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Questions tagged [scales]

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35 votes
8 answers
19k 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 ...
Tim Seguine's user avatar
44 votes
8 answers
16k 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?
Dom's user avatar
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132 votes
12 answers
77k 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?
Agares's user avatar
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37 votes
11 answers
45k 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 ...
ktm5124's user avatar
  • 650
24 votes
6 answers
52k 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 ...
radiantshaw's user avatar
43 votes
9 answers
24k 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 ...
Jduv's user avatar
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71 votes
22 answers
152k views

What is the difference between a mode and a scale?

I can't seem to find a straight definition for both.
crimson_sprite's user avatar
58 votes
12 answers
18k 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'...
tinkerbeast's user avatar
159 votes
12 answers
44k 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 ...
Sophie Alpert's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
9k 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 ...
JohnandLyn Henry's user avatar
48 votes
10 answers
188k 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 or ...
jmasterx's user avatar
  • 861
7 votes
2 answers
10k 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 ...
TaylorSwiftFan5932's user avatar
49 votes
14 answers
28k 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 ...
Caleb's user avatar
  • 617
23 votes
3 answers
16k 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 ...
Alexander Troup's user avatar
47 votes
10 answers
139k 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?
J Roq's user avatar
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28 votes
7 answers
37k 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, ...
andrerpena's user avatar
23 votes
7 answers
14k 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♯...
Luke_0's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
5k 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....
Ozzy's user avatar
  • 215
6 votes
4 answers
363 views

Does this progression through the modes have a name?

I discovered that if I play a major scale, i.e. Ionian mode, then move through the modes with the same root note in the following order: Ionian Mixolydian Dorian Aolian Phrygian Locrian At this ...
Brian THOMAS's user avatar
  • 11.6k
69 votes
22 answers
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 ...
InternalConspiracy's user avatar
33 votes
5 answers
127k 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?
thank_you's user avatar
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22 votes
9 answers
11k 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 ...
TaylorSwiftFan5932's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
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? ...
P i's user avatar
  • 1,005
7 votes
3 answers
13k 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 ...
chriswebbonline's user avatar
53 votes
12 answers
26k views

Key signature for writing in modes other than major and minor

I have trouble deciding what accidentals to put in the key signature for pieces in Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian or Mixolydian modes. There seem to be trade-offs associated with each choice. For example, ...
Gauthier's user avatar
  • 4,678
17 votes
7 answers
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?
Mdek's user avatar
  • 173
17 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Pieter Wattel's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
11k views

Is there a name for a minor scale with a raised 3rd or a major scale with a lowered 6th and 7th?

I've noticed a pattern in chord progressions and melodies where I like to use the b7 and b6 chords with a major tonic and there are several modern songs that like to use this pattern as seen in a ...
Dom's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
11k 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.
michaeljan's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

What are the degrees of a pentatonic scale called?

Given the ideas that: Diatonic Scales have the scale degree names tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, & leading. These correspond to the 1st through the 7th degree ...
Tresdon's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
2 answers
7k 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 ...
02fentym's user avatar
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7 votes
5 answers
3k 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 ...
mack's user avatar
  • 71
52 votes
11 answers
83k 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 ...
jaffa's user avatar
  • 649
29 votes
11 answers
12k 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 thought by musicians" to be "bright"...
diegovb's user avatar
  • 409
26 votes
8 answers
21k 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 ...
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
41k 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 ...
Ryan's user avatar
  • 181
15 votes
6 answers
948 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 ...
jeff's user avatar
  • 253
8 votes
1 answer
17k views

What are the pentatonic scale fingerings 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 ...
r4.'s user avatar
  • 251
7 votes
3 answers
78k 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 ...
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
7k 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 ...
Quazi Irfan's user avatar
  • 1,722
4 votes
3 answers
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.
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
40 votes
4 answers
10k 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 ...
Kos's user avatar
  • 743
29 votes
7 answers
48k 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 ...
tony.stack's user avatar
25 votes
6 answers
75k 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?
17 votes
4 answers
32k 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 ...
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
17 votes
2 answers
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 ...
neuviemeporte's user avatar
17 votes
4 answers
16k views

Can a scale contain both a sharp and a flat note?

So, the question should say it all, but for example: The G minor scale (G - A - Bb - C - D - Eb - F - G) To change this into the G harmonic minor scale, I would need to raise the seventh note a ...
James Litewski's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
10k 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....
bill999's user avatar
  • 267
12 votes
3 answers
7k 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 ...
creator's user avatar
  • 465
12 votes
7 answers
4k 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 ...
azheglov's user avatar
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