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Nov 21, 2009 - 7:06:46 AM
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51 posts since 12/6/2007

I agree completely with what has been said about scales being a "means to an end" rather than the end itself.
Scales can be approached from SO many different angles for SO many different reasons - i.e. jazz improv, classical technique, fingerboard knowledge, helping with sight reading standard notation, and many more. A big difference in approaching scales is does one go for a melodic (harp style) approach or a single string approach (or both). I think most of us that have played any melodic licks or melodic style fiddle tunes would be familiar with at least a bit of the g major or c major scale in the MELODIC style. Many years ago I attempted to learn all of my scales and arpeggios in this style - the way Pat Cloud and Pete Pardee have done (because I love the way they play). I found that this was a very hard and complicated way to go because outside of the first few keys (G,C,D) it started to get really hard to "see" the pattern on the fingerboard (even though it is there). After spending a lot of time around classical guitarists, I realized that they approach scales in a "single string" fashion for the most part. I also realized that their goal was to use the scale work for developing left and right hand technique to the max, and for learning how the various keys lay out on the fingerboard as well as to find musical ways to execute the scales (dynamic changes, rhythmic variation etc.). By this time my main interest was in developing classical repertoire for the banjo so eventually I decided to emulate the classical guitarists and develop a single string scale and arpeggio method that was similar to what I saw them working on. That is the whole idea behind my scale and arpeggio book. This approach is meant to really help those interested in a classical approach to the banjo. While it will help anybody know the banjo better and gain better technique, it would not be the best approach to help be a better melodic style player, Scruggs style player, or jazz improvisor. I think the most helpful approach for these styles is Pat Cloud's pentatonic approach because it can be used in a jazz context or a bluegrass context...
For classical playing however, the "linear" single string approach is what I think will help the most. Having said that, I think ANY scale knowledge will help ANY player know the instrument better and gain better technique. Classical playing is sort of tough on the left hand in particular, so I chose to focus on the single string approach because it really gets the fingers into shape for quick position changes and challenging left hand movements. When I have time, I do like to run through some of the pentatonic ideas from Pat Cloud because they are so versatile and also gives one insight into how the fingerboard is layed out....I think each player needs to identify what their personal playing goals are and then select a scale approach that will suit their playing goals. Sorry it took me such a long time to say that!
JB

Nov 21, 2009 - 7:49:42 AM

3383 posts since 10/10/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Bullard

I agree completely with what has been said about scales being a "means to an end" rather than the end itself.
Scales can be approached from SO many different angles for SO many different reasons - i.e. jazz improv, classical technique, fingerboard knowledge, helping with sight reading standard notation, and many more. A big difference in approaching scales is does one go for a melodic (harp style) approach or a single string approach (or both). I think most of us that have played any melodic licks or melodic style fiddle tunes would be familiar with at least a bit of the g major or c major scale in the MELODIC style. Many years ago I attempted to learn all of my scales and arpeggios in this style - the way Pat Cloud and Pete Pardee have done (because I love the way they play). I found that this was a very hard and complicated way to go because outside of the first few keys (G,C,D) it started to get really hard to "see" the pattern on the fingerboard (even though it is there). After spending a lot of time around classical guitarists, I realized that they approach scales in a "single string" fashion for the most part. I also realized that their goal was to use the scale work for developing left and right hand technique to the max, and for learning how the various keys lay out on the fingerboard as well as to find musical ways to execute the scales (dynamic changes, rhythmic variation etc.). By this time my main interest was in developing classical repertoire for the banjo so eventually I decided to emulate the classical guitarists and develop a single string scale and arpeggio method that was similar to what I saw them working on. That is the whole idea behind my scale and arpeggio book. This approach is meant to really help those interested in a classical approach to the banjo. While it will help anybody know the banjo better and gain better technique, it would not be the best approach to help be a better melodic style player, Scruggs style player, or jazz improvisor. I think the most helpful approach for these styles is Pat Cloud's pentatonic approach because it can be used in a jazz context or a bluegrass context...
For classical playing however, the "linear" single string approach is what I think will help the most. Having said that, I think ANY scale knowledge will help ANY player know the instrument better and gain better technique. Classical playing is sort of tough on the left hand in particular, so I chose to focus on the single string approach because it really gets the fingers into shape for quick position changes and challenging left hand movements. When I have time, I do like to run through some of the pentatonic ideas from Pat Cloud because they are so versatile and also gives one insight into how the fingerboard is layed out....I think each player needs to identify what their personal playing goals are and then select a scale approach that will suit their playing goals. Sorry it took me such a long time to say that!
JB



welcome to the hangout, John .... or maybe you've been around for a while and I missed it?

