A sequence of musical notes in ascending or descending order of pitch.

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21
votes
6answers
962 views

What are modes and how are they useful?

I'm a self-taught guitarist with zero to little experience in music theory. After marrying a violinist I found that there's a lot to music theory that I know tribally but don't understand the ...
62
votes
6answers
8k views

Why are there twelve notes in an octave?

I know that one scale consists of 12 half-tones. But my question is still: Why? Why not 13 or 11?
107
votes
10answers
10k views

Why do minor keys sound “sad”?

Oftentimes major keys are called "happy" and minor keys are "sad". Why is this? Is it universal across cultures that use these scales? Do similar connotations exist in other scale systems? (If this ...
23
votes
6answers
2k views

The major scale - why and how?

background: I am an amateur guitarist. I was trained in Indian classical music as a kid. Most of what I know in music theory is from books or Google. So please feel free to correct me or tell me if ...
51
votes
21answers
2k views

Ways to get out of a scalar rut?

I'm a well versed and experienced guitarist. I have a decent sense for rhythm and melody, but I have a VERY hard time with soloing. I know you've heard it all before I'm one of those guys that got ...
16
votes
5answers
35k views

What is the first scale one should learn on guitar

The title really sums it all up but I'll try expand it slightly. Lets say I'm learning guitar and would like to improve my guitar work. Which of the scales should I learn first and why?
33
votes
16answers
16k views

What is the difference between a mode and a scale?

I can't seem to find a straight definition for both.
26
votes
7answers
43k views

What does it mean to write a song in a certain key?

I have been searching for a while to try to correctly understand this. What exactly does it mean if for example a song is written in C Major? Does it mean the song's notes cannot contain any sharps ...
14
votes
4answers
16k views

The differences between natural, harmonic and melodic minors

I'm studying scales and came across the natural, harmonic, and melodic minors. I understand the patterns for each scale but what other important differences exist between the three?
29
votes
11answers
47k views

Why learn scales? What are they for?

I tried Googling but it seems there is no answer for this one. So the internet assumes everyone knows what scales are for? Why should I learn them? Are they important to be a good guitarist?
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Logical way to learn movable scales on guitar?

After learning the CAGED 'open string' scales, what scales to do next? In what order or what way? When I learn a new scale, it seems to have the effect of displacing my ability to play other scales ...
18
votes
7answers
8k views

Why does the Dorian mode on C have two flats?

I'm studying scale modes and I just found on Wikipedia that the Dorian mode on C has two flats... Why is this? Because the Dorian mode is just the major scale (Ionian) starting from the second ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Is G sharp major a real key?

I'm mostly self-taught, so I don't know much in the way of theory beyond the basics. I have heard of G sharp Major a few times. I believe a scale in the key goes as such: G♯, A♯, B♯, C♯, D♯, E♯, Fx, ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do notes have multiple names?

I've seen the same note called different names. Why is this the case and are there times to use one name over another?
11
votes
5answers
2k views

How to make melodies effectively?

Are there any tricks that help make melodies besides just experimenting until you find something that sounds nice?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to move hand position while practicing scales on guitar?

I was reading through the answers posted here, and I liked the idea of playing with the "finger per fret" method, but it's not always applicable. For instance I was practicing the Fmaj scale last ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

What are the patterns of the minor scales

I understand that there are 3 types of minor scales Melodic Natural Harmonic But I always mix these up, and I don't know the patterns of them. I would like to know The basic pattern Some ...
13
votes
2answers
398 views

What is the theory behind scales?

My question is the following: Scales are The backbone of quite everything in western music. Does anybody know if there is some sort of backbone behind scales? A number, something like that? Or do some ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What can I do about my problems with piano scales which manifest in just one direction?

I've been practicing scales for some time now, and I found them mostly easy and fun to play. The problems begin when I have to play them faster, but oddly enough my problem manifests only when playing ...
7
votes
2answers
236 views

Melodic Minor - Uses

The one problem I have with the Melodic Minor is that I just don't know how and where to use it. From my comprehension, it is the Minor scale when descending and when ascending it has a maj6 and maj7. ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

How do you compose using the chromatic scale?

Writting a piece of music using the chromatic scale would be interesting, but I can't think of a way to start it? What kind of structure would a piece have? Is it all subjective and up to the composer ...
2
votes
2answers
271 views

Scale degree naming

As I understand the minor pentatonic degrees are 1 b3 4 5 7b it says b3 & 7b, does it matter which side the b is on? and do they both mean flat? Scale degrees are almost always based off the ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

Algorithms for music composition

I'm a beginner in music but I also like to fool around with simple computer programs . So I found a little python library to generate MIDI files . So what I do now is that I have a few rhythm ...
32
votes
4answers
2k views

What's so special about minor and major scales?

background: I'm an amateur and self-learner pianist. What I know, I know from books or google, so I'll start with summarising what I already know - please don't hesitate to correct me if I have ...
13
votes
5answers
830 views

Guide-lines for creating a simple chord-progression?

I am working on a computer program that generates a simple melody, based on a simple chord progression of four chords taken from the 7 triads of the C Major scale. The program is also supposed to ...
16
votes
7answers
876 views

Where should I go to learn about non-Western scales (particularly Turkish & Greek)

Apart from Turkey and Greece, I mean. I'm looking for fairly abstract musicological and comparative descriptions, not "how to play"-style information. Particularly interested in departures from the ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the characteristic scales, keys, intervals, progressions, etc. of pirate / sailing / nautical music?

