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Beginner Scales

old git

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My personal view is that learning scales, arpeggios/chords is important,because it is where music comes from,Brian

Surely scales and all that implies, were invented so that theorists, mathematicians and those not realising that if it sounds right, it is right, had something to teach and thus earn money?

Chris's training as a jazz guitarist means he would probably leave us all behind with his knowledge of chords and sequences. As he says, you can hear the changes, but having been thrilled by jazz guitar solos from many players, must assume that Chris was mainly in the accompaniment or Freddie Green field.

Do your own thing, Chris.
 

visionari1

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Cracker?

Not sure what that means,

Thought provoking ...ie Bl.....dy good



I've tried thinking of the note names as I play. I've discovered that I'm never going to be able to do that. I do have mental problems and that must be one of the symptoms.


I also found this hard, luckily is somewhat improved, especially at that slow 60 BPM speed


Now I just look at the dot and play it. For some reason I can do that. And I have clue why that is, but if I try to actually think of the names of the notes I'm dead in the water.

But luckily I'm learning to sight-read without having to think of the names of the notes, and it goes much quicker.

I think learning to sight read without linking that note to your fingers, will lead you down a dodgy path, as that is exactly what I used to do, and as you say, leading to being dead in the water when someone asks you to play a Bb...

I do need to take a look at the key signature before I start and take note of who's going to be sharped or flatted, but once I'm armed with that preliminary data, I can just play the dots. No note names required. Somehow I recognize the sharps and flats just by their positions without having to think of their names.

It's crazy but it works, so I don't question it.


Thanks for raising plenty of questions in my mind
 

BigMartin

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Surely scales and all that implies, were invented so that theorists, mathematicians and those not realising that if it sounds right, it is right, had something to teach and thus earn money?

Shh...do you want me to starve? Actually, I think they were invented so that people like me with poorly trained ears (if I just play something without reference to any key, chord, scale etc, it generally *doesn't* sound right) could learn to find our way round the major/minor diatonic harmony sytem more quickly in the long term, by putting in some work on scales etc. to start with. Also to help with instrumental technique, but for me that's a a lesser concern right now.

Chris's training as a jazz guitarist means he would probably leave us all behind with his knowledge of chords and sequences. As he says, you can hear the changes, but having been thrilled by jazz guitar solos from many players, must assume that Chris was mainly in the accompaniment or Freddie Green field.

Do your own thing, Chris.
Absolutely. If it works for you, do it. If not, don't. But the question was asked, why do we do it. My reasons are given above. I'm sure other people have different reasons.
 

Chris

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Well once again some interesting posts. Sorry OG, even if I come from a guitar playing background it still doesn't mean I can play rhythm guitar. >:)(To many guitarists want to be piano players in disguise)>:). I only ever wanted to play single line melodies or solo's leave the chords for the keyboard player (hehe). OG I feel you are quite right in the assumption that theory is invented and altered to explain what is being played.;}
As for hearing the changes, all the scales in the world won't help if you can't hear when to play.:thumb:
Am I saying no to scales I don't think I have said that. All I was doing was asking a question form the standpoint of a late bloomer. As for playing and learning by root ( I think that's the right term) is not really the best way to teach adults as there brain is just not wired that way.
At the end of the day we will all do what works for us, if it takes me another 4/5 yrs to find I need to play scales( parrot fashon) then all well and good. If someone says, hey you know Chris just might have a point, all well and good.
 

BigMartin

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As for hearing the changes, all the scales in the world won't help if you can't hear when to play.:thumb:

True, but I believe that my work on scales, arpeggios etc is helping me learn to hear what to play (not sure about the when -- I think I need to learn to leave more space), and I'm a late (if ever) bloomer at 53. If it doesn't help you, then don't do it.
 

saxplorer

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...theory is invented and altered to explain what is being played.;} ...

Exactly: that's the role of theory in any discipline, to make sense of what is observed / heard / sensed /felt. But there's a little more to it imo: A good theory will allow you to be creative in the world of theory, and if your theory is good, then your theory will translate with good effects into the real world. It's how the theory behind the fall of an apple, can send a spacecraft to mars. The theory is a technique for extending observed experience into unfamiliar territory, and how well that works depends on how good the theory is. So making music through theory might, just might, give you a good surprise when you come to play it ....

That's my theory anyhow.
 

kevgermany

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Some other + points about scales

They help you work on timing and smoothness
They help you get used to notes/fingerings and fingering sequences
Good easy warm ups to get going before playing
 

Sweet Dreamer

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Surely scales and all that implies, were invented so that theorists, mathematicians and those not realising that if it sounds right, it is right, had something to teach and thus earn money?