I followed a similar path ... took a lesson from Pat in 1980 ... played a couple of gigs with him (as a bass player) ... loved his playing ... tried to emulate his approach. Didn't do a very good job of it.
Eventually ended up learning the fingerboard from a "closed position" POV.
It works for me .... I can "see" what I'm doing better.
I play Scruggs and Keith/Thompson as well, but am focusing on SS ... to see if I can REALLY get it to integrate into all types of the music I most often play.
It's much harder to get a legato connected sound from that approach for sure ... but it's possible.

good luck with the book ... I'd like to check it out.
my pics page has tabs and lessons for the approach I take ... fyi

Nov 21, 2009 - 8:49:28 AM

1058 posts since 12/18/2005

Iv'e enjoyed reading and listening to eveybodys approach to this subject it's the only time i did not mind putting an instrument down.Playing the computer key board isn't me at all.
Regards
Ian

Nov 21, 2009 - 12:35:59 PM
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4299 posts since 7/16/2004

quote:
Originally posted by billyshake
I've been using scales to get used to my right hand position in space and time. But it dawned on me today that I don't know what I should do with all of these scales. Should I memorize them -- if not the names of the notes, at least their individual progressions (as frets and sound)?

As a permanently novice player, how deep into scales should my knowledge go in order that I might play a little old time or bluegrass with other people someday? I guess all this breaks down into a simple question: what do I do with scales?


Scales have a number of uses:

1)They can be used to develop dexterity in your left hand. They can also be a good way to teach fingerings. However, left fingers are in quite a state of flux given the different patterns in melodies, etc.

2)A simple way I teach my students to use a scale to create melodies is as follows:
Suppose we have a Gmajor scale
G A B C D E F#
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Now if you want to play over a G major chord (GBD are the chord tones)
Here are some patterns:

GABAG (1-2-3-2-1) where G and B are CHORD TONES and A is a PASSING TONE
BAGAB "Mary had a Little Lamb" uses this melodic fragment
BCDCB
DCBCD
etc
CHORD TONE-PASSING TONE-CHORD TONE-etc etc
Basically, you are hitting the CHORD TONES on the downbeat and the passing tones on the offbeats

Once you get these under your fingers, you can string them together and create longer phrases. Personally, I have students learn this material from a CHORD/ARPEGGIO point of view; however, you can arrive at the same place from scales.
I like narrowing down a students choices to just a few patterns at first because improvising with a scale can be overwhelming....it's not as simple as running up and down it in order to make it sound good.
3)Scales can offer good ear training-I recommend singing them straight up and down, then sing them in 3rds, etc
4)I would memorize the names of the notes you are playing, chords, etc......depending on how deep you want to get into it
5)Despite all that I have stated, if you want to play bluegrass or clawhammer you don't have to know your scales. You can get by fine without them. However, if your interests lies outside of bluegrass into the classical/jazz/etc worlds, then it might be wise to dive in. In addition, If you truly want to understand Melodic style banjo though you need to know this stuff.
Not everyone wants to understand the inner workings of music, some are fine playing by ear, not knowing the notes and chords they are playing. There is nothing wrong with this approach, it's up to the individual to decide what and how much they want to study from a theoretical point of view.

Edited by - Jody Hughes on 11/21/2009 22:26:10

Nov 22, 2009 - 4:53:57 AM

149 posts since 8/16/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Banjocoltrane
CHORD TONE-PASSING TONE-CHORD TONE-etc etc
Basically, you are hitting the CHORD TONES on the downbeat and the passing tones on the offbeats




I think I get the pattern there; though I guess I don't know exactly why a chord is made up of those various notes -- to put in simplistic terms, like mixing paints to get a certain color, is it that GBD played together makes a tuner show a G? I just played an open strum on my banjo and, indeed, my tuner says I played a G...or G-ish, anyway.

On the second half of the quoted bit above: if I were plucking out a melody in a clawhammer style and over the G major scale, would all of my "BUM"s (in a bum-dit-ty) be the downbeat? And would most songs (which play over this scale), then, utilize only downbeats comprised of G, B, or D?

I hope my questions made sense; I'm lacking in music nomenclature, but it's seeping in slowly. This thread alone has had me on wikipedia for hours!

