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I wanted to sign up for some guitar lessons, the prerequisites for joining it are in the image attached. I know and understand most of the things mentioned except for the "dominant" scale mentioned. I was hoping if anyone here can explain what it is and provide a link to a lesson about it

enter image description here

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    There's a comma there so I'm pretty sure they're not asking for you to know dominant scales, but what dominants are instead. Dominant scales are a thing such as the Phrygian dominant scale.
    – Dom
    Dec 29, 2016 at 19:25
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    As it comes after '4 shapes of major, minor...', I would guess they mean dominant seventh chords. But who knows? Also, which '4 shapes' do they mean, when they later say 'respective chords in two shapes'? To be honest it doesn't seem well-written; I hope the person's actual teaching is clearer! Dec 29, 2016 at 19:33
  • Probably it means "any 4," since it is simply a gate-keeping requirement. Probably one needs to "audition" for such a teacher. I will say though: having taken no lessons and generally not caring about theory, I do not actually know what a dominant is aside from knowing that dominant is contextual. Having been playing for 30 years, I probably play dominants all the time. This teacher would reject me (probably with good reason)
    – Yorik
    Dec 29, 2016 at 19:35
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    @topomorto: "To be honest it doesn't seem well-written", that was my first impression, too, as soon as I saw that "understanding and ability to play quarter notes"... Is there a secret lurking there that I should know? I'm a beginner, so, as you said: "who knows"... Thx. (BTW, landed here by googling for "dominant scale" mentioned in this video about Spanish Phrygian.)
    – Sz.
    Mar 23, 2019 at 17:49

3 Answers 3

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There isn't one "dominant scale", but they do exist. Dominant scales are an interesting phenomena in music because they almost always have other names and the requirements are simple: be able to build a dominant 7th chord off the tonic so the scale needs to have a Major 3rd, Perfect 5th, and minor 7th in it.

The most popular dominant scale is the Phrygian dominant scale as it is a mode of the harmonic minor scale, but there are others such as the Aeolian dominant scale,Mixolydian mode which can be looked at as a dominant scale, and Lydian Dominant.

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  • What about Lydian Dominant? thats my favourite Dec 30, 2016 at 0:08
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    Plus 1 for answering the question that the OP thought they were asking and future readers might stumble upon. Future readers do need to know that the interpretation of the pasted ad is wrong as well however. Also - did you mean "The most popular "dominant" scale is the Phrygian dominant scale? Or did you actually mean to say that the Phrygian dominant scale is the most popular scale period (which is the way your answer is worded)? Dec 30, 2016 at 19:42
  • @RockinCowboy it's the dominant scale you'll hear most often (as it is a mode of the harmonic minor scale it shows it's head pretty often). I'll update for clarity.
    – Dom
    Dec 30, 2016 at 19:46
  • Thank you, Dom! BTW, the linked Wikipedia page says "the Phrygian dominant scale is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale, the fifth being the dominant". Since the very definition of the "dominant" is that it's the fifth grade, why do they explicitly specify that there? Or is that a confusing way to say "the scale is called dominant because of its root being the fifth grade, also called the dominant"? Which is confusing, too, as it doesn't seem to be enough to be called a "dominant scale", as per your answer. So, I'm confused on multiple levels. (But as a beginner, I probably should be.)
    – Sz.
    Mar 23, 2019 at 18:34
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Major, minor and dominant (seventh) chords. Scales in all keys.

We hope this person's teaching is better organised than his writing!

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    While this addresses the OP's request (due to a bad description by a teacher) this is extremely unlikely to help anyone who is actually curious about dominant scales which is what the question is about.
    – Dom
    Dec 29, 2016 at 20:12
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    He asked for information on 'the "dominant" scale mentioned.' Such a scale wasn't mentioned. He misread an admittedly sloppy bit of writing. He's had his useful answer. The question is of little use as stated. Shall we erase the whole thing? Dec 29, 2016 at 23:59
  • Having re-read the middle para of the advert, it makes even less sense now. 'Chords' in 4 shapes, followed by chords in 2 shapes. I want to go for a lesson!
    – Tim
    Dec 31, 2016 at 12:00
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The prospective teacher either can't string a sentence together properly in English or is being pretentious. What should be there is — 'major, minor, dominant chords.

Can't think of a better reason for avoiding this teacher, or going along just to burst a bubble or two. Do you have a contact point?

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    While this addresses the OP's request (due to a bad description by a teacher) this is extremely unlikely to help anyone who is actually curious about dominant scales which is what the question is about.
    – Dom
    Dec 29, 2016 at 20:11
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    @Dom - whilst you are technically spot on, I very very much doubt that the teacher actually knew what dominant scales are, so I responded in this way. Leaving the technicalities of the dominant scale to be explained by someone far more qualified than I...Hence the bottom line. Maybe I should be far more serious in future. Maybe...And also the actual true answer to this actual question is - 'Probably, yes'.
    – Tim
    Dec 29, 2016 at 21:37
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    And I understand and this answer helps the OP which is great. I'm slightly concerned about what happens a year from now when someone actually wants to know about the dominant scale and finds this question in response. Maybe this should be a meta post as this isn't the first time what the OP wants to know is drastically different then the question actually asked,
    – Dom
    Dec 29, 2016 at 21:40
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    @Dom - they read the other answers, like yours, and are enlightened. Meanwhile maybe they have a little chuckle. Maybe...
    – Tim
    Dec 29, 2016 at 21:42

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