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dietermoreno
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Join date: Dec 2012
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#1
What is difference between sharp and flat scale?

I was watching a guitar lesson DVD that teaches how to play modes and I got even more confused than I already was.

The guy in the DVD called a sharp scale "the circle of fifths" and called a flat scale "the circle of fourths".

Huh? "Circle of Fifths" and "Circle of Fourths" sound like bad death metal band names.

Isn't a sharp scale the same thing as a flat scale one step higher? Like for example wouldn't an A sharp scale be the same thing as a B flat scale?

What is the need for the fifths and fourths stuff when it follows the same pattern of whole steps and half steps as a major scale
(DOwhole-REwhole-MEhalf-FAwhole-SOwhole-LAhalf-TI-whole-DOhalf)
just shifted up or down one half step?
My Last Words
Billions and billions!
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#3
I'm not exactly sure, but here goes
-More "natural", "even sounding" scales like the c major scale - no flats or sharps here
-Flat scale; Scale with alot of flat notes ?
-Sharp scale; same thing vice versa.

I just made this up, it sounds semi-reasonable to me.
baab
derek8520
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#4
Quote by dietermoreno
What is difference between sharp and flat scale?

I was watching a guitar lesson DVD that teaches how to play modes and I got even more confused than I already was.

The guy in the DVD called a sharp scale "the circle of fifths" and called a flat scale "the circle of fourths".

Huh? "Circle of Fifths" and "Circle of Fourths" sound like bad death metal band names.

Isn't a sharp scale the same thing as a flat scale one step higher? Like for example wouldn't an A sharp scale be the same thing as a B flat scale?

What is the need for the fifths and fourths stuff when it follows the same pattern of whole steps and half steps as a major scale
(DOwhole-REwhole-MEhalf-FAwhole-SOwhole-LAhalf-TI-whole-DOhalf)
just shifted up or down one half step?



The stuff in bold is all wrong.


The circle of fifths is as follows: G D A E B F# C#

This is called the sharp scale because the key signatures of all of these keys feature sharps rather than flats; G has one sharp, D has two sharps, A has three sharps etc.


The circle of fourths is: F Bb Ab Db Gb Cb

This is called the flat scale because the key signatures of all of these keys feature flats rather than sharps; F has one flat, Bb has two flats, Ab has three flats, etc.


C major has no sharps or flats.
Last edited by derek8520 at Jan 16, 2013,
mdc
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#5
Quote by dietermoreno
What is difference between sharp and flat scale?

I was watching a guitar lesson DVD that teaches how to play modes and I got even more confused than I already was.

The guy in the DVD called a sharp scale "the circle of fifths" and called a flat scale "the circle of fourths".

Huh? "Circle of Fifths" and "Circle of Fourths" sound like bad death metal band names.

Isn't a sharp scale the same thing as a flat scale one step higher? Like for example wouldn't an A sharp scale be the same thing as a B flat scale?

What is the need for the fifths and fourths stuff when it follows the same pattern of whole steps and half steps as a major scale
(DOwhole-REwhole-MEhalf-FAwhole-SOwhole-LAhalf-TI-whole-DOhalf)
just shifted up or down one half step?

The reason you why you have sharps and flats is so that they relate to the size of the interval.

In the key of F, you can't have an A sharp, because that wouldn't resemble the interval of a perfect 4th. It would be a augmented 3rd.

Now, what I've just said will REALLY have confused the shit out of you.

Study intervals before keys, circle of 5ths, even scales. Just intervals first.
dietermoreno
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#6
Okay I'll Google interval.

I've already been playing scales from using scale charts, but I had no idea why the scales are the way they are and I don't know how to play a scale without looking at a scale chart.

Sometimes its easier to do things rather than understand how they work.

Like Edison did things without understanding how they work. Tesla both did things and understood how they worked.


So the guy in the video was he saying that every major scale goes "whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half-whole" EXCEPT C MAJOR, because C major scale has no flats or sharps and using half steps requires the use of flats and sharps?

