# Does a diatonic scale contain more than 7 pitches?

Let's assume we have an A-minor which begins at A1 (I mean 1st octave). According to the interval pattern of minor scale pitches which are in the scale are: A1, B1, C1, D1, E1, F1, G1. Okay, but can I continue the pattern and use A2, B2, C2, etc as pitches of A1-minor?

• Where did you get the term "A1-minor" from? I've never heard it before and I think context would help a lot. It also seems like your octave labeling is messed up as once you get to B1, the next note up would be C2 not C1.
– Dom
Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 18:54
• 'Begins' isn't quite right, as 0 and even negative octaves are valid, though as you get below 0, the pitch eventually becomes inaudible and then, lower still, starts to be perceived as rhythm. But it's not at all uncommon for bass parts to contain notes in octave 0, especially in electronic music. Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 13:36
• @DanBryant I didn't mean that every A-minor begins at A1, I did mean that it begins there in context of the example above Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 20:15

You're talking about the difference between pitch and pitch class.

Pitch class is a pitch and all its octaves, like `C1, C2, C3...`

A diatonic scale contains 7 pitch classes. Usually people skip the term classes, because it's understood in context. Theoretically a scale has infinite pitches.

• Very good point. Letter names are the same from top to bottom, but their numbers change.
– Tim
Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 14:38

A scale can be continued in both directions as far as you want.

• So (just to be clear) if a song is in A1-minor it can contain e.g. A4, B7, C3? Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 13:22
• 'A1 minor' is meaningless, it's just 'A minor', and yes all those notes belong to A minor. Note: the A minor scale you are talking about here is more specifically known as A natural minor. Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 14:00

Your example is in fact A natural minor. There are other minor scales with slightly different notes - but still called 'A minor'.

It matters not which notes you play - they are all actually the white keys on a piano - any (all) of them belong to A minor. You may have trouble singing a song with A4, B7 and C3 - those are big jumps in pitch!

If you start at the lowest white key and play every white key in turn, you have played a seven-and-a-bit octave A natural minor scale, ascending. Most people would play a two or three octave scale, starting somewhere near the middle , say A3 or A4.

A scale is defined by two tetrachords or with other words: by the tones between one octave, whereby the octave of the root (8 => 1) is identified as the same pitch class, and the scale remains the same 9 = 2, 10 = 3 etc.