Music Theory 101

DW4LesPaul

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Just wanted to say sorry it ok me so long to figure that out. My life is 'complicated' currently and my mind isn't as focused as it usually is on tasks. I probably would have noticed it the same day Jonesey said I should learn the major pentatonic scale. So, lesson learned. :p) I still need to figure out why the "minor" shapes are minor when all you do is move them and they become major, or,even more confusing, A minor root is A, and A is a major, but the root of the A minor Pent is A. lol

Trying to get out of my head, I would say that's because minor notes are dominant in the minor pent locations, whereas the major pent locations the major notes are dominant--but I really have no idea. I could figure it out by taking the time to focus and study the notes in each scale, but like I said, my life is currently 'complicated.'

Thanks for all of the help.
 

huw

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Don't rush on to the "next new scale". There is enormous benefit to be gained from working on that combination of major & minor pentatonics.

The "down three frets trick" is a useful starting point, but it gets really useful when you can play both scales in the same location. For example, you can already play the A minor pentatonic at the 5th fret, so stay at the 5th fret & work out where the notes for the major pentatonic are. Work on combining them into one "mega-combo-blues-rock-master scale". Once you have that down you will be amazed at the mileage you can get out of it.

Just as a teaser, and to give you a hint of how far you can go with "just" this combination of the major & minor pentatonics check this out:

A min pent = A C D E G
A maj pent = A B C# E F#

A combined scale = A B C C# D E F# G

A mixolydian = A B C# D E F# G (conbined scale, omitting the C)
A dorian = A B C D E F# G (combo scale, omitting the C#)
A "Country Hexatonic" (AKA the Allman Brothers scale) = A B C# D E F# (combo minus C & G)

See what I mean? Learn one scale (the "combo") and get all these others for free!

You can go further - if you add the b5 to the minor pentatonic to make the "blues scale", you get an expanded version of the combo:

A "expanded combination scale" = A B C C# D D#(Eb) E F# G

That one also gives you:

A Lydian dominant (how jazz can you get?) = A B C# D# E F# G

And on, and on...

:)

You don't need to think about these other scales, their sounds are just "in there" when you lean the combination of major & minor pentatonics.

You could almost get through a lifetime with just the one scale, if you get the hang of which notes to leave out to get the different sounds.

Now that's a bargain.

:)
 

DW4LesPaul

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That is so awesome man. Very inspirational and just what I needed. So by learning the minor pentatonic blues, I get all of that in one shot? It makes so much sense now that I read your post.

Don't rush on to the "next new scale". There is enormous benefit to be gained from working on that combination of major & minor pentatonics.

The "down three frets trick" is a useful starting point, but it gets really useful when you can play both scales in the same location. For example, you can already play the A minor pentatonic at the 5th fret, so stay at the 5th fret & work out where the notes for the major pentatonic are. Work on combining them into one "mega-combo-blues-rock-master scale". Once you have that down you will be amazed at the mileage you can get out of it.

Just as a teaser, and to give you a hint of how far you can go with "just" this combination of the major & minor pentatonics check this out:

A min pent = A C D E G
A maj pent = A B C# E F#

A combined scale = A B C C# D E F# G

A mixolydian = A B C# D E F# G (conbined scale, omitting the C)
A dorian = A B C D E F# G (combo scale, omitting the C#)
A "Country Hexatonic" (AKA the Allman Brothers scale) = A B C# D E F# (combo minus C & G)

See what I mean? Learn one scale (the "combo") and get all these others for free!

You can go further - if you add the b5 to the minor pentatonic to make the "blues scale", you get an expanded version of the combo:

A "expanded combination scale" = A B C C# D D#(Eb) E F# G

That one also gives you:

A Lydian dominant (how jazz can you get?) = A B C# D# E F# G

And on, and on...

:)

You don't need to think about these other scales, their sounds are just "in there" when you lean the combination of major & minor pentatonics.

You could almost get through a lifetime with just the one scale, if you get the hang of which notes to leave out to get the different sounds.

Now that's a bargain.

:)
 

jonesy

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That is so awesome man. Very inspirational and just what I needed. So by learning the minor pentatonic blues, I get all of that in one shot? It makes so much sense now that I read your post.

Huw's major/minor special 2 for 1 deal :naughty:



(Been using that my self for many years)
 

DW4LesPaul

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Sometimes I feel like you two are messing with me, but not in a bad way. :)

OK, so haha, if someone says we're playing in C and they wanted me to play a scale in C, I could play the minor pentatonic/blues in A and that would do it, as long as I used the C note for the tonal center of the scale, and not the A?

If this is correct, then I am making some progress with the theory part of it. Still can't get my head around it yet, but it feels better each time I enguage the information.
 

jonesy

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Sometimes I feel like you two are messing with me, but not in a bad way. :)

OK, so haha, if someone says we're playing in C and they wanted me to play a scale in C, I could play the minor pentatonic/blues in A and that would do it, as long as I used the C note for the tonal center of the scale, and not the A?

If this is correct, then I am making some progress with the theory part of it. Still can't get my head around it yet, but it feels better each time I enguage the information.

It depends on if the C chord is major or minor :hmm:

If it's C minor you would play the C minor pentatonic, if it is C major you could play C major pentatonic or the A minor scale.

If it is a C5 you can play any of those scales depending on what you want it to sound like...

And yes always build off of and return to the root note of C as a simple guide rule :)
 

DW4LesPaul

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OK I get that. Thanks Jonesy.

It depends on if the C chord is major or minor :hmm:

If it's C minor you would play the C minor pentatonic, if it is C major you could play C major pentatonic or the A minor scale.

If it is a C5 you can play any of those scales depending on what you want it to sound like...

And yes always build off of and return to the root note of C as a simple guide rule :)
 

JonR

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Sometimes I feel like you two are messing with me, but not in a bad way. :)

OK, so haha, if someone says we're playing in C and they wanted me to play a scale in C, I could play the minor pentatonic/blues in A and that would do it, as long as I used the C note for the tonal center of the scale, and not the A?
I hate to complicate things at this point, but seeing as I have nothing better to do right now... :D

Yes, you're essentially right, but don't forget that when a rock musician says "this is in C", it's quite likely to be some kind of combination of C major and C minor, scale-wise. That's standard for the genre.
The tonic chord will be C major, almost certainly, alongside the usual F and G major chords, but there will probably be chords straying in from C minor, such as Bb (most likely), and Eb or Ab. Maybe even Fm (if the song is quite sophisticated...).

Your A minor pent/blues scale - with a C root - will work as C major (with added b3 if you use A blues). That's good. Just watch out for rogue Bb or Eb chords. Flipping over to C minor pent (or G minor pent) might be a good idea there.

In fact, huw has spelled this out in an earlier post, as a combination of major and minor pent (in this case on a C root).

But my view is that thinking in scales - working out which scales to apply according to what the key is supposed (or claimed) to be - is not the simplest method, and won't always give correct results either.

My view is that you needn't ask what the key is. Just look at the chords, and what notes are in the chords: how the chord shapes, in combination, form scale patterns between them.
So if the chords in the song are (say) any combination of C, F, G, Am, Em, Dm and nothing else, then yes the C major scale is the one to go for - but only because that's the notes the chords contain. In that case, "scale" lines up neatly with "key".

But that's rare in rock. More likely you'll have something like C, F, G, Am, Bb, maybe an Eb or an E major. The G chord has a B natural in it, and Eb and Bb (er) don't. The E has a G#. But no need to scratch your head and wonder if there's a scale with all those notes, or which three or four scales you need to think about. Just play the notes in the chords. Fill in with notes from the other chords.
That's essentially what I've been doing for nearly 50 years now (in jazz as well as rock), and it still works for me.

Scales, schmales.... ;)

Bad news: it does mean you need to know your chords. Thoroughly. All over the neck. All possible shapes for any single chord.
Good news: no scale knowledge required. None. Nada. Even the note names is not essential knowledge.

Mind you, I guess that's only good news if you haven't just spent a few years learning loads of scale patterns.... :(
But that knowledge is not wasted! You just have to sit down and look for all the chord shapes hidden in each pattern...
 

