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Melodic minor scale.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by CrawlingEye, Mar 26, 2001.


  1. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I was wondering what the melodic minor scale's most commonly used in?

    I know the pentatonic major and minor. And I'm figured it might be a decent place to start. (I play ska, punk, emo, and some raggae type stuff. No slap.)

    Is this a good scale to know for what I'd be using it for?
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    The melodic minor is used in Jazz, but more often, it is played as a major scale with a flattened 3rd rather than as a scale that is different on the way up to the way down - as it is in classical music.

    For the sort of music you mention, I think it would be better to concentrate on chords, rather than scales and learn the arpeggios of as many chords as you can. From what I remember of punk and reggae - I've played both - there's not much call for improvised solos using alternative scales, as there is in Jazz.

    Far better to know what notes are in as many chords as you can - so you have choices when the guitar or keyboard is playing particular chords.
     
  3. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    But ska is generally like jazz for the most part.
    Listen to the song "Catch 22 - Walk Away"
    Maybe bad ska would be. And Raggae is more
    like basic stop-go stuff then ska. Remember, ska was around before raggae. Therefore it's further evolved then raggae is now. (and so fourth has become more talented)
     
  4. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    :confused:

    What'd that have to do with anything?

    I believe Bruce explained it sufficiently.
     
  5. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I don't get what he said other than it's most commonly used in jazz. Even though I've always seen it as jazz and ska being pretty much the same bass wise.
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Interestingly - last summer on the Jazz Summerschool I attended at the University of Glamorgan, I played bass in the section of the course devoted to Ska/Jazz fusion. There was a section of the course called "Jazz Warriors" which was also the name of a band that is run on a semi-formal basis by Gary Crosby - who is touring the UK now with a Ska/Jazz fusion band.

    On the course, several of the tutors had been in this band and set up a Ska "Big Band" - we worked with Jason Yarde - who is leader of the band "JLife" and Chris Batchelor who did the horn arranagements. It was an amazing experience - being the bass player in a big band that included a huge horn section - 5 trombones, 5 or so Trumpets, Baritone and innumerable other saxes. We worked up a short set of 5 Ska classics (including Lucky 7) which we played at the Jazz clubs as the climax of the last night of the first week - Friday.

    During the week we studied the differences and similarities between Ska and Jazz - the main difference is that Ska is basically a "Diatonic" music that stays in the key and doesn't venture into accidentals or key changes very often. Basslines in Ska are more repetitive and less improvised - you might have a walking line that is similar to a Jazz line, but it doesn't swing in the same way. The bassline is "squarer" and contrasts with the guitar and piano figures which are on the offbeats. So the bass is providing this solid undercurrent and generally avoiding any chromaticism, swing or triplet feels.

    A lot of Ska songs are in minor keys, but the bassline will be very solid and in most tunes stick to root-fifth, so you won't need to know how to improvise a solo or anything like this. Ska basslines are about a solid "feel" and an almost hypnotic quality - and Jason explained to me about how it is very important where the basslines are placed in the bar to fit in with the piano/guitar, so there is not much room for improvisation. The improvisation in Ska is usually with the horns - over the infectious beat. Whereas in Jazz, basslines are of course very much improvised, chromatic and swinging.
     
  7. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    In other words, the melodic minor scale would not constitute an essential part of a ska bass player's repertoire.

    jo
     
  8. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Then what would be a good scale to learn? (other than the pentatonic's... I already know them)
     
  9. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    For now, learn your modes, if anything.
     
  10. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Modes of?

    I went to Activebass.com recently to brush up on my pentatonic major.
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I was sort of recommending that it would be more useful to learn as many chords as you can and the arpeggios of these chords - but this can be seen as the same as learning modes. This can be a very "dry" exercise however - and to make it interesting, it's probably better to work on an actual song and play the chords as you go along and sort of contruct a solo or bassline that utilises all the notes in the chords as they go by.

    If you take any major scale, there is a chord which corresponds to every note in the scale. So we were talking about minor scales, but if we took the second note of any major scale - the chord which goes with this is a minor 7th chord and this also corrsponds to a mode - in this case the Dorian mode. This mode sounds like a minor scale, but is really just the major scale of the key, but starting on the second note in the scale and going up an octave to the note just above the octave.

    So you could take every major key and find the chord and mode that goes with the 2nd note in the key - learn that and then move on to 3rd note, 4th notes etc. The modes are really all just the same as the major scale, simply starting on a different note - but this does help you find the chords and in my opinion these are more useful to know. If you really know the arpeggios of every chord built off the notes of every major scale, this will be a very good start to being able to play a bass line to anything that you come across.
     
  12. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    Thanks, I think that about covers everything. The only question I could have is what think link to an apreggo of the major scale is? (on activebass.com) But that'd probably be asking too much so everything's pretty much covered, thanks a lot! :)
     
  13. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Rephrase the question please, im not sure what you mean by "think link to a major arpeggio" means! The link to a major arpeggio, maybe?