MUSIC THEORY 101 Don't Be Afraid :)

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by jonesy, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Eball92

    Eball92 Senior Member

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    So I was on the right track with both and got them right? I wasnt jsut pissing in the wind?
     
  2. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Well technically penta means that you will have a 5 note scale, and the natural minor or aeolian scale has 7 notes, but yeah looks like you are on the right track. I also like the Dorian mode/scale for blues and rock solo improv.

    Also keep in mind the difference between the minor pentatonic scale (5 notes) and the blues scale (6 notes) the blues scale has an extra note the b5th or #4th however you want to look at it. It is also known as the "blue note" more on that here Minor Pentatonic And Blues Scales

    Take what you know about music theory and learn to apply it in your everyday playing. If you try to absorb to much theory you may get confused and not really be able to really use it, or understand how it can guide you to be a better guitarist.
    :)
     
  3. Eball92

    Eball92 Senior Member

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    well so far what I've been doing is learn the notes of fretbaord and pentatonic scales, and for the theory side of things, Ive been studying this thread.

    I've been learning lots from it all!
     
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  4. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    Sounds to me (and excuse me if I have mis-interpreted you here) like you are asking which scales to use for constructing chords from?

    In that case the answer is to use the full seven note scale, never the pentatonic one. For melodic playing you can, of course, use either; but we don't build chords like that from pentatonics.

    There is another issue here, but I'll come to that later.

    Ok - this seems to suggest that I was right there, and this illustrates the difficulties of using pentatonics to build a triad from. You've correctly built the Cm triad from the natural minor scale, but what you have there for the pentatonic isn't any kind of standard triad (and it looks like you have the notes for the scale wrong anyway : there's no Db in Cm pentatonic - C Eb F G Bb).

    Because the minor pentatonic is a scale that goes 1 b3 4 5 b7 you can't just use the "every other note" type formulae to construct triads

    Ok - well, here you have that other issue I mentioned. Although chords and scales are intrinsically related, chord names refer to the intervals in the chord, not to any scale. I'll try to explain that :

    A minor 6th chord is one that is spelt 1 b3 5 6 so a Cm6 would be C Eb G A

    The "minor" in the name refers to the b3 of the basic traid, to which a "6th" is then added. That means an interval of a 6th from the root note, not just the 6th note of whatever scale you are using.

    When we say "6th" without specifying major or minor then it is taken to imply we mean a major 6th. The note a major 6th interval up from C is A (not Ab) so that's the note that we would use for a Cm6 chord.

    It is confusing, sorry, but if you remember to think of a chord as intervals from the root note you should be ok.

    Almost - you've added the right 9th (D) but the 6th needs to be the major 6th (A), just like we did for the Cm6 chord.

    :)
     
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  5. Eball92

    Eball92 Senior Member

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    oh wow, I'm just seeing this now, I took a long break from theory, needed time to absorb, think, and just play more lol

    I see what you mean about the intervals, Ill work on that, but I do havea few questions about your reply, but i cant think very straight right now, since its 1am...but ill ask tomorrow!
     
  6. Eball92

    Eball92 Senior Member

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    Actually that was a mistake i made at the time, I do have the formula for both scales and know they're boith different, but at the time(I took a little break from this thread and theory to try and absorb what I already took in, trust me, I got a thick skull :laugh2:), I think I was a little confused by it and concentrating on trying to get it right so hard I ended up using the wrong scale, wouldnt be the first time I've done something like it.


    Okay, so this one I'm finsing a little tricky, not that I dont see how the interval up is correct, the part that is getting me are intervals themselves.

    An interval is the space between notes in that scale correct? just to use a different not to clarify, using the C minor scale(which is C D Eb F G Ab Bb C, correct? I didnt take this fromthe front of the thread, i used the natural minor scale pattern, W H W W H W W, may have botched it?), the not between C and D, C#/Db is the interval note?

    And if an interval is minor, not major, how would it be written? or does it never work that way?

    Thanks guys!
     
  7. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    Always a good thing - shows you're paying attention to whether you've really got the idea. :thumb:

    Actually, an interval is the space between two notes, full stop. It doesn't matter if they're in a scale or not; if you have two different notes there is an interval between them.

    Here's a chart I put in another thread:

    OK?

    So to build a scale, other than following the 'step pattern' you can select the notes the correct interval from the root : eg a major scale contains root, major 2nd, major 3rd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, major 6th, & major 7th.

