Shapes VS Intervals

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by akaikitsune, May 10, 2019.

How do you stay in key?

  1. Scales shapes

    2 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. Intervallically

    4 vote(s)
    66.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. akaikitsune

    akaikitsune SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2018
    I have been a shape based player (like many) for a long time. My Guitar teacher at university convinced me last year to start thinking about the fret board as intervals from what ever key I am playing in. He told me that CAGED is a terrible system and I should study the circle of fifths and intervals.

    I can identify intervals within the octave (a bit shakey when it comes to compound intervals but getting there...). I am just finding it a bit difficult to visualize when I am improvising and just end up lost somewhere up the fret board.

    Maybe the obvious answer is just to "keep practicing"...I know but I am interested in peoples methods of flying around the fretboard in any key/mode and how they stay in key. Anchor points? Visualize the box shapes under regardless of intervals?

    My goal is to just be able to slide up to any note and immediately think "this is the major 6th of my root" and know exactly where I can go next.

    I appreciate your shared knowledge ^_^
     
  2. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    4,367
    Likes Received:
    823
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Location:
    Never Neverland
    He is wrong on that point. CAGED, 3 note per string scale patterns, etc. are as valid a means of learning the fingerboard as any other. In fact, when you know the note names, CAGED, 3 note per string, etc. they tend to compliment one another.


    Sounds like your teacher is a jazz instructor. This approach can be useful in some jazz improv situations, but it seems to be more of an overly intellectual approach used at schools. I would suggest that a better way to use intervals while improvising is to hear the next note you want to play in your head and then play the interval necessary to get you there. In other words, use intervalic shapes to move to notes you want to play, in key or not.

    Don't get me wrong, it can be useful to know the note you are playing relative to the root of the chord your are playing over, and the notes of the next chord in the progression, but you learn that by playing over a given progression several times. Besides, you should be able to hear this instead of having to think about it.

    You can only think so much while improving before you get in your own way IMO. Like the old Eddie Van Halen quote: "if you're thinking, you're stinking". At some point you've got to hear it in your head and go for it without thinking too much, especially at higher speeds.
     
    USMarine75 likes this.
  3. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

    Messages:
    11,154
    Likes Received:
    1,792
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire, U.K
    The two go hand in hand really, but I recommend approaching with focus on intervals. Getting comfortable with intervals, the shapes will build themselves. Focusing on shapes, there can be a tendency to ignore intervals and make it a bit harder to learn later. That's my experience at least
     
  4. Strobe

    Strobe SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    328
    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Location:
    St. Paul, MN
    They are both fine ways of learning. You will eventually pick up the intervals learning it through shapes (and vice versa I suspect). The important thing is to get to where you can hear and feel it. Then you are good.
     
  5. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metalâ„¢

    Messages:
    5,389
    Likes Received:
    806
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Location:
    Binghamton, NY
    ...first off...i dont stay in key :lol:

    Second, i dont know crap about any theory.


    That's my contribution.
     
    Hollowway likes this.
  6. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    293
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    Arizona
    Exactly this. What tedtan said. Remember also that there are many shapes for the same intervals as well, depending on string skipping etc. also to complicate it an interval can have 2 names as well depending on root, like that maj6th can also be a min3rd if you flip what note is the root, but generally the lowest note is the root which also lines up with staff to fretboard interval approach. The best way is to just practice a lot more and improv. For example, the main 5 or so octave shapes are very easy to remember. Use that as a starting point and then move on to the unison shapes, etc. Also, workng on intervallic chord building helps a lot. Once you know how to build any chord and actually start building every chord along with their inversions etc, it will almost come automatically after you actually have gone through this pain staking exercise a few times. It takes a long time to just do it once, like days or weeks even when starting out.
     
  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

    Messages:
    15,271
    Likes Received:
    3,184
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    St. Johnsbury, VT USA
    I don't stick too strictly to shapes, because I like to play with different tunings, and it's easier to stay flexible. It's also easier when you get into a lot of more exotic scales. For example, it's easier to remember the formula for Hungarian Minor 1 2 b3 #4 5 b6 7 and map that out by deduction and improvise with it, than it is to carry around the shapes for that particular scale when you are already remembering two dozen others.

    That said, it's hard not to get comfortable working from shapes once you've broken in a song, though.
     
    c7spheres likes this.
  8. Zender

    Zender Tinkering, please hold.

    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    54
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2017
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I play mostly by ear. Although I've done countless hours of scale exercises such as:
    13,24,35,46,57
    123, 234, 345, 456, 567
    1234,2345,3456,4567
    321, 432, 543, 654, 765

    In all different positions, for natural en pentatonic... It's horrible, and great fun at the same time. :D These patterns are so ingrained in my fingers that I can fly into these sequences from anywhere, and can al but hear where I can go and what the other tones should be.

    Just rote practice, countless hours. Sometimes even without guitar just humming to myself and imagining these shapes. And then there is that moment you realize that vertical "shape" on the neck, is touching the shapes above and below, and you can flow from one into the next.

    To this day, these are the first things I play whenever I pick up a new-to-me guitar.

    I know the shapes, I don't know all the note names though.. I keep messing up there and still need to learn that part of fretboard theory :')
     
  9. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    293
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    Arizona
    If you take the shapes you already know and apply them to the Cmaj scale (C-D-EF-G-A-BC) then you will quickly learn where a lot of notes are. Just shift up/down to get alternate notes. Also practice calling the notes sharps or flats where applicable.
     
  10. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    130
    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA, US
    Nothing wrong with CAGED. Sure it has limitations, but so does any other individual approach. All scale systems are just different facets of fretboard understanding--related, interlocking ways to visualize and finger the same related notes. There are many points of overlap between CAGED, Segovia, 3NPS, etc., and taking the time to examine and understand these relationships within a given key is great for building fretboard knowledge.

