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May 10, 2007 - 3:14:16 AM

11 posts since 5/6/2007

What's the difference between scale and key? If I'm playing a song in the key of G then wouldn't G be the root of the scale? Could you play multiple scales in the key of G or is there one G scale for that key?

May 10, 2007 - 3:40:07 AM
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Zawinul

Germany

463 posts since 4/24/2003

@Texasbanjo
I found a mistake in the pdf-file. It's on page 7: The F#dim chord consists of the notes F# A and C. Not C# as in your handout.

Also, if I'm allowed to make a suggestion, I would include an explanation of how you make the chords out of a scale. Here's how Bill Keith explained it in a workshop:


We start with the regular G major scale

D---------------------0------------4-----|
B----------0--------------5--------------|
G-0------------5-------------------------|
D------7---------------------------------|
G--------------------------------------0-|

Let's take this scale and play it from the root (G) up to the fith tone (D)

D---------------------0---|
B----------0--------------|
G-0------------5----------|
D------7------------------|
G-------------------------|

Now we want to stress the first, third and fith note of this scale. 

D---------------------0---|
B----------0--------------|
G-0------------5----------|
D------7------------------|
G-------------------------|

What comes out is a G-major chord:

D--0----|
B--0----|
G--0----|
D-------|
G-------|

Now let's start on the second note of the scale, again emphasizing the first, third and fith note:

D---------------------0----------|
B----------0--------------5------|
G--------------5-----------------|
D------7-------------------------|
G--------------------------------|

What comes out this time is an a-minor-chord:

D--2-----------------------|
B--1-----------------------|
G--2-----------------------|
D--------------------------|
G--------------------------|

Let's do this will all notes of the scale. Since there are seven different notes to start with 
we'll get seven different chords out of the scale:

I G major
D---------------------0---|--0--|
B----------0--------------|--0--|
G-0------------5----------|--0--|
D------7------------------|-----|
G-------------------------|-----|

II a minor
D-------------------0------|--2--|
B--------0--------------5--|--1--|
G------------5-------------|--2--|
D----7---------------------|-----|
G--------------------------|-----|

III b minor
D----------0-------4-------|--4--|
B--0----------5------------|--3--|
G------5-------------------|--4--|
D--------------------------|-----|
G--------------------------|-----|

IV C major
D-------0---------4-------|--5--|
B-----------5-------------|--5--|
G---5---------------------|--5--|
D-------------------------|-----|
G---------------------0---|-----|

V D major [we have to expand our regular G scale by adding further notes after the high G]
D-0-------4------7--------|--7--|
B-----5-------------------|--7--|
G-------------------------|--7--|
D-------------------------|-----|
G------------0------------|-----|


VI e minor
D------4-----------9------|--9--|
B--5---------10-----------|--8--|
G-------------------------|--9--|
D-------------------------|-----|
G---------0---------------|-----|

VII F# diminished [this isn't major but it's also not minor. It's a chord that consists of two small thirds. 
Because of it's exceptional character and because of it's dissonant sound it was 
called "diabolus in musica" (devil in the music) in classical music theory classes.]


D-4------------9----------|--10--|
B---------10--------------|--10--|
G-------------------------|--11--|
D-------------------------|------|
G----0-------------10-----|------|

And then it goes back to G. You can find seventh chords by going two steps higher in the scale and emphasizing the seventh note. 
I think you can work this up by yourself... if not drop me a line.



Here's a neat thing that shows how you can use this in a bluegrass context:

If you want to find quick single string patterns, take any two neighbors:


For instance G major and a minor:
D-----------------------------0---2------|
B--------------------0---1---------------|
G-----------0---2------------------------|
D--0---2---------------------------------|
G----------------------------------------|
---T---I----T---I----T--I-----T--I-------|

or D major and e minor:

D-----------------------------7---9------|
B--------------------7---8---------------|
G-----------7---9------------------------|
D--7---9---------------------------------|
G----------------------------------------|
---T---I----T---I----T--I-----T--I-------|


Knowing these chord also helps to understand and develop up the neck breaks. Look at the Groundspeed kickoff for instance.
 Earl probably didn't have this harmonization of the scale in mind but those are the notes that fit in the key of G.
I think this is a great way to get to know the fretboard. It has helped me a whole lot to say the least.


