Scale questions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Phunky, May 21, 2005.

  1. Phunky

    Phunky Guest

    Aug 1, 2004
    Can someone please tell me what the difference between major and minor? (And please do it in a way that makes sense).

    Also, i only know one scale, C Major (i think :rolleyes:) and if i do that, for example, on G on the E-string will it still be a G Major?

    There are trillions of scales and how many do you know and how many do you think a funkplayer should know?
    Do you know how many scales a well-known player (like victor wooten) know?

    Thankfully /Phunky
  2. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    A minor scale is created by lowering the 3rd, 6th and 7th notes of a major scale by 1/2 step (1 fret).

    So to go from C major (CDEFGABC) to C minor you lower the E, A and B 1/2 step each and get CDEbFGAbBbC.

    I would say you should try and get familliar with at least all 7 modes of the major scale, and the uses of the harmonic and melodic minor scales as well. See the sticky thread on modes. Once you are comfortable with them you can branch out into other scales depending on where your interests lie.

    As for how many scales you should know, well there's no number that you hit and say "cool I know enough scales now". I know how to create probably 50 different scales, from standard modes to diminished, whole tone, and modes of scales like Harmonic Minor and the Lydian b7 scale. I only know how to use maybe 10 in day to day playing, but I'm always working with more and trying to expand that knowledge. If you play funk for the most part you may not find much use for many of the more exotic scales, or they could be the inspiration for a brilliant new groove you come up with. You'll never know until you try messing around with them.

    I'd venture that saying "Victor Wooten knows a lot of scales" would be a bit of an understatment. :)
  3. heavyfunkmachin


    Jan 21, 2005
    i think this may sound bogus or distant to you but i would recomend you to UNDERSTAND the scales you learn, by these i mean allways knowing what note you´re playing and how is it related to the root note, if you really master that you´ll be creating scales to fit your playing instead of fit your playing in the scale... :oops: or so im told!!

    and i dont think a funk player needs to know less scales than anyother kind of player, but so far, be friendly to the minor pentatonic/ blues minor scale
  4. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    Not always. The only thing that makes a scale minor is the lowered 3rd.

    There are three types of minor scales - natural, harmonic, and melodic minor. The one you are describing is the natural minor. The harmonic minor only lowers the third and the sixth, and the melodic only lowers the third.
  5. jadesmar


    Feb 17, 2003
    Ottawa, ON
    1. The melodic minor only lowers the third while ascending, when descending, the 3rd, 6th and 7th are lowered.

    2. If the only thing that makes a scale minor is the lowered 3rd, how can you go on to say that there are only 3 types of minor scales?

    What about:
    - locrain, phrygian, dorian modes
    - jazz minor (ascending melodic minor)
    - diminished (octatonic?) scale
    - assorted modes of jazz minor (eg. aeolian b5, locrain b4/altered)
  6. Eli M.

    Eli M. Life's like a movie, write your own ending

    Jul 24, 2004
    New York, NY
    1. You're right about the ascending/descending melodic minor, I forgot to mention that.

    2. I should have been more clear. There are different types of minor scales, but the only thing they all have in common is the minor third.
  7. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I am fully aware of this. I was keeping things simple, natural minor first, add melodic and harmonic later.

    PS: There is actually something called a Picardy 3rd, which is a raised 3rd in a minor scale. Bach was fond of them.
  8. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    I agree it is important to understand the scale but it is even more important to HEAR the scales and their "minor" differences. (coundn't resist that one!) (and I heavily agree with you funkmachine!!)

    lowered third = minor
  9. quallabone


    Aug 2, 2003
    In the jazz community melodic minor is simply the ascending half.

    You are very correct. But you left out symetrical dominant as well. A small tear is forming.
  10. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Not exactly. It's not really a raised 3rd in a minor scale. You don't play through a piece using the Picardy 3rd as part of your working scale. It's only used in final cadences (i.e., endings). It's really just ending a minor piece with a major chord of the same tonic as the minor tonic used (e.g., ending a D minor piece with a D major chord).
  11. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    Fair enough. I'd say that the dorian mode and the jazz minor, at least are "minor" modes. They're certainly, not major. I would say a useful rule of thumb is, can you build a minor triad off the I of the scale/mode with the notes that are in the scale/mode? This implies that you have to have not only a flat 3 but also a natural 5. So locrian and diminished would not qualify.
  12. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Actually I've seen a number of instances where the picardy 3rd is used outside of a cadence, usually as NCT setting up a common chord modulation to the parallell major, or the key of IV (I being the V/IV). I can't quote peices without tracking down my notebook from that semester, but they exist.
  13. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    If a major I is used as the V of iv, it's not a Picardy 3rd. It's just the V of iv.
  14. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    It is now, back 300 odd years ago concepts like secondary dominance and non-essential chromaticisim didn't really exist formally. Some composers just did them and people wrote the rules years later.

    Also its only a V/iv if the tone occurs in a harmonic context. If it occurs as part of the melody its simply a non chord tone, albeit one that may be hinting at a chord to come.