    Just another way of looking at the same material... :)

    Now when we apply those names to chords there are a couple of conventions to be aware of :

    The root of the chord is named (duh)
    The 3rd is major for a major chord, and minor for a minor chord. If not specified, then it's major
    The 5th is assumed to be a perfect 5th unless it is specifically said to be altered (eg E7#5 would have the B raised by a semitone)
    7ths - '7' means minor seventh, 'maj7' is major seventh
    9ths (2nds an octave up) are major unless specified
    11ths (P4, octave up) are assumed to be 'perfect' unless a #11 is specified, then raise it a semitone.
    13ths (6ths, octave up) are assumed to be major unless minor is specified.

    That's probably enough for this time of the morning?

    :)

    Correct. As intervals, R 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 ;)

    Not sure I understand this question. :hmm:

    A minor interval is indicated by the flat sign 'b' so a minor third is written 'b3', whilst a major third is just written '3'. As I mentioned above, major & minor are just ways of saying bigger & smaller (by one fret) versions of the same thing.

    :)
     
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  8. Eball92

    Eball92 Senior Member

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    Im extremely confused by this. particularly the 9ths and 11ths, and "perfects". So in every scale there is either a major or a minor and perfect notes?

    And I dont think Ill get this if I dont get something else that just sprung to mind first:

    If a C majs I IV V is C F G, how come a C chord is E C D E C?

    I have a feeling chord construction is covered in this topic I just havent got to it yet and intervals are harder to understand because I dont know chord construction yet?

    I meant is the note in between C and D on the C major scale, and that note is a C#, an interval? but you answered that..I think?

    Makes sense to me.


    Clearly I have to go back and work through more of this, Im getting a better grasp, but Im learning slowly, mostly because I dont have time :laugh2:
     
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  9. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    'Perfect' is easy - it just means neither major nor minor. For now that's all anyone needs to know about that.

    Ok - next the 9ths/11ths & 13ths..

    Write out a scale over two octaves (let's use C major):

    C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C

    Now count them, You should end up with 15, yes? In fact, I'll write them out again, with numbers underneath (hope this lines up)

    Code:
    C D E F G A B C D E  F  G  A  B  C
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
    
    Now, the first seven notes should be straight-forward: C is 1, or the root, D is the 2nd, E is the 3rd etc.

    Then we get to C again, and it's the 8th, and we have the name 'octave' for that ('octo' = 8, like an octopus has 8 legs. Geddit?)

    Then we get to D again and it's the 9th note in our sequence. So D = 2nd and D = 9th. The same note, only an octave higher: 2 = 9

    Next...

    E is the 10th note, but it was also the 3rd, so we can see that a 10th is the same as a 3rd, only an octave higher: 3 = 10

    Next...

    F is the 11th note, but was also the 4th, so we see that an 11th = a 4th, up one octave.

    G is the 12th note, but was also the 5th, so a 12th = a 5th up an octave.

    A is the 13th note, as well as the 6th, so a 13th = a 6th, up an octave.

    B is the 14th note, as well as the 7th, so a 14th = a 7th, up an octave.

    C is the 15th, as well as the root, and octave.

    OK?

    Now, some of those you will (almost) never see in practice: 12th, 14th, 15th. So you can forget about them already.

    Similarly 10ths are very rare, so forget them too.

    So that leaves the first octave, plus the 9th, 11th, and 13th. These are the principal notes that you'll meet in descriptions of chords.

    Now, I know that was a long answer, and I'm sorry, but it's not really that hard once you have an 'aha' moment.

    :)

    Two completely different things.

    Roman Numerals refer to chords. Specifically, I IV & V refer to chords built on the 1st, 4th, and 5th notes of the scale. In C major, you're correct to say that would be C, F, & G. Or rather a C major chord, an F major chord, and a G major chord.

    A C chord, more specifically a C major triad, is spelled C E G, not E C D E C. I don't know where you got that from?

    You need the root (C), the 5th (G), and the 3rd, which can be either major or minor. 3 (Major third) would be E, and b3 (minor third) would be Eb.

    The triad is called major if it has the major third, and minor if it has the min or third - the root & 5tth are the same in both cases.

    BTW 'triad' just means 'chord with three notes'.

    Yes - the note between C & D is C# (aka Db), but this has nothing to do with the major scale. Just remember that an interval is the space between any two notes.

    C to C# is an interval of a semi-tone, or a half-step (one fret on a guitar, one key on a piano). C# to D is also an interval of a half-step. C to D is those two added together = 2 frets = 2 half-steps = one whole step = a tone

    :)
     
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  10. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    HUW, that was a great explanation. Thanks.

    One question: So an E7 chord would be a perfect chord?

     
  11. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    Nope.

    'Perfect' in this context only refers to an interval, not a chord - a perfect 4th, or a perfect 5th, is an interval between two notes.

    An E7 is a 'dominant 7th' type chord, which is itself a type of major chord:

    You have the basic major triad 1 3 5, in this case E G# B, and you add the b7, D = E7.

    "E" signifies "play an E major chord" and "7" signifies "add the b7 to that".

    (The chord does contain the interval of a perfect 5th, between the E & B, but that doesn't get mentioned in the name - intervals can be 'perfect', not chords)

    :)
     
  12. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Got it, thanks. I knew that didn't make sense. So what is an example of a perfect?

     
  13. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    There are only really two perfect intervals, the perfect fourth and the perfect fifth.

    If you felt pedantic you might argue that an octave or a unison is also a perfect interval, in that it is neither major nor minor.

    Technically this is true, but nobody really talks like that. ;)
     
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  14. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    You know something that really helps me start to understand theory, especially when it starts to feel really abstract with all of the technical names and so forth?

    Everything in the lexicon is related concretely to the frets on the fretboard. lol It'sa little bit like learning Chess when advanced players are trying to explain to you what a "knight fork" is, but until you actually put your hand on the knight and use it, it's hard to grasp.

    I know that sounds stupid, but it really helps to bring it right down to the concrete and back to practicality, at least for me.

    I mean we're not talking about metaphysics and the concept of perfect-ness and the implications on human interpretation of "what is reality?" here, since there is no example of 'perfect' as it is a concept only with no concrete example possible.
     
  15. Eball92

    Eball92 Senior Member

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    What the fudge? I dont know where i got those notes from...I think I was trying to wrap my head around the info too much and just stumbled over what I wanted to type/say alot...worst part is, I Meant to write C E G, and all this time thought I had :laugh2:

    That makes sense though, I just gotta find a way to apply this to my playing somehow now
     
  16. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Yeah I kinda know what you mean. I played trumpet from 5th-12th grades but it wasn't until I picked up the guitar that things started to click music theory wise, probably because I could see everything laid out on the fretboard.

    With the trumpet is was more about reading sheet music and playing single notes. With guitar it was more about be able to visualize chord structure and see scale patterns on the neck.

    In band it would take 1st 2nd and 3rd chair trumpets all playing single notes at the same time to form a chord, and I knew that but playing guitar gave me a whole different way of looking at it.

    Later on when I learned piano I was able to understand chords even better, all the notes are right there at your finger tips for you to see vs having to try and think of them in your head. ;)
     
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  17. DW4LesPaul

    DW4LesPaul Senior Member

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    Jonsey

    And this is why people who say "the guitar is the easiest instrument to play" have no idea how to play. It's true that the violin takes an "ear" to hear the notes because there are no frets,but the violin doesn't play chords. Like you say, on instruments like the trumpet or violin, it's one note or two note combinations.

    So sure, using a bow and hearing the note is hard. But the combination of musical chords and notes that a true "guitarist" needs to master is vastly, in a combination sort of way, harder than single note instruments. In a way, it's three dimensional. I've only been practicing guitar for 9 months, but that's how I feel about it. It's an extremely complex instrument that probably gets about 10% of it's complexity ever used for the vast number of "guitar players." The other 10% are those of the studio musician types that do know it all,or most of it, the ones we never hear about.

    Sure, you can learn two chords and sing to them. So the guitar is "easy."

    Elvis Presley: "My daddy had seen a lot of people who played guitars and stuff and didn't work, so he said, "You should make up your mind either about being an electrician or playing a guitar, and I never saw a guitar player that was worth a damn"."

     
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  18. jonesy

    jonesy GLOBAL WIRING GURU MLP Vendor

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    Yes I agree, and I suppose guitar can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be but that is also one of the nice things about it, you don't have to be a virtuoso to enjoy it as an instrument. If you want to just strum a few chords and sing along you can or when in the hands of a gifted player the guitar can be an entire Orchestra and is capable of some wonderful music all by itself.

    For me playing the guitar really "set me free" and allowed me to express myself playing and improvising blues and rock music, especially with a bass player and drummer. Plus when you are young (or old) there is just something very cool about be able to plug into an amplifier and making a lot of noise at loud volumes :D
     
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  19. DrewGR

    DrewGR Senior Member

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    As I'm reading through this thread from the very first page I thought I'd jump to the end and thank you Jonesy.

    I still haven't finished the thread, which I hope will continue at some point, but I can say that I actually knew the theory before reading here. But I didn't understand it in practical manner. I could tell you the formulas for almost everything but I didn't see it on the guitar.

    You explain everything as simple as possible, straight to the point and without endless explanations, and it has me seeing this stuff on the fretboard now.

    The difference is too big for me not to mention it. Before, I could recite theory and now I actually use it while I'm playing!

    Thanks Jonesy! Keep it up!!!:thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
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  20. Dr.Distortion

    Dr.Distortion V.I.P. Member

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