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Scales/Modes/Etc

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Tim Harrison, Apr 8, 2006.


  1. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison

    Apr 8, 2006
    hey,
    just got a question about modal scales.

    basically the major scales and it's modes cover everthing i play (apart from pentatonics). if a song's in a major key then you can use that, and if a song's in a min key you can just use the relative minor, as the root.

    this seems to cover pretty much each song i play (apart from all the insane jazzy stuff written purposely in weird sounding keys). the thing is i've just seen Victor Wooten - Bass Day 98, and near the end he's playing a song with a guy called Oteil Burbridge(sp?) who's playing some mentally amazingly sounding runs, yet they fit perfectly with what Victor's playing.

    is it just that he's just using chromatics, or that he's just being abstract. if anyone knows the kind of scales i'm talking about (it's kinda hard to put down in words) i'd love to have a look. i guess scales that sound jazzy but fit over the major scale and it's chord changes.

    cheers,
    Tim
     
  2. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Otiel is a very studied Jazz musician and has excellent ears. So he hears what Victor is doing and can follow or complment it. So that means he could just be hear Victor alter some notes and support it, or he knows what mode can offer that sound.

    Mode can used in many different ways. Modes can relate to chord function in diatonic harmony like you have said. i you learn fingering for each mode you can connect them up the neck to know all the notes of a key center on your bass. Then some learn modes as sounds. Like using Dorian over most minor chords for a sound hipper than Aeolian or Phygian over 7th to give alter 9th, flat 13th sound. Then the traditional use for writing music, modes have moods associated with them.

    Also Major modes aren't the only modes used especially in Jazz. The modes of the Melodic Minor scale are used. That is where the Lydian dominant and alter scale come from that are used on 7th chords.

    Back to Otiel he knows all of this and more as a musician who has studied his craft. More important he has worked on his ears and can hear the colors Victor is playing and support it. The same for Victor. Its all ears. A lot of great musician don't know all the theory, but they have the ears to hear sounds and know their instrument enough how to get those sounds. They get that way from lots of transcribing and when learning things like modes learning the sound the mode creates as well as the theory and fingering.

    Sorry for such a long winded explaination. Bottom line the modes are just a way to put a label on a sound. :ninja:
     
  3. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison

    Apr 8, 2006
    I was just looking on the active bass theory charts, and there's about 5 billion different scales. a lot of 'em are modes from the major and melodic minor keys, is that right? the lydians and aeolians and all that?

    but then there's about 5 million more, 'chinese', 'hungarian' and....er...'purvi theta'?!?

    where do all these scales come from, is it just people makin' 'em up and sending 'em in? and is it really necessary to be learning all these?
     
  4. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    For me, soloing over changes involves a lot of active listening. You need to hear where your melody is going. In terms of conceptualizing this on the fingerboard, I keep in mind certain patterns and where they can come into play during the form. Like remember your dorian patterns, diminished patterns, lydian patterns, mel. minor and one of the nice patterns that you can use to take yourself out for a bar or two is whole tone. Here I'm talking just about patterns, more like tetrachords, since playing all the way through a scale is pretty lame, especially if you start on a root. For instance, starting a dorian tetrachord on the 9th gives you phrygian, then you can take that out into dimished or whole tone, depending on where the tune is going. This crap's pretty abstract and is how I've developed my own approach to soloing. You should experiment a lot to figure out how you want to sound.

    This is just half the battle though. Phrasing is just as important as what notes you play. Probably even more so.

    Sorry for the obscure bull****. That's just my shpiel on soloing.
     
  5. A common misconception is that jazz musicians think in modes when we play jazz. Generally we think in chords. We work off any notes we want to affect the sound. I know that I'll subconciously be using a mode that i've practiced, but I don't think it as I play it (most of the time, sometimes it's pulling tricks from a dictionary). I'm just thinking about the chord that's being played or the melody, and think about how I want to affect the sound pretty much as you described earlier.
     
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Not technique related. Moved to General Instruction.
     
  7. I usually think about cheese.

    Agreed :smug:
     
  8. OK, this is a little of the main topic, but I think worth throwing in.

    I use to play a lot of blues, and the secret to that is (in part) anticipation. Say you're playing a straight up blues cord pattern (E-A-E-B-A-E). Starting in E, a bar before the cord changes, you go to A. For the most part this fits, but not completely. So the listener is thinking 'there's something interesting here, I'm not sure what, but...' and then bang, the cord catches up with you. More than that, the cord sounds more natural because you've introduced it.

    Obviously there is more to it (in blues phrasing is very important) but it is these kind of plays that move music from good to great.

    Cheers
     

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