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Bb?


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#1 OFFLINE   solidwalnut

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 10:29 AM

wcostley said:

I don't know my way around this site or I would have posted this but I don't know how or where to do it.
I found your Major Scale Chart a couple days ago, which I love, it answered a lot of questions for me.
I printed it out so I could have it hady at all times, I noticed at that time that in the key of F you use Bb instead of A#, I was curious why but didn't know how to find out, today I was reading The Major Scale Chart: Part 2 and saw that you posed the question: "In the key of F, why is the 4th note of the scale called Bb?" but you didn't answer the question so this has been prying on my mind and I would like get the reason cleared up in my mind, it won't let go of me.
Thank You, wcostley

wcostley--

I'm really glad this is helping out.

The place to post questions about the lessons is in the Member's Guitar Lessons and Articles forum. Once there, you'll see a link for Discussion on Member's Lessons. If you don't mind, I'm going to copy this post into that forum for everyone's benefit.

The reason I asked the question, "In the key of F, why is the 4th note of the scale called Bb?" and didn't answer it was because I needed for you to answer it so you get an understanding of what's going on!

The answer is because it's following the Alphabetical Rule, which states that the next note name of the scale will be the next letter in the alphabet (from A through G). So then my next question is why is the note name a Bb and not a B? Please give a try at the answer and if you don't get it, we'll keep talking.

Thanks for contacting me.

Steve
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


#2 OFFLINE   wcostley

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 11:58 AM

I understand why it's not called a B, what I don't understand is why it's not called an A#, up until now what I thought I had learned was that when ascending the scale the note in between whole notes took on the name of the note it had just passed and became a #, and when descending the scale the same note would have just passed the B note so it would be called a Bb, so in my way of thinking since we're reading your chart from left to right we are ascending the scale, so it should be called an A#, all of the other places in your ascending diagram seem to follow along with what I thought I had learned because you use #'s instead of b's. Please don't think I'm arguing my point with you, I have no doubt that you are correct I'm just starting out and know very little if anything, I would just like to clear up this matter in my mind so it will stop bugging me.
wcostley "Skip"

#3 OFFLINE   Fretsource

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 12:04 PM

While Steve is preparing a reply to your question, I'll just mention that you're not alone in thinking that we use sharps ascending and flats descending. It's a common misconception. Actually, there's a grain of truth in it, but only in some special circumstances, not in the general naming of notes of scales.

#4 OFFLINE   solidwalnut

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 03:36 PM

wcostley said:

I understand why it's not called a B, what I don't understand is why it's not called an A#, up until now what I thought I had learned was that when ascending the scale the note in between whole notes took on the name of the note it had just passed and became a #, and when descending the scale the same note would have just passed the B note so it would be called a Bb, so in my way of thinking since we're reading your chart from left to right we are ascending the scale, so it should be called an A#, all of the other places in your ascending diagram seem to follow along with what I thought I had learned because you use #'s instead of b's. Please don't think I'm arguing my point with you, I have no doubt that you are correct I'm just starting out and know very little if anything, I would just like to clear up this matter in my mind so it will stop bugging me.
wcostley "Skip"

Hi Skip--

No problem at all. It all has to be understood, and even if you were arguing your point, I'd probably give the same answers!

Since all of the accidentals (sharps and flats) on the chart were sharps except for that one, I can see how this would lead you to think that way.

But the key to this chart is that while you're reading from left to right you're also cross-referencing each position with what's directly above and in between them.

We're in the key of F and we've come to the point where we're going from the 3rd note to the 4th. If you look above, the interval between the 3rd and the 4th note of the major scale is a semi-tone (or a half-step), or one fret space on the fretboard. If at the 3rd note we have an A, then a half step higher could not be an A# because of the alphabetical rule, right? So it has to be a B note of some sort.

It's one-half a step, or one semi-tone. Always between the 3rd and 4th notes and always between the 7th and 8th notes. Together with that, there's always a half-step between the note names of B and C, and also E and F.

If the rule had said that there was always a half-step between the note names A and B, then we'd have no problem. But we know from the rule that all other intervals are a whole step, or two frets. So that gives us a new problem. We can't call the B-type note a B# because that would indicate that we've gone one and a half steps from A. We need to call it Bb because we only have a half-step to work with.

Does this get it, or is there still some confusion? The point of the chart is not sharps and flats, it's intervals. If it makes more sense, look at the fretboard like this:

Posted Image

Notice that any note name that could be a sharp could also be called a flat. This means that they are physically the same note, but they're called either sharp or flat dependent on the key you're playing in; dependent on the interval, which is dependent on the alphabetical rule.

