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Pom Oak
Apr 15, 2022
In Music Theory
The modes... also known as the church modes, are other diatonic scales that can be easily understood and obtained, once we have learned all of our major scales.We start by comparing these new scales, or the modes, to their respective major scales. Memorizing these rules is what I like to consider 1 of the 2 "schools of thought". We will discuss the second "school of thought" a little later. For now, look at your C scale and picture what it would look like if we played the C scale starting and ending on D. Then imagine doing that from E to E, F to F, G to G, etc... Though while you might feel like you are simply playing the white notes, starting and ending on a different place each time, you are actually playing modes. Think about how D to D (using all of the white notes) is different from the D major scale and you will notice that we have a flat 3 and flat 7. When we continue this idea/school of thought, we get a few simple truths/rules that are listed below. Memorizing and applying these rules is, in my opinion the fastest and least complicated way to learn the modes. That doesn't necessarily mean it's the best... but let's start with this. 1. Ionian = the Major scale (Major quality) Formula: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (Cmaj7) The major scale is the first mode and is called "Ionian". In light of it being a major scale, the chord that we get from it is C major 7 2. Dorian (minor quality) Formula: 1-2-b3-4-5-6-b7-8 (Dmin7) The Dorian mode has a flat 3 and 7. The chord that we get from it is D minor 7. The flat 3 implies a minor quality The major 2 and 6 within the scale create a nice tension that imply a major quality, while still maintaining the minor quality in the 3 and dominant/b7. Aside from fitting the 2 (ii) chord, it works well with other minor chords such as the 1(i), 3(iii), and 6(vi). It also creates an interesting contrast with the 4 (iv) chord. 3. Phrygian (minor quality) Formula: 1-b2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-8 (Emin7 or G7(b9)sus) The Phrygian mode has a flat 2, 3, 6, and 7. Phrygian is arguably used the least out of the five minor scales (Dorian, Phrygian, Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, and Melodic minor), Phrygian is often used for Spanish music. The Phrygian scale works over a 3 (iii) chord (Emin7 in the key of C works with E Phyrgian) The Phrygian mode can also be used over a 5 7 (V7) chord if the V7 chord is suspended and has a flat 9 (V7b9). The flat 9 matches the flat 2 that we see in Phrygian, thus they'd work well together. For instance, in a G7(b9)sus to Cmin7 progression, a G Phrygian (which shares the same key center as Eb major) works well. 4. Lydian Major Formula: 1-2-3-#4-5-6-7-8 (Fmaj7 or Cmaj7#11) The Lydian Mode has a sharp 4. The sharp 4 makes it work well over any maj7#4, maj7b5, or maj7#11 chord. The Lydian scale sounds "uplifting" and "hopeful" to me. It's a scale that's often used in animated films and soundtracks because it sounds both curious and hopeful. 5. Mixolydian or Dominant Scale Formula: 1-2-3-4-5-6-b7-8 (G7) Mixolydian has a flat 7 The Mixolydian mode is the most basic scale for improvising over a V7 chord and a staple to the blues. 6. Aeolian or Natural Minor Formula: 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7-8 (Amin7) Aeolian has a flat 3, 6, and 7 which means it is the same as the natural minor scale. the chord that we get from it is minor 7. Locrian or Half Diminished Formula: 1-b2-b3-4-b5-b6-b7-8 (Bmin7b5) Locrian has a flat 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. The Locrian scale is the most dissonant, or "ugliest" (as some of my students have previously referred to it), mode of the major scale. It is described by some as sounding random and having no real center. That is because the chord that we get from it is diminished. Music theorists have said that it would be impossible to write a song (something that sounds finished/pleasing to the ears) as the 1 chord is diminished, and thus has no real center/tonic. The only chord it really works well over is the half-diminished chord (also known as a min7(b5) chord). When approaching a half-diminished chord, some players like to sharpen the b2 from the Locrian mode to a natural 2. This new scale is referred to as Locrian #2. Locrian #2 Formula: 1-2-b3-4-b5-b6-b7-8 (Bmin7b5) Locrian #2 has a flat 3, 5, 6, and 7. It is the 6th mode of melodic minor harmony The next school of thought regarding the modes requires a little bit of what might I like to call "piano mathematics" for memorizing and understanding the modes. This method is to ask yourself what scale tone degree correlates with the mode you are looking to use. For instance, if I want to play C Phrygian, I have to ask myself, "What number mode is phyrigian?". The answer is 3. Now I have to ask myself what scale is C the 3rd (third note) in? Well, in the Ab major scale, C is the third note. So, that means that if I start on C, and play the notes from Ab major, I will get C phyrigian. OTHER SCALES: The Diminished Scales diminished scales are a symmetrical, there are only three diminished scales each can be started in eight different places (C) (C#)! you can start with either a half or a whole step and continue an alternating series to the octave. 8. Half-Whole Diminished/Dominant Diminished (Half diminished) Formula: 1-b2-b3-3-#4-5-6-b7-8 (C13b9) The half-whole diminished scale can be referred to as dominant diminished because the b7 implies a dominant quality. It works well over a dominant 13(b9) chord. The half-whole diminished is made up of the intervals H-W-H-W-H-W-H-W (H=half-step, W=whole-step) 9. Whole-Half Diminished (Full Diminished) Formula: 1-2-b3-4-#4-#5-6-7-8 (Cdim7) If you start a diminished scale with a whole-step, it becomes W-H-W-H-W-H-W-H. This mode of the diminished scale works well over a diminished chord. 10. Altered Scale Formula: 1-b2-b3-3-#4-b6-b7-8 (C7(#9b13) or C7alt, C7(#9b13) or C7alt The altered scale is the 7th mode of melodic minor. If you're confused what that means, we learned that our modes are when we start and end a scale on a different scale tone degree other than it's tonic. So, if you play a melodic minor scale, starting on the 7th note of the scale, you are playing what is called the "altered" scale. It works great over an altered chord (7#9b13, or 7alt), which implies 7(b9#9#11b13). This scale has many names, including “Super-Locrian,” “Diminished-Whole-Tone” or even the “Dim-Wit” scale. Though the natural 5th isn’t technically in the 7th mode of melodic minor, remember that the natural 5th works also when improvising with an altered scale over an altered dominant chord. 11. Whole-Tone Scale Formula: 1-2-3-#4-b6-b7-8 (C7b13) The whole-tone scale only has 6 notes as it is entirely made up of whole-steps: W-W-W-W-W-W. This scale has a b7, natural 9, #11, a b13. 12. Lydian Dominant Formula: 1-2-3-#4-5-6-b7-8 (C7#11) Lydian implies a #4 & dominant implies a b7. If you put them together, you have the fourth mode of the melodic minor scale, or th known as Lydian Dominant! This scale works well over a dominant II7 or a dominant IV7 chord, a bII7 tritone sub, or any 13(#11) chord. Bebop Scales If you add an extra chromatic passing tone to a major, Dorian, or Mixolydian scale, you get a bebop scale. While bebop musicians technically put the chromatic notes in other places and it sounded just fine in recordings, jazz theorists have codified the bebop scales into something more concrete, placing the chromatic passing tone between 6 and 5 (major bebop scales) and 8 and b7 (dominant and minor bebop scales). The bebop scales are primarily descending scales, and so I’ve listed the numbers backward to reflect the descending nature of these scales. 13. Major Bebop Formula: 8-7-6-b6-5-4-3-2-1 (Cmaj7) You can use the major bebop scale with any major chord. The chromatic passing tone is placed between 6 and 5. With any of these bebop scales, the idea is to use the chromatic note as a chromatic passing tone, and not to stop on the chromatic note for too long. 14. Minor Bebop Formula: 8-7-b7-6-5-4-b3-2-1 (Cmin7) The minor bebop scale has a chromatic between 8 and b7. It works well over a minor chord. Remember to use the chromaticism in the scale when improvising, and to use the natural 7th as a passing tone. 15. Mixolydian Bebop Formula: 8-7-b7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (G7) The Mixolydian bebop scale is the quintessential bebop scale. It has a chromatic passing tone between 8 and b7, and it works the best over an unaltered dominant chord. I hope that these scales will help you in your quest to become a better improviser! You definitely want to go further than just learning these in the key of concert C and take these through all 12 keys. *AIM TO DEVELOP AN EAR FOR EACH OF THESE SCALES. Different scales will work better in different musical contexts/genres/songs.
