View Full Version : Reduction....

07-28-2002, 09:44 PM
For those of us who play fixed pitched instruments, the chromatic scale is our universal set. The same is true for guitarists who either, never bend notes or always bend in 1/2 step increments.

The White keys form the C major Scale (or any of its modes), the black Keys form the Eb minor or Gb Major Pentatonic.
This can be understood by looking at the Cycle. The notes that are altered in the cycle are spaced in 4ths or fifths depending which direction you go. Since the major Pentatonic starts on the root and add a P5 until you ave 5 notes, you can understand how
the black keys form the Gb Major Pentatonic.
Gb Db Ab Eb Bb In 5ths or Gb Ab Bb Db Eb ascending. The formula is 2,2,3,2,3 in terms of half steps.

The major scale COULD be thought of as the remaining notes left after removing these five notes from one of the modes of the chromatic scale.

The note choices used in minor Pentatonic Based playing frequently include the b5, Major 3rd, Major 6th, Major 2nd, if we build the resultant scale say in A Minor

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

we are left with the holes

A# F

If you ever pass into Aeolian you might use F or into Phrygian you might use A# (Bb)

This is getting more and more like the Chromatic scale.

If you examine the Pentaonic based playing of yourself or somone you admire, you will probably find that all 12 tones are used with differing frequency.
The point here is any note can work depending on the situation and the amonut of tension you are trying to achieve, and RESOVE.

I would venture to guess that a statistical analysis of (name your favorite player here) would yeild some interesting favortism of note choice.

These extra tones are not always used as passing tones.

The sounds I hear most often, in my playing are Major 3rd, Major 6th, b5, Major 2nd, minor 6th in that order.

I have seen Larry Carlton speak of a triad approach where he spells out triads in some pseudo random fashion starting with diatonic traids and moving toward more distantly related triads.

This was all based on a cycle of tones alternating between M3 and m3.

Ab C Eb G Bb D F A C E G B D F# A C# E G# B D# F# A# C# F

His example was improv over a Dm7 Vamp.
He played and example and said it was Dm Am Em


To go further down on the cycle he chose

Bb Eb Ab or Gm Cm Fm

Ab C Eb G Bb D F

This a cool idea and with some practice it could be incorporated into your own style.

This is another method of reduction.

Does anyone have similar ideas to share?

The Bash
07-28-2002, 11:50 PM
Thatís a neat thought. Iím gonna have to print this point and play with it a bit before I add anything to relevant. However I am struck by the Characteristic Note Thing.
As Iíve mentioned before I never was the 100% note for note player (especially when I was younger and my ear wasnít good enough to catch everything). I would steal key licks, but most of what I always tried to steal was there feeling (it you can steal feeling) and a large part of that was finding ďElements that defined the PlayerĒ or ďCharacteristic Notes.Ē
At that time I knew my pentatonic (Major/Minor) maybe a major scale but that was it and was about as clueless as they came on theory. But Iíd notice when using say the A pentatonic minor home pattern: Jeff Beck would often drop his finger on what I later learned was a b5. Beck does this a lot actually. Where Santana would often toss in a F# (ok thatís a Dorian note in fact it was usually some Dorian Progression like Am7 to D9, but I didnít know that then.) The Almond Brotherís Whipping Post did it to. Lynch favors R #5 chords etc.
So certain extra notes players used to me helped define of emulate them. Replacing the c in A pentatonic minor with a C# gave me something that sounded a lot like Paul McCarnetyís Taxman Solo. It always seemed to me anyplace where there was whole step between note (what I view as a hole) was fair game for a passing note. Ex D-E (D# as passing note.)
Thatís no big secret but that something I do without thinking (fill the holes in a Pentatonic minor scale). What I find I donít do (because It never seems to work well for me) is try to fill two holes ex E-G (F-F# as passing notes). Though Morse/Petrucci pull it off no problem.
I think you can also take this a step further beyond just notes and consider things such as: Blackmore often bends Ĺ steps with first finger or does something thatís a cross between a heavy vibrato and a ľ to Ĺ bend.
I donít wanna come off sounding like I hate Theory cause thatís not true (I highly recommended it) however when it comes to actual real life playing its often best to put the school work aside and view things in a simple manor (when I put my finger here it sounds like whoever). You can go back later and see why it happened and use that info to ensure that you can do it again anyplace and in any key.
Iíd Say off the top my head in reference to A Pentatonic minor I toss in (C#, F#, B, F and Eb most often) then again I primarily play Rock and over root 5th chords you can really blur the lines between minor and dorian or pen major and minor.

NP-Focus (Moving Waves)

07-29-2002, 01:44 AM
As you know I am a fan of playing with an empty head and with feel, I also am a Blackmore, Beck and Akkerman fan.
I am only trying to add some meaning to the study of improv by sharing my thoughts about it and my musical observations. Whenever I come across a cool idea ( like the one from Larry Carlton) I want to try it and see if I can incorporate the idea into my playing, then I want to share it.

My whole approach to participation in this site is geared toward sharing my ideas and seeing who else out there can put into tangible words how they approach improv, so I can learn from them also.

You have heard my playing and you can probably tell that it is coming from a mostly empty headed position, but I find there is some method to my madness, that I can form into english statements and share with others, that is why I am here.

I try to use technical ideas and technique to fill up the small spaces between inspired moments.

