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  1. I like to tell my students what Chet Atkins once said to a student in an old "teaching" video I saw on the internet. If you haven't seen it, its great, look it up, had me laughing. I don't want to give it away as to why, and ruin it, but worth the hunt. "All mistakes by the teacher/instructor are purely intentional". Best, Sean Rnb Academy .com
  2. Hi Wim, That's cool my friend. I'm just here to help where I can, though. Theory and helping others is my life's passion. I've also thought more about this question and I'd like to offer some more information that may help you and others on your journey. BR asked about the best note and strongest note to start on, and used C as an example, which seemed to assume, that it was in C, and that the correct notes of a C Triad are in fact C E and G. They asked if G would be the preferred note. Several pointed out that C might be a solid choice, and I agree. But to make this a little more helpful, I thought I would go through the hierarchy of choices in the C E G notes, as starting options, and express why they might be good starting choices. C is a great choice because it is the same note as the name of the chord; the "Root" by which the supporting harmony of the chord is based. E is a great choice, because yes, it is in the triad, and we know it as the 3rd, but it also is the only note in the chord that tells you if its quality is major or minor, so if you wanted to derive a value in the melody that was a little more interesting a note to start a song on, than the more "predictable" C that accentuated also its "majorness" then E is a great example. If the song was to be played in C minor, that E would be now a half step back , and be Eb, and that "minorness" over a C, would be fairly easily felt. As an example of that "feeling", just for fun, if you listen to the 4 chords in the Radiohead song "Creep" The 4 chords are: G B C and Cm. The *only* thing that tells you it's Cm, is you hear/feel that E note, move to an Eb. If the bass had only been playing on C, you'd never have "felt" that chord "change". The idea that that E moved to an Eb, is the ONLY sense of this major or minor shift, which makes for a very interesting and uncommon progression. My real point though, is to say how cool it might be, and what unique properties a 3rd can convey, if you use it as a starting note. Then you have the G, the last note in a C triad (chord). I see this as the least important of the three. More like, it "Fills in the harmony" for the other two voices. Many times in chords themselves, stripped down to the minimum notes needed to convey the chord and quality, the 5th would be gone. That said, many times a song in C can start the melody on the G note (the 5th) as others have pointed out, and be just fine. However, there might be another interesting way to use the 5th as your starting note and that might be as a "Pickup" note to go to the C. To give you the barebones tip, without going into the underlying theory here, the 5th of the chord, wants to pull to the Root. so if you played G say a couple of times, and THEN to the C note to "start" the melody, it can be very effective. The reason this can be felt, is derived from the concept that the V chord in Diatonic Harmony and the study of Cadences WANTS to resolve a song on the I chord in that key. So its like a "gravity" pull and it can be a very powerful songwriting device when you understand it, and cadences as a whole. Best, Sean RnB Academy .com
  3. Hey all, new guy here! Interesting article. So the way I think of most of this, is simply as a Blues scale with an added major 3rd, as a sweet note, passing note etc. If you see each note in the scale as equal, I think something is lost. For example the notes, Intervals of the Minor Pentatonic scale: 1, b3, 4, 5, b7 - I'd consider them primary. Your landing spots, etc. b5 - our blues note - passing tone, adds that blues, flavor/vibe not great to stay on or resolve to. if I add the major 3rd to this, its a sweet note, much like the b5 is, as a passing tone. I get why they call it Mixolydian, but I think it just muddies the waters for me. Mixolydian is a major scale, with a flat 7th I get that, but the b7 is already there in the Minor pentatonic. So the only added note is the major 3rd to our blues scale. I feel that if you look at it this way, and use it with the b3 or minor 3rd as color notes or passing tones, you get away from a "scale" and more into conceptualizing how they all go together, with something you already know, the blues scale. If you merely play and practice this as a scale, I think many will miss the idea and it will start to sound like a string of chromatics when you get to the b3, 3, 4, b5, and 5. I also get that the Mixolydian would have the 2, where the blues scale and pentatonic do not, which is essentially felt as the 9th in Blues, but again, that can be added to, later once you assimilate the idea and hierarchy of these other two ideas, in a playing context. Best, Sean RnB Academy .com
  4. Hello, New guy on the block. Let me see if I can tackle this. It seems like you are asking a good question. "How do you start a melody in a particular key? What is the best note to begin on?" But in a sense, its a lot like asking "What's the perfect word to start a novel on?" There is no perfect word that fits everyone. Music in a way is a language. I feel that if you learn the basics of the language, you can narrow down the choices. In a song like Happy Birthday, trial and error is one way to do that. But the first 2 notes of the melody are "pick up" notes. The song itself starts on the third note. The accent of the chord itself will be the first bar of the song. So in this instance, it's like a "run-up" to the song itself "starting". I use this example to express that there are no right or wrong notes to start a melody on. What I feel would help, though, is that you DO have some idea of the chord underpinnings on that. So for that, at a minimum: 1. I'd suggest being able to write out, play and absorb/memorize internally the pitch collections of the major scale. This is like language. 2. I'd suggest that at a minimum, you understand Diatonic Harmony. This is the idea that for every note of the scale you are on, there is a chord, that fits it like a group or family. There are some parameters to that, that are outside of the scope of this answer, and I don't want to get into the weeds with you on it, but if you ask everyone "What are the diatonic triads of F Major?" every correct answer would match up. So this is something that can be learned, and memorized, and in my opinion, it is essential to understanding "language" as well. For example, even if its not "Playing" you can still "hear" in your head, where the direction of the chords would be going if they were playing. This could then inform you of a possible starting melody note 3. I'd suggest you study and learn Cadences. Cadences give the direction to the resolution of a part of a progression. a V to I is a cadence, for example. You can also learn chord tendencies, like how many songs go I IV V, of vi ii V I or any number of directions. If this is getting you a bit into the weeds, and you don't know what I just stated above, no worries. If you learn the Harmonized Major Scale, and we also call this Diatonic Harmony, and you label the order of these chords starting on the first chord of the family with Roman Numerals... Here...I'll use the chords in the key of F Major as an example: F Gm Am Bb C Dm Edim The first chord is F which would be Roman Numeral I. Gm - The next chord, or chord number 2 would be ii (MInor chords get lower case roman numerals and Major get uppercase) Then using a vi ii V I - with F being the key, you'd have Dm Gm C and then F played in that order. This is an example of what I mean by chord directions, or tendencies which us that understand that language can identify and conceptualize and hear...again this is language, and it's learned by steps and practice and application. So ultimately in your development as a musician that wants to understand language, you can "hear" the melody you want, and the way the chords, if they were played, where they'd be, and that might inform you as to what you want your melody to do, and/or what someone else's melody might be doing, and based off of. Rarely is any melody written devoid of a sense of where the chords might go if they were there, is what I'm saying. Even if they aren't there, a melodies accented or emphasized notes give some sense of a place where a chord might have been placed. I hope these thoughts, while they might not have directly answered your question, give you some idea where TO start developing your own language, so that you can answer this question, for yourself any time. Everyone's answers definitely work, what I was thinking is that one alternative to trial and error is to have some sense of what chords might be playing in the background, even if they won't actually be there, they can still be felt. Best, Sean RnB Academy .com

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