The link that you gave me shows that G major scale would only use a half step once because it only has one flat and it shows that the D major scale ascending is the scale that uses "whole-whole--half-whole-whole-whole-half".

So maybe I misheard the DVD instructor's voice say "Deeeeeee major scale" as "Ceeeeee major scale".

So the example that he gave only works for D major scale.

but what happens if you move a C major scale up the fret board from the root note being the 3rd fret of the 5th string in standard E tuning? wouldn't that make it an A major scale? but an A major scale has flats and sharps and the scale patern would still have no flats and sharps because it doesn't use half steps?
Last edited by dietermoreno at Jan 16, 2013,
W4RP1G
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#7
It was my understanding that a major scale has all 7 notes, so sharps and flats are used to keep the intervals without repeating notes. For instance, A major is: A B C♯ D E F♯ G♯. If the scale were done with flats, it would be: A B D♭ D E G♭ A♭. Notice that there are 2 Ds and 2 As. It's the same scale, but writing it like that is more confusing.

Or at least, that's my understanding of what makes a scale use sharps of flats. I'm no authority on that matter, that's just what i gather from the little bit I've read.

And sorry if I've misunderstood your question.
Last edited by W4RP1G at Jan 16, 2013,
dietermoreno
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#8
I'm even more confused.

The link that you gave me http://www.basicmusictheory.com/q/1/p/c says that the "whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half" step counting rule is correct for all major scales, just like the guy in the video said?

How is that possible when using a half step would mean adding an accidental (sharps or flats) and C major scale has no accidentals?
mdc
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#9
Don't run before you can walk dude. Forget about all that. The reason it's not making any sense is cuz the foundation isn't there yet.

Intervals of the chromatic scale, and understand the stave.
dietermoreno
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#10
Oh, I fast forwarded through the chromatic scale part on the DVD because I don't care about chromatic scale I want to learn real scales....

I'll go and watch the chromatic scale part instead of skipping to the real scales...
mdc
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#11
Lol ok. I'm curious as to how that guy will explain it. Hopefully he'll describe maj, min, perfect, diminished and augmented intervals, and not just blitz through it...
dietermoreno
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#12
The DVD is called "Modes Demystified" by the Rock House Method.

The instructor's name on the DVD is John McCarthy.

I bought it at Sam Ash for $19.99 hoping it will improve my talent less playing.

Here is the link to my YouTube channel so you can see what my level is:
http://www.youtube.com/dietermoreno
Junior#1
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#13
Forget about modes. Not only are they all but useless, but you need an extremely thorough understanding of at least the major scale and intervals before you even think about modes.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
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#14
Quote by Junior#1
Forget about modes. Not only are they all but useless, but you need an extremely thorough understanding of at least the major scale and intervals before you even think about modes.

This.

To add onto what Junior said (to specify his advice to your situation), many guitarists misunderstand what "modes" are. Modes are not just starting the major scale on a different note than usual. Modes are an extremely specific and exceptionally uncommon musical concept (which the majority of guitar-oriented music will actually never, ever touch on). If you hear the word "mode", you are probably about to hear a slurry of pseudo-theory that the speaker misunderstands or is misnaming. Rock guitarists are especially guilty of this.

musictheory.net is an exceptional resource to learn basic theory from. The lessons are very organized and will give you a solid background in the basic fundamentals of theory.


The DVD is called "Modes Demystified" by the Rock House Method.

The instructor's name on the DVD is John McCarthy.

I bought it at Sam Ash for $19.99 hoping it will improve my talent less playing.

Scales will not make you a better player. Technique will make you a better player. What I imagine you want to be is a better musician. The secret to being a good musician is to develop an intuitive sense of music and how a given note will interact with other notes and chord progressions.

