Grateful Dead Music Forum

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Musical Theory Abound!!!
 #15347  by BlobWeird
 Thu Apr 19, 2007 12:04 pm
Hey guys. So Ive noticed that lately the forums have been dry of theory/improv tips and such. Dont get me wrong I like all the banter topics but I would enjoy more theory/improv/just all around general knowledge for jammin. So I decided to start off with askin a question. Id like to know different ways to do long scale runs like for instance a while back on here someone mentioned descending intervalic thirds and I now use this alot and it really helps my playing. And I notice Garcia has lots of ways to run a scale. Like in Jack Straw there are lots of places where he will do some really quick scale work up or down. Like in the Jack Straw from 10-22-78 Winterland he does alot of that. Umm more importantly if you dont mind checkin out From The Heart Of Me from the same show. At the last like 30-45 seconds Garcia plays this descending riff over and over and he uses a technique I cant pinpoint. Sounds like he is goin down four notes, then comin back up to the second note and goin down four and so on. I guess itd be like descending intervalic fourths maybe?? I really have no idea. But yeah if you could help on the subject. Also walkdowns is another thing I need help with. He has so many different walkdowns and voicings and choices of hammers and slides in spots that I cannot even begin to comprehend. Please help! And get some theory goin again!

 #15355  by shakedown_04092
 Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:11 pm

And I second this thread!

Harumph! Harumph!

 #15361  by BlobWeird
 Thu Apr 19, 2007 5:23 pm

Come on guys. We know you guys with all this knowledge are out there.

 #15374  by BlobWeird
 Fri Apr 20, 2007 4:32 am

last time if no one answers now ill let it die unfortunately :cry:

 #15378  by wisedyes
 Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:21 am
Yes, what Jerry is doing much of the time is descending patterns, or ascending, where say you start on the root note of the scale, play the next three notes, then come back, play the second note of the scale, up three more notes, etc.

Also he would sometimes do quick arpeggiated runs, Play the three or four note arpeggios for each chord in your scale in a quick succession.

 #15379  by strumminsix
 Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:33 am
LOL! bumps on the same day! Honestly, I'm not a student of Jerry's style I'm a huge a fan, though. I'm a Bobby player so unfortunately I can't help you out with the question.

I think wisedyes nails it pretty well cuz that's how my ears here what BlobWeird was describing.

 #15398  by BlobWeird
 Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:11 am
Strummin had to bump twice lol it dropped to the bottom very fast. But yeah if someone could check out that lick from Heart Of Me they will hear somethin different from the thirds.

 #15399  by mutant_dan
 Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:49 am
Jerry does ascending and descending riffs that at times seem like mathematical equations. Try thinking of them as infinite ascending or descending loops.

For instance triplets that go on like this 1,4,3 // 2, 5,4 // 3, 6, 5 // 4, 7, 6 // 5, ^1, 7 // and keep going up. Likewise coming down in descending order.

Quads could start out 1, 5, 4, 3 // 2, 6, 5, 4 //

or 1, 4, 3, 5 // 2, 5, 4, 6 //

Or try moving up a 3rd at a time like 1, 3 // 2, 4 // 3, 5 // it is also cool to occasionally leave a very brief rest between notes as if it is an unspoken note in the sequence and you and your listeners minds tend to resolve those things on their own.

I would like to also point out that when you are jamming and you play a clunker of a note. You can toy with that note by playing around it and keep bringing it back in a sequence thus you have buried the clunker and actually turned it into an opportunity for exploration. These can lead to uncharted territory and be a lot of fun. I think of the clunkers as the springboard to new phrasing that I would have never discovered otherwise.

Basicaly, noodle these things out. Play it slow, it isn't all about speed by no means. You have to develop an arsenal of these tricks and not pull the same ones out on every song. Otherwise it can get pretty frustrating as a player and a listener.
Last edited by mutant_dan on Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

 #15408  by strumminsix
 Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:40 pm
BlobWeird wrote:Strummin had to bump twice lol it dropped to the bottom very fast. But yeah if someone could check out that lick from Heart Of Me they will hear somethin different from the thirds.
Bottom of where? Whenever I browse I just hit "new posts since last login" or whatever the verbiage is. In fact, that is the link I have saved as my favorite!

 #15425  by BlobWeird
 Sat Apr 21, 2007 10:17 am
Hey mutant_dan thats some good info. If we can keep this discussion going and really get in depth. Maybe more on the use of chromatics in these patterns. By 1 4 3 2 5 4. You mean the degrees in the scale correct? And strummin ive been comin here for over a year and never noticed that posts since last login hahaha. That is soo much more convenient

 #15479  by mutant_dan
 Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:25 am
BlobWeird wrote:By 1 4 3 2 5 4. You mean the degrees in the scale correct?
You are correct.

