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?A Look At Guitar Scales & Its Importance In Improvisations

Sep 4, 2008
Well, we have had a dry technical description of what a scale is ??" but the particular thing is that where is the music in it? Okay, in melodic terms, a scale can be described as a palette of notes that you can choose from to put together chords, accompaniments, harmonies, melodies solos and just about everything.
Look at it this way ??" you are in need to acquire any language depending upon your choice e.g. English before you can be a poet. Scales are the language of music, and there are a lot of different modes to put them together to keep things interesting. If you have no understanding of scales you would be a little like trying to write a verse without using real words - it could work and be very cool in some cases, but the probabilities would be much better if you stick to a usually understood medium, which is what scales/language are.

For further understanding - there are many kinds of scales - minor, major modes etc ??" think it as increasing your vocabulary and learning more ways of expressing your ideas.

Why Are They So Important?

Andreas Segovia, the father of modern guitar playing has given nice information about the importance of scales. He maintained that in the shortest space of time most amount of technical ground can be wrapped up through the proper learning of scales. And if you think about it, when you are learning scales you are:

1. Learning how to effectively play one note after another.
2. developing the dexterity of your fingers.
3. Make your ears habitual to listen which notes go together in what sequences. I.e. What notes go into what scales. (This is of supreme importance).
4. Providing you with the terrific memory of how the standard notes and tones go from one string to the next.

Genuinely you effectively restrict the amount of notes you play by learning to play in a scale. But, no doubt, this is what leaves us with distinctive musical structure. You'll be able to promptly pick out something that fits the mood of the piece you are trying to write provided you learn what a wide range of scales sound like. This saves a lot of "fumbling about" in quest of notes in the long run.

Sometimes it's entertaining to "make up a scale" by picking a set of notes out of the 12 notes accessible for the purpose of more advanced exercise in practice. You'll usually find though that if you research the set of notes you've chosen, that there's probably already a scale which has those notes, but by studying some licks in this new scale, you can jump from something, for example minor pentatonic, into your new scale for a few seconds, before getting back.
About the Author
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