-----
I don't know where I might put this link, but for anyone who needs to either refresh their knowledge of theory or start from scratch, this site has been quite helpful to me (I think it's similar to the zebrakeys link tofte32 posted, but goes a bit deeper than that):

8notes.com/theory/

It's basic music theory using a piano and piano sounds to explain things. Just for the heck of it, I started from the very beginning (though I do remember how to read standard notation). I was surprised to learn a few things in the early lessons -- I had no idea flat and sharp symbols are called "accidentals" or what compound meter means.

Thanks again to everyone for the great info in this thread. I'm still getting angrier at Pearce for every step I take into this theory madness, but I have to admit that what was once an incredible snooze 21 years ago in high school music class is now oddly fascinating.

Edited by - billyshake on 11/22/2009 05:07:02

Nov 22, 2009 - 6:39:15 AM
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3383 posts since 10/10/2008

quote:
Originally posted by billyshake

quote:
Originally posted by Banjocoltrane
CHORD TONE-PASSING TONE-CHORD TONE-etc etc
Basically, you are hitting the CHORD TONES on the downbeat and the passing tones on the offbeats




I think I get the pattern there; though I guess I don't know exactly why a chord is made up of those various notes -- to put in simplistic terms, like mixing paints to get a certain color, is it that GBD played together makes a tuner show a G? I just played an open strum on my banjo and, indeed, my tuner says I played a G...or G-ish, anyway.

On the second half of the quoted bit above: if I were plucking out a melody in a clawhammer style and over the G major scale, would all of my "BUM"s (in a bum-dit-ty) be the downbeat? And would most songs (which play over this scale), then, utilize only downbeats comprised of G, B, or D?

Thanks again to everyone for the great info in this thread. I'm still getting angrier at Pearce for every step I take into this theory madness, but I have to admit that what was once an incredible snooze 21 years ago in high school music class is now oddly fascinating.



I'm sorry !!!

what Jody (banjocoltrane) is saying is ...
Gmajor scale tones
GABCDEF#G =12345678 tones of the key of G major
GBD=135 of the scale= Gmajor triad (chord)
GABAG =12321 tones, which is a pattern (even note values such as straight 1/8 notes) and puts the chord tones on the strong beats if you are playing this pattern over a G major chord.

Your tuner seems to be showing you the G note of a Gmajor chord when you strum your banjo .... electronic tuners are made to give you the tuning of an individual frequency (note) not the value of a chord type ... like G major.

Keep digging ... the study of music is like the best video game ever (XBOX infinity !!) .... one level of understanding just leads you to the next ... music is virtually boundless, so you never reach the top level. Then the real trick is turning all of that hard work into really good music.

Nov 22, 2009 - 11:02:44 AM

149 posts since 8/16/2005

quote:
Originally posted by pearcemusic

Keep digging ... the study of music is like the best video game ever (XBOX infinity !!) .... one level of understanding just leads you to the next ... music is virtually boundless, so you never reach the top level. Then the real trick is turning all of that hard work into really good music.



I'll admit, its got my interest all sewed up for the foreseeable future. I reiterate, though, Pearce, all of this theory will end one day in me playing Hot Cross Buns on a tree branch while wearing a Napoleon outfit. I expect that you will visit the asylum now and again, maybe bring a box of Cheerios? I hear the crazies love Cheerios! Honey Nut, more than likely.

Nov 22, 2009 - 11:08:41 AM

4299 posts since 7/16/2004

quote:
Originally posted by billyshake
I think I get the pattern there; though I guess I don't know exactly why a chord is made up of those various notes -- to put in simplistic terms, like mixing paints to get a certain color, is it that GBD played together makes a tuner show a G? I just played an open strum on my banjo and, indeed, my tuner says I played a G...or G-ish, anyway.

On the second half of the quoted bit above: if I were plucking out a melody in a clawhammer style and over the G major scale, would all of my "BUM"s (in a bum-dit-ty) be the downbeat? And would most songs (which play over this scale), then, utilize only downbeats comprised of G, B, or D?

I hope my questions made sense; I'm lacking in music nomenclature, but it's seeping in slowly. This thread alone has had me on wikipedia for hours!





Why does a G major chord have the notes GBD? One must first understand Chord Construction:

In order to construct a chord, we first look at the scale
A G major scale is GABCDEF#

We derive a G major chord by starting on G and skipping every other note
Hence, G-B-D or the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of the scale. If you extend this out one more note you arrive at a Gmaj7th (G-B-D-F#)

Likewise, if you wanted to know what notes were in a C major chord, you could write out a C major scale and find the notes contained within a C major chord the same way
Just one reason understanding key signatures is important.

