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Steve Vai Scale??

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:44 pm
by NathansBlackGuitar
Hey guys, anyone got a vai scale all over the neck tabbed out? i think its the Xavian scale??i can not find it any where on the internet , and i dont know enough about music to figure it out.


~Thanks~

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 4:13 pm
by b2
You cant play that scale on a ordinary guitar.
Read this from a Guitar World interview:

http://www.theultrazone.com/articles4.cfm

Or just read this copy of the part about the scale:


GW: Leaving metaphysics aside, Sex And Religion is a harmonically adventurous album. You seem to be using modes that one doesn’t usually hear in rock and roll.

Vai: That’s another thing that I can’t help. You’re going to hear modes in there that you never heard on any other record or any other type of music, simply because I made them up out of synthetic scales. Like the end of “Deep Down Into The Pain” – that really weird birth sequence. What’s happening is that a child is coming out of the womb, you know? He’s hearing the voice of divinity and asking questions and all this weird stuff. But what you hear in the background is this wild music based on a scale I devised.

GW: A new scale?

Vai: Yeah, I call it the “Xavian” scale. What I did was take the 12-tone tow and make sampled notes of it on the keyboard. Then what I like to do is experiment with different temperaments. [Ed. Note – The 12-note European tempered scale is only one way of dividing up the frequency range between octaves. Different systems exist in other cultures and in the work of composers like LaMonte Young and Wendy Carlos. Some modern synthesizers offer alternate temperaments.]

I have this book where I keep all these different scales, where I divided the octave up into different steps – like maybe 9 or 10 equal steps. I call these scales “fractals.” At the end of “Deep Down Into The Pain” I used a scale that’s based on dividing the octave into 16 equal steps, instead of the 12 steps of the conventional tempered scale. So each half-step within that is not quite a conventional half-step – it’s 60 microsteps as opposed to 100 microsteps. Instead of calling it a half-step, I call it a “quasar.” Then the “whole step” is 120 microsteps, instead of 200 microsteps. Instead of calling it a whole step, I call that a “nova.” All these different intervals create the Xavian scale, a 10-note scale that I extracted from this 16-note row. You take this scale and play chords with it and it’s like divine dissonance, because all the intervals are twisted.

Every six notes or so, you run across a tempered interval. But for the most part, there are not tempered intervals, so you get a whole structure of harmonics that is just eerie and unique. You know how every chord conjures up a different mood? Even to the most casual listener, a major ninth chord will create a different feeling than a minor ninth, or a major ninth with a sharp 11th. Imagine the twisted world of emotions you can open up from the Xavian scale! We human beings are so shaped by music in our evolution. I think that as more people get into experimenting with these fractals, a whole different emotional state of mind will result – one that is probably on a par with the way our evolution is going anyway. But I don’t think you’ll ever hear Metallica jamming on the Xavian scale.

GW: If they read this, maybe they’ll get into it.

Vai: I’ll lend Kirk my 16-fret guitar. You can’t do this stuff on a conventional fretted instrument. I have a guitar that has 16 frets to the octave. Steve Ripley built it for me years ago. He also built me one with 24 divisions to the octave.

GW: So you’ve been experimenting with this for some time?

Vai: Oh, yeah. He built me those guitars about eight years ago.

GW: Are there any other recordings of your with Xavian scales or the like on them?

Vai: No. But there are a couple of weird things. There’s a song called “Chronic Insomnia” on Flexable Leftovers, where I recorded eight different passes of the same melody. Each time I just tweaked the tape speed a little bit, so I ended up with a melody where each note spans and entire half-step. It’s a very dense, eerie-sounding thing. Incidentally, I’m probably going to be remixing Flexable Leftovers and all my other stuff from that period and putting it all onto one disc.

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 4:43 pm
by ricardo_impellitteri
yeah i have that magazine too

Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 4:42 pm
by kpxmikey89
so... concerning the xavian scale, what r the intervals?

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 5:49 am
by Balex the Shizzle
wow, that is such a cool idea, i want a guitar with 16 frets to the octave!! 8)

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:08 am
by b2
Why dont you play a fretless then?
Then you have as many steps to the next octave as you would like.
But yes it would be cool with a 16 fret guitar also :wink:

I would like to have a real sitar, but I dont know how many frets
a sitar have...

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:35 am
by Bakerman
kpxmikey89 wrote:so... concerning the xavian scale, what r the intervals?
It's 75 cents per fret (not 60 as Vai said in that interview) so you can keep adding that to see what 12-tone-octave notes each falls near. Say you tune the low string to E, the 1st fret would be +75 cents, or 25 flat of what we'd call F (100). Next would be +150, halfway between F and F#... You'll get to 300 at the 4th fret, same as 3rd fret G on a standard guitar, next is 375 which actually sounds a little closer (but now flat) to a true major 3rd ratio (5:4) than 400 cents as in equal temperament. It keeps on going like that, you'll see it stacks up so the minor 3rds keep falling in tune, 300, 600, 900 etc. are all playable on either type of guitar. You'd have to play a fretless or do some accurate pre-bending to get the rest of the tones.

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 2:02 pm
by kpxmikey89
wow @_@

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 2:36 pm
by brainpolice
Seems like it's microtonal then. "The notes between the notes" :)
So it would work on an oud, sitar, and other such eastern and middle eastern instruments. I heard something about microtonal guitars being made, but it must be quite hard to use. :P

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:23 pm
by Ricardo
So it would work on an oud, sitar, and other such eastern and middle eastern instruments. I heard something about microtonal guitars being made, but it must be quite hard to use.
Actually if you read he said he had a special 16 fret guitar made, but not using a 16 note scale. Indian music uses 22 notes to the octave, and usually no more than like 9 notes for a raga, so it is not really the same thing. You need an instrument w/ 16 divisions to the octave to truly play the correct intervals of his "Xavian". That is why he says it is his "own" mode. If you could play it on a sitar or middle eastern instrument, you could probably find the same mode in that music somewhere. I read that Chinese music divides the octave into 60 notes, but they only use perfectly tuned "pentatonic" scales from those for a particular "mode". I wonder if Steve has developed any other new "modes" on his 16 fret guitar.

It all sounds out of tune to my "well tempered" ears. LOL.

Ricardo

Posted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 12:56 pm
by mud_slinger
hey people,

This is some pretty interesting stuff..........
can someone define what a synthetic scale is????

Posted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 7:49 pm
by Mattalac
a fake scale.. a scale someone made up that is not in any music books?

Posted: Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:03 pm
by atifman
b2 wrote:. Instead of calling it a half-step, I call it a “quasar.”... Instead of calling it a whole step, I call that a “nova.” .
haha, steve is so wacky

Re:

Posted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 4:24 pm
by SIRIUSB
brainpolice wrote:Seems like it's microtonal then. "The notes between the notes" :)
So it would work on an oud, sitar, and other such eastern and middle eastern instruments. I heard something about microtonal guitars being made, but it must be quite hard to use. :P
I have been playing a fretless guitar for a while and many of the Middle Eastern 'maqams' are playable. I would love to hear Steve play more fretless stuff.

I wonder if some of his 'Arabian' sounding stuff on midi guitar utilizes Just tempered scales? This temperament is very close to both Hindu shruti & Middle Eastern maqam scales.

Re: Steve Vai Scale??

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:23 am
by precario
Very nice up, Sirius my man. :headbang