And then some me thinks. Yes there is more to say somehow despite the plethora of what has already been said. Do you find an inane distractability in just about everything there is to do? Maybe during practice, reaching for a beverage instead of maintaining focus on the difficulties of what we’re trying to learn!? What I’m asking is, is it really thirst? Does dehydration occur sitting at the keyboard learning to read music? Enough berating of my anxious concerns about managing to get things done for the moment.
I’ve berated B flat Major in a previous post and as this is something of my paradigm to go through all the modes in all the keys as a project.
We come to Dorian in C.
A natural minor scale comprising all the notes of a Major scale but the root pitch begins from the Major 2nd interval. In the case of B flat Major, the Major 2nd interval is C. What makes it a minor is the 3rd note from this starting pitch which is E flat. The 6th interval in Dorian in C is an A, this is a half step higher than would be in a natural minor scale where the 6th would be A flat.
I know, fascinating right.
All so we can find and play the right note on demand.
So knowing what we know about Major scales and B flat in particular, see if we can parse out or deduce the other pitches in C Dorian.
Fill in the blanks, in your head, on your instrument or on a separate sheet of paper if you like. The pitches previously mentioned are filled in. The intervals are relative to the root C.
Root C, major 2nd___ , minor 3rd E flat, perfect 4th___, perfect 5th___ , major 6th A, minor 7th___ .
Keep in mind it should be alphabetic. So if there is a C and there is an E flat there must be a..?
Now go and find them on your instrument.
When to use the Dorian in C.
What chords are available given the pitches we’ve deduced above? Find one or 7 and strum and then improvise using the scale over the lingering memory of the chord you played. The obvious choice is of course C minor as a jumping off point. Let us find some of the other possible chords that can be built from the sequence of notes we find in the mode.
As is my custom, here is my take on mixing up the playing of the scale to challenge our fingers.
NOTE NOTES So in dealing with the B flat Ionian we can use the sonique spiderweb further by building relative chords found with in the scale. Most chords have a Root, a 3rd (major or minor) and a 5th. A triad of 3 pitches, these pitches can repeat with in a chord to give it a fuller sound. Or …., which also gives the chord a unique flavor. (you can fill in the blank, I learned recently that leaving something to the imagination is pertinent to the readers expectation whilst digesting information and can more actively engage the mind more than spelling everything out! [this is going to happen some more just so you’re aware, this is a teaching effort after all]) Looking at the sonique spiderweb with the B flat Ionian on display we can see on the outer perimeter the Root Major 3rd and Perfect 5th being displayed Bb D F The premier triad. By following that pattern around the sonique spiderweb we next come to C Eb G A root pitch C a minor 3rd Eb and a perfect fifth G Notice how we skip a displayed pitch to get to the 3rd and 5th The outer perimeter of the web does not indicate these intervals, the relationship of intervals remain static. Root > m2nd > M2nd > m3rd etc.. It is how we are using them in this context that their definition changes. Above are a couple of videos demonstrating the chord assembly technique available in the sonique spiderweb as well as fretboard examples. Your mission should you decide to accept it is to follow the pattern all around and ….? See I told you you would have to use your imagination.
speaking of imagination
So I gave my keyboard an erection recently. Yep raised the stand it sits on so that I have to stand to play it or get a taller stool! I find it offers a challenge and a way of focusing my thinking, changing up my position that sitting sometimes does not allow. It is incredibly easy to get caught up in thoughts that are in no way focused on the task at hand, and subsequently distract from said task. In this case, the practice of an instrument I am determined to get better at. So changing my position in an effort to gain some focus is helpful. Also I want to improve my vocals so standing helps with that as well. To stand or sit whilst playing the guitar is also something to consider. There are advantages to each. The closer the guitar is to your chest can make playing certain things easier. But for looking cool, a guitar slung low off the shoulder while standing really sets a mood, (I wanna rock!) But that can make some playing techniques difficult to manage. Take a look at your favorite performers at various points in a performance. Do their instruments proximity change from time to time depending on the song being performed? Even while sitting movement can be detected to enable reaching certain portions of a piece practical. When playing do you watch to pick hand or your fret hand? What can we learn from this? What does it tell us we know or don’t know while looking at our instrument?
Close my eyes during practice. I do this with the keyboard from time to time in hopes of becoming better acquainted with it. Try to get a feel for where my hands need to be. I did this whilst jamming with some friends with the guitar recently, but that was more to focus on the sound we were making. To listen more I shut my eyes to limit sensory input so my brain could process the sound more closely. With the end goal of getting the song we were playing to sound good!
Finally finished A Ionian and the subsequent modes. Took a little over a year, at this rate, it will take 12 + years to go through all the remaining keys and modes. I can do this more efficiently. Keep it simple stupid. Why the need to over sell the basics? It is fairly easy to move the patterns learned in the key of A up one degree, or interval, or fret to arrive at B flat major.
