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Sancho Panza

"East-West" scale.

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I'm still struggling and I haven't got an clear answer from anyone. Does anyone know what scale Bloomfield is playing on "East-West"? Does he even play a "scale" or does he add flats to the pentatonic?

 

Some quotes about the song (I DON'T know any theory at all, so maybe someone could explain it to me)

 

"This song was based, like Indian music, on a drone,” Naftalin has said. “In Western musical terms it ‘stayed on the one."

 

"Pre-’East-West' I was listening to a lot of Coltrane, a lot of Ravi Shankar, and guys that played modal music. The idea wasn’t to see how far you could go harmonically, but to see how far you could go melodically or modally. And that’s what I was doing in ‘East-West’ and I think that’s why a lot of guitar players liked it.”

 

What's modal? And what does he mean with "how far you could go harmonically, but to see how far y could go melodically or modally."?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaV-S5ivX3E

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Most music across the world can be loosely categorised as either 'modal' or 'harmonic' in structure...

 

Harmonic...using more or less complex chord structures to give interest and emotional content to the music

 

Modal...generally, but not excusively 'staying on one' chord and with or without a drone accompaniment, using single note melodies to provide interest...

 

There has been an inter-weaving of both musics for several 100's of years

 

Being re-interpreted by the jazz/rock fraternity in the 60's (and arguably before)

 

An interesting subject...as big as music itself... [biggrin]

 

V

 

:-({|=

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:mellow:

I wasn't familiar with this track (tsk!) but - Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop are the Guitarists.

The tune is in D minor - the rhythm gtr is playing a D mi7 chord at the beginning.

 

The first lead guitar part uses a D Dorian minor scale (DEFGABCD) which is the same notes as the C major scale.

At about 1min12sec he sweeps across the notes of Dminor, D,F,A at the 12th and 10th frets and adds C# passing tone, not in the scale.

As the track progresses he adds many more passing tones so it's 'free/mixed scale usage'.

 

In the 2nd, main solo he changes the tonality and uses (very roughly) the following 8-note scale;

D Eb F F# G A Bb C# D

Notice the semitones - this is a mixture of Phrygian and Locrian with a bit of Half step/Whole step Diminished thrown in. He also bends these notes, uses several 'cells' of 3 consecutive semitones (D Eb E, E F F#, G G# A, C C# D) though not all at once or together, and D blues/pentatonic scale-based licks.

 

At about 5.30 into the piece it becomes apparent that the guitar's high E string is tuned down to D - it may be that he tuned the whole guitar down a whole tone. A closer listen would settle this but it would make sense. Anyway, he uses the high D open string note as a drone and plays up and down the other strings against it.

 

After the climax at about 7 mins, the guitar plays purely D major scale notes until approx 8.20 when notes from the Minor and Dominant scales are introduced. Some chord parts are played, with again roughly a D7 (Dominant) tonality.

I think the last solo is the other guitarist - Bishop. Sounds different. Someone's using a twin with the trem on.

 

Also take your standard D minor pentatonic at the 10th fret and move it up 2 frets; this is Emin pentatonic but all the notes still fit with D minor.

 

Hope this helps.

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He is playing in a very highly improvised way. That's his vision. A lot of us do what he's doing. He using a simple minor scale, one poster said the Dorian, and he's right. It's almost certain that he's not playing a bunch of stock licks but is feeling his way through this minor scale (he knows it pretty well, since he's played in it so often), and he tries a few little experiments. He knows that he can play a D note and he knows that he can play a C note since they're both in the scale.

 

As the other poster pointed out, he plays a C#, which is NOT in the scale, but he knows that if you don't do it TOO slowly,...then you can play the D note which is in the scale, and on the way to playing the C note which is also in the scale, he can play the note in between there- C# which is NOT in the scale. You can do that with most any notes. I won't go into detail.

 

But the main point is, his "vision" may be to feel like he's in Morocco or the Taj Mahal, but what he's DOING, is playing through a minor scale (you can do it with a major scale too, of course) and trying some things that are NOT allowed in that scale. Things that if you fit them in correctly, sound good.

 

Another thing along that line that he does is looks at a note he knows that is acceptable (in other words, in the scale) and then before he picks it, he bends it up to be some other note, and THEN picks it, and then lets it down to the note that he originally realized was acceptable.

 

That's all the real explanation there is to what he's doing. Believe me. He's just experimenting as he plays. He know the foundation really well, and has good notions of what will PROBABLY sound pretty good. Some guys are really good at it, some aren't so good. You must practice doing it by doing it. That's all there is to it. It is the only way to learn how to do what he's doing. By doing it. If you try to "learn" it, you'll just be a poser.

 

My playing for 35 years has been NOTHING BUT doing that, in a way.

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Thank you both jdgm and axuality for your analysis! I've been reading about the track on other forums, though nothing has been as accurate as those two. I remeber reading somewhere that the first solo, which actually is played by Elvin Bishop, was based on the G Harmonic scale and that Bloomfield, who plays the other two solos, had tuned his guitar to drop D. I will try to find them again.

 

So one could actually get through the second solo by playing, fairly atleast, by playing D-minor pentatonic with some added semitones?

 

Thanks again!

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So one could actually get through the second solo by playing, fairly atleast, by playing D-minor pentatonic with some added semitones?

 

Thanks again!

 

Hmm..sort of...maybe...not exactly, he's not thinking pentatonic most of the time. However it's a way in, and I say try anything and see if it works for you.

Take the Dmin pentatonic and the same exact pattern a semitone higher - Eb min pentatonic - and combine them and you will find some of the sounds he's playing. But as Axuality says, he's experimenting a lot and not really sticking to any one scale.

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Hmm..sort of...maybe...not exactly, he's not thinking pentatonic most of the time. However it's a way in, and I say try anything and see if it works for you.

Take the Dmin pentatonic and the same exact pattern a semitone higher - Eb min pentatonic - and combine them and you will find some of the sounds he's playing. But as Axuality says, he's experimenting a lot and not really sticking to any one scale.

Thanks for the tip! I don't think that anyone will ever capture his vision, he does the unexpected. Maybe that's why he's one of the best guitarist who'd ever walked the godforsaken earth.

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