Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spiral Galaxy Pattern

When the notes between the half-step clusters are connected they can be organized into a pattern that resembles a spiral galaxy. The benefit of this pattern is that it greatly simplifies visualizing the positions of the notes on the fretboard as you play.

Notice that the pattern is based on the top four strings. Also notice that the lower three strings contain their own symmetry. The half-step clusters on the lower three strings are shown as white ovals in the diagram above.

Study the pattern and try playing the notes along the curved arms extending from the center cluster, naming the notes as you play them. Notice that there are only three notes which are not part of any of the half-step clusters; A, D, and G. D the central note in both arms, while A and G reverse their positions relative to the central cluster from one arm to the other, though A is always the lower pitched tone and G the higher. In the arm on the left G is the highest tone, in the arm on the right, A is the lowest tone.

In Fretography, these spiral arms are named for the diatonic super-zones in which they are found, which also coincides with the lowest pitched tone in each arm. The left arm is the Phrygian arm, the right arm is the Aeolian arm.

An interesting characteristic of the spiral arms is that each of them contains six of the seven notes of the key. Arranged alphabetically. the left arm (Phrygian) comprises the notes D, E, F, G, A, B. The right arm (Aeolian) comprises F, G, A, B, C, D. Notice that one begins where the other leaves off. The note D is the beginning of one arm and the end of the other when the tones in each are arranged alphabetically. C is missing from one arm, E is missing from the other. Of course, each of these notes is found inside the half-step cluster from which each arm stems.

Again, by studying the diagram you can discover other characteristics of the symmetry.

All contents of this blog are © Mark Newstetter

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