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Pom Oak
Apr 15, 2022
In Music Theory
Major Blues= 1-2-(b3)-3-5-6-b7 of the major scale *The major blues scale comes from the major pentatonic scale. The only difference is that we add the b3 "grace" note. Minor Blues= 1-b3-4-(b5)-5-b7-8 of the major scale *The minor blues scale comes from the minor pentatonic scale. The only difference is that we add the #4/b5 "grace note" for blues. Modes=
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Pom Oak
Apr 15, 2022
In Music Theory
Pentatonic Scales are scales made with 5 notes. They are often used for soloing and playing melodies with less "tension" in them. We can use our pentatonic scales to create other scales like the blues/jazz scales. Major Pentatonic - 1st 2nd 3rd 5th 6th scale tone degrees of the major scale Minor Pentatonic- 1st b3rd 4th 5th b7th scale tone degrees of the major scale
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Pom Oak
Apr 15, 2022
In Music Theory
Primary Chords, also known as cadence chords, are like the vowels of music. The primary chords are the 1, 4, and 5 chord of the scale. These chords are important to know as we wi0. The way to play them is as follows... 135 of the major scale = 1 146 of the major scale = 4 (reset and go back to the 1 chord) b125 of the major scale = 5 In the key of C Major, this would look like... 135= CEG 146= CFA 135= CEG b125= BDG In the key of G Major, this would look like... 135= GBD 146= GCE 135= GBD b125= F#AD In the key of D Major this would look like 135= D F# A 146= D G B 135= D F# A b125= C# E A Here are some songs that use the cadence/primary chords... Ode To Joy I-3345 IV-5432 I-1123 V-322 I-3345 IV-5432 I-1123 V-21 I-1 V-22 I-31 V-234 I-31 V-234 I-32 D Major- 12 V-5 Mary Had A Little Lamb I- 3212 I- 333 V- 222 I- 355 I- 3212 I- 3333 V- 2232 I- 1 ' Jingle Bells I- 333 I- 333 I- 3512 I- 3 IV- 4444 I- 4333 V- 3223 V-25 I- 333 I- 333 I- 3512 I- 3 IV- 4444 I- 4333 V- 5542 I- 1 Baby Shark 56 I- 8888888 56 IV- 8888888 56 I- 888888888 V-7 Happy Birthday *right hand starts on G for this one. (G=1) and uses all of the white notes/will use a flat 7. Left hand starts in C position. 11 I-214 V-311 V-215 I-411 I-864 (played up an octave) IV-32 b7 b7 I-64 V-5 I-4
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Pom Oak
Apr 15, 2022
In Music Theory
When playing your minor scale tone cycles, it's important to remember the sharps and flats from each scale that needs to be applied. If you don't, you could end up with some notes that don't belong in the scale/chord that you are trying to play. Looking at the major scales and applying the rules of the minor scales (melodic b3) (Harmonic b3 b6) Natural (b3 b6 b7), we get these scale tone cycles... Melodic Minors Scale Tone's 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 C minor, D minor, Eb Augmented, F Major, G Major, A Diminished, B Diminished G minor, A minor, Bb Augmented, C Major, D Major, E Diminished, F# Diminished D minor, E minor, F Augmented, G Major, A Major, B Diminished, C# Diminished A minor, B minor, C Augmented, D Major, E Major, F# Diminished, G# Diminished E minor, F# minor, G Augmented, A Major, B Major, C# Diminished, D# Diminished B minor, C# minor, D Augmented, E Major, F# Major, G# Diminished, A# Diminished F# minor, G# minor, A Augmented, B Major, C# Major, D# Diminished, E# Diminished Db minor, Eb minor, Fb Augmented, Gb Major, Ab Major, Bb Diminished, C Diminished Ab minor, Bb minor, Cb Augmented, Db Major, Eb Major, F Diminished, G Diminished Eb minor, F minor, Gb Augmented, Ab Major, Bb Major, C Diminished, D Diminished Bb minor, C minor, Db Augmented, Eb Major, F Major, G Diminished, A Diminished F minor, G minor, Ab Augmented, Bb Major, C Major, D Diminished, E Diminished Harmonic Minor Scale Tones 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 C minor, D Diminished, Eb Augmented, F minor, G Major, Ab Major, B Diminished G minor, A Diminished, Bb Augmented, C minor, D Major, Eb Major, F# Diminished D minor, E Diminished, F Augmented, G minor, A Major, Bb Major, C# Diminished A minor, B Diminished, C Augmented, D minor, E Major, F Major, G# Diminished