# need some scale formula help.

BrokenJera
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Joined: 09/25/07
Posts: 290
02/05/2008 8:09 pm
im not sure but this might belong in music theory.

i have been reading some books lately trying to build scale knowledge and i have come to the formula part where instead of listing every scale out they list how to make that sacle.

i think everyone knows the wwhwwwh major scale formula. on c it covers c d ef g a bc. i know its talking intervals there so its no biggy. then comes the minor whwwhww c DEb f g A Bb c. same thing as before.

now where im getting confused is on things like the pentatonic minor (1 3b 4 5 7b). im not so much confused about how to put it together but where do i put it together from? is it based on the major or minor scale? does this apply to all the pentatonic scales as well as the modes and exotic scales?

thanks in advance for any help.
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Chris Martins
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Joined: 02/04/08
Posts: 19
02/05/2008 8:48 pm
Wow... Not a big topic... A HUGE topic!! lol

Ok here goes :

the minor pentatonic is minor, therefore built off of a natural minor scale. It's actually a natural minor scale minus the second and sixth degree. But here's where it becomes interesting : the natural minor scale is built off of the major scale. It's actually the major scale played from its 6th degree. Check this out :
notes from the C major scale ( 2 octaves ):

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B

Now notes from the A natural minor scale :

A B C D E F G A B C D E F G

They're the same scale. They only have a different ROOT note. That's what a mode is. A mode is simply an "inversion" of a scale, shifting the natural root to a new one contained within the original scale. A natural minor is also known as the aeolian mode which is basically a major scale played from its 6th degree. To make sure you understand correctly, play your standard C major scale over the C major chord and listen how happy and positive it sounds... Now play the exact same C major scale over an A minor chord and notice the totally different mood it produces... Welcome to the world of modes... Exotic scales are their own scales or variations of other scales. Minor scales other than natural minor are alterations of the natural minor ( ex : harmonic minor is the same as natural minor, only with a raised 7th degree )...

Of course the major pentatonic is based off a major scale...
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drf46
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 11/22/01
Posts: 527
02/05/2008 9:01 pm
Originally Posted by: BrokenJera is it based on the major or minor scale? does this apply to all the pentatonic scales as well as the modes and exotic scales? thanks in advance for any help.

The pentatonic minor is created by eliminating the 2nd and 6th tones along with flatting the 3rd and 7th tones of the Major scale.

ex: To create the C pentatonic minor scale one would eliminate the D and A notes and flat the E and B notes of the C major scale......The blues scale is also created from the major scale....same scale as pentatonic minor with the addition of the flatted 5th note.

Doug
drf46
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Joined: 11/22/01
Posts: 527
02/05/2008 9:04 pm
Sorry Chris.......didn't realize you were answering the question. :)
BrokenJera
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Joined: 09/25/07
Posts: 290
02/05/2008 9:17 pm
just checking the reply you guys gave.

major pentatonic is built from the major scale minor pentatonic is built from the minor scale.

i have been learning about modes too but i do admit i dont know everything. can modes be built off of both the major and the minor scales or is it just off the major?
They say the END is near, but I'm Tired of waiting.
Lemmywyn
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Joined: 01/30/08
Posts: 15
02/05/2008 9:20 pm
Originally Posted by: Chris MartinsWow... Not a big topic... A HUGE topic!! lol

Ok here goes :

the minor pentatonic is minor, therefore built off of a natural minor scale. It's actually a natural minor scale minus the second and sixth degree. But here's where it becomes interesting : the natural minor scale is built off of the major scale. It's actually the major scale played from its 6th degree. Check this out :
notes from the C major scale ( 2 octaves ):

C D E F G A B C D E F G A B

Now notes from the A natural minor scale :

A B C D E F G A B C D E F G

They're the same scale. They only have a different ROOT note. That's what a mode is. A mode is simply an "inversion" of a scale, shifting the natural root to a new one contained within the original scale. A natural minor is also known as the aeolian mode which is basically a major scale played from its 6th degree. To make sure you understand correctly, play your standard C major scale over the C major chord and listen how happy and positive it sounds... Now play the exact same C major scale over an A minor chord and notice the totally different mood it produces... Welcome to the world of modes... Exotic scales are their own scales or variations of other scales. Minor scales other than natural minor are alterations of the natural minor ( ex : harmonic minor is the same as natural minor, only with a raised 7th degree )...

Of course the major pentatonic is based off a major scale...

Thats about as good and easy to understand explanation as I've heard. I now understand the basic rule behind modes. Thank you mate.
Chris Martins
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Joined: 02/04/08
Posts: 19
02/05/2008 9:31 pm
You're very welcome... Cont'd on page 2 :p
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Chris Martins
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Joined: 02/04/08
Posts: 19
02/05/2008 9:40 pm
can modes be built off of both the major and the minor scales or is it just off the major?

Well, the natural minor scale modes are the same as the major scale modes since the natural minor scale is already a mode of the major scale.
On the other hand, the harmonic minor, or melodic minor scales are variations of the natural minor and have their very own interval system, therefore their inversions ( or modes ) will give a whole new set of possibilities, and they both have their own modal system. You probably heard of the phrygian dominant mode before ( especially if you're an Yngwie fan ). Well the phrygian dominant mode is simply the 5th mode of the harmonic minor scale. So if the harmonic minor scale is this :

A B C D E F G# played over an Am7 chord

Then the phrygian dominant would be this

E F G# A B C D played over an E7 ( E dominant 7 ) chord.

Same notes, different root and underlying chord.

And that's all there is to it really. Well not really but that's the basics...
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