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Scales in Songwriting

Discussion in 'Musicians Discussion' started by Impudent, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. Impudent

    Impudent I Turned Into a Martian

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    Should scales be used in the songwriting process? I recently started using scales while writing songs, but is this necessary? I don't really think it makes a difference in sound/quality of the music, like I thought it would. Do most bands use scales when writing a song?

    Edit: I decided to do this to narrow down my choice of notes, and possibly make it easier to come up with riffs, but now I just feel like I'm limiting myself.
     
  2. Black Core

    Black Core Sir MIMA & Leo Godfather

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    You should do as you please, it has to come from the inside
     
  3. lycanthropyhowl

    lycanthropyhowl fuck the newfits!

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    scales make it alot easier write music, because youll know what notes fit, also it makes it easier on the band to know what scale and your playing so they can follow along.
     
  4. Impudent

    Impudent I Turned Into a Martian

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    That's what I figured, but it's been easier coming up with stuff without using a scale.
     
  5. Cease

    Cease New Metal Member

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    The greatest thing about using scales in songwriting, to me, is simply the freedom that it gives you. And knowing what scale you're in in context of the tune can let you pull out the right note that doesn't fit in the scale, but still has the perfect sound you're looking for.

    Most of the time when writing for my band, I'm given a basic chord structure and (like in jazz music) follow along with what scales fit each chord, but when I write my own tunes I play w/o thinking of the scales at first (as much as I can anyway), and then when I find something I like, analyze my own chord structure from the riff(s) I write, so that way I can know possible choices of where to go, as well as knowing where I am in what I write.

    Really the big thing is finding your own style where you're comfortable, and where you can easily concentrate on the sound that you're producing.
     
  6. Nebbiez

    Nebbiez Tech/Prog Metal Maniac

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    If you've been writing music that has any sort of rhythm or melody to it, you already have been using scales, you just don't know it yet. The thing that puts most people off scales is the fact that there are so many of them and taking time to memorise all their names and the notes they contain is no easy task. I personally would recommend scales for many reasons. Firstly it will open your eyes up to alot of songwriting possibilities. You will start to figure out which keys you prefer playing in best and how to move between those keys smoothly. Scales are also very important for improvisation. For melodic improvisation, they give you a basis for building a pattern on. It also helps with dissonant improvisation so you know which note doesn't fit the scale but fits in the context of what you're playing.

    So all in all I would suggest taking time to learn scales yes, but don't rush through and try to learn them all in a day or something stupid. It takes time and patience but will pay off in the end. As for using scales for writing songs, that's entirely up to you. Personally I wouldn't start writing a song based on a scale unless it was a particular exotic scale that had a certain ring to it. But just working with the chromatic scale all the time can give you too many options to work with. It's always down to the individual musician.
     
  7. Impudent

    Impudent I Turned Into a Martian

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    I have the Guitar Grimoire scale book. I wrote two songs using the first two scales in the book (F Major and F sharp Major). Both songs were kind of hard to come up with, but they sound great now. I wrote a song recently without a scale and I really don't like the way it sounds. Maybe I will use scales from now on.
     
  8. BrandonS

    BrandonS Member

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    I only know the E minor and major scale, but when I write music I don't think of scales or modes or the like. I make cool chord progressions, improvisational solos, and just really effective rhythm work. It's creativity that matters and if you get your noodle stuck in a text book, it will just limit you. :)
     
  9. lycanthropyhowl

    lycanthropyhowl fuck the newfits!

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    well, no matter what your always playing in a scale...
     
  10. Honkey_Kong

    Honkey_Kong New Metal Member

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    jesus christ, tell me you guys aren't really this fucking stupid and this is all just some joke.
     
  11. DHD

    DHD New Metal Member

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    Scales aren't very musical if you run them up and down. But if you take the time to listen to the feeling and the overall harmony and effect, then you will give yourself the chance to find music in them that you like.

    Guitarists that just make up a sorta super scale that they play over everything just end up sounding the same. Try to identfy the sound and feeling of differnet scales and modes so that your playing varies and all your solos don't sound the same! Style within limits using ideas that please YOU.

    Just search through the musicto gain the coolest ideas. So long as you listen to what you are playing and exploring rather than just letting your fingers noodle around the neck you will hear with your own 2 ears if something is worth exploring.

    Peace,
    DHD
     
  12. Entropiastrife

    Entropiastrife keeper of the keys

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    everyone should write in scales, and then learn how to use non-chord tones, know scale/chord relationships, modulation and other things to keep things interesting. sticking to a scale helps prevent you from sounding dissonant (in a bad way), it will just sound flat out shitty if you play an solo in the f minor scale over a d major chord.
     

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