Who’s on First?


The Vision

All right, so I started this system of using pentatonic scales based on chord shapes to map out where they are on the neck. The fretboard. I thought of this myself, but others before me had thought of it. It is called CAGED. The chord shapes follow the word CAGED. So, if you play an open C that is the C shape. Then A, which starts on the 3rd fret, etc. If you capoed on the 3rd fret then played an A chord it would be transposed to C, the actual sound. If you are not familiar with this then go back to the previous step before climbing the pyramid any higher. But I took the idea with the chord shapes, extended it to scales, pentatonic scales, the Blues scale is based on the pentatonic scale, and there is a jazz scale, the melodic minor scale, where you have either a major scale with a lowered third, or a minor scale (Dorian Mode) with a major 7th. That scale could also be thought of as a Lydian Mode with a lowered 7th. Like F, the Lydian Mode of C, but with an Eb. This is how I am using it in my system, because the Pentatonic of F remains intact in the C Jazz Minor scale. In classical music this is called the Ascending Melodic Minor scale. Weird, that they think of it as using this scale melodically only when going up the scale. Like the melodies will always go in one direction only, or I guess you use a different scale when going down. They have a Harmonic Minor Scale, which is only used for chords, I suppose. But how do you know if a note is a melody or a harmony? They have the Relative Minor, which is like a minor 3rd below or a 6th above. A Minor is the Relative Minor of C Major. If you wanted an E7 to resolve to an Am then you would use the Harmonic Minor Scale and it would have a G#. The A Harmonic Scale is actually a C Major scale with a raised 5th: G#. But I digress, and I promised my mother I wouldn’t digress any more.

What I wanted to talk about was how I named the chords that I obtained from the Lydian Flat 7 scale after my siblings. I have 3 sisters and 3 brothers. Wait, I just almost digressed, but I suppressed the urge to digress, and I will just say that the possible trigrams of the I Ching also form a family of 3 brothers and 3 sisters, with a mother and father. So, 8 hexagrams. Another I Chingish element of my scale method uses yin and yang for the possible note distributions. There is a yin scale fragment and a yang, and then there is one called Skip, which is like a whole step, or where you skip a fret and play the next note. In the Lydian Flat 7 scale, there is also a transgender scale fragment that combines yin and yang — male and female: the yinyang! All the major scales follow this pattern: yin yin yang yang skip. This recurs and follows this order in a circular fashion, depending on where you start. For instance: yang yang skip yin yin. Actually, since there are 6 strings the pattern repeats on the high e string. Thus: yin yin yang yang skip yin. Speaking of skipping, I am sure that people are going to start skipping ahead (or skipping back to an earlier entry that explains this a little better) for it might seem like a lot of gibberish, mumbo jumbo, so I will leave this train of thought for now, and try to partially fulfill the oath I made to my mother about not going off on tangents.

So, I named the chords after my siblings: Big brother, Don; Middle Brother Tim; and Little Brother, Kevin. Then Big Sister, Lisa; Middle Sister Nancy; and Little Sister, Joanie. At first I really couldn’t hear how these chords were supposed to work, and I wasn’t hearing them. This concept lay fallow for a long while, but later I found that it really worked out well. There was one problem, though. I won’t go into it, since it would require another tangent, but there were chords that occurred between these 6 chords, and they didn’t work as well but sometimes in certain otherwise awkward situations they would be just fine. I named these chords Oscar, Neil, Troye, Sappho, Virginia, and Ellen. Obviously, they are named after Wilde, Patrick Harris, Sivan, and Σαπφώ. I’m not afraid to cry Woolf — NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

I didn’t really have much occasion to use the chords I designated as Oscar, Neil, Sappho or Virginia, but Troye and Ellen worked out well — though I used Ellen in a hybrid form, like she was driving a Prius. Anyway, it doesn’t matter so much why I gave the names, genders, and personalities of these chords the names I chose, but it helped me place them in certain situations where a chord progression would go from one to another. Made it into a story — a narrative. You see, they derived from diminished chords, and you would raise either the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th note of the diminished chord to get a half diminished chord. So, I thought of them as 1, 2, 3, and 4, but then it got confusing because Pentatonic Scales are also based on numbers, like 12356. So, what I wanted was a way to associate the chord forms with names, like they were people, and the scales were places they liked to dwell. Ellen is 1, Troye is 2, Kevin is 3, and Joanie is 4.

Without further ado, I will tell you how I keep track of which Lydian Flat 7 scale where I find each of my chord people. Don and Nancy are in the C scape of the C shore. Kevin lives in an A frame house he built himself. Lisa and Troye live in G ps (Jeeps). They are vagabonds who are always on the road, so they would be really lost without their G PS. Tim and Joanie also want to E scape, but are mired in the E shape. Finally, Ellen drives her Prius, a hybrid vehicle, in the D formed Forest. It is on the border of the C scape by the C shore, but really Ellen is the only one who lives in the D formed Forest, not counting Portia, who doesn’t really have the honor of having a chord named after her, though I am sure she deserves an award for participation, but there were only so many chord trophies to give out.

So, then, when you are playing the last 8 bars of Stella by Starlight, you can use these forms and they will follow this order: Ellen, Kevin, Troye. Kevin, Troye, Joanie. Troye, Joanie, Ellen. Or Joanie, Ellen, Kevin. The roots of the half diminished chords go down the Whole Step scale. But each chord form moves up to the next fret. Not sure if this is understandable from this explanation, but bear with me (or bare with me, if that is your desire). It does make sense, and I practice these patterns everyday in all 12 keys until they are second nature to me.

It might sound like gibberish to you, but it is a lot less confusing than trying to think like, 1 is in 2, but which 1 are we talking about? And you thought that Math was supposed to eliminate ambiguity.

Who’s on first?
~ Abbott and Costello

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