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> Scale Degrees Question
post Nov 22 2010, 05:03 PM
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Hi there GMC,
I have a question concerning the scale degrees. When learning scales you actually have to learn the 5 major scales patterns only one time because they are all the same for every major mode. But what changes, are the scale degress within these patterns of course. I have learned all the position of the scale degress of the major scale now. My question is, as the position of the scale degress differs for every major mode, do I have to learn all 7 positions now? Because knowing where the scale degrees are is important for soloing right?
What do you think? This seems to be a lot of work...

This post has been edited by Nighthawk1: Nov 22 2010, 05:15 PM
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post Nov 22 2010, 08:10 PM
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It IS a lot of work, but necessary to train your fingers to know how to do the most basic form of music - ascend and or descend in key.

When you are playing free style, which is what I'm assuming you mean by soloing - just jamming, you don't have to time to figure out what scale pattern you should be playing. Your mind is thinking in terms of sounds, not patterns. It wants the big picture, and thinking in terms of what scale pattern to play, breaks that big picture down into a hundred little pictures that take way too much energy and thought to digest.

I liken it to typing. When you first learn how to type, it's slow and cumbersome. You have to think about where to put your fingers to type the next letter. After a few years, something happens - your hands and your mind begin to bypass the thinking process. There comes a time, when you begin thinking in terms of whole words instead of letters - that is, your hands bypass the conscious spelling "s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g" of the words, and tap directly into that portion of your mind to obtain that spelling so you don' t have to tell your hands each letter.

The point (goal) of learning your scales is akin to this. You want your hands to know where the whole or half note you are thinking is located without you having to consciously direct your hand to that note. So scales are training your hand where to reach for the "next note" in a scale.

So, you should memorize all 7 patterns so your hands are familiar with starting points for the basic patterns. But you should also memorize/practice other patterns as well - harmonic minor, blues scales, pentatonic scales, arpeggios - whole scales, etc. this will train your hands to know where to find 3rd intervales, 4ths, 5ths, etc. If you practice only Major and minor scales, you're hands will only learn where the 2nd's are. Musics is not chromatic - it uses all the intervals, so that's what you should aim for learning.

I recommend, after you learn a scale, such as the Ionian (Major scale) pattern, put on a metrinome or even better, a backing track, and jump around inside of that scale pattern. Don't go outside of it - remain inside that pattern, but reach for 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths - and make this part of your daily routine, if even for only 5 minutes. The goal is to not have to think about where to put your fingers - but to train your hands to bypass that step and do what your mind is thinking without you having to be the middle-man.

Break free of your mind

The more I practice, the more I wish I had time to practice!
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