To expand on my post above
Suppose we are in 4/4 time signature and we use eight notes to a measure
We could even do something like

G-A-B-A G-B-D-C | B, etc
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1

The G-A-B-A is using the passing tone principle, the next phrase simply goes up the chord tones (G-B-D) and then descends back into a CHORD TONE (B) via a PASSING TONE (C)

Once again, a stream of eight notes, where CHORD TONES remain on downbeats, and PASSING TONES remain on off beats.

This is one way to use a Major Scale to create musical melodies/lines.

Nov 22, 2009 - 12:25:08 PM
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9450 posts since 12/19/2008

I think asking why a major chord has three tones or has the tones it uses is not a good question to ask for a beginner getting into chords. That is more of a physics or human consciousness question.

A major chord by definition has three tones of the major scale: 1-3-5.
A minor chord by definition has three tones of the minor scale: 1-3-5.

You can also define everything in terms of a major scale or chord (which is where a different way of doing scales appears).

A major chord has the 1,3,5 notes of the scale
A minor chord has the 1, b3, 5 notes of the scale.

Other chords have different notes, either different notes of the same scale or the same notes of different scales.

Nov 22, 2009 - 12:56:28 PM

3383 posts since 10/10/2008

quote:
Originally posted by billyshake

quote:
Originally posted by pearcemusic

Keep digging ... the study of music is like the best video game ever (XBOX infinity !!) .... one level of understanding just leads you to the next ... music is virtually boundless, so you never reach the top level. Then the real trick is turning all of that hard work into really good music.



I'll admit, its got my interest all sewed up for the foreseeable future. I reiterate, though, Pearce, all of this theory will end one day in me playing Hot Cross Buns on a tree branch while wearing a Napoleon outfit. I expect that you will visit the asylum now and again, maybe bring a box of Cheerios? I hear the crazies love Cheerios! Honey Nut, more than likely.



oh man ... that is really funny !!!

Honey Nut Cheerios are on the way !!

Nov 23, 2009 - 12:30:51 PM

3842 posts since 10/17/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Banjocoltrane

quote:
Originally posted by billyshake
I think I get the pattern there; though I guess I don't know exactly why a chord is made up of those various notes -- to put in simplistic terms, like mixing paints to get a certain color, is it that GBD played together makes a tuner show a G? I just played an open strum on my banjo and, indeed, my tuner says I played a G...or G-ish, anyway.

On the second half of the quoted bit above: if I were plucking out a melody in a clawhammer style and over the G major scale, would all of my "BUM"s (in a bum-dit-ty) be the downbeat? And would most songs (which play over this scale), then, utilize only downbeats comprised of G, B, or D?

I hope my questions made sense; I'm lacking in music nomenclature, but it's seeping in slowly. This thread alone has had me on wikipedia for hours!





Why does a G major chord have the notes GBD? One must first understand Chord Construction:

In order to construct a chord, we first look at the scale
A G major scale is GABCDEF#

We derive a G major chord by starting on G and skipping every other note
Hence, G-B-D or the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of the scale. If you extend this out one more note you arrive at a Gmaj7th (G-B-D-F#)

Likewise, if you wanted to know what notes were in a C major chord, you could write out a C major scale and find the notes contained within a C major chord the same way
Just one reason understanding key signatures is important.

To expand on my post above
Suppose we are in 4/4 time signature and we use eight notes to a measure
We could even do something like

G-A-B-A G-B-D-C | B, etc
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1

The G-A-B-A is using the passing tone principle, the next phrase simply goes up the chord tones (G-B-D) and then descends back into a CHORD TONE (B) via a PASSING TONE (C)

Once again, a stream of eight notes, where CHORD TONES remain on downbeats, and PASSING TONES remain on off beats.

This is one way to use a Major Scale to create musical melodies/lines.



1. The reason the GBD sound good together is in simple physic of sound waves. It's not complicated. For every 2 waves of the G note, the D makes 3 waves, creating a tight bond of sound. A ratio of 3/2. The B also makes a tight bond to the G of 5/4; (and to D 5/3). All low ratios that our ears can easily hear, so they end up sounding the strongest, most consonant. The same relationship occurs with the any basic chord. Learn to listen and recognize the strength of how those notes sound together and you don't need to do any math, or counting. In learning to listen, a tuner will not be exact, nor will a piano or fretted instrument. The best is to use something you can raise and lower the pitch with, gradually hear when two notes lock in.

2. The BUM's (downbeats) are not always (quite often not) one of those 3 notes. Yet most of the melody will revolve around those notes, most phrases will start and end with those notes, so most will land on downbeats.

