I don't understand how scales are applied to songs


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e10sc
04-29-2005, 06:08 PM
I know it's probably really stupid, but I don't see how scales are connected with song writing. When I see scales, they don't really look like any song I've seen. I'm new to scales and this is my first roadblock.

I was also looking at this lesson that seems really helpful, is this the kind of thing I should be looking at?

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/scales/modes_with_mode_dictionary.html

DeadlySIN
04-29-2005, 06:15 PM
scales are basicly just to show you what notes sound good together, gives you a bigger veiw of the fretboard and makes improvisation much easier.

pokeythapenguin
04-29-2005, 06:16 PM
well.. ill try my best. this is as best as i can describe it, me being pretty untrained in music theory. scales is a combination of notes that fit a pattern. say you had a song with that went C, D, G.. you could solo in it using the Cmajor scale or Aminor scale, because C Major scale has no sharps/flats, neither does A minor, and neither does that chord progression, so the notes won't sound "wrong". I could be wrong, but thats how I view it.

VomitalXX
04-29-2005, 06:19 PM
Scales are just a bunch of notes that sound relevantly good with each other, in any order. Out of scales comes your chord progressions, solos, and melodies.

slash_pwns
04-29-2005, 06:23 PM
Scales can organize your notes, so that your music doesnt sound like crap.

But thats a good lesson there :p:

e10sc
04-29-2005, 06:27 PM
Okay cool, should I try and memorize each scale? It seems like a daunting task. Can someone show me an example of a song that uses a scale? I'd like to see how it works.

greatone_12
04-29-2005, 06:54 PM
theres too many scales to memorize them all. stairway to heaven uses scales in the solo and the progressions almost every song does.

e10sc
04-29-2005, 06:56 PM
Really... How should I go about learning them, if I know there's no hope of memorizing?

lesismoreSG
04-29-2005, 07:00 PM
well.. ill try my best. this is as best as i can describe it, me being pretty untrained in music theory. scales is a combination of notes that fit a pattern. say you had a song with that went C, D, G.. you could solo in it using the Cmajor scale or Aminor scale, because C Major scale has no sharps/flats, neither does A minor, and neither does that chord progression, so the notes won't sound "wrong". I could be wrong, but thats how I view it.



since when is D in C major?? ;)

e10sc
04-29-2005, 07:03 PM
And the confusion mounts...

Maybe I should ask it this way. What are the things I need to know or be able to do before I attempt to start learning theory, scales, modes, and whatever else?

bangoodcharlote
04-29-2005, 07:11 PM
Originally posted by e10sc
And the confusion mounts...

Maybe I should ask it this way. What are the things I need to know or be able to do before I attempt to start learning theory, scales, modes, and whatever else? Thats' pretty much where you have to start.

If you know you can't memorize scales, just understand how they work.

HoudiniLogic
04-29-2005, 08:25 PM
Ok, I'm not trying to make anyone feel or look stupid, but I don't know where your knoledge starts, so here is it goes.

There are only 12 notes out there, then they all repeat and eventually they are too high or too low for human ears to hear them.

Many songs will be in a certian 'Key' This means they will only use a specific set of the notes.

A scale is each note in a certain key played in a row ascending or descending.

The simlest key to remember is Am (A minor), it goes like this
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A
(for each minor key, there is a 'relative major', this is just the same notes, starting at the 3rd one. So the relative major key for A minor is 'C major' it goes 'C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C', and you can find the 'relative minor' by looking at the 3rd last note of a major scale)

Chords are made up of notes in a scale, and the song is made up of chords, to find the key of a song, you must know the chords in the song. To make chords, you can count notes in the scale. One chord will be the 1-3-5 notes in the scale, the next chord will be 2-4-6, then 3-5-7, etc. So the chords in C major are...
A, C, E (A minor)
B, D, F (B Dim) >>Diminshed chords are scary, ignor them for now
C, E, G (C major)
D, F, A (D minor)
E, G, B (E minor)
F, A, C (F major)
and finally
G, B, D (G major)

If you were to play any of these chords in a progression, you could use the notes in C major (A minor) in a solo and it would sound good.

This logic applies to all major and minor scales, don't worry about anything else you hear until you understand this better.

(the other thing you can do it play the scale with the same name as a chord over that chord, and when it changes, change scales)
If you heard a progression that went >>G major, D major, C major
you could play G major over all of them (that is the key with these chords) or you could play the scale with the same name as the chord that is being played at the time. you can e-mail me if you need more clairification
>>Houdinilogic@hotmail.com

slash_pwns
04-29-2005, 08:41 PM
Every song uses a scale. Chromatic or what ever, it has a scale.

e10sc
04-29-2005, 09:02 PM
Hmm, the light's starting to come on... So when talking about C Major and A Minor, are those equal? And also, there are so many scales out there, and I have very basic knowledge, what's the first thing I need to do?

