Questions tagged [scales]

For questions about playing, understanding, or studying scales.

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30
votes
8answers
17k views

Understanding minor key harmony

A comment discussion under this question from me, clued me in to the fact that I don't really understand how minor keys work very well. So here is what I think I know The natural minor comes from the ...
42
votes
6answers
14k views

Why do notes have multiple names?

I've seen the same note called different names for example the note F# can also be written as Gb. Why is this the case and are there times to use one name over another?
126
votes
11answers
67k 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?
33
votes
10answers
39k views

When is a piece in A minor versus C major?

When would you say a piece, or a movement in a symphony, is in A minor versus C major? They both use the same notes on the scale... what would indicate that the piece is in A minor? Let's take an ...
41
votes
10answers
21k 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 ...
50
votes
12answers
14k 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 I'...
20
votes
7answers
38k views

Difference between keys and scales?

I am a Tabla (a North Indian percussion instrument) player and I am trying to learn the western music theory. My study was going well until I stumbled upon keys and scales. Now though I know what ...
5
votes
2answers
8k views

What fingerings are used for the minor and major blues scales?

It's my understanding that for the diatonic scales, there's a consensus of which fingerings are optimal for most people. They are not a hard rule, some pianists use other fingerings, but they are ...
161
votes
12answers
40k views

Why do minor keys sound “sad”? [closed]

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 ...
66
votes
22answers
138k views

What is the difference between a mode and a scale?

I can't seem to find a straight definition for both.
42
votes
8answers
177k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
8k views

Do modes exist in the harmonic / melodic minor scales?

I'm trying to get my head around modes and the tonal center. In my understanding the natural minor scale is the same as the Aeolian mode. However, when considering the mix-up that happens in the ...
46
votes
14answers
23k views

Why does the scale have seven (or five) notes? Why not six?

I'm a programmer by trade, and I have always felt that music was arbitrarily difficult. Please forgive my inexperience with musical notation. I had a little thought experiment with my wife today, and ...
27
votes
7answers
36k 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 note, ...
7
votes
3answers
12k views

How to make a song with chords and scales?

I play acoustic guitar and have been learning a bunch of chords and scales. I can play many progressions already, and I am starting to write music. I am wondering how you would bridge chord ...
66
votes
22answers
6k 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 ...
44
votes
10answers
135k 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?
17
votes
7answers
10k views

How to make melodies effectively?

Are there any tricks that help make melodies besides just experimenting until you find something that sounds nice?
24
votes
3answers
13k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do modes sound so different, although they are basically the same as a mode of another scale?

I know my question sounds a little bit confusing, hence I don't have any idea how I could google that. Soo for example: a G Major Mixolydian scale has the exact same notes as the C Major Ionian scale....
21
votes
6answers
13k 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, G♯...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Exact pitch of blues scale notes

Wikipedia gives multiple candidate definitions for the blues scale. A musician showed me how to play blues e.g. in C by smudging say Eb and E. The actual note lies somewhere between. But where? ...
31
votes
5answers
114k 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?
16
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
9k views

Why are the harmonic and melodic minor scales called what they are?

Does the harmonic minor have something to do with harmony, and does the melodic minor have something to do with melody? I searched this question on Google and nothing came up.
19
votes
9answers
9k views

Exactly what does "diatonic" mean?

Is the meaning very context dependent, or can it be defined in general terms? Does the meaning change by author or period? Sometimes it's used to refer to anything that stays within a specific tonal ...
27
votes
11answers
10k views

Are sharp keys "bright" and flat keys "dark"?

I was reading this book and on the "Circle of Fifths" chapter it claims that keys with sharp key signatures (C, G, D, ...) are "often though by musicians" to be "bright" sounding and those with flat ...
8
votes
2answers
6k views

Cadences for Modes

For each of the modes, is there a certain chord that goes before the targeted I or i chord? For instance, it seems in the Phrygian mode that II to i is a quite strong progression. In Ionian, obviously ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Are intervals like major 3rd, minor 3rd, and major 2nd all based on the scales, or are they based on how many semitones they have?

Are intervals like major 3rd, minor 3rd, and major 2nd all based on the scales, or are they based on how many semitones they have? I ask this question because if I play the C major scale, and I ...
47
votes
9answers
78k views

Why is a C7 chord named a dominant seventh chord?