3. The next notes also create low ratios. The E note is 6/5 (a sixth) still pretty easy to hear; and the A note is 9/8. 9/8 is a little harder to hear, however one notices it also forms a 3/2 relation to the D note, and in conjunction with the D (even if the D is just in the mind) is easy to hear.

With these notes you get the basic pentatonic scale, and many old time tunes this is the heart of the tune. And many of the other notes just act as passing notes in these tunes.

Get a real feel for this, how these notes sound, before you delve into scales. The scales can be formed out of expanding these physical properties of sound. So it's not just a bunch of mental/analytical "those are the rules" but actual physical experience.

Nov 23, 2009 - 12:43:46 PM
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9450 posts since 12/19/2008

The reason the G B D things sound good together is related to what humans like.

The reason music is written the way it is nowadays where C is the scale without sharp and flats instead of A (which would make more sense) is because the Minor scale was the most popular in music. Thus, for a thousand years ago, you need a different 'rule' of physics to explain why we find the G, Bb, D chord so harmoniously pleasing that it was approved by God (according to the church at that time).

Physics does its thing regardless of humans.
What humans like is based mostly on what humans like and not so much on physics.

Nov 23, 2009 - 5:29:22 PM

4299 posts since 7/16/2004

quote:
Originally posted by banjoak
1.Learn to listen and recognize the strength of how those notes sound together and you don't need to do any math, or counting. In learning to listen, a tuner will not be exact, nor will a piano or fretted instrument. The best is to use something you can raise and lower the pitch with, gradually hear when two notes lock in.

2. The BUM's (downbeats) are not always (quite often not) one of those 3 notes. Yet most of the melody will revolve around those notes, most phrases will start and end with those notes, so most will land on downbeats.


3. The next notes also create low ratios. The E note is 6/5 (a sixth) still pretty easy to hear; and the A note is 9/8. 9/8 is a little harder to hear, however one notices it also forms a 3/2 relation to the D note, and in conjunction with the D (even if the D is just in the mind) is easy to hear.

Get a real feel for this, how these notes sound, before you delve into scales. The scales can be formed out of expanding these physical properties of sound. So it's not just a bunch of mental/analytical "those are the rules" but actual physical experience.





1)Chord Construction is a very important topic. It leads one into understanding the NAMES of the notes that make up individual chords. This in return will lead to a knowledge of arpeggios, chord extensions, etc.
It's easy to explain to someone how to Derive chords from a scale. It can be seen on paper. They can then take that information and apply it to other areas, leading to even more understanding.
I don't think it will necessarily hinder anyone from understanding it from a SOUND perspective either.
When students encounter a chord chart and they don't know the chord, nor know how to construct it they are gonna be in trouble....Chords they can't "hear" or "feel" their way through? This is where Chord construction knowledge comes in handy.

I agree that training your ear to hear the sounds is most important, but I don't agree with the idea that learning Chord construction from scales is gonna hinder your ability to hear them. In addition, sometimes we learn to hear things after they are revealed to us in ways other than the realm of SOUND......I clearly remember learning how a min7b5 sounded after discovering it existed theoretically, before I knew it existed or what it was I couldn't hear it. Same thing with a 7#11

I'm honestly not sure if your explanation is meant to help the original poster use scales?
How are ratios any "easier" than writing out a scale and simply skipping notes?

2)To make sure I'm understood, I at no time said that Chord tones are ALWAYS on downbeats. I gave the original poster a very Specific way of using chord tones/scales to construct melodies that could then be used. CHORD TONES won't always be on downbeats, but they are very often and it's a good place to start using scales. It's very easy to understand, easy to implement, etc....much easier than telling the student to improvise using the G major scale randomly.

Lastly, Perhaps a few of the posters on this thread could offer a few more ways to use scales?....I'm sure there are more?.

Edited by - Jody Hughes on 11/23/2009 18:13:16

Nov 23, 2009 - 6:40 PM

9450 posts since 12/19/2008

More how to use scales

I read elsewhere some guy practiced his modes by treating them like a video game, choosing a song and playing the melody in the major scale and then playing it in each of the modes.

That's probably the way to train your ear to hear scales.

You can also do chord arpeggios across different scales/modes to get used to thinking of the new scales in terms of chordal use.

