Memorising the 'Blues Scales'..?

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#1 11 July, 2016 - 17:40
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Memorising the 'Blues Scales'..?


Hi!

'Been suggested I ask these questions on the music forum:

I had a bad memory so I was given a copy of 'YourMemory& what you can do with it' by someone called Higbee? Anyhoo I had seen people memorise a deck of cards on TV& surmised that surely IF one could do that then one need never worry about memory again!

So I got 52 blank cards; numbered
on one side & the corresponding phonetic on the other & totally learned them!

(Yup I'm the SMUG type!!)

But what now?
Exactly how Do I utilise this new-found skill?

For instance I'd love to memorise different musical scales so I can recall them instantly but I have only been told about memory palaces by someone helpful on this site but is that the only or best way to go about memorising, say, the Blues Scsles?

ANYonehave ANY ideas..?

-Denis

11 July, 2016 - 19:55
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Joined: 2 years 8 months ago

I'll copy over some text from the other thread:

Quote:
Pentatonic Blues Scales overview
C: C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C
C#/Db: C#, E, F#, G, G#, B, C#
D: D, F, G, G#, A, C, D
D#/Eb: D#, F#, G#, A, A#, C#, D#
E: E, G, A, A#, B, D, E
F: F, Ab, Bb, B, C, Eb, F
F#/Gb: F#, A, B, C, C#, E, F#
G: G, Bb, C, C#, D, F, G
G#/Ab: G#, B, C#, D, D#, F#, G#
A: A, C, D, D#, E, G, A
A#/Bb: A#, C#, D#, E, E#, G#, A#
B: B, D, E, F, F#, A, B

I'd suggest learning the music theory and muscle memory patterns instead of trying to memorize all those notes. A book like this might be more useful for mnemonics, unless you're urgently cramming for a test with a focus on rote memorization rather than understanding. :)

If this info below doesn't make sense, I'd recommend working through a book on music theory before trying to memorize the scales. It will save a lot of memorization time.

Basically, the short version is that I would recommend learning:

  1. The circle of fifths
  2. The sharps and flats of every scale you want to learn.

Each scale pattern teaches you that scale in all 12 keys, if you know the circle of fifths well.


If you number the notes from 1-7 (in the key of C, 1 is C; in the key of A, 1 is A), every major scale is:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

The natural minor scale for every key is:
1, 2, b3, 4, 5, b6, b7
(flats: 3, 6, 7)

The pentatonic minor (blues) scale for every key is:
1 b3, 4, 5, b7

Knowing the structure of a scale (along with key signatures and the circle of fifths) gives you the notes of 12 scales for each pattern that you learn.

Modes can help you learn the notes of 84 scales (7 scales in 12 keys) just by memorizing the system.

The names of the modes are:

  1. Ionian (major scale)
  2. Dorian
  3. Phrygian
  4. Lydian
  5. Mixolydian
  6. Aeolian (natural minor scale)
  7. Locrian

They all have the same notes (c, d, e, f, g, a, b) with each one starting one note higher:

  1. C Ionian (major scale) - C, D, E, F, G, A, B
  2. D Dorian - D, E, F, G, A, B, C
  3. E Phrygian - E, F, G, A, B, C
  4. F Lydian - F, G, A, B, C, D, E
  5. G Mixolydian - G, A, B, C, D, E, F
  6. A Aeolian (natural minor scale) - A, B, C, D, E, F, G
  7. B Locrian - B, C, D, E, F, G, A

A minor scale is a sixth above its related major scale and it uses the same notes. If you know the circle of fifths, then you can figure out many things without memorizing the notes.

If you want to find the A minor scale, you would first figure out what key is three steps below A on the circle of fifths. Go counter-clockwise using the mnemonic from the other page: "By Eight All Dates Get Cold Feet", starting at A ("All"):

1. "Dates" = D
2. "Get" = G
3. "Cold" = C

This tells you that you can build an A minor scale from the same notes as a C major scale -- just start on an A rather than a C.

You can construct a C major scale based on the info from the circle of fifths: C has no sharps or flats: C, D, E, F, G. It's the same notes for A minor: A, B, C, D, E, F, G.

Another example:
If you want to find the C minor scale, move counter-clockwise three steps on the circle of fifths -- that would be Eb. Using the counter-clockwise mnemonic: "By Eight All Dates Get Cold Feet" (B, E, A, D, G, C, F -- then it continues with flatted notes: Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb. Cb is B, so there is no need to go further).

