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Mar 4, 2021 - 8:22:24 AM
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243 posts since 9/19/2014

Still trying to connect the dots. This would be helpful, I think. Thanks

BTW, you know what they say about those who can't teach?

They teach PE.

Mar 4, 2021 - 8:26:32 AM

ChunoTheDog

Canada

710 posts since 8/9/2019
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My novice input is that scales matter because intervals and keys matter for playing songs.

Mar 4, 2021 - 9:28:07 AM
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2843 posts since 4/19/2008
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All melodies and chords are built around scales. Even people that play by ear are using the scales, they just don't realize it. These players have hunt & pecked their way in order to sort out where the "sweet spots" are located that they hear in their musical mind. Scales are just a method to write on paper what musicians have been doing for thousands of years. They can be a light bulb into the mystery of music.

Mar 4, 2021 - 11:43:34 AM
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75 posts since 12/23/2016

If you are playing songs in open G you have probably noticed that a lot of songs have the same notes. They might occur in different orders and be held for different amounts of time, which is what makes the melodies different, but your fingers keep returning to the same frets on the same strings. Those notes are more than likely all notes in the G major scale. Knowing that scale helps you figure out new tunes by ear. You get used to the relationships and and the positions.

Sometimes, a tune has a note that is not part of the scale. If you know the scale, you can hear the note that doesn't fit. It might sound like a "blue" note, or a bit "out." Notes like that provide a little extra spice to the melody. For example, I was figuring out "You Are My Sunshine." All the notes are in the G major scale except in the second line when it goes "My only sunshine" where the note for the first syllable of "only" is a Bb. I learned that when I actually got around to looking at the tab.

Mar 4, 2021 - 12:48:16 PM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

25735 posts since 8/3/2003

I don't think scales are terribly important when you first start learning banjo. Most bluegrass type music is composed of rolls, partial rolls and licks and, of course, melodies. After you get the basics down and understand them, then, if you want to, you can delve into scales.

I didn't get into scales until I'd been picking for several years. When I started learning melodic songs, I found that an understanding of scales helped me understand melodic.

Of course, the more you understand about theory, the easier is is to understand what you're playing and why. Scales help you understand key signature (sharps and flats in various keys) and what notes are in those keys. They also help you understand chords and chord intervals and why there are major, minor, 7th, diminished, etc., type chords and how to make them.

Mar 4, 2021 - 1:52:39 PM
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doryman

USA

958 posts since 11/26/2012

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

All melodies and chords are built around scales. Even people that play by ear are using the scales, they just don't realize it. These players have hunt & pecked their way in order to sort out where the "sweet spots" are located that they hear in their musical mind. 


Funny you should mention this.  I've been playing banjo for a very long time, I play by ear mostly, and I "learned" the scales, give or take, without realizing it.  As a covid project this year, I decided to take up the fiddle, largely because I had run out of other ways to embarrass myself and my family.  I immediately realized that, at the age of 61, I didn't want to spend the next twenty years learning the scales by accident!   And with the fiddle, you can't get around not knowing scales by falling back on chording! 

Edited by - doryman on 03/04/2021 13:53:12

Mar 4, 2021 - 2:35:04 PM
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3555 posts since 7/12/2006

The simplest answer is....so you will know your way around the neck.


Mar 4, 2021 - 2:41:49 PM
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Alex Z

USA

4190 posts since 12/7/2006

Folk:  Instrument of the people;  music of the people.  Bluegrass.  Appalachian mountain music.  Traditional Celtic music.  Etc.

Don't need to know scales to learn and play this music.  The techniques of the traditional instruments are passed down through the actual playing of the music by the elders.  Scale fragments may be included in the music but not knowing a scale or multiple scales is no handicap to learning.

Be-bop jazz, renaissance modal, romantic classical, etc.  Techniques are generally learned apart from the music, then applied to the music.  Discernment of the music and improvising can depend on a mastery of scales and arpeggios.

In our modern era, many of those learning to play guitar, fiddle, mandolin learn in the classical way -- scales, arpeggios, etc.  apart from the music.  No problem with that -- could be a more efficient way of developing skills.

Mar 4, 2021 - 2:50:41 PM

USAF PJ

USA

243 posts since 9/19/2014

quote:
Originally posted by stanleytone

The simplest answer is....so you will know your way around the neck.


I think I know that as it relates to notes on the neck. What is the next step if I was asked to play in Key of E? I can find the scale starting there but not sure how to move into playing.

Mar 4, 2021 - 3:12:43 PM

6041 posts since 10/13/2007

quote:
Originally posted by USAF PJ
quote:
Originally posted by stanleytone

The simplest answer is....so you will know your way around the neck.


I think I know that as it relates to notes on the neck. What is the next step if I was asked to play in Key of E? I can find the scale starting there but not sure how to move into playing.

 


here is a great Pete Wernick DVD on playing in D (which is E shoved 2 frets towards the nut). Get these ideas and then you have to try it enough to get comfortable with it. https://www.homespun.com/shop/product/how-to-make-up-your-own-banjo-solos-dvd-2/

Mar 4, 2021 - 3:18:39 PM

3555 posts since 7/12/2006

Ur are right . Knowing where the notes are is one thing. Knowing how and when to use them is the next step. If i may suggest something i highly endorse pat clouds key to the 5 string banjo. An excellent intro into pentatonic scales with just enough theory and plenty of excerizes to keep your fingers busy. Its laid out in a easy to understand format and comes with a cd
quote:
Originally posted by USAF PJ
quote:
Originally posted by stanleytone

The simplest answer is....so you will know your way around the neck.


I think I know that as it relates to notes on the neck. What is the next step if I was asked to play in Key of E? I can find the scale starting there but not sure how to move into playing.

 


Mar 4, 2021 - 5:49:49 PM
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2843 posts since 4/19/2008
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Do you understand this?


Mar 4, 2021 - 6:14:39 PM
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3089 posts since 10/17/2009

Important? Depends on what you mean "important".  The questions is maybe better... is it useful, and how is it useful? Which can depend on individual, aspects of learning and goals. 

What some ask is in reference to all comments might hear folks go on about; "learn your scales" or "practice your scales" - as if it were a essential requirement (it's not).  Some follows an idea of learning abstract music theory; but often are more simply about physical/technical exercises and memory. Just one way folks learn (and there are  alternatives).

All melodies and chords are built around scales. Even people that play by ear are using the scales, they just don't realize it.

Not everyone are really using or thinking in terms of abstract , concept of linear scales; rather primarily using something different.

Scales are just a way to describe or think in terms of linear patterns of whole and half steps. Generally a 1-7 note sequence like Do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do.  As noted, by itself doesn't necessarily tell player what or how to use that information. To conceptualize in that way is useful for some folks, fits their learning process. But there are alternatives.

Mar 4, 2021 - 6:41:11 PM
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3089 posts since 10/17/2009

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Do you understand this?


Nope. Just quick glancing at it , don't understand what you are trying explain with that.

Mar 4, 2021 - 6:42:35 PM

USAF PJ

USA

243 posts since 9/19/2014

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Do you understand this?


Hi Rick,

I spent time today on your previous thread that you included in first response. 

Bottom two lines, yes. Roman Numerals, scratching my head.

Mar 4, 2021 - 8:49:42 PM
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2843 posts since 4/19/2008
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O.K. Alex, think about why the I, IV and V chords are used to behind melodies. First of all they are Major chords which generates a sense of happiness, that's what most music is about. These three Major chords, derived from every other step of the scale, are the only ones that do not add accidentals into the Major scale and also importantly encompass every note in the scale within them.
I chord is 135 IV chord 461 V chord 572
II chord adds a #4
III chord adds #5
VI chord adds a #1
VII chord adds a #2,#4

Music is filled with tension and release because it makes for interesting melodies.The chart shows which of the 3 chords harmonize each step. let's take the key of G, sing or play Do(G) and notice that a I chord G and a IV chord(C) harmonize that degree of the scale. Sing or play Re(A) and only the V chord D will harmonize with it etc.

Keep asking questions!

Mar 6, 2021 - 5:33:03 AM

Fathand

Canada

11714 posts since 2/7/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Do you understand this?


I don't understand how the I IV V relate to the 123 intervals and do re mi scale in your chart?

They don't seem to line up so hard to tell what it is suppised to teach.

Mar 6, 2021 - 7:23:04 AM

2843 posts since 4/19/2008
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Hey Rick here's the simplest song I know with the theory applied to it, hope this helps.


Mar 6, 2021 - 7:25:29 AM

75 posts since 12/23/2016

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

O.K. Alex, think about why the I, IV and V chords are used to behind melodies. First of all they are Major chords which generates a sense of happiness, that's what most music is about. These three Major chords, derived from every other step of the scale, are the only ones that do not add accidentals into the Major scale and also importantly encompass every note in the scale within them.
I chord is 135 IV chord 461 V chord 572
II chord adds a #4
III chord adds #5
VI chord adds a #1
VII chord adds a #2,#4

Music is filled with tension and release because it makes for interesting melodies.The chart shows which of the 3 chords harmonize each step. let's take the key of G, sing or play Do(G) and notice that a I chord G and a IV chord(C) harmonize that degree of the scale. Sing or play Re(A) and only the V chord D will harmonize with it etc.

Keep asking questions!


I don't understand what you are saying here with all those sharps. 

The G major scale is

G-A-B-C-D-E-F#

The ii chord is Am which is A-C-E. All notes in the G major scale.

The iii chord is Bm which is B-F#-D. All notes in the scale.

This is true for all seven triads in the harmonized scale.

If you play a G7 chord, that has an F in it, a flatted 7th, which would be written as an accidental in traditional notation. That is common in blues.

Anyway, I agree with much of what you say here, but I don't understand what you mean when you say that the I, IV, and V chords are the only ones that don't have accidentals. All seven chords in the harmonized scale are built on scale tones. Accidentals are when you have a note outside the scale.

