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Thread: playing without a root note!

  1. #46
    Registered User
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    Feb 2009
    Liverpool England
    Quote Originally Posted by JonR View Post
    Yes. It's also a way of finding melodic patterns, getting out of the habit (if you have one!) of running scales up and down, and also of getting away from thinking from the root, which can make phrases sound "nailed down".
    Generally these superimposed pentatonics (eg Bm pent on a C chord) provide the interesting extensions, while also offering a melodic interval structure. (Playing at random on a pent sounds better than playing at random on a 7-note scale. Pents are better at inspiring melodic ideas when you have none to start with. Launch into a random pent phrase, and something melodic is sure to come out, and should suggest a way to develop it - as long as you stay aware of the chord beneath.)

    Of course, it's important to retain a balance and contrast. You don't want to be soaring around those upper extensions all the time, it could get tiring to listen to.
    Miles Davis (as ever) is a good example here. He made an excellent contrast to Coltrane when they were together. Coltrane would be spewing out dozens of notes on every chord, all kinds of extensions and alterations; Miles - at the same place in his solo - might just blow a single root note! That might have been boring in another situation (with the opposite example of Coltrane), but he made it sound perfectly cool, and "right".
    Thank you, this is very helpful to me, I am only starting out on creating melodies in between learning numerous scales ie dim/dom pent and the maj/min, and I really do need to break the habit of running these scales up and down. cheers.

  2. #47
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Twickenham, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by BONZZ View Post
    Thank you, this is very helpful to me, I am only starting out on creating melodies in between learning numerous scales ie dim/dom pent and the maj/min, and I really do need to break the habit of running these scales up and down. cheers.
    Melody is really what it's all about - that's all scales are there for in the first place.
    BTW, I meant "without the opposite example of Coltrane" in the previous post - that sentence doesn't make a lot of sense otherwise.

  3. #48
    IbreatheMusic Author ChrisJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Ok, back to this long-dead thread. Anyways, what I meant by my comment on that other thread about being three pentatonic scales for every key:

    I know you know the diatonic system right? Let's look at C major once again:


    There is a minor and major pentatonic scale for each minor and major chord in this key.

    major pentatonics: C-F-G

    C major: C-D-E-G-A
    F major: F-G-A-C-D
    G major: G-A-B-D-E

    All these notes can be found in the C major scale right?

    Three minor pentatonics: D-E-A

    D minor: D-F-G-A-C
    E minor: E-G-A-B-D
    A minor: A-C-D-E-G

    Again, all found in the scale.

    Take note that, C, F and G major pentatonics are the same as A, D and E minor pentatonics.

    Before I knew anything about theory, I had my suspicions because I noticed that when I played over a C, F and G chord progression, I could play a C major pentatonic scale over the whole thing or play a C, F and G major pentatonic scales. I also noticed that when Jimi Hendrix played rhythm, he would match the pentatonic scale to the chord, ie: C = C major pentatonic, Emin = E minor pentatonic, etc.

    This concept can become quite complex if you want. In other words, let's say you have to play over a Dmin7 vamp and you want to play dorian. D dorian would be based in C major, so the same three pentatonic scales would work. If you prefer to think in minor, D, E and A minor. If you prefer to think in major, F, G and C.

    To examine what you get, you have to look at the intervals to the chord:

    Dmin7 - D minor pentatonic - 1-b3-5-b7
    Dmin7 - E minor pentatonic - 2-4-5-6-1
    Dmin7 - A minor pentatonic - 5-b7-1-2-4

    In this case, the E minor pentatonic scale contains the 6th, typical of dorian.

    There is more in the lesson on IBM or on my site: http://chrisjuergensen.com/pentatonics.htm

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