Hello folks! I have come back with some more questions. First off I am taking an AP theory course in High school, contrary to popular belief, my teacher does not suck. I have been having trouble keeping up with the course. A lot of the other kids have a heaping mass of musical experience, on many different instruments. I have been playing guitar for a year.

So without further ado,
I am getting a little mixed up with my scales. She gave us a sheet of homework to do over the weekend that asked us to write out ascending and descending major and minor scales.

I guess I just need a little bit of reinforcement. Would it just be easiest to memorize the Co5's and just fill the key signature in and write in all the notes with raised sevenths or whatever the question asks?

I am just looking for help I guess!

Easiest way to remember writing scales?
If you know the circle of fifths, you'll know what notes are sharp/flat in any given key. If someone asked you to write out the major scale of X, you could think of the Co5 and see "oh Y and Y are sharp so the others are natural" and write it out accordingly.

That's how I do it atleast.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

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So you are saying I should just memorize it? along with the Minor circle of fifths?
what order do the sharps and flats go in?
Yes. You should know the circle of fifths. If you know the "major" circle of fifths, you already know the "minor" circle of fifths. Check this tight lesson out, written by slash_pwns:

Go to 5.0

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/for_beginners/learning_music_theory_the_beginning.html
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
don't even bother with the circle of fifths here. know these three rules:

1. there are natural occurring half steps between E to F, and B to C
2. major scale consists of these steps: W W h W W W h
3. minor scale consists of these steps: W h W W h W W

that's all you need to know really. oh, and harmonic minor has a raised seventh, melodic minor has a raised 6th and 7th and changes to natural minor descending.
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don't even bother with the circle of fifths here. know these three rules:

1. there are natural occurring half steps between E to F, and B to C
2. major scale consists of these steps: W W h W W W h
3. minor scale consists of these steps: W h W W h W W

that's all you need to know really. oh, and harmonic minor has a raised seventh, melodic minor has a raised 6th and 7th and changes to natural minor descending.
What the hell does #1 mean?

Edit: And why build out the scale which takes forever when you could already know the Co5?
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
^^Yeah I'd rather bother with the Co5'ths.

Your method requires writing out the entire scale, which isn't bad, but using the Co5'ths is much faster, for you can already know how many sharps/flats there are in a key, then just use "BEADGCF" to figure out which notes are sharp/flat.

And there's more to the Co5'ths than just key sigs.
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What the hell does #1 mean?

He means E#/Fb and and B#/Cb don't exist.
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He means E#/Fb and and B#/Cb don't exist.
...that's not good. E# is in the key of F#. Fb is in the key of Cb. B# is in the key of C#. Cb is in the key of Gb. They exist! ...
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
I'll add though that there is no shame in going to the teacher for help. That's what they're there for. He'll probably be thrilled that you even enough interest in the material to ask questions.
Sooner or later you'll have timed tests im assuming so memorizing the circle is a good idea.

Remember this:
Five cute girls dance at evening balls (#)
BEAD Greatest Common Factor (b)

Or if memorizing isn't your think just write out every scale (letters following the circle of 5ths):

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

You'll start to see some patterns. Good idea to know both though. (Sorry if there are any mistakes, its late :P )
Quote by rockinrider55
Sooner or later you'll have timed tests im assuming so memorizing the circle is a good idea.

Remember this:
Five cute girls dance at evening balls (#)
BEAD Greatest Common Factor (b)

Or if memorizing isn't your think just write out every scale (letters following the circle of 5ths):

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

You'll start to see some patterns. Good idea to know both though. (Sorry if there are any mistakes, its late :P )
Awww, my mnemonic is (Feed) Cows get drunk at east brighton #football #club. I wish I had remembered a better mnemonics.
Good way to remember your sharps is 'Father Christmas Gets Drunk And Eats Babies at least that's how i remember it.

Work your way through, the Key of C major has NO sharps or flats what soever, the key of G has 1 sharp which is F# etc work your way round in a circle.

so for example, the key of E has 4 sharps, F# C# G# D#

As for Flats all i know is BEADG no real way of remembering it apart from... BEADG :p

Also note that F# is the only key that has SHARP in the title as you can see here!

This may all be irrelevant but theres a mini lesson it
Quote by metal4all
...that's not good. E# is in the key of F#. Fb is in the key of Cb. B# is in the key of C#. Cb is in the key of Gb. They exist! ...

The reason for them is so when you come to write your scale out on paper you can't have two different notes on the same line as the stave, they are and here it comes a big word ENHARMONIC they have the same pitch but look different on the stave.

* C♯ and D♭
* D♯ and E♭
* F♯ and G♭
* G♯ and A♭
* A♯ and B♭

All have the same pitch.

However you wouldn't write a song in the key of C# because it would look crazy on paper you would write in the key of Db.

EDIT 3: Try and remember this!

C major- No flats/sharps
G major- F#
D major- F# C#
A major- F# C# G#
E major- F# C# G# D#
B major- F# C# G# D# A#
F# major- F# C# G# D# A# E#
C# major- F# C# G# D# A# E# B#
*****************************
C major- No flats/sharps
F major- Bb
Bb major- Bb Eb
Eb major- Bb Eb Ab
Ab major- Bb Eb Ab Db
Db major- Bb Eb Ab Db Gb
Gb major- Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb
Cb major- Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb Fb

Im afraid the only way around this is to just simply try and revise it, remember your cycle of 5ths to work out the flats and sharps.
BTW sorry for the wave of theory posts in this thread, i have a theory exam in 2 weeks and I'm trying to remember this, best way to revise something is to teach it!
Last edited by Zanon at Nov 17, 2008,
We'll you can either do it using the circle of fifths which if you can memorize it is probably the best way to go. I however because I still have a problem memorizing the Co5 (mental block!), I use interval formulas to memorise scales.

I learn the interval formulas for all the scales I want to know, then simply start at the root and count up.

For example the natural minor scale has the intervals: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7, to find the notes in it simply start at the root (say C for this one) and count up the intervals. So the notes are C D Eb F G Ab Bb.

It's not really too efficient at first but after a while you can get pretty quick at it.
Quote by Zanon
The reason for them is so when you come to write your scale out on paper you can't have two different notes on the same line as the stave, they are and here it comes a big word ENHARMONIC they have the same pitch but look different on the stave.
You probably haven't seen my posts here have you?
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