Re: Scales-facts & nonsense

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Posted by El Pájaro on August 31, 2000 at 07:23:20:

In Reply to: Scales-facts & nonsense posted by Pat Harrington on August 30, 2000 at 17:33:07:

: There's been a lot of discussion about scales lately on several
: web-boards as to their educational value, seems they've gotten a
: bad rap...Well, scales in and of themselves are probably not good
: things to dwell on, but they are and always be a integral part
: of music. A few months ago I got FLAMED by a well known bassist
: and some others because I made the statement "Some bassists should
: probably not be soloing" I made that comment after hearing an upright
: bassist play a technically good solo that wasn't musical..Solos
: made up primarily of scalar runs are a boring waste of time, IMHO..
: Scales are a good way to develop what I call "relative pitch", that
: is, being able to instantly recogize intervals, allowing you to
: be able to pick up chord changes very quickly..If you develop
: this "relative pitch" you'll be able to learn songs without
: even having your bass in your hands. A lot of the work I'm doing
: lately is freelance, I get $100 a gig,& many of the songs I'm not
: familiar with. Charts are not always available, so it's imperative
: to be able to cop the vibe and structure of the song very quickly,
: maybe one or two passes at the most. Scales are more of just a
: device to develop your ear, not a universal tool to compose bass
: parts or solos. My time is better spent with chord construction,
: melody, harmony, reading, and listening to as much music and
: as many players as possible. I would also advise all the bass
: players out there to learn guitar, which further develops an
: understanding of chords and harmony; it can only help..
: ALSO....Keep those ears WIDE OPEN...Don't fall victim to becoming
: a musical snob...Listen to as much as you can, all styles, everything,
: anything, horn players, keyboard players, vocalists, percussionists
: of every variety...I devour music like a pig in a corn field. The
: only way to stay active making music and getting paid is to be able
: to adapt to the changing musical landscape. Becoming proficient
: at anything is like building a house; lay down a solid foundation,
: and keep adding brick by brick, this is done in music by CONSTANTLY
: learning...When we close our ears, we stagnate, falter, and become
: intellectually lazy...

: Rock on..
: Cheers,
: Pat H

Hey there Pat,
Right on, bro. Scales ARE important, yet everybody always seem to overlook they're MEANS rather than GOALS in themselves. However, I wouldn't like to see a discussion about scales reduced to a simplistic "we should learn scales" vs. "we shouldn't learn scales" kind of thing. As I stated before, scales (or any other musical device, for that matter) are only tools and, ultimately, the quality of any piece of work shouldn't be judged by the tools used; it should be judged by HOW those tools are used (which involves using them with creativity, inventiveness, and, hey ...CREATING SOME BEAUTY!).
The moral to this? Learn your scales, learn your chords, learn your Giant Steps changes and learn your rhythms ...since we're on the topic: learn everything you can! But don't stop there: use all of your aquired knowledge to make MUSIC (hey, what a concept...!!).
Buena suerte and keep your basses up front in the mix,

El Pájaro

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