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Using scales outside of the tonic/parent scale

New Sax Guy

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Hey guys - quick question for everyone. So the song in question is this old school version of "Creep" by Radiohead. For the most part, we're in the key of F, and the chords are F, A, Bb, Bbm.



At 3:08, she sings a Bbm scale over the Bbm and it sounds great. I'm not confused as to why she picked that scale to sing, it's a pretty logical scale choice, but in many other situations I feel like it doesn't work as well as the one I presented.

Another example (also in F) : Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around and Fell In Love. F, Am, F7, Bb.
Playing an Am pentatonic scale over the Am sounds great. (Bb major scale also sounds great over the Bb)


So my question is - how come using this strategy doesn't always work? I'm sure it has to do with the notes that are in the scale going against the notes of the parent scale, but if that's true, can anyone give me any clue as to when using this approach would sound good and when it wouldn't? I love the sound of following the chords like that, but it can be frustrating when it doesn't always sound how you want it to.

Thanks in advance!
Matt
 
The reason why it works is that the composer wants to add interest into the tune(it can be a bit boring if a tune
only contains chords that are in tonic key)
Music is fascinating in that there are rules but almost every rule can be broken.
 
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Oh creep is a weird one :D We covered this song with my band in the summer noone could fit any solos on it so we didnt do any solos on it just followed the chords with little melodies. I gues it is not all black and white with diatonic chords you can always be a little adventurous, there is quite a few jamiroquai songs like this as well and syd barret if anybody even wants to try to put any solos on top of that :D
 
Perhaps it has to do with the "harmonic context" of the chord in question. For example in the progression:
Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Dm7 Cmaj7, the notes of the C scale or the phrygian mode in the key of C sound good over the Em7 because this progression stays in the key of C.

In the progression: Cmaj7 Em7 A7 Dmaj7, the notes of the D scale or the dorian mode in the key of D sound good over the Em7 because it is part of a ii V I in the key of D.
 
Well even if I didn't explain the question well, at least there's good music going around. ;)
Let me try to elaborate a little more.
Slow minor blues in Em. Em, Am, Bm.
If you play an Em scale, over the Em scale (or over the whole thing, it sounds great.) If you try to play an Am scale over the iv, it doesn't sound as good. The F note in the A minor scale clashes because the key of Em has an F#.
What I'm asking is whether anybody has any insight as to when you can use the minor scale of the chord that's happening (i.e: using an Am scale over an Am).
I'm looking for an answer like "using the root minor scale on the iii and v works, but not on the vi"

I may be looking into this too much, but that's what I do. So if you still don't understand what I'm asking, here's another great tune.
Music starts around 1:20
 
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I wouldnt dig this much into this because you wont be able to think about them when it comes to actually playing it. at least that is what I got after digging it :D I have a cousin who studies music and he explained me the modes and how you can use Am when it is am and Em scale when the chords is on em he says it has degrees as to lydian mode being the brightest(that be the V chord) then going down the line (Lydian/ ionian/mixolydian/dorian / aeloan / fhyrigian/ locrian) locrian being more darker sounding.
That being said I tried this and I cant really practically use it but since I understood this everynow and again I stick a out of scale note somewhere usually ends up being the lydian (4th #) and sounds good.
 
As an aside - for me, theory has always been about pushing my ear. When it comes time to take a solo, I don't think about the theory aspects, ideas like hitting the flat 9th of the chords or the major thirds. I just let the music take me to that zone. But when I'm practicing, I use theory to help push my ear so that I can hear new note choices while I'm improvising. This way, you get the "organic/spontaneous" aspect as well as the theory.
 
Well even if I didn't explain the question well, at least there's good music going around. ;)
Let me try to elaborate a little more.
Slow minor blues in Em. Em, Am, Bm.
If you play an Em scale, over the Em scale (or over the whole thing, it sounds great.) If you try to play an Am scale over the iv, it doesn't sound as good. The F note in the A minor scale clashes because the key of Em has an F#.
What I'm asking is whether anybody has any insight as to when you can use the minor scale of the chord that's happening (i.e: using an Am scale over an Am).
I'm looking for an answer like "using the root minor scale on the iii and v works, but not on the vi"

I may be looking into this too much, but that's what I do. So if you still don't understand what I'm asking, here's another great tune.
Music starts around 1:20
As Nick says use your ears as to what works and what doesn't,you could use the dorian A min that might work.
 
1st rant: Minor scales are a theoric construction hard to defend.
2nd rant: using traditional harmony to describe the blues is a rough approximation

if we really want to use a western approach...

Slow minor blues in Em. Em, Am, Bm.
If you play an Em scale, over the Em scale (or over the whole thing, it sounds great.) If you try to play an Am scale over the iv, it doesn't sound as good. The F note in the A minor scale clashes because the key of Em has an F#.
What I'm asking is whether anybody has any insight as to when you can use the minor scale of the chord that's happening (i.e: using an Am scale over an Am).

Take the Eminor natural scale
Build triads on E (I) A (IV) B (V)
Em Am Bm

It shows that you are playing in an E minor environment.
If you really want it Berklee-style, E aeolian, A dorian, B phrygian. But not in my band.
 
It's funny how when first playing the "wrong note" it sounds wrong but on the second pass it sounds less wrong, probably because you've heard it before and if you don't hit it on the third pass, well...everyone is disappointed.

I also find it odd how an accident, fluffing the lead note of a phrase makes the whole phrase sound wrong.

It's where you come from and where you go to that defines any notes rightness or wrongness.

If a note sounds wrong, it may not be that notes fault. It could be something that needs resolving 4 bars on.
 

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