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A Player's Guide Newsletter issue #02 --- Scales

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First of all, there are some updates to the website since the first issue of this newsletter. Several new pages have been added:

Now, moving on to step 2 on the road to understanding chords, chord progressions and harmony, ....


Probably the most common scale that everyone learns first is the MAJOR SCALE. It has a unique, familiar sound:

Do - Re - Mi - Fa - Sol - La - Ti - Do

Your ear tells you immediately if a wrong note is played or sung. This unique sound is so recognizable because of the location of the WHOLE STEPS and HALF STEPS. The pattern is, W-W-H-W-W-W-H

Here's an example of the C scale that shows where the WHOLE STEPS and HALF STEPS occur.

All Major Scales follow the same pattern:

W - W - H - W - W - W - H

So, if you start on the note G, you get:

It doesn't matter what note you start on - if you follow the musical alphabet consecutively (A-B-C-D-E-F-G), and follow the pattern

W - W - H - W - W - W - H,

you will have a major scale (Your ear will tell you if something is wrong.)

The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios and Cadences: Includes All the Major, Minor (Natural, Harmonic, Melodic) & Chromatic Scales - Plus Additional Instructions on Music Fundamentals

The next, most common scales that everyone learns are...


Minor scales are quite a bit different than major. The sequence of WHOLE STEPS and HALF STEPS gives the minors a unique sound that is much different than the major.

Also, there are three different types of minor scales:


Here is an example of the A natural minor:

The distinct sound of the minors is a result of the half step that comes between the 2nd and 3rd scale steps (B to C in this case.) The resulting sound is darker, more somber than that of the major scale.

The NATURAL, HARMONIC and MELODIC minors have slight differences in the 6th and 7th scale degrees. Listen to the distinct sound of each of these minors and see how they are constructed below:

Natural Minor

The A natural minor: A - B - C - D - E - F - G - A. There is a HALF STEP between 2-3 and 5-6.

Harmonic Minor

The A harmonic minor: A - B - C - D - E - F - G# - A. In all harmonic minors, the 7th step is raised (G# in this case.)

Melodic Minor

The A melodic minor: in melodic minors, the 6th and 7th steps are raised when ascending. (F# and G# in this case)... and they are lowered when descending. (G natural and F natural)

Thus: A - B - C - D - E - F# - G# - A (when going up)

...and A - G - F - E - D - C - B - A (when going down)

Next, the FUN SCALES that everyone loves, the...


The Blues Scale is a seven note scale that is primarily used in jazz, blues and rock. This scale has notes that are called "blue" notes. They are played (or sung) lower, or flat. These notes ore the 3rd and the 7th.

The seven scale notes are:

  • root
  • flat 3rd
  • 4th
  • flat 5th (or sharp 4th - enharmonically the same)
  • 5th
  • flatted 7th
  • root octave

In the key of C this would be C-Eb-F-Gb (or F#)-G-Bb-C.

Here it is ascending and descending:

For a more complete presentation, as well as audio examples of this FUN SCALE, some practicing and improvising tips, go to:


So, that's it for now. Stay tuned for Newsletter issue# 03:

the next stop on our ROAD MAP!

This will follow around the 1st of the month!

Thanks, and enjoy the website!

Copyright © 2011 Ralph Martino
All Rights Reserved

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