So, starting at C (Cold), go through the mnemonic by three steps, starting at Cold (C) -- Feet (F), By (Bb), Eight (Eb).

That means that C minor uses the exact same notes as Eb major.
Eb major contains three flats: B, E, A ("By Eight All...").

That calculation tells you that the C minor scale is: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb.

For guitar playing purposes, I would memorize the patterns of each scale in different positions. For example, an A blues scale could start at the 6th string, 5th fret. With one fret per finger, the pattern is: 1, 4; 1, 3; 1, 3; 1, 3; 1, 4; 1, 4.

A blues scale has the pattern, 1 b3, 4, 5, b7. The circle of fifths chart says that the key of A has the following sharps: F#, C#, G# (using the "Fat Cats Give Dogs An Endless Battle" mnemonic). That tells you that an A major scale is: A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#. To make a blues scale, only use the 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 notes, flatting the 3rd and 7th. That means that the A blues scale is:

The A Major Scale
A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#
1, 2, 3,  4, 5, 6,  7

The A Blues Scale - use only 1 b3, 4, 5, b7 from the A major scale
A, C,  D, E, G
1, b3, 4, 5, b7

Since the 5th fret is A, you can find a B blues scale by moving up two frets. To find a G blues scale, move down two frets. Same pattern.

You can find other patterns by starting at other A notes on the fretboard.

Repeat for every scale you want to learn.

I think that music theory would be faster in the long run than using a memory palace. I read this book many years ago and liked it.

12 July, 2016 - 04:23
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Joined: 1 year 4 months ago

Thank You!

I will check out those links :-)

The way my memory book was written it seemed to be presented chronologically. Like a history lesson with each new memory technique better than the last till finally the one I explained in my 1st post as a be-all-end-all/one method to rule them all!

As an aside do you think I SHOULD learn more methods? What can I do with the technique I got?

Thanks in advance!

12 July, 2016 - 19:09
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Joined: 2 years 8 months ago

Quote:
The way my memory book was written it seemed to be presented chronologically. Like a history lesson with each new memory technique better than the last till finally the one I explained in my 1st post as a be-all-end-all/one method to rule them all!

As an aside do you think I SHOULD learn more methods? What can I do with the technique I got?

I haven't read that book, and I'm not sure what is in it. I'll write another idea below, though it might seem convoluted, depending on whether you already have a number system or not. :)

If it doesn't make sense, I'd be happy to meet on Google Hangouts to explain ideas in more detail. I used to play guitar many years ago, though unfortunately had to stop because of injuries. I'm still curious how memory techniques could be applied to guitar.

(or maybe someone will post a less convoluted method)


Another idea is to memorize the steps for each scale:
http://www.guitarscholar.co.uk/lessons/scale-interval-patterns.php

Major 			T T S T T T S
Minor 			T S T T S T T
Ionian 			T T S T T T S
Dorian 			T S T T T S T
Phrygian 		S T T T S T T
Lydian 			T T T S T T S
Mixolydian 		T T S T T S T
Aeolian 		T S T T S T T
Locrian 		S T T S T T T
Minor Pentatonic 	T+S T T T+S T
Major Pentatonic 	T T T+S T T+S
Blues 			T+S T S S T+S T
Spanish Phrygian 	S T+S S T S T T

Since it's just two options (tones or semi-tones: T or S), you could convert the info to binary digits, which are relatively easy to memorize. If you have a number system for decimal numbers, you could convert the binary digits into decimal numbers.

Ionian 			T T S T T T S 	1101110 (Major)
Dorian 			T S T T T S T	1011101
Phrygian 		S T T T S T T	0111011
Lydian 			T T T S T T S 	1110110
Mixolydian 		T T S T T S T	1101101
Aeolian 		T S T T S T T	1011011 (Natural minor)
Locrian 		S T T S T T T	0110111

Example:
1101110 can be chunked into threes and converted to decimal:

000 = 0
001 = 1
010 = 2
011 = 3
100 = 4
101 = 5
110 = 6
111 = 7

So T T S T T T S could be converted to 1101110, which could be chunked as 110-111-0, which would be 67-0. The 67 could be encoded as "aBaCus" (for example) in the major system, and the 0 could be encoded as a ball in the number shape system. Then you would link those two images to another image that represents the major scale. Or you could place each scale in a location of a memory palace, since they go in order. The major scale would be the first location, and the minor would be the sixth.

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