    I think a particular strength of CAGED is that when it's taught well, it can help a guitarist understand relationships between diatonic chords and their associated modes within a given position. Adding related minor chord voicings to the five major shapes is important for this, though, and I think a lot of teachers just don't do it.
     
    c7spheres likes this.
  11. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

    Messages:
    23,398
    Likes Received:
    3,568
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    London ONT
    If you are sliding up and thinking "this is the major 6th of my root", how do you plan to have an organic sounding improv lead? Honest question.

    Learn as much as you need to in order to know where your next note or run will be.

    Then learn some more so you can switch it up.
     
    c7spheres likes this.
  12. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    293
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    Arizona
    There's also different improv methods /tricks just to try to not sound bad. Like the up/down a fret method. If you hit a sour note then just move it up a fret. It's harder than it seems becuase you still have to recognize it fast enough to still be able to slide,hammer,bend it in a way that is expressive and lets you pull it off convincingly. When I hit a sour note, it usually still sounds sour anyways, but then I can do a slidey trill thing back to the sour note and bend it and then a beat or 2 later it sounds like I meant it! Still working on that one though. I know Miles Davis had some kinda quote regarding this. I think that any method or trick/techinique can be useful and the more you know the more tools you have to draw upon when jammin.
     
  13. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

    Messages:
    23,398
    Likes Received:
    3,568
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    London ONT
    You may be thinking of "if you hit a wrong note, play it again so it seems intentional" (paraphrasing)
     
    c7spheres likes this.
  14. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    293
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2017
    Location:
    Arizona
    Yeah! No, but that's another trick for sure! That's a good one. Actually I just googled it and Miles is quoted as saying "It's not the note you play that's the wrong note, it's the note you play afterwards that makes it right or wrong. " Crazy, I must have subconsciously taken that to heart cause I used to always say to my buddy that "It's not what you play, it's what you play next." I think it may have been Victor Wooten that had the up/down a fret trick and it had something to do with pivot notes/passing tones in order to pull it off effectively, but I can't find anything concrete on it. I do think the concept of "It's not what you play, it's what you play next" is really important because it brings attention to the fact that you can have any sound/noise at all and depending on what comes after it will determine the effect it actually has, and furthermore, the entire phrase and the folling phase as well. For Example you can have a "Dun-dun" chunky heavy guitar part and if you follow it up with a soft clean note/chord or another heavy thing will determine what affect the original "Dun-dun" has.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
    budda likes this.
  15. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

    Messages:
    23,398
    Likes Received:
    3,568
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Location:
    London ONT
    Yep. Dynamics.
     
    c7spheres likes this.
  16. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    130
    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA, US
    Honest answer (not trying to be snarky): if you know you want to include the 6th as you're conceptualizing your idea, whether from a theoretical or inner aural standpoint (but ideally through both working in synergy). Obviously this presupposes that you can imagine what the 6th is going to sound like with your inner hearing as you play. But even though the ear is king, knowing which note is the 6th in context will allow you to sequence, transpose, or otherwise develop your idea in response to chord changes or toward a goal note "safely."

    I'm not advocating for theory as a substitute for creativity or risk-taking. Theory and the ear are two sides of the same coin--even though the ear always needs to make the final call, theory is great for improving the accuracy of translating between the mind and the instrument. It provides a kind of "scaffold" for composing and improvising: as long as we're intentional about it, using a framework that's already established doesn't prevent us from fully expressing ourselves. But it does help get us to "what we want to hear" more quickly.

    Ideally, you won't be spending a ton of energy evaluating the 6th-root relationship while taking a solo, but you'll be aware of it. It's kind of like how as I wrote this post I didn't explicitly evaluate which adjectives affected which nouns, but my underlying awareness of those principles made my sentences intelligible. Both require a good deal of time with the language in question.

    One of Victor's most famous demonstrations involves playing only "wrong" notes over accompaniment. He deliberately plays only the 5 "out" notes that aren't in the key, but by developing compelling rhythmic ideas, he makes it sound really cool. It wouldn't work in every style of music but it sounds great in jazz.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
    budda and c7spheres like this.
  17. USMarine75

    USMarine75 The Pen is Mightier Contributor

    Messages:
    4,368
    Likes Received:
    2,176
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Middle East
    Once is a mistake... twice is jazz.
     
    narad, budda and c7spheres like this.
  18. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

    Messages:
    11,154
    Likes Received:
    1,792
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Yorkshire, U.K
    Great answer! Indeed, as far as I'm aware, most of the great emotive soloists are very well informed on their interval choices, and it's generally a method of constructing a more effective melody (chord tones/target tones/passing tones) than general scale/box improv
     
  19. USMarine75

    USMarine75 The Pen is Mightier Contributor

    Messages:
    4,368
    Likes Received:
    2,176
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Middle East
    There's nothing wrong with CAGED. It's a great way of learning the fretboard and finding notes and shapes all over the board. Then, combining that with intervallic studies (e.g. finding the M3 or P5 of every C as you work your way up the board using CAGED).

    I learned scale and mode shapes first... and it never occurred to me you could play the mode either with different shapes/positions or just the same scale but with different tonic center! Basically, you can memorize one shape and play all the series modes in that scale.

    There's so many little things I wish I realized early on... like looking for relationships between modes (Ionian and Lydian are just one note off); skipping the P4 to avoid dissonance like many Jazz guitarists do, or substituting the P4 with a more pleasant M6, using an arpeggio instead of a scale, especially for changes; etc.
     
    c7spheres likes this.
  20. MrWulf

    MrWulf SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    339
    Likes Received:
    83
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2015
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Any recommendation for exercises to get the ear to recognize interval? I know there's some Android app for that but it seems impractical
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.