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A Player's Guide Newsletter
May 03, 2016
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We'll talk a little about scales today.

Most all music that we know or hear is tonal - the melodies and harmonies are centered around a main note, or pitch, called a tonic. Scales are series of consecutive notes, ascending or descending, that are built on the tonic.

Major Scales: These scales have a series of 8 consecutive notes. For all scales (and anything musical), remember: the musical alphabet has only 7 letters:


That's it - after letter G, we go back to A. The MAJOR SCALE 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.

Here's an example of the C scale. For this scale, we start on C:


We start on C, go consecutively: C, D, E, F, G, A, B - then C again.

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

Major Scales all follow the same pattern: Whole - Whole - Half - Whole - Whole - Whole - Half or:

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

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

So, in a major scale the half steps occur between steps 3 & 4 and between steps 7 & 8. All the other steps are whole steps.

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.) Next you'll see how to make these scales on different notes. Just follow the whole step - half step pattern,the musical alphabet and ...

Major Scales With Sharps

Below are the more common scales with sharps.

They are:

G major D major A major E major B major F# major C# major

They all follow the same W-W-H-W-W-W-H pattern, and follow the musical alphabet.

Following the W-W-H-W-W-W-H pattern, and following musical alphabet works every time, regardless of the starting note.

We've been looking at scales that have SHARPS. Now let's take a look at some...

Major Scales With Flats

Following the same W-W-H-W-W-W-H pattern, and the musical alphabet, we have:

F major Bb major Eb major Ab major Db major Gb major Cb major

That's it in a nutshell for major scales. For a complete discussion of all scales - (major, minor, chromatic, blues and pentatonic) - go to:

a player's guide: scales

Piano Enthusiasts

Piano Enthusiasts is an interesting and fun, page! There's a short, informative video by jazz legend Oscar Peterson. You'll find an explanation of various jazz piano styles as demonstrated by Oscar!

Also some interesting stuff from Lady Gaga, Hugh Laurie and Bobby McFerrin.

Check It Out!!

In The next issue we'll talk about 2 of my favorite, fun scales:

Blues Scale and the Pentatonic Scale

chords and harmony: a player's guide

So, that's it for now. Stay tuned for the next Player's Guide Newsletter!

Thanks, and enjoy A Player's Guide!

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