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What's with the...? Minor vs. Dom7

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by t77mackie, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    I have a better one but it involves scanning documents and work and I just don't feel that mojo today...

    So this should be an easy one instead:

    I notice a lot of blues songs or I-IV-Vish songs bang away on the minor pents or blues scale (pretty much same thing) but then there's the ones that use the dom7 which totally is a different animal all together. Led Zep's Lemon Song comes to mind IIRC uses dom 7.

    So, when, how, why, go!
  2. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    [DEL]A 7 chord contains notes that are in a minor pentatonic scale...so I'm not sure how it's a 'totally different animal'...[/DEL]....duh....except for the flat third....EDIT--->that'll teach me to jump in to theory threads on the way out the door <---EDIT
  3. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    What's the question?
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    How, when and why? Ask the writer.
  5. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    He's asking "why do blues players use minor pentatonic scales over I-IV-V chords, and sometimes mixolydian (dom7)scales?"

    Just look at the scales:

    Mixolydian = 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7
    Minor pent= 1 b3 4 5 b7

    so a Mixolydian contains all minor pent notes except for the b3.

    which in the context of blues becomes the bendy "blue note",
    half way between a major and minor 3rd.

    Familiarity with the sound of blues generally leads listeners to accept that minor 3rd dissonance
    even tho the I, IV, and V chords have a major 3rd.

    Hoever, if you are playing explicitly minor blues where I,IV,V are minor chords, you'd likely avoid mixolydian.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You know, I'm all for theory, but theory doesn't tell you when and where you use different notes. Experience does. Just play, and if it sounds bad, don't do it again, and if it sounds good, remember it and do it next time, too. It's OK to make mistakes. Through those mistakes, you learn what works and what doesn't. And knowing the theory to the extent you do, you'll figure out quickly enough why something works or it doesn't.
  7. Hapa


    Apr 21, 2011
    Tustin, CA
    I always was under the impression that a blues scale root, b3, 4, b5, 5, b7.
    Melodic minor is a major with a b3 ascending and regular minor descending.
  8. M Sterling

    M Sterling Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Using a flat three and flat five just sounds good over dom7 chords. They serve as "color" tones to add some tragedy to an otherwise pretty happy sounding chord. Just IMO, of course.
  9. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Most practical theory answer ever.
  10. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    I totally hear you on this and agree wholeheartedly. The purpose of this series of threads is to look under the hood a bit and to dig into the theory.

    OK, so let me clarify. If I'm not mistaken, the minor pents are based on the minor scale. The Dom7 is a major scale with a b7. The difference between the two would be:

    3rd & 6th

    We can leave the blue note out of this discussion as it is just 'flavor'. Minor pents will fit both except for the 3rd. If we use full scales then the 6th throws another wrench into the works.

    The 3rd certainly defines the sound quite a bit. I'm a wanker and never analyzed too many songs until now. I'm sure there's many TBers here who can name a bunch of songs that use minor and a bunch more that use the dom7.

    I guess what I'm asking is for opinions on how each sounds and how y'alls play over both and maybe some example songs of each and how all this relates to writing chord progressions / songs.

    I'm not looking for in-depth lessons - I'm just trying to get a discussion going.
  11. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Hmmm, not sure about that. I think the idea of the "blue" third, understood as being in between a minor 3rd and a major 3rd, is essential to answering your question (if I've understood it correctly).

    By the way, a 6th will always sound okay as a passing note with any corresponding major chord.
  12. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    So true, and maybe the most definitive answer to any "theory wars " that break out.:D
  13. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    that's lot of info yer asking...

    To be completely honest , for blues-y I IV V stuff I approach it pretty much as Jimmy M describes :
    try stuff and remember what sounded good, figure out the theory later.

    My band has a song with I-IV-V rock/blues feel and for that one:
    • Mostly play roots and passing tones (no thought about the scale, just what sounds good)
    • when the dynamic kicks up, I Riff on 1-5-octave and chromatic runs up to the next root
    • the one time I use a minor pent riff into the I, I bend that 3rd into a 'blue note' before slamming into the root.
    • not thoughts at all about mixolydian or the 6th.
    Another song might call for other approaches.

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