Changing Loops to Exotic Scales

A GarageDoor Exclusive
The following tips describe the exotic scales and show how to use them in loops.

New loops, new sounds
the GarageDoor exotic scales toolkit
You can expand both your loop library and your musical horizon by using this GarageDoor exotic scales toolkit. Some of the sounds you can create this way are simply stunning. Have a listen to the examples in the next tip. It is easy to do, because you don't need other software - you can do it all inside GarageBand. You can also start writing loops from scratch once you get familiar with these ideas. And of course, once you have laid down some great grooves, you can play and solo live over the top of them, using the Exotic Scale catalogue as a guide.
How to use exotic scales in loops
Minor, Major, Gypsy
The easiest way to explain this technique is by way of example. Have a look at the following three GarageBand files:
Gypsy scale Hungarian Minor scale Hungarian Maj & Min scales Instructions are included: gyspy
These examples demonstrate the technique: I have taken a GarageBand loop and moved some notes up or down so that they fit an exotic scale. Then I have added other loops and done the same. Different loops can highlight different scale notes, so there is no need to have the complete scale in any one loop, as you will see and hear. The layered results can be very satisfying.
scales catalogue

Click image to download
the GarageDoor's Exotic Scale catalogue
Exotic Scales
around the world in seven steps
Here you see some of the exotic scales we are discussing. They go by the geographical names like Neapolitan, Oriental, Hungarian, Iwato, Hindu, Arabian, Balinese, Gypsy, Persian, Byzantine and by more technical names like leading wholetone, major Phrygian and Lydian minor. They work by raising and lowering the 2nd, 3d, 4th 6th and 7th note of the scale, but sometimes they also operate on the 5th. Many variations are possible, especially since some scales allow for optional and grace notes.

To show you a large sample of scales to see and hear, the GarageDoor has written an Exotic Scales catalogue in GarageBand format. It doubles as a complete resource for learning and comparing elementary scales.

New Delhi
Do, Re Mi, Far East
Victor writes: In my very first Indian music lesson in New Delhi, my teacher asked me to play a major scale. So I played the good old do-re-mi in C for him: C D E F G A B C. He smiled and said: "Yes,I thought that was the scale you were going to play". I responded, puzzled: "What do you mean - isn't that the major scale?" He answered: "No, that is not the major scale I normally use." He had my full attention when he played a beautiful run up on his sitar, in a major scale. But somehow it sounded different. He then showed me how he played the major scale with the fourth (F) raised, like this: C D E F# G A B C.

That has been one of my favourite scales ever since, and it was the beginning of my journey into un-common scales: exotic, jazz and modal scales. Used in Arabian music. In the Balkan, Spain and India. Fused in World music. Scales like Neapolitan, Hungarian Minor, Gypsy, Hindu. The beauty is, you can use them in almost any style: Pop, Reggae, Hip Hop, Rock, Jazz and of course World Music.

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