Nov 24, 2009 - 12:34:48 AM

3842 posts since 10/17/2009

quote:
Originally posted by Banjocoltrane

1)Chord Construction is a very important topic. It leads one into understanding the NAMES of the notes that make up individual chords. This in return will lead to a knowledge of arpeggios, chord extensions, etc.
It's easy to explain to someone how to Derive chords from a scale. It can be seen on paper. They can then take that information and apply it to other areas, leading to even more understanding.
I don't think it will necessarily hinder anyone from understanding it from a SOUND perspective either.
When students encounter a chord chart and they don't know the chord, nor know how to construct it they are gonna be in trouble....Chords they can't "hear" or "feel" their way through? This is where Chord construction knowledge comes in handy.

I agree that training your ear to hear the sounds is most important, but I don't agree with the idea that learning Chord construction from scales is gonna hinder your ability to hear them. In addition, sometimes we learn to hear things after they are revealed to us in ways other than the realm of SOUND......I clearly remember learning how a min7b5 sounded after discovering it existed theoretically, before I knew it existed or what it was I couldn't hear it. Same thing with a 7#11

I'm honestly not sure if your explanation is meant to help the original poster use scales?
How are ratios any "easier" than writing out a scale and simply skipping notes?




I wasn't intending to quite advocate learning chords, nor chord charts exactly. Nor does it have anything to do with learning names of things. Rather it's about experiencing and understanding harmonic relationships. He wanted to know why the GBD notes were more important. My point was that scales are not the first place to start. Scales become just abstract theory until one has concrete feel of harmonic relationship. Each note has a specific physical relation to the key center, not just a theoretical one. It helps in understanding those passing notes, as well as leading tones, and ornaments. To me it's easier to derive at building scales from those basic harmonic relationships. I see far too many students that are just told the scale, and then perhaps (not always) abstract ways they are supposed to be related. One can just play scales, and scale exercises without getting the relation. It becomes just "rules" of numbers to remember, without concretely knowing why.

The ratios are easier because our ears and brain directly experience it; (one doesn't have to measure or do any math to obtain the ratios, it's just the naturally occurring physical properties of sound waves). Start with the easiest things to hear, and build on that.



quote:


...because the Minor scale was the most popular in music. Thus, for a thousand years ago, you need a different 'rule' of physics to explain why we find the G, Bb, D chord so harmoniously pleasing...




Basically the same rules based on low ratios for minor. Fifth is the same 3/2; Minor third is 5/3; minor third to fifth is 5/4. Indeed harmoniously pleasing.

What humans like is often based on what our brains want to perceive in the easiest way, and based on the physical properties of what we can sense, (not exactly on physics in a abstract mathematical sense)

Nov 24, 2009 - 6:43:27 AM

3383 posts since 10/10/2008

the ratio thing is interesting, but I'm not sure I understand why that approach would be chosen over a simple music scale tone/interval explanation. Interesting though.

Like Jody, I tend to see and teach patterns that have worked for others (because you can hear them in actual music ... live and recorded) and then help a student to learn to use that as a foundational for their own musical expression.

I did a series of videos a few weeks ago .. in a BHO thread called "Take 5 for 5 string" that give examples of how I approach scales, arpeggios, etc. I pretty much always teach theoretical principles in the context of a tune, so that the scale and pattern, chord, arpeggio, interval, is immediately applicable to something.
I put things in "toolboxes" ... chunks of info that can be studied, then applied to a tune.

This is an example, though I think billyshake already saw this series ....
link to toolbox #1:

banjohangout.org/myhangout/vid...p?id=3127

I take the same approach with a Scruggs tune ... and the improv principles that can be applied to it.

Nov 24, 2009 - 10:15:16 AM

4299 posts since 7/16/2004

quote:
Originally posted by banjoak
Rather it's about experiencing and understanding harmonic relationships. He wanted to know why the GBD notes were more important. My point was that scales are not the first place to start. Scales become just abstract theory until one has concrete feel of harmonic relationship. Each note has a specific physical relation to the key center, not just a theoretical one. It helps in understanding those passing notes, as well as leading tones, and ornaments. To me it's easier to derive at building scales from those basic harmonic relationships. I see far too many students that are just told the scale, and then perhaps (not always) abstract ways they are supposed to be related. One can just play scales, and scale exercises without getting the relation. It becomes just "rules" of numbers to remember, without concretely knowing why.

