When playing a melodic instrument in a band setting you play chords and/or notes according to a key signature. This key signature provides a tonal framework for the piece of music that all melodic instruments follow. Any musician in the band can then choose from a specific group of notes that "go together" because they are rooted in the same key. There are a total of 12 key signatures in music. The Soundcraftsman record only has 6 keys, b/c your turntable has a pitch control that can get you the other 6. On the industry standard Technics 1200 turntable, shifting the pitch to +/-6% is equavalent to about a half step change. Therefore, I have included only the 6 whole note keys (C, D, E, F#, G#, A#) for you to start with.
In each of the 6 key signatures, there are 6 instruments to choose from. Piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Mellotron flute, Hammond B3 organ, Moog organ, Yamaha CS80 bass/synth. You can now play any note and simple chords in any of these instruments in all 12 key signatures. Side B has even more sounds to choose from. There are lots of melody lines played by musicians that you can chop up and rearrange yourself. Everything from flutes to electric guitar.
The scales are pentatonic (5 notes), because I felt like it was necessary to limit the number of notes so that they could all comfortably fit within 1 revolution of the record. The scales repeat 6 times. The first 2 times is the scale in ascending order so you can tune your instrument to the root note (ie: the first note of the scale). Then, the note order and quantization (timing) changes with each repeat. You will never find the same timing or note order on any instrument in any of the key signatures, b/c it is all 100% random. This offers you tremendous help, b/c now you won�t be forced to push the record around to get the notes you want. I have seen some ideas out there that provide scales with multiple octaves on vinyl only in ascending order (ex: C, C#, D, D#, E,F, F#, G, G#,A, A#, B). This is nice in theory, but it's too difficult to get from say B to E, b/c the notes are 3/4 of a record revolution apart from each other. This is why I have varied the note order on each scale on each revolution. Besides, it's isn't very likely that you would play all the notes anyway. Which is why I chose the pentatonic scale.
More info on this can be found in the "Music Theory" section.
The chords are triad (comprised of 3 notes), because these are the most simple chords. They tend to work in a wide range of musical situations. All chords are played in a progression. I have chosen the popular 2-5-1 chord progression. The chords are going to be less popular, so they only repeat once and are in the format, major then relative minor. For more details on chords and chord progressions, check out the "Music Theory" section.
Don't worry, this record still has traditional scratches like csshh, freshhhh, skipless drums, vocal phrases and many more (most are skipless).
The CD version has 22 bonus tracks (breakbeats, original songs and even popular instrumentals) that you can easily loop using almost any CDJ unit.
A final note...I realize that not everything will be perfectly laid out on this record. The idea is to offer you a well rounded scratch tool. If you have an idea or suggestion, then I want to hear it.
This is the beginning of a new and exciting era in tools for the turntable musician.
First, make sure that your turntable is tuned/pitched correctly. The 2nd track on Side A (after the intro) is a chromatic scale. This simply means the notes C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B in ascending order. The first note of this scale is C. Adjust the turntable pitch until it matches true C on either a chromatic tuner or on an instrument you know to be already in tune. This will get your turntable in perfect pitch.
Once you have tuned your turntable, pick a key to play in. This record provides you with 6 whole step keys (C, D, E, F#, G#, A#) to choose from. To get to key signatures other than C, D, E, F#, G#, A# you will have to adjust your pitch. Each turntable is different, but usually to go up/down a half step change your pitch +/- 6% (that's what it is for a Technics 1200). For example, if you are on C you can get either B or C# by changing your turntable's pitch +/- 6%. See the table below for instructions on how to get all 12 key signatures using your turntable's pitch control.
If you are playing along with recorded music, a band or other material that you don't know the key of, then find the note on the chromatic scale that matches the music the best/most often. This will most likely be the key signature of the music. Find that key signature on Side A and play the notes/chords associated with it and you should be golden.
How to get all 12 keys on a Technics 1200:
|C||B||set pitch to about -6|
|C#(Db)||set pitch to about +6|
|D||C#(Db)||set pitch to about -6|
|D#(Eb)||set pitch to about +6|
|E||D#(Eb)||set pitch to about -6|
|F||set pitch to about +6|
|F#(Gb)||F||set pitch to about -6|
|G||set pitch to about +6|
|G#(Ab)||G||set pitch to about -6|
|A||set pitch to about +6|
|A#(Bb)||A||set pitch to about -6|
|B||set pitch to about +6|
This record was designed to be played in 33.3 RPM and all of the instructions are for that RPM setting. However, feel free to experiment with 45 RPM as well.
There are lots of instruments for you to choose from on this record! In a turntable band, one member could play rhythm with the chords and another could play lead with the scales/notes. Another member could use the skipless drums on side B while a final member could play basslines from the assorted melodies on side B.
This will take practice. Remember, always pay attention to what sounds correct. Your ears never lie.
This is a very basic music theory discussion that is meant to give you a better idea of how to use the Soundcraftsman record. In this theory discussion, I will be talking in terms of a piano, but the same theory applies for all musical instruments.
Scales are the building blocks for chords. A diatonic scale is composed of a series of 5 whole steps and 2 half steps (aka semi-tones). If you start with the note C and progress up the keyboard to the key adjacent to C, you will be at C#(Db). This is a half step. If you start with the note C and progress up the keyboard a whole step, you will be a D. Refer to the figure below...
You may notice that there aren't any black keys between E and F or between B and C. From E to F is a half step as is B to C. A whole step from E would be F#(Gb).