Reading this caused a few thoughts to bounce around in my empty brain. (ha ha)

One thing to realize is that many western instruments were actually themselves invented and designed around the 12-note well-tempered system. So suggesting that scales were invented by theorists doesn't quite hold cork grease. Of course, I realize that you were posting this with tongue in cheek, but still, it's causes one to ponder.

I'll be the first to agree that theorists, mathematicians, and some music teachers, are over-zealous predators when it comes to finding music theory students to prey upon.

Just the same, there is some value in analyzing the musical system that all of our instruments are based on.

I would also be the very first to agree that no music "theory" is required to make good music. Good music is nothing more than pleasing or interesting sound and if a person can accomplish that without any 'theory' then clearly they do not need 'theory'.

Theory is really nothing more than an analytical explanation of why something sounds good. Once an analysis has been made, further theory (i.e. further analysis) suggests that if we take our understanding of why something sounds good and work backwards from there, we could use that knowledge and process to then create new music that also "sounds good". (that's the "Theory")

I certainly feel that "music theory" (i.e. an understanding of why some things sound better than other things) is useful information to have. Like I say, it's certainly not required. But surely it can't hurt. UNLESS someone gets so bogged down in music theory that they totally ignore the natural artistic spontaneity that truly brings music to LIFE. Once they lose site of that, then they have lost an appreciation for music altogether and have become totally lost in a barren dry desert of "music theory".

So there needs to be a combination of the two: Artistry and Analysis if music is to have any life.

And, of course, the analysis itself is totally unnecessary if a person can artistically produce music without bothering to analyze what they are doing.

I think those kind of "innately spontaneous musical artists" are probably the exception rather than the rule. So this leave "music theory" as a valuable tool for the rest of us to try to play 'catch-up'.

Fortunately for me, having been involved in physics and mathematics, I actually view music theory as somewhat FUN.

And I also confess to not being an "innately spontaneous musical artist".

But hopefully, I'm ALIVE enough to make half-way decent music with the help of a little bit of music theory. :)))

Although on some days even that comes into question. ;}
 

jazzdoh

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Surely scales and all that implies, were invented so that theorists, mathematicians and those not realising that if it sounds right, it is right, had something to teach and thus earn money?

Chris's training as a jazz guitarist means he would probably leave us all behind with his knowledge of chords and sequences. As he says, you can hear the changes, but having been thrilled by jazz guitar solos from many players, must assume that Chris was mainly in the accompaniment or Freddie Green field.

Do your own thing, Chris.

OG not really sure what you are getting at here,scales,arpeggios etc are what all the schools of music require you to study for their grades,they are the basic foundation of music,they give you a great start in improvisation,that is unless you have the gift of naturally playing by ear which most of us don't have.Yes i agree that you have to develop your ear to play but there still has to be an understand of why music sounds right and that is where the theory comes in.

Brian
 

old git

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OG not really sure what you are getting at here,scales,arpeggios etc are what all the schools of music require you to study for their grades,they are the basic foundation of music,they give you a great start in improvisation,that is unless you have the gift of naturally playing by ear which most of us don't have.Yes i agree that you have to develop your ear to play but there still has to be an understand of why music sounds right and that is where the theory comes in.
Brian

Brian, if I may be so bold,
When Ug or his twin brother decided that two different pitched "uhs" or "oohs" sounded good, that's when music was invented. The theory boys had to find a way to explain it to those who had not the guts to have a go and like all theorists, have been altering their theories to keep up with the chancers. YC will tell you the Latin name of the Devil's Interval, frowned on by Church aeons ago, yet one of the most common rock intervals today. Even the Theory of Relativity is falling apart as a second, separate experiment does confirm neutrinos do go faster than the speed of light.

Guess this means we are all copyists, someone even suggested that Bird's Koko solo was nicked from a piccolo part from the marching band chart of High Society.

Summed up, if you like scales, modes and arpeggios, do keep playing them if you feel they are helping. If you just want to blow, do so but don't criticise what others do. (Hmm. Must make a note of that myself.) Remember the success in blind or double blind medical tests of placebos, transfer that to music, theory, musical instruments and accessories and ponder.

Now off out, so will miss the resulting sniping and attempted physical assaults. >:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:) Most amused to discover that there is a limit of 22 smileys on this board, amazing what you can learn, even at 74.
 

jazzdoh

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Brian, if I may be so bold,
When Ug or his twin brother decided that two different pitched "uhs" or "oohs" sounded good, that's when music was invented. The theory boys had to find a way to explain it to those who had not the guts to have a go and like all theorists, have been altering their theories to keep up with the chancers. YC will tell you the Latin name of the Devil's Interval, frowned on by Church aeons ago, yet one of the most common rock intervals today. Even the Theory of Relativity is falling apart as a second, separate experiment does confirm neutrinos do go faster than the speed of light.

