Author Topic: Getting inside Holdsworth's head  (Read 8054 times)

millions

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Re: Getting inside Holdsworth's head
« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2013, 08:18:24 AM »
dogbite, this looks similar to the way Allan Holdsworth said that he generated the scales that he uses (see "Just For The Curious").

Quote:
"I started out using a fixed number, like the number 1, because of the transposing nature of stringed instruments, you can transpose real easy, which you can't do on other instruments. So I figured that if I started with, say, 5-note scales, that I could just permutate them all, like 1 through 5, then 12346, 12347, etc. through to 12."
"Then, I'd do the same with 6-note, 7-note, 8-note, and 9 notes. Then, I catalogued them, filed them away, and threw away all the ones that had more than four semitones in a row, in a straight row. And I just analyzed them, looked at them, until I could see chords within them."
"And then I realized that the way I think about chords is they're just parts of the scale that are played simultaneously; and as the chord changes go by, I don't so much think about a static chord voicing, staying, at all, changing; I just feel like the whole, the notes on the neck change. And I guess for me, the only thing that makes one scale different from another, is not the starting note, it's the separation of the intervals. So that's basically how I think of scales."

Dog, I think it would be extremely relevant and illuminating if you could show us how this might done; it would add to the "practical credibility" of all this set theory if you could; and this could tie-in with your book of possibilities, appealing to Holdsworth fans, a good selling point, IMHO; because your approach and his seem to be coming from the same "index of possibilities." If Holdsworth has proven that such an approach works, it could add new appeal to your book.

I need some confirmation on a few aspects of this; I have some questions, like why did Holdsworth stop at 9-note scales? I am thinking it got too chromatic after that.

Here are "ten really usable scales", from some of the scales which Holdsworth decided were "keepers" and discusses in the book/CD:

1. C major: 1-1-1/2-1-1-1-1/2
2. D minor/maj 7 (D melodic minor): D-E-F-G-A-B-C#-D: 1-1/2-1-1-1-1-1/2
3. A minor (maj 7, b6) (A harmonic minor): A-B-C-D-E-F-G#-A: 1-1/2-1-1-1/2--1 and 1/2--1/2
4. A minor/maj 7 #4 (E harmonic major): A-B-C-D#-E-F#-G#-A: 1-1/2--1 and 1/2--1/2-1-1-1/2
5. G# diminished (he thinks of it as G7b9 for use on altered dominants): G#-A#-B-C#-D-E-F-G-G#: 1-1/2-1-1/2-1-1/2-1-1/2 etc.
6. Bb major add #5 (jazz scale): Bb-C-D-Eb-F-F#-G-A-Bb
7. C dominant 7 (a C major with added b7): C-D-E-F-G-A-Bb-B-C
8. B jazz minor (add flat 7) (has natural 7 and raised 7): B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A-A#-B
9. A jazz minor (add flat 6) (has raised 7 only, and flat 6): A-B-C-D-E-F-F-F#-G#-A
10. Symmetrical (used to modulate): F#-G-G#-A#-B-C-D-D#-E-F#

(this post of mine was pulled from dog's "Six-tone Pitch sets" thread)

(to which dog replied:)

the process of identifying "useful" scales is defined by the purpose.  we all know that the traditional scales to learn are the ones you have mentioned, and that many of the six-tone sets are subsets of them.  in my book, i took advantage of set theory's inclusion of all possibilities - i mean who's to say that the strange subset of a hungarian minor scale won't be the coolest sound used by somebody experimenting with this stuff, consecutive half-steps notwithstanding...
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 08:34:36 AM by millions »
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millions

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Re: Getting inside Holdsworth's head
« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2013, 08:26:46 AM »
Holdsworth quote:
"I started out using a fixed number, like the number 1, because of the transposing nature of stringed instruments, you can transpose real easy, which you can't do on other instruments. So I figured that if I started with, say, 5-note scales, that I could just permutate them all, like 1 through 5, then 12346, 12347, etc. through to 12."

Okay, dog, help me out. What would these permutations look like?

12345
12346
12347
12348
12349
1234T
1234E,
then
12356
12357
12358
12359
1235T
1235E,
then
12367
12368
12369
1236T
1236E,
then
12378
12379
1237T
1237E,
then
12389
1238T
1238E,
then
1239T
12349E,
then
123TE. First permutation complete?

Also, his criteria was "discard if they have more than four semitones in a row (consecutively); none of the 5-note sets would include this, would they?
Should we change the nomenclature to include zero? as in 0-1-2-3-4 for a five-note scale?

