Take the 2-minute tour ×
Musical Practice & Performance Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am currently learning the guitar, particularly solo-ing, and teaching myself by figuring out the Blues scale in various keys. At the moment I'm looking at the key of E.

The way I understand it (may be incorrect) the Blues scale is based on this formula:

1 b3 4 b5 5 b7

That should mean the Blues scale in key of E becomes:

E Gb A Bb B Db

However, in a lot of places, not the least being the very highly-rated Guitarist's Reference app on Android, the scale is said to be:

E G A Bb B D

Being a newbie I'm struggling to find the reasoning behind this, and how it applies to other keys. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

That notation (1 b3 4 b5 5 b7) is used to relate a scale to the major (ionian) scale. It shows which scale degrees should be flattened or sharpened (and by how much) relative to the major scale.

So, you should start with E major scale, not E minor or E phrygian (natural notes from E to E: E F G A B C D). E major scale is of course 1=E 2=F# 3=G# 4=A 5=B 6=C# 7=D#. Because these are the notes that the famous W W H W W W H (W=whole, H=half, two frets and one fret on guitar respectively) formula produces when you start with E.

If you apply the formula 1 b3 4 b5 5 b7, you end up with E G A Bb B D, which is what you found. Because the flats in b3 and b7 cancels the sharps of G# and D#.

share|improve this answer
    
AHA!!! Correct formula, wrong starting point! Thank you, that cleared it up perfectly. –  DanyW May 21 at 0:41

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.