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The Major Scale Chart: Part 2 [All Levels/Any Style/Theory]

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#1 solidwalnut


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Posted 07 March 2007 - 12:23 PM

The Major Scale Chart: Part 2

This lesson is a branch from Area 4 from the Playbook for Beginners and Beyond main lesson. Visit the main lesson to see my philosophy on the five different areas of learning to play.


In Part 1 we concentrated on the meat of this chart.

Do Re Mi
Play the note scale
Play the chord scale
See and hear the connection
Sing or hum as you play

Posted Image

If there are any questions about any of this, please review Part 1. Be sure to read each line of the chart from left to right.

Let the Games Begin

Now in Part 2, we're going to build on that knowledge. Let's consider a bit more of what the chart is telling us.

You'll see that under The Notes there are numbers associated for each one. Directly below these numbers are the corresponding note name. Stay with the top line (the key of C) in the beginning. Also, at the top of the chart are two rules. The Musical Rule tells us that no matter what major scale we choose, the intervals between each note will remain the same. The next rule builds on this principle. The Alphabetical Rule tells us that the next note name will be the next letter in the alphabet (from A through G).

Since the intervals will remain the same, you start seeing note names that are sharps and flats (e.g. in the key of D, the interval between Re and Mi is a Tone or a full-step. The note names are E and F. We know that from Rule #1 that there is a Semi-tone or half-step ALWAYS between E and F. Therefore, the correct tone will be an F#. Get it?

You probably already get this, but let me show you that this works for all the keys. Start on the bottom of The Notes chart. You'll notice the box around the B and C# notes in the key of B. Directly above these you'll see that there is a Tone between Do and Re. If there's ALWAYS a Semi-tone between the B and C notes, then the C note of this scale must be called a C#. Go up to the key of A and find the B and C# notes and you find the same story. Follow up the line of the different keys and look at the required interval.

This information is to provide you with basic music theory. It will help you tremendously when you get to understanding other scales.

Gathering from the information in the above paragraphs, here's a question: In the key of F, why is the 4th note of the scale called a Bb? See the answer below.**

The Note Numbers

You'll find that often times people who have good music theory training ofen refer to note names rather exclusively, or at least in the majority. Because the note names are a sort of 'floating scale' in regard to changing keys, it's often desirable to refer to the note numbers because it reminds us of the correct intervals. This makes them universal from key to key. The note names can also be viewed like this, but it just depends on your experience.

Both systems are designed to operate hand in hand. For example, you'll often hear about the 1, 3 and 5 ofthe key of C which are the C, E and G notes. If you're reading notation, you'll follow the note names and apply those to the fretboard. If you're coming from the point of view playing the 1, 3 and 5 in the key of C, then you'll apply the note names--later. So it depends on your musical point of view. You have to go with what works for you.

The reason that the numbers work so well for my brain is because they imply the interval, which stays the same from key to key! So, what are the notes for the 1, 3 and 5 for the key of D? The D, F# and A. How about the key of G? Look and see.

Next up in the series in The Major Scale Chord Chart: Part 3, we're going to talk about The Chords and how they came about. In a word, it's called Harmonizing the Major Scale. Until then, keep practicing from this chart:

Do Re Mi
Play the note scale
Play the chord scale
See and hear the connection
Sing or hum as you play

**The answer is because of the alphabetical rule and the interval rule at the same time. For a great discussion on this, check out this thread.

Attached Files

Steve Cass
Solid Walnut Music/ASCAP

Becoming a great guitarist has less to do with fancy moves than it does becoming a master of the basics and learning musicianship.
It's not what you can't do. It's how you play what you already know.

View my lessons here at GfB&B

"Rhythm guitar is a trip that alot of people miss" -- Tom Petty


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