Dissonant scales

Guitar Tricks Forum > Music Theory > Dissonant scales

Ian Hand

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Joined: 03/24/07

Posts: 23

Has anyone got any idea what scale or scales Robert Fripp or the guitarist from Primus use to get those discordant solos?

#1

Has anyone got any idea what scale or scales Robert Fripp or the guitarist from Primus use to get those discordant solos?

ren

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Joined: 02/03/05

Posts: 1985

It's not always about the actual scale, it's how it fits with whatever rhythm is going on underneath. It's also not always within a scale (players frequently go outside) and even intervals of popular scales sound dissonant if played together.

If you want a dissonant sound, look at diminished scales, or the locrian mode....

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#2

It's not always about the actual scale, it's how it fits with whatever rhythm is going on underneath. It's also not always within a scale (players frequently go outside) and even intervals of popular scales sound dissonant if played together.

If you want a dissonant sound, look at diminished scales, or the locrian mode....

Check out my music, video, lessons & backing tracks here!
https://www.renhimself.com

Kole_Music

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Joined: 02/26/06

Posts: 88

Octatonic Scale - Alternating Whole and Half Steps
C D Eb F F# G# A B

Whole Tone Scale - All Whole Steps
C D E F# G# A#
-Kole (Kyle Hicks)
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#3

Octatonic Scale - Alternating Whole and Half Steps
C D Eb F F# G# A B

Whole Tone Scale - All Whole Steps
C D E F# G# A#
-Kole (Kyle Hicks)
http://www.KoleMusician.com
http://www.myspace.com/kolemusic

Composer, Guitarist, Instructor.

Julian Vickers

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Joined: 05/22/02

Posts: 557

The octatonic scale is also called the Diminished scale.

Robert Fripp uses an odd tuning for his guitar that he's called New Standard Tuning. You should check it out.
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#4

The octatonic scale is also called the Diminished scale.

Robert Fripp uses an odd tuning for his guitar that he's called New Standard Tuning. You should check it out.
Miracle Blade 4: Gibs on touch.

Ian Hand

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Joined: 03/24/07

Posts: 23

Thanks guys, I've been experimenting with the diminished scale for awhile now but it's difficult to get it to sound like Mr Fripp. I thought I was missing something - probably just need more practice :)

I'll definitely check out the New Standard Tuning.

#5

Thanks guys, I've been experimenting with the diminished scale for awhile now but it's difficult to get it to sound like Mr Fripp. I thought I was missing something - probably just need more practice :)

I'll definitely check out the New Standard Tuning.

Jolly McJollyson

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Posts: 5457

The wholetone scale, as Kole suggested, is what Larry Lalonde (of Primus) uses pretty often.
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#6

The wholetone scale, as Kole suggested, is what Larry Lalonde (of Primus) uses pretty often.
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PlatonicShred

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Joined: 01/26/07

Posts: 93

Well shoot, you can play the RIGHT scale over the RIGHT chord and still have it sound dissonant. It's as much a matter of what scale you use as it is a function of how you are phrasing the notes. Ever wonder why guitarists still scratch their heads at Django Reinhardt? It's because improvising is a seriously difficult thing to do--it's beyond the right scales.

A phrase in G mixolydian that starts on G, does some widdly-woos through the scale, and ends on A probably won't sound that great, since a major second over a major chord doesn't sound all that great. ((In terms of classical interpretations of consonance and dissonance o'course))

Don't forget you can just be lazy and alter the existing scales in some way or another. Just play C major aug 5 instead of C major if you're going for some dissonance. Hell, play Csus4 or Csus2 arpeggios over C major. You don't really need new scales, just alter the ones you know by one or two key degrees ((i.e. the ones that make them sound good))

The diminished scale, however, to my ear, is not as dissonant as some might think. It works over a staggering array of chords because of its symmetrical nature.

Trust me, with so many years of this instrument being played and millions of denizens---the possibilities for sounding bad are endless! :)
Back In Black isn't a song. It's a divine call that gets channeled through five righteous dudes every thousand years or so. That's why dragons and sea monsters don't exist anymore.

#7

Well shoot, you can play the RIGHT scale over the RIGHT chord and still have it sound dissonant. It's as much a matter of what scale you use as it is a function of how you are phrasing the notes. Ever wonder why guitarists still scratch their heads at Django Reinhardt? It's because improvising is a seriously difficult thing to do--it's beyond the right scales.

A phrase in G mixolydian that starts on G, does some widdly-woos through the scale, and ends on A probably won't sound that great, since a major second over a major chord doesn't sound all that great. ((In terms of classical interpretations of consonance and dissonance o'course))

Don't forget you can just be lazy and alter the existing scales in some way or another. Just play C major aug 5 instead of C major if you're going for some dissonance. Hell, play Csus4 or Csus2 arpeggios over C major. You don't really need new scales, just alter the ones you know by one or two key degrees ((i.e. the ones that make them sound good))

The diminished scale, however, to my ear, is not as dissonant as some might think. It works over a staggering array of chords because of its symmetrical nature.

