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Doing scales around the circle/Eating my veggies

Friday, April 20, 2018

I enjoy playing scales, and I'm doing better at them, but my teacher says it's time to "eat my vegetables" and get back into theory more.  I guess scales are dessert.  I'm supposed to learn the circle of fourths now, not just theoretically, but to where I can automatically name the 4th of any key.

A little explanation of what a 4th is: The 4th is the note you get by going up three scale degrees from the tonic (or root).  So if I'm in the key of C, the 4th is going to be F.  Because C -> D -> E -> F, I've gone up three scale degrees.  Another way of getting to the 4th is by going five half steps.  That's because from the first to the second is a whole step, from the second to the third is another whole step, and from the third to the fourth is a half step.  Whole + Whole + Half = 5 half steps.

The 4th is important because we almost always play the 4th chord in whatever key we are playing.  For example, in the key of G, the 4th is C.  I'll bet you play the C chord in nearly every tune you play in G, right?  Or in C, the 4th is an F.  If you are playing in C,  you will almost always have an F chord.  Whatever key you are in, the 4th will come into play.  So knowing how to quickly find the 4th of any key you are in is a good skill to have.

My instructor showed me a new way to play a major scale in double-C tuning starting on the 3rd string.  He wants me to learn to play that scale well.  Also, I am to play that scale in every key, moving up a 4th each time.  So first I'll play the scale in C, then in F, then Bb, then Eb, and so on, all the way around the circle of 4ths until I get back to C.  When I get back to C, I'll have played the scale in all 12 keys.

It's not fun.  The scale part of it is fun, but memorizing the 4ths is not.  Memorizing is my least favorite thing in the world.  My instructor knows it's my least favorite thing, and that's why he referred to it as "eating my vegetables."  The challenge for me in this week is going to be getting myself to eat my vegetables.  I tend to let them sit on my plate until they get cold, then try to slip them under the table where the dog can eat them.


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WayneConrad has made 123 recent additions to Banjo Hangout 

Occupation: programmer

Gender: Male
Age: 56

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Short scale banjos, most of them with frets, and one without. Most of them by Backyard Music, and one Goodtime Parlor.

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Created 10/21/2012
Last Visit 4/23/2018

Was born. Lived 51 years without playing anything. Dad handed me his banjo. Here I am.

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