All theory is there to do is to communicate your ideas to other musicians. You don't need to understand a lick of formal theory (though in my experience, it helps significantly to at least understand the basics). Learning scales is only useful if it helps you to develop an understanding of music. Otherwise, ignore practicing scales.
Last edited by Geldin at Jan 17, 2013,
dietermoreno
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#15
Quote by Junior#1
Forget about modes. Not only are they all but useless, but you need an extremely thorough understanding of at least the major scale and intervals before you even think about modes.


Okay. I'm working on obtaining that thorough understanding of major scales and intervals.

I am already using modes in metal music, but I don't understand them-- I only memorized the scale chart.


Quote by Geldin
This.

To add onto what Junior said (to specify his advice to your situation), many guitarists misunderstand what "modes" are. Modes are not just starting the major scale on a different note than usual. Modes are an extremely specific and exceptionally uncommon musical concept (which the majority of guitar-oriented music will actually never, ever touch on). If you hear the word "mode", you are probably about to hear a slurry of pseudo-theory that the speaker misunderstands or is misnaming. Rock guitarists are especially guilty of this.




Rock guitarists, not metal guitarists.


I thought metal artists used modes, rather than pentatonic scales, and that is what makes metal sound different from rock?

Your signature says that you are a progressive metal guitarist, and you don't even learn scales/modes?

Maybe you are the next Yngwie Malmsteen who doesn't need any theory, but I am stuck and I need theory.
Last edited by dietermoreno at Jan 17, 2013,
steven seagull
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#16
ok so this really belongs in MT...
Actually called Mark!

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#17
TS, you have unfortunately screwed up your understanding of music theory. Go to the link in my sig about music theory and start on the beginning. No skipping. You are also not using modes, you are using shapes of the major scale or minor scale on the fretboard. What note you start on doesn't mean jack shit, it's all about the harmony.
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Hail
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#18
Quote by steven seagull
ok so this really belongs in MT...


i'm honestly hyperventilating a little bit reading this thread

one of these days i'm just gonna up and have a stroke and it's gonna be your fault for putting these things in MT steven
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#19
I'm going to try to lurk the guitar techniques forum more and try to catch these before too much damage is done. And the second response almost made me rage.
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#20
Quote by dietermoreno
Okay. I'm working on obtaining that thorough understanding of major scales and intervals.

I am already using modes in metal music, but I don't understand them-- I only memorized the scale chart.

You are using what you think are modes. That doesn't mean you are playing modally.


Quote by dietermoreno
Rock guitarists, not metal guitarists.

Almost any guitarist, regardless of genre.


Quote by dietermoreno
I thought metal artists used modes, rather than pentatonic scales, and that is what makes metal sound different from rock?

It's more about how the artists play, rather than what they play. Take Metallica for example. Arguably the biggest metal band in the world. Do they play modally? No. Hell no. Kirk is lucky if he strays off the minor pentatonic scale and doesn't screw up.

Quote by dietermoreno
Your signature says that you are a progressive metal guitarist, and you don't even learn scales/modes?

Maybe you are the next Yngwie Malmsteen who doesn't need any theory, but I am stuck and I need theory.

You don't actually need theory. It's definitely good to know, but it's not required. Don't play something just because it fits in the scale or in a certain pattern. Play it because it sounds good. At the end of the day, that's all that matters.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
Hail
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#21
just read through some bits:

yngwie malmsteen...doesn't know theory?

you do know that theory comes with an understanding of music? which comes with, yknow, just playing music? no scales, no modes.

i mean malmsteen's an idiot and a terrible songwriter, but he has perfect pitch IIRC and can perform on several instruments proficiently (albeit tastelessly)

like i'm starting to lean towards instrumental genocide because of threads like these, seriously. like, office-place-shootout type stuff.
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martmiguel
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#22
Its very simple really:

Theres a difference between A# and Bb?

Not really, if you play them on the piano o someone who is not watching he will tell you that they sound the same, this happens because it is the same scale on both situations, it´s just an orthographic issue.

