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Question about focusing on certain scales...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Steve Harris Is, Aug 13, 2005.


  1. Steve Harris Is

    Steve Harris Is

    Jul 4, 2005
    A guitar player buddy of mine, who's been playing for 10 years, jammed with me the other day and it went great. The one thing he mentioned to me (I'm a 6 week newbie) was that I could probably concentrate on learning the following 3 scales more so than the others, at least for now, because they're so prevalent in rock. They were Ionian, Aeolian and Mix.

    My question is, are there any others (he also mentioned Pentatonic but I haven't really gotten deep into those yet) that I should focus more on at least for now?
     
  2. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Uhhhhhh maj and min, most definitly.

    -Ray
     
  3. groove100

    groove100

    Jan 22, 2005
    VA.
    i should say learn the major scale first (aka ionian scale)
    Learn it on different patterns or i should say different formation. then you can learn the natural minor (aka Aeolian scale) in different formations too, I would also suggest practicing arppegiations
     
  4. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Actually, on 2nd thought, just learn the circle of 5ths and how to use it first. THEN go to your scales. I still say also to start with Maj and min.

    -Ray
     
  5. Steve Harris Is

    Steve Harris Is

    Jul 4, 2005
    If I could get my head around that damn Circle of Fifths I would love to work it first but it still baffles me!
     
  6. Selta

    Selta

    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
  7. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    What confuses you about the "circle of 5th's" (aka. "the cycle")? It's like remembering a name.

    C major = no sharps / no flats
    G major = 1 sharp (F#)
    D major = 2 sharps (F#, C#)
    A major = 3 sharps (F#, C#, G#)
    E major = 4 sharps (F#, C#, G#, D#)
    B major = 5 sharps (F#, C#, G#, D#, A#)

    Do you see a pattern? As you go down the list of scales, one sharp is added to the key signature.

    Also, look at the names of the scales. Do you see a pattern?
    C major --> G major is a "5th" away.

    Count up with me... "C, D, E, F, G" That is a 5th.

    G major --> D major is also a 5th.

    D major --> A major is another 5th.

    This pattern continues... You'll get it, don't give up.

    Joe
     
  8. Steve Harris Is

    Steve Harris Is

    Jul 4, 2005
    I guess what I am "missing" is how it helps me as a player (and keep in mind I have virtually NO musical training in my background and have only been playing bass for 2 months). What does knowing that certain chords have so many sharps/flats accomplish? Is there something about that knowledge that will help me wheile playing and/or learning the fretboard, etc?
     
  9. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I understand your concern and I'm going to try my best to show the value of knowing this at your current level of bass playing. The last thing I want to do is to overload you with theory and make things more confusing. I saw the link to the Circle of 5th's post and it's VERY good; however, it's way too much info at this point.

    "The Cycle" or "The Circle of 5th's" outlines strong root motion. The bassline wants to go in the direction of "The Cycle". The ear is comfortable hearing "The Cycle". Chords will commonly follow the "The Cycle". Here's an example:

    The most common progression known to man (and woman):
    2 - 5 - 1

    In the key of C Major: (no sharps / no flats)
    The "2" is a D minor chord
    The "5" is a G Major chord
    The "1" is a C Major chord

    So the chord progression is played:
    D minor -->(down to) G Major -->(up to) C Major

    Play those root notes in order: D, G, C
    That is a fragment of "The Cycle".

    Let's try one more very common chord progression in Jazz:
    3 - 6 - 2 - 5 - 1

    In the key of C Major: (no sharps / no flats)
    The "3" is an E minor chord
    The "6" is an A minor chord
    The "2" is a D minor chord
    The "5" is a G Major chord
    The "1" is a C Major chord

    So the chord progression is played:
    E minor -->(down to) A minor -->(up to) D minor -->(down to) G Major -->(up to) C Major

    Play those root notes in order: E, A, D, G, C
    This is a larger fragment of "The Cycle"

    I hope that you can see that "The Cycle" has a huge influence on the order of chords in a song. Of course; chords can be played in any order and combination, but "The Cycle" outlines a strong "standard progression". There are names for other chord orders like "retrograde", but we're not going there right now.

    Of course; "The Cycle" provides a tool for practice. When I practice my scales, I follow "The Cycle". Musicans can practice a lick or riff in all keys through "The Cycle" for musicianship reasons, but we don't need to go there right now.

    I hope this helps some. Please feel free to throw further questions at me.
     
  10. Steve Harris Is

    Steve Harris Is

    Jul 4, 2005
    I appreciate all the very thorough and helpful info that's been posted from you guys. Thanks very much.