Here is a primer video if you would like to see B Flat Ionian on the fretboard. That is an easy approach. But to get to a deeper comprehension, and greater familiarity with the fret board. Understanding the relationships of alphabetic music concepts is necessary.
INNATE VERSUS INANE
For something to be considered innate it should be natural. That is the goal of learning to play an instrument well. Having whatever it takes to play our instrument and make it sound like we want it to sound feel natural.
We want to know the relevance as well as the location of the notes we want to play as innately as possible. B flat Ionian has an A note directly below it in pitch. This can be used as a leading tone, one that wants to find the next pitch almost as if asking a question, where B flat is the answer. I used this in my song ‘enchanté’ in the segue to the chorus, where B flat chord variations (and they are varied!) are contrasted with an A note sounded at a time (leading to) in just such away as to ‘ask’ for the B flat resolution.
In another context the A in the case of B flat in a chord is a Major 7th which offers a completely different set of circumstances to explore sounding off about. Just finger a B flat Major 7th triad can be fun and revelatory! Try these for fun.
Or as inanely.
My french dictionary says this word is equivalent to inept stupid, this is not what I intend. Rather I wish to imply by the use of this word, just letting go of preconceived constraints and seeing what comes of it can be fun. Sitting down at the keyboard or guitar and letting the mind wander for a moment can be an impetus for new music to come.
Trying to remember to forget that which we don’t know is possible!
Is it possible to let go of preconceived concepts about what makes something sound like music to our selves? Due to culture and circumstances beyond our control, and certain music being repeated more often than others, a musical DNA is ingrained, so to speak? Exploring with just the desire to discover what else may come of our musical expression may yield surprising results that have just as much to teach us as comprehension of the basics underlying music theory.
So I was thinking about writing about Locrius who lived in Locria amongst the Locriites during the Locracious period but thought better of it and decided to stay with some of the more technical aspects relating to guitar playing and such!
A very odd sounding scale that can evoke notions of the mysterious or ambivalence. Is interesting because of the proximity of the m2nd right next to the ROOT and the 4th has a diminished or flat 5th rubBing up against it so to speak. Who is the naughty one here!? In relation to the Ionian in A Major, the Locrian has as its root G# / Ab. By beginning the mode with this as the root point, the interval relationships change as they also do in the other modes. No less than 4 minor intervals in this mode. m2nd, m3rd, m6th and m7th. Plus the 5th is diminished, (a type of minor pitch relative to the ROOT) so there is technically 5 minor intervals!
playing in the Locrian mode
So much is off when compared to the relative Major that it practically begs for resolution. That is to say it builds a sonic tension when expressed. You don’t have to begin on the Root of course. But it does show its color when played against a chord based on it the intervals it contains. Fingering such a chord does get the mind involved if we are not familiar employing the intervals in the mode in this way. EXERCISE: Make up a chord with as may of the pitches in the mode as possible without repeating one i.e. an octave. EXERCISE: Play the mode or a portion thereof against the chords suggested from the other intervals. EXERCISE: Using the sonique spiderweb Dial in the intervals to the LOCRIAN MODE. You can reference the actual intervals on the outer perimeter of the SSW ROOT, m2, m3, P4, dim5, m6, m7,
OR; Knowing that the notes of A MAJOR are also the notes used in LOCRIAN G#/Ab find which intervals to display that way. A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#
Experimentation is involved to get to the usefulness in expressing this mode in our playing. Remember to develop our technique in the various modes by not just playing them forwards and backwards, but crossways and slideways! The creative muscle is strengthened by searching out ways to make it relevant to our musical expression. I discovered whilst generating a fret board diagram of the Locrian / Ionian in the key of A that, across some frets on all strings an associated pitch could be found that is in key . See Diagram. I point this out as an additional exercise that does not demand too much mental effort looking for ‘pitches in key’ to make playing around with the scale an exercise in exploration and finger gymnastics without the associated ‘is that a relative pitch to the scale’ thought process. So in this case the relative pitches are found on all strings at the 2nd 7th and 9th fret.
Did you see what I did there? Combining exercising with ax, a term some people use to describe a guitar, clever no? Not certain when that terminology came into use, or when the riffs musicians played came to be known as chops? But as a species we do like to change things up, to keep it interesting. It was very probably someone trying to be clever that brought about such changes to descriptive analogies amidst the mix of humanities linguistic propensities. I personally don’t think things ever get boring, and this post is about the need to be interested in order to make progress.
About the image
Why is there an interest to share the vicissitudes of my life thusly? I don’t know, but there it is, a mangled morass of my mental ambiguity modified for mass consumption. I multitask to make this. First as a digital journal entry of my scatterbrained thoughts and then, by further manipulating that output I can express my experience of life to the light of day. The thoughts rendered thusly can then be considered processed by me and leave something of interest I feel comfortable sharing. There is also video of the process, to add as a visual backdrop for music I generate. That will be available when the next musical composition is finished.