HoudiniLogic
04-29-2005, 09:20 PM
well there are things called intervals, this is the space between notes, we call going up one fret a half step, and 2 frets a whole step. This is because most notes are a whole step away from eachother, A-B is a whole step (with Bb in the middle) there are patterns of intervals you can follow to make up scales
Whole, WHole, Half, whole, whole, whole, half makes major
whole, half , whole, whole, half, whole, whole, makes minor
you can start on any note and follow these patterns to find ths scale. then there are things like "melodic" and "harmonic" minor scales, which will have differant intervals, but the same idea.

slash_pwns
04-29-2005, 09:24 PM
Am and C are equal in the fact that they share the same notes, but not in their tonality. I suggest you go back to that lesson (Because I wrote it :p: :p: ) and learn the modes. Scales arent really hard to memorize. They come over time.

So practice hard, because I want to see some bleeding fingers!!!1!!one1!!

HoudiniLogic
04-29-2005, 10:32 PM
I know the modes fairly well thank you. You can talk all day about the differance they make, but when ut comes down to it, notes are notes, and if the sound good they sound good. I just use the notes/scales etc. to help me harmonize, and to figure things out. I find it easier to understand keys, and chords, and ignor modes and inversions and that type of thing unless you really need it.

slash_pwns
04-29-2005, 11:38 PM
^Hahaha, I'm hardcore Modes, so thats what I'd reccomend, but understanding scales are a MUUUUUSSSSSSTTTTTT.

e10sc
04-30-2005, 02:27 AM
So... should I go back and learn modes before scales? I'm not even sure what modes are.

Corwinoid
04-30-2005, 02:29 AM
^ No, you should learn about notes, intervals, and how to build the major scale before anything else.

e10sc
04-30-2005, 11:37 AM
I know about notes, I just don't have each fret memorized, intervals I don't know, I'll search the lessons right now, and I'm not sure what the major scale is, is that like the pentatonic or whatever? I'll search for that one too, thanks for the replies and help you all.

Well I did a search on intervals and couldn't find anything, but I found a couple on major scales, so I'll check those out later. What are modes?

SilentDeftone
04-30-2005, 12:03 PM
Modes are something you shouldn't worry about until you fully learn the major scale in all 12 keys.

The major scale is built using a pattern of intervals that you've probably seen already, W W H W W W H. But what does that mean?
W = whole step
H = half step

W W H W W W H
C D E F G A B C
F G A Bb C D E F
Bb C D Eb F G A Bb
G A B C D E F# G
etc.

All major scales have the same pattern of intervals!

Another way to learn the major scales is to use the Circle of 5ths?

Circle of 5ths
The Circle of 5ths (Co5) is generally used for determining what notes are in what key. Some people find it extremely useful, while others never use it. I think it's a very effective tool in constructing the diatonic major scales.

Now, there are 12 keys, one for each note in the western chromatic scale. In each key there are 7 different notes, A through G. What makes all these keys different, you ask? Well, in each key there are different variations of those 7 notes. Some have sharps (#) while some have flats (b). A sharp (#) indicates that the pitch is raised one semitone, while a flat (b) indicates lowering one semitone. When writing scales you must have one of each letter A through G. In other words, you cannot have A A# C C# E E# G A, or something like that! You must have A B C D E F G A. One of each letter.

Now, on to the actual circle! This is what it looks like:
.......C........
...G.......F....
.D...........Bb.
A.............Eb
.E...........Ab.
...B.......Db...
.....F#/Gb......

The top key is C. It is the simplest key, and has no sharps or flats. As you progress clockwise (flatwise) around the Co5, you add flats, 1 per key you progress. The same is true for sharps - as you progress counterclockwise, you add sharps, 1 per key. Therefore, using this rule, you can figure out how many flats/sharps each key has. Here's a quick list:
C - 0 sharps
G - 1 sharp
D - 2 sharps
A - 3 sharps
E - 4 sharps
B - 5 sharps
F# - 6 sharps
C# - 7 sharps (often written as Db, they are enharmonic)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
C - 0 flats
F - 1 flat
Bb - 2 flats
Eb - 3 flats
Ab - 4 flats
Db - 5 flats
Gb - 6 flats
Cb - 7 flats (often written as B, they are enharmonic)

Now, how do you add these sharps and flats? There is a specific order to do it in! The order for sharps is F# C# G# D# A# E# B#, while the order for flats is roughly the opposite, Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb.