Now when we talk about the circle of 4 and fifths we are talking about a way to organize the scales depending on the number of accidentals each one has, if you use fourths you will find flat, and if you use fifths you will find sharps:

Fourths:
C 0 flats
F 1 flats
Bb 2 flats
Eb 3 flats
Ab 4 flats
Db 5 flats
Gb 6 flats
Cb 7 flats

Fifths:
C 0 sharps
G 1 sharps
D 2 sharps
A 3 sharps
E 4 sharps
B 5 sharps
F# 6 sharps
C# 7 sharps
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#23
Quote by rockingamer2
I'm going to try to lurk the guitar techniques forum more and try to catch these before too much damage is done. And the second response almost made me rage.

don't worry, I always move them as soon as I can
Actually called Mark!

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白い雲
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#24
Quote by dietermoreno
What is difference between sharp and flat scale?

I was watching a guitar lesson DVD that teaches how to play modes and I got even more confused than I already was.

The guy in the DVD called a sharp scale "the circle of fifths" and called a flat scale "the circle of fourths".

Huh? "Circle of Fifths" and "Circle of Fourths" sound like bad death metal band names.

Isn't a sharp scale the same thing as a flat scale one step higher? Like for example wouldn't an A sharp scale be the same thing as a B flat scale?

What is the need for the fifths and fourths stuff when it follows the same pattern of whole steps and half steps as a major scale
(DOwhole-REwhole-MEhalf-FAwhole-SOwhole-LAhalf-TI-whole-DOhalf)
just shifted up or down one half step?


Let me see if I can break it down some. The circle of fifths is not a scale. It's a way of organizing the 12 notes of the chromatic scale, the 12 major keys, or the 12 minor keys. The circle of fourths is just the circle of fifths being followed counterclockwise. You'll have to read more to understand these concepts, but my main point here is that the circle of fifths and the circle of fourths are not scales.

An A# scale and a Bb scale of the same type (major scale, etc.) will sound identical to the listener, but look different on a sheet of music. This is an example of enharmonic notes. Enharmonic notes sound the same, but are spelled differently. The musical alphabet has these redundancies built in because they help us understand things like the major scale easier. After all, which is easier to read: C-D-E-F-G-A-B, or B#-C##-D##-E#-F##-G##-A##? They're the same pitches.

I think your confusion is in knowing where these sharps or flats occur. A sharp tells you to raise the note by a 1/2 step. So, A# is one half step above A. A flat tells you to lower the note by 1/2 step. So, Ab is one half step lower than A. Most natural (not sharp or flat) notes are 2 half steps away from the next note. For example, A is two half steps below B. To name the note in between A and B, you can call it A#, or Bb. This is a pretty straightforward system, but it's not that simple. B natural is only ONE half step away from C natural. Likewise, E natural is only one half step away from F natural. So, the note one half step above E can bel called F. But, as I said earlier, putting a sharp by a note name tells you to raise it a half step. So, the note one half step above E can also be called E#. E# and F are the same pitch. To be clear: Because there is only one half step between E and F, and only one half step between B and C, the use of half steps in a scale does not necessarily require sharps and flats.

When you spell out a major or minor scale, you're dealing with 7 notes. If you've ever wondered why the musical alphabet stops after 7 letters, this is why. The alphabet was designed to cater to major and minor scales. When you name a major or minor scale, you can only use each letter in the alphabet once. You have to use the sharp and flat signs to get the notes to the right pitches from there. For example, if you want to spell an F major scale, you know it has to start on F, and (because of the rule I just told you) you know it has to have some kind of f, g, a, b, c, d, and e note (flat, natural, or sharp). The F major scale happens to be F, G, A, Bflat, C, D, and E. As you can see, you have one of each of the letter names, but no duplicates, and they are in alphabetical order starting on F.