(this post of mine was pulled from dog's "Six-tone Pitch sets" thread)

(to which dog's reply was:)

yes, many of them have three consecutive half-steps, thus sound like chromatic scale fragments.  also, many of them are forms of each other through inversion.  forte uses "zero" as the starting tone for prime forms.  it is not difficult to use a spreadsheet (such as ms works or excel) to plug in one of your forms as listed above and determine the other forms it is related to:

12345 would be 01234 through transposition

01234 could be inverted to 0123E through inversion, as would be
           
012TE, 019TE, and 089TE...

by the way, if you're using "1" as the "root," shouldn't your permutations include "12"?

in any case, the problem is to determine exactly which of these forms you have listed are related to each other.  the "prime form" is the inversion with the smallest interval between the first and last tones; therefore, 01234 would be the prime form since 0-4 is the smallest interval in the related sets:

01234, 0123E, 012TE, and 089TE.

readers please note that T is used for 10 and E for 11 in order to provide a single digit description for the tones 10 or 11 half-steps above the reference tone

so the tedious task is to determine the prime form for each of the above permutations to eliminate the ones that are not unique.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2013, 08:35:16 AM by millions »
"In Spring! In the creation of art, it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"The trouble with New Age music is that there's no evil in it."-Brian Eno

millions

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Re: Getting inside Holdsworth's head
« Reply #32 on: July 13, 2013, 08:36:20 AM »
dog, please note my correction, of my paraphrase of Holdsworth's quote: it should read "not more than four semitones in a row.

Of course, dog, you're right, when you say "...the process of identifying "useful" scales is defined by the purpose.  we all know that the traditional scales to learn are the ones you have mentioned, and that many of the six-tone sets are subsets of them..."

What I'm trying to do is to get you to talk about criteria, because the possibilities are quite large.

Let's assume that our goal is to play tonal music. Wouldn't a good criteria be to have scales which represent the aspects of this, such as major, minor, diminished, and augmented? The specifics of a criteria would run something like this, for a diminished chord or scale subset:
1. The scale must have a diminished fifth, and no "perfect" fifth should be present
2. The scale must have a minor third above 0, with no major thid, i.e, it must be a 0...3, not a 0...4 set. Etc.

Am I on the right track here?

Further, what is the criteria of a "practically useful" scale in tonal music? Should it always have a third & a fifth? Should it have 5,6, 7, 8 or 9 notes? At what point does a scale become unwieldy or too chromatic? 8 or 9 or 10 notes, 11, 12?

Also, Holdsworth briefly mentions scales which go into two octaves, perhaps three. Would these be the seemingly "unusable" rejected sets? For example, 0-2-3-4-5-7-8-9-10-11, which seems too chromatic to work as a one-octave scale, could become 0-3-5-8-11 in the first octave, then continue with 2-4-7-9-10 in the second, yielding a scale reading C-Eb-F-Ab-B-D-E-G-A-Bb spanning almost two octaves.

I strongly suspect that this is what is happening in the latest Holdsworth solos; he's exploring his old files of rejected sets, and octave-transposing them.

Some of what I've heard sounds like what many of the "free" jazz players were trying to do, but had reached the end of their jazz-based tonal resources. Maybe only Coltrane, in his study of Nicholas Slonimsky's "Thesaurus of Scales", was on to the "free" jazz in a more directed way. IMHO

(this post of mine was pulled from dogbite's "Six-tone Pitch Sets" thread)
"In Spring! In the creation of art, it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"The trouble with New Age music is that there's no evil in it."-Brian Eno

millions

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Re: Getting inside Holdsworth's head
« Reply #33 on: July 13, 2013, 08:41:21 AM »
The more I look at Holdsworth's book (Just For the Curoius) the more convinced I am that he uses some version of Forte's set theory, or similar principles.

The particulars of such a method have their idiosyncracies. For example, Holdsworth does not think of scales as having "roots" or starting notes; rather, he sees the whole scale-shape laid out on the fingerboard as certain interval sequences. A major scale is thus seen as a unique set of intervals, spread over the entire neck. No modes, just one big shape. Depending on what root is played, or what chord, determines how the scale is seen: as major or minor, or rather, if it has a "flat third" or a "major third."

But, apparently, Holdsworth has thrown out most, but not all, of the "root" and "note" thinking, as well as "scale degree" thinking (b3, b5, #6, etc.) although he does mention this in the book, as certain scales being "jazz minor."

To my mind, Holdsworth is dealing with "visual shapes" mostly; he knows his scales so well, from the first fret to the twelfth, and beyond, that he just sees them as shapes, and knows how to use each shape under different root conditions. No more thinking in scale roots or chords; just shapes.

What does anybody else think about this? Do you think this is the way Holdsworth's main approach works?

(this post of mine was pulled from dog's "Six-tone Pitch Sets" thread)
"In Spring! In the creation of art, it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"The trouble with New Age music is that there's no evil in it."-Brian Eno

Halfdim7

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Re: Getting inside Holdsworth's head
« Reply #34 on: July 19, 2013, 09:53:02 PM »
Much of this is over my head, but regarding scales that need more than one octave to complete, I believe he may be talking about scales where the intervals are actually different in each octave.
If I recall, one idea was to take all of the chromatic notes that were not used in the first octave, and place them in the second one. So, for simplicity's sake, if you had the C major scale tones of C D E F G A B, instead of moving to the next C note an octave above the starting pitch, you'd actually leave that scale and play C# D# F#, and so on. 
I think Slonimsky deals with some of this kind of stuff in his book, as well, but, for me, it is even harder to follow than Holdsworth's explanations.

Actually, I see that is more or less the conclusion you have come to, millions. Somehow didn't register with me on the first read-through. Bill Bruford is the only person I've heard claim that Holdsworth used the "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns." I've never heard Holdsworth mention it. Whatever the case, he seems to have been approaching things from a similar perspective, as is Dogbite's book.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 03:53:25 PM by Halfdim7 »
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