Art            Lip               Welcome                  to my universe
I‘m a: singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist/trumpetplayer, producer/performer, photographer/visual artist, science fiction writer
© All works and content under Creative Commons License BY NC ND

Tutorial

The Mainstream Soloist

Scales, Harmonies, Chords

Scales and Harmonies Many of the hints for improvisations that I provide here in the tutorial illustrated by accompanying tracks are using terms that repeat over and over. Here they are and the system behind them. To the people who think, that the topics dealt with in this chapter are too complex for them right from the start: just go and practice over the exercise tracks. 80% of my tutorial are written in plain language - some deepness in the other 20% cannot be completey avoided to my sorry :) So don't forget to read the other sections! The complexity is owed to the historical systems that made their way to the present. But sooner or later no musician can avoid to take a closer look at "#", "b" and the like. Okay: Here we go! At first some basic explanations and definitions: The naming convention for tones and their intervals (interval: distance between 2 tones) We start now from the root (the basic tone) and go upwards (in semitone steps). C | C# | D | D# | E | F | F# | G | G# | A | A# | B The enharmonic equivalent (# instead of b or b instead of #) looks like that: C | B | Bb | A | Ab | G | Gb | F | E | Eb | D | Db | The name of the intervals are (left to right): Perfect unison (root) | Minor second | Major second | Minor third | Major third | Perfect fourth | Augmented fourth | Perfect fifth | Minor sixth | Major sixth | Minor seventh | Major seventh. In enharmonic equivalence the Augmented fourth is interpreted as Diminished fifth (b5). The Minor sixth can be found as Augmented fifth (#5). Oh yes - enharmonic equivalence. That can be quite "mind-garbeling" for the beginner. But we as musicians have to deal with them and with the accidentals "#" and "b". They have their origin in the European notation system and developed over the course of history. And this didn't happen on the base of a chromatic scale. So: accept it, memorize it. All this is easier to understand for the keyboarder than for other instrumentalists at first: the "#" and"b" are the black keys on the piano and the white keys are the rest, if the music is in the key of C. To keep disorientations caused by enharmonc equilvalence minimal for the reader here, I decided to use "#" when the scales are ascending and "b" when they are descending. I say it again: this tutorial is not for teaching notation and harmony systems of the Western World - it's written for soloists that are relying on their ears as it is natural. And as it should be! (As a reminder: typical enharmonic equivalents are C# for Db, D# for Eb, F# for Gb, G# for Ab, A# for Bb). Okay, but now to the: Scales There is a vast number of scales. I present you now the most important ones that allow to play "inside"("inside" sounds harmonically, "ouside" sounds "weird"). I want to provide the trainee with the means for playing "right sounding"("Inside") over mainstream stereotype harmonies as soon as possible . This is not the place to analyze why a scale is "matching". That might be an interesting topic, but this tutorial wasn't written for teaching harmony systems - it's a "How to improvise" for soloist. All scales mentioned (if not indicated as else) are always rooted in the tonal space of C, thereby avoiding accidental discussions. The blues scale The advantage in using this is, that it is applicable to Major and Minor with the same effiency. The blues scale is extremely versatile and can be used in all mainstream styles.   