It is highly recommended that you precede this lesson on scales with a quick recap of what Notes are, and understand the concept of Tones and Semitones.
A scale is like a formula applied to the Chromatic sequence of notes, to generate a pattern of (usually) 7 Notes.
The most common example of a scale is the Major Scale.
The Major Scale’s formula is Tone-Tone-Semitone-Tone-Tone-Tone-Semitone.
This is often abbreviated as TTSTTTS
So for instance If you apply it onto the C note. C now becomes the Root note, the note on which our scale will be based on.
CHROMATIC SCALE: A A # B C C# D D# E F F# G G # A A # B C C# D D# E F F# G G #
|What to Apply||Existing note, and what to do with it.||Notes that become the scale|
|Choose Root||C, remains same because it’s the root note.||C|
|Tone||Existing note is C, Go a tone above it. Tone above C is D||D|
|Tone||Existing note is D, Go a tone above it. Tone above D is E||E|
|Semitone||Existing note is E, Go a semitone above it. Semitone above E is F||F|
|Tone||Existing note is F, Go a tone above it. Tone above F is G||G|
|Tone||Existing Note is G, Go a tone above it. Tone above G is A||A|
|Tone||Existing note is A, Go a tone above it . Tone above A is B||B|
|Semitone||Existing note is B, go a semitone above it. Semitone above B is C||C [Octave above first C]|
So that Leaves us With the notes C D E F G A B. Looks familiar? Lets take a look at the keyboard again.
As it turns out, The white keys played in sequence happen to be the exact same keys of the C Major scale! For this reason, the C major scale is considered one of the most important scales, it only consists of natural notes.
Here are the major scales of all natural notes:
|DEGREE →Note ↓||I||II||III||IV||V||VI||VII|
It is important to take note of the Degree while we’re referring to notes in a scale. By convention,the third degree note in the major scale of any root note is written simply as “The third”, the fifth note as “The Fifth” and so on.
A word of advice, the fifth is a note in the scale that blends in superbly with the sound of the root note , and when they’re played together (for example if you play the C and G note together) there is an air of neutrality that the G note will bring, meaning it won’t affect the overall sound to make the root note sound “happier” or “sadder”. Although, if you play the Third of any root note along with the root note itself, the third will affect the root sound pretty significantly and add an air of “happiness” to the scenario.
Every one of these degrees has a specific “feel” or “flavour” that it brings to the root, and learning these flavours will undoubtedly expand your creativity by giving you an added advantage of melodicity.