I understand that a C7 chord contains a flattened 7th note in the C major scale, but what specifically makes this a dominant 7th chord? To me there is nothing 'dominant' about taking a note out of ...
6
votes
3answers
68k views

Is there a simple way to transpose a song from one key to another? What is the methodology?

What is a simple way to accomplish transposing a song from one key to another key? In other words if I am looking at a song written in the key of C and can't sing it in that key and I want to ...
24
votes
8answers
20k views

Is F Lydian mode in the "key" of C Major?

In most cases (if not all), a piece of music without sharps or flats in the key signature, would be considered in the key of C major or A minor. This question assumes the context of Western Music ...
18
votes
5answers
37k views

How come songs in a certain key play notes not in that key

I just started trying to learn about music theory as I'm learning to play the guitar. So as beginner's do I looked up a list of easy songs to play and I start learning away. Since I'm also trying to ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Scale, Heptatonic Scale, Diatonic Scale, Major Scale

A scale with 7 notes, in an octave, is called a Heptatonic Scales. Heptatonic scales are further divided based on tone and semitones arrangements. If a Heptatonic scale have five tones and two ...
5
votes
1answer
9k views

What are the pentatonic scale fingering for piano?

What is the most common fingering for the pentatonic scale? Minor and major. All of them. I don't know about standards; there are lots of different fingerings you could use. I would like to know what ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Solfege - Fixed Do versus Movable Do

Having used movable do for a long time, I'm now in a country where fixed do is the norm. I'm looking for advantages/disadvantages of one over the other.
39
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
74k 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?
18
votes
11answers
3k views

What are modes in the real world?

For months, I have been trying to understand modes. Even though I have memorized all the names, what notes they start from and so on, I do not understand their meaning in the real world of music ...
14
votes
3answers
27k views

Why do the notes of Melodic-Minor Scale change when you play it in descending order?

Okay I'll admit, I don't know everything about music theory but I was pretty sure that any given diatonic (7 note) scale contained particular notes that defined the scale and were unique to the scale ...
16
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
12k views

Musical systems with more than 12 notes

From what I remember of music theory, all music (at least Western music) boils down to scales that revolve around the 12 notes (circle of fourths/fifths). I know there are scales in different regions ...
9
votes
7answers
20k views

Is the CAGED system the main way for learning the guitar's fretboard?

Just curious if there's alternatives to the CAGED system? I've googled but most alternatives aren't nearly as popular, 3NPS is one of them. So is CAGED the main way to go about learning fretboard ...
15
votes
6answers
838 views

What is this scale? [Root , +1 , +3 , +1 , +2 , +1 , +3 , +1]

Intervals (relative to previous note): Root , +1 , +3 , +1 , +2 , +1 , +3 , +1 (Root again) Example: A, Bb, C#, D, E, F, G# This scale is used often in Turkish Music. But I don't know if it has a ...
15
votes
3answers
8k views

Expand Bass Guitar Playing Beyond Root Notes

I am fairly new to the bass guitar and I'm in a band. So far, I almost always just play the root note of the chord. I sometimes hold it until a new chord and sometimes repeatedly play this same note....
7
votes
7answers
15k views

Can someone please tell me why there are 5 different patterns to Penatonic scales

I mean if you can move them, why do you need more than one? All are movable up and down the fretboard? Right? So why does each need 5 patterns and how do you know which one to use? This has really ...
6
votes
1answer
3k 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: ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What scales can you get modes from?

I know the modes from the major scale pretty well, and I've come to know that other scales like the melodic minor scales also has modes. So my question is, what other scales can modes be based off of ...
3
votes
4answers
23k views

What are Guitar Scale Patterns?

I am trying to understand, what is a guitar scale pattern ? For example, following shows "C Major Scale Pattern." What exactly is the purpose of a scale pattern ?
26
votes
7answers
36k views

What is the difference between equivalent Flat and Sharp keys as far as musical notation? Are there any reasons to prefer one over the other?

I wrote a song in Db Major, but I could also notated that it would be equivalent to say C# Major as well. I am not well versed in musical theory and I think both are equivalent to each other and ...

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