I would also suggest checking out what is known as the bebop scale (made famous by Charlie Parker) in the Jazz world. It works pretty well in a descending riff where the first note is a whole note and the following 3 are played as a triplet. Then another whole note followed by a triplet. Something like ^1, 6,7,6 // 7, 5,6,5 // 6 4,5,4, // It may sound a little strange to begin with, but when you get the feel for the shuffle, it will all come together..


Dominant Bebop Scale

This scale was used extensively by Charlie Parker, although there was no common name for it until educator David Baker popularized the term bebop scale. This scale is a mixolydian mode with an additional major seventh as a passing tone between the root and the minor seventh. This scale may be used over a dominant seventh chord with the same root as the scale. For example, C dominant bebop is used over C7.

This scale has two useful properties that make it preferable to the mixolydian mode for many improvisors. First, when played in descending eighth notes starting on the root, all of the chord tones fall on the beats:

Second, when played ascending, the major seventh acts as a leading tone to create smoother voice leading to the root of the scale:

Musicians tend to take advantage of these properties of the scale in the lines they create:

One may also use this scale over any of the other chords diatonic to the major key containing that dominant seventh chord. For example, C7 is diatonic to the key of F, so C dominant bebop can be used over any of the chords that are diatonic to the key of F. In particular, it can be used over the minor seventh ii chord Gm7, the major seventh I chord Fmaj7, or the half-diminished vii chord Em7b5:

Thus the dominant bebop scale can be used over all the four basic chord types: dominant, major, minor, and half-diminished. The most common use for the dominant bebop scale is to use the scale of the V chord over an entire major key ii-V-I progression:

The advantages of using this scale instead of the mixolydian mode over the V chord have already been discussed. It also provides advantages for the ii and I chords. This scale provides both the natural and raised fourths of the major chord and thus combines aspects of the major and lydian scales, which are two of the other popular scale choices for a major seventh chord:

Also, it provides both the minor and major thirds of the minor chord. The major third allows the minor ii chord to function as a secondary dominant, and it serves as a leading tone to the root of the V chord:

These extra color tones can make the dominant bebop scale a more interesting choice than the modes of the major scale over a ii-V-I progression. On the other hand, the dominant bebop scale is nothing but a particular way of adding passing tones to the modes of the major scale that happens to mimic the way Charlie Parker often played, so I suggest learning the major scale modes first and treating the bebop scales as variations on these.

Unlike the major scale discussed in the previous section and the melodic minor scale to be discussed later, the modes of the bebop scales do not tend to be discussed as such. Instead, we simply say that (for instance) the F bebop dominant scale is used over F7, Bbmaj7, Gm7, or Am7b5.
Last edited by mutant_dan on Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

 #15481  by tigerstrat
 Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:11 am
Thanks for manning the dike, Dan. I'm just not conscious enough about doing scale runs, especially long ones, to come up with much of a constructive or comprehensive answer for this... it's just constant invention, afaict. Blob, I don't have that show or even know that song very well but the way you stated the question illustrates the endless possibilities:
Sounds like he is goin down four notes, then comin back up to the second note and goin down four and so on.
: as many possible variations on that as you can imagine. Welcome to the mysteries dark and vast...

 #15500  by mutant_dan
 Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:31 pm
mutant_dan wrote:
BlobWeird wrote:Something like ^1, 6,7,6 // 7, 5,6,5 // 6 4,5,4, // It may sound a little strange to begin with, but when you get the feel for the shuffle, it will all come together..
Forgot to mention that it sounds pretty cool to slide up to the whole notes in each sequence.

 #15698  by qiuniu
 Sun Apr 29, 2007 9:05 am
I've got some meta-help if you would.

I've been working about 2-3 hours 5-6 days a week learning how to play like Jerry lead. Here's what I found out. I had to stop think about decending triplets and stuff like that. Not that it is not useful and you should learn it, but don't think about it too much.

What I've found out lately is that basically playing lead is like talking. You want a sentence, then another and another and then you want to complete a paragraph. You want all those nifty tricks in your bag but the more I thought about using them the more they felt forced, the more I just tried to follow what my soul thought should happen next the more I went naturally fishing for those tricks and they sound more authentic to me.

It struck me while playing one day I remembered an interview with Jerry and he said that he figures out the notes for the words of the chorus or whatever charaterizes the song the best then expands upon that idea.