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25

A lot of the benefit is in how you practice them. If done mindfully and effectively, playing scales can give you a way to focus your practice on the building blocks that make up most of the music you play. Don't think of scales as a series of notes. Instead, think of them as the foundation pieces that music is built around. Here are some examples of ...


15

In addition to the other answers, I believe it improves the ability to simplify the music in your mind. Researchers studied the memory of chess experts and found they could recall the positions of almost all the pieces when placed in positions typical of a game, but did no better than amateurs when the pieces were placed randomly. For me, at least, the ...


9

Theoretically, yes there are five modes that can be derived from the major pentatonic scale and they would be named the same way the other modes contained in the major scale. Let's look at the relative modes instead of parallel as it is slightly easier to see the patter. The C major pentatonic scale consists of the following notes: C, D, E, G, A ...


8

Short answer: It doesn't have to start or end with anything. The last note ending on a G might end up feeling more resolved, but you can use any note you'd like to end on that you feel sounds like it meets what you want to accomplish the solo. If I know another musician is taking a solo right after me, sometimes I'll deliberately end on the 5th (in this case ...


7

As long as you play within a G major scale you still are in G major. However it should be noted that starting and ending on a G will have the effect of making the G feel like the home note (known as a tonic) which is what you want if you are playing in G major. It's not a bad thing to end on a different note and it can have interesting effects. On thing you ...


7

Knowing what modes/scales to use over a chord can be approached a number of ways. Here's an over simplified way to know what scale you can use over a certain chord (DISCLAIMER: THIS IS OVERSIMPLIFIED): Is it Major? (R 3 5 7) Is the fourth sharped? (Yes - you might try Lydian) Otherwise, use Ionian or all of the above Is it Minor? (R b3 5 b7) Is the ...


7

Scales teach you... Knowledge of music: They are the ABCs of music literally. Scales contain the building blocks of music. Understand them and you understand allot about music and music theory. Having practiced scales for years has also made me better at musicianship (note/interval recognition when listening). The ABCs are there in a different way when you ...


6

Practicing scales teaches....scales. The point of a scale is to determine what sharps/flats a song has. Imagine instead of saying 'This song is on B major' saying 'This song has F,C,G,D,A sharps'. That would be really pointless. Thus, music theorists developed scales so people can easily communicate with each other. Also, when writing the sharps/flats ...


5

When I was learning piano, and, say, Bbminor scale came along, my teacher said the reason I needed to learn to play it was "because it was in the exam". Many many years later, when I started to teach RGT exams in electric guitar playing, certain scales were prescribed to be learned. Later, in the exam itself, the candidate had to make up a tune, to fit to ...


5

I play guitar mainly (occasionally piano) so I will answer this question from a guitarist's point of view. I also write songs - both lyrics and the accompanying music. I don't actually write the music down - other than the chords, but I compose it on my instrument and record it on my Boss BR 800 Multi-Track recorder to save for posterity. For me ...


5

Dom's answer correctly explains what the modes of the pentatonic scale are and how they are (not) used. Since this might give the impression that the pentatonic scale is almost exclusively useful if used as either major or minor pentatonic scale, I would like to add one important application of the pentatonic scale where it is used over a chord whose tonic ...


4

Overtones are the notes found when you play natural harmonics.Sometimes called upper partials. I've grouped these names together, but they're not strictly synonyms. Using a guitar (or bass) string, open gives note. Let's call it the root. The first harmonic, half way along it is an octave above the root. Next, at 1/3 comes a fifth. The next, at 1/4 is ...


4

Some notes sound good together. This is an example of what we call consonance. Some notes do not sound good together. We call that dissonance. In simple terms, certain notes blend well together because of the way the sonic frequencies merge together and complement one another. Our brains will instinctively have a desire to gravitate towards complementary ...


3

A sample question that you may get at an Music Theory entrance exam could be something like this: Write the A♭ minor scale ascending and descending with key signature. Mark all semitones with a slur and use only semibreves. As a note to the OP, you can buy this book if you are interested in learning scales at a collegiate level. ...


3

If your question is about coming up with good melodies, then I think there are a few starters. Out of the 12 notes in an octave, any permutation and combination of notes can generate music. However, there are pre-defines scales(in western) or Ragas(in indian classical) that define a specific set of notes. If you limit yourselves to those notes, then there ...