Guess this means we are all copyists, someone even suggested that Bird's Koko solo was nicked from a piccolo part from the marching band chart of High Society.

Summed up, if you like scales, modes and arpeggios, do keep playing them if you feel they are helping. If you just want to blow, do so but don't criticise what others do. (Hmm. Must make a note of that myself.) Remember the success in blind or double blind medical tests of placebos, transfer that to music, theory, musical instruments and accessories and ponder.

Now off out, so will miss the resulting sniping and attempted physical assaults. >:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:) Most amused to discover that there is a limit of 22 smileys on this board, amazing what you can learn, even at 74.

OG first of all i don't criticise what others do,read my posts,i just stated that they were an important part of music.
I also stated unless you have a particular hearing gift which some have [Ug and his twin brother]but most of us don't then the formulas of scales chords etc has to apply.
If a musician has the ability to hear where the music is going [the chord changes] and move with it then the theory is not so important,i wish i had it,although my ear has developed over the years i still have to rely on the maths of music.
I do agree with you that we are all copyists,most of what we play has been done before.
Now where did i put that tin hat.

Brian
 

BigMartin

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OG first of all i don't criticise what others do,read my posts,i just stated that they were an important part of music.
I also stated unless you have a particular hearing gift which some have [Ug and his twin brother]but most of us don't then the formulas of scales chords etc has to apply.

I'm not a great believer in terms like "gifted" and "talent" and "genius". They're just a way of putting ourselves or other people down for not having them. And sometimes they become excuses for not trying. How many times have you heard someone say something like "I love mysic but I never had any talent for it so I didn't learn to play". What a lot they've missed out on by letting someone (maybe themselves) tell them that. I'm much more interested in "accomplishment" than "talent", because that's something you can strive for and achieve. Sorry if I'm ranting, but this is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

I believe that playing scales and arpeggios and really listening to them on a regular basis helps to improve your ear. As do other kinds of ear training. I've been doing a lot of this stuff over the last year and my ear has improved a lot. And as my ear has improved, so has my improvisation. I still lose my way a lot and forget where I am in the song form, but along the way I'm finding nicer and more interesting chunks of melody than I was a few months ago. Have I become more talented? No, I've just trained myself to do something better.


If a musician has the ability to hear where the music is going [the chord changes] and move with it then the theory is not so important,i wish i had it,although my ear has developed over the years i still have to rely on the maths of music.
Don't knock maths ;}. I'ts powerful stuff. I don't see how knowing that stuff can do anything but improve your playing. As long as you don't rely on maths alone, which you clearly don't.

I do agree with you that we are all copyists,most of what we play has been done before.
I'm not so sure about that. The possibilities are effectively limitless. I hear tunes all the time that I don't recognise, as well as a lot that I do. It may be in a similar style to something I've heard, but you wouldn't say that all novels are copies because they use the same words and the same kind of narrative structure. If I play something I haven't heard, I can't be copying, can I?

Now where did i put that tin hat.

Brian
I hope you won't interpret my comments as some kind of shrapnel. I'm sure we're on the same side.
 

ArtyLady

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................


Don't knock maths ;}. I'ts powerful stuff. I don't see how knowing that stuff can do anything but improve your playing. As long as you don't rely on maths alone, which you clearly don't.

........

That's what's holding me back then.........maths is all gobbledy-gook to me :)))
 

jazzdoh

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I'm not a great believer in terms like "gifted" and "talent" and "genius". They're just a way of putting ourselves or other people down for not having them. And sometimes they become excuses for not trying. How many times have you heard someone say something like "I love mysic but I never had any talent for it so I didn't learn to play". What a lot they've missed out on by letting someone (maybe themselves) tell them that. I'm much more interested in "accomplishment" than "talent", because that's something you can strive for and achieve. Sorry if I'm ranting, but this is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

I believe that playing scales and arpeggios and really listening to them on a regular basis helps to improve your ear. As do other kinds of ear training. I've been doing a lot of this stuff over the last year and my ear has improved a lot. And as my ear has improved, so has my improvisation. I still lose my way a lot and forget where I am in the song form, but along the way I'm finding nicer and more interesting chunks of melody than I was a few months ago. Have I become more talented? No, I've just trained myself to do something better.


Don't knock maths ;}. I'ts powerful stuff. I don't see how knowing that stuff can do anything but improve your playing. As long as you don't rely on maths alone, which you clearly don't.

I'm not so sure about that. The possibilities are effectively limitless. I hear tunes all the time that I don't recognise, as well as a lot that I do. It may be in a similar style to something I've heard, but you wouldn't say that all novels are copies because they use the same words and the same kind of narrative structure. If I play something I haven't heard, I can't be copying, can I?

