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Musical Theory Abound!!!
 #120052  by tcsned
 Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:53 pm
Cmnaround wrote:Messing around with A Major pentatonic and realized the 6th (F#) minor pentatonic scale is the same. How does this work from a theory perspective?
F# is the relative minor of A so they are the exact same notes, just different starting points.
 #120075  by wisedyes
 Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:35 pm
Google information on modes of the Major scale, or search the threads here - there have been a few exhaustive discussions about them, IIRC. Anyway, in a nutshell, each note of the Major scale is the starting (root) note for a mode that is composed of the same notes in that parent Major scale, but aligned differently. The different alignment gives them minor or Major tonalities, which you just discovered with the F# minor (this is the 6th mode, Aeolian).

The names, intervals, and tonalities of the modes are (using C major for ease):

1. C Ionian - Major - C-D-E-F-G-A-B (think Allman Bros/Dickey Betts)
2. D Dorian - minor - D-E-F-G-A-B-C (think Carlos Santana)
3. E Phyrgian - minor - E-F-G-A-B-C-D (Spanish jam sounding)
4. F Lydian - Major - F-G-A-B-C-D-E (shows up in jazz a lot)
5. G Mixolydian - Major w/b7 - G-A-B-C-D-E-F (think...what's that guy's name??? oh yeah Jerry Garcia!)
6. A Aeolian - minor - A-B-C-D-E-F-G (natural minor scale)
7. B Superlocrian - B-C-D-E-F-G-A (don't really know of anyone that uses this one much)

Anyway, you should notice how these modes all use the same notes, but because of the intervals between them (either Major or minor 3rds) are Major or minor in nature. If you want to really get inside the type of jamming that the Dead or the Allmans did, then you must get a handle on modal playing. "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis is kind of the Bible for modal playing, you should give it a few listens while working on this stuff.

This is also tied in with how the Major scale is harmonized, btw. For instance, in C major the chords of the harmonized scale are:

C Major7
D min7
E min7
F Major7
A min7
B min7b5

So each mode "fits" over the chord it goes with in the harmonized scale.
 #120194  by vwjodyme
 Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:06 pm
Not as advanced as the above guy, but I think an easy way to think about it is when you play a minor pent and go to the 2nd position you have the relative major first position. Or if you are playing major pent and go back a position to 5 (box1 I think) you are playing the relative minor's first position.