Scales... all I need?
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Music Theory & Composition Questions & comments about composition, arrangement, and music theory. Music rules and how to follow or break them.

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Old 29-01-2012, 08:57 PM   #1
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Icon5 Scales... all I need?

I once heard the only really useful thing of music theory are scales (major, minor, blues, etc).

Basically, with them, you can create melodies and chords, based on the scale you're working with.

Is it true?

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Old 29-01-2012, 09:43 PM   #2
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Re: Scales... all I need?

The latter, yes.

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Old 29-01-2012, 09:44 PM   #3
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Re: Scales... all I need?

who said you even need them

ears is all you need

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Old 29-01-2012, 09:54 PM   #4
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Re: Scales... all I need?

They're probably the most useful thing, but I'd also recommend at least knowledge of functional harmony (tonic, dominant, predominant). Personally, I like to know as much as possible, and in fact I find most of my inspiration comes from new (to me) music theory ideas. I also find it speeds up the trial-and-error process, because I know what usually works and what doesn't.

Not to say I always strictly stick to music theory, but knowledge of the rules means you can break them more effectively
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Old 29-01-2012, 11:53 PM   #5
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Re: Scales... all I need?

I'd say learn foreign scales while your at it:

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chords are just scale portions

Last edited by Br/ainfu+ked; 29-01-2012 at 11:57 PM..

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Old 29-01-2012, 11:55 PM   #6
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Re: Scales... all I need?

dont forget atonal scales

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Old 30-01-2012, 08:31 PM   #7
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Re: Scales... all I need?

Like this question is... I dont know.

What is it?

No its not the only useful thing.
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Old 31-01-2012, 12:31 AM   #8
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Re: Scales... all I need?

I do so.. It works fine Saved so much time ... and rest is ears

i start with a special key or some notes and than try to build something .. I know i have something, if i had an eargasm

Last edited by limitedarts; 31-01-2012 at 12:35 AM..
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Old 31-01-2012, 01:25 PM   #9
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Re: Scales... all I need?

The more you learn of anything generally comes with diminishing returns.

You spend a little while learning some harmony to back said scales up, maybe learning how to derive the chords from the scale then cool, your productions would probably get a little more advanced. Try it out, if you don't like using theory, then abandon it.

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Old 31-01-2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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Re: Scales... all I need?

Don't take my word for it as I'm no expert, nor the most "musical" person on the forum, but this is my personal experience.
I've tried learning to play the piano traditionally, scales first, then some songs.
I've noticed some improvements in my skills, but I found it overly boring and dull and killed piano for me.

Then recently I decided to try a different approach, I stumbled upon a book called Play Piano in a flash, which suggested a different approach, learn how to read notes on a sheet, find a song you like on lead sheet, learn the chords to that song, play the melody with the right hand.

Maybe not the best way to learn, but I noticed that this, together with that little theory I knew, really helped me improve.
And as a side effect made me like the piano again.

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Old 31-01-2012, 03:35 PM   #11
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Re: Scales... all I need?

Scales are all you need until you need to do something with them...

For writing, words are all you need!
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:16 AM   #12
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Re: Scales... all I need?

If you were to make music in a box, sealed off from the rest of the world and all of its information, and could only bring one piece of musical knowledge with you to build on for the rest of your life, then maybe scales would be the thing to know.
In the real world, I think a more practical thing to know would be how to learn make basic major and minor chords (they form 2 different shapes; it is EASY). This would let you learn to play the chords for any song you like, teaching you what chords sound good together, which would basically lead you to knowing scales without having studied them to begin with. Even if you just knew how to make chords and just experimented to find which ones sound good together, it still seems like it would be more useful overall than just learning scales and then figuring out what chords are in them, etc. That's basically how I learned music. When I studied theory, years into playing, it just filled in some gaps in the knowledge I had built by playing. I think it's kind of a mistake to study theory from the beginning. Just learn to play what you like and it will gradually fall into place, piece by piece.
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:59 PM   #13
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Re: Scales... all I need?

scales are just a skelethon to start with. like a map. like if you say: ok, i m here, i wanna go there. that s what scales are useful for
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:23 PM   #14
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Re: Scales... all I need?

To add to this: scales are kind of a classic example of "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing." You can leave scale, but without other knowledge it's hard to know when.

Aside from, obviously, "when it sounds good."
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:06 AM   #15
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Re: Scales... all I need?

Don't forget pentatonic scales and modes.

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Old 10-02-2012, 07:39 AM   #16
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Re: Scales... all I need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyetooth View Post
Scales are all you need until you need to do something with them...

For writing, words are all you need!
Woooord
You should never limit yourself! Usage is key. Scales are just the tip of the iceberg.

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