The Bash
07-29-2002, 04:40 AM
I personally like the approach, again I'm sure I'm biased because I tend to do things the same way. However, to a certain degree you have an edge over myself because you know more than I do.
Knowing more in its self isn't nessicarly an edge, but the fact you know it then can just "Shut Up en Play yer Guitar" is a huge weapon.
I don't belive there's direct link to knowing and playing well. But there's definatly an indirect one. Its not an orignal thought I've heard hundereds of players make the same statement. But I belive it.
But I like your approach to applying theory/thought/math etc to real life musical situations.
Now someone who's never heard you play may read your posts and come away thinking "this is math not music" or "this guys all thought no feeling." Not true.
I can't think and play (well I can, but it sounds like someone thinking and playing.) But I do like to take things apart see how they work. Think and apply those thoughts and excersises and from my experince they soon worm there way into what I do.
Maybe some people can learn something and use it musically right away. I can't, for me its gotta be a second nature thing.
Anyway one thing I do do a lot which is about as far away from notes as you can get is play to the picture in my head be it a warm wind swept beach or the Ice 9 infested landscape of Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradel".
I say as far away from notes as you can get but thats not true because its the notes that paint the pictures. Some notes sound cold some notes sound warm and its usaally a result of 1) there function and 2) the note itself. Ex a raised 6th in A minor (F#) over a A minor chord dosen't nesicarly feel or paint the same picture as say the (C#) in E minor over and E minor chord. To certain degree they do. But not exactly and some keys notes seem more extreme in what they convey. Why? Shouldn't a #6 be a #6 all the time everytime.
I think it'd an intresting study not only to note the tones you favor but also in what keys you favor them and then compare them to the Name of your tune or if no name at least perception what the thing is trying to say.
F# a nice Icey key. Hmmm, Valhallaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

NP-My Left Hand (the advantage to being a one finger typer)

07-30-2002, 01:52 AM
It is my Not So Humble Opinion that all #6ths are created EQUAL.

I do not subscribe the theory that some Keys have magical or mystical qualities. All keys are the same except how low or how high the tones are. The relative connection between two tones might be be capable of producing altered brainwave states due to the beat frequencies that exist as the sum and difference of the two tones. But other than this # 6 is always # 6. Maybe in a different register the effect is perceived differently because of the beat frequencies. If you play a phrase in one key it will evoke the same emotion in any other key.

01-03-2003, 01:33 AM
Someone recently posted something called reduction....

01-03-2003, 05:09 AM
I have a fetish with 9th's, and arpeggio's ascending to the ninth. This is quite apparent on the more bluesy tracks of my first album, along with a lot of dorian usage. Thank god for Beck and his b5, I definitely was inspired to use it in my playing. Walter Becker of Steely Dan is another of my huge influences, and his usage of expanding his work over more octaves (very apparent in the great guitar solo of "Your Gold Teeth") really adds not only a more complex feel, but also a boundry-less emotional touch. I think szulc you were talking about this a little bit; the idea of expanding, I feel it has enhanced my playing a lot

01-04-2003, 03:09 PM
Where can I hear your sound clips?

01-04-2003, 11:25 PM
With regards the idea about certain keys having slightly different sounds using the same intervals or licks, as a late night thought is it maybe something to do with the way tempered tuning came about, i.e. the shaving off of a couple of hertz on certain notes to make octaves exact doubles of each other, done because of the innaccuracy of the 2/3rds approach to tone generation? Or is this nothing to do with anything and the product of computer screen zombie-itis.

01-05-2003, 01:16 AM
If we were not using the equal temperment system this would be true.

01-05-2003, 07:39 PM
ok maybe I'm a moron and need things explained. I thought the equal temperment system was the idea that because the 2/3rds system comes out with octaves not being exact doubles we take small amounts off each 5th. So the 2/3rds system is:

A = 440hz, /2 = 220 /2 = 110

110 x 1.5 = 165 (E)
165 x 1.5 = 247 (B) This system goes
247 x 1.5 = 370.5 (F#) up in 5ths
370.5 x 1.5 = 555.75 (C#) /2 = 277.8
277.8 x 1.5 = 416.7 /2 = 208.35 (G#)
208.35 x 1.5 = 312.6 (D#)
x 1.5 = 468.9 / 2 = 234.45 (A#)
x1.5 = 351.7 /2 = 175.83 (F)
x1.5 = 263.75 (C)
x1.5 = 395.63 \2 = 197.81 (G)
x1.5 = 296.72 (D)
x1.5 = 445 /2 = 222.53 (A)
x 1.5 = 333.795 = 333.795 (E)

From this u can see the two thirds approach fails to create exact octaves, i.e. 222.53 as A is not 220 as it should be, and 333.795 as E is not 330 as it should be. So, if even tempered tuning gives us exact octave doubling, i.e. 110, 220, 440 hz as A, then to do this the system must mean each fifth you go up from A is not a true 5th, but a 5th with a bit knocked off. So I'm trying to say, and confusing myself at the same time as usual, that if you play in the key of A minor, using A minor pentatonic, the A note and its octave will be exact doubles and the other notes will be slightly shaved notes and not mathematically the exact frequencies they should be. Combining this with the fact that pythogaras messed up his equations for intonation, (not compensating for multi- string tension interaction or whatever it was), and the fact that different peoples finger pressure and placing on the fretboard alters the frequency also, then am I right in thinking that the guitar sounds slighty different in every key, due to imperfect intonation, imperfect frequencies caused by the tempered tuing apprach and because of finger pressure and placing on the fretboard? Phew, I'm off for a bath. If I'm wrong please explain why as I'll never learn otherwise!

01-05-2003, 08:28 PM
All half steps are created equal. End of story.