I hope you won't interpret my comments as some kind of shrapnel. I'm sure we're on the same side.

I understand where you are coming from about "gifted,talent and genius" because i don't like them either it was a means of writing them into the post.
Does it mean we can't be good musicians if we haven't got perfect or relative pitch earing,no it does not,it just makes it harder for us than people who have this ability.
I once played a gig with a quintet i hadn't play with before,i was armed with my music plus a couple of real books just in case.
There was this really good trombone player that played by ear and he was good,during the break i was chatting to him and he was saying he could hardly read a note of music,and he didn't know how he was able to hear the chords but he said it was like driving a car but where he came unstuck was when his ear had to recognise the altered chords like Aebersolds 7+9s then his ear wasn't able to pick them up and he struggled,but he still had advantage over me.
There is a lot of copying of chord sequences,you would be amazed at how many rock tunes used the same 4 chords,just different melodies.
No shrapnel, I am sure we are on the same side.

Brian
 

BigMartin

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That's what's holding me back then.........maths is all gobbledy-gook to me :)))

I'ts amazing how keen people are to tell you they're rubbish at maths when they find out you're a mathematician. It seems to be some sort of defensive response.

Don't tell me, let me guess. Some teacher(s) with insecurites of his/her/their own told you you had no talent for it. How did I do?

Anyway, we're not talking about the finer points of algebraic geometry here (though if you're strange enough to want to learn that, I'm sure you could, it would just take a few years of full-time study), just knowing a few note patterns.
 

kevgermany

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I'm not a great believer in terms like "gifted" and "talent" and "genius". They're just a way of putting ourselves or other people down for not having them.

You really must read Musicophilia by Sachs.

But by your argument guys like Ayrton Senna, Charlie Parker, Albert Einstein ...... Had nothing special.

There's a wide range of abilities in every discipline. And although hard work/study can achieve a lot, it can't overcome innate incompetence.

And I remember being good at maths at school, but way behind some of the others. Especially when it came to pure maths, proofs....
 

old git

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Isn't pure maths a bit like philosophy, more thought than actual output? However we have various abilities, some better than others especially if encouraged by the right teacher, we can be well above average.

The right coupling between coach and client achieves results. Moral:-Find the right person and techniques, then you'll become as good as you are able, whether it's playing a saxophone, speed reading, speed dating or running the CaSLM. Guess that lets me out then.
 

BigMartin

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But by your argument guys like Ayrton Senna, Charlie Parker, Albert Einstein ...... Had nothing special.
.

They had an obsession with what they were doing. I wouldn't want it myself, but it can produce great results.
 

ArtyLady

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I'ts amazing how keen people are to tell you they're rubbish at maths when they find out you're a mathematician. It seems to be some sort of defensive response.

Don't tell me, let me guess. Some teacher(s) with insecurites of his/her/their own told you you had no talent for it. How did I do?

Anyway, we're not talking about the finer points of algebraic geometry here (though if you're strange enough to want to learn that, I'm sure you could, it would just take a few years of full-time study), just knowing a few note patterns.

I didn't know you were a Mathematician did I miss something? :confused:

Nope never ever got told that.....just could never and still cant do it - how the heck can x+y=b anyway!!? and as for square roots :confused: I even had to bail out of the OU Tech of Music course at the first assignment, even after having a very nice OU tutor come to my house who spent 2 hours going through the "basic maths" needed for the course with me (wasn't very basic to me at all - basic to me is 1+ 1 = 2 and 2 x 2 = 4 :))) ) I sort of got it while he was there explaining it but by the time I tried to do the assignment that evening....it had all gone again :( Im pretty certain I'm dyscalculic.

I don't quite understand what you mean about knowing a few note patterns, I don't have a problem with that - don't need maths for that :confused: thank goodness! :thumb:
 
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Sweet Dreamer

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Im pretty certain I'm dyscalculic.

That's cute! :)))

You should go to an assistance office and apply for disability. When they ask you what the problem is just say, "I'm dyscalculic and I have my mathematics flunking papers right here to prove it"

I don't quite understand what you mean about knowing a few note patterns, I don't have a problem with that - don't need maths for that :confused: thank goodness! :thumb:
See, you ARE a mathematician in the most natural innate way.

For real mathematicians mathematics is all about patterns. Numbers are nothing other than tools they use to quantify patterns.

But you see beyond the numbers and just comprehend the patterns directly.

This reminds of something some famous mathematician once said. Sorry I can't remember who he was, but here's what he said:

"A mathematician needs to calculate the differential and integral calculus using abstract symbols and numbers, but God,... well ...., She just does it intuitively, no calculations required."

See ArtLady, you're a Goddess of musical note patterns and didn't even know it. No calculations required, just play the music intuitively. ;}
 

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