Combining all of this knowledge, you can determine the notes of any key!
C - C D E F G A B C
F - F G A Bb C D E F
Bb - Bb C D Eb F G A Bb
Eb - Eb F G Ab Bb C D Eb
Ab - Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab
Db - Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db
Gb - Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb
Cb - Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb Cb
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
C - C D E F G A B C
G - G A B C D E F# G
D - D E F# G A B C# D
A - A B C# D E F# G# A
E - E F# G# A B C# D# E
B - B C# D# E F# G# A# B
F# - F# G# A# B C# D# E# F#
C# - C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C#

You should be able to see in all those keys that the pattern of W W H W W W H still stands.

Now, what are intervals? An interval is the space between two notes.

Let's take an easy key - C major. Notes are C D E F G A B C.
We can think of this scale in terms of scale degrees, where each note is assigned a number. Incidentally, these numbers match with intervals; this is because the major scale is the basis for 95% of western music in that everything is written in relation to it.

Note: C D E F G A B C
Degree: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
Those degrees are intervals as well in relation to the note C. Here's a list of the possible intervals:
Interval - Name - Note (key of C) - Distance
1 - Unison - C - 0 steps
b2 - minor second - Db - .5 steps
2 - major second - D - 1 step
#2 - sharp second - D# - 1.5 steps
b3 - minor third - Eb - 1.5 steps
3 - major third - E - 2 steps
4 - perfect fourth - F - 2.5 steps
#4 - augmented fourth - F# - 3 steps (tritone)
b5 - diminished fifth - Gb - 3 steps (tritone)
5 - perfect fifth - G - 3.5 steps
#5 - augmented fifth - G# - 4 steps
b6 - minor sixth - Ab - 4 steps
6 - major sixth - A - 4.5 steps
#6 - sharp sixth - A# - 5 steps
b7 - minor seventh - Bb - 5 steps
7 - major seventh - B - 5.5 steps
8 - octave - C - 6 steps
b9 - minor ninth - Db - 6.5 steps
etc.

The interval names and notes
repeat such that:
2 = 9
4 = 11
6 = 13
The only difference is that a 9th is an
octave farther apart than a 2nd.

And none of you give me crap about there being no such thing as a #2 or #6, they exist. E7#9 and Emaj7(#13) for example.

Questions?

-SilentDeftone :dance:

Alex-Carlo
04-30-2005, 12:27 PM
Scales basically are what make up all songs. While you may not "see" them in music they are very common. They are the base notes in choards and they are actually very commonly used all over the place. Keep working on scales they are very helpful.

e10sc
04-30-2005, 12:36 PM
SD, you say that C has no sharps or flats, but when it comes to notes on the fretboard C has a sharp right? I still don't quite get it.

SilentDeftone
04-30-2005, 12:41 PM
The key of C has no sharps or flats. You can have a C# note or scale or chord? but it won't be in the key of C.

C#, C, and Cb all are legitimate notes on the fretboard!

-SD :dance:

e10sc
04-30-2005, 12:45 PM
Okay that clears it up. thanks

e10sc
04-30-2005, 02:37 PM
Actually, I was just looking at the scales, I am completely clueless when you were talking about intervals, I don't understand the notation, or anything else for that matter.

SilentDeftone
04-30-2005, 03:37 PM
The interval between C and C is unison - 1
The interval between C and D is a major second - 2
The interval between C and E is a major 3rd - 3
etc.

What don't you understand? Please make your question more specific.

-SD :dance:

e10sc
04-30-2005, 08:29 PM
Are intervals the distance a note is away from C? And if so, how are they measured with "b"s, what do those bs mean? Sorry if I'm frustrating you. I'm just trying to get this down.

SilentDeftone
04-30-2005, 08:40 PM
Not necessarily C; you can have intervals between any two notes that don't include C. For example, the interval between D and F is a minor 3rd (3 semitones).

b means flat - to lower a half step (1 fret down).
# means sharp - to raise a half step (1 fret up).

I'm adding to the chart.

-SD :dance:

e10sc
04-30-2005, 08:45 PM
So for the major scale, WWHWWWH, the halves are the #'s or b's? And so it could be A B C# D E F F#?

e10sc
04-30-2005, 08:50 PM
Okay the updated chart helps, but I thought of another question. For scales, does it matter the distance from the original key a note is? For example if the scale is WWHWWWH, could it be any sharp or flat note, or would it have to be a certain distance away?

SilentDeftone
04-30-2005, 08:50 PM
E to F is a half step - what you wrote is W W H W H H: W W H W H H
A B C# D E F F#

-SD :dance:

SilentDeftone
04-30-2005, 08:55 PM
Originally posted by e10sc
For scales, does it matter the distance from the original key a note is? For example if the scale is WWHWWWH, could it be any sharp or flat note, or would it have to be a certain distance away? Yes, it does matter how far from the original note (root) a note is? all major scales follow intervals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8(1).