Well - if we look very close - then we have to admit that it originally includes the tones E (forming the character of Major in the key of C) as well as D#(Eb), where the latter is seemingly changing the feel to Minor (again related to the key of C). But blues in itself is not Major or Minor. The chords used to colour a blues track can be that (Major or Minor) and of course this has influence on the other scales apart from the blues scale that can be used there. If you use the version of the scale without the Major third (the E if the blues is in the key of C) then it is applicable to Major and Minor alike. And you avoid problems that you would get if  you'd use it over a blues in Minor right from the start. In the above mentioned universally applicable form the blues scale is structured as follows: Blues C | D# | F | F# | G | A# derived from it is the: Blues pentatonic scale C | D# | F | G | A# Major pentatonic scale (a match e.g. for a C7): C | E | F | G | A# The Minor pentatonic scale can also be derived from the blues scale logically - but I don't want to flood you with too many scale variations here. We will see why this is quite irrelevant when we come to the modes. The Modes They are probably better known to you as the "ordinary" or "normal" scales. But they are including more than Major and Minor. As a start we take the scale of C Major (in "modal talk" it's referred to as "Ionian"). The familiar scale is: Tone: C | D | E | F | G | A | B | C Step: 1.| 2.| 3.| 4.| 5.| 6.| 7. | 1. Well, in the true sense we got only 7 different tones. But one takes 8 tones ususally: The root tone is appended to the end of the scale. This is important when learnig the scales, because the tonal centre is, what it is all about. So - what's all this talk about steps good for now? Here comes the explanation: We start the scale beginning on A: and we get: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | A The "insider" now noticed: hey, that's A Minor! Nearly everybody knows, that Major and Minor sound very different to each other. And this contradictionary to the fact, that they are using the same tones! The changed order in the sequence of tones turns Major into Minor. This is also called a "parallel key". Every time when we start the original Major scale on another tone than the root C - we get a new scale. A scale sounding different. A scale that is named differently. Scales built that way are called modes. As we've seen above, the order of tones is crucial. We can name the resulting scale by the step of the original scale they started with (1.step, 2nd step). Or we could use the historical names (that have undergone lot's of disorientating mutations) like "Dorian" "Phrygian" etc. As we've seen in the case of Minor (6.step) it is no pedantry (!) to respect the outcome of the modes. On account of this here now the complete chart as a reference. As above I append the starting tone to the end of the scale : Scale on the 1.step ("Major", "Ionian") Tone: C | D | E | F | G | A | B | C Step: 1.| 2.| 3.| 4.| 5.| 6.| 7.| 1. Scale on the 2.step ("Dorian") Tone: D | E | F | G | A | B | C | D Scale on the 3.step ("Phrygian") Tone: E | F | G | A | B | C | D | E Scale on the 4.step ("Lydian") Tone: F | G | A | B | C | D | E | F Scale on the 5.step ("Mixolydian") Tone: G | A | B | C | D | E | F | G Scale on the 6.step ("Minor", "Aeolian") Tone: A | B | C | D | E |F | G | A Scale on the 7.step ("Locrian") Tone: B | C | D | E | F | G | A | B We will see why all this is not trivial in the course of the tutorial. Scales and chords are connected and linked to each other deeply.

