All musicians have already asked how to use scales. And then, what do music scales serve for?
In the article about target notes, we talked that a solo must be created by the chords of the song, not only from the harmonic field (tonality). The truth, though, is that the majority of the musicians and improvisers don’t see anything besides harmonic field. They just want the answer for the famous question: “In which tone is the song?” and that’s enough, they do the solo using major, relative minor and pentatonic scales.
To break this “mental blockage” about scales application, we showed that we can explore each chord individually in the song, working with the notes of the chord. But we were still stuck in the natural scales. Now it is time of extrapolating this concept, going beyond the basic scales. It is time to learn how to use alternative scales!
Recalling the concept of basic scales application
Very well, you should have in mind that certain scale can be used when the harmonic field of the song was created from it. In other words, you know that you can use the scale of the tonality in question. Nice, this is a fact. But this is not the only one resource we have!
How to use other music scales
The other scales, besides the natural ones, could almost never be used if we think only in harmonic fields, because the harmonic field of a song is 99% of the time natural. Therefore this approach will detach from “tonality” and focus on characteristics of each chord, to discover what we can do and which scale we can play. Some chords, especially the tension chords, allow many outside notes in them, because their structure and harmonic feeling allow these variations without problems. In the next topics here in the website, you will see that the most explored chord to outside notes is the dominant chord. With it we can play many scales. And practically all the songs have a dominant chord. In other words, you will always have the option to play with alternative scales! What a good news, isn’t it?! It means that your solo can be more “tasty”!
Summarizing, we will not invalidate the concept of harmonic fields, quite the opposite, this will be always useful and essential. Let’s just go to other resources, thinking on chords. Continue here in the Simplifying Theory and you will find out which scales you can use for each chord. You will see that there is no mystery: we have many resources easy to use with amazing results. Study each topic carefully and practice a lot. Remember that it doesn’t matter housing lots of knowledge in your brain if you don’t put them in your fingers. Above all, make music!
Go to: Harmonic minor scale
Back to: Module 8