Steve
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


#5 OFFLINE   wcostley

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 05:26 PM

Hi Steve,
I already understood about the half tones so when I first read your explanation I still didn't get it, then I read it over more carefully and looked at your major scale chart because you said it had to cross reference with what's directly above it, that's the first time I actually noticed the alphabetical order in the vertical direction and that woke me up, I can see now that you have to use Bb instead of A# or you would have the Fa or 4 possition out of alphebetical order, so now it makes some sense to me, although I'll have to say that it still leaves me a little confused but that is familiar territory for me. I had been looking at your Note Names and Intervals diagram only in a horizontal direction with each key as an independent entity from the other keys. Thanks a lot Steve, incidently my mother lived in her house that was attached to her store "The Broken Arrow Trading Post" on hwy 60 in Wickenburg from 1959 to 2001 when she passed away, I was born in Bisbee AZ.
Skip

#6 OFFLINE   solidwalnut

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 09:30 AM

wcostley said:

Hi Steve,
I already understood about the half tones so when I first read your explanation I still didn't get it, then I read it over more carefully and looked at your major scale chart because you said it had to cross reference with what's directly above it, that's the first time I actually noticed the alphabetical order in the vertical direction and that woke me up, I can see now that you have to use Bb instead of A# or you would have the Fa or 4 possition out of alphebetical order, so now it makes some sense to me, although I'll have to say that it still leaves me a little confused but that is familiar territory for me. I had been looking at your Note Names and Intervals diagram only in a horizontal direction with each key as an independent entity from the other keys. Thanks a lot Steve, incidently my mother lived in her house that was attached to her store "The Broken Arrow Trading Post" on hwy 60 in Wickenburg from 1959 to 2001 when she passed away, I was born in Bisbee AZ.
Skip

Skip--

How can the chart be improved so it's not so confusing? Would some lines or other directions help do you think? Thanks for any input.

I'm sorry to hear that your mother's gone. My wife and I visited Bisbee and the Queen Mine a couple of years ago. Since mining's not so much the thing of the town anymore, artists have moved in.

Steve
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


#7 OFFLINE   wcostley

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 12:18 PM

Thanks for the reply Steve, I certainly don't have any idea of how your chart can be improved, I haven't been into learning how music works hardly anytime at all, I think your chart is GREAT just as it is. I'm a slow learner and I had to communicate with Clancy a few times just to understand how to navigate my way around this site.

(My maternal granddad, "William K. Caley" was the mayor of Bisbee one time, probably in the mid 1930's)
Thanks again,
Skip

#8 OFFLINE   Tekker

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 02:37 PM

wcostley said:

I had been looking at your Note Names and Intervals diagram only in a horizontal direction with each key as an independent entity from the other keys.
You can do that as well. You can see the alphabetical relationship just by looking at one key.

When you write out all the notes in the scale, you have to use each letter of the alphabet only "one" time.

So, for the key of F that would be:
F G A Bb C D E

However, if you wrote Bb as A# that would be:
F G A A# C D E

Notice that in this last one there are two "A" notes in the scale and no "B" notes. While this won't make any difference in the sound (as they are the same note) it is "technically correct" to use each letter of the alphabet only once in each key.

A very handy trick to figuring out whether a sharp or a flat should be used is to write out each letter of the alphabet first (since you know that each letter has to be used once). Then go back and add the accidentals (sharps or flats) necessary to make the scale.

Hope that helps. :)

-tkr
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Tekker's Lessons on GfB&B: Music Theory, Recording, and General Guitar

#9 OFFLINE   wcostley

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 03:50 PM

Thanks Tekker,
What you explained is exactly what I didn't understand when I started out on my quest to find out why the Bb was used instead of the A#, the way you explained it is simple and right to the point of where my confusion lied, one thing about it after going though the initial confusion and finally starting to understand the way it works it should be firmly implanted in my mind, until you put it the way you did I was thinking it was tied to the other keys, now it's much clearer in my mind that the A-B-C-D-E-F-G rule has to be used in any key independent of the other keys, so I guess I am learning.
Thanks again.
Skip

#10 OFFLINE   fireblade

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 03:41 PM

Skip, you're not alone.
I'd been wondering about this myself and couldn't quite get it. Thanks guys that has cleared it up for me.

#11 OFFLINE   Chris C

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 04:06 AM

wcostley said:

now it's much clearer in my mind that the A-B-C-D-E-F-G rule has to be used in any key independent of the other keys, so I guess I am learning.
Thanks again.
Skip

The way I think of it - from a purely practical point of view - is that if I'm writing a scale out in 'standard notation' on a regular music staff, then it makes sense to use each letter only once.

For historical reasons, the staff has no special place to write the sharps and flats. They have to 'borrow' the line either above or below. So if you already have an A in that spot then it can get a bit messy trying to use it for both A and A#. So you just use the next spot and call it Bb instead. Same sound.

However you see it, it's just useful to use each letter once only. That way the 7 letters can be matched to the 7 notes in a key. The 12 notes (or tones) can still be fitted into only 7 named spaces as long as you're flexible about calling them either a sharp or a flat, depending on which other notes are in the list for that key.

I expect there are other issues, but that works for me. :)

Cheers,

Chris
"There is no magic secret, other than loving the process of learning and putting in the time."

Quote shamelessly stolen from ColoradoFenderBender at Guitarnoise.

#12 OFFLINE   tarrega13

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 09:49 PM

it doesn't matter if the "interval" you are analyzing is 'Fbbb' to 'B###', going upwards it is a "4th". an altered 4th, but still a 4th.





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