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Memorizing Scale Chord Relationships


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16251 , The pool of notes referred to as a "scale" represents can be thought of as chords tones 1 3 5 7 with passing tones in between each chord tone. So basic. This is almost from the Middle Ages.
It's really got simple roots. It's too bad institutions make it more difficult, or maybe I wasn't ready musically to learn.


I've gotten much more mileage lately by thinking in smaller clusters of scales either a 4th or #4th apart.

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Historically, scales, or "modes" if you prefer, came first in music. Over time the chord system was slowly discovered.


Music came first, dude. Systematic education is just that, systematic. It doesn't work for everyone.




Theory is just people trying to explain stuff. The better the teacher, the more ways they'll have to explain something. Chord-scale relationships are a popular way of explaining this, yes, but not the only way.


I think the masters you cite would understand any concept presented to them. They transcend those concepts. They're also just really smart people in general.

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Referring back to the video, it seems to me Galper's emphasis on melodic embellishment is a focus of a lot of experienced players and educators - I remember Bucky Pizzarelli making the exact same point at the end of his Piano Jazz interview on the radio. But the way Galper starts with the "you're all doing it wrong" seems needlessly provocative. To dismiss CST entirely as a part of jazz education? hmmm.
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...the way Galper starts with the "you're all doing it wrong" seems needlessly provocative.


Provocative, for sure. He has a little twinkle in his eye as he disses CST at the beginning of the clip--that's his style. He seems to take quite a bit of pleasure being a curmudgeon. I always feel like I learn something from listening to the guy talk, though.

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You misunderstood my meaning. I simply meant they were singing modes in the Middle Ages, Gregorian chants for example. From those evolved a chord system.


True, but I don't think modes are applied in the Church manner - it's different now. Best to understand history before make broad statements- sound bytes about these things.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Well, that was a good clip from Hal. Love that guy, strong ideas, strong player.


I think of scales/modes as the theoretical underpinning -- they define a given chord, but I don't believe are meant to be recited/played except when you want an unambiguous clarity.


Perhaps in composing.


Otherwise, think! What does it really mean to play a phrygian dominant scale? It's the same thing except you do something to a note, over Hava Nagila or something.


Except I think there's some good melodic content out of the diminished scale -- I still practice running those, because that's what Don Patterson did so many times. Except like all the other scales/modes, it's really just approaching the chord with some extra stuff in between.

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I admit that I didn't read the whole thread with attention, but here's my very practical approach to the matter, matured in a lifetime of playing and teaching:


At the first stage, of course, you have to know your harmonized scales, that is, practice chords along the most common ones - major, harmonic and melodic minor first, then a bunch of others like pentatonics, diminished, augmented, etc.

You should also associate every chord with its relative mode, for example playing Cm7 with LH and Dorian mode with RH while doing the Bb major scale, etc. Be sure to practice chords in fourths as well as in thirds, and to do variants like extended chords.

That's the ABC.


At a more advanced stage, you choose one starting note, and play all possible modes and chords from *that* note. To give a simple example, you start with C. You play Cmaj7 with LH and the C major scale with RH. Then you play Cm7 with LH and C dorian with RH. Then Cm7 (again) with LH and C phrigian with RH. Got it? Do that for every different scale family in the book. That will give you a visualization of the "chord as a scale" concept, and you'll start to see a scale/mode like one of the several possible ways to join the various chord tones.

Of course, do it starting with every possible chromatic note.


Then you should also improvise on each chord for a while, using each of the possible different scales (and arpeggios). It's a long way, but it pays high dividends.


AFTER that, you play *by ear*. Happy hunting... :)


Then you have the 'stuffed' scales... but I've divulged too much already. :D





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Why do so many people today think that in the 1930s and 1940s, for example, people didn't know anything about chords and scales?


When was the diminished scale first used in improvising jazz?


George Russell was developing his Lydian Chromatic concept about 70 years ago.


Tristano had a long established reputation for teaching this stuff by the 50s.

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I have no doubt Bach knew/understood just about the same chords, so I'm not with those people.


Somewhere in the theory classes I followed (while studying EE, I mean I didn't study for a degree in music), I found the interesting link not filled in between the classical scales, outside of the equally tempered ones, and the use of the more formal shifted scales and connected (connectable) chords. So, which chords fit with a pure third interval, somehow, or maybe interpolating over more than one chord progression, or including the tri-tone, etc. That's in traditional jazz somehow, too, which brings me to the important additional observation:


It depends also on the instrument and the player, which chords work, and which scales apply to be used with those chords. A piano will have a pitch curve (tunes are a bit higher when just struck), and stretch tuning, and every experienced pianist will make use of that. So the timing of playing the chords and the notes in it will have some influence, too. A guitar player will have some common ground with other guitar players, because there are normally only a few ways to grab certain chords, hence probably the "guitar tab" idea.


Of course a lot of digital pianoes are ok, but really (technically speaking) aren't the same experience as a real piano, not even with some form of "sympathetic resonance" built in. Only real advanced digital pianos, combined with good amplification give the sensation of *playing* a piano tone, and forming chords, and timing with some form of musical interpretation.


Now don't get me wrong, a bunch of flutes can play fun chords, and I really don't hate playing a RD300 with chords and some solo, but it isn't the same.



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