You mentioned the major scale interval pattern of w-w-h-w-w-w-h, but were confused as to how C major (which contains no sharps or flats) could follow this pattern. The reason is the same as in bold above. If you spell out the scale, keeping in mind that b to c is only a half step, and e to f is only a half step, you'll see that it works:

C (whole step) D (whole step) E (half step) F (whole step) G (whole step) A (whole step) B (half step) C.

The w-w-h-w-w-w-h applies to every single major scale, period. It could be a Z double flat major scale, and it would still follow this pattern!

So...

Music theory is a lot like math. It starts with basic arithmetic (adding, subtraction), and subsequent concepts all build upon those basics. It's very hard to learn an interesting bit of music theory (such as modes) by itself, like you would a guitar lick. For you, I recommend getting a theory teacher to help you get really solid on the basics. The college level courses are good for this, but in leau of that, you may be able to find a private teacher (or skype teacher). If you can't do that, get a music theory textbook. It'll break everything down, start with the basics, and only move on to more complex topics after that. I use the Kostka and Payne "Tonal Harmony" book, and there are other good ones out there. Rock on
Drew-A
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#25
Seems to me the instructor in the DVD probably didn't explain it clearly - it's really not that hard. There have been some great responses on this thread, so you're pointed in the right direction. Let me explain it in a way I think will make sense to you.

I think the reason he brought up the circle of fifths and circle of fourths was to help you remember what the number of sharps or flats are in each scale. A fifth is simply five notes up from the root in a major scale, a fourth four notes down.

For example, the C major scale has no sharps or flats. If you go up a fifth from C major, you have the note G. The G major scale has one sharp (F#). If you go down a fourth from C you have the note F. The F major scale has one flat (Bb).

It continues like this - G major 1 sharp (F#), D major 2 sharps (F# and C#), A major 3 sharps (C#, F# and G#), and so on. This is the circle of fifths.

In the other direction, F major 1 flat (Bb), Bb major 2 flats (Bb and Eb), Eb major 3 flats (Eb, Ab and Bb) and so on. These are fourths.

You can't have 2 notes in a major scale with the same name. For example, you wouldn't spell a D major scale as D, E, Gb, G, A, B, Db, D. You would say D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D.

This is important in written music. You'll see the key signature and that will will show you which notes are sharp or flat. If you see 4 sharps, you immediately know you are in A major. Make sense?

It's also how people refer to notes when talking about music, so it helps to know even if you're not planning on reading music. This is just the convention. If you talk to someone and refer to an A# major scale, they will look at you funny
Last edited by Drew-A at Jan 17, 2013,
rockingamer2
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#26
Quote by steven seagull
don't worry, I always move them as soon as I can

It's great that you do redirect them, don't get me wrong, but mods can only work so fast. Not saying anything about you, though. I just want to see if I can snipe some of them before the go down the rabbit hole.
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Junior#1
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#28
Quote by :-D
Poopy Pee Butt

Go home troll. You're drunk.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
Destinyrider22
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#29
Quote by 白い雲

Music theory is a lot like math. It starts with basic arithmetic (adding, subtraction), and subsequent concepts all build upon those basics. It's very hard to learn an interesting bit of music theory (such as modes) by itself, like you would a guitar lick. For you, I recommend getting a theory teacher to help you get really solid on the basics. The college level courses are good for this, but in leau of that, you may be able to find a private teacher (or skype teacher). If you can't do that, get a music theory textbook. It'll break everything down, start with the basics, and only move on to more complex topics after that. I use the Kostka and Payne "Tonal Harmony" book, and there are other good ones out there. Rock on

Truer words have never been spoken. I saw a quote somewhere that said "You do not truly understand music theory until you have been completely baffled by it." The Tonal Harmony book is a college level textbook, but explains everything in nearly a paragraph or 2. Although the book is simple enough to understand, it helps even further to take a class and have a teacher to whom you can pester with questions if you do not understand what you are reading. Probably what has helped me the most was taking a class that I could take with others, and the homework assignments almost always turn into group assignments with friends. A class will help you more than anything, although musictheory.net and its respective app Tenuto are the greatest free resources know to those on two legs (I think you have to pay for the app but the site is free).
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Junior#1
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#31
Quote by :-D
erroneous

.......right.

