Author Topic: Major and relative minor and its scales  (Read 707 times)

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Offline Huntintales

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Major and relative minor and its scales
« on: April 07, 2018, 07:48:26 pm »
Studying the ebook on practical theory and I have become baffled today. I understand the major and relative minor and its respective scale for each as far as major and pentatonic scales. I have a Boss eband which allows you to play along with jams within the unit and it will tell you what key the jam is in so you can play along with it. Today I was playing one in the key of A  also it will note if it's major or minor but this jam was in A. Now I can play A major scale and it works with it along with its minor of F#, but oddly A minor pentatonic sounds even more like a fit and in tune. The jam in in A and not A minor.  This has really baffled me with trying to understand theory.

Offline close2u

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Re: Major and relative minor and its scales
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2018, 11:00:33 pm »
Your ears are the best guide.
If it sounds good it is good.
But theory can help you too.
You will need to know - and tell us - the chord progression if you can.
Is it a 12 bar in A or something else?
Whatever you can tell us will be useful in figuring it out.

Offline Huntintales

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Re: Major and relative minor and its scales
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2018, 01:11:55 pm »
Thanks for the reply. Well this Rythym in A is a funky soul blues sound and the chord progression of this is only A major  and D major. Hope this helps explain my confusion.
Thanks

Offline Majik

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Re: Major and relative minor and its scales
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2018, 04:11:24 pm »
One way to look at diatonic music theory is as a baseline understanding of music. It's not a hard and fast set of rules you must follow. It's very common to deviate from this baseline theory and it can sound great.

As Justin says, "If it sounds good, then it is good!".

As an example, the commonly used Blues Scale doesn't fit into basic diatonic theory at all, but judicious use of that blue note can sound fantastic.

So, it's quite common for music (especially Rock, Blues, and Jazz) to deviate from basic diatonic music theory, and some of this is covered in more advanced music theory, but you have to start somewhere.

As far as playing Am pentatonic over A Major, consider that the only note which is "out of key" is the 3rd. In the key it should be C#, whilst the Am pentatonic uses a C. That difference creates a slight discordance or "tension". Depending on the context and how this is played, it can either sound "nasty" or it can introduce a deliberate "flavour" to the music. Often this tension then gets resolved when you play the next note (which is in key).

Part of the nature of a lot of music is caused by these tensions, in this case a "bluesy" sound.

By the way, I can't find a track called "Rhythm in A" on my eBand. Is it "Soul: JB Funk (Key A)"?

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
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Offline Huntintales

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Re: Major and relative minor and its scales
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2018, 09:20:49 pm »
Yes you are correct about that name , it is soul jb funk. That was my best guess at the name while away from the machine. So beings that you know exactly which jam I am talking about, am I right that A major and F# minor is the supposedly correct scale key according to theory of this which it sounds ok, but that A minor pentatonic sounds a lot better? Although A minor pentatonic sounds sounds right, it's relative major of C doesn't sound good with this jam. I thought that it would work according to the theory.
Thanks for the reply
Blane

Offline close2u

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Re: Major and relative minor and its scales
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2018, 12:35:55 am »
Thanks for the reply. Well this Rythym in A is a funky soul blues sound and the chord progression of this is only A major  and D major. Hope this helps explain my confusion.
Thanks

Strictly A Major & D Major chords?

No variations on that?

It seems like a 2 chord vamp that would take the A minor pent plus the occasional use of the C# note (the major 3rd) when playing over the A chord as Keith describes.

Offline Majik

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Re: Major and relative minor and its scales
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2018, 11:28:48 am »
More specifically, it's A7 (Adom7) and D

In other words, it's not A major at all, it's more like A mixolydian: https://www.justinguitar.com/en/SC-515-MixolydianMode.php

If you've not encountered this before, this is similar to the major scale but has a flattened 7th note. It's sometimes called the dominant scale.

You can play all sorts of scales over this, including A Mixolydian, D major, and B minor. Or at least, you can try. Ultimately any diatonic scale will start to sound the same because the dominant chord progression is so strong that it will pull it back to sounding like A Mixolydian.

The A major scale won't work that well because the major 7th in it will clash with the minor 7th in the key. On the other hand, A major pentatonic works very well, because it doesn't have the 7th.

But why does A minor pentatonic work? Surely the minor 3rd clashes with the major 3rd in the key?

Yes, yes it does!

However, music is not just about consonance, but also about dissonance. That is especially true in blues and jazz. Clashing notes can sound great in the right context.

More specifically, the 7th note is quite an important note to the "flavour" of diatonic scales and chords. In particular, the relationship between the 7th and the 3rd of the scale are significant:

In the major (Ionian) scale the interval between the major 3rd and the major 7th is a fifth. The fifth is a very important interval in music, perhaps the most important interval. Having that fifth interval between the 3rd and the 7th reinforces the major nature of the 3rd.

Try playing both an A chord and an Amaj7 chord.

They both sound very major but, if anything, the Amaj7 chord sounds slightly more so. That's the 7th emphasising the nature of the 3rd because of the fifth relationship.

In the Mixolydian scale the interval between the major 3rd and the minor 7th is now a diminished 5th. The nature of the 3rd isn't emphasised as much.

Now try playing an A7 chord. Compared to the A and the Amaj7 chords, it is more ambiguous, it's not as strongly major as the A and Amaj7. That's because the relationship of the 5th is no longer there.

So why does the minor 3rd work?

Probably because the relationship between the minor 7th in the dominant scale/chord and the minor 3rd is a fifth, which is that really strong, important interval.

Hopefully this helps. It's kind of digging into more advanced music theory, maybe more advanced than where you are now, but the major and natural minor scales are not the right place to be analysing this particular piece of music from.

Cheers,

Keith
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 02:55:11 pm by Majik »
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Huntintales

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Re: Major and relative minor and its scales
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2018, 02:42:05 pm »
Thanks for that detailed reply. Although by ear I realize what works and don't work so well, so this is why I am on my way too late journey to make since of what I am doing. I look forward to gaining that deeper understanding of theory as you know. So what you have stated based on this particular jam on the eband , it  Will make more since once I get that knowledge. Being novice in theory I just have to realize what I have learns so far is not all there is in stone with what works and what don't . Again thanks and I am glad I have found this site where others can share their knowledge of what we enjoy.
Thanks
Blane

Offline Majik

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Re: Major and relative minor and its scales
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2018, 02:53:44 pm »
At the end of the day, theory or no theory, your ears are the best tool.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

 

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