Next

© All works and content under Creative Commons License BY NC ND

Tutorial

The Mainstream Soloist

Scales, Harmonies, Chords

Scales and Harmonies Many of the hints for improvisations that I provide here in the tutorial illustrated by accompanying tracks are using terms that repeat over and over. Here they are and the system behind them. To the people who think, that the topics dealt with in this chapter are too complex for them right from the start: just go and practice over the exercise tracks. 80% of my tutorial are written in plain language - some deepness in the other 20% cannot be completey avoided to my sorry :) So don't forget to read the other sections! The complexity is owed to the historical systems that made their way to the present. But sooner or later no musician can avoid to take a closer look at "#", "b" and the like. Okay: Here we go! At first some basic explanations and definitions: The naming convention for tones and their intervals (interval: distance between 2 tones) We start now from the root (the basic tone) and go upwards (in semitone steps). C | C# | D | D# | E | F | F# | G | G# | A | A# | B The enharmonic equivalent (# instead of b or b instead of #) looks like that: C | B | Bb | A | Ab | G | Gb | F | E | Eb | D | Db | The name of the intervals are (left to right): Perfect unison (root) | Minor second | Major second | Minor third | Major third | Perfect fourth | Augmented fourth | Perfect fifth | Minor sixth | Major sixth | Minor seventh | Major seventh. In enharmonic equivalence the Augmented fourth is interpreted as Diminished fifth (b5). The Minor sixth can be found as Augmented fifth (#5). Oh yes - enharmonic equivalence. That can be quite "mind-garbeling" for the beginner. But we as musicians have to deal with them and with the accidentals "#" and "b". They have their origin in the European notation system and developed over the course of history. And this didn't happen on the base of a chromatic scale. So: accept it, memorize it. All this is easier to understand for the keyboarder than for other instrumentalists at first: the "#" and"b" are the black keys on the piano and the white keys are the rest, if the music is in the key of C. To keep disorientations caused by enharmonc equilvalence minimal for the reader here, I decided to use "#" when the scales are ascending and "b" when they are descending. I say it again: this tutorial is not for teaching notation and harmony systems of the Western World - it's written for soloists that are relying on their ears as it is natural. And as it should be! (As a reminder: typical enharmonic equivalents are C# for Db, D# for Eb, F# for Gb, G# for Ab, A# for Bb). Okay, but now to the: Scales There is a vast number of scales. I present you now the most important ones that allow to play "inside"("inside" sounds harmonically, "ouside" sounds "weird"). I want to provide the trainee with the means for playing "right sounding"("Inside") over mainstream stereotype harmonies as soon as possible . This is not the place to analyze why a scale is "matching". That might be an interesting topic, but this tutorial wasn't written for teaching harmony systems - it's a "How to improvise" for soloist. All scales mentioned (if not indicated as else) are always rooted in the tonal space of C, thereby avoiding accidental discussions. The blues scale The advantage in using this is, that it is applicable to Major and Minor with the same effiency. The blues scale is extremely versatile and can be used in all mainstream styles.   Well - if we look very close - then we have to admit that it originally includes the tones E (forming the character of Major in the key of C) as well as D#(Eb), where the latter is seemingly changing the feel to Minor (again related to the key of C). But blues in itself is not Major or Minor. The chords used to colour a blues track can be that (Major or Minor) and of course this has influence on the other scales apart from the blues scale that can be used there. If you use the version of the scale without the Major third (the E if the blues is in the key of C) then it is applicable to Major and Minor alike. And you avoid problems that you would get if  you'd use it over a blues in Minor right from the start. In the above mentioned universally applicable form the blues scale is structured as follows: Blues C | D# | F | F# | G | A# derived from it is the: Blues pentatonic scale C | D# | F | G | A# Major pentatonic scale (a match e.g. for a C7): C | E | F | G | A# The Minor pentatonic scale can also be derived from the blues scale logically - but I don't want to flood you with too many scale variations here. We will see why this is quite irrelevant when we come to the modes. The Modes They are probably better known to you as the "ordinary" or "normal" scales. But they are including more than Major and Minor. As a start we take the scale of C Major (in "modal talk" it's referred to as "Ionian"). The familiar scale is: Tone: C | D | E | F | G | A | B | C Step: 1.| 2.| 3.| 4.| 5.| 6.| 7. | 1. Well, in the true sense we got only 7 different tones. But one takes 8 tones ususally: The root tone is appended to the end of the scale. This is important when learnig the scales, because the tonal centre is, what it is all about. So - what's all this talk about steps good for now? Here comes the explanation: We start the scale beginning on A: and we get: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | A The "insider" now noticed: hey, that's A Minor! Nearly everybody knows, that Major and Minor sound very different to each other. And this contradictionary to the fact, that they are using the same tones! The changed order in the sequence of tones turns Major into Minor. This is also called a "parallel key". Every time when we start the original Major scale on another tone than the root C - we get a new scale. A scale sounding different. A scale that is named differently. Scales built that way are called modes. As we've seen above, the order of tones is crucial. We can name the resulting scale by the step of the original scale they started with (1.step, 2nd step). Or we could use the historical names (that have undergone lot's of disorientating mutations) like "Dorian" "Phrygian" etc. As we've seen in the case of Minor (6.step) it is no pedantry (!) to respect the outcome of the modes. On account of this here now the complete chart as a reference. As above I append the starting tone to the end of the scale : Scale on the 1.step ("Major", "Ionian") Tone: C | D | E | F | G | A | B | C Step: 1.| 2.| 3.| 4.| 5.| 6.| 7.| 1. Scale on the 2.step ("Dorian") Tone: D | E | F | G | A | B | C | D Scale on the 3.step ("Phrygian") Tone: E | F | G | A | B | C | D | E Scale on the 4.step ("Lydian") Tone: F | G | A | B | C | D | E | F Scale on the 5.step ("Mixolydian") Tone: G | A | B | C | D | E | F | G Scale on the 6.step ("Minor", "Aeolian") Tone: A | B | C | D | E |F | G | A Scale on the 7.step ("Locrian") Tone: B | C | D | E | F | G | A | B We will see why all this is not trivial in the course of the tutorial. Scales and chords are connected and linked to each other deeply.

Next

Art Lip                Welcome to my universe