E minor, F# Diminished, G Augmented, A minor, B Major, C Major, D# Diminished B minor, C# Diminished, D Augmented, E minor, F# Major, G Major, A# Diminished F# minor, G# Diminished, A Augmented, B minor, C# Major, D Major, E# Diminished Db minor, Eb Diminished, Fb Augmented, Gb minor, Ab Major, A Major, C Diminished Ab minor, Bb Diminished, Cb Augmented, Db minor, Eb Major, E Major, G Diminished Eb minor, F Diminished, Gb Augmented, Ab minor, Bb Major, Cb Major, D Diminished Bb minor, C Diminished, Db Augmented, Eb minor, F Major, F# Major, A Diminished F minor, G Diminished, Ab Augmented, Bb minor, C Major, C# Major, E Diminished Natural Minor Scale Tones 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 C minor, D Diminished, Eb Major, F minor, G minor, Ab Major, Bb Major G minor, A Diminished, Bb Augmented, C Major, D Major, Eb Major, F Major D minor, E Diminished, F Augmented, G Major, A Major, Bb Major, C Major A minor, B Diminished, C Augmented, D Major, E Major, F Major, G Major E minor, F# Diminished, G Augmented, A Major, B Major, C Major, D Major B minor, C# Diminished, D Augmented, E Major, F# Major, G Major, A Major F# minor, G# Diminished, A Augmented, B Major, C# Major, D Major, E Major Db minor, Eb Diminished, Fb Augmented, Gb Major, Ab Major, A Major, B Major Ab minor, Bb Diminished, Cb Augmented, Db Major, Eb Major, E Major, F Major Eb minor, F Diminished, Gb Augmented, Ab Major, Bb Major, B Major, C Major Bb minor, C Diminished, Db Augmented, Eb Major, F Major, F# Major, G# Major F minor, G Diminished, Ab Augmented, Bb Major, C Major, C# Major, D# Major
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Pom Oak
Apr 14, 2022
In Music Theory
A degree in a scale is the number that key/note is in any given scale. For example 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th scale tone degrees of the C major scale C D E F G A B C As we learned while going over minor scales, when we flat the 3rd scale tone degree of a major scale, we get the melodic minor. If you flat the 3rd and 6th scale tone degree, we get the harmonic minor. Lastly, flatting the 3rd, 6th, and 7th scale tone degree of the major scale gives you the natural minor. With this in mind, we can build a chord off of each scale tone degree that exists within a scale. These chords that exist within a scale are also known as scale tone cycles. Below, we can see the scale tone cycle of C major. The 1 chord of C = CEG The 2 chord of C = DFA The 3 chord of C = EGB The 4 chord of C = FAC The 5 chord of C = GBD The 6 chord of C = ACE The 7 chord of C = BDF When we go to other scales in the circle of 5ths, we have to remember to apply their respective sharps or flats when doing the scale tone cycles. For example... 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th G A B C D E F# G scale tone degrees of the G major scale The 1 chord of G = GBD The 2 chord of C = ACE The 3 chord of C = BD F# The 4 chord of C = CEG The 5 chord of C = D F# A The 6 chord of C = EGB The 7 chord of C = F# AC Try them throughout all of the major scales and you will notice that the formula/pattern that we see for the qualities are always the same. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th major minor minor major major minor diminished major 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 C Major, D minor, E minor, F Major, G Major, A minor, B Diminished G Major, A minor, B minor, C Major, D Major, Eb minor, F# Diminished D Major, E minor, F# minor, G Major, A Major, Bb minor, C# Diminished A Major, B minor, C# minor, D Major, E Major, F minor, G# Diminished E Major, F# minor, G# minor, A Major, B Major, C minor, D# Diminished B Major, C# minor, D# minor, E Major, F# Major, G minor, A# Diminished F# Major, G# minor, A# minor, B Major, C# Major, D minor, E# Diminished Db Major, Eb minor, F minor, Gb Major, Ab Major, A minor, C Diminished Ab Major, Bb minor, C minor, Db Major, Eb Major, E minor, G Diminished Bb Major, C minor, D minor, Eb Major, F Major, F# minor, A Diminished F Major, G minor, A minor, Bb Major, C Major, C# minor, E Diminished We also have scale tones for minor scales which is covered on the next page.