Seriously, if you're not going to offer any advice or relevent information pertaining of the original post, then don't post.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
Junior#1
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#33
Quote by :-D
*relevant

F***ing spelling Nazi.

I'm done feeding the troll. I won't be replying to you again. At least not in this thread.
Quote by Geldin
Junior's usually at least a little terse, but he knows his stuff. I've always read his posts in a grouchy grandfather voice, a grouchy grandfather with a huge stiffy for alternate picking.
Besides that, he's right this time. As usual.
AeolianWolf
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#34
technically it would also be pertaining to, not pertaining of.
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dietermoreno
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#35
Thanks guys for all the responses!

So the circle of fifths and circle of fourths are not actual physical musical concrete objects, but are neumatic devices for memorizing how many sharps or flats a major scale has.

So the difference between a sharp and a flat scale to the ears is none, but it is notated differently because of "enharmonic notes".

So the reason that the C major scale still works with the "w-w-h-w-w-w-h-w" steps pattern is that not all letters in the musical alphabet are separted by the same interval of step.

E to F# is a major second made up of 2 half steps, meaning that only one half step separates E and F. C to D is also a major second, meaning that one whole step separates C and D.


E to G# is a major third made up of 3 half steps, meaning that 3 /5 half step separates E and E#, because:


Letter: E E# F F# G G#
Sharps from E: 0 1 2 3 4 5
Half steps from E: 0 3

(Half Steps from note/ Sharps from note) = half steps/sharp

(3 Half Steps from E/ 5 Sharps from E) = (3/5) half steps / sharp
mdc
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#36
Quote by dietermoreno
E E#

That's an augmented unison.
白い雲
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#37
"So the circle of fifths and circle of fourths are not actual physical musical concrete objects, but are neumatic devices for memorizing how many sharps or flats a major scale has."

That's one use of the circle of fifths, and it has other uses.

"So the difference between a sharp and a flat scale to the ears is none, but it is notated differently because of "enharmonic notes"."

Correct.

"So the reason that the C major scale still works with the "w-w-h-w-w-w-h-w" steps pattern is that not all letters in the musical alphabet are separted by the same interval of step."

Other than a typo (I think you meant w-w-h-w-w-w-h), that's correct.

"E to F# is a major second made up of 2 half steps, meaning that only one half step separates E and F. C to D is also a major second, meaning that one whole step separates C and D."

Correct.

"E to G# is a major third made up of 3 half steps, meaning that 3 /5 half step separates E and E#, because:


Letter: E E# F F# G G#
Sharps from E: 0 1 2 3 4 5
Half steps from E: 0 3"

4 half steps separate E and G#, not E and E#. That was probably another typo, right?
Last edited by 白い雲 at Jan 18, 2013,
mdc
UG's Mr Chord Man
Join date: Feb 2008
722 IQ
#38
Quote by dietermoreno

E to G# is a major third made up of 3 half steps

4 half steps.
Drew-A
Rock Guitar Instrumentals
Join date: Jan 2013
21 IQ
#39
Quote by dietermoreno
Thanks guys for all the responses!

So the circle of fifths and circle of fourths are not actual physical musical concrete objects, but are neumatic devices for memorizing how many sharps or flats a major scale has.

So the difference between a sharp and a flat scale to the ears is none, but it is notated differently because of "enharmonic notes"....


A couple of mistakes in there, but I think you're getting it!

You obviously want to understand these concepts, and it sounds like you're working at it - it will all make sense very soon!
chakab
Registered User
Join date: May 2012
10 IQ
#40
" Like for example wouldn't an A sharp scale be the same thing as a B flat scale?"

Yes. A sharp and B flat are enharmonic equivalents (different ways of writing the same note).

However, A sharp major would have four sharps and three double sharps, so it's not a practical key for written music.