    I think what I am going to do is lock myself in my practice room with the bass and just study/absorb this stuff until it makes sense. I know I will get it...thanks again.
     
  11. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I hope that I didn't give you too much information all at once. You will gain understanding with time, experience, and practice. Get yourself involved in as many playing experiences as possible: Bands that foucs on different styles, pit orchestras, small ensembles that require a bassist. It's okay if you feel a little uncomfortable or like you're "not ready". These are the experiences that help you grow as a bassist and musician. Good luck. Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

    Joe
     
  12. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    I don't know it it helps, but this is how I remember the cycle:

    B E A D - G C F

    Starting at C, there are no sharps or flats. Move one to the left is G. Key of G has one sharp, F#. Move one more to the left is key of D, two sharps F# and C#. See the pattern? And so on.

    Going the other way, move to the right, key of F has one flat, Bb. One more to the right is B (but now it's called Bb because the key of F has a Bb, right?), so key of Bb. Key of Bb has two flats, Bb and Eb. And so on.

    That's how I remember. I hope it helps. If not, ignore. :)

    I'm not exactly sure "why" this is as it is. I'm sure there's a reason, although I'm not sure I understand what Bassist4Life means by "root motion." I just understand it as a convenient way of organizing the more complicated way of building scales by using the W - W - S - W - W - W - S formula, which is the definition of a "major scale." So if you want you can build all the major scales using the formula, starting at each possible note. Or you can quickly find out that the Key of E has 4 sharps, F#, C#, G#, D# by using the above cycle.

    Hope that helps. :)
     
  13. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    "Root motion" is the direction of chord roots through a chord progression.

    For example:
    The root of an E minor chord is... E
    The root of an A minor chord is... A
    The root of a D minor chord is... D
    The root of a G Major chord is... G
    The root of C Major chord is... C

    The guitarist or keyboard player would be playing these chords (with or without roots and probably in different inversions). Simply speaking, the bass player would be playing the roots: E, A, D, G, C. This is a VERY common chord progression in Jazz.

    Let's look at how you remember "The Cycle" and the chord progression I outlined for you.

    E A D G C comes right out of "The Cycle". It's not a magic trick.

    Does this help?

    Joe
     
  14. Steve Harris Is

    Steve Harris Is

    Jul 4, 2005
    I am going to try digesting all of this SLOWLY because the last thing I wanna do is get too overloaded and decide to start playing the pan flute instead...

    ZAMFIR is God!
     
  15. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    Sorry, I should have been more specific: the B E A D - G C F is the cycle, this is just a nice way of remembering it for me, without the whole circle bit. (Comes out of Hamony & Theory book from MI.)

    But I still don't know what you mean by "bassline wants to go in the direction of "The Cycle""... I've never heard of this before. I've heard of certain cords wanting to "resolve" to other chords, such as the ii - V - I progression (for example, for the OP, in the key of C: Dm - G - C). But I don't know if introducing the term "resolving" into the circle of fourths (or fifths) helps the OP. :)
     
  16. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    Kurisu,

    There is nothing to really understand. Chord progressions simply tend to follow The Cycle. You just gave me an example: ii V I. That comes directly from The Cycle: D, G, C.

    The Cycle goes beyond key signatures & order of sharps/flats. I'm going to use one of your words: Resolves

    A strong chord progression wants to resolve in the following fashion:

    Down a 5th, Up a 4th, Down a 5th, Up a 4th. (translated into notes)
    B (down a 5th to) E (up a 4th to) A (down a 5th to) D (up a 4th to) G (down a 5th to) C.

    B E A D G C
    vii, iii, vi, ii, V, I in the key of C

    Isn't that a fragment of The Cycle?

    Are you seeing it? If you're not able to see the connection, that's okay. I'm wondering, are you familiar with chords/roots, harmony, and chord progressions? Could you play that chord progression on the piano?

    Joe
     
  17. Kurisu

    Kurisu

    Nov 19, 2003
    Saskatoon SK
    I do get what you're saying Bassist4Life, and I understand diatonic harmony, I just don't think that this is helping to answer the OP's question. Instead, it seems to just add too much information, when really he just wanted to know about which scales he could focus on (not which chords want to resolve to other chords).

    I didn't know that a Bm wants to resolve to an Em and so on through the circle of fifths. I shall look into that. :)
     
  18. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I understand what you're saying now. I know that the thread started out with scales, but then he made the following comment:

    So I decided to help out. :D

    Try playing this little thing I whipped up really quick. Please forgive any voice leading issues. I think you'll hear the "strong progression".