Articulations

So far we've looked at the chromatic scale and the major scale. For the most part, the exercises have been to play the scale up and down an octave. This becomes boring quickly and doesn't actually lead to making melodies.

So the notes in the scales are merely possibilities for the basis of melodies, not melodies themselves (much like red isn't a painting but a possible basis or vehicle for a painting).

So we'd like to have some way to get from playing scales to creating melodies. The rather advanced answer is to play what's in your head. The way to getting to the place of being able to play what's inside of your head is by singing along with every note you play. this takes time. There is a slight drawback, and that is you're limited to getting out of your brain and fingers what you've put into them (fortune smiles on the well prepared, GIGO).
To get over this, one should:
1.) open ones ears up to all manners of music and sound expression,
2.) remove oneself to as great an extent as possible from sounds one considers noise (or bad music).
3.) study and practice solos that one finds inspiring, and
4.) go deeper into scales and notes by practicing varying combinations, different patterns, various rhythms, etc.

It is this 4th suggestion that i will discuss partially here.

Let's start by looking at the major scale.
A-major

E|---|F#-|---|G#-|-A-|
B|---|C#-|-D-|---|-E-|
 |G#-|-A-|---|---|---|
D|---|-E-|---|F#-|-G-|
A|---|-B-|---|C#-|-D-|
E|---|F#-|---|G#-|-A-|

O|---|-O-|---|-O-|-R-|
O|---|-O-|-O-|---|---|
 |-O-|-R-|---|---|---|
O|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
R|---|-O-|---|-O-|---|
 |---|---|---|---|---|
   1   2   3   4   5

One way to play is straight up and down (2 octaves given)

|------------------------0-2-4-5-4-2-0------------------------|
|------------------0-2-3---------------3-2-0------------------|
|--------------1-2---------------------------2-1--------------|
|--------0-2-4-----------------------------------4-2-0--------|
|--0-2-4-----------------------------------------------4-2-0--|
|-------------------------------------------------------------|

So this is where we start (simply playing a scale up and down), and we get it, eventually. And then we ask, "where do I go from here?" or "is that all there is?"
Purely scalar passages get tiresome quickly. They're too predictable. So we can break away from this a little or a lot.

Starting with a little (partially scalar passages).
1.) Play the scale a number of notes in a row, then stop , go to 2nd note in the scale, and play the same number of notes, then start on 3rd note, etc.

|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|-------1-|
|-------0-|-----0-2-|---0-2-4-|-0-2-4---|
|-0-2-4---|-2-4-----|-4-------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|


|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|-------0-|-----0-2-|---0-2-4-|
|-----1-2-|---1-2---|-1-2-----|-2-------|
|-2-4-----|-4-------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|


|-------0-|-----0-2-|---0-2-4-|-0-2-4-5-|
|-0-2-4---|-2-4-----|-4-------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|

* It's easy to choose how to start and continue. It requires a little decision to decide how and when to stop. Your mind will feel a resolution if you end on the root.

2.) Same type of thing as #1, but instead of starting on the 2nd note in the 2nd measue, start on the 3rd (skip a step between 1rst notes of each measure). [This is like skipping every other measure in #1]

|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|-----0-2-|
|---------|---------|-----1-2-|-1-2-----|
|-------0-|---0-2-4-|-2-4-----|---------|
|-0-2-4---|-4-------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|

|-------0-|---0-2-4-|-2-4-5-7-|-5-------|
|-0-2-4---|-4-------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|

3.) Instead of playing the pattern of notes all ascending (the first 4 notes which set up the pattern), try varying th epatterns which sets it up. here is down-up-up-startover. (#1 was up-up-up-startover)[this one skips a note between 1rst notes of patterns]

|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|-1---1-2-|
|---------|-------0-|-2-0-2-4-|---4-----|
|-0---0-2-|-4-2-4---|---------|---------|
|---4-----|---------|---------|---------|


|---------|-------0-|-2-0-2-4-|-5-------|
|-0---0-2-|-4-2-4---|---------|---------|
|---2-----|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|

* not all patterns translate well to other scales, sometimes patterns that work well for say a heptatonic scale (7-tone scale), may not work well for a pentatonic scale (5-tone scale).

Here are exercises #1-#3 using A-pent.min.

