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TomN michaelsnow

Scales and Modes

RichRich New
edited August 2006 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 50
I was wondering how many of gypsy players know their scales?

By this I mean have built their playing around them.. I was under the impression that they are mainly connecting arpeggios togethor.. which I guess leads to a certain understanding of scales.

I know some of the posters here have been and learnt directly off the gypsys.. players like Fapy Lafertain. Does he encourage learning scales?

I realise scales are a useful thing to have an understanding of.. but I am scared they lead to players putting little thought into what they are playing (i.e just blindly playing notes from the scale knowing they can't go far wrong).

Learning arpeggios has developed my phrasing far more.. but then there is the risk of just riffing and again getting boring..

Discuss. :D
«1

Comments

  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,748
    I've no first-hand experience, but my feeling is many know the sound of a certain scale/mode if not the common name...one of my favorite examples is an interviewer asking Bireli what he might play over a dominant chord; his first response was "What's a dominant chord?"

    Best,
    Jack.
  • tommasotommaso ROMA-ITALYNew
    Posts: 149
    ...one of my favorite examples is an interviewer asking Bireli what he might play over a dominant chord; his first response was "What's a dominant chord?"

    Often I read things of this type on the great guitarists and I am always a lot fascinated, but I think they are a little exaggerated . I can't believe that truly they do not know things like dominant chord etc. I do believe only that they want to emphasize the importance of the aural factor of music, but not that they want to underrate the importance of the theoretical acquaintances.

    Tommaso
    Grazie Django!
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,151
    they don't necessarily know t he names of the chords but they know what they are.

    It's not about thinking about arpeggios or scales per se... but it's all about understanding chords and how certain chords go together (in some sense it's thinking in terms of arpeggios), and of course vocabulary.. learning how certain phrases work over certain harmonies, how you can superimpose chords and all that.... those who go the farthest in music generally tend to be those who have listened to a lot of music in different styles... bireli, boulou, etc...

    be careful of thinking strictly in terms of arpeggios, because a lot of it has to do with adding certain colors in specific registers or skipping certain notes to achieve a "djangoesque sound"....

    here's an example of a django-esque (post wartime period style) thing to do over a C major chord, it's essentially a Cmaj arpeggio but in no particular sequence:
    e        8 10 7 10 8           7
    b 8 10                        8     10 8 
    g                           9                9 
    d                                                9 8 7
    a
    e
    

    here's another example of something he d do over a G7 chord (from the 30s era especially)
    e         5 10 5           3
    b   3 6           6             5                    5
    g 4                   2 3 4      4               4    
    d                                         5 4 3 5
    a
    e
    


    that's the method i use to teach my students, and it works quite well... i have a 15 yr old student who doesn't know the names of chords or scales and whatnot but he can play a lot of complicated stuff , here's an mp3 of him jamming with another student of mine :

    http://www.fleche-dor.com/allofme.mp3
  • TommasinoTommasino Alexandria, VANew
    Posts: 30
    Holy cow, Dennis

    I'm going to start flying to Quebec every week to take lessons from you if these are the results you get from your students! :D
  • RichRich New
    Posts: 50
    Thanks for the advice. Dennis your pupil sounds very good.. i need to find a teacher like you round here.

    It's interesting what u said about missing out notes.. i've been learning django solos and trying to work out what he is doing.. and often what he plays is very simple and logical.. but like you said its how he plays them and in what order he plays the notes in.. and which he chooses to miss out.

    Is it a matter of just listening to lots of this style and getting an ear for it? or are there "rules" u can learn to get certain sounds?
  • YannYann Luxembourg (Old Europe)New
    Posts: 47
    Dennis,
    that's the method i use to teach my students, and it works quite well... i have a 15 yr old student who doesn't know the names of chords or scales and whatnot but he can play a lot of complicated stuff , here's an mp3 of him jamming with another student of mine :

    http://www.fleche-dor.com/allofme.mp3

    Brilliant! :)

    It looks like this method works nicely!

    Yann
    My own Manouche guitar page in the works: http://www.serendipity-band.com/misc/ma ... toc-en.htm
  • tommasotommaso ROMA-ITALYNew
    Posts: 149
    What I mean to say is that even if they don’t Know the theoretic terminology (chord names, scales, modes etc.), they surely know their function within the tonality (es.I, III and VI=stability; IV = tendency to move towards V; V7 = tension and tendency to resolve on I etc...). I think that with these cognitions, joined to a musical sense, they are in a position to use the musical material (arpeggios, chord tones, color notes, scales etc.) in an appropriate way for their improvisations and their wonderful solos.

    I also think that great importance to get the "djangoesque sound “, is the correct use of the “time material” (like syncopes, accents , rests, change of rithmic figures, ex.: 8th,16th,groups of seven notes, nine notes, triplets, ecc.).

    I am very interested in the opinions and suggestions of anyone in this forum, especially of those masters, like Dennis and others, whose suggestions and line guides are a big help for me.
    Thanks,
    Tommaso
    Grazie Django!
  • YannYann Luxembourg (Old Europe)New
    Posts: 47
    Hi Tommaso,

    Music theory is to music what grammar is to language IMO. Even though you don't know grammar, you still can communicate finely out of daily experience.

    Still using an analogy, the Djangoesque sound is similar to a regional accent. Therefore you need to listen carefully to a lot of Django material to get familiar with his sound, integrate it, and use this accent naturally in your own music. And I agree, it has a lot to do with rhythm on top of the choice of notes. And also with appogiaturas and various other embellishments of course.

    Yann
    My own Manouche guitar page in the works: http://www.serendipity-band.com/misc/ma ... toc-en.htm
  • tommasotommaso ROMA-ITALYNew
    Posts: 149
    Hi Yann,
    I've visited your site and I want to say that it's a great resource! I have bookmarked it and I am sure that I will visit it sistematically. It's unbelievable that you started to study Django style only last year and now you are at that level!
    Congratulations : this gives courage to a real rookie like I am ( I've started two months ago).

    Tommaso
    Grazie Django!
  • shultzerdugenshultzerdugen St. James, MissouriNew
    Posts: 5
    I've enjoyed the music of Django for years but only recently took up this style of playing. Although GJ soloing is based largely off of arpeggios, I think any style of playing benifits from enhanced musical knowledge, which would start with scales and modes.

    I would recommend the five CAGED scale forms. These can be moved to play all of the keys, and by starting on different notes for the tonic, can be used to play the seven modes of the major scale. Add whole tone, diminished, harmonic and melodic minor, and you're pretty much set.

    Arpeggios outline the chord tones- which will inherently sound good - and emphasize chord changes, but for certain types of music, such as modal jazz or songs with static changes, using only arpeggios for soloing might get boring to listen to pretty fast.
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