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Pom Oak
Apr 14, 2022
In Music Theory
Once you have learned your scales, you can begin playing all of the different types/qualities of chords that exist, using the knowledge you have obtained! Here's how it works... Major = 135 of the major scale (CEG = C major) Minor = 1 b3 5 of the major scale (C Eb G= C minor) Diminished = 1 b3 b5 of the major scale (C Eb Gb= C Diminished) Augmented = 1 3 #5 of the major scale. (C E G#= C Augmented) Ex1: Ab major = Ab C Eb because those are the 1st, 3rd, and 5th notes of that major scale Ex 2: G Diminished = G Bb Db because G is 1, Bb is flat 3rd, and Db is flat 5th of the major scale. These different types/qualities of chords are called triads. Triads are chords with 3 notes, hence the "tri", as in triangle. We can use triads as a foundation to build even larger chords later on!
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Pom Oak
Apr 14, 2022
In Music Theory
Once we know our major scales, we can apply a few simple rules to learn our minor scales. Melodic Minor - b 3 Harmonic Minor - b3 & b6 Natural Minor - b3 & b6 & b7 C melodic minor = C D Eb F G A B C C harmonic minor = C D Eb F G Ab B C C natural minor = C D Eb F G Ab Bb C G melodic minor = G A Bb C D E F# G G harmonic minor = G A Bb C D Eb F# G G natural minor = G A Bb C D Eb F G D melodic minor= D E F G A B C# D D harmonic minor = D E F G A Bb C# D D natural minor = D E F G A Bb C D *Do not memorize scales via their letters. Memorize the major scales and then use the rules (flat 3 = melodic) (flat 3 + 6 = harmonic) (flat 3 + 6 + 7 = natural)
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Pom Oak
Apr 14, 2022
In Music Theory
Once we learn the names of the notes, we can learn our major scales. Every major scale is made up a series of whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half "steps". *A whole step is when we skip a note. (ex: C to D skips C#). *A half step is when we do not skip any notes (ex: E to F does not skip any notes). *Fingerings to the scales are RH - 123 12345 LH - 54321 321 ...note that for the scales that start on the black keys, we try to avoid using our thumbs and pinky’s and instead use our 2nd (index) 3rd (middle) and 4th (ring) fingers. This results in us crossing with 4 (ring finger) in our left hand, for the flat scales. MAJOR SCALES through the “circle of 5ths”: CDEFGABC GABCDEF#G DEF#GABC#D ABC#DEF#G#A EF#G#ABC#D#E BC#D#EF#G#A#B F#G#A# B C#D#E#F# DbEb F GbAbBb C Db AbBb C DbEb FG Ab Eb FG AbBb CD Eb Bb CD Eb FGA Bb FGA Bb CDEF
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Pom Oak
Apr 14, 2022
In Music Theory
To figure out the names of the notes/which note is which, first notice how there are sets of black keys. Now, find a set of two black keys on your piano. To the left of the two black keys is C. Two (2) white notes to the left of that is A. Notice how A is located to the middle right of the three (3) black notes. We want to identify notes locationally, based on where they are in relation to the black keys. Is it near 2 or 3 black keys? Ask yourself these questions when first learning the notes. Challenge/quiz yourself by quickly pressing a note on the piano and seeing if you can identify/name the note you played. Can you find middle C? Once we understand the names of the white notes, we need to learn the names of the black notes and be able to identify them. However, the black notes are named after the white keys and so we simply refer to them as being "sharp" or "flat". Do not think of the words sharp and flat as being synonymous with black... the word "sharp" means right. The word "flat" means left. You can remember this from the R in “sharp” and the L in “flat”. #=sharp=right b=flat =left EX1: C# = the black note right above C. This note can also be called D flat, or “Db”, because it is to the left of D. EX2: F# is to the black note to right of F. This note can also be called G flat or “Gb”. *sharps and flats can also be white keys. B#=C because # means right and C is to the right of B. Fb=E. Scales are played using a series of single notes. (Ex: CDEFGABC) -major scales are the basis for everything and essential to know. They are the first thing we will cover. Chords are played using a couple of notes. (Ex: CEG) -broken chords are played notes separately, or "arpeggiated" -blocked chords are played notes together Arpeggios repeat/play over and over (Ex: CEG CEG CEG CEG) -Arpeggios can be done in one position on the piano or we can arpeggiate up and down the piano. Inversions respell/are different versions of chords Primary/Cadence chords are the vowels/must used chords in music. They are the 1, 4, and 5 chords. -inversions are often used to access the primary chords quickly.
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