O|---|---|-O-|
 |-O-|---|-O-|
O|---|-R-|---|
O|---|-O-|---|
R|---|---|-O-|
 |---|---|---|

P.1.)
|---------|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|-------1-|-----1-3-|
|---------|-------0-|-----0-2-|---0-2---|-0-2-----|
|-----0-2-|---0-2---|-0-2-----|-2-------|---------|
|-0-2-----|-2-------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|---------|


P.2.)
|---------|---------|---------|-----0-3-|-5-------|
|---------|---------|-----1-3-|-1-3-----|---------|
|---------|-----0-2-|-0-2-----|---------|---------|
|-----0-2-|-0-2-----|---------|---------|---------|
|-0-2-----|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|---------|---------|---------|


P.3.)
|---------|---------|---------|---------|-----0-3-|
|---------|---------|---------|-1---1-3-|-1-3-----|
|---------|---------|-0---0-2-|---2-----|---------|
|---------|-0---0-2-|---2-----|---------|---------|
|-0---0-2-|---2-----|---------|---------|---------|
|---3-----|---------|---------|---------|---------|

Looking at the G-major scale (G-major = G,A,B,C,D,E,F#,G) in 1rst position, we have 2 octaves.

E|---|F#-|-G-|---|
B|-C-|---|-D-|---|
G|---|-A-|---|---|
D|---|-E-|---|F#-|
A|---|-B-|-C-|---|
E|---|F#-|-G-|---|

O|---|-O-|-R-|---|
O|-O-|---|-O-|---|
R|---|-O-|---|---|
O|---|-O-|---|-O-|
O|---|-O-|-O-|---|
 |---|---|-R-|---|


|--------------------------0-2-3-2-0--------------------------|
|--------------------0-1-3-----------3-1-0--------------------|
|----------------0-2-----------------------2-0----------------|
|----------0-2-4-------------------------------4-2-0----------|
|----0-2-3-------------------------------------------3-2-0----|
|--3-------------------------------------------------------3--|

5.) And ex.1 (but in 3's instead of 4's)

|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-----0-|---0-2-|-0-2-4-|
|---0-2-|-0-2-3-|-2-3---|-3-----|-------|
|-3-----|-------|-------|-------|-------|


|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-----0-|---0-1-|-0-1-3-|
|-----0-|---0-2-|-0-2---|-2-----|-------|
|-2-4---|-4-----|-------|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|


|-----0-|---0-2-|-0-2-3-|-5-----|
|-1-3---|-3-----|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-------|-------|
|-------|-------|-------|-------|

Now if we consider playing up and down the scale as a pattern of ascending and descending 2nds, we could create patterns of other ascending or descending intervals.

6.) Ascending in 3rds (this looks similar to arpeggios for those familiar with such things)

|--------------0-3-0--------------|
|------------1-------1------------|
|----------2-----------2----------|
|------0-4---------------4-0------|
|----2-----------------------2----|
|--3---------------------------3--|

7.) in 4th's

|------------5---15----5-------------|
|----------5--15----15----5----------|
|--------4------------------4--------|
|------4----------------------4------|
|----3--------------------------3----|
|--3------------------------------3--|

8.) in 5ths

|-------------14-19--|
|----------12--------|
|--------9-----------|
|------7-------------|
|----5---------------|
|--3-----------------|

* A joining of arpeggio type ideas, and scalar ideas leads to more complex articulations. here the pattern is : up 3rd- up 6th- down 2nd- startover (with 1rst notes starting on next step).

9.)

|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|-----0---|-----1-0-|
|-----0---|-----2-0-|-------2-|---------|
|-------4-|---------|---0-----|---2-----|
|---2-----|-0-3-----|-2-------|-3-------|
|-3-------|---------|---------|---------| etc.

Here instead of starting from staggered starting points corresponding to a progression of chords. (Here the progression is I-vi-IV-V-I, giving rise to starting notes of 1,6,4,5,1. I've chosen the 6 below the 1).

10.)

|---------|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|-----1-0-|-----3-1-|---------|
|-----0---|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|-------4-|-----2-0-|---2-----|-0-4-----|---------|
|---2-----|---------|-3-------|---------|---------|
|-3-------|-0-3-----|---------|---------|-3-------|

Exercise 9 (and 10) give an excellent opportunity to practice economy picking (when picking consecutive notes on the same string - alternate pick. when switching strings - pick in the direction of the next string you are switching to).

11.) Continue #9 to a point, then mix with a more scalar descent.

|---------|---------|---------|---------|
|---------|---------|-----0---|---------|
|-----0---|-----2-0-|-------2-|-0-------|
|-------4-|---------|---0-----|---4-2-0-|
|---2-----|-0-3-----|-2-------|---------|
|-3-------|---------|---------|---------| repeat (?)

Hopefully this will give a seed of an idea of where you might go with a scale after you've learned the fingering of a scale.

Although these articulations are not in themselves melodies (our goal in studying scales is to create melodies), we are closer than playing scales. more on articulations to come.

Next lesson is on root notes.

Peace,
Christopher Roberts
snglstringtheory@aol.com


How do I change all those numbers to letters (for notes, chords, etc.)? Here's a transposition chart simianmoon.com/snglstringtheory/guitar/8theory3.html

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Last updated January 20, 2003
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