Post by LeftyMeister on Mar 1, 2020 20:53:52 GMT -5
I've never been a theory guy even though I can read music, but I could never site read. I'm more of a play-by-ear picker with help from chord charts. I know something things about theory but, at 60 and having played for 40+ years, I should know much more. I've been challenging myself to learn more theory and the light bulb in the gray matter has been illuminating. That happened to me tonight...
I'm just beginning to learn the modes and was mapping them out on the fretboard. I stumbled across something that I should've recognized a long time ago, which is the major pentatonic scale of a given key is also the minor pentatonic scale of the relative minor in that key.
For example, the chords in the key of G are G (I), Am (ii m), B (iii m), C (IV), D (V), Em (vi m), and F# (vii dim). So, the major pentatonic scale in the key of G is also the minor pentatonic for Em, which is the relative minor.
Maybe I'm slow to the game but this is pretty cool to me and helps when playing improvised lead over a chord progression.
Ok here's one... When looking at the key signature on a piece of sheet music, the key will always be the next highest note after the last sharp in the signature. In key signatures using flats it's always the second to last flat that tells you the key, or down a fourth from the last one. Simpler than it sounds.
As already mentioned, take some piano lessons; electric keyboards are really inexpensive these days: full size "velocity sensitive" (weighted) keys (you do not need all 88 keys).
Check on craigslist as there are a ton of them priced really cheap.
Why take piano lessons?
My son (a drummer) took piano lessons for 6 years. I truly believe that those piano lessons helped his drumming.
When my son was in 11th grade he (plus a guitarist and sax player) started playing at a local restaurant on Sunday evenings (5-8) during June/July/August playing Real Book tunes. The sax player was pretty good for a high-schooler however his concept of form was an adventure; AABA tunes were sometimes ABA or AABBA, or some variation of, especially when he was soloing.
My son and the guitarist would follow the sax player around the tunes as he played, thus keeping the band together. (It was the sax player's gig.)
I asked my son how he knew when to jump to the bridge or A section and he said "It's easy enough to read the music but also it's easy to tell 'cause the bridge is usually in a different key... "
If my son couldn't read music or have a sense of pitch/form (from his piano lessons), it would have been a short-lived gig for him.
Leftymeister, this is a great idea for a thread; I know I will learn a thing or two here. Thanks!
I've got two:
If you're having trouble figuring out the key signature of a tune (sometimes it ain't easy), here's a dead simple general rule that applies 99% of the time. If there are chords in the tune, not necessarily next to each other, that are in alphabetical sequence such as A & B, F & G, etc., they are the IV and the V of the key signature. Example: if a tune has a C chord and a D chord in it, the tune is in the key of G.
Another really useful thing to know, especially if you play with others, is to memorize the circle of fifths. It's not that hard to do, and it opens up a boatload of knowledge because you can picture it in your mind and instantly do things like key transposition, chord substitutions, and lots of other stuff on the fly.
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Post by LeftyMeister on Mar 2, 2020 12:07:01 GMT -5
Good stuff so far, guys!
K9bigdog Said: When looking at the key signature on a piece of sheet music, the key will always be the next highest note after the last sharp in the signature. In key signatures using flats it's always the second to last flat that tells you the key, or down a fourth from the last one. Simpler than it sounds.
I knew this rule years ago but had forgotten it since I haven't played to sheet music in many moons.
Peegoo Said:If you're having trouble figuring out the key signature of a tune (sometimes it ain't easy), here's a dead simple general rule that applies 99% of the time. If there are chords in the tune, not necessarily next to each other, that are in alphabetical sequence such as A & B, F & G, etc., they are the IV and the V of the key signature. Example: if a tune has a C chord and a D chord in it, the tune is in the key of G.
Yep! Since there are only two major chords together in a key, it's an easy way to find the I.
We play a lot of songs ad lib. Our worship leader will start a song that weren't in the lineup and we need to find the key quickly. An easy way to do it is to hum a note that fits anywhere in the song and then find it on the fretboard. That note will either be the I or the V.
Some band leaders will hold up fingers that denote either the number of sharps or flats in the key. For example, holding up 4 fingers would either be 4 flats (Ab) or 4 sharps (E). Ours doesn't do that.
Post by LeftyMeister on Mar 2, 2020 12:12:04 GMT -5
Regarding piano, we bought my MIL a nice Yamaha keyboard with weighted keys for Christmas but she has barely touched it. I'm going to put it to use and start teaching myself to open up my knowledge of chord progressions.
Post by LeftyMeister on Mar 2, 2020 19:25:26 GMT -5
Interesting video! Thanks! I picked up a few things, although he was bit scattered. I understand he was promoting his books, though.
It would've benefited to explain a useful purpose for the modes. He touched on it better didn't really explain its usefulness. For example, when playing a scale in a particular key, the mode denotes the note number that begins the scale. In the key of C, the Dorian scale would begin on the second note, which is D, instead of the root of C. So the scale pattern would be D E F G A B C. Likewise, the Phrygian would start on the third note of the scale and would be E F G A B C D. When soloing, these contrasting scales can add color to your solos and help them to standout from other instruments that are carrying the chord progression.
Post by larryguitar54 on Mar 2, 2020 19:27:51 GMT -5
Something very simple that we can teach ourselves....Take any chord and count the intervals 1 to 8. Figure out which are the 1st and 3rd and 5th intervals and you have your chord. From there all you have to do is work backwards or forwards and you know why a chord is a major or a minor or 7th or a 9th. Most people, including me, go through life making our cowboy chords without ever actually identifying the individual notes we are playing.
It would've benefited to explain a useful purpose for the modes.
Mode usage is not complicated.
When playing in any particular key there are a specified set of 3 note chords. (AKA "Triads")
The key of C Major has the notes C D E F G A B in it. Each one of those notes is assigned a number starting at the beginning of the scale. C (1), D (2), E (3), F (4), G (5), A (6), B (7). That's where Rick was going with the Roman Numeral designations although there are other details associated with that system which he touches on.
In the key of C Major the first 3 note chord the bottom (1st) note is a C. The notes of that triad are C E G.
Move up the scale to the next (2nd) note which would be D. The second "triad" has a D as the bottom (root) note. That traid would be D F A.
Move up the scale one more note (the 3rd note) which would be E. The triad built on that note is E G B.
Keep moving up the scale and build a triad on each root note until you arrive at the 7th note of the scale. Those are the basic chords of that key.
Any time one of those chords appears in the chord progression the accompanying mode that starts on the root note of that chord will work as long as that chord is being played.
I finally got around to seeing/hearing the Beato video. That was a lot of information. If I didn't know anything about theory I would have been lost in the first 5 minutes. I might be a chunky learner, learning things in small chunks, as he said.
But, as it is, I enjoyed it because I knew everything he was talking about.
I remember 'way back when Leonard Bernstein explained that "the Beatles' music is in the mixolydian mode." Then, on "I'm a Loser," a song in the key of G, John Lennon plays an off-the-rack Hohner Marine Band harmonica in the key of C.
Maybe this is too simple, but it was a revelation to my guitar student: the ONLY thing you need to know to define whether a scale or chord is major or minor is the quality of the note that makes the 3rd degree. If it is a major 3rd (i.e. not flatted), then it is a major scale or chord. If it is a flat 3rd, minor.
For example, in any C scale or chord, if the 3rd is e natural (meaning, not flatted), then it is a C major chord or scale. If it is e flat, then it is a C minor chord or scale.
There are plenty of qualifiers you can pile on top of this, including lots of other exotic chords and scales, but this is where you start when defining major and minor.
Relative Minors (not your hot young cousins ya sickos...)
To determine the relative minor of any key, simply start at the root note and count down 3 notes. So for the relative minor of C, countdown C, B, A. A minor is the relative minor key for C. The relative minor key and scale has the exact same number of sharps or flats as the major key you started with. Another way to determine the relative minor is that it's always the (minor) 6th of the scale.
For guys like me that only dabble in guitar it also means that I can use the pentatonic minor blues scales and blues "box patterns" I learned on the fretboard to play in major keys by sliding down 3 frets from the root. So, for playing in A major I can play the same minor pentatonic patterns starting on the second fret and now I'm in the correct key for A major by playing minor patterns on the RELATIVE MINOR fret, in this case F#. Why? Because the F# minor scale has the same notes as the A Major scale.
Post by LeftyMeister on Mar 7, 2020 10:10:14 GMT -5
Here's a lead tip that I don't hear many teachers often mention. I learned it as a young guitarist and it has served me well. It's regarding what's sometimes called 'natural halfsteps'. On a keyboard, there are no black keys between B & C and E & F. That's why on a guitar fretboard, we move only one fret between these chords. With this in mind, one can learn to play lead in any key by knowing three positions.
D Position - When playing a D chord in the first position (2nd fret), it can be moved up the fretboard to find other keys. D (2nd), E (4th), F (5th), G (7th), A (9th), B (11th), C (12th), and then D aging on the 14th.
The D lead pattern can vary but I start with the D string second fret and it goes D string (2nd), D (4), G (2), G (4), B (2), B (3), B (5), E (2), E (3), and E (5). I'm not sure which mode it resembles but it's similar to the Dorian since it starts on the 2nd note (E) of the D major scale. This lead pattern also works for a Bm scale, which is the relative minor of D. Move this pattern up and down the neck to play in any key.
A Position - When playing a barre A in the first position (2nd fret), move up the fretboard as follows by barring all strings two frets behind the 'A barre': A (2nd fret), B (4th), C (5th), D (7th), E (9th), F (10th), G (12th), and A again on the 14th.
The lead pattern starts on the D string (2nd fret), D (4), G (2), G (4), B (2), B (3), B (5), E (2), E (4), and E (5). You'll notice this pattern is identical to the D scale except for the second to the last note is played one fret higher. That's because A is the fifth in the Key if D.
As K9 stated, the F# minor pentatonic scale (relative minor of A) can also be played in this position.
E Position - As with the other two, play an E in the first position (first fret) and move it up as follows barring one fret behind: E(1), F (2), G (4), A (6), B (9), C (10), D (12), and E again on 13. For simplicity, the barre will be on the E (0), F (1), G (3), A (5), B (7), C (8), D (10) and E (12).
The lead scale here is easy because one can play around any notes in the barre for the major scale, or the box pattern for the minor pentatonic scale that we all know.
This is a bit confusing to write out but I see lightbulbs going off whenever I show these patterns to novice guitarists.
LeftyMeister, that is a different and creative way of approaching the CAGED system, where you visualize a chord shape on the fretboard and know where the notes are that allow you to 'play the changes' rather than sticking with the safe five notes of the pentatonic scale for a given key.
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Lefty, that insight is something I figured out as well when I was in my early teens. It's a very good way to visualize where the different inversions of the chords are in all the different keys.
Something else I figured out was that 3 note chord voicings usually sound better in a band setting than the full 5 or 6 string versions of them.
Another thing about the CAGED system. I don't consider there to be 5 different chord shapes like the CAGED system dictates. IMO there are only 3. The C, A, and E. The D and G shapes are the same as the C and A shapes, respectively, only starting on a different fret.
When playing a D Major chord the D shape is the same as the C shape if you put the root note of D on the 5th fret of the A string and use the C shape to voice the chord. You will have to barre the G and high E strings on the 2nd fret to do this.
When playing an A Major chord the G shape is the same as the A shape if you put the root note of A on the 5th fret of the low E string and use the G shape to voice the chord.
There are some other crossovers as well if you stick to 3 note chord voicings. If you take the middle 3 notes of the E shape, the ones on the A, D, and G strings, and move them to the low E string then the bottom 3 notes of the C shape chord appear. That puts the 5th of the chord in the root.
There are a number of ways I visualize different chords by using those 3 basic shapes but, it is probably going to get confusing as my twisted realization will be hard for me to explain.
Last Edit: Mar 21, 2020 5:21:27 GMT -5 by ninworks
Here's my thought: People who say they don't know theory usually know far more than they are aware of. They just haven't learned how to name it. Right from the start, we all pick up little tricks about adding or shifting notes in a chord shape or scale pattern. Those tricks have names/concepts behind them. If you learn them, it opens doors to experimentation. The basics aren't difficult and they go a long way. As others have mentioned, this stuff is much easier to visualize/absorb on a keyboard.
This thread also reminds me of my favourite line about bass players: "It ain't a chord until I say it's a chord."
Last Edit: Mar 28, 2020 10:51:33 GMT -5 by langford
Post by Grizbear-NJ on Mar 31, 2020 11:30:49 GMT -5
First of all; thank you Lefty for starting this thread; second, I am going to throw you all a real curve-ball. I'm a drummer who can read music. (Along with "Graphic Novels")
In general, I am familiar with music theory and composition; but mainly I focus on time signatures (including odd meter), tempo, and dynamics. Obviously the only "Key" a drummer is concerned about is the "Drum Key" (used to adjust the tension rods on the drum). But being able to read scores and charts is a big help when communicating with other musicians. Something as simple as being able to count measures, in order to anticipate a change of some sort (instrumental solo, chorus, verse, bridge) avoids a lot of confusion, and saves time in the long run. If I am ever at a total loss of ideas, I check out the bass or horn chart to get a "feel" of where they are going with the song. One trick (playing live) I use constantly, is to watch the "fret" hand of a bass player or guitarist (when possible) to make sure our tempo is in sync.
A few years ago, I started to take bass guitar lessons (from a College Music Professor) for a couple of reasons. #1- Was to improve my reading abilities; and #2- to understand a bass players role, so I could get in sync better. It worked in more ways than I expected.
Post by larryguitar54 on Apr 1, 2020 0:28:30 GMT -5
I think what NineWorks said above about 3 note chord voicings is spot on. It's especially true if you have two guitar players.
My 'epiphany' on music theory applied to the guitar actually came when I simplified and learned to play bass as a stand in for a band. There you think in terms of the 3 note intervals of every chord such as the 1st, 3rd and 5th.
Later when I returned to guitar it dawned on me that all the first position cowboy chords are really just 3 notes of the chord. The other 3 are octaves somewhere. The chords may actually be 'inverted' but it still works.
So for example on a piano an Emaj would be E, Ab and B. But on a guitar it goes E, B, E Ab B E. So technically all you really need are the 3 strings that are together that form the E Ab B sequence. The low notes and high notes just fill it out but it doesn't change the chord. The same thing holds true for every chord.
It got me thinking of the basic question of how the original people who invented the guitar even thought to layout a guitar so all the chords work they way it does. I'm sure it was an evolution from 1 string to 2 to 3 until they decided 6 was enough. I'm sure they did that because it covered the desired octave range.
If you took the time to chart out every chord you could construct a guitar a couple ways but the way they did it does make a lot more sense to me. If you created the algorithm the computer would come up with the standard tuning as the most efficient pattern.