Phil

Edited by - Zawinul on 05/10/2007 06:37:15

May 10, 2007 - 2:49:44 PM

4393 posts since 2/6/2003

quote:
Originally posted by ceXhc

What's the difference between scale and key? If I'm playing a song in the key of G then wouldn't G be the root of the scale? Could you play multiple scales in the key of G or is there one G scale for that key?



A scale is just a series of notes, ascending or descending. The key is the tonal center of the song and while they're related, they're not the same thing. If you're playing in the key of G then yes, G is the root of the scale and there is only one G major scale, ie; the diatonic (do re mi etc) scale. But you could, and it's done all the time, play all sorts of scales while playing in the key of G.

"there's more to life than playing the banjo, but not a lot more"
j

May 10, 2007 - 10:31:58 PM

11 posts since 5/6/2007

Ok thanks, that helps.

May 11, 2007 - 10:31:26 AM
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Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

29823 posts since 8/3/2003

You've got the idea. One thing I didn't say and should have is: this is the formula for MAJOR SCALES. Minor scales are a different foruma.

When I talk 1, 2, 3, I'm using what's called the Nashville Numbering System where you substitute numbers for letters. It's pretty easy to grasp if you understand that whatever KEY SIGNATURE you're in or whatever SCALE you're in, the first note of that key/scale is the #1 note and the other notes go in line, 2,3,4 and so on. Inotherwords, in the key of G or scale of G you have G, A, B, C, D, E, F# or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. If you're in the key of C, then C is the #1 and D is #2 and so on. Works the same for Chords except you use Roman Numerals (and if you're talking, you can't tell the difference).

And yes, you're correct, in bluegrass the "normal" chords you play are the I, IV, V (G, C, D in the key of G) with the "off" chords being the 2 (Am) and the 6 (Em) with an occasional 3 (Bm) and very, very seldom a 7 (F#dim).

As a "general rule" you can normally play the D7 for the D chord. A few times the D7 doesn't sound right but it'll usually work -- and it's so much easier to fret down the neck than the closed D chord, right?


Let's Pick!
Texas Banjo

May 14, 2007 - 8:57:07 AM

11 posts since 5/6/2007

So a song played on the G major scale and a song played on the G minor scale would both be in the same key?

May 14, 2007 - 9:42:23 AM
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4393 posts since 2/6/2003

quote:
Originally posted by ceXhc

So a song played on the G major scale and a song played on the G minor scale would both be in the same key?




No. Now it's going to really get confusing. The G major scale is played in the key of G, one sharp. The G minor scale is in the key of G minor, or 2 flats. It has to do with modes. The minor scale is the Aeolian mode which starts on the 6th note of the diatonic (Ionian mode) scale or la, ti, do, re, mi, fa, sol, la. The "do" of that scale is Bb. This is called the relative major. Em is the relative minor of G.
I probably didn't make that any clearer, but at least it's more confusing.

"there's more to life than playing the banjo, but not a lot more"

j

May 14, 2007 - 9:46:47 AM

Zawinul

Germany

463 posts since 4/24/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Joe Larson
The G major scale is played in the key of G.





This may clear things up a bit: "Key of G" means almost always: Key of G major.

The key of G major and the key of G minor are two different things. They just have in common that both start on G.

Phil

Edited by - Zawinul on 05/14/2007 09:47:13

May 15, 2007 - 9:55:59 AM

4393 posts since 2/6/2003

quote:


This may clear things up a bit: "Key of G" means almost always: Key of G major.

The key of G major and the key of G minor are two different things. They just have in common that both start on G.

Phil


Right, left that part out, unless otherwise stated the key is always major.

You could examine all the steps is the scales being used to determine the key I suppose but music gets it's power from the creation and resolution of musical tension. Play a G7 on your banjo and you can feel some of that tension. It doesn't feel balanced, it wants to go somewhere, and when you hit the C chord it's like a cool breeze on a hot summer day. Well at the end of the tune when all the tension has it's culmination, where does it resolve to? Where does it finally come to rest? That's the key of the tune.