The ratios are easier because our ears and brain directly experience it; (one doesn't have to measure or do any math to obtain the ratios, it's just the naturally occurring physical properties of sound waves). Start with the easiest things to hear, and build on that.
Basically the same rules based on low ratios for minor. Fifth is the same 3/2; Minor third is 5/3; minor third to fifth is 5/4. Indeed harmoniously pleasing.
What humans like is often based on what our brains want to perceive in the easiest way, and based on the physical properties of what we can sense, (not exactly on physics in a abstract mathematical sense)



Hello again,
Perhaps where I'm losing you is how scales couldn't arrive you at the same point you are advocating?
If one practices singing a scale up and down, in 3rds, etc; the nature/distances of those notes gradually reveal themselves to you (if you don't just hear it naturally).

I agree with a lot of what you are saying. Music is very much a feeling to me, a "distance." For example, the 9th and 7th degrees of a scale have a very specific feeling, a distance away from the home note.

However, I think if I started talking about the ratios you are referring to (which are mathematical) I'd lose some people.
I think what would help is if you could give a specific method for hearing these ratios? Not everyone can hear these distances when they first start.
Would asking a student to transcribe simple songs with only three chords in them be a good start? That would train the student to hear the distances for a I, IV, and V chord.


Thanks

Nov 25, 2009 - 2:15:36 AM

149 posts since 8/16/2005


quote:
Originally posted by minstrelmike

The reason the G B D things sound good together is related to what humans like.
<snip>
What humans like is based mostly on what humans like and not so much on physics.

I've not pondered this subject before and this is only tangentially in line with the above, but it seems to me that what humans like, in terms of music, must be more than just a preference for one sound over another. I mean, outside of the few, minor changes (no pun intended) you mentioned, there seems to be an almost atavistic component to music; one that's part of a "collective conscience" that has remained firm enough that its construction is more a truth than it is a concept subject to the vagaries of pop culture.

Thus, I think the tandem sound of G B and D would be pleasing to both the person who's never before heard a single note of music and -- this is a leap -- even to the artificially intelligent machine (aside of whether A.I. is possible or not). One can say "humans like walking," and it would be true, but humans MUST walk by our construction. Aren't G B & D good for the same reasons humans walk? (that's an actual question, not a stuffy rhetorical statement -- I have no idea what the answer is!

Even more O.T. (sorry, I just love this stuff), I've read that baroque music, specifically, tends to be the style of music most conducive to a listener's concentration on study; that this is because it's a more mathematically "perfect" construction of sound and silence. While "the Mozart Effect" has more to do with creating or taking tests better and more effectively while listening to Mozart (or perhaps any classical period music?). It stands to reason that the former requires less from the listener's brain because the questions posed by the music are also answered -- perfectly. While the latter doesn't supply those answers so much as get the listener excited or purely emotional by doing the opposite of what baroque does.

Okay, that's my dime store theory. Here is a simplistic version of what I'm attempting to explain, but it covers it generally -- taken from howtolearn.com:
quote:
In 1996, the College Entrance Exam Board Service conducted a study on all students taking their SAT exams. Students who sang or played a musical instrument scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and an average of 39 points higher on math.
Major corporations such as Shell, IBM, and Dupont, along with hundreds of schools and universities use music, such as certain Baroque pieces, to cut learning time in half and increase retention of the new materials.

According to the research outlined in the book, musical pieces, such as those of Mozart, can relieve stress, improve communication and increase efficiency. Creativity scores soar when listening to Mozart.


(I just noticed that under my avatar it reads: "average member." How did Eric find that out?! Has he been talking to my ex?)

Edited by - billyshake on 11/25/2009 02:29:22

Nov 25, 2009 - 5:55:25 AM
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9450 posts since 12/19/2008

Listen to Chinese music.

They've been playing the scales 'wrong' for millennia but they apparently like it. /* every relationship between musical notes is based on integer relationships until you start making the tones equal-tempered in which cases the tone relations between notes aren't so pure anymore */

Most people 'like' what they grew up listening to.
===========================
Argument 2 for the theoretical physicists.
They say a chord is every other note of the scale. This approach works for dominant 7ths and 9ths ... too and is useful once you've decided upon a scale.
However, what is the scale you want to choose? Major, minor, or are we talking about the 'real' or full chromatic scale (in which case chord tone choices are just about as random as scale tone choices).
============================

For the creativity experiment, let's get the Chinese to perform the same thing. Listen to Mozart and listen to the preferred Chinese selections.
For a followup, let's switch musicks with them and see if American's do better on the SAT listening to whatever the Chinese version of Mozart is that inspires creativity.
Experiments like that sound like how we'd get to the bottom of the importance of music to the human consciousness against the way music is bizarrely different in different cultures.

