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Thread: Theory Question

  1. #1
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    Theory Question

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    I have been playing about 10 years now. I am self taught and have managed to get by ok since I have a somewhat descent ear. I've been jamming with this other guitarist for the past 3-4 months who is an incredible player. He is really great at improv and is capable of bringing the shred but has great taste as a player (rare haha). We have been working on some songs with the focus being irregular key changes and exotic harmonies among other things.
    His approach to playing has in a way inspired me to try and actually understand "why" the things I am playing works. I have never been great at improv so I am trying to work on that as well.
    So here goes my simple question.......We were just screwing around on this clean acoustic piece and trading licks. One section goes back and forth between an E-minor and a C- minor chord. Simple enough right? Typically I would just noodle around untill i found something that I liked and not worry about what notes im playing or what scale it is but lately i've been trying to approach this by thinking a little more.
    So at the very basic level I could play within the E-minor and then the C-minor scale (or so my friend tells me, "you need to modulate with the key"). When he does it, it flows and never breaks up and hes basically in one position on the fretboard but when I try and approach it this way it sucks big time. Is there some rule about transitional notes when modulating keys?
    And lastly is there a website that list out the different positions for say something like E minor scale?
    I should probably just quit thinking and play but thats what I always say and I never learn this stuff. I really want to understand it but for some reason its like rocket science to me. And Yes I could ask my friend but I am almost too embarassed to show him how clueless I really am. Thanks in advance

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    Thumbs up

    I've found Wholenote.com to be a great resource. Take a look at the Lessons section.

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    The E on the 5th (A) string is only one string and one fret away from the C on the 6th (E) string. Find the scale pattern for natural minor scales starting on the E and A strings, and you can just switch between the two without much hand movement. I'm feeling kinda lazy so I'm not gonna write out these patterns myself, but you can find them at a bunch of sites, just google it. Sorry if I didn't help any, I don't know exactly what level you're at. Good luck!
    I can't listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.

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    I've found Wholenote.com to be a great resource.
    Really cool site. The scale finder looks like its going to be a great resource. I can't get the audio to work for some reason though?

    Iron Flippy

    Thanks for the advice. This is the exact position I have been playing in for this particular thing. Would the natural minor scale be called something else? Im looking at the scale finder on www.wholenote.com and there are like 10 billion scales but im not seeing the reg old minor scale. For ex....Ionian is the Major scale (correct?) . I promise im not as retarded as I sound haha, you can check out some of my playing here www.myspace.com/theburdenofexistence

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    I think i just answered my own question. Is Aeolian the same as the regular Minor scale? I think thats the basic pattern I use for minor keys?

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    Yes the Aeolian mode and Minor Scale are the same. As far as that E minor / C minor progression, maybe your friend uses a harmonic minor scale to bridge the gap between C minor and E minor (they only share 3 notes).

    I know some theory but it's all kinda cloudy to me too, especially when it comes to applying it in music.
    Last edited by travelin travis; 08-03-2005 at 21:35.
    artist formerly known as thebigredhotdog, formerly known as travelin travis, and formerly known as travisinflorida.

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    If you want some good theory insight check out

    http://kronosonic.com

    here is the lessons archive
    http://kronosonic.com/kronosonic/site/lessons.htm

    It ain't a walk in the park and there is no hand-holding with these lessons but if you swim around in this stuff and stick with it and you'll know a lot more than 95% of the guitarists out there.

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    Circle of 5ths

    Wireneck!

    Isn't theory cool? Travisin FL was correct, the Aeolian mode and the Minor scale are the same. Once you understand the relationship between keys and their relative minors, chord progressions will be the futherest thing from your mind.
    However, in your case, it's the relationship between the Minors and their relative majors. The sharps and flats in MINOR KEY SIGNATURES produce NATURAL MINOR SCALES. ("he flows and never breaks up")
    The accidentals used to produce HARMONIC and MELODIC MINOR SCALES are not found in the MINOR KEY SIGNATURE, but rather next to the pitches as needed in the music. My suggestion is to memorize the cirlce of 5ths.
    Keep jamming!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tamias
    the Aeolian mode and the Minor scale are the same.


    OK, let’s nip this right in the bud. NO they are not.

    The Aeolian mode is a mode. A minor key is tonal. When using a minor key, you have the V7. The V7-i defines the key. When using any mode, you do not have that relationship. Modal cadences are almost always step wise. Minor key cadences are usually V7-i cadences, or even (sometimes) vii7(flat 5)-i7 for the half-step dominate movement. In either case, the cadence movement pretty much always includes a “non-diatonic” chord. A move to a relative minor is not at all the same as a move to the aeolian mode.

    Harmonic and Melodic minors are imaginary constructs. No one ever writes parts in "harmonic minor" or "melodic minor." They are theoretical constructs which are used to explain the "typical" motion of the minor key pieces in the Bach cannon. Which of course has nothing to do with what Bach was thinking; he was just making it sound good.


    Light

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    "It's not about who killed my son, it's about what's killing our children."
    [url=http://www.theforgivenessproject.com/stories/aqeela-sherrills-calvin-hodges]-Aqeela Sherrills[/url]

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  10. #10
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    Oh yean, and as far as moving between keys, you will get that fluidity only one way. Practice. Sure, you want to learn all that you can about harmony and melodic theory, but none of that will in and of itself help you. You need to practice it. What I would focus on is various modal forms, and on arpeggios. Most guitar players who have any experience with playing blues have an easier time learning this stuff by using pentatonic scales, but you don't need to use them in the obvious ways. For instance, if you play a minor pentatonic scale one step up from the root or the chord, it implies a dorian mode with the natural 9 and 13 and the 11. It doesn't have the 3 or 7 in it, but you can really count on those being in there from the guy comping. Other pentatonic scales give you other relationships. Do the math to figure it out, if you want.

    Of course, in the end, what you want is to learn all of this stuff, and then forget it when you are actually playing. You want all of this to simply flow from your ears and through your hands. But of course, that takes a lifetime of practice. If you’re really lucky, a few times a night it will just flow, but it takes a long time before you get to the point where you are doing it most of the time.

    But really, just keep practicing.


    Light

    "Cowards can never be moral."
    M.K. Gandhi
    "It's not about who killed my son, it's about what's killing our children."
    [url=http://www.theforgivenessproject.com/stories/aqeela-sherrills-calvin-hodges]-Aqeela Sherrills[/url]

    [url]http://www.theforgivenessproject.com/[/url]

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