Lesson 15 – 12 Notes: A Lesson In Musicality


This was originally posted on ”12 notes”, a page on this website dedicated to guitar music and lessons.  So, for the more musically inclined, here is my fifteenth guitar lesson to you:   A short lesson in musicality.  If you run into any problems, drop me a line and let me know, and thanks for reading! 

Enjoy!

____________________________

Lesson 15:  A short lesson in musicality.       

      Bb7                                 Eb7

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -6 – – – – – – -8 – – – 6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – 6- – – – – -8 – -6 – – – – – -6 – – – – – -6 – – – 6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – -7 – – – – – -7 – -7 – – – – – 6- – – – – – -6 – – – 6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – -6 – – – – – 6 – – 6- – – – – – 5- – – – – – -5 – – – -5 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 6- – – -0 -6 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-6 – – – 0- 6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, these chords, played this way, these dominant Bb and Eb chords, are pretty easy to pick out as part of a basic blues progression. And since the first chord is Bb, the key is Bb.   You can plant just about any pentatonic riff over this chord progression and it sounds just fine, despite the fact that, if you get technical, doesn’t exactly fit the pentatonic scale.  Several notes here in these chords do not fit the Bb Pentatonic scale.  But then again, that is kind of the key to the blues.  Blue notes, notes outside the key you are playing in, making those notes fit, and sound good. 

Here is a riff that I often play over that simple progression. (bend and hold  for an additional beat the notes that are in boldface)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – 8– 6- – – – 6– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – 6- – 8– 6- 8- – 7– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – 6- – – – – – 8- – 6– -8 -8 – 8- 8- 8- – – – 6 – 8- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
-6 -7 -8 – – – – – – – – – – – – – -8 -11- 8- 7- 6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – 4- -6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now part of the reason I think this riff fits (you may not) is because it fits into what my mind tells me is pleasant sounding music.  To me, because of years of listening to blues and blues based music, from, blues rock to metal, the blending of the notes together of the Bb pentatonic scale and the Bb and Eb dominant chords fits.  There are notes that may not technically fit, but they sound right.

Music, and musicality is highly subjective like that.  You can play all the notes you want, in whatever way you want, and so long as it sounds good to you, it is good music, seeing how good is also as highly subjective a concept as musicality is. 

The proof of that is that you could take that riff, place it in a different key, and it will still fit, and sound just fine.  Trust me, try it out.  Play the chords below, and play the riff on top of that riff, and tell me what you think.

  AbMaj              C Maj            F min

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – – 8– 6- – – – 6– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – 6- – 8– 6- 8- – 7– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – 6- – – – – – 8- – 6– -8 -8 – 8- 8- 8- – – – 6 – 8- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 
-6 -7 -8 – – – – – – – – – – – – – -8 -11- 8- 7- 6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – 4- -6- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Music doesn’t need to fit precisely in the key the song is played in, as long as enough notes fit the fare, you can take some notes, have them exist well outside of the normal plane of the scale and key and it will sound just fine.  Scales are important to music, to the development of the character of the music all musicians try to create, but it is not the be all, end all most important thing in music. 

Creativity is just as important as theory, use it.

________________________________

That’s it for this week.  Thanks for reading!

N.B.:  I was really reaching when I wrote this one, but I wrote it anyway. Hope it doesn’t suck too much.

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