If you like this digital distortion of my thoughts and would like to see it in full, without the ‘Sonique Spiderweb Title’ obscuring the image, email me and I will send a .jpeg.
In the mean time here is another strand from the Sonique Spiderweb.
So I have been demonstrating the Sonique Spiderweb within the framework of the Ionian in the key of A. I have went through all the basic modes thus far now leading to the Aeolian in F# a natural minor scale.
So once again as with all modes Ionian, we have all the notes in A major but F# is the root making the A note the minor 3rd in the sequence.
The natural minor is remarkably fun to play in, and offers so much to use in any number of corresponding chord sequences, in whatever key we are playing in of course.
This is a fundamental skill that can best be appreciated by applying it within our practice.
The point of learning to use the scale to develop improvisational skill is demonstrated here in this short video about the mode.
FINDing THE WILL TO MAKE PROGRESS.
What is of interest when we imagine reaching our musical goals?
Performing a song perfectly, proficiently, painterly? That term ‘painterly’ I mean as a painter paints, the brush strokes they use to express a tree or mountain for example, may not look like that at all, before the picture is complete. The same with playing a song, we may not hit every note exactly but we have sufficient grasp of the piece to convey it satisfyingly!
this could also be interesting.
Being on stage performing, playing in a band Your music being streamed online and you’re banking some bucks. Conveying a deep emotion to a significant other. In a recording studio, comping some riffs for another musician you admire. Writing music to inspire, to incite insight, to invigorate innovation.
options require CHOICES be made
Regardless of our level of interest though, the consistency of pursuit remains the determining factor in a sense of accomplishment. What are we willing to do so that we can be the musician we want to be? There is a lot of advice available to encourage action in accord with our aspirations, but such motivation can be short lived. I know this to be true, as my blog posting schedule seems to suggest. That is, I don’t really have one!?
Thus in anything we want to do, it helps if the thing that interests us is also compelling enough for our best effort to be engaged. Consistent, constant, constructive, instructive, these are all words that are part of a vocabulary of attempting successful accomplishment. But wait there is so much to…
We CAN DO ANYTHING (+/-) we CANT DO EVERYTHING.
It is problematic to want to do everything. The wanting is possible, the doing is not. There is always something else to pursue or is perhaps easier or more fun to do. Distractions likewise abound and confound, challenging us to try to continue to make any real meaningful progress. If we focus on why we want what we want then we can put in the effort needed to attain the level of success desired. To be a musician this effort will take many forms, practice, study, listening, recording, to name a few. So if we cant do one, another is available. Or we can distract ourselves and do such things later.
What matters and why? To me its all about being interested and involved, and that can have many degrees of intensity and attention. Given time we will become the musician, artist, idealistic aspirant we want to be!
So whatever the goal or task at hand then, please, prudently and patiently pursue the process of making proactive progress possible that are pertinent to your proclivities!
I like alliteration for some reason. Perhaps it offers a supposed semblance of cleverness. I do imagine myself clever though there is limited feedback on that front, so my assumption that I am clever remains intact.
Making the best of what is available to present said cleverness to the world is challenging. Just keeping track of it all is a job. The blog posts, the videos, the related social media accounts, the desire to proffer more of what is me and what I produce. To what end I do not know. I see others with thousands of followers and imagine I would not know how to interact with an audience of that magnitude!? So there is…
Time and the learning process
I read that in order to slow down time learn something new. That thought comes from the author Michael Easter who wrote a book titled, ‘The Comfort Crisis’. The idea resonates with me. A lot of what makes for the passing of time gets ignored because it is so seemingly ordinary. But when learning something new, the time spent can have an impact and be meaningful. And, depending on our level of presence, be involving. But that can be true of the ordinary and mundane as well.
This effort is that for me, I am learning something new. Current technology is new to me, as far as employing it goes to get my imagineerings out into the world in some useful fashion.
But time is a concept seemingly unique to humankind as far as watching it is concerned. Animals seem to not give a wit what time it is. Maybe they do. But they do not mark time in a fashion that resembles observing a clock or calendar on a wall, as near as I can tell.
If my pets are any indicator of how to best spend time it seems it would be to enjoy it. Be curious, find something interesting to do, or rest. They rest a lot!
That’s the thing about time, and wanting to enjoy it. Enjoyment requires a commitment of some sort. A pursuit of happiness, and what that is will be unique to everyone, but we can and should try to help each other along the way.
inciting insight invigorating innovation
Well as far as this musical educational effort is concerned here is a video link comprising my take on the Mixolydian Scale. A Mixing up the Mixolydian tablature of some ideas to pursue in advancing guitar technique, as well as a quick tip video on identifying sharp (#) key signatures with relative ease. Hope it is helpful.