Title pretty much says it. I am barely an armchair composer, but I would like to try my hand at some game music that requires some nautical theming. It seems to me that penny whistles and a celtic ...
7
votes
5answers
482 views

Comfortable notes in a key

I've been playing guitar for some time, and often when i do improvisation exercises, I hit notes which sound too tense to finish a run/lick/riff on. Kind of like having a sentence which no full stop. ...
27
votes
9answers
3k views

Why isn't D the “most central” note?

When laying out the notes in the two-dimensional Wicki-Hayden layout, which is the most symmetrical layout I know of, it is visually clear that D is the "most central" note. Why, then, doesn't D play ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

What are the greek modes, and how do they differ from modern modes?

This Question might be TwoFold, based on an uncertainty I have I understand the construction of traditional Ionian-Locrian modes, and I have read that various notes in the modes have traditionally ...
13
votes
6answers
14k views

What scales are suitable for funk? Is there a funk scale?

I hope this question isn't too "noob"-ish for you guys (but hey I've gotta start somewhere). What scales are suitable for funk? Is there a funk scale, akin to the blues scale? I'm pretty sure the ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the proper way to play A-Flat scales on piano?

Consider four cases: A-flat major A-flat (natural) minor A-flat melodic minor A-flat harmonic minor I start them with the third finger on the A-flat key (both hands), but I have no idea how a ...
10
votes
3answers
705 views

How would you describe F G A chord progression?

I like the sound of F G A chords progression on a guitar, three major bar chords. Do these chords fit any scale? Am with an added 3 in it? Does it make it a 6-7-1 progression? When I solo over this ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do the notes of a blues scale sound good with the I, IV, and V chords?

If you are playing the blues in the key of C, any note in the blues key of C should sound good in the melody with either of the C, F or G (I, IV or V) major chords in the bass. Why is this and how do ...
8
votes
3answers
217 views

Should I learn the notes of all the scales

I'm playing guitar and therefore have learnt all the major,minor and harmonic minor patterns. But while improvising I usually forget the right notes of a scale(the problem comes when switching the ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the best way to learn scales in order to improve improvisation/writing of lead guitar parts?

Where I'm at skill-wise Played guitar on-and-off for about 5 years Up until a year ago had only really learned by playing from tabs Have been undertaking bi-weekly guitar lessons for just over a ...
7
votes
5answers
332 views

Resources for learning the Blues

Can anyone recommend any good resources (books or online) for learning the Blues on the guitar? Scales and theory is what I am looking for.
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How to improvise over a C#, B, A chord progression?

I'm looking to improvise a piano solo in over a C# verse that has a C#, B, A chorus. I'm unsure of what scale to use for this, or unsure on how to determine why musically some notes work better than ...
17
votes
5answers
3k views

With sheet music, how do you determine whether the song is in the major key or the minor key?

For example, if the key signature on the left doesn't have any sharps or flats then it could theoretically be in either the C Major scale or the A Minor scale. How do you determine which one?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Scales, modes, techniques for writing “Super Mario” style music

I'm looking for a push in the right direction as to how to go about writing Super Mario type video game themes. What scales/modes work best, time signatures, etc... Examples of where I'm trying to ...
5
votes
4answers
8k views

What is the I-vi-ii-V Chord Progressions?

Are there any scales that work well over this progression? My Mistake!! I was thinking of the song Breezin' by George Benson!!
3
votes
3answers
121 views

Blues Scale Notes - major 6th?

I've typically always played a blues scale in C as: C Eb F Gb G Bb However, in a book I'm reading, the author lists the blues scale for C as: C D Eb E F Gb G A Bb Improvising over this new scale ...
3
votes
2answers
254 views

What gives 'Winter Song' by Nico a medieval sound?

The song below seems to have a definite medieval flavour to it, but what causes this? Is it the guitar or vocal melodies? What scale/mode aspects give this feel? ...
3
votes
1answer
904 views

Finding out which scales contain a specific chord

Notation note: scales will be notated as C Major, D minor, etc. and chords as Am, F, etc. Once you know a scale, yo know which chords it contains, for example the C Major scale contains the chords: ...
12
votes
3answers
996 views

Pentatonic scale with a sharpened 2nd note, any name?

I was messing with the A minor pentatonic scale and discovered that if I sharpen the 2nd note of the scale, it sounds very interesting to my ears, even more than the original scale. Does this already ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a chromatic scale?

I notice that the blues scale usues notes that don't fit into the regular pentatonic scale, is there an entire scale that icorporates this method?
6
votes
3answers
203 views

Permuations or scales for building up speed

I'm currently trying to build up some speed and accuracy in my technique, and I was told a while back that a great way to do this was to play fingering permutations to a metrenome. Has anyone had any ...
5
votes
1answer
312 views

Full range with white keys only?

This is probably a really stoopid question but.....I'm trying to learn to play a virtual keyboard online(Virtual Piano) but its really hard to use the black keys since you need to press Shift+(another ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

I don't understand scale positions

I know the Maj/Min pentatonic scale positions. I need a clear explanation of why Position#1 for minor pentatonic for A starts on the fifth fret; it has something to do with octaves. How do you go ...
5
votes
1answer
208 views

Was the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras the first one who referred to a musical scale?

I' ve read that the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras was the first one who scientifically proved the theory of music. Also it is refered that he invented the Pythagorean musical scale. Was the ...