"there's more to life than playing the banjo, but not a lot more"

j

Edited by - Joe Larson on 05/15/2007 09:58:53

May 20, 2007 - 2:03:49 PM
Players Union Member

Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

29823 posts since 8/3/2003

Again, sorry I haven't answered sooner. We've been out of town to a great bluegrass festival and just got back today.

To answer your question, yes, they key signature in MAJOR keys in as above -- for minor keys it changes, but you've got the correct idea about major keys.

I think I covered the ABC, 1, 2, 3 above, but if I didn't, contact me off list and I'll explain the Nashville Numbering System to you.

And yes, your basic bluegrass songs normally have the 3 MAJOR chords in them and then the "off" chords would, in probababilities be Am, Em occasionally Bm and very, very seldom ever a F#dim.

D and D7 can normally be used interchangeably BUT there are times when they are not -- you just have to try them and see if they sound okay and then use the one that sounds best.

Let's Pick!
Texas Banjo

Jun 13, 2007 - 4:53:48 PM

81 posts since 6/4/2007

I'm still confused a bit about minor vs major keys. If someone could just list off the chords in the G minor key in order, i think i would be able to figure it out.

Jun 13, 2007 - 5:07:40 PM

Zawinul

Germany

463 posts since 4/24/2003

For the natural minor scale on G the diatonic chords are:

I g-minor
II A-diminished
III Bb-major
IV c-minor
V d-minor
VI Eb-major
VII F-major
VII g-minor

Phil

Jun 13, 2007 - 7:46:30 PM

1374 posts since 6/18/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Zawinul
If you want to find quick single string patterns, take any two neighbors:

For instance G major and a minor:
D-----------------------------0---2------|
B--------------------0---1---------------|
G-----------0---2------------------------|
D--0---2---------------------------------|
G----------------------------------------|
---T---I----T---I----T--I-----T--I-------|

or D major and e minor:

D-----------------------------7---9------|
B--------------------7---8---------------|
G-----------7---9------------------------|
D--7---9---------------------------------|
G----------------------------------------|
---T---I----T---I----T--I-----T--I-------|



Zawinul, that's a great way of thinking of those positions! I use them but haven't thought of it as the notes from one chord position combined with the notes from the next chord position. Your way of thinking makes it easy to remember and to find the right notes.

-Ryan.

Jun 14, 2007 - 2:58:56 AM

Zawinul

Germany

463 posts since 4/24/2003

Actually it was Bill Keith who had this great idea. I just learned it from him and now I spread the word .

Phil

Jun 16, 2007 - 12:36:09 AM

81 posts since 6/4/2007

thank you zawinul

Jul 5, 2007 - 8:41:03 AM

murphy

Netherlands

229 posts since 4/15/2006

jesh... knowing where the notes are on yer fretboard is really important... sheit... i should start learning that immediatly.

hmmm...a rockin chair a banjo and a cold beer

Jul 8, 2007 - 8:38:15 PM

pickntx

USA

9 posts since 7/7/2007

This is a great post and very helpfull-now i just need time for the mud in the water to settle down so it all becomes clear. Just need to study more. Thanks

Jul 9, 2007 - 5:38:40 PM

bones

USA

844 posts since 2/10/2003

i also have an older copy. thanks for posting it . :-)

my banjo's love earl scruggs and bill keith !

Sep 5, 2007 - 11:52:14 AM
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Grizzly

USA

53 posts since 8/5/2007

Texas Banjo you are definitely a jewel in the crown of the Banjo Hangout. Your willingness to teach us is appreciated more than you can ever imagine! Your music theory lesson is exactly what I have been looking for! I only wish that Michigan was not so far away from Texas, I’d be bugging you for individual lessons if you were within a two or three hour drive. You’re a real blessing to so many!
Thanks again!

~ Grizzly, the Banjo Pickin' Bear

"We're all here.........cause we ain't all there!"

Sep 7, 2007 - 7:00:41 PM

542 posts since 6/29/2004

I have theory lessons posted at musicmoose.org absolutely free!

