Frousse wrote: ↑
Sat May 13, 2017 2:09 pm
I find this thread and Stevel's eloquent explanation fascinating. I am just starting to learn the pentatonic scales (major).
Frousse, though this forum isn't strictly for Classical Guitar, I find it kind of odd that you would make this statement.
Why the heck are you learning the Pentatonic Scales?
I can't think of any of my guitar methods that even talks about the subject.
Classical Guitar music, for the most part (at least beginning) is about KEYS, not "scales".
When you make music, think about the "key" like your Dictionary - the words that are available for you to use to make sentences out of.
A "scale" is simply a listing of the letters - A B C D E F G H I J K, etc.
A Pentatonic Scale is like, a listing of only some of the letters - maybe like the 5 point and above letters in Scrabble.
Someone who learns to play Classical Guitar through actual works for Classical Guitar would never really even need to know what a scale is - they play the notes written on the page. Now, granted we do typically encounter scale usage in method books, but for practical purposes of fingering and execution, and then for reinforcement of the concept of KEYS.
One of my major goals is to avoid playing boxy patterns. I am going through the CAGED system in a deliberately slow fashion,
Pentatonics, CAGED - you're already falling prey to it. These are just "boxes" (cages???) of another sort.
trying to learn the root locations primarily then the other notes. I follow this method: I learn the vertical pattern of the form first; then, I link the E and D forms (through the root on the D string; could it be the horizontal method Stevel mentioned?). I will follow the same method with the other forms: e.g. to learn the vertical patten of the C form and then link it to the preceding D form through the root on the second string. Thus I hope to learn a way to move horizontally across the fingerboard, from one shape to another. In the course of this self-teaching journey, I am sure I will, through reading and experimentation, find ways to accelerate the learning process.
OK, this works, but please consider this:
1. Learn what notes are in each Key.
2. Learn where every note is on the fingerboard.
Now you've got it. Ultimate "pattern eliminator" right there.
Now let me say a caveat - OK, yes, there is a lot of music out there based on these principles, so they're good to know so you can tackle that kind of approach with the right tools.
But "music", while it may contain scalar passages, is not about playing scales. Again, fine for technique, fine for "muscle memory" for your fingers, fine for reinforcing keys, but in many ways, scales should be (depending on how strongly you feel about it) relegated to "exercises" and not "music" per se.
What notes are in the key of C Major?
A, B, C, D, E, F, and G.
Do you know where those notes are on the fretboard? If not, learn them. But now all you have to do is, play those notes.
If you can take it further and know what the harmony is and what notes it consists of, you can focus on the notes of the harmony by playing the chord tones.
But you have to know what they are and where they are.
What a "scale pattern" does for you is eliminate the thinking. Again - sometimes that is in fact a useful tool - I use it all the time. But it's a heck of a lot different than playing C up to C, then B G A B C, then C A G (do you recognize it?).
You're not going to come up with music like that "Playing scales". (now, you might come up with C B A G F E D C G A A B B C C C B A A G F - Joy to the World) which is more scalar in nature, but G D G D G D G B D - Eine Kleine Nacht Musik) which is more chordal in nature will escape you.
Melodies do in fact run the gamut from Scalar, to Chordal, with a fair dose of "best of both worlds" in between.
But only knowing your scales (and chord tones as I advocate as an extension but not sole tool) only keeps you on the fringes of those two extremes rather than being able to come up with all the cool stuff in the middle!
By the way, I became more convinced about learning other genres beside the classical one after watching (on youtube) Joe Pass accompany John Williams just by ear. Years of work and practice behind that kind of mastery, that's certain!
OK. Yes, Jazz Improv has a "specialty set of tools" to learn. I think what's happened is, over the decades, more and more people have tried to distill their approach and CAGED is one good example. It's talked a lot about on the internet now, and things like this and Pentatonic spread like wildfire.
But honestly, they are vast oversimplifications of what's actually going on in music - which, the best resource to learn from is, the music itself!
Learn your notes, where they are on the guitar, and then Keys (key signatures) and Chords, and what notes are in them. That's far more important than "Playing scales" (though again, I'm not saying don't learn your scales, just simply don't place so much emphasis on them - it's like 10% of what music making is about, just like, how many times did Shakespeare just list a run of letters in the alphabet in order?).