Mar 6, 2021 - 7:30:35 AM

2843 posts since 4/19/2008
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Sorry for the confusion. Those accidentals come from major triads at those intervals, notice I used upper-case Roman Numerals.

Mar 6, 2021 - 7:31:26 AM
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391 posts since 2/16/2014

mmuussiiccaall
Hey Rick,
Thanks for the info. I’d not thought about the relationship of a major 3, major 6 chord to the one chord but have always loved the sound especially when dominate. Thinking of “Nobody Know You When You’re Down and Out” for example. The major 3 has the #5, a major 6 # 1 (b9) delicious notes that create the tension you speak about. I enjoy and have learned a lot from your post.

Mar 6, 2021 - 8:44:27 AM

2619 posts since 2/10/2013

Learning scale and chord theory will often enable a person to answer their own questions before they have to ask them. If you are thinking this is an impossible task you are defeating yourself before you even begin. It is not that hard, but you have to strive to understand what you have read - not just memorize terms. Just take a little at a time, and after you understand what you have read, move on to the next subject. As you study, you will have questions. Write down your questions. Solving your own questions is the best way to go.
You learn lots of useful information while you search for answers to your questions.

This knowledge enables a person to understand what they are doing, what they must do to accomplish certain things, and improves ability to improvise.

Mar 6, 2021 - 9:44:56 AM

75 posts since 12/23/2016

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Sorry for the confusion. Those accidentals come from major triads at those intervals, notice I used upper-case Roman Numerals.


Ah, I see. Usually a major scale is harmonized as I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, VII dim, with the lower-case numerals representing minor chords. I would not have thought to put major chords in the ii, ii, and vi positions, though major chords can be substituted for minor chords on occasion. The Beatles do this quite a bit, I think. If you are using major chords in those positions, your chart makes sense. Do you never use minor chords?

Mar 6, 2021 - 10:49:27 AM
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104 posts since 8/15/2017

This guy Jody Hughes has a lot of great content on scales and how to apply them etc
Here’s on of his videos

youtu.be/7xAzX5YrMAw

Mar 6, 2021 - 3:21:47 PM

2843 posts since 4/19/2008
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quote:
Originally posted by guitarsophist

Ah, I see. Usually a major scale is harmonized as I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, VII dim, with the lower-case numerals representing minor chords. I would not have thought to put major chords in the ii, ii, and vi positions, though major chords can be substituted for minor chords on occasion. The Beatles do this quite a bit, I think. If you are using major chords in those positions, your chart makes sense. Do you never use minor chords?


When I was a kid you just never knew what was going to come across the airwaves on your radio, all genres of music would pop up on one station. Each type of music has it's own general rules when it comes to chord population of a melody. If you heard Frank Sinatra you were drenched in about 15 different chords that added tension and release to the background, let alone his delayed and anticipated vocalizations of the melody itself. Some songs on the other hand had one chord and it could still be a great tune because it was so danceable.  As for this site you will see that 3 major chords is usally all they want. If you throw in an "off chord" it will usually bust the flow of players that are set up for the "usual" gonings on. Of course the tenor and some other players here revel in the use of mutiple chords. As to the radio today, this stuff can go in cycles. All you hear on the pop stations is variations of 1 4 5 6m chords in a one cycle repetition:  6m 4 1 5 over and over, 1 5 6m 4 over and over, etc!

Mar 6, 2021 - 4:02:10 PM

75 posts since 12/23/2016

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall
quote:
Originally posted by guitarsophist

Ah, I see. Usually a major scale is harmonized as I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, VII dim, with the lower-case numerals representing minor chords. I would not have thought to put major chords in the ii, ii, and vi positions, though major chords can be substituted for minor chords on occasion. The Beatles do this quite a bit, I think. If you are using major chords in those positions, your chart makes sense. Do you never use minor chords?


When I was a kid you just never knew what was going to come across the airwaves on your radio, all genres of music would pop up on one station. Each type of music has it's own general rules when it comes to chord population of a melody. If you heard Frank Sinatra you were drenched in about 15 different chords that added tension and release to the background, let alone his delayed and anticipated vocalizations of the melody itself. Some songs on the other hand had one chord and it could still be a great tune because it was so danceable.  As for this site you will see that 3 major chords is usally all they want. If you throw in an "off chord" it will usually bust the flow of players that are set up for the "usual" gonings on. Of course the tenor and some other players here revel in the use of mutiple chords. As to the radio today, this stuff can go in cycles. All you hear on the pop stations is variations of 1 4 5 6m chords in a one cycle repetition:  6m 4 1 5 over and over, 1 5 6m 4 over and over, etc!


Yeah in the Jody Hughes video linked above he talks about the "II Major chord" being a feature of some gospel music. I didn't know that. Learn something every day. There are many different ways to play music and many different ways to think about it. By the way, that video, which is mostly about using the mixolydian mode on banjo (another way to think about this) is pretty amazing. He goes from Don Reno to John Coltrane and back again, plays in a number of different styles and keys, all the while making practical use of the mode in G and explaining what he is doing. It's a lot of material in 22 minutes. Too much for most of his students, I suspect, though he mostly sticks to two chords.

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