
Then there's: Chromatic scale, hybrid pentatonic, hybrid hexatonic,, hybrid octatonic, 17 note Arabian, Balinese, Chinese (5,7 & 9 note scales), Byzantine, Hawiian, Gypsy, Hungarian Gypsy, Hungarian, the 22 note Hindu scale (with around 800 modes), Japanese scales, Neopolitan, Persian scale, .............. didn't get to Africa.
The number gets really big. I think ndcaster's guess may be close.