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scales, modes and all that...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by arther daily, Nov 6, 2000.


  1. Right then chaps:

    Am I correct in saying that if you learn the pattern of intervals (1/2 step, full step etc...) in each scale/mode, the scales/modes can be positioned anywhere of the board to be in the key of your choice?

    Apologies if this is an obvious one!
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Hmmm...well there has been some argument on this board about whether "patterns" are a good thing or not, but I suppose they can help to give you an understanding. Like, you could imagine that there is a pattern for the Mixolydian mode of the Major scale, which is 2&4,1,2&4,1,2&4 - if we're talking about fingerings on the fretboard. But you still have to know why you're playing that mode and which step to start on.

    Some people say that approaching it like this locks you into an "instrument-centric" mindset, that is difficult to break out of and actually just "make music". But I suppose it is a starting point. The main thing I would say, in rsponse to the question is Yes, but you do always have a choice about what could be played in any situation and learning more about theory helps you understand this. But the ideal is probably to get away from this and try to hear what you want to play in your head, based on these "choices".
     
  3. Tanks Bruce,

    "But the ideal is probably to get away from this and try to hear what you want to play in your head, based on these "choices"."

    If I'm honest, I do this most of the time anyhow. When writing bass new parts I listen to the music and try to hear what I want to play before playing it. I find that knowing what notes/scales sound like in relation the key I'm playing in helps me choose a melody.

    I have no 'real' knwoledge of theory whatsoever. The other day I had Boys Dont Cry by the The Cure going round in my head(aaaah!), I picked up me bass and played the melody and then thought "that has got be a scale of some sort", so I opened my book of scales and found it. I just find that wont remember a scale by the notes, but I can remember it by the intervals and I can rememebr what it sounds like by these intervals.
    As in: if I play a major scale I can hear it before I play it and by learning the intervals to scales I can hear/imagine the notes that come next, enabling me to choose which one I play next from what I hear in my head.

    By intervals I mean B to C = 1/2 interval, C to D = one interval. That's how it's explained in the starter book I bought. Does that make any sense?
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - in my example on Mixolydian, I was converting the intervals into fingerings on the fretboard, thus creating a "pattern". You need to remember though that some tunes have been written around other scales like the Pentatonic, for example. In this you will have a minor third as an interval in the scale. That's just a simple example, but more "exotic" scales and modes will deal with different intervals.
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I might have under-emphasised the fact that you really need to know all that is available to you and why. If you don't know all the choices open to you, then you are likely to just repeat the same licks or cliches. When I was talking about the "ideal", I was imagining that you would know all the possible choices for the chord sequence and would be able to hear in your head, what effect playing each of these had on the music.
     
  6. I'm going to make an concious effort to begin learning, from the start of my "scales for beginners book".

    I find when learning a scale, I remember it best by jamming all sorts of 'riffs' inside the scale (with drum machine).

    It helps me get the feel/vibe/sound of the scale.

    cheeeers.
     
  7. Try to play your scales longer than eight notes. Two octaves or more is the best. If you cant play two octaves play all the notes in that scale above and below the scale across all of your strings. this way you are also learning the fingerings for some of the other modes.
     
  8. bassdude - I is hearin' ya, I did that anyhow, it just seems to make sense.