Sep 11, 2007 - 12:59:54 PM

Jammer

USA

9264 posts since 11/21/2003

I just wanted to give a big thank you to the poster for this free guide. I did like others advised, and did a Right Click/"Save link As" - so that way it's downloaded and not hammering the server every time one loads a page- also it works off line this way.

I admit I have a lot to learn in this area. I play entirely by ear, and really need to learn something new. I figure if I can learn some new scales I'll still play Alternative style, but with lessons learned from a Bluegrass guide.

Thanks a lot for this sticky post!

Terry

Oct 28, 2007 - 1:16:33 AM

6446 posts since 8/31/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Ryan Cavanaugh

I have theory lessons posted at musicmoose.org absolutely free!


It's fun and it's free. That's the best offer I've heard in a long, long time. Thanks Ryan! You rock, dude.

Okay, I was re-reading all the comments and noticed some omissions. When we talk of scales we usually mean "diatonic" scales, a series of seven tones or pitches (think of the seven days of the week) that comprise the various modes, major and minor scales. Each is named for one of the first seven letters in the alphabet, i.e., A B C D E F G.

Western music is so permeated with the “major-minor” Classical system (two predominant modes) that the ears of Western players tend to hear music based on other modes as being in either Major or Minor. A mode (a scale) is a step pattern of notes that make up the basic tonal material of a piece of music, e.g. a tune or melody..

“Gapped scales” (omitting note of the diatonic scales) have less than seven pitches, usually either five (pentatonic) or six (hexatonic).

Let's go deeper: Some (unusual) scales have more than seven pitches and less than twelve, and these are frequently found in jazz and borrowed (in Western music) from non-Western music. Some pentatonic scales sound very familiar, others less so, and any seven tone scale can be turned into a pentatonic. It is possible to derive fifteen different pentatonics from any 7 tone scale - don't believe me? - well check out the chart, below. Note that the first note (tonic or root) can never be eliminated. We need a "home" pitch to start on. That's key!

Pentatonic Scales (fifteen ways of eliminating notes from any diatonic scale)*

1234567
OXXOOOO
OXOXOOO
OXOOXOO
OXOOOXO
OXOOOOX
OOXXOOO
OOXOXOO
OOXOOXO
OOXOOOX
OOOXXOO
OOOXOXO
OOOXOOX
OOOOXXO
OOOOXOX
OOOOOXX

(O = note played; X = note eliminated)
*Source: The Guitar Grimore by Adam Kadmon (Carl Fisher, 1991); guitargrimoire.com or adamkadmon.com


Chromatic scales uses all twelve tones in the octave and there are twelve chromatic scales, each a half-step pattern of pitches (semitones), including all the natural pitches and accidentals - raised (sharped) or lowered (flatted). In standard notation, symbols are used to indicate that pitch is to be sharped (#) or flatted (b) or made natural.

In Western music (not the only system on the planet) we speak of Major (Ionian), Natural Minor (Aeolian), Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor modes.

We can also get into other modes and various-sized scales, e.g., Mixolydian, Dorian, Lydian, Phrygian, Locrian and Enigmatic. There’s also Hungarian Major; Neopolitan Major and Minor; 8 Tone Spanish; Bebop Locrian, Dominant, Dorian and Major; Persian; Hindu; Kumoi; Hirojoshi and on and on, ad infinitum.


Kind regards,

Tom

tomhanway.com/

Edited by - Tom Hanway on 10/28/2007 10:17:51

Dec 24, 2007 - 12:37:50 AM

32 posts since 8/25/2007

Thanks Sherry. This info is always good to look at. Tony

Jan 12, 2008 - 4:28:43 PM

axsis

Canada

2027 posts since 11/27/2006

Sherry, As always thanks................I love the stuff you help us with!.......:-)


Cheers!
Don
"have picks..............will travel"

Apr 2, 2008 - 4:29:34 PM

255 posts since 3/31/2008

I know nothing about music, and the banjo I ordered won't be in until tomorrow. I hate to admit it, but I just read the first posting under "Beginning Banjo Theory 101" (the long one explaining scales, licks, chords, etc.) and it reminded me of my first exposure to Hebrew in Seminary. I was lost then, too. Will this get easier to understand as time goes on?

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