Is it a waste of time to learn ALL the scales ?
Last Post 07 Jun 2012 12:44 PM by AGC. 6 Replies.
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Sun Tzu

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    22 Apr 2012 05:39 PM
    I just want to say that I'm serious about my music and I want to have all the tools needed to express exactly what I want musically.
     I came across this scale and chord helper http://warbeats.com/Resources/Scale-and-Chord-Helper and I noticed that there are hundreds of scales besides the basic major and minor scales.I'm kind of a beginner so I'm asking you.Do you think that it's not necessary to learn all of them?Do professional producers know all of them?And not house producers.No offense to the house producers but you don't need to know that much music theory for house music.Again I'm NOT talking about just the major ,minor,melodic minor,etc....
    Hope you can help me to understand .Thanks !
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    werm

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    22 Apr 2012 08:54 PM
    I certainly don't know them all, some are more familiar in popular music, but to your question: that's how music stays fresh. Because there are so many ways to approach a song. But, you will find lots of people who have their favorites and the scales they use become somewhat of a trademark. I love Harmonic Minor, personally, but I don't restrict myself to that only. Knowledge is power, I say learn. It's only gonna serve to make you a more versatile producer and put a bit more into your arsenal of tools. But learning them all? Haha, you decide. One.
    But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. --Psalm 22:6
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    DarkMatter

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    22 Apr 2012 10:34 PM
    Learning is never wasted time. but as far as learning all of them thats a bit of a stretch. But from my own experience i can tell you the more i messed with different scales and modes the more things started to make sense musically and the more complex my beats started to sound. so i would say learn as much as you can and try to apply it and see what happens. You might make something sick by using a scale or mode that you never used before.
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    Marvelous One
    Brooklyn's Finest (moderator)
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    23 Apr 2012 05:43 PM
    Learning all the scales isn't a waste of time in my opinion because honestly that can make you stand out in a lot of producers who are dime-a-dozen now a days. Definitely does not hurt to elarn more scales and more music theory and apply it.
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    AGC

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    30 Apr 2012 10:29 PM
    Well, Major Minor Pentatonic and Harmonic Minor... the rest are just these started from a different note. Google Modes. So in reality there are not that many different ones and keys aren't really "different scales" so you can learn in one key and use transpose button. If you add diminished and augmented... that's about it. Six scales... for the most part.
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    vDevIl

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    05 Jun 2012 06:29 AM
    also some of these scales would be very "strange" for the usual mainstream-listener.
    but the more u "know" the more u can express.
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    AGC

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    07 Jun 2012 12:44 PM
    Posted By vDevIl on 05 Jun 2012 07:29 AM
    also some of these scales would be very "strange" for the usual mainstream-listener.
    but the more u "know" the more u can express.

    Agreed, diminished and whole tone gotta be very "slick" to use a little bit for effect... maybe even with the harmonic minor.  I don't consider that time wasted cause sometimes that little ethnic thing from harmonic minor and it's modes can be cool in a Scott Storch / Timbaland kinda way hear and there and the diminished can give that spooky classical "Phantom of the Opera" kinda vibe... whole tone was used by John Lennon of the Beatles and a few Motown hits for a "spacey vibe" on a turnaround.  But yeah... that stuff isn't used much anymore except by professional songwriters that write for people like Beyonce or Kelly Clarkson or something like that... not "mainstream", "raw" music, not really necessary I agree.  I barely ever use them anymore when composing.

    Most pop and rock is pretty much Natural Minor and Pentatonic Minor for the most part... maybe a couple happy Major / Major Pentatonic jams  so yeah.... four scales tops + the transpose button on your keyboard / DAW and that pretty much covers it,

    White keys starting from A or C for Major and Minor and Black Keys from Gb and Eb for Major and Minor Pentatonic and using the transpose button for the different Keys pretty much covers it.  Would take less than an afternoon to understand the concept well enough to use it when composing, not much "time wasted" at all.  I could condense chords in a similar manner... theory is not really as complicated as it sounds.  All the Greek names are optional, ha ha.

    But yeah, we could break our "hundreds of scales" down to four and would still be saving a lot of time when we want to create a "happy melody" vs a "sad one" etc.  So because I know that historically how people emotionally interpret certain collections of notes... saves me a lot of time. 
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