Okay, this is how intervals tie in with WWHWWWH. Since you have 7 W/H's, there are 8 notes in any scale (7 if you discount the octave as a separate note, since it has the same note name). So you'll have something like this: W W H W W W H
Note 1 Note 2 Note 3 Note 4 Note 5 Note 6 Note 7 Note 1Let's use A as our 'Note 1', or root note. Thus we will be building an A major scale. W
A B
1 2
A to B is 1 step (W); a major 2nd.

W W
A B C#
1 2 3
A to C# is 2 steps (W+W); a major 3rd.

W W H
A B C# D
1 2 3 4
A to D is 2.5 steps (W+W+H); a perfect 4th.

W W H W
A B C# D E
A to E is 3.5 steps (W+W+H+W); a perfect 5th.

W W H W W
A B C# D E F#
A to F# is 4.5 steps (W+W+H+W+W); a major 6th.

W W H W W W
A B C# D E F# G#
A to G# is 5.5 steps (W+W+H+W+W+W); a major 7th.

W W H W W W H
A B C# D E F# G# A
A to A is 6 steps (W+W+H+W+W+W+H); an octave.

Hopefully it makes more sense now.

-SD :dance:

e10sc
04-30-2005, 08:58 PM
Originally posted by SilentDeftone
Yes, it does matter how far from the original note (root) a note is? all major scales follow intervals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8(1).

*Will Edit in about 3 minutes*

-SD :dance:

Okay, so the reason the C major scale doesn't have any flats and sharps is because the B and C are half a step away, and the E and F are half a step? Okay, I'm starting to get it, unless what I just said is wrong, then I'm not getting it at all.

e10sc
04-30-2005, 09:13 PM
Thanks so much SD, that made a lot of sense, can you go down scales? Like for the A major, instead of going to B, could you have gone to G?

SilentDeftone
04-30-2005, 09:17 PM
Sure, but then you have to use the pattern backwards - G isn't in the key of A, G# is. You'd basically start at 8, the octave, and progress to 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and finally 1.

While I'm posting, you also must only have one of each note. For example, you couldn't write the A major scale A B Db D E Gb G Ab A (even those are enharmonic); that has 2 D notes, 2 G notes, and 2 A notes. Every note (A B C D E F G) must be represented within the scale in some form.

-SD :dance:

e10sc
04-30-2005, 09:20 PM
And is that true for any scale?

SilentDeftone
04-30-2005, 09:25 PM
Almost every scale; some scales have more than 7 notes (diminished scales); also some scales are written according to functions which may require renaming.

Basically, the answer's yes. You don't need to worry about those now.

-SD :dance:

Tator Salad
04-30-2005, 10:26 PM
My guitar teacher always tells me "think musically" and I do. e10sc, music theory is giant but in the end it really comes down to what sounds good, not exactly whats on this scale, whats in key this this. Right now I bet theory sounds "scary" and overwhelming but there is a time (soon it looks like, with the help of SilentDeftone) when everything you hear about music theory makes sense, and works.

heggazz
05-01-2005, 12:35 AM
Originally posted by lesismoreSG
well.. ill try my best. this is as best as i can describe it, me being pretty untrained in music theory. scales is a combination of notes that fit a pattern. say you had a song with that went C, D, G.. you could solo in it using the Cmajor scale or Aminor scale, because C Major scale has no sharps/flats, neither does A minor, and neither does that chord progression, so the notes won't sound "wrong". I could be wrong, but thats how I view it.



since when is D in C major?? ;)

2nd degree

MrScary07RR
05-01-2005, 12:53 AM
Originally posted by heggazz
2nd degree
they were talking about chords, and the person said D (major) is in the key of C. and its not

e10sc
05-01-2005, 01:25 AM
Thanks a lot you guys for the help, I'm gonna get to work with these major scales.

mcguinnjustin
05-01-2005, 11:53 PM
i thought D was in The Key of C

WWHWWWH

C D E F G A B C

Pingu
05-02-2005, 04:18 AM
It is, but as a key, not in chords.

HoudiniLogic
05-02-2005, 05:49 AM
What you want to do is learn how scales are made up, and how you build chords out of scales. Then learn the scales in patterns all over the fret board, just don't always use the same shape, or else you will get to used to it and only use one. Try to learn a few scales all the way over the fret board (every note that is in it on every string) I find if you learn everything you can aboutwhy we use scales, and chords and figure out why some chords are called things like "Abm 7th" and things like that, it will be more useful than if you just know the names and shapes of scales.

SilentDeftone
05-02-2005, 05:20 PM
^ To summarize, read me (http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/chords/what_chords_are_in_what_key_and_why.html) and me (http://ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/chords/guide_to_chord_formation.html)!

-SD :dance: