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Question 5 of My Quest for Knowledge

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by cassanova, May 15, 2002.

  1. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Ok sorry its a 4 part quesition. :D

    Im having an argument here with my brother here about music, and he mentioned some stuff Ive never heard of they are:

    Huong Scale

    Byzintine Scale

    Neopolitan Major Scale.

    Also tell me what a hyper mode is?

    Can someone please explain the theory behind all these for me please?
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    In light of your questions, let me respond with a story from a grad theory course I once took about 700 light years ago. The teacher was a great theory teacher, one of those guys who looked a bit like a mad scientist ( 50's hair, black horn rimmed glasses, wasn't wearing a white lab coat but looked as if he should have been) but was actually just kind of a nerd about his subject. Anyway, he asked the class to ponder the following question: If the word "scale" can be defined as "a set of notes arranged in ascending order", how many different scales are possible? We all came back to the next class with a different number, and all of our numbers were way off. He informed us that the answer could only be figured out mathematically, and that the formula was some kind of exponential pattern like 1x2x3x4x5x6x7x8etc.... (that wasn't it, but you get the idea), and that when all was said and done, the answer was well into the thousands. Then he asked us to compile a list of what scales were actually commonly used in common practice. We all did this, and came up with an answer that was between 20 and 30, and some of these were stretching it.

    What's the point of all of this? The point is that there are literally thousands of different scales out there, and you can be sure that some mad scientist theory geek has given most - if not all - of them names. But most of them are not worth knowing because they are so damned ESOTERIC that nobody uses them. Which is not to say that they are bad or completely useless, but not the kind of knowledge that you would use on a regular basis. In my opinion, the scales your brother is talking about are of this kind.

    I teach both "legit" and jazz theory at the collegiate level on a regular basis, and have never had occasion to use any of the scales you mentioned in actual practice, nor do I see any reason why I should, since I have never in 20 years of playing experience had any person, score, or chart ask me to play a "Bizantine" scale, or improvise over a "hyper mode". Do they exist? Probably - I'm sure some ziphead with a PHD and a need to publish to keep his tenure has made them all seem very important in an obscure article and/or book somewhere. Are they important to know in real life? Uhh....no.

    In short, ask your brother where he got this information, ask him to show you the source if it is written, and most importantly, ask him why you should care about these things. And if he doesn't have the answers to these questions, I'd just forget about the whole issue. On the other hand, if he does have answers to these questions, I'd STILL forget about the whole issue and focus on learning things that will actually be useful. :D
  3. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...wasn't that a feature on the early Play Stations?
    You know, with a push of a button, your spaceship gets unlimited speed &/or ray guns?
    Or was that "Turbo mode"?

    Anyway, what Chris said('cause he is the "Theory Nazgul")...
    I know in Levine's Jazz Theory, he mentions stuff like "In-Sen" Scales...part of the Pentatonic Scales' family(5-note Scales)...introduced by McCoy Tyner, blah.
    IF I recall-

    Now, am I gonna attempt to remember half-step, Maj 3rd, whole-step, min 3rd for that!?
    Uh, no... ;)

    I've played 'runs' like that for years without knowing it was a 'scale'; IMO, it was a fragment of 'something'.
    So, I'll stick with knowing the chromatic scale...& pick out/omit those notes as I hear it. ;)

    (Although I have heard/seen the Byzantine Scale mentioned somewhere; sounds exotic...probably has some 1/2 steps in there where you'd expect a more consonant sound). ;)
  4. mflaherty


    Oct 9, 2001
  5. theJello


    Apr 12, 2000
    Great answer Chris.
    You should be sure to copy and paste that when somebody asks about *exotic* scales.

    I always get a laugh out of those *books of scales*
    I really feel sorry for the poor sod that is wasting their time on this stuff.
  6. Sorry, but light years is distance....I think...:p
  7. well, it can be time too i suppose, but not different from regular years. 700 light years = 700 years. i think.

  8. Maybe......I just wanted to be annoying :D
  9. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    why do you feel sorry for the poor sod? Maybe just maybe I want to know more than just the common stuff so that I can use it all in my career as a bassist?

    Durrl....Thanks for the insite. My brother explained the hyper mode stuff to me, that will definatly have some use to me. He also told me that the use for the other scales would be and i use his words here, "what if you wanted to play vietnamese or oriental style music" he said some of those scales are common in those types of music.
  10. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    This scale contains three different intervals, major 3rds, augmented thirds, and diminished thirds. Problem is, everybody only plays the major 3rds.

    Man. That joke was so obscure and weird that I probably shouldn't even have tried.
  11. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Chocolate, vanilla, & strawberry?
  12. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I'm curious-
    "Oriental" music has a different tuning system than our 'limited' 12-tone variety, right?

    As far as other ethnic & exotic scales/music-
    Check out last month's Bass Player & the article on Fima Ephron(bassist for The Screaming Headless Torsos & The Hasidic New Wave).
    He talks about the phragish scale that's common for that Yiddish-Funk that the HNW & other Klezmer-type bands pull off.
    For the curious-
    Basically, a phragish scale is a harmonic minor STARTING on the 5th...in "D":

    Knowing the scale is one thing...knowing what's happenin' rhythmically is yet another obstacle.
  13. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Please share this information with the rest of us. It may just be a semantic/terminology issue, but I've never heard of "hyper modes".
  14. oh my. you WIN. that is the music joke of the year.
  15. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    See?! See?! And the "major 3rds" is chocolate! That's all anybody eats! Get it!?
  16. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Ok if I understand him correctly:

    its where you start on the 5th degree of the scale while the others are playing on the root.

    He played a scale on his keyboards for me to demonstrate...His left hand played a C scale, his right started on the 5th (G) of the C scale.

    Sorry but thats the best way I can explain it.
  17. stephanie


    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    I sort of see what your brother was trying to show you. He seems to be layering a mode over a scale, right? Exactly what the prefix "hyper-". Heh, kinda makes me think of the term "hyperspace" and other dimensions. :D Now the question is, can you play a hypermode on the bass?

    Anyway, does this have anything to do with anything? (Scroll down a bit and the term is mentioned.). Though I really have no idea what is being talked about. :D :confused:
  18. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I can't...but those who 'tap' well enough on their guitar/bass probably can(e.g. Stanley Jordan).

    Some of this smacks of Ornette's Harmolodics.
  19. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    That's a piano for microtonal music(19 tones per octave rather than our 'usual' 12 tones). Would probably be nice for pulling off that "Oriental" music Mama Cass alluded to.

    I've seen guitar & basses 'prepared' for the same(one guy's bass had 60+ tones)...
    There's a site www.microtones.com that deals with this sorta thing.

    A lotta current "Free Jazz" sax guys(Joe Maneri, Marty Ehrlich, etc)utilize more than the 'usual' 12 tones all the time in their playing.

    ...as I do on my fretless instruments. ;)
  20. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    i dont understand it much either epiphany....

    i think its possible to play it on the bass if you can tap well.

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