Trust me, with so many years of this instrument being played and millions of denizens---the possibilities for sounding bad are endless! :)
Back In Black isn't a song. It's a divine call that gets channeled through five righteous dudes every thousand years or so. That's why dragons and sea monsters don't exist anymore.

Ian Hand

Registered User

Joined: 03/24/07

Posts: 23

Originally Posted by: PlatonicShred

Trust me, with so many years of this instrument being played and millions of denizens---the possibilities for sounding bad are endless! :)


And this is the problem I've found - there is a very fine line between playing in a dissonant way and sounding like you just can't play at all! ;)

#8

Originally Posted by: PlatonicShred

Trust me, with so many years of this instrument being played and millions of denizens---the possibilities for sounding bad are endless! :)


And this is the problem I've found - there is a very fine line between playing in a dissonant way and sounding like you just can't play at all! ;)

CSchlegel

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Joined: 08/09/05

Posts: 6710

First an observation about the title of the thread. There is no such thing as a dissonant scale. Dissonance is the result of two or more simultaneously sounding notes. And almost any scale can provide two notes that are dissonant.
Originally Posted by: Ian
Has anyone got any idea what scale or scales Robert Fripp or the guitarist from Primus use to get those discordant solos?

What Fripp song or solo are you talking about? King Crimson early, middle, present? League of Gentlemen? Eno projects? Crafty Guitarist?

Fripp gets a lot of milage our of every scale he uses. :)

Larry from Primus usually just plays a lot of diads & triads containing flat 5ths, 2nds and flat 2nds in order to get that effect. Examples:

E|------------------------------------|
B|--------------6--------------5------|
G|-----3--------9------3-------7------|
D|-----2---------------2--------------|
A|------------------------------------|
E|--0--------0-------0------0---------|

Also as ren said:
Originally Posted by: ren
It's not always about the actual scale, it's how it fits with whatever rhythm is going on underneath. It's also not always within a scale (players frequently go outside) and even intervals of popular scales sound dissonant if played together.

Exactly.
Christopher Schlegel
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Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

#9

First an observation about the title of the thread. There is no such thing as a dissonant scale. Dissonance is the result of two or more simultaneously sounding notes. And almost any scale can provide two notes that are dissonant.
Originally Posted by: Ian
Has anyone got any idea what scale or scales Robert Fripp or the guitarist from Primus use to get those discordant solos?

What Fripp song or solo are you talking about? King Crimson early, middle, present? League of Gentlemen? Eno projects? Crafty Guitarist?

Fripp gets a lot of milage our of every scale he uses. :)

Larry from Primus usually just plays a lot of diads & triads containing flat 5ths, 2nds and flat 2nds in order to get that effect. Examples:

E|------------------------------------|
B|--------------6--------------5------|
G|-----3--------9------3-------7------|
D|-----2---------------2--------------|
A|------------------------------------|
E|--0--------0-------0------0---------|

Also as ren said:
Originally Posted by: ren
It's not always about the actual scale, it's how it fits with whatever rhythm is going on underneath. It's also not always within a scale (players frequently go outside) and even intervals of popular scales sound dissonant if played together.

Exactly.
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory

Ian Hand

Registered User

Joined: 03/24/07

Posts: 23

Originally Posted by: CSchlegel
First an observation about the title of the thread. There is no such thing as a dissonant scale. Dissonance is the result of two or more simultaneously sounding notes. And almost any scale can provide two notes that are dissonant.


Point taken - I realised straight after I'd started the thread that I should have named it 'Dissonant Solos' or something like that. :)


Originally Posted by: CSchlegel
What Fripp song or solo are you talking about? King Crimson early, middle, present? League of Gentlemen? Eno projects? Crafty Guitarist?.


Specifically I was thinking of the solos on the track 'Indiscipline' from the Discipline Album or from some of the solos from the Larks Tongue album.

#10

Originally Posted by: CSchlegel
First an observation about the title of the thread. There is no such thing as a dissonant scale. Dissonance is the result of two or more simultaneously sounding notes. And almost any scale can provide two notes that are dissonant.


Point taken - I realised straight after I'd started the thread that I should have named it 'Dissonant Solos' or something like that. :)


Originally Posted by: CSchlegel
What Fripp song or solo are you talking about? King Crimson early, middle, present? League of Gentlemen? Eno projects? Crafty Guitarist?.


Specifically I was thinking of the solos on the track 'Indiscipline' from the Discipline Album or from some of the solos from the Larks Tongue album.