Connect with us

Scales and Modes With Joshua Barnhart: Chord Scales, a Breakdown of Scales and Their Functions Part III


Scales and Modes With Joshua Barnhart: Chord Scales, a Breakdown of Scales and Their Functions Part III

Meet Joshua Barnhart –

Welcome back, lets get started with part 3 Phrygian. Phrygian is considered a tonic scale much like Ionian or Aeolian. Its one of the few scales that carries 3 different cadence patterns (bVII, V, and bII) making it a strong point of resolution. Its characteristic note is the minor second it has. Many composers such as Avishai Cohen, Miles Davis, and Wayne Shorter use it as a jumping point because of its unique pseudo-middle eastern sound and it is easily exchanged for Spanish Phrygian, which is the same scale only with a major third added.

So now lets take a look at some workouts that will get us familial with this scale. This week we’re going to play the scale in intervals. If you think about it, playing any scale from one note up to its octave is a series of seconds, that’s were we get our whole step, half step idea. Well in this work out we’re playing everything in the other intervals. Lets first look at Phrygian in E:

Lets give thirds as our first example. You’re going to play the entire scale only using thirds to reach the next notes. 1, b3, 5, b7, b9, 11, b13, and 1 these are called tertial stacks or stacks of third:

If you have four strings use your open E on this example and try to stay in one place by grabbing the G with your middle finger and slide up to the E at the octave. One thing that’s great about these examples is that you can pick different routs ascending and descending. When you go up to the octave do yourself a favor and try to come down a different way then you came. Then reasscend that same pattern and descend the way you originally ascended. If you’re playing a 5 string or 6 string like me do you best to stay in one place, then try it again with movement.

Once you’re used to doing that give your brain a work out and introduce some other intervals. This is something I never really looked into until I started taking lessons with Janek Gwizdala. I suggest 4ths and 5ths aka quartal and quintal intervals because 6ths and 7ths can get a little ridiculous and ultimately impossible unless you’re sporting 8 octaves. Even 5ths only allow someone with 6 strings to reach up to the 7th unless you have 28 frets and can reach that high E.

Take your time get it right, remember perfect practice makes perfect.

More in Latest




To Top