Nov 25, 2009 - 6:38:17 AM

3383 posts since 10/10/2008

quote:
Originally posted by billyshake


[quote]

(I just noticed that under my avatar it reads: "average member." How did Eric find that out?! Has he been talking to my ex?)






and I'm a senior .... great

Edited by - pearcemusic on 11/25/2009 06:39:22

Nov 25, 2009 - 7:27:31 AM

149 posts since 8/16/2005

quote:
Originally posted by minstrelmike

For the creativity experiment, let's get the Chinese to perform the same thing. Listen to Mozart and listen to the preferred Chinese selections.
For a followup, let's switch musicks with them and see if American's do better on the SAT listening to whatever the Chinese version of Mozart is that inspires creativity.
Experiments like that sound like how we'd get to the bottom of the importance of music to the human consciousness against the way music is bizarrely different in different cultures.



That would be an interesting study. While living in Cambodia, I bought a drough/dtrow and tried to play it -- sounded something like killing a cat very slowly, but my landlord said I was doing it right. I have only read the finding of the various studies that report this link between music choice and knowledge retention. I wonder what kind of double blinds, if any, they may have done. The Chinese experiment (sounds like something nefarious, if you ask me!) would certainly be a good test of the theory.

quote:
Originally posted by pearcemusic

quote:
Originally posted by billyshake


[quote]

(I just noticed that under my avatar it reads: "average member." How did Eric find that out?! Has he been talking to my ex?)






and I'm a senior .... great


HAH!!

I'd take as a point of pride. Gotta be better than average.

Edited by - billyshake on 11/25/2009 07:30:59

Nov 29, 2009 - 10:44:22 AM

615 posts since 7/6/2009

THIS IS A VERY CONFUSING THING TO LEARN I AM GOING TO TAKE A STEP BACK FROM TABS AND WORK ON CHORDS ONLY

Dec 8, 2009 - 11:05:34 AM
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1262 posts since 2/12/2008

There hasn't been one of us who haven't sat behind a banjo and noodled endlessly trying to figure out a melodic transition from one phrase to another. Or sat and tried to figure out where a particular run would go next. Or wanted to turn a well known lick into a minor or seventh version.

That is where scale study comes in. When you do the above you are in effect saying...'I want to design something I have no academic knowledge of, so I will just try to figure it out by trial and error.' Sure you can do it but you are at a disadvantage and certainly not as qualified as someone who does know what to do.

The difference? One of you has studied and practiced scales and other hasn't. This is similar to a doctor being certified with no knowledge of bones. What's there to know about bones? They're hard and have to be avoided as you make your way to the heart. Similarly, banjo players are notorious about avoiding studying something that is inextricably involved in every aspect of the music you play.

Every, and I mean EVERY serious student of any instrument who hires a cmpetent teacher to guide them to mastery of that instrument is required to know and study scales. It can't be MASTERED without it. If it is true for pianist, violinist, oboeist, flutist why would it not be required for the banjo? The answer is that mastery of the banjo is no different than mastery of the piano, nor does that mastery demand any less study.

That's why you study scales...because everything you do with that 5-string is built with scales. And if you want to truly know your machine you need to understand what is going on with it.

You don't have to make it a drugery or task but you should understand the basics and where those notes are on the fretboard. Study patterns in all positions.

tex

Dec 8, 2009 - 4:54:50 PM

3383 posts since 10/10/2008

quote:
Originally posted by thetexan



You don't have to make it a drugery or task but you should understand the basics and where those notes are on the fretboard.

tex



good post, Tex !!!

now get ready for the onslaught of "3 chord shapes no waiting!!!" posts.

Dec 9, 2009 - 10:06:04 AM
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17411 posts since 7/21/2005

I am working on a set of scales for Rocket Science Banjo now and the first 6 are available by email. send a letter to:
oldwoodchuckb@yahoo.com
and you will get the following sheets
A major scale with shifts for more efficient vertical movement
______ open position version
______ In eighth notes
_______2 steps forward and one step back
________This last is the serious exercise of the lot since the rhythmic feel of the scale is at cross purposes with the duple nature of clawhammer.
There are also 4 other A scale sheets - Mixolydian, Dorian, and Minor and a single exercise that goes through the four A scales.
Page one of the D scales "Major" is also complete.
This will all be part of RSB chapter to go up n the website sometime after the 1st of the year
rocketsciencebanjo.com
The book and all the exercises are free. I do sell some tune tabs to help finance future projects in RSB (Look for sound files beginning in January). Join today and get over 160 tabs. You'll also be helping me finance a good cam for new RSB videos.


Edited by - oldwoodchuckb on 12/10/2009 22:37:51

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