A lesson on the minor system

ReaGeorgeReaGeorge Posts: 119Member
edited August 2016 in Technical or Theoretical Advice
Another week, another lesson This time someone asked me if I could do a lesson on the minor system of music, which basically comprises of three different scales, but the best place to start is the natural minor scale so I decided to make a video on that, have a watch see what you think     

Comments

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member

    Interesting video Rea. I look forward to the videos on the Harmonic Minor and Melodic Minor. Two scales I've not really studied or got my head around.

     

    The Natural Minor I've got to some sort of grips with ... at least to the extent of being able to use it for playing melodic lead and under it's Aeolian guise and in my exploration of modes.

     

    I'll have to admit that the modes only made sense to me (for playing purposes) when they were presented in a way that linked them to minor pentatonic. With addition of two notes specific to each mode.

     

    I'm pretty crap at learning theory unless it's directly linked to actual playing and my brain and memory (old and tired) seem to really only pick up and retain info on guitary things now when I can visualise patterns on the fretboard.

     

     

  • ReaGeorgeReaGeorge Posts: 119Member

    Thanks Mark

     

    I actually made a video about the harmonic minor scale already, as I said on this video. It kind of starts with a bit of theory of why the scale is needed/necessary as part of the minor system, you can find it here if your interested: https://youtu.be/Yfd4EPbj4bc

     

    And I think learnin theory in context of how to use it is the best way to learn, I mean that's the whole point of learning it. Plus I'm personally not an intellectual, I learn by doing or understanding how something works in a more tangible way if that makes sense.

     

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  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member

    Thanks Rea - I will have a look at that linked video. A proper long look that is .... if I can only find the time and energy needed once work has taken its toll.

     

    I'm certainly with you on the idea of learning by playing. I tried several times to get to grips with modes but was overwhelmed by the amount of theory and intellectual argument - maybe unlucky in the particular lessons / teachers I chose.

     

    All very frustrating and I have so often found very good players on blues forums throw their hands up in horror at the thought of modes because they've hit that wall in learning how to play modes too.

     

    When I did find a teacher with a method that connected the modes with the pentatonics, and which concentrated on just playing and visualising, everything fell into place very quickly ...... as far as being able to improvise reasonably effectively that is - I can't explain all the theory of why what I play works - suits me though.

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,013Member, Moderator

    My music teacher had me play the C Major scale, C to C. "That is C Ionian". "Now play the same scale but D to D", "That is D Dorian". He explained that playing the same C Major scale, but starting and finishing on a different note of the scale, was playing the different modes and that the starting note was the key note. So F to F of the C major scale is F Lydian, and so on. I found the concept so easy to grasp doing it that way.

    He then explained that if I was playing a piece in G for instance, and the melody used the notes G, A, B, C, D, E and F then the melody was in G Myxolydian.

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member
    Originally Posted by Jocko:

    My music teacher had me play the C Major scale, C to C. "That is C Ionian". "Now play the same scale but D to D", "That is D Dorian". He explained that playing the same C Major scale, but starting and finishing on a different note of the scale, was playing the different modes and that the starting note was the key note. So F to F of the C major scale is F Lydian, and so on. I found the concept so easy to grasp doing it that way.

    He then explained that if I was playing a piece in G for instance, and the melody used the notes G, A, B, C, D, E and F then the melody was in G Myxolydian.

    I see what you're saying with that, and yes - there's a logic to it. There's a sequence of Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian - if memory serves.

     

    But where the whole thing used to fall down for me was in how to apply that to my actually playing when there's no time to think analytically what notes I'm playing! Any analytical thought process I have to do when playing also buggers up any creative impetus for me too.

     

    The best route for me in modes ended up in recognising hearing intervals and recognising the relationship between notes separated by whatever number of frets or strings.

     

    So I needed a teaching method that would tell me easily where the notes of different scales lay in patterns on the fretboard, and it was my job to find what note to play next on the basis of the next note heard in my head which could be found by its relationship in sound to the current note. Sounds complicated but isn't because it involves little analytical thought - just instinct and muscle memory and proper listening.I still remember how magical it was when it started happening - to hear a melodic line and to be able to play it all over the fretboard.

     

    Fortunately I chanced upon the method of teaching that worked for me at the same time as the intervallic ear training started working.

     

    Of course you need an accompaniment that has the root of the scale being established to get anything from the modes exercise when playing along.

     

    But it's great to have so many flavours available for playing through scales / modes and not having to rely on the same old pentatonics every time!

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member
    Originally Posted by Mark P:
    The best route for me in modes ended up in recognising hearing intervals and recognising the relationship between notes separated by whatever number of frets or strings.

     

    What Mark said.

     

    If you can hear it in your head and from the fretboard theory doesn't matter one iota.

     

    That's my excuse anyway.

     

    To be fair I would find theory useful as a communication tool with other musicians.  But I'm worried that if I started thinking about what I'm playing by wrapping theory around it I'd lose that ability to play without thinking.  A bit like Freddie Mercury never got his teeth sorted because he was worried it would change his voice!  So I muddle along in my own little world.  While I'm enjoying it and not getting too frustrated I'm happy.

     

    Cheers, Reg.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,117Member

    Forgive me posting another video Rea, but I've always thought this clinic with the late Ted Greene is very good - he starts by talking about the aeolian (of course aka natural minor) and dorian minor modes, and the difference in the sounds of the harmonies they produce, and illustrated with his lovely guitar playing.

     



  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member

    I approve of your thoughts Reg - "muddling along in my own little world" sounds like a good plan to me.

     

    I like the video Graham - Ted Greene making good points about the different sounds of the different modes. I can hear them, but sure as hell I cannot describe what I hear in words. I've always gravitated to Aeolian more than Dorian for some reason and I have a particular liking for the very strong and different flavour of Phrygian. I also feel much more at home in the sounds of minor modes rather than major - only Ionian seems to connect with me at all in major.

     

    I see what you mean about his guitar playing - lovely tones and progressions.

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