3

Rather than levels, how about splitting the problem into 3 dimensions: Pure fretboard navigation. Be able to spot every occurrence of every note - and every degree of every scale - all over the neck, as fast as possible. This is something you can do on paper or even just in your head, and it's probably not something you want to do separately for each scale ...


3

Why is the diminished scale 'artificial'? In the sense of the quote you gave, it is artificial because it was not constructed from the overtone series. What is an overtone series? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonic_series_%28music%29 explains it very well. How is a major scale derived from it? There isn't a direct step by step method. It is easier ...


3

Some music stays in a key. It really only uses the 7 notes diatonic to that key. Some music stays in a key for a while, but then modulates to another key. Then it might modulate to another one (that would be literally multiple key changes). Some music has a clear root note (tonic), but uses notes and chords outside of a seven-note scale built on the tonic ...


2

Two topics I want to hightlight beause I have not read them in other answers: Music is very far from uniformly distributed random notes. Especially for instruments as clarinets, the keys are also very much biased. So the scales at least guarantee, that no note hides in the shadow and that all notes get equal attention. You need a (I would even say: very) ...


2

For what it's worth; I've found this mode to work best in lead lines.. not necessarily in composing harmony around an actual "key" based off it. It has some odd chords; the V chord is Diminished; so V-I sounds odd (Diminished doesn't want to "go" that way). It makes convincing music somewhat difficult. But playing an E Phrygian scale over an E minor chord ...


2

An artificial scale is a constructed scale, usually showing a lot of symmetry. The diminished scale is a perfect example: it alternates whole tone and half tone steps (e.g. starting from C): C D Eb F Gb Ab A (Bbb) B Note that the odd notes (1, 3, 5, and 7) as well as the even notes form a diminished seventh chord. Due to the symmetry there are only three ...


2

If you just learn how to play songs then when it comes to writing one you're solos, harmonies, melodies and chords will be all over the place. When you learn a scale, you know what notes "belong together" which enhances your written piece. Also, if you learn the scales of the songs you learn, you can learn to improvise which in the long run builds technique ...


2

Repeat after me… tone tone semitone… tone tone tone semitone. That's the first thing I remember being taught about the major scale - the intervals… which you can then apply from any start-point. semitone = 1 fret tone = 2 frets


2

On guitar, you can use an open string. Start open ("0"), and use the following pattern: 0 2 4 5 7 9 11 12 The open strings are, from heaviest to lightest, E A D G B E. You can just add to the above pattern if you want to start on a different fret. For instance, if you want to use the F# major scale, start on the E string, 2nd fret, and use: 2 4 6 7 9 11 ...


2

Apart from being able to play at least two octaves of a certain scale on your instrument, you are usually also supposed to be able to recognize a scale when you hear it. The required scales would usually be major, minor (natural, harmonic, melodic) and the modes (dorian, phrygian, etc.). One good way of practicing both is to start playing the root on your ...


2

The professor that is teaching me double bass and studied jazz in a conservatory in Berlin, told me that in the entrance exams of the Uni, you have to play a scale two octaves. If I'm not mistaken, the 'scale' could be any of the basics ones, major or minor (natural/harmonic/melodic); they most likely wouldn't ask about scales like the whole-tone or ...


2

This is a great question with a VERY broad answer and a lot of opinions on the matter, but I'll sum up my view: When we talk about how notes work together, we can discuss them in two dimensions: the harmony (all the sounding notes at any sample point in time; the "vertical" dimension) and the melody (A rhythmic sequence of notes across time; the ...


2

Ah, yes! This tip from Joe is one of my all time favorite things to meditate on. I especially like to pick voicings from the Joe Pass chord book, and apply this concept to them. I think that the main idea here is associating different sounds with chord voicings, and developing your ear to hear different harmonic possibilities over chords. Also, developing ...


2

First of all, it's not changing key, it's just using chords not strictly in the key. You're allowed to deviate from the 7 notes that are strictly in key, only extremely boring music doesn't. Second, your chords are a little off. The first one is B minor, not D major. The second is A minor, not C major. It's a little noisy so it's hard to hear, but ...


2

Two blues scales exist generally. Minor blues as in C, Eb, F, Gb, G, Bb. Major blues as in C, D, Eb, E, G, A. Often players will mix the sets of notes in their playing. The minor blues is probably used more in guitar playing, due to the pattern of notes easily found because of the way guitars are tuned. The whole solo in Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke is major ...



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