The # symbol means sharp. The b symbol (ex: Bb) means flat. If you are on C and want to raise it a half step, it becomes C#. If you are on B and want to lower it a half step it becomes Bb. Just so you know Bb = A#. They are the exact same note, just written down/notated differently.
Major scales are made up of 5 whole notes and 2 half steps in the sequence: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step. Based on this sequence the C Major scale would be C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. These sequence positions are called intervals. An interval is simply the distance from one scale tone to another. In the C Major scale C=1, D=2, E=3, F=4, G=5, A=6, B=7. You may often times see the intervals as roman numerals (such as the tables below).
The Soundcraftsman record is based on the whole note scale C, D, E, F#, G#, A# (simply progress from C to B only using whole steps), b/c you can adjust your turntable's pitch to get all of the remaining 6 half steps.
Now we can move on to minor scales. There are 3 main types of minor scales (unlike the major...it only has 1). There is natural minor, melodic minor and harmonic minor. For the scope of this discussion, we will stick to the most common, the natural minor scale. The natural minor scale is also known as the relative minor scale, b/c it begins with the 6th interval of the major scale. For example, C Major's 6th interval is A. Therefore, A minor is the relative minor of C Major.
You will also notice that this relative minor relationship means that every Major scale has the same notes as it's relative minor scale...just in a different order. This is why I placed the relative minor directly next to the major it is related to. For example, D Major will be grouped with B minor in the key signature of D Major. This means that you can play any note or chord in either D Major and it's relative minor and still be in the same key signature.
To build a minor scale, simply follow the sequence whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step. For C minor you would get C, D, D#(Eb), F, G, G#(Ab), A#(Bb).
You may notice though that the tables below have major, minor, dim written above or next to them. This is referring to the chord structures. Chords are formed by combining 2 or more notes simultaneously. The simplest and most common chord is the triad (3 note) chord. The Major triad consists of the 1st, 3rd and 5th tones/intervals of the Major scale. For C Major this would be C, E, G. The shorthand notation for a triad C Major chord (ie: playing notes C, E, G simultaneously) is C Major, C Maj or sometimes just C. Some people only notate if the chord is minor, diminished or augmented. You can refer to the tables below to see all of the chord scales by interval and key signature.
Which leads us to our next discussion of minor chords. A minor triad chord is made from 1st, b 3rd (flattened 3rd) and 5th. For C minor this would be C, Eb, G notes simultaneously or simply C minor or Cm. There are plenty of other chords out there to mention (7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, etc..), but they go beyond the scope of the Soundcraftsman volume one tool. I strove to make this record as simple and widely usable as possible. This meant that some limitations had to be imposed.
It is also important for me to mention diminished chords. A diminished chord is composed of a 1st, b3rd (flatted third), and b5th (flatted fifth) tones (notes) of a Major scale. This means the 3rd and 5th tones (notes) are lowered one half step. Using the key of C Major as an example the B diminished chord (triad) would contain the tones (notes) B, D, and F and shorthand for it would be Bdim.
Our next discussion is that of chord progressions, or simply the movement from one chord to another in a harmonic framework. This basically means to play chords in a certain order that sounds right or pleasant. If you are looking at the chart(s) below, the progression is from left to right based on the interval...1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. However, musicians rarely ever play chords in this order. Instead musicians move around the intervals. For example, playing 2nd, 5th, then 1st interval chords (for C Maj this would be Dm, G, C). The most commonly used chord progression is called a 1-4-5. It can be heard throughout country and rock n roll music. Another very common chord progression is the 2- 5- 1 (mentioned above). The 2-5-1 is common in jazz, blues and r&b. There is also the 3-6-2-5-1 which is an extension of the 2-5-1. There are lots of different chord progressions to choose from, but for the Soundcraftsman record, I have chosen the 2-5-1 progression because of it's common usages and overall cool/hip factor. You will find 2-5-1 chord progressions for all the key signatures on your Soundcraftsman record.
I think it's time to finish up with a final discussion of scales. In the beginning of this theory lesson, we discussed diatonic scales (7 tone scales). The truth is, there are literally TONS of scales out there for you to choose from and even make up yourself. There are chromatic scales (12 note), exotic scales, jazz scales, etc.. The scale that I chose to model the Soundcraftsman record off of is the pentatonic scale. A pentatonic scale is a scale made up of only 5 notes. The reason I chose this scale above any other scale is because it had the fewest notes, worked over the widest range of chords/chord progressions and the pentatonic scales are widely used in multiple genres of music. Since there are relatively few notes in a pentatonic scale, one pentatonic scale can often be used over several different chords with no real avoid notes. For instance, the C major pentatonic scale "C, D, E, G, A" could be used over Cmaj7, C7, D7sus, Dm7, Em7b6, Fmaj7, G7sus, Gm7, or Am7.
The bottom line is that as a turntable musician performing in a live setting, you don't want to have to think about all this music theory stuff. This is why I have done all of the thinking work for you. All you have to do is drop the needle on the right key signature and go to work!
If you have any comments/questions, please contact me.
Major Scale with triad chords (3 note chords) (251 is formed from ii, v, i columns/intervals)
Pentatonic Major Scale (formed from i, ii, iii, v, vi of major scale)
Natural or Relative Minor Scale with triad chords (3 note chords)
Pentatonic Minor Scale (formed from i, biii, iv, v, bvii of major scale)
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