DW4LesPaul

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I take what you mean here is simply play the song's chord notes for phrasing?

Bad news: it does mean you need to know your chords. Thoroughly. All over the neck. All possible shapes for any single chord.
Good news: no scale knowledge required. None. Nada. Even the note names is not essential knowledge.

You just have to sit down and look for all the chord shapes hidden in each pattern...
 

Eball92

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I just started reading this thread not long ago and have a question about something near the beginning of the thread, in relation to the first quiz.

The major scale and i iv v's made easy....
Ok so if we know the Chromatic scale, we can figure out all 12 Major scales if we also know the Major scale formula...


If you see a mistake please do not get down on me to bad, I am only human and a poor typer...
The Chromatic scale is all 1/2 steps just like each fret on your guitar is..
AA#BCC#DD#EFF#GG#AA#BCC#DD#EFF#GG#A etc....

Major Scale is a combination of whole steps and half steps....
1...2....34...5....6....78
C...D....EF...G....A....BC

The C Major Scale is the only Major scale with NO flats or sharps in it...

12345678 KEY
CDEFGABC------C F G Am These are the 1 4 5 and minor (1=root) Key of C

Why is it 1 4 5?

1 3 5 makes up major chords, so what changes to make it different?

I know Im missing something, I just dont know what...

Ive reread the beginning of the thread several times, but I just cant find it :hmm:
 

jonesy

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Why is it 1 4 5?

1 3 5 makes up major chords, so what changes to make it different?

I know Im missing something, I just dont know what...

Ive reread the beginning of the thread several times, but I just cant find it :hmm:

The 1 4 5 or I IV V refer to the chord progressions in blues and rock, not the notes that form the chords. Though they are derived from the #s in the major scale pattern.

For example the I IV V in the key of E is E A B and those chords can be sued to make up a 12 bar Blues progression

Examples..

4/4 time

:1 4 1 1 4 4 1 1 5 4 1 5
:E A E E A A E E B A E B :

4/4 time

: 1 1 1 1 4 4 1 1 5 5 1 1
: E E E E A A E E B B E E:

Many chord progressions can be created by using the 1 4 5 other chords like the minor are also added in and you don't have to use the 12 bar pattern.

The I IV V can be applied to any key and works in rock and other types of music as well as blues. Hope that helps :)
 

Eball92

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ahh okay, so just to clarifiy, they are both major scale progressions, just l=slightly different and I IV V is more common in blues?

also, I did the quiz and believe I got all the right answers, should I post it or dont bother? :laugh2:

another question, on page 2 for the optional homework, are you saying to right out the progression, or pick a key and write out the chord for that key in the form listed, im confused?

Thank you so much for this thread Jonesy, my girlfriend was trying to teach me a bit of theory, but this thread explained it in a way that really clicked for me!
 

jonesy

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ahh okay, so just to clarifiy, they are both major scale progressions, just l=slightly different and I IV V is more common in blues?

also, I did the quiz and believe I got all the right answers, should I post it or dont bother? :laugh2:

another question, on page 2 for the optional homework, are you saying to right out the progression, or pick a key and write out the chord for that key in the form listed, im confused?

Thank you so much for this thread Jonesy, my girlfriend was trying to teach me a bit of theory, but this thread explained it in a way that really clicked for me!

Not exactly. When talking about the I IV V we are speaking of chord progressions, not notes. Even though the Major scale formula is used to find the I IV V pattern, they are chords.

:thumb: Glad you aced the quiz but no need to post it.

Every key has a Major scale, same pattern but different notes. I think in that post on page 2 I mentioned something about the finding the minor chord for each key. Example G Em C D - C Am F G - E C#m A B - D Bm G A etc

You're welcome bro. Nice to here this thread helped you understand some basic theory. Take it slow and keep it simple. It's a lot like math there are always constants that apply but things can get a bit tricky at times :)
 

Eball92

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Not exactly. When talking about the I IV V we are speaking of chord progressions, not notes. Even though the Major scale formula is used to find the I IV V pattern, they are chords.

:thumb: Glad you aced the quiz but no need to post it.

Every key has a Major scale, same pattern but different notes. I think in that post on page 2 I mentioned something about the finding the minor chord for each key. Example G Em C D - C Am F G - E C#m A B - D Bm G A etc

You're welcome bro. Nice to here this thread helped you understand some basic theory. Take it slow and keep it simple. It's a lot like math there are always constants that apply but things can get a bit tricky at times :)

Thank you For clarifying the progressions up for me Jonesy, I think I have a grasp on it now, kinda.

so if with the C scale for instance, just to keep things simple, a I III v progression would be a C chord, an E chord and a G chord, where as a I IV V progression would be a C chord, an F chord and a G chord. Yea?


I think for my other question though about the homework we may be thinking about different things, or Im just slow :dunno:

OPTIONAL HOMEWORK...:naughty:
Now that you have the basics, see if you can construct the following chords, from very simple to complex...:wow:
Example:
major triad= 1 3 5

major 6th
major 7th
major 6/9
major 7b5(aka Maj7#11)
major 7th#5
major +9
major 9

minor triad
minor 6th
minor 6/9
minor 7th
minor #7
minor 7b5(aka half diminished)
minor +9
minor 9th
minor 11

dominant 7th
dominant 7b5(aka Dominant 7#11)
dominant 7b9
dominant 7#9 (Hendrix Purple Haze E7#9)
dominant 7b5b9
dominant 7#5#9
dominant 7#5b9
dominant 7b5#9
dominant 9th
dominant 9b5(aka dominant 9#11)
dominant 9#5(aka augmented 9th)
dominant 13th
dominant 13b5(aka dominant 13#11)
dominant 13b9
dominant 13#9

suspended 7th
suspended 9th

augmented triad
augmented 7th
diminished triad

DO NOT FEAR KNOWLEDGE, EMBRACE IT AND IT WILL GROW INTO WISDOM...:cool:
Peace, jonesy

so if using the C scale again, a major 6th would be an A?

Though Im pretty sure Im totally wrong...:facepalm:
 

jonesy

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Thank you For clarifying the progressions up for me Jonesy, I think I have a grasp on it now, kinda.

so if with the C scale for instance, just to keep things simple, a I III v progression would be a C chord, an E chord and a G chord, where as a I IV V progression would be a C chord, an F chord and a G chord. Yea?


I think for my other question though about the homework we may be thinking about different things, or Im just slow :dunno:



so if using the C scale again, a major 6th would be an A?

Though Im pretty sure Im totally wrong...:facepalm:

You're welcome, glad you are learning this stuff.
Yes
Yes
You are correct.
Yes homework you posted is chord construction

If you have a piano or keyboard around use that as way to see the chord construction. Much easier to visualize the notes of the chords on a piano then on guitar.

Here is a link that may help you out with chord construction theory as taught on piano


Click here for Master chord index


C-MAJ6_piano-chord.png


C Major 6th Chords

◊ Major 6th

A Cmaj6 is a major triad with an added major sixth interval: C – E – G – A


◊ Six/Nine

A C6/9 is a major sixth chord with an added major ninth: C – E – G – A – D


◊ 6sus4

A C6sus4 is a suspended fourth triad with an added major sixth interval (no third): C – F – G – A
 

Eball92

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Ah yes! okay that makes sense, and I do have a keyboard under my bed that I will bust out and build off, thank you jonesy! Ill do that homework and check it with that site to make sure it is correct!
 

Eball92

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Another question about the homework:

For the minor scales, am I supposed to use the natural minor scale or the minor pent scale?

For instance:

minor triad

Natural: C - Eb - G
Pent: C - Db - F


minor 6th

Natural: C - Eb - G - Ab
Pent: C - Db - F - Gb

minor 6/9

Natural: C - Eb - G - Ab - D
Pent: C - Db - F - Gb - E



Now the natural seems a bit off too me, but are they both correct? im just doing it 2 different ways?
 

jonesy

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Well good to learn both the natural minor and minor pentatonic as they both can be very useful. They nat. minor scale is the pure form and the minor pent. is just a partial scale more suited for